Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Best "Real" Chocolate Chip Cookie

The girls and I decided we should make some "real" chocolate chip cookies other than the healthier versions I usually make. We decided it would be an extra special treat to share with some of our extra special friends this weekend. By "real" I mean all the sugary, buttery, floury goodness that makes a chocolate chip cookie "real"! Oh yea!

After doing a little research on the web we found a recipe on All Recipe's called "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie", and it had over 6000 glowing reviews. The difference in this cookie recipe is that you dissolve the baking soda in hot water before you add it to your mixture. I think by doing this it leads to a thicker cookie.
Our cookies looked nothing like the ones on the website although I think they  actually look better (if that's even possible?). And most importantly they tasted extremely good.
 I would definitely use this recipe again, I think they turned out great. The trick for any cookie is to take them out when you think they are not done (seriously, you know when you look at them and think "oh maybe another minute or two", NO take them out then). Only leave them in for 9-10 minutes maximum if you like a chewy  center kind of cookie like I do.

Here is the recipe: ( I did not use the walnuts as the kids are not huge fans, although they would be good)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3.Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
I really enjoy making these classic memories with my kids and getting them to help me bake and cook. Yes it is a little more work and mess but that's OK. The amount of joy they get from mixing, measuring and rolling  makes it all worthwhile. The greatest part is watching them bite into a cookie they are proud to say they made!

Treat yourself and your family to a batch of these, they'll love you forever.

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Highlight Effect

So why highlight? Like contouring it helps bring definition and light to the face. It also gives you a glowing from within effect.

You apply the highlight where the light would naturally hit your face. Areas like the top of the cheekbones, directly under the eyebrows, above the eyebrows, forehead, bridge of the nose, and your cupids bow (directly above your top lip). Now there is a point of no return when highlighting, you can over do it very easily. I personally tend to hit the cheekbones, eyebrows and cupids bow very faintly. I have found a couple of different products that help me achieve the look. Here they are:

1.   Rimmel - Wake Me Up - 001 Flush of Pearl.- I picked this up on sale at the drug store not long ago. This is the more subtle of the three. I have on occasion added a touch of this to my primer to help liven up my face. If I  have a late night or am up in the night with the kids this is my quick fix for a very tired appearance the morning.

2.   Hard Candy - Pin up-  I bought this one at Walmart as I heard it was similar to some of the higher end brands.  It is more of a bronzing highlighter that works well over blush. For the price point (3.99, I believe) this is great. I can see this lasting forever.

3.   Benefit - Watt's Up - This is the high end beauty. I received a deluxe sample from Sephora but have been using this on occasion for months now and there is still a tonne of it left. I like the effect but sometimes have a hard time blending it out as it is more of creamy texture then the others. Benefit gives you the effect without being overly shimmery.
I have applied the products quite heavy so it would show up for the photo above. Normally I would not use this much on my face.  Less is best when highlighting.

Whats your go-to glow? 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Taco Tuesday Comeback!

My girls have really taken a liking to tacos lately. They ask for them all the time. The past few Tuesday's in a row we have managed to have tacos for supper so we started calling it taco Tuesday. The girls love assembling the taco's themselves so I leave it all separate in little dishes except I put the cheese directly on their own plates. I learned that trick after enough "she's taking all the cheese" episodes. Now they have their own so no need to fight. No fighting ='s happy Mama!
As a working Mom I definitely do not have time to make my own tortillas (ha, as if) so I buy the $3.49 PC taco kit. I try and make these a bit healthier by switching out the ground beef for ground chicken and using spinach instead of lettuce. When I was a child I can remember my Mom making us tacos. My siblings and I would have competitions to see who could eat the most. My taco eating competition days are long gone so for the grown ups I make a salad that includes all the taco fixings + more. The taco salad actually contains less calories and is much more filling then your typical tacos. It tastes delicious too. It's a win win for us and the kids!

