Friday, October 31, 2014

Fun Friday: DIY Zombie Costume

What happens when your kids get sick & you neglect to buy Halloween costumes? You make your own of course! But with less than two hours until trick-or-treat, your options are a bit limited (I don't care how many "quick & easy" costumes you saw on Pinterest). So you make due with what you've got.


Of course some white face paint, smeared eyeliner, fake liquid blood & crazy teased hair will complete the look. But if you don't have it, you can still rock it like you just stepped into the zombie apocalypse.

What You'll Need

•old clothes
•permanent marker
•scissors
•lighter

How To

•Start by having whoever is going to be the zombie, put the old clothes on. 
•Next, take the permanent marker & make quick marks where you plan on cutting. Doing this will help make sure that you don't end up leaving the zombie too exposed before going on a cutting spree.
•Have the zombie take off the old clothes & then start cutting on top of the permanent marker. 
•For a more zombie-like vibe, tear the cuts to distress the fabric a bit more. If you have a cotton shirt, you can take a lighter to it for a few seconds before extinguishing the singed parts by patting on them. (See below.) Be sure you do this step by a sink, just in case patting doesn't work & you need to submerge the clothing in water. 


Just don't forget the zombie walk!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Think It Thursday: Why I Love Halloween


In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love Halloween! It is by far my absolute favorite time of year. 

Here's why...

•Pumpkins - Not only can you eat anything & everything pumpkin flavored, but you can carve them, paint them & glitter them. 

•Scary movies - OK, so I may not be able to watch them as much as I want, but I still do get a few good ones in every year. Tonight after the kids go to bed, The Shining! 

•Decorations - There's just something about witches, goblins & vampires that makes me go all giddy. 

•Festive food - I'm talking meatloaf hands, brain cupcakes, spaghetti intestines & worms! 

•Trick or Treat - Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat! I absolutely love taking my kids through the neighborhood to go trick or treating. And I may volunteer to do it for my youngest when she gets too tired to do it herself. 

•Dressing Up - OK, so I may not dress up anymore, but I love getting my kids all ready. Not to mention checking out everyone else's costumes. 

What do you love about Halloween?


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Work It Wednesday: NeoCell Biotin Bursts & a Giveaway!

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


You may remember a couple months ago when I had the pleasure of trying Beauty Bursts from NeoCell. (If you don't, you can read all about it here.) I was really impressed by how well they worked, but they didn't work very well on my nails. But that honestly didn't bother me because I'm rough on my nails as it is & we were working on some minor projects at home as well as major renovations at my in-laws. My nails never stood a chance. 


So of course when I had the chance to try Biotin Bursts from NeoCell, I was excited to say the least. Especially since biotin had been mentioned more than a few times by my friends lately. They've been raving about their hair, skin & nails, but I have to say, that Biotin Bursts are definitely tastier than any pill to swallow. It's almost like eating a Starburst every day thanks to the tasty Acai Berry flavor! 

Biotin is an important B vitamin, scientifically formulated to support the metabolism of proteins in the body which promote natural energy, luxurious hair, resilient nails & vibrant skin. 


I have to say that although I didn't notice much of a difference between using the Biotin Bursts compared to the Beauty Bursts, there was one noticeable difference. My nails. Of course I'm still rough on them as it is, but our minor projects have gotten pretty major lately, which means that my nails have been taking the brunt of the battle. BUT, and this may sound very strange, they seem to be breaking off more cleanly. You know, the kind of breaks that you don't need to stop everything to go file down your new dagger-like talon. Actually, most of the time I end up forgetting to file them. And then there's the part where they've been growing back much faster. (Only to break again, but at least I'm not left with nothing.)


Boasting 10,000MCG of biotin per chew, you only need to take one Biotin Burst a day. Of course if you are nursing, pregnant or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using. Biotin Bursts are gluten free & contain no soy, lactose, palm oil, yeast or artificial flavors. 

