Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

 Happy Halloween! This day just wasn't what it used to be anymore. I don't have any cute kids to take Trick-Or-Treating, am too old to go Trick-Or-Treating on my own, and am also too old to dress in barely no clothes and go tramping around on High Street. Steve is/has been super busy with a big assignment for school. We have been hunkered down and all playing "support Daddy" while he has been getting his work done. One more hour to get it turned in and then I have a feeling that he will be ready for a long little nap. 
 No more rambling. It all has a purpose though!

 I don't even know when Trick Or Treating is here. Last year we had one kid and sat on the porch in the freezing cold for hours waiting. So, I am not going to get worked up about it this year. I have a bowl of candy if anyone decides to stop by. What I DO have is my cute little puppy girl. She honestly does love to be dressed up and 'made pretty' with hair bows (as you can obviously tell from the photographs). But incase I need to say this... No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

 Enjoy what you are about to witness. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Third Annual Pumpkin Carving Party

 On Saturday we hosted our 3rd Pumpkin Carving party since living in our house. I failed in the photo taking part, and the pumpkin carving part (our pumpkins are still whole!). But thrived in the food making. Steve and I didn't end up carving our pumpkins because I was helping a 2 year old paint hers and Steven was cleaning up the food. And, sadly, no pictures of anything were taken. I REALLY need to get better at that! But, we all had a great time. There were a lot of laughs, good food, loud playing children and a few pretty adorable pumpkins by the end of the night. 

 I made a plethora of things... 'Spider' Deviled Eggs, Nacho 'Pumpkin' Cheese Ball, 'Witches Broom' Hot Dogs, 'Spider' Shrimp Dip, my famous Macaroni and Cheese, Gma J's Chili, and 'Kitty Litter' Cake. I will post the recipes below but you will have to use your imagination because like I said I didn't take many pictures.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

 This week has been a stressful one. My grandfather was admitted to the hospital and being so far away from my entire family hit me hard. However, today he is to be released and hopefully soon he will start feeling better. All of this turned me into a constant crying, useless human being. Today I am feeling better. I think I got all of the tears out of my system. 

 Tomorrow is the annual Pumpkin Carving Party that we host. I have the menu ready and just need to go to the grocery store tonight, clean up the house, do some food prep, and decorate (okay that seems like a lot now that I type it... Maybe I should start stressing about my lack of preparation at this point!). Then we should be all set. I am excited to have an opportunity to have something take my mind off of all of this family stress. I will post about the party, all of the Halloween-y themed foods, and the carved pumpkins on Sunday. For now I will post about 3 more of my favorite things since I didn't get around to doing it yesterday. 

1. Loreal Go 360 Clean Deep Cream Cleanser. First of all the bottle and soap is pink so that automatically makes it a-okay in my book. But the cleanser pad that comes with it for scrubbing your skin really makes you feeling like your face is getting super clean. Plus, as far as I can tell it keeps your pores pretty well cleaned out and keeps any dried skin at bay. The smell could use a little improvement BUT it isn't as bad as anything Noxzema makes (yuck, that is enough to make me gag)! Another good thing is the price. It is only $4.99 at Target (that isn't the exact one but I am sure it is just as good). 

 2. Redken Body Full Shampoo and Light Conditioner So, the price is a little steep (over 15 bucks for an 10 fl. oz bottle of shampoo and an 8.5 fl oz bottle of conditioner. But the stuff is great. However, ONLY this specific kind works in my hair. Well, maybe not only but I tried one other kind (Redken Extreme) and it left my hair SUUUPER greasy. It was horrible- so that batch found it's way to my guest bathroom. I haven't had any guests yet to see if it is just an affect it has on me or if it is just a bad kind all together. It seems like all I am doing is bashing this product- so why is it on my favorite things list? Because the Body Full kind is Ah-Mazing. It gives my hair a little extra oomph and it leave it feeling clean with out feeling like it has all kind of residue left on it after I get out of the shower. It smells good (not great but not bad enough to turn me off from it). And, my hairstylist recommends it. My hair is soft and doesn't get any breakage. I have highlights put in my hair and this keeps that from damaging it. Also, it protects my hair from any heat damage from a curling iron or straighter. I like it. I might look into trying something new once these bottles are empty but I have been using it for over a year and it has been great. This stuff as far as I have found can only be purchased at a hair salon. 

