Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday 5

This is a weekly linkup with Emmy Mom where you list 5 facts and 5 pics from your week.  It's a fun and easy way to end your week!

1.  So I attempted oil pulling this week.  By attempted I mean I tried it once and managed the full 20 minutes.  It wasn't too bad and my teeth felt really really clean afterwards.  I figured I'd do it again since I've heard people have had good results with whiter teeth.  Next morning I put the spoonful of oil in my mouth and my body immediately went "Nope!" and I spat it out.  So I'm thinking oil pulling isn't for me.

2.  I bought plants!  It's been too cold to get any seeds stared so I ended up buying plants this past weekend.  Can't wait to get them in the ground!  I got bell peppers, tomatoes and a variety of herbs.  I was thrilled to discover my oregano had actually survived the winter so I won't need to restart it.  In a few weeks I'll add some squash and cucumbers.  Can't wait to be eating fresh tomatoes again!

3.  Tomorrow the Tornado's school is doing a pirate themed Easter egg hunt.  He's beside himself with excitement.  We found some pirate themed stuff for him to wear and he wants to go TODAY right now.  It's taking some explaining as to why we can't.  While he has a pretty decent grasp on the whole religious concept of Easter we've also had to do some explaining regarding the Easter bunny.  I think he was expecting another Santa so we've had to tone that back a bit too.  The other problem is he keeps asking questions that I don't have any answers too.  The others would accept an answer of "Magic" as how the whole Easter bunny/Santa work but he doesn't.  I don't think we'll have very long with this one.

4.  Yesterday the Tornado and I went to the science museum.  We had a great time but for a few minutes in the under 5 room I was the Mommy on the iPhone (remember that annoying letter that was floating around for awhile).  I started to feel guilty until I realized that he really didn't need me to gaze adoringly at him while he played safely in this little ball pit.  His future teachers probably wouldn't want me to be sitting there gazing adoringly at him either despite that several of my teacher friends reposted that stupid letter.  So I continued checking my email for a few minutes until we left the room and went and played with water currents.  We had a really fun time.  I think next up is either Botanical Gardens or a local museum that has some farm stuff and walking trails.

5. We visited Elinor at college this past weekend and had a good time.  She's gotten a job as a waitress and hasn't been able to come home to get warmer clothes.  We took them to her and then had lunch at this really amazing burger place and walked around campus.  It was a lot of fun and great to see her. The town her college is in is an interesting mix of little town and old money with the addition of newer trendier stores and restaurants thanks to the college.
 Emma and Elinor during our visit

 What happens when you leave a 4 year old unattended

 At the science musuem

 At the science museum

With some of his pirate stuff. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Week 40 Cupcakes - Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

These were not the cupcakes I planned on making this week.  The cupcakes I planned on making were these tasty looking Boston Cream Pie cupcakes.  Instead I was flipping through my feedly  feed when the picture of these yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting came up and the Tornado insisted in the way only a sugar loving 4 year old can insist that these were the cupcakes that were going to get made.  It messed with my list making brain a bit but I didn't have the heart to turn him down.  This was a good thing on my part because these little cupcakes are fantastic!

(The Star Wars cupcake liner was also by request of a certain little boy)

1. Source: Your Cup of Cake - I don't know why I go anywhere else for cupcake recipes.  Hers are always amazing.

2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 2. These are pretty simple and straight forward.

3. Changes Made:  Didn't have any buttermilk because when it comes down to it I can't stand the stuff.  Mixed a spoonful of sour cream with milk to get the amount needed.  I also used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder instead of regular.

4. Problems:  None other than I can't stop eating them. 

5.  Overall Impression:  Simply put - these are the cupcakes.  These are the cupcakes you make for birthday parties, potlucks or anywhere else you may need a cupcake.  The cake is light and fluffy but still holds together.  The chocolate frosting is silky and smooth.  It's rich and chocolatey and just the right amount of sweet.