Want to discover beauty from the inside out?


One lucky winner will receive Biotin Bursts from NeoCell.

The giveaway will conclude on at 12:00 a.m. est on Thursday 12/4/14. Winners will be announced via rafflecopter & in a separate blog post which will be published no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday 12/5/14. Winners will also be notified via email & announced on the Smith and Blessings facebook page. Winners will have 48 hours to submit shipping information, which will then be passed on to NeoCell for distribution of product. If 48 hours has lapsed, a new winner will be picked & then will also have 48 hours to submit their information. Smith and Blessings is not responsible for prize shipment.
 *Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.
 


 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
NeoCell has been developing and manufacturing all natural, premium anti-aging formulas for over 20 years and is the leading Collagen brand in the world. Our products are naturally based, not synthetic, and are designed to promote youthful health, beauty and total body wellness. We manufacture our own products using carefully sourced food-grade raw materials and our facility exceeds all GMP standards.We strive to continuously bring the best to our customers– products that we and our own families are proud to use, made with Nutrients You Can Trust®. 


Keep up with the latest from NeoCell on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & LinkedIn 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: French Onion Soup

This time of year, I love to eat soup. Especially for lunch. But of course, I'm a total soup snob & will only eat a handful of soups from a can. The rest of them better be homemade. Which leads me to my favorite French Onion Soup that I can whip up on about 15 minutes or less! 


*Please use desired amounts, depending on your tastes & how much soup you intend to make. 

Ingredients:

• onions, peeled & sliced
• olive oil
• water
• beef bouillon
• dried thyme
• salt & pepper
• shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:

• Saute the sliced onions in olive oil, over medium heat, until they just begin to brown. 
• Add desired amount of water & beef bouillon, bring to a boil. 
• Reduce heat, add dried thyme, salt & pepper.
• Simmer for 5 min. 
• Allow to cool slightly before placing in a bowl & topping with shredded Parmesan, if desired. 

If you like your French Onion Soup "cafe style", place croutons in the bottom of an ovenproof bowl, top with soup & then a variety of cheeses such as mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone & Swiss. Broil until the cheeses are slightly browned & bubbly. 

Enjoy! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Musical Monday: Growing Sound

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

October may be Bullying Prevention Month, but really it's something that should have the spotlight all year long. More & more these days, children are being bullied by their peers for the simplest of things. It really makes you wonder how children can be so cruel.


Growing Sound creates award winning music CD's & other resource materials based on the latest research in social-emotional development. They strive to teach kids life skills to prepare children for school & life in general, through fun & interactive songs. Better yet, Growing Sound also works with teachers by conducting training to help implement the positive music into the classroom. After all, it's the impressionable children who pick up on bullying practices, whether it be from their peers or the adults in their lives. 

I received a CD Sampler which boasts fifteen different songs, one from each Growing Sound album. These albums cover a variety of topics, such as confidence, self-control, belonging, mindfulness & creativity, To say that my kids enjoyed this, is a vast understatement. They love any excuse to dance around & sing, but it was amazing to see just how inspired they became. Like after they listened to "A Pink Polka Dotted Tiger" a million times from the album, Imagination Creativity (songs of creativity).

I also received two download cards for the full CD's of "Take Care" & "Everyone Is Someone" by David Kisor, which are specifically dedicated to bully prevention. David Kisor is an accomplished singer, songwriter, composer, performer & teacher. Not to mention the Creative Director for Growing Sound. And all of the songs on both CD's are performed by him & several friends.

"Take Care"

These songs of friendship & social awareness are present in a variety of musical styles & help children develop acceptance, friendship & teamwork. All positive things that can reduce the likelihood of bullying in later stages of childhood. 

"Everyone Is Someone"

These songs of social & emotional responsibility are presented in a contemporary, pop/rock musical style  & are actually more helpful to parents & teachers. They help the development of acceptance, friendship, teamwork, empathy & responsibility both at home & in the classroom. Again, all positive things that can reduce the likelihood of bullying in later stages of childhood. 

