Time for Scarves!

It is now time to break out my scarves for the fall and winter! I love scarves. They are the best functional accessory and pretty much go with everything. I love all different colors and styles! Although my favorite has got to be infinity scarves, because they’re so simple to wear.

20131102-175758.jpg

Today I brought them all out of their box in my closet and found a new way to store them. I saw the idea online somewhere and it was really easy to do. Just pull the scarf into a loop around the hanger, and you can fit three to four on each one!

20131102-175858.jpg

Gig ‘Em Aggies!

This past weekend, I went to my very first Texas A&M football game!

A&M is a school packed full of tradition and school spirit. I didn’t go to a university with football so I particularly enjoyed all of the excitement. I even bought a shirt to wear to the game, a steal from H.E.B. for only $10!

image

I was amazed that every single person in the student section knew when to chant and cheer at the same exact moment. I felt a bit like I was invading an exclusive club or really big fraternity, but it was so amazing! I am a very enthusiastic sporting event cheer-er and love live sports, especially football. My voice even felt like it was starting to get a bit hoarse toward the end of the game, because I was just so pumped to be there! Aggies won 65 to 28!

image

Since it was an evening game, we began tailgating at about 11am while watching the very sad Florida game (Go Gators!). We were walking everywhere, so I enjoyed some spiked blueberry lemonades. They were very refreshing in the sticky, humid Texas heat. It started raining as we went into the game, but it was a light rain and was a little refreshing. I could feel fall in the air, a cool breeze not too far off. I will soon experience my first autumn in Texas! I had a really great time in College Station, ending it with some delicious chicken fried chicken, and can’t wait to go back to cheer on the Aggies again!

Kale Chips

Everyone is crazy about kale. I’ve seen it baked, sauteed, fried, juiced, and made into cocktails. I myself like spinach and was very hesitant to try kale, hearing that it was a tad more bitter and greener. But I heard about the magic of kale chips, and decided I had to try it out! This experiment happened a few months ago actually, but I took pictures with the intent to eventually blog about. Clearly I’m on top of things. Here’s how it went.

kale

This is kale, go out and buy you some kale.

Pull kale off the stalks, and discard them. I used kitchen scissors to cut it off. Wash and dry the kale in your fancy salad spinner that you got on sale for $5 at Bed Bath and Beyond, because someone had drawn one line on the top with permanent marker. Thank you Bed Bath & Beyond clearance.

Pull kale off the stalks, and discard them. I used kitchen scissors to cut them off. Wash and dry the kale in your fancy salad spinner that you got on sale for $5 at Bed Bath and Beyond, because someone had drawn one line on the top with permanent marker. Thank you Bed Bath & Beyond clearance.

Toss kale with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. You can try a variety of spices but I went with some basic garlic powder.

Toss kale with olive oil, salt, and pepper, with the assistance of your T.A.R.D.I.S. and Daleck shakers. You can also add a variety of spices but I went with some basic garlic powder.

Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (because who likes cleaning?). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Take out when browning on the edges and crispy-crunchy.

Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (because who likes cleaning?). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Take out when browning on the edges and crispy-crunchy. I am currently in amazement that my oven was ever this clean, some how it is now very browned and in need of a good scrub down.

Try these crispy little leafy chips out....

Put on a paper towel to absorb extra oil and then try these crispy little leafy chips out….

The Verdict: I did not like kale chips. They had a very bitter taste to me, similar to brussels sprouts or other cooked lettuce-y things. I don’t like cooked lettuce or spinach (unless it’s in dip) or brussels sprouts. So this was kind of a failed experiment for me. BUT I am glad I tried them because I enjoy looking for ways to eat more vegetables.

Despite not loving these, I do love to eat veggies! Sometimes it feels expensive to eat healthy but I work vegetables into my meals without over spending, or wasting them, by buying frozen veggies. I have broccoli, zucchini, onions, peppers, carrots, corn, and green beans in my freezer right now. I always purchase the generic, store-brand bags of frozen vegetables and cook them up however I want. They are very easy to steam in the microwave, roast in the oven, or cook em’ up in the pan. Buying frozen veggies is perfect for me too, because I tend to let vegetables rot in my fridge when I buy them fresh.

Overall my kale experiment was a personal fail, but I’m interested to try other types of kale prepared in other ways. My co-worker eats it for lunch as a salad all the time and is a kale-aholic. Maybe it’s a love it or hate it kinda thing? But I know that if I ever come across the opportunity to try them again when someone else is preparing them I’ll give it another try!