6. Quantity:  14.  

7. Make Again?:  Oh yes!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

What I Wore Wednesday is a linkup hosted by the stylish Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy.  I participate to try and get myself inspired when it comes to clothing.  Lately this has been a failure because my love of Easter candy is beating my love of clothing but hopefully I've got that under control now!  

 I got this shirt because Cartwheel had a coupon for all 20% off Converse brand clothing at Target.  It's super soft and I think will be great as a transition piece.

Top: Converse via Target
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Target 
Apparently it was a Target kind of day

 Sweater - Golden Tote
Tank - Old Navy
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes - DSW
Necklace - Lauren Conrad via Kohls

 Jacket - H&M (thrifted)
Tank - Target
T-shirt - H&M
Jeans - Levi's
Shoes - DSW

Sweater - Ann Taylor (thrifted)
Jeans - Target
Shoes - DSW
Necklace - Etsy (It says Don't Even Blink on it)

Monday, April 14, 2014

MyIreland Box Review - April

Back in March I gave myself a gift of a 3 month subscription to MyIreland box.  I figured that after 3 months I'd have gotten some interesting things and that would be that.  I didn't count on how much fun the boxes would be.  I'm thinking I'll be giving myself another 3 month subscription after I get my May box.

I loved March's box but if possible I think I like April's even more.

First up is the information card that tells you a little bit about the people who made the different items in the box and where they're from.

First up is this set of mini note cards from West Cork artist Annabel Langrish.  They're beautiful and unique and about 3 inches square.  I'm planning on framing them and am just trying to decide if I want to to frame them in 2 groupings vertical or horizontal but I'm sure they'll look beautiful either way.

  Next is this leather shamrock keychain from Holden Leatherworks in County Kerry. I'm already using it and it makes it easy to find my keys when they get lost in my purse.  Plus it makes me smile.

This coaster is from Fab Cow Design in County Dublin.  It's done in ancient Irish writing, Ogham.  It says sonas which means happiness.  I had needed a new coaster for my bedroom and this fits perfectly.

And finally, this beautiful glass paperweight with the etched in shamrock.  It's from The Irish Handmade Glass Company in Waterford and I literally squealed out loud when I pulled this out of the box.

So another fabulous box from MyIreland box.  I'm fascinated by Irish culture and my Irish heritage so this is easily my favorite subscription both for the connection to Ireland and the variety and beauty of what the boxes have contained.  If you weren't interested in Ireland I'm not sure you'd get quite as much enjoyment out of it but it's definitely a wonderful fun way to find interesting and unique items.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday 5

It's time for the Friday 5 linkup with Emmy Mom.  This is a fun way to end the week with 5 facts and 5 pictures.

1. This week was Emma's birthday.  It's hard to believe she's 17.  Her driver's test ended up having to get rescheduled much to both our dismays due to weather but we've rescheduled so hopefully she'll be a licensed driver in not too much longer.

2. Found a condo at the beach for a week this summer and am so excited to be getting out of town for a bit. We stayed at this place last summer and really enjoyed it.  A large chunk of my family will be there at the same time so it'll be fun to catch up with everyone.

3.  The Tornado has become obsessed with Bob the Builder lately.  He's very phase-y which is one of the very few things he inherited from me.  We went through a Jake and the Never Land Pirates phase, a Little Einstein phase, Daniel Tiger, Thomas the Tank and now Bob.  Star Wars seems to be sticking around so a lot of his games end up being a hybrid of Bob and Star Wars.  It makes for some interesting ideas.

4.  I'm at the point where I think it'd be best just to go on and eat all the Easter candy in the house and be done with it.  I've been awful lately with wandering by and picking up a Reese's or Cadbury egg.  Normally I'm not a big snacker but they're just so good.

5.  Paul had to be at work at 4AM last weekend to open.  He then had to work basically a 10 hour shift and had a soccer game almost immediately after.  He did great but just about collapsed when he got home.

 We've been decorating for Easter which meant I had to put some of my regular stuff up.  These 3 normally aren't together (the 2 little ones are salt and pepper shakers).  I put them on the bottom shelf of a glass fronted cabinet right above the coffee maker so if you look up all 3 are staring at you.  The reaction from the kids is pretty entertaining.