3. Guess Penny Loafer platform heels. These are currently in my rotation of favorite shoes. They are SUPER high so if you don't normally wear heels this might pose as an issue for you. However, despite their height they are oober comfy. Guess knows what they are doing when making a shoe. They last a long time, fit well, and are comfy. I love that this particular pair is sort of old school but yet really hip and trendy right now. I know you will doubt me about the comfort once you see how high they are BUT I swear, they are suuper comfy. I have even worn them to the grocery store and they didn't give me an issue. The only issue I do have when wearing them is they are kind of hard to drive in because the heel kind of prevents you from pushing on the gas or break. Or I just have an irrational fear or my foot getting stuck and not being able to hit the break and causing me to drive over a cliff (Cray-cray). Well, because of this I never drive in them- I take a pair of flip flops to drive on and change into/out of them when I am getting in/out of the car. It works. They are cute. And, make your legs go on for miles and miles. Plus, they give you some serious muscle definition. Seeexxxaaaay. I bought this particular pair at TJMaxx probably about a year ago and I don't remember how much they were. But, they are super trendy so you can probably find similar pairs just about anywhere. 

Sorry for the poor quality photos I am clearly not a professional photographer!

 Have any products that trump these? Let me know! I currently have a roast in the oven. I will share the recipe tomorrow (assuming it turns out good). I am super excited to eat some homemade comfort food. That's all for now. Hope you have a great day! Until next time...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Salmon with Baby Artichokes

 Last night I got back into the cooking swing of things and made a delicious dinner! I am not a huge fan of salmon but I am trying to get us to eat healthier and eating fish seems like a necessary step in that process... I might not LOVE salmon but I LOVED this dinner- it was super tasty!

 Here is the recipe...

Salmon with Baby Artichokes

1/3 c. olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic
3 lemons
can of baby artichokes
1 onion
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 lb. salmon

 Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Once golden remove garlic from oil with slotted spoon. 
 Fill a medium sized pot with cold water, juice of 2 lemons, and 2 of the lemon halves. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pot. add 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 tbsp. of the garlic oil. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat and let simmer for 4 minutes. Drain and discard the lemon halves.
 Position oven racks so one is in the upper third of the oven and the other is at the lower. Preheat to 400 degrees. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and the onion. Pat the artichokes dry and add to a baking sheet with onion and lemon slices. Add 2 tbsp. of the garlic oil and toss until coated. Spread them out in a single layer and put on top rack in oven and let roast for about 35 minutes (stirring once or twice).
 Meanwhile, add salmon to pan with the remaining garlic oil. Season with fennel seed, red paper flakes, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides with soy sauce and flip so that both sides are seasoned and coated. Roast on lower oven rack for 15 to 20 minutes or until just cooked through. )Salmon should flake apart with a fork when cooked.)
 Top salmon with artichokes, lemons and pepper then serve. I made mashed potatoes as a side and it worked perfectly with the saltiness of the soy sauce. It was delicious.

 I got this recipe from my Food Network Magazine and slightly modified it (by adding soy sauce and using canned artichokes instead of fresh ones). Try it out and let me know how you like it!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too busy to blog

 Lately, I have been too busy to sit down at the computer for 5 minutes to check my email- let alone fuss with this blog. Which is pretty depressing but at the same time productive. Here are a few points just to catch you up... Nothing productive so don't feel the need to force yourself to read these ramblings...

 1. Broken Dishwasher- Our dishwasher is STILL broken. Which blows big chunks. It has lead to us eating out/eating fast food a lot which is taking a toll on the well being of my stomach. I don't know how people can stand eating fast food frequently. It makes me horribly ill. Bleh. This has also led to a $130 bill for the repair. The part that we need to have it fixed is only 40 bucks but the twerp company is charging us a whopping $75 dollars for labor. Screw that. He was at my house for seriously 5 minutes to figure out the problem. Highway ROBBERY. the most expensive 5 minutes of my life... Anyway, hopefully the part will be in this week and all will be right in the world again. As far as eating out- no more. I went to the grocery store yesterday and will start cooking homemade meals again tonight (Salmon with Artichokes is on the menu tonight- I'll blog the recipe after it is made- depending on if it is worthy.)

 2. I became and Aunt again for the 4th time on Sunday. It is such a wonderful experience to be an aunt. I am sad that we live so far away and haven't been able to meet the little guy yet. But, we will rectify that shortly. And, even though I haven't met the third little guy yet- I love him already. I look forward to having yet another member in this growing family and making memories with him. He has the greatest parents and will certainly have a life filled with love. They probably have one of the best relationships that I have ever witnessed so he can be inspired by their love and compatibility as he grows. Our family is blessed with 4 healthy, happy babies. (All under 3- better jump on the baby train while it is in the station!) :)

 3. I went and spend a few hours of 'me' time yesterday. I decided to spend it wedding dress shopping and JUST might have found the one. I didn't think to take any pictures for some odd reason- but it is AMAZING. I rescheduled an appointment the day after Christmas when my family will be here so I can go try it on for them. I am excited. Also- I am thrilled to announce that my weight loss attempts have paid off. I looked sooo much better in the wedding gowns and should be just about perfect after 5 more pounds. Hard work and sacrifice has paid off when it has come to this so I just need to find the motivation to keep on working out and getting the last 5 or so pounds off me. You'd think that would be motivation enough but so far it hasn't been. Anyone know of any good workouts for the rib/bust/upper back region? That is the area that is left that needs the most work. 

