Saturday, April 19, 2014

Simple Sunday: Spring is Springing!

I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to plants, so these may even be a weed for all I know. But what I do know, is Spring is in full bloom with these pretty purple petals.

Snacktastic Saturday: Garlic Parmesan Fries

I'll admit it, I love french fries. But the same ole' fries can be a bit boring for your palette. Which is why I like to mix it up every now & then with the Italian twist of these Garlic Parmesan fries. 

•cooked fries (I prefer homemade baked fries to help keep this recipe a bit closer to the healthy side.)
•melted butter or margarine
•fresh minced garlic &/or garlic powder
•Parmesan cheese

*Remember to use desired amounts.

- In a bowl large enough to hold the fries, gently mix all ingredients together.
- Allow to sit for 1-2 min. so that the flavors can fully soak in. 
- Adjust ingredients as needed (I usually add more garlic.)
- Season with salt & pepper. 
- Serve with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing, if desired. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fun Friday: Super Bubble Solution

My kids are relieved to finally be able to play outside now that nicer weather is here. And one of their favorite things to do outside is blow bubbles. Usually my oldest will stand on the back porch, blow as many as she can in what seems like 10 seconds, then run around with her younger brother & sister to pop them.

For years I made the simple bubble solution myself (it is just dish soap & water after all). But this year I decided to put a twist on it & make a Super Bubble solution! These bubbles tend to last a tad bit longer before they pop, which makes them twice as fun! 

•2C. warm water
•4Tbsp. dish soap
•2Tbsp. light corn syrup
•2tsp. white sugar

- Blend all ingredients in an airtight container that can double for storage.

*Due to the corn syrup & sugar, the solution is a bit sticky. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Think It Thursday: Choose to be Happy!

I came across this photo that I saved to my computer some time ago. After a quick search, I found that it was actually a free Spring printable download from Paper Coterie. 

Choose Happy. That right there puts happiness into perspective. You have a choice. Of course when all is going well in your world, the choice is easy. But for those who feel like one more blow could knock them down for good, it's a much more difficult decision to make. 

The best way to relate to a person choosing happiness, is to look at friends & family who have had to bout with a terminal disease. Sure, there are some who simply decide to just lie there & be as pessimistic as possible. But there are others who show you what life is all about. Despite their future, however bleak or bright it may be, they choose to live life to the fullest. They choose to be happy. They appreciate the simple things in life, like friendly smiles, hugs, chirping birds & even rainy sunny skies (after all, there's a rainbow or two that usually come afterwards). Their outlook & happiness is contagious. They don't dwell in the past, they simply live for today. 

But what about you? Do you live life like it's your last? Of course that doesn't mean you have to break out your bucket list, but if you wouldn't be around tomorrow, would you look back & be OK with it because you lived a lifetime of happiness? 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Work It Wednesday: Spring Fashion Pins

Spring has to be one of my favorite times of the year. Fresh air, green grass, warmer weather & a refreshed wardrobe! Now if only my closet actually held all the outfits I have pinned on Pinterest! (A girl can always dream though!)

Here's some of my favorites for Spring...

This outfit is perfect for early Spring in NE Ohio!
Pin this pin!
Shorts & sandals can be easily pulled off with a long sleeve button down. If that seems like a bit too much or less, layer it with a tank & large knit sweater.
Pin this pin!

Of course you can't have Spring without capris! Add a pair of heels & a flowing top to complete the look.
Pin this pin!

Spring has a tendency to still have chilly nights. A maxi dress & a denim jacket are cool enough to wear during the day, but just enough to warm you up at night.
Pin this pin!

The quintessential pin for those Spring Saturdays full of errands.
Pin this pin!

Bonfire anyone?
Pin this pin!

The perfect date night consists of heels, a jacket & a pop of color.
Pin this pin!

Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Peanut Chicken

I have done it again! I have managed to perfect yet another one of my favorite Asian dishes to make at home whenever my little heart desires. Which honestly, has been once a week, but that's OK with me. Even if I do make huge amounts & get to have leftovers for lunch for at least 2 days. So please overlook the fact that there's only 4 days out of the week that I don't indulge myself in spicy peanut deliciousness. 