Beauty on a Budget

Make up is expensive. Let’s not beat around the bush. Make-up isn’t all cheap, and it’s one of those things that I’m not sure should be, but you can keep up a make-up routine on a budget. There are a few ways that I do beauty on a budget, without completely sacrificing quality. Here are a few of my beauty products that don’t break my budget.

ELF Blush and Bronzer

E.L.F. Blush: Has a rosy pink blush, a gold bronze, a dark bronzer, and a light powder for highlighting. For $3 at my local grocery store, it is quite the bargain! I use it to contour or sometimes I just swirl my brush in all of it, to get a bit of color for an everyday look.

ELF Eye Shadow

E.L.F. Eye Palette: I got this eye shadow palette at a Ross about a year ago for… I’m not sure the exact price but it was under $5. I’ve had it for awhile, which is why it’s pretty grimy looking, sorry! It has a lot of colors for any occasion. E.L.F. brand is so amazing because it’s basics for cheap. I use a few of the metal and nude tones quite frequently, for my everyday work make up. I’m a nudes and naturals kind of gal myself, preferring browns and golds to anything else.

NYM Hair Cream

Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream: I used to use Redken’s Ultimate Blow-Dry Lotion which comes with a price, a $18 a bottle price at Ulta. When my last bottle ran dry it seemed so silly to spend so much money on a hair product when I am budgeting my money everywhere else. I’ve looked for different products but I could never find anything that was the same type of texture and result. I don’t do gels or mousse or “leave-in” conditioner (it makes my hair too oily), so when I found hair “cream” at about $5 and took a chance, I was very happy. This brand always has yummy, fresh smelling products that are linger the perfect amount.

NYM Clean Freak Dry Shampoo

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo: This dry shampoo smells so good, way better than any other that I’ve tried. It also doesn’t leave very much white residue when I spray from an arms length or closer. It is a great bargain at about $5, and lasts forever (this is the only bottle I’ve owned since I found it last year). I have pretty oily hair because it’s very soft, straight, and silky…. meaning I tend to touch it a lot. My secret to using it is that I use the dry shampoo at night! Before I put it in a braid to sleep, I spray it down like crazy with this stuff, and the next day it just needs a little brushing and ta-da!

NYM Beach Spray

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray: I have been reading a lot of reviews about beach sprays but have been feeling very skeptical because I have the world’s straightest hair. You can knot, braid, twist, or bun it and it just pops right back out. So needless to say, beach spray does not work on me like it works on everyone else. I do like it however, because when I have a nice high pony or my hair is falling extra flat, it gives the ends great texture. It smells great at the same time and makes me feel like I could be at the beach (if only). This brand is just a great bargain because this small size was about $3, the larger one being about $5.

ULTA Eye Crayon

ULTA Eye Crayon in Black Tie: I love ULTA. Trips there are very dangerous for your wallet because they have both high-end products next to drugstore-priced ones. I have found great results with ULTA brand products. Along with this liner/stick I’ve bought their face wipes, bronzer (which would be here but I lost it), tinted balm, nail polish (haven’t tried it yet), and eye-shadow. These ULTA eye crayons aren’t just for liner and come in a variety colors. I’m sure that you could use the others as eyeshadow and would make the smoky eye easy. But I use this black one as eyeliner. It is pretty heavy but goes on very smooth and creamy. Comes in at $8.00 but is almost always in a BOGO sale.

ULTA Eye Shadow

Ulta Eye Shadow in Lustre: ULTA almost always has some kind of “buy one get one” or “buy two get one” deal going on with their make-up products. These sales are the perfect opportunity to stock up on great eye-shadow colors. This one is my favorite because it is the base color I use pretty much everyday. It’s got a bit of shimmer but otherwise it blends perfectly into a darker bronze color to make a dimensional daytime look. In stores at $7.00, but worth it in the sale!

Mineral Powder

Maybelline Mineral Powder Foundation: This product is an example of one of my clearance sale finds.  I love finding things with the little 75% off sticker, like this one had! Almost all my nail polishes are from a clearance bin, because why pay $9 for nail polish or $15 for foundation when you can get them at a big discount if you look for them! I am not a big fan of heavy foundation, so these mineral powder things work perfectly. They feel light and don’t give me cake face and are so very easy to apply. Always look for clearance stickers in the aisle and clearance end-caps in larger stores!