I have to say that aside from the silly dancing & singing, the songs on these downloaded CD's are amazing. Especially when my son would tell a story about his classmates, but reference one of the songs & tell me what they should've done instead. (proud mama moment right there!)

Growing Sound (a 501 non-profit) products are also available on iTunes, CD Baby & through assorted retailers. 

To schedule or find out more about a Growing Sound Training/Workshop, email growingsound@childreninc.org. 


Keep up with the latest from Growing Sound on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Pinterest.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Simple Sunday: Spooky Read


I read this book every year! Someday, I'll make it to some of the places mentioned in it. 

Have you ever been ghost hunting? 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Snacktastic Saturday: Harvest Roasted Pears

I'm all for scouring Pinterest for new recipes to feed my family, especially when the seasons change. So a couple of weeks ago, I kept seeing the same salad come up, a Harvest Cobb Salad. Now normally I'm not one to top my salads with fruit, but the bacon & goat cheese on it were calling to me. So, much to the hubs dismay, i made it for dinner one night. It was amazing! But one by one, after having it for lunch the next two days as well (of course), I started running out of ingredients. But that was OK, because that's when I got the genius idea for these Harvest Roasted Pears. 


 •pears, cut in half with stem & core removed
•butter
•goat cheese
•pecan pieces
•dried cranberries

- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Melt butter in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook pear halves in butter for about 5 min., flipping halfway through.
- When done, remove pears from skillet & place in a baking dish.
- Top pears with goat cheese, pecan pieces & dried cranberries. 
- Place in oven & bake just until goat cheese becomes softened. 

Enjoy! 
 

Fun Friday: Cardstock Bats

When it comes to decorating for Halloween, I find myself giving each room it's own theme. Dracula always ends up in my bathroom, witches congregate in my kitchen, ghosts mingle in the living room & well, you get the point. But I've always wanted to find something to tie them all together. 


These Cardstock Bats are now flying all over my house! 

How To:
 
•Take a piece of black cardstock (mine was 12x12in.) & fold it in half diagonally (doing this will give you a bigger wingspan).
•With a pencil, draw out half of your bat shape. I did mine freehand, but you can always Google a template to use. 
•Cut out your bat & lay it out flat. 
•On the back fold, apply three bits of folded tape & adhere it to the wall. 
•For a three dimensional look, carefully fold the wings outward. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Protein Milkshake Bar

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


We've all been there before. You're trying so hard to eat healthy, but you would kill for a cupcake or some Rocky Road ice cream! You may make it through the day, but that doesn't mean that you don't cave into temptation the next day & catch yourself eating every sweet treat in sight. Which basically puts you right back where you started. It's a vicious cycle. But it doesn't have to be. 

Protein Milkshake Bar as made for woman, by women, who understand that cravings can't be ignored forever. 


I got to try a sample of their Premium Blend Whey Protein Powder in Cupcake Batter. Yes, cupcake batter! And I have to tell you, it was amazing!!! (And definitely tasted like cupcake batter.)

Whey protein is essentially a type of milk protein. The whey itself is extracted from cow's milk during the cheese making process, which is a more natural process (unlike soy protein which uses a chemical process), therefore making it easier for your body to absorb & reap the benefits faster. 

Some Benefits of Whey Protein

•Fight hunger & cravings by making you feel full (for up to 3 hours).
•Aids in building muscle while promoting fat loss.
•Strengthens the immune system.

My first reaction after drinking my Cupcake Batter protein drink (which mixes easily with just a spoon by the way), was that I just indulged myself way too much! Even though I knew the benefits of whey protein, my mind instantly went into the "I'll be doing extra reps for that one" way of thinking. I didn't, but I totally killed my workout & felt great all day long! I even found it easier to skip over the sweets & treats throughout the day. 