I realized that the picture of the salad was taken before the most important ingredient was added, a broken up taco shell. Sorry folks it's a crucial element, do not forget!

I have a new recipe for mango chicken tacos that I might try out for next Tuesday, stay tuned! 

Why don't you try a bring back the taco Tuesday?

Adios Amigos

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

What?? H&M Home?

I may have been living under a rock but I just found out a couple weeks ago that there is such a thing as H&M Home. I had no idea! I am a big fan of the clothing store so I thought how awesome could this be? 

Well I did a little digging and apparently there are none in Canada (boo), although there are plans to put the first ever Canada H&M Home in the West Edmonton Mall as sort of a test. I sure hope it takes off as well as the clothing stores did across Canada.  They have some really cute, unique and inexpensive home decor. Unfortunately they do not ship to Canada either. I believe they are in the US so if you are really interested you might want to consider crossing the border to see what they have.

Here is my H&M Home wish list:

  1. Jacquard Weave Cushion Cover -  $14.99
  2. Lace Cushion Cover - $29.95
  3. Glass Vase - $14.99
  4. Tea Light Holder (Silver and Turquoise)- $3.95
  5. Pillow Case - $12.95
  6. Two Pack Knobs - $7.95
  7. Metal Hook - $6.95
  8. Candle Holder - $12.95
  9. Lace Table Runner - $19.95
  10. Watering Can - $14.95
  11. Door Mat - $29.95
If anyone has any other information please let me know.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Confessions of a Neat Freak (#2) - The Power of an Hour

As you may know by now I like things neat, clean and tidy too!

This may sound crazy but I  have always thoroughly enjoyed cleaning my house from top to bottom and then relishing in the sparkling results. I always found such joy walking into my freshly cleaned home. Then there were kids.............

After my first child was born the joys of cleaning from top to bottom vanished. Number two then came along and my old cleaning system was so distant in the past only light memories of what a "whole" clean house felt like lingered within.

Lots of adjustments when babies come along, this was definitely one for me. Many people may not see cleanliness or tidiness as a priority but it is etched into my brain pretty darn deep (aka possibly slight obsessiveness).

So I have come to terms with things now and learned a few tips along the way to help me accomplish what I feel I personally need to do. I call this post the "power hour" because that is how long my lunch break is. I am fortunate enough to live within minutes of my job so I scoot home on my noon hours and turn into the clean mean dirt fighting machine.

Once I get home if the weather is fair I go for a 10-15 minute jog. After this I heat something up quick for lunch which leaves me with 30 minutes to tidy up and clean. Some days I will sweep and mop the floors, others I will go through quick with the vacuum, dust, throw in a load of laundry or simply wipe up the bathroom. When you set your mind to what you want to accomplish it is amazing what you can do in as little as an hour. So set goals but don't be unrealistic or you will only set yourself up for failure.

I love my life and I love my kids and I still enjoy a clean home. With a little extra planning I can have it all! My new motto, "at the end of the day, the toys go away".  Seriously though you would not even know we had kids if you walked into our home after bedtime (ha, ha).

What was your hardest adjustment to life with kids?

Monday, 23 June 2014

Zesty Jerk Chicken

This is a great recipe that I have made six times now. It is so yummy and the chicken turns out perfect every time.  I learned how to make this in a cooking class I attended. We had a few people over for dinner on the weekend and we decided to make it.

Here is how you can make it too:

6 green onions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 cup of soy sauce
1/2 distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 tbs of brown sugar
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a food processor or blender (I used the magic bullet) combine all the ingredients except the chicken. Mix for about 20 seconds.
Place the chicken in a medium bowl, and coat with the marinade ( I put it all in a large zip lock bag). Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
Preheat grill (BBQ) and cook chicken until juices run clear.

This is a meal that we always look forward to. It's got a little spice to it but it is not too spicy if you know what I mean. I usually serve this with roasted sweet potato, cumin rice and a crisp salad.