Trial Size

Travel or Trial Size Products: I love trial size products, especially (as you can see) Redken. Buying trial size products is good for two money-saving reasons; trying out a product and buying an occasional use product. Out of these, the Redken Powder Refresh dry shampoo, NYM’s Beach Spray, and Redken Blown Away gel were bought so I could try the product without committing to a large, expensive bottle. I don’t love the Redken dry shampoo because it smells strongly of hair salon smell, and I’d rather have something much more subtle. The other items, like the Redken Quick Tease and Victoria’s Secret Sexy Little Things perfume, are items that I don’t use everyday and knew that I could save a few bucks by getting a smaller size. I tend to find something, and use it everyday, so small items for special occasions are way more cost efficient for me.

Empty Bottle Review- Olay Cleanser

Recently I was watching some of my favorite beauty YouTubers Sprinkle of Glitter and Zoella, and one of them pointed out that there two kinds of people when it comes to beauty products. There are people who love to open new products, and take great joy in the first swipe, pump, or use of a product. Then there are other people who love using a product to the very last drop, and get great satisfaction from seeing a totally empty bottle.

I am most certainly the first type of person. I love getting new bottles of shampoo or face lotion, breaking the seal and seeing the clean top. Or opening a new blush or powder, and seeing the perfect untouched surface. It’s just so amazing. It’s like exploring untouched land, and being the first person to walk on pristine, perfect, unscathed ground. If I see that I am running low on a product, I make sure I pick up a refill and then I get too excited to wait so I open it right away…. and never empty bottles or use up my make up. Ever.

Until now! I squeezed out my face wash to the very last drop and didn’t open my new one until I was certain I could get no more out. So I figured I’d do a little empty bottle review of my face wash since it’s the best facewash ever.

Side by side

Full, pretty, new bottle on the left. Empty, totally used up bottle on the right.

I have been using Olay Pore Minimizing Cleanser + Scrub for quite a long time now. I was attracted to it because of the swirls and bright colors (packaging and appearance really affect my purchases, I’m a big sucker for anything pretty, shiny, sparkly, and attractive). And once I used it, I was hooked. It is the most gentle exfoliation I have ever felt, and you can use it every day without damaging you skin. I have oily skin with minimal acne, and large pores. This really helps in all areas. The benefits of exfoliation are great, and I’ve always felt that exfoliating makes my skin feel fresh and renewed, and it feels this way every morning.

I just love how it looks in the bottle and how you pump it out instead of a tube like a lot of face washes. I will continue to purchase this product over and over again. The last time I needed to buy it, I actually went to three stores before I could find it. My skin care routine is not very complicated, compared to some people who use like 10 products a day just to prep their skin for make up. I wash my face and use moisturizer. And then once or twice a week I use a facial mask. Not too much more needed for my skin! But this swirly, almost sparkling face wash is vital to my everyday routine. I mean just look at how beautiful it is, it cannot come as a shock that it makes my skin beautiful! I will continue to empty more of these bottles, and will get the most out of my products so that I can save money on future products.

Swirls

AMERICA in a cake

Happy July 4th! This has always been one of my favorite holidays, because we’ve always had some amazing fireworks when I lived on the East Coast and it was just a fun holiday for our family. This year I was very excited to celebrate the fourth here in Texas. I was wandering around Pinterest, trying to see if anything stuck out to do that was challenging (I feel like anyone can make the sheet cake with strawberries and blueberries as the flag… also I don’t like berries). And I found the perfect thing! I’ll walk ya through the steps before the big reveal!

Step one: Buy two boxes of white cake mix, two things of frosting (any flavor but white looks the best), eggs & oil (for the cake mix), and lots of food coloring. For food coloring you could buy individual bottles of red and blue, since they are the only colors you need, but my local HEB didn’t have individual bottles of blue so I got the rainbow box.

I purchase cake mix by price, because they all taste the same to me! But this was a huge success with Mr. Wonderful's family. I opted for "French Vanilla" over white, because white is not a flavor.

I purchase cake mix by price, because they all taste the same to me! But this flavor was a huge success with Mr. Wonderful’s family. I opted for “French Vanilla” over “White” flavor, because white is not a flavor.

Step two: Make one box of cake mix. And then add red food dye. Lots of red food dye. More red food dye than you should be comfortable adding.