 This was part of one of the photo a day instagram challenges.  The challenge was a picture of a picture and this was mine.  It's one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents from early in their relationship.  My grandmother's the one with dark shoes and my grandfather is behind her.

Much to J's horror and my delight I put the Tornado in layers the other day.  I thought the outfit was adorable.  They weren't so sure of it.

Emma opening presents

Another tulip picture because one can never have to many tulip pictures.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Week 39 Cupcake - Vanilla Bean with Nutella Frosting

I almost didn't make this recipe because originally it makes 28.  The Tornado and I are the only ones who like Nutella and the idea of the 2 of us trying to eat 28 cupcakes didn't seem like the way to go.  Luckily this recipe is easy to half so these got made today.  Forgive the quality of the photo.  I was tired and redoing it just wasn't going to happen.  Also the bunny at the very side of the picture isn't angry but actually sneezing.  In real life it's cute not as creepy as the picture makes it look.

1. Source: Krissy's Creations
2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 2.  The directions for making the cake are a little different than the method I normally use but it's not anymore difficult and comes together really well.

3. Changes Made:  When I was already in the middle of making this I discovered the buttermilk in the refrigerator was actually more like butter.  To make up for it I used 2 tablespoons sour cream to 1/2 cup skim milk which gave it the right tang and texture.  I also halved the recipe but that's mostly simple math.

4. Problems:  I ended up needing about 5 minutes less cooking time than she called for.  My oven tends to run hot so that's not too big of a surprise.

5.  Overall Impression:  The cake is really lovely - light and fluffy with the tang and vanilla butteriness of a pound cake.  I have mixed feelings about the frosting though.  It's light and fluffy but the combination of confectioner's sugar as well as the Nutella makes a bit too sweet for me.

6. Quantity:  12 though I could've easily gotten 14 or 15.  The original recipe makes 28

7. Make Again?: The cake yes - the frosting probably not.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

Today is What I Wore Wednesday!  This is a linkup hosted by the very stylish Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.  I'm participating to get myself a little inspired about getting dressed and see what fun stuff everyone else is wearing!  One thing about this week that I discovered as I was pulling the pictures off my phone.  I appear to be have worn the same shoes and dark colored jeans pretty much the whole week. Whoops!  So much for variety.

 I adore this cardigan.  I just got it so I haven't had much time to do anything with it but it's like wearing a blanket - so comfy.
Cardigan: Arizona (thrifted)
Tank: Ann Taylor Loft (thrifted)
Jeans: Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes: Target
I wore a bronze colored pendant on a long chain but apparently I hadn't put it on when I took this pic.

 Cardigan: Golden Tote
Tank: Target
Necklace: Target
Jeans: H&M
Heels: Cole Haan 

 This top is actually more green than brown but it doesn't photograph particularly well.
Top: Ann Taylor (thrifted)
Cami: Target
Necklace you can't see because my hand is in the way: Lauren Conrad
Jeans: Levi's
Shoes: Target

 Sweater: Golden Tote (trying to get a few more wears out of it before it gets warm)
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Target

It's no secret that I get a lot of my clothes from thrift stores and every once in awhile I'll find something that looks like a great find until I wear it and then I think "Oh this is why they donated it." That's the case with this sweater.  It's J. Crew, has really cute gold buttons on the shoulder, and looks new.  It's sized medium but fits like a small so I figured that's why it had gotten donated.  Until I wore it.  It has the itchiest collar of anything I've ever worn.  It drove me insane.
Itchy Sweater: J. Crew (thrifted)
Necklace: Lauren Cornad
Tank: Old Navy
Jeans: Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes: Target

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MunchPak Review - March

Emma's MunchPak arrived at the end of March. MunchPak is a highly customizable subscription box that basically sends a box of snacks from all over the world to your house as often as you'd like.  Emma has the medium box sent to her once a month which costs $13.95.