But aside from the delicious flavors like Strawberry Shortcake, Cream Puff, Ice Cream Sandwich & Rocky Road (to name a few), the best part is the 100% Taste Satisfaction Guarantee. Of course with Protein Milkshake Bar's cold processed micro batches (no more tan 50 packages of each flavor are made at a time), you always get the freshest & tastiest product!


Keep up with the latest from Protein Milkshake Bar on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & Google+.

Protein Milkshake Bar is also available on Amazon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Think It Thursday: Fun Fall Activities for Kids

Fall is such a wonderful time of year! (And I'm not just saying that because it's my favorite season.) But what most people fail to realize, is there are a ton of fun activities to do this time of year. especially if you're a kid!


 •Oh sure, the weather is cold & yucky so you're stuck indoors, but with the help of Pinterest, you can find a ton of crafts for your kiddos to make. (And if you're like me, some for mom too.) But there are quite a few days during fall where the weather is perfect for outdoor adventures. Especially for those with asthma. 

•Sure most pumpkin patches close down to visitors after Halloween, but most apple orchards are still open. And there's just something awesome about finding that perfect juicy apple (or perfect pumpkin).

•if you do happen to come across a pumpkin patch that is still open after Halloween, find out if they're still offering trips through the corn maze or hay rides. 

•Some days are perfect weather for a fall hike, which is one of my favorite activities. Especially if you live in a region where the leaves change colors. The views can be breathtaking! 

•Speaking of the colorful leaves, collecting them for a bevy of crafts is always fun. (I even still do it!) And let's not forget how much fun it is to play in them too. 

•don't forget that it's football season too! Whether you go to a game, watch one on TV, or just play in the backyard, it's a great way to stay active. Tailgating is always my favorite part though! 

•Sometimes fall evenings are the perfect weather for a bonfire. But you can't have a bonfire without S'mores! My kids love to call their neighborhood friends over & have a mini S'mores party of sorts. 

•But when it's just too cold & there's nothing to do, the kitchen is the place to be. Fall is the time for comfort foods & to get a head start on all of those holiday cookies. So why not give the kids their own cooking lessons too? You'll be glad you did later. 

What do your kids like to do in the fall?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Work It Wednesday: ENJOY Hair Care & a Giveaway!

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


Have you ever noticed how amazing your hair always looks after you leave the salon? It doesn't matter if you just get a trim or the full cut & color, there's always that special manageability to it. Of course your stylist has magical powers that literally breathe new life into your hair (*wink wink*). But the products they use play an important role too. 

I love the star design the bottles make sitting next to each other.

I had the pleasure to try the Luxury Shampoo & Conditioner from ENJOY Hair Care, which is sold only at salons nationwide (check here for a salon near you). The Luxury line is sulfate free, meaning that it lacks the inexpensive chemical that provides extra cleaning power & bubbly lather. But don't let that fool you, the shampoo alone has a rich lather & really gives your hair a deep down clean all the way to the hair follicles. 


Luxury Shampoo

Even from the first time I used this creamy shampoo, I could tell a difference. I did have to get used to not needing as much as other shampoos or else I would end up with a crazy amount of lather. But my hair never felt weighed down, if that makes any sense. But the best part was how clean & moisturized my hair felt - like I just had it washed in the hair bowl at the salon.


Luxury Conditioner

This has to be my favorite conditioner I've ever used. It is a bit thicker as far as the consistency goes, so it took me a bit to figure out how much to apply & where to, on my long locks. But I quickly figured it out & the end result was amazing. My long locks didn't need an extra detangler and were soft & shiny. Not to mention my bad hair days became few & far between. Well, at least the ones where I actually decided to style my hair. 


And as an added bonus, the Luxury Shampoo can double as a great body wash if need be, and the Luxury Conditioner makes an excellent shaving cream. Because we all have those moments when we run out of them in the shower. (And the Luxury line is much nicer than reaching for your hubs body wash or shaving cream.)

Want a little luxury of your own?
  