 Okay, well my dog is barking because she needs to go out- of course because I just painted my nails. Never fails! I promise to try to get better about blogging regularly. I have some pretty great sounding menus lined up for the next few days so assuming all goes well I will have some new recipes to post about. Enjoy your life!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things...

 I often find myself wondering what hidden great products that are out there that I am missing out on...I hardly have any items in my house that I am completely brand loyal on. However, I do have some favorite things. I thought that it might be a good idea to blog about three random favorite products of mine every week. Here we go!

1. Rock Star Jeans by Old Navy

 Recently, I bought a pair of Skinny Jeans from Old Navy and then went back two days later and bought 2 more pair- they are that great. Generally, some problems that I have in finding a great pair of jeans are that they stretch and become too big as the day goes on. By the end of the day my jeans have stretch so badly that I look like a bum wearing another, bigger persons pants. I HATE that. Another issue I have with jeans is that they sit too low on my waist and either give me a muffin top- or expose my butt crack anytime I sit down or bend over. I also HATE that. Then, there is the never ending short girl problem of jeans being waaay too long. These Rockstar Skinny Jeans from Old Navy are like the holy grail. They not only rectify all of my aforementioned issues but they are also OOBER comfy. Seriously, they are like wearing pajama pants. And, don't leave me with a case of "I can't wait to get home and take off these stupid jeans!". I own them in white, dark denim, and black and fully intend to buy them in other colors (mostly yellow and green) once this month of no frivolous spending is over... Is it November yet?!

 And, a few photos of the pair I am currently wearing. Also, this is the 2nd time I am wearing them since they were washed last week (gross, but you know you do it too!), and they still fit like a glove!

Ignore my fat. This is strictly to show how high up they sit on the waist. 
Perfect fit. Ignore the dog. She never is too far from me.

 2. Olay Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid

 This stuff is great. I use it at least twice a day on my face, neck, and hands. It keeps my skin super moist with out looking too oily. It is thin enough that it doesn't leave behind white residue but heavy enough to actually moisturize your skin. It smells fresh. and comes in 6.0 fl oz. bottles for under 10 dollars. I mean... Who doesn't love good quality moisturizer at that price! And, it's pink- so bonus points.

 3. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

 These things blow my mind. Using liquid bleach makes me super nervous for a number of reasons. 1. I am a clutz and it ruins my clothes 2. I am afraid my pets will get into it and die 3. It burns your hands and leaves them cracked and dry. But, let's face it- NOTHING out there leave you feeling things are clean like good-ole-fashioned bleach. Until... Enter... Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. I use them everywhere, to clean everything! Wood, glass, metal... EVERYTHING. They make cleaning super simple and don't give me a complex about any chemical residues left behind. They are AMAZEBALLS! If you haven't ever used them... I suggest you start.

If you haven't ever tried these products out- give them a try and let me know how they work for you... If you have products that you think top these three, fill me in! I'd love to hear about your favorite products.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A few looks

 I haven't been doing super well at posting pictures of my outfits. Mainly, because taking pictures of myself constantly makes me feel like a weirdo. But, here are a few looks that I have sported this week...

 On this particular day, I was just doing things around the house and we went to dinner that evening at BDubs. Or Buffalo Wild Wings for those of you who aren't cool enough to know about it being called 'BDubs'... Joking.

 Here is a copy of what I wore via polyvore...
 And, here is the run down of where I got everything...
 Sweater- The Limited via TJMaxx (similar here)
 Skirt- Target (similar here)
 Tights- Old Navy (similar here)
 Shoes- Target (similar here)

 Then last night we went to our neighbors last Jr High Football game ever. And, I wore this...
Certainly not the greatest picture ever.

 Here is a copy of what I wore via polyvore...
 And, here is a run down of where I got everything...
 Dress- Kohl's (last year)
 Tights- Old Navy (similar here)
 Boots- Sole Society (similar here)
 Accessories- all random and old... I think the belt was from Target and the watch was from Kohls but other than that I have no idea...

And, now I am off to clean my bedroom because I have been putting it off ALL week. Sorry, this is such a lame post- but hey every blog can't be GOLD! :) Have a great day!