Give it a try, I guarantee you will like it too.  

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Summer Come Backs

Now that summer is finally here I find I am reaching for a handful of products. Some of these I have not touched since last summer. Here they are.
Maybelline Color tattoo - 24 hour eyeshadow - Barely Branded.  I have really grown extremely attached to this little wonder. It is the perfect base for just about any look you want to achieve and you do not need a primer with this. This lasts all day and does not crease. It's a two in one product that gives you great color payoff with a subtle shimmery champagne color. Perfect for the summer!

Stila - Goddess - Eye Shadow Trio-This trio always resurfaces for me in the summer time. It is three perfect shimmery bronzed colors.  I either use the color tattoo -barely branded or the lightest shade to sweep over the entire eyelid. I then use the medium color (right side) for the crease followed by a little bit of the darkest color in the corners blended outward and slightly upward into the crease. These colors have such a great payoff and they're super easy to use.  I think this trio would look great on just about anyone.

Bite - Lip-gloss- Strawberry.  When I create a bronzed eye effect I like to do a more natural lip color. Lately I have been achieving this by using a light shear pink lip-gloss.  For those of you that have not tried this brand I strongly suggest that you do. Not only are the colors gorgeous and lasting but they are natural and do not contain harmful ingredients. Bite Beauty operates in downtown Toronto and contains ingredients healthy enough to eat! I am looking forward to trying more bite products in the future.

Benefit-They're Real - Mascara - I only have a deluxe sample of this but find myself reaching for this a lot lately. The wand design provides me with the most control and I'm able to reach all the little hairs. It's great to use on the lower lashes as well. This product gives me just enough oomph without it looking fake. A great product!

Do you have any summer come backs?

Friday, 20 June 2014

Good Old Fashioned Fun!

My girls love playing with cardboard boxes. No matter how many toys the kids have a cardboard box has always provided countless hours of imaginary fun. When they were very young the box and paper were so much more fascinating then the actual "expensive" toy inside. Isn't that the truth? 
A couple of weekends ago my husband brought three giant boxes home. We set them up on the lawn, cutout some windows and doors and attached the three boxes together. They played for hours with this and when they got board we turned it upside down into a boat.
 It's play like this that is so important for kids.  Not only does it allow them to think creatively but it "unplugs" them from our technology crazed world. I enjoy seeing what there imaginations can do and helping them to discover there own unique creativeness.
As a blast from the past, I decided to make some good ol' fashioned Rice Krispies squares the other day.  You really forget how good they are until you bite into one of these sticky, gooey, buttery classics. 
I made these for my daughter's class but thought they could use some "fancying up". I grabbed a piping bag and filled it with some pink icing and finished with some colored sprinkles on top. Amazing what a little icing and sprinkles can do.

How do you hang onto the good ol' days?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Summer Scents

I decided to do a post about my favorite fragrances.
One eau de toilette, one oil and one solid perfume. These are all nice and light and would be just perfect for summer.
Dolce & Gabbana - Light Blue - Eau de Toilette -This is my all time favorite scent. I love the soft light fresh scent this leaves. It really is magical. I have been using this for three years and I'm still just as a crazy about it as when I first smelled it. If I ever had a signature fragrance it would definitely smell very similar to this.
Lush -Gorilla -Vanillary - Solid Perfume - This smells like a warm, woodsy by the fire kind of vanilla (if that makes any sense). It is very nice and light as well. It's a creamy stick so you dab it on and rub it onto the skin. It seems to stay on the skin for quite a while.This is another fragrance I will definitely re-purchase when it runs out. .
Aveda - Beautifying Composition - Body Oil. This is not technically a perfume although it smells amazing and I like to apply a little under my hairline and on my wrists. It has a very earthy, clean, spa like scent. It is also very hydrating for the skin. When I was pregnant I applied this to my growing belly and walked away with  no stretch marks what so ever. I sometimes put a couple drops of this into my bath too. Great versatile product.
These are my three go-to easy to wear fragrances. What's you summer scent?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Rainy Day Spa Party