This was her third box and definitely contained the biggest variety.  This month the box came packed with Japanese newspaper which is different.

It contained -

Warheads Sour Twists - these are from the U.S.  Standard sour straws which are delicious.

Cadbury Shortcake Stack - from the U.K. Pretty much anything by Cadbury is amazing.  This is essentially a shortbread cookie coated with chocolate.

Starburst Jelly Beans

Arcoiris Marshmallow Cookies - these are from Mexico though you can buy them in some grocery stories that have a Mexican food section.  There basically a graham cracker type cookie topped with a big marshmallow

Minees Sandwich cookies in Strawberry cream - the package says this is a product from India

Banana Passa - looks like fruit leather and says it's dried banana.  It's from Brazil

de la Rosa Marzipan Peanut Candy - this is from Mexico

Jovy Tamaros Sabor Tamarindo Con Chile - This is from Mexico and is said to be Tamarind with Chile flavor.

Dan D Pak Cashews in Sweet Sesame - this is from Vietnam and looks pretty interesting.  It's cashew nuts coated with a sweet syrup and rolled in sesame seeds.

Snack 'n' Bites Rice Cracker Chips in Sea Salt - from Thailand.  I've had rice chips and have never been wowed by them before but I'm going to have to sneak one when she opens the bag.

Pulparindo - the package says this is a hot and salted tamarind pulp candy with real fruit. This is from Mexico and from the same company that the peanut marzipan can from.

Pelagomas Mango candy - another one from Mexico.  This looks like those sugared orange slices but this is supposed to be Mango flavored

Lance Hot & Spicy Peanuts - from the U.S.

Calbee Shrimp Chips - the picture on the bag looked like french fries.  Emma said they tasted exactly like shrimp but she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  She likes shrimp and she likes chips but the 2 together are apparently kind of confusing.  These are from Japan.

Walker Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies - From the U.K. The chocolate chip and shortbread together.  Of course they're amazing.

And finally the Pocky sticks that are in every box she's gotten so far.  This appears to be chocolate.  She's gotten the strawberry (which were good), the green tea (which were not good) and now what is most likely chocolate.  They're fun little cookie straws dipped into a flavored coating and are from Japan.

None of these came in full sized packages.  Most of the candy was individually wrapped pieces and the rest was in snack size bags.  However, it's always fun to try new things and very little of this is easily available. This is the 3rd MunchPak and we're still loving the day the box shows up in the mail!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ipsy Glambag Review - March

No matter what's going wrong in my day if I see this bright pink envelope in the mailbox my mood suddenly improves about 100%  I can never wait to open it which is why these pictures are taken in a messy car going to and from somewhere!  March was a great month for Ipsy!

The bag this month was designed exclusively for ipsy by Klari Reis and is a street map of San Francisco where Ipsy started.  I like this bag - it doesn't have the cheap plastic-y feel that the last 2 bags have had. The street map interpretation is fun and different.

The theme this month is Destination Beauty and is supposed to be full of products that are perfect for a weekend to the beach, a stay-cation or anything in between.

So starting from the top of the pic here's what I got:

Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie in Get Ready - this is a sample lipstick tube and is probably about half the size of a normal tube.  This is fine with me as the majority of my lipstick dries out before I finish it.  The color is a bright neutral rose and I've yet to hear anyone who it doesn't look good on.  The color goes on smoothly without drying out my lips.  I love everything I've tried from Bare Minerals and this was no exception.

Chella Indigo Blue Eyeliner Pen - This came in full size and at $24 is worth more than double the price of the bag.  I'll be honest and admit that when I saw this dark blue color that there was no way I was putting this near my eyes.  Then I tried it on.  Oh my it's amazing!  Like actually spend $24 to buy a new one when this one runs out kind of amazing.  It makes my eyes look bluer and my lashes stand out more all while adding just a subtle hint of blue.  It's much more of a neutral than you'd think even after swatching.  I've been using it as a thick line and winging it out just slightly.  Then I'll smudge my usual color - either dark brown or charcoal right at the lash line leaving blue visible above it.  The only negative is the pen kind of drags a little so I've had to go back to fill in the line but that's pretty normal for eyeliners of this type.