Pretty swirly colors. Ooohhhh Ahhhhh. Seriously add tons because you do not want pink or corral or salmon colored.

Pretty swirly colors. Ooohhhh Ahhhhh. Seriously add tons because you do not want pink or corral or salmon colored.

Step three: Wonder in amazement at all the red food dye you just used. Call upon the knowledge you have about the negative affects of food dye (particularly RED 40) on children (who will be eating this) and how you aren’t really sure what else you could use to make red cake…. and how you wish they’d had red velvet because you’d feel less responsible if you didn’t have to add it yourself.

Two whole bottles of it. Only for a holiday.

Two whole bottles of it. Only for a holiday.

Step four: Bake cakes. I used 9″ round cake pans, but I’d suggest using 8″ cake pans. The 9″ ones seemed to be shorter, and it would have been nice to have a thicker cake.

Please excuse my dirty oven. I have used my oven at maximum 10 times, and I have no idea how it got this dirty. Does baking salmon and cauliflower pizza do this to ovens?

Please excuse my dirty oven. I have used my oven at maximum 10 times, and I have no idea how it got this dirty. Does baking salmon and cauliflower pizza do this to ovens?

Step five: Make second box of cake mix. And separate into bowls, making the amounts as even as possible. And make one of them… BLUE!

Do you see the 4th of July theme forming?

Do you see the 4th of July theme forming?

Step six: Once you have all the cakes baking, let them cool. Then with a long serrated bread knife, cut each red and white cake layer (BUT NOT THE BLUE) into two thinner layers. So don’t cut it in half making two half moon shapes, you cut horizontally through the cakes so you get two thin layers. I very much meant to take pics but it’s hard to take pics while cutting.

Step seven: Place a red layer on your cake stand or, in my case, large plate. Put frosting on the first layer. Repeat with white layer, and then another red. Next is where it gets tricky and again, I didn’t really capture this on film… But you need to find a bowl that is about 4″ around, and center it on the blue cake (which you did not cut into two layers) to cut a circle out of the middle. Then you are going to do the same to one white and one red layer, and then stick them together with frosting. You’ll have lots of leftover scraps.

Sad scraps, that I did not snack on because I snacked on a lot of frosting during this whole cake process.

Sad scraps, that I did not snack on because I snacked on a lot of frosting during this whole cake process.

Step eight: Place blue cake ring onto cake. Frost the top and inside the ring of the blue ring. Next, carefully place the frosted together red and white small circles into the middle of the blue right WHITE side down. It should look about like this.

Before the final frosting, my favorite part of making a cake!

Before the final frosting, my favorite part of making a cake!

Step nine: Frost the cake! After frosting I usually put my cakes in the fridge, since it prevents unwanted melting of frosting and I think it just tastes more delicious cold. Now, I said in the beginning that you’d need two cans of frosting. I wasn’t lying! With all the layers I barely had enough to cover the cake. I used Duncan Hines “Fluffy White” and was not very happy with the turn out, it was very fluid and not as sticky as I’d like but it worked. After frosting your cake it should look like a normal, average layer cake with white frosting. But the surprise is on the inside!

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

I love how it looks! Mr. Wonderful’s little siblings kept asking what I made and all I’d tell them was a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting (which was the truth). They were so curious because you could see some of the red cake. It was fun to keep everyone on their toes until time to cut it up! Everyone was quite impressed. Next year I’ll have to find something a bit more ambitious if I wanna one up myself! I watched this video to help know how to make it! Goodluck!

Literature and Cheese… Why hasn’t this happened before?!

The Airship, a digital daily from Black Balloon Publishing, just published this amazing article pairing cheese with great literary authors. We’ve all heard about pairing wine and cheese, or creating the perfect cheese board, or combining cheese and fruit (a personal favorite snack of mine, apples and cheddar will get me through any hunger attack). But cheese and authors? Well the Airship does it perfectly with suggestions like this;

La Tur: F. Scott Fitzgerald

This triple-crème cheese is decadent and worthy of any decadent West Egg socialite bash. La Tur is made of goat, cow, and sheep milk, and a go-to for those with well-rounded, luxurious tastes. Not to mention its cake-like rind and gooey, soft interior. It’s the perfect cheese to impress a woman like Zelda Fitzgerald and whisk her off to a night of drinking and dancing on table-tops.

I’m not sure who’s idea it was to pair food and books together, but they found perfection in these witty, clever combinations.