I have been trying to plan a kids "spa day" with the girls for a little while now. There has been so much going on the past few weekends that we could not find the time. Well this past weekend we decided to make the time. Here is our "girls only" spa day party! (don't think hubby was too upset about be banished to the basement to watch the tube)
Number one is to have lots of choices. Kids love spending time going through the colors.  I think this could possibly be the funnest (word?) part.
I started by soaking their feet in a warm water mixture of bubble bath and epsom salts. Once dry I then applied cream for a mini relaxing foot massage. Next is the polish. The girls were allowed to choose two colors and we created a pattern by alternating the colors. Once the polish was dry we applied some flower decals and finished with a top coat of sparkles to seal everything in.  

I think they turned out pretty darn good!

To finish off the "spa experience" we decided we should have a tea party. I pulled out the tea set and set up the plates with treats and fruit. We talked with pretend accents as we sipped our tea and ate our snacks. 
It was a wonderful rainy day activity spent with some pretty special young girls. 
I honestly don't know who had more fun, me or the kids!
(Now if I can just get them to give me a pedicure I will be all set, ha ha)


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Try This, Not This!

Here a few products that did not measure up to there competitor. 

First up, Dry Shampoos.
I choose Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo over Tresemme Dry Shampoo. Although they both are fragrenced, the Dove tends to fade away where the Tresemme stays put. Doves scent is fresh and Tresemmes is very hairsprayish and strong. Tresemme tends to leave a sticky film where Dove leaves no trace of residue. Dove leaves my hair feeling clean and fresh. My love for Dove grows a little more each time I use it. Dove steals the show!

Next up, Shampoo and Conditioner.
I have been using the Redken - All Soft  Shampoo and Conditioner lately. So far I've been really happy with the results. Previous to this I was using the Pureology-Precious Oil. Pureology was recommended to me although I found it way to heavy for my hair type. It's extremely concentrated so you do not need a lot of product.  I found it very difficult to build a lather. On the other hand Redken lathers really well and rinses out super clean. The conditioner leaves my hair feeling soft and bouncy, Pureology left my hair limp and lifeless. Redken takes the cake on this one and the bonus is, it's cheaper.

Lastly, Body Shimmers.
  I was given the Bath and Body Works 24K Shimmer Gel and Body  Lotion as a gift.  It is actually a really neat concept, you turn the dial along the top to adjust the amount of lotion/shimmer you want. The smell is very strong which is why it makes the "not this" list. I find the Lush Glitter Massage Bar to be much more of a subtle shimmer. It has a vanilla lavender scent that is wonderful and not overpowering at all. Lush all the way on this one! Click here for more info on this product.   

A reminder that these are my options based on my own preferences, hair type, skin type etc. 

Have you tried any of these products?

Monday, 16 June 2014

Roasted Strawberry BBQ sauce

Now that summer has arrived it's time to dust off the grill and fire up the ol' Q! Barbecuing makes for such an easy, mess free meal. Another bonus is you can practically barbecue just about anything. Throw a head of romaine lettuce on and voila you have a gourmet grilled caesar salad.  I do have to give credit to the barbecue'r in our home though, it's not me, it's my talented husband. His culinary skills re-surface every barbecue season.

One thing I like to do is experiment with different sauces and marinades. Here is a recipe I found on the "Closet Cooking" blog for Roasted Strawberry BBQ Sauce. I know what your thinking...... Roasted strawberries?  Yup, who knew right? Verdict is in, they taste excellent in this sauce.

I think you could use this on just about anything.  It worked very well with the pork tenderloin we bbq'd last weekend.  I bet this would be delish on ribs and chicken too!