One lucky winner will receive the Luxury Shampoo & Luxury Conditioner from ENJOY Hair Care.
 
The giveaway will conclude on at 12:00 a.m. est on Thursday 11/13/14. Winners will be announced via rafflecopter & in a separate blog post which will be published no later than 3:00 p.m. on Thursday 11/13/14. Winners will also be notified via email & announced on the Smith and Blessings facebook page. Winners will have 48 hours to submit information, which will then be passed on to ENJOY Hair Care for distribution of product. If 48 hours has lapsed, a new winner will be picked & then will also have 48 hours to submit their information. Smith and Blessings is not responsible for prize shipment.
 *Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway





Keep up with the latest form ENJOY Hair Care on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & YouTube. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Totchos

We're a Nachos-loving household over here. Mostly because they're so customizable, that even my picky eater loves them. But recently, I decided to switch our traditional Nachos night up. The result...Totchos! That were totally amazing, by the way. 


There's really no recipe for Totchos, simply replace the tortilla chips with tater tots (already cooked of course), and top them as desired. 

As an added bonus, and just because of the tater tots, I also topped my Totchos with bacon & a cheddar cheese sauce (instead of shredded cheddar or queso).

What would you top your Totchos with?

The Girl in Black Pajamas & a Giveaway!


R&B Investigations is under attack. Their employee is shot in the back as he enters the building, and a hacker is trying to compromise their secure network. While the Boston police investigate the shooting, Bogie McGruder needs to find the culprit who is trying to put them out of business.

Bogie and his partner Rose Jones can’t disclose their internet problems to the cops since Bogie is a hacker himself.

Bogie McGruder returns to Boston with his four- year-old daughter Isabella. He joins up with Rose Jones’ uncle Walter who is fresh for Lompoc Prison. Bogie and Walter strengthen their firewalls while they try to determine who is behind the invasion. As the R&B team hones in on the culprit, they uncover several murders and discover a plot to wipe out the financial institutions in Boston.

While Bogie is in Boston, his extended family in Palm Beach becomes enmeshed in a sex scandal that threatens to ruin lives and careers in the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

Feeling like a wishbone about to snap, Bogie tries to handle problems in both cities while Isabella continues her quest for someone to teach her the Five-Point-Palm-Exploding-Heart technique as seen in Kill Bill Volume 2.

This tale of murder, revenge and greed takes the reader on a whirlwind trip from Boston to Palm Beach and back. Buckle your seatbelt!

Buy the Book from

Also available
The Girl in White Pajamas
When Officer Bud the PR face of the Boston Police Department is gunned down, his brother, Bogie McGruder, returns from Palm Beach for the funeral. Since the BPD is investigating the death of one of their own, Bogie believes his trip to Boston will be a short condolence visit and a chance to meet his secret love child.

But interacting with a family fueled by alcohol and mired in scandals, Bogie is reminded why he does investigations for his Boston based company from a computer in Florida. Although Bogie wants to contact his ex-lover, Bailey Hampfield, he’s reluctant to do so since Bailey dumped him four years earlier. Knowing that Bailey had his child after she cut him loose, Bogie ponders how he can establish a relationship with the three year old daughter he’s never met. While he thinks about it, Bailey gets in touch with him and asks for protection. Someone is trying to kill her.

By the time Bogie meets Isabella, it’s apparent that he still loves the mother and adores the child. Bogie tells himself that he’s not interested in the BPD investigation into Bud’s death, but he continues to be drawn into it while trying to discover who is attempting to kill Bailey. The investigations seem to parallel each other, then intersect and become intertwined. As the story develops, Isabella, a precocious child obsessed with martial arts, slowly becomes the focus.

The underlying theme of this mystery is lies. Everyone seems to be running on lies and half truths. The only pure and true character is The Girl in White Pajamas.


Buy the Book from

About the Author
Chris Birdy was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, she did a four year stint in the Middle East. When she returned to the States, Chris settled down in the Boston area and became a true Bostonian by collecting college degrees while raising a family.