NYX Palette in Love in Rio -  This 3 full size eye shadows that come in a 6 or 9 shadow palette from NYX. The colors are pretty - a light pink for highlighting, a shimmery medium brown for the lid and a dark shimmery brown for the crease.  I need to play around with this more because while I like the 2 lighter colors I found the darker color hard to work with.  It's heavily pigmented and didn't blend well so I ended up with much heavier eye makeup than I intended.

Pixi Beauty Flawless Primer - This came in a nice travel size tube.  I was afraid it'd be too shimmery but didn't find it to be so.  It lasts most of the day and gives a nice glowy look.

I was thrilled with my Ipsy bag this month!  The standout was the Chella eyeliner but all of the products were wins.   Can't wait to see what they have in store for us for April.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday 5 - Mostly tulip pictures

Friday 5 is a weekly linkup with Emmy Mom.  It's a fun way to end your week - 5 facts and 5 pictures from the last 7 days.  This week's co-host is Mary from a Mighty Tower.

1.  As I look outside at the drizzling rain this morning I'm very very afraid that Emma's scheduled driver's test is going to be cancelled.  It's not the end of the world but I know she's going to be disappointed and I was hoping her getting her license would end the days I have to be in 2 places at once.

2.  I'm trying to clean up my blog list in Feedly.  I'm following to many and starting to miss the ones that I really enjoy because I have so much to get through.  The problem is when I click on one to remove it I see a bunch of interesting looking posts and think - Oh I can't possibly delete this one.  It's a problem.

3.  The Tornado has been in full tornado mode lately.  I don't know if it's the fact that the weather's finally nice enough to go outside or what but he's been a super silly boy lately.  Yesterday he announced that since we didn't have to go anywhere at all he wanted to watch Clone Wars all day.  I thought an entire day spent lying around and reading sounded nice so I agreed to it.  It lasted a few hours and then he had a meltdown because he needed to do something.  He and J are so much a like sometimes it's scary.

4.  The tulips are in bloom!  I love this time of year!  Apparently the first fall the house was here the original's owner planted over 250 daffodil and tulip bulbs and a housewarming gift and they're still showing up.

5.  I'm still loving Dancing with the Stars!  Ice skater Charlie is just adorable and I love Danica McKeller.  I always seem to root for the guys in the show though I'm somewhat confused by Cody Simpson.  They've said he's a pop star but they spend more time talking about the number of twitter followers than anything else.  This week was the most important year dance and I always get a little teary eyed during the stories.  I'm a sympathetic cryer.  In general I don't really cry but if someone else starts crying I start.  It's annoying.  So I'd gotten teary eyed and then Amy Purdy told her story and I was openly weeping.  I've been impressed with her since the beginning of the season but the whole story of how she lost both her legs and persevered was so emotional.

 Got myIreland box yesterday!  It's amazing!  So love this subscription.

Playing outside in the sun

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Week 38 Cupcake - Chocolate Cookie Dough

The past few weeks I've been pretty self indulgent with deciding what cupcakes to bake.  My family isn't big on baked goods because they're weird so I was staying with cupcakes that I thought sounded good and maybe a batch of 12.  I decided to be nice and give them another try with this Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcake.  It's from Your Cup of Cake which is my favorite site for cupcake recipes.  I also have her book which is great too.  I can' think of a single bad cupcake I've made following her recipes.  This one was no exception.

1. Source:  Your Cup of Cake

2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 2 - this is a doctored cake mix and I didn't even have to get out my hand mixer.  The frosting was a little more complicated but not too bad.

3. Changes Made:  I did make a few changes with the frosting.  She had put a note on the recipe that the proportions may have to adjusted to get the ideal cookie dough texture and taste.  I only used 1 cup of powdered sugar and added an extra tablespoon of brown sugar and about 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.  I also incorporated about 1/3 of a cup of mini chocolate chips into the frosting.  Instead of regular yogurt or sour cream I used Greek yogurt thinned with a little extra milk because that's what I had on hand.