Here is the recipe:

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves/jam
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  1. Place the strawberries in a single layer on a baking pan lined with foil folded up on the sides to capture the juices and roast in a preheated 425F oven until they start to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Bring everything except the cilantro to a boil, reduce the heat, simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat, mix in the cilantro and puree in a food processor or blender or using an immersion blender.
  3. (Source)

    I  am not a huge fan of cilantro so I left it out. I ended up freezing half of this to use another time as well. 
    Hope you enjoy!

    "Strawberry Fields Forever".

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Six Steps to the Perfect Family Getaway.

For the past couple of years my family and I have held an annual get together in the summer. We usually rent a house or cottage preferably on the water and all chip in to enjoy a few days of R&R (not the booze - well not that kind anyways, ha ha) and plenty of good times.
Imagine waking up to this!

Here's how you can plan your family or friends getaway:  
Pick a Date - Send an e-mail to everyone who is interested with a few available dates. The date with the most votes wins.

Find Accommodation – Once you figure out how many are planning on attending your get together you will have to find a place with enough room to accommodate everyone.  This is trickiest part, although you would be surprised how many people rent their homes and cottages for the summer. You can find sites on provincial websites, kijiji and various property management companies.  It is always nice to end your day with a campfire so be sure to ask what amenities are available when booking your accommodations. It may seem like a lot of money but remember you are splitting this 3-4-5 ways.
Plan Your Meals – Instead of everyone bringing a whole bunch of food send out an e-mail with all the meals for your stay broke down by day.  Example, Monday – breakfast, supper etc. Ask everyone to fill in which meals they would like to plan to make. If you are really on the ball you can get them to send you what they are planning on making and create a menu for everyone to have. You don't have to get fancy either, keep the meals easy like a breakfast casserole, or pulled pork sandwiches or freeze a pot of  spaghetti sauce to bring.

Plan Your Days-  Find out if there are any local attractions like beaches, vineyards, gardens etc, and send out a little e-mail describing some of the local attractions to everyone.  If you are planning on doing a beach day let people know as certain beach essentials will need to be packed.  Bring along some board games and a deck of cards for if you have a rainy day.
Fun Things to Bring – Glow stick are always a hit whether you are young or old, same applies to bubbles, hula hoops and fireworks (although always use extreme caution) and of course marshmallows if you plan on having camp fires.
A vacation would not be a vacation without a few drinky poos. One idea I came up with was to ask people to bring one “local” drink to share with everyone. It could be a bottle of wine from a local vineyard close to their home or beer from a local brewery or maybe there all-time favorite cocktail. 

Last and most importantly – Take lots of pictures/videos, enjoy every minute with your family/friends, focus on making memories that will last forever. Life goes by way to fast, take time to stop and nurture  relationships. It may seem like a lot of work to plan something like this but once you do it you realize the cost of time with those that you love is priceless.
Happy planning!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

My Style! Top Ten Fashion Favorites!

 I will start by saying I certainly do not consider myself a fashion expert in the least, nor a photographer. Although... I will say that I kind of dance to the beat of my own drum in terms of style and fashion. I really enjoy following and watching the latest fashion trends. Once in a while I will pick something up if I like it but I do not necessarily buy something because I want to be on trend, I buy it because I feel drawn to it. 

Honestly as a mother of two I am pretty casual most of the time, although I do love getting dressed up for the handful of special occasions throughout the year. Now that the weather has warmed up I am wearing a lot of skirts and dresses. My favorite fashion season is definitely summer, hands down!

Here are my current top ten fashion pieces.