•boneless skinless chicken breast halves, sliced thin
•olive oil
•salt & pepper
•instant white rice
•carrots, sliced diagonally
•green pepper, cut into large chunks
•1 med. red onion, cut into large chunks
•sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
•bamboo shoots
•sliced water chestnuts
•dry roasted peanuts
•1/2C. creamy peanut butter
•1/2C. soy sauce
•2Tbsp. white vinegar
•Tbsp. water
•1/3C. sugar
•1Tbsp. fish sauce
•1/4tp.-1Tbsp. Sriracha 

* I used a spicy peanut butter (The Heat Is On from Peanut Butter & Co.) & omitted the Sriracha.
** You can also add halved button mushrooms, beansprouts & baby corn to the vegetable mixture.
*** Remember to use desired amounts.

- Season both sides of your sliced chicken breast halves with salt & pepper. Saute in olive oil, until lightly browned & cooked through. Set aside. 
- Cook the instant white rice according to package instructions. Set aside. 
- In a large nonstick skillet, go a couple turns of the pan with olive oil. Saute the veggies until crisp-tender (about 5-8 min.) & set aside. 
- In a small saucepan, combine peanut bitter, soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar, fish sauce & desired amount of Sriracha (if using). Bring to a boil, lower heat & simmer for 5 min. Set aside to cool & thicken slightly.
- While waiting for the sauce to cool, dice up the cooked chicken.
- To serve, top a bed of rice with desired amount of vegetables & chicken. Drizzle the sauce over top & finish with a small handful of dry roasted peanuts.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hamadi Organics: Long Hair, Don't Care!

**Disclaimer: I have received products to try from Hamadi Organics & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review.

I am notorious for growing my hair out super long, only to get a barely past the shoulders cut. I really do love my long locks, but there's usually a point where I just want it gone (also known as the small of my back). By then it will not cooperate at all and looks limp & lifeless. Which is why I'm shocked that my hair is well past that point & looks amazing!

Hamadi Organics is the creation of Jamal Hammadi, one of Hollywood's most sought after stylists. Using essential oils of the highest quality, your tresses are left luxuriously nourished. And everything is moisture based, so they work with your hair's natural oils, not against it.

"Tested on Actresses, Never Animals."

Shea Leave-In
This has to be my favorite product...ever! I run a dollop through my hair after the shower & it acts as a leave-in conditioner (which has helped me tremendously). But the best part is how it helps bring out my natural waves as it dries while combating frizz & static. 

Check out that sleek shine! (View this on Instagram.)

So what's my go to style with the Shea Leave-In? A sleek ponytail of course! It also tames the flyaways when I leave my hair down (which is on rare occasion). And I have to give this major bonus points for adding shine without weighing my hair down!

Shea Spray
I have to say that this Shea Spray is like the cherry on top! not only does it give my hair a bit of extra shine, but it helps to keep frizz at bay. And let me tell you, there is nothing worse than long frizzy & wavy locks (I'm actually shuddering at the thought). 

And then there's the fact that Shea Spray also contains fortifying kelp & smoothing avocado, that really helps to give your hair that healthy look from less breakage. Basically this all translates into me loving my hair swept into a ponytail again. Something I never do when it's this length.

Shea Hair Cream
The Shea Hair Cream is cool like James Franco! Really, it is. If for no other reason, than he actually uses it. (Yes, I do adore James Franco in case it wasn't a tad bit obvious.) 

Jamal Hammadi & James Franco
(Photo credit: Hamadi Organics)

But, back to the Shea hair Cream itself, this stuff is amazing! I have replaced my usual gel & mousse with this alone. It helps to add texture to my hair when I style it, but only where I want the added texture. Which means that I have been taking more time trying out different styles that I never thought I could pull off. of course some I still can't quite pull off, but the ones I can look great!

 I'm already so in love with all of these products, but I can almost guarantee a full blown obsession when warmer weather comes. You see, Shea Butter contains a naturally occurring sunscreen which helps protect your hair from sun damage (broken or split ends, faded color, dry brittle hair, frizz, weakened & thinning hair). And with as much as my family is outdoors...well, my hair will thank me!

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