For more than twenty years, Chris has been a member of the legal community performing investigative work for Boston law firms conducting business in rough housing projects and crack house neighborhoods.  Several years ago, while sitting in a courtroom with a client, Chris watched as a police officer was lambasted by an attorney. The attorney was defending a young woman who crashed her car into two other vehicles before she passed out drunk behind the wheel. The occupants of the other cars were seriously hurt and the cop, a former EMT, tried to assist the injured while waiting for ambulances to arrive. The attorney questioned the cop's every move, shredded his testimony and made him seem inept. Embarrassed, the cop returned to his seat beside me and muttered, "Everybody lies. The judges lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie.."  Chris wanted to tell him not to worry that in about five years he'd be just as good a liar as they were. The seeds for The Girl in White Pajamas were planted in that courtroom.

Chris lives outside of Boston and in Palm Beach, Florida with her husband.


Follow the author....
Website    Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads 


Follow the book tour


My Review
I knew before I even started reading the second book in The Pajama Series that it was going to be good. What I didn't know, was that author Chris Birdy, was going to take me for an even wilder ride this time around!

The Girl in Black Pajamas comes back with all the key players - Bogie, Bailey, Amanda, Randy, Rose & of course, Isabella. But of course there's a bevy of new characters along with a few who were mentioned in the first book of the series, that really amp up the intensity of scandal in this "not so classic" whodunit.

I loved how this book had two main plots, full of twists & turns, that came together at the very end. The only thing that I didn't count on was having to get up & grab a tissue on more than one occasion (two, to be exact). No doubt the next in the series will be even better (as if that even seems possible).


I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY

1 Lucky Winners will win $25 Amazon GC or Paypal Cash 
(winners choice)
Ending on Sunday 26th October at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide 

Enter Below and Good Luck !!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Snacktastic Saturday: Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Hi. My name is Melissa & I'm addicted to apples. Actually, they've always been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. But for some reason, I've never been a huge fan of apple chips. Until I started making my own Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips that is. (I have seriously been missing out!)
All you need are some apples & some cinnamon sugar, along with a little bit of patience. 
•Start by thinly slicing the apples. If you happen to slice a seed, you can simply poke them out with the tip of your knife. 
•Thoroughly coat the apple slices in cinnamon sugar (this is best to do in a small bowl), before placing on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
•Bake at 200º for 1-2 hours, depending on the thickness of your apples. 
•Allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. 
These will last up to three days if you don't happen to eat them all before then. I know my batches usually last less than three hours! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun Friday: Fancy Glittered Pumpkins

We always decorate pumpkins at our house. But this year, I wanted to decorate my pumpkin a bit more grown-up-like. So I busted out the Elmer's glue & glitter! I know what you're thinking, but trust me, this Fancy Glittered Pumpkin definitely looks grown-up (not to mention it took a few grown-up skills).


I opted to keep this one pretty simple since I wasn't sure how it would turn out. (The next one, I'm painting the pumpkin & the stem beforehand.) But I've got to admit that it doesn't look too shabby. Shabby chic, maybe, but shabby, no. 

What You'll Need

•pumpkin (make sure it's clean)
•Sharpie marker (or any other permanent marker)
•Elmer's glue
•clean paint brush
•glitter
•newspaper or other surface to work on
•small cup of water
•paper towels or old rag

How To

•Start by setting up your work area so that everything you need is in arm's reach (once you get started with the glue, you'll have to work quickly).
•With the Sharpie marker, draw your design on the pumpkin. 
•Working one small section at a time, carefully trace over the marker with the glue. If the glue gets too out of hand, carefully clean it up with the paintbrush as best as you can before covering it in glitter. 
•Occasionally go back to check for running glue & clean it up, sprinkling more glitter if needed. 
•When all sections have been glittered & the glue no longer has a risk of running, take the pumpkin outside to blow off the excess glitter. 
•Allow the glue to thoroughly dry. 