1.Black leather Jacket - As you can see from the pictures I am still rocking' my black leather jacket. I have a very strong love for this puppy as you can see. 
2. Stripes - I am super drawn to strips, all colors, all items, you name it, bring on the stripes!
3.Plain black dresses with my bright flats and accessories- Loving the bright pop of color with a neutral. 
4.Jeans - Blue, red and pink you name it. Skinny, straight leg, ankle whatever, love either dressing them up or down.
5. Stretchy pencil skirts from Dynamite, see earlier post- I purchased two of these one black, one black and white striped. They are so comfy.  I can throw on either a colored t-shirt or blouse with each them. The possibilities are endless. These are great staple for work!
6. Snake skin colored aviators -I picked these up from target. I am so picky when it comes to sunglasses. It was love at first sight when I saw these though. Very me!
7. T-shirts with crochet details, see earlier post- I have two that I have been wearing religiously, one bright yellow and one pink with strips. Super cute, comfy and very easy to wear.
8. Tourquoise choker statement necklace- I recently dug this out. I bought this 10 years ago. Loved it back then and still loving it now. Goes great with my bright blue flats.
9. Flip flops - Yup, it's that time of year. I love slipping these on, I constantly wear them around the house. Oh how I have missed you flip flops.
10. White pants - I believe I have til Sept 1st to sport these, ha ha. I am simply loving white lately, not just the pants but everything. It is just so crisp, clean and fresh looking. I am on a mission to find the perfect white crochet/lace top

I have to tell you this post was slightly painful to do. I am not usually one to put myself in the spotlight. I do have to say however the process was kind of cathartic and liberating in a way (wow, that's a little deep eh?). Anyways.... I would appreciate your honest thoughts on this type of post. I'll either do one of these once a month or.....I'll ditch the idea all together. Either way, life is way too short to not try new things!
What's your favorite summer fashion item lately?

Friday, 13 June 2014

It Doesn't Get More Maritime Than This.

So you might be thinking what are those funny looking green things anyways?
They are called fiddleheads! They are the furled frond of a young fern and are cut before the frond opens in late spring. It was not until I moved back to the Maritimes that I was introduced to these little green curly delights. There is actually many health benefits to eating these. They are a source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and also contain high amounts of iron and fiber. Some have classed these in the "super foods" category.

So what do I do with them? Well after a good cleaning I typically steam or boil them. Once they are cooked the water is drained and I toss them with a bit of salt, butter and sometimes vinegar.

So traditionally speaking a fiddlehead dinner would not be complete without some Atlantic salmon.  What I like to do is marinate the salmon in about 1/2 cup of soy sauce, pinch of ginger and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. I let this sit for usually 6-8 hours or less if I am short on time. I transfer the salmon to a baking dish lined with tinfoil and cook at 400F for about 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes. To caramelize the top I broil the fish for a few minutes so it gets nice and golden brown.

When cooked this way the salmon has a sweet taste which means the kids even eat it. As for the fiddleheads my youngest and I like them the most. I guess two out of four isn't that bad.

Happy Fiddle'in 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

A Few Summer Essentials

Now that summer is just about here I find myself grabbing these four products on a regular basis. 

Ombrelle - SPF 60 Ultra Fluid Lotion - I am now (unfortunately) seeing the careless effects of the sun from my teens and 20's and I am not taking anymore chances. In the morning, after I cleanse my skin and apply moisturizer I apply this sunscreen all over my face(including lips, under eyes etc.). This is a super thin water-like lotion so it applies very easily and absorbs very quickly into the skin. It is not greasy at all and makeup can be applied right over it. You would not even know it was on. Great product. My little rant --I really hope you are all smart sun seekers, there are so many wonderful self tanners and bronzers out there now, why take the chance? You want to look 40 when your 50, do this!

Laura Mercier - Foundation Primer - Radiance Bronze- I received a deluxe sample of this with my last Sephora order. It is a bit thicker then what I am used to but the effect it gives is a really pretty. It gives you that glowy dewy sun licked skin that we all long for in the summer. I have been mixing this with my bareMinerals primer and I'm really happy with the suttle glowing results.  

Dove - Invigorating Dry Shampoo- Dry shampoos are a must for me in the summer. I prefer to wash my hair every other day although on the "off" days I still like a re-fresh.  I have tried many brands but just picked this one up a couple weeks ago. It definitely works to help put the oomph back in second day hair although it is very fragranced when you spray it. I will say though, that the smell is quite fresh and it does seem to fade away after a little while.  I am not 100% sure if I would purchase this again but for $2.99 (sale) it's great!