4. Problems:  None

5.  Overall Impression:  The cake is amazing - rich and chocolate-y but still light and fluffy.  It's pretty much everything a chocolate cupcake should be.  I can't imagine a frosting this wouldn't work with.  I loved the buttery-ness of the frosting itself.  She always seems to do a good job of getting the balance of sweet to fat right in her frostings.  I'm just not sure if this is my favorite cookie dough style frosting.  It's really good but I guess I like the ones that mimic the texture of actual cookie dough a little better while this is more of a hybrid dough/frosting.  That being said - it's light, fluffy, silky with a nice amount of sweetness mixed with the brown sugar and vanilla flavorings of cookie dough.

6. Quantity:  24

7. Make Again?:  Yes definitely.  This may be my new standard chocolate cupcake recipe.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

It's Wednesday which means time for What I Wore Wednesday - a linkup with the seriously stylish Pleated Poppy.  Usually this what I use to keep myself inspired about clothes and out of tshirts and yoga pants everyday.  This past week however I was just uninspired.  Between staying with family in the country, recovering from staying with family, getting a off schedule cranky 4 year old back on schedule and fighting off a cold I considered it a victory to change from pajamas into yoga pants.  There were 2 days were I wore actual clothes!  We're ignoring the fact that the 2 outfits are actually very very similar.

I LOVE this shirt and was so glad it's been warm enough to wear it.  You can't really tell in the photo but it's a light green/pink stripe.

Shirt: Izod (thrift)
Cami: Target
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Rock & Candy (TJ Maxx clearance)

Army Jacket: H&M (thrifted)
Shirt: Target (Another striped shirt was the last thing I needed but they were on sale!)
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Rock & Candy (TJ Maxx clearance)
Birdcage necklace: Michael's

Monday, March 31, 2014

Birchbox Review - March

Birchbox has been about lukewarm for me lately.  Nothing particularly exciting or interesting.  So I was really thrilled when this month's box arrived and I really liked it!  Hopefully the past few months have just been a little slump and we're back on track with fun boxes.

 This month's theme is Spring Forward and is  supposed to be about products that make life easier.  Not sure if this is true but I do like the products I got.

 Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper - While this didn't make my waves look more like curls it did a good job as a styling lotion.  It kept the frizz away and didn't weigh my hair down.  It came in a cardboard packet but there's a lot in the packet.  While I do wish it was in something resealable only a small part of the packet is open so it's not that difficult to store.

 INIKA Certified Organic Eyeliner in Green Lagoon - This is a full sized product and I love the little sharpener that attaches to the pencil.  The green color is gorgeous but I have had a hard time making this actually show up.  Definitely need to play with this a little more.

 Jergens BB Body Cream - I've seen ads for this and was really excited when I saw this travel sized tube in the box.  It's a good cream.  Slightly pigmented but not enough to stain clothes.  It's moisturizing and doesn't leave a residue.  I haven't used it the full 5 days to see full benefits but it's a nice cream and I'll definitely be using it.  It came with a $2 off coupon which is also really great.

 Supergoop Sunscreen Serum - I was really excited to see a Supergoop product in my box.  I've heard about this brand but have never gotten any of their products. This serum is nice and lightweight.  It didn't irritate my skin or have any kind of unpleasant residue.  I'm not using it everyday right now because my skin is dry so I'm using a serious moisturizer but when it warms up a little and the humidity makes my skin less dry this will be my go to product.

And finally - Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume (White Bottle) - I have no idea what this perfume is actually called so I'll use all the words on the bottle.  I love getting perfume samples in my boxes and this was not an exception.  I love this perfume!  It's subtle without disappearing.  It's clean but still has warmth.  This is definitely a perfume I'll be purchasing.

I'm really pleased with all my items this month.  Birchbox is $10/month with a great rewards program.  You get 10 points for every product review you do and 100 points = $10 to spend at