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Think It Thursday: Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures. We all have them. For those of you who think you don't , is there anything that you can't help but indulge in but feel that little pang of guilt afterwards? Yea, I thought so. So while we're all being open here, I think it's sharing time. Don't worry, I'll go first. 

Background image credit: Wonderful Engineering

The Twilight Saga - I just can't help myself on this one. There's action romance & a bit of drama. (Team Edward, by the way.)

Cheeseburgers - My aunt took me to a bar that served food when I was younger (it was attached to the hardware store by my grandparent's house). She ordered us "smooshie" burgers that had all the fixin's. You had to literally smoosh them to be able to eat them. And that's just how I like my cheeseburgers to this day! With bacon, of course!

US Weekly - Yes, I need my weekly magazine on everything Hollywood. OK, and their website too. 

Ice Cream! - I haven't met a flavor that I didn't love. But my all time faves? Rocky Road (with marshmallow creme, not mini marshmallows), Chocolate Covered Pretzel, Red Velvet Cake & Blueberry Cheesecake. 

Keeping Up with the Kardashians - I'm not sure why I like the Kardashian clan (considering my hubs tells me I lose a brain cell every minute I watch their show), but I do. Maybe it's their style, the antics of Lord Disick, Kimye or the ever changing Bruce Jenner.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Giveaway Winner!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Our winner has been chosen, congrats to Lollie S.!   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Work It Wednesday: Rosebud Perfume Co.

**Disclaimer: I have received products to try from Rosebud Perfume Co. & am simply sharing my personal opinion which may vary from yours. I was not compensated for this review. 
  
I don't know about you, but I'm a huge sucker for lip balms. And Rosebud Perfume Co. has some of the best lip balms that I've ever had the pleasure of trying! 

It all started with "Balsam of Rosebuds" (later changed to Rosebud Salve), a family salve created by Dr. Smith, that could be used for various minor skin irritations. Dr. Smith's Rosebud Salve quickly gained local popularity & within a few years, he had one of the most unique mail order businesses in the United States. And while you can now pick up some Rosebud Salve (along with my favorite lip balms) at your local Sephora, you still get that same great product of yesteryear. 


Smith's Rosebud Salve Tube

I have to say that this is amazing as a lip balm. It leaves my lips silky smooth & has superb moisturizing capabilities. But since it is a salve too, I decided to try it out a couple of other ways also. My favorite is as a spot treatment for dry & rough skin (like my elbows). And Smith's Rosebud Salve makes an amazing base for eyeshadow.


Smith's Strawberry Lip Balm Tube

I've tried a lot of different strawberry lip balms over the years & most taste nothing like strawberry (or even close to it for that matter). But I'm glad to say that this one does. Actually, it reminds me more of Strawberry Shortcake, without all the calories. 
Smith's Mocha (Moka) Rose Lip Balm Tube

if this came freshly brewed in a cup, I would be one happy girl! The mocha vanilla taste is a bit more on the chocolatey side & honestly reminds me of one of my favorite specialty coffee drinks. Now I can treat myself all day & keep my lips moisturized! 
Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm Tube

This is by far my favorite! The pepperminty zing gives my lips a plumpness that I love (all thanks to the pure peppermint oil). But as an added bonus for me, a dab on my temples helps tremendously with my occasional headaches. Making this a necessity in my purse! 
•All products are gluten free & cruelty free. 
 •Rosebud Salve & Minted Rose Lip Balm are vegan friendly. 
•Strawberry Lip Balm & Mocha Rose Lip Balm contain natural beeswax.
•Lip balms are heat sensitive & Petrolatum based. 
 Keep up with the latest from Rosebud Perfume Co. on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Arribbiata Sauce

Have you ever attempted to make something in the kitchen but failed miserably (mostly because you only casually glanced at the recipe)? Well, have you ever had the "failure" turn out to be totally amazing?! That's how this Homemade Arribbiata Sauce came about when I attempted to make my own marinara for the first time. 