The Body Shop - Aloe Lip Care-  I have been applying this to my lips before bed each night. It acts like an overnight treatment. The secret to lipsticks and glosses looking great boils down to the condition of your lips. When I apply this I wake up to baby soft nourished lips. I love this stuff and I can't ever see myself not having this product on my vanity. It feels so soothing almost immediately after applying it as well.

What are your summer essentials? 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Six Perfect Summer Reads

I always read before bed, it helps me to turn off the thoughts of the day and the anticipation of the next. Usually after only a couple of pages my eyes grow heavy and I am forced to put the book down, turn off the light, and drift away to peaceful sleepy land. It seems to take me forever to read a book as this is the only time I read. 

My Mom is an avid reader and always has been as long as I can remember. I rely on her suggestions a lot for book choices. Between the two of us we have pulled together this list of some great summer reads.

I did not write these reviews below. I have pulled this information from the Chapters website. For more information please click on the (source) link after the description.

Have a Little Faith –  A True Story -Written by Mitch Album- "In the beginning there was a question. ''Will you do my eulogy'' As is often the case with faith, I thought I was being asked a favor. In truth, I was being given one..." (Source)

A House in the Sky – Written by  Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett – “The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world's most beautiful and remote places, its most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity-an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace.” (source)

The Girl with no Name – The True Story of the Girl who lived with Monkey’s – Written by Marina Chapman with Lynne Barrett-Lee .  The Girl with No Name tells this spellbinding story in vivid detail-from the enchantment of the shady garden where Marina was kidnapped to the dappled darkness of her jungle home to the hunger, poverty, and pain of her existence in Cucuta. The book also offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into the world of capuchin monkeys. This is a unique and inspiring story of abandonment, despair, and eventual happiness.” (source)

The Invention of Wings - Written by Sue Monk Kidd-  “Hetty Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd's sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other's destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.” (source)

Heaven is for Real – A little boys astounding story of his trip to heaven and back – Written by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent.  “When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren''t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed-a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy''s trip to heaven and back.” (source)
The Fault In Our Stars

I am currently reading "The Fault in Our Stares" by John Green and really enjoying it. We plan on seeing the movie once I'm finished with the book.  I much prefer to read the book prior to seeing the movie. Reading the book allows me the freedom to create my own mental images.

What's on your summer reading list?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

If I Was Stranded on an Island......

My one cosmetic choice would have to be blush! As long as I can remember wearing makeup I have always given my cheeks a rosy glow. I confess I am a huge blush fan!

I decided I would showcase three of my current blushing favorites:

Tarte - Amazionian Clay 12-hour Blush - Blissful-  This a beautiful shear peachy pink blush that stays on for hours and hours. It creates the most beautiful natural looking flush. This one is the most expensive of the three but the quality is extremely evident. I have seriously dropped this on the ground three times and it has surprisingly stayed put. This blush is nutrient rich and infused with natural clay baked by the sun. It is for all skin types and I think Blissful would work on just about all skin tones. Love this little beauty!

Josie Maran- Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee- Poppy Paradise. This is my newest addition.  I bought the mini although I wish I would have just thrown everything to wind and bought the normal size. (I have a bit of a commitment phobia when it comes to new products). I have to say I really like this product. It is a gel so you use your finger to smooth it onto the skin. Applying it is much easier then you would think and it blends in quite well. I like to apply this to the apples of my cheeks and blend outward and finish it off with a bit of a highlight (physicians formula). The color looks bright red in the container but when applied is a warm shear pink This is enriched with 50% coconut water and hydrates with vitamin E rich argan oil. It lasts for a very long time as well. It's a lovely little product and will be great for traveling.

Physicians Formula - Sexy Glow Blush - This is a very shimmery shear highlight blush. I use this to highlight my cheekbones. One thing that I absolutely love about this product is the smell. The scent is the most amazing suttle warm vanilla you could ever imagine. I love applying this for the look and the smell.
Blush is definitely my go-to cosmetic product. I feel like it awakens my face and makes me look alive when I feel rather sluggish.
I have applied these to my skin lightly but you can build all of them for more pop of color if that is what you fancy! 

What blush are you loving?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Adventures in "Children's" Shoe Land (#2)

In a earlier post I wrote about trying to find lanterns for my front porch. I thought I might find some at Target although most of their summer decor seemed to be gone. While in Target though I did notice all the shoes were 40% off. Wow, hello!

A couple of weeks ago my oldest daughter got very excited when she went to put her summer "church" shoes on and realized they did not fit anymore. It's funny how happy kids get when they see they have grown. So I figured 40% off would be perfect for finding my growing girl some new shoes. You know me, I like a good deal and rarely ever pay full price for anything. 

I found the sweetest shoes, two pairs for my oldest and one for my youngest.  My youngest is actually the beauty queen and would be very disappointed if there was no shoes for her. So I walked out of Target with no lanterns (my reason for going), three pair of shoes and a children's bedding set. Isn't that the way it works, you go in for one thing and end up walking out with four other things?
Canadians are pretty new to the Target world but I have to tell you I am very impressed, I absolutely love shopping there. They have the sweetest kids clothing and shoes as well as home decor and cosmetics. Two big thumbs up from me.
Whats your take on Target?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sunday Morning Muffins

I have made these muffins about 3-4 times and they always turn out great. They are relatively healthy and the kids like them too. I find if I have things like these muffins on hand I am less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks. I found this recipe from the "Skinny Taste" website. It is a great site that features healthier versions of some of your favorite foods. Check it out here.

Honey Coconut Blueberry Bran Muffins

  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim is fine)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or canola)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 12 oz blueberries
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a muffin tin with 16 liners.
Combine the wheat bran, wheat flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in nuts and coconut.
In a separate bowl, blend applesauce, almond milk, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and egg.  Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.
Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (source, Skinny Taste)

Makes about 16 muffins.

Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Game Changers

So here is the dealio, I have to tell you about two new (to me) products that I am over the moon in awe over.  I just had to mention them in a post all their own.

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills- Brow Wiz - Skinny Brow Pencil - Well if you were born in the 80s chances are your eyebrows are scarred for life as a result of some pretty heavy duty over plucking in the 90s. Big brows were a no no and now people like myself are stuck with sparse, skinny brows from the effects of that silly trend. Well now the "natural" look is in style many products have come out to help individuals like myself camouflage there sparse brows.

 I started "fixing" my brows a couple of years ago. I used a brow pencil from the drugstore and was somewhat satisfied with the results although I kept hearing about the Anastasia brow pencil. Well I finally caved, I had to try and boy am I every glad I did. This little beauty is so fantastic. It really puts my oldie to shame (fit for the pit - remember that 80s show). This brow pencil allows you to make the most precise hair-like effects. It is easy to use and seems to last all day. I am officially converted. If you fill in your brows this is a must for the most natural look, I promise!

2. My second amazing find is  LaVanila- The Healthy Deodorant - Now I have tried a lot of natural deodorants in the last year and either they are to heavily fragranced or they just don't cut it.  This deodorant is so nice, it passed the jog test and it smells amazing. I ordered the pure vanilla but they also have vanilla grapefruit, vanilla summer, vanilla lavender and fresh vanilla lemon (all natural of course). I have the lavender vanilla sitting in my Sephora cart just waiting to be purchased. I bought the travel size for $13 although regret not buying the larger one for $17. This deodorant is aluminium free and contains no harsh chemicals which is right up my alley.
LAVANILA - The Healthy Deodorant

What is your newest "don't know how you ever lived without it" find?