Let me say that I ended up making a ton of sauce. Which was quite alright, because I portioned it out into freezer containers. But then again, I mentioned how totally amazing this turned out so they really didn't last very long. Especially when you serve it over angel hair pasta (that I'm normally not a fan of), with some fresh baked French bread. Holy yum! 

So here's my round about way of a recipe...

Please remember to use desired amounts & add or omit any ingredients you'd like, although I highly don't suggest doing so. 

  


print recipe

Homemade Arribbiata Sauce
A little bit of sweet, with a whole lot of heat.
Ingredients
  • whole tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 C. water, if desired
  • cayenne pepper
  • white sugar
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
In a large pot, combine whole tomatoes (I used fresh but you can use canned if you'd like, just cut back on your simmer time), fresh basil, garlic cloves, olive oil & water if desired (although not necessary).Allow to simmer, covered, for one hour. Remove the pot from the heat & allow to cool slightly.Working in batches, use a food processor or a blender to puree the tomato mixture into a sauce, adding the cayenne pepper during the last batch. Transfer sauce back into the large pot & bring to a low boil. Add sugar, garlic powder, salt & pepper (and even more cayenne pepper if desired) to give yourself a slightly sweet but spicy Arribbiata Sauce.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Messy Monday: How To Get Crayon Out Of Your Laundry

The moment all mothers dread. You pull a full load of laundry out of the dryer & realize there was a crayon in the load. This happened to me not that long ago, but to harden the blow, about half the load was new school clothes. You know, worn once. I was in a state of shock. I wanted to cry, scream & drink a bottle of wine all at the same time. 


This is a photo of my dryer. I didn't even think to take one of the clothes that were inside it, but you can imagine just how awful it was. But the good news, is that I got it out. Almost all of it too! The only thing I wasn't able to remove the crayon from, was a house sweater (you know, that hideous sweater you wouldn't be caught dead in outside of your house but it's so warm & comfy that you just can't get rid of it), most likely because of the material it was made from. 

Now I know you're dying to find out how on earth I managed to not only get the crayon out of my laundry, but out of the dryer too! 

For the Clothing

•Start by spraying the areas of clothing that have crayon on them with a pre-treater & then let them sit for 15-20 min. 
•After spraying your clothing, start filling your washer with HOT water (the hottest possible water setting that could possibly be recommended for the clothing).
•While the washer is filling, add your laundry detergent (a tad extra than you usually use) & LA's Totally Awesome (found in most dollar stores & is extremely effective). If you need some extra assurance, you can add some Borax & Super Washing Soda as well.
•After the pre-treater has set in, place the clothing in the washer & begin the cycle just enough to make sure everything is thoroughly soaked. 
•Stop the washer & allow the load to soak for 1-2 hours.
•Finish the cycle & begin another one with just laundry detergent (or more LA's Totally Awesome if you can still see some crayon).
•Be sure to check the clothing before tossing it in the dryer again. 

For the Dryer

•In a large bowl, combine warm water with some Borax, Super Washing Soda, vinegar, LA's Totally Awesome & lots of salt. 
•Grab rubber gloves & a sponge with a scrubber side. 
•I never thought I was going to get the crayon out of the shiny smooth surface of my dryer, but the trick is to make it an abrasive scrub (hence all the salt). So just be sure you scoop up a bit onto your sponge to scrub with. 
•It's going to be messy & you're going to need a lot of elbow grease on top of being able to twist & turn inside your dryer (just as an FYI). Have some large bath towels handy to try to keep the watery mess inside to a minimum while you're scrubbing.
•When you think you've gotten all of it, grab an extra towel or two (in addition to the ones you were using), wet them & toss them into the dryer before turning it on. This will help clean up any of the scrub that was left behind. 
•If need be, give it another light scrub, a wipe &/or another dry cycle.