Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday 5! The Week I Bought too Many French Fries

It's Friday Five!  I'm participating in a linkup hosted by EmmyMom and cohosted this week by Jaime from Love, Jaime.  Pictures are not my strong suit so there's one old one that I rediscovered this week but otherwise here's my 5 Thoughts and 5 Pictures

1.  I'm finally joining this decade and upgrading to a smart phone!  J upgraded last year, Eleanor got one for graduation, Emma bought hers when she got her job and Ringo got one for his birthday but I always came up with a reason to put off buying one.  I finally bit the bullet yesterday and ordered an iPhone 5s which should be here today.  Now that I've gotten over feeling ill about spending all that money I can't wait! 

2.  I'm thinking Ringo is going to have a name change.  When I first started thinking about blogging Ringo really fit him but he's grown up a bit so he's going to have a Beatles upgrade and become Paul.  That seems to fit him a bit better.

3. I have to brag on Ipsy's customer service.  It's one of the 3 subscriptions I get regularly and I always love it.  Normally I get it 3 days from the day I get my shipping notice but this month I didn't.  The USPS and the DHL tracking didn't match up and nothing happened for days.  Finally this Monday I emailed Ipsy just to get the ball rolling on either a replacement or a new bag expecting to get told to give a few more days since it was only 6 days late.  Instead I got a reply on Tuesday that they were shipping out my new bag and then the shipping notice on Wednesday.  No questions, no discussions, just a sorry here's another one.  I now feel even better about recommending Ipsy to friends!

4.  Speaking of subscriptions I ordered a 3 month subscription to MyIreland a box full of (obviously) Irish stuff ranging from bath stuff, home decor, jewelry, gift items or just about anything else.  I cannot wait!  

5.  After last weekend and early this week being in the 50s/60s were back in the 30s.  I'm NOT loving this.  I'm okay with 50s because I can wear my sweaters and blazers but there's nothing I can do with temperatures in the 30s except be cold.  

Did I mention he's obsessed with Star Wars lately?

This is why you don't go to the grocery store hungry

So in love with this coat I can't even describe it.  Yay thrifting!

This is actually a picture of Emma from last year before homecoming but I just rediscovered it when I was looking for frameable pics.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week 33 Cupcakes - Whipped Vanilla Cupcakes

So after a couple of tastes I decided the Skinny Cupcakes just weren't for me.  This week I wanted to go for a sure thing and there is very little that's more of a sure thing than real sweetened whipped cream.

1. Source:  Spoonful of Flavor

2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming):  3.  Not difficult but cream has to be whipped before adding to batter and then the frosting has to be whipped as well.

3. Changes Made: I discovered I didn't have cake flour because it's my mission to be out of at least 1 needed ingredient for ever recipe.  It's driving me nuts.  It has to stop.  Anyway, I sifted all purpose flour twice and used only 2 cups.  The texture may not be quite as light but it worked fine and the flavor is amazing.

4. Problems:  None except the frosting was so good it was impossible to keep from licking the bowl.

5.  Overall Impression:  These are little pieces of heaven in cupcake wrappers.  The cake is wonderful, butter-y and vanilla-y.  The flavor was reminiscent of a pound cake to me.  The frosting which is basically whipped cream came out beautifully when I followed her directions and I didn't have any graininess from the sugar like I've had problems with in the past.  Everyone loves them and they're not super sweet so they'd be great for nonsweet lovers.

6. Quantity:  22 -I always make mine a little too big.

7. Make Again?:  Yes!  They'd be fabulous for summer with fruit or maybe with a little glaze under the whipped cream.  They're great on their own but could also be really versatile.  One of my favorite cupcakes so far.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to try and change things up a bit from the whole yoga pants and tshirts!  I've learned too that the more interest I take in clothes and putting outfits together the better my will power is to lose the rest of that baby weight!

Cardigan - Target
Top - Target
Jeans  - H&M
flats - DSW
Scarf - Golden Tote

Sweater - Golden Tote
Tank - Target
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes - Toms

Then I got sick and wore nothing but pajamas for 2 days. It wasn't pretty.

This is my I still feel awful but I have plans I can't really cancel so I must put on actual clothes outfit

Cardigan - Liz Claiborne (thrifted)
tshirt - Target
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Grey flats thrifted
owl pendant - Michaels on a chain I reuse for all silver pendants

My I may actually survive this cold outfit without blazer and with blazer
Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft (thrifted)
Blazer: Ann Taylor (thrifted)
Jeans: Levi's
Shoes - Ann Taylor Loft

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10 Things to Smile About - February Edition

I'm participating in the 10 Things to Smile About Linkup with Emmy Mom.  I love the idea of ending the month focusing on the positive especially as I have a tendency to get bogged down in To Do lists!  February was a great month and I can't believe it's over already!

1. That we're a surprisingly healthy group.  I've had a little cold the last couple of days and there's nothing like feeling bad to make you appreciate that you feel good most of the time!

2. That warm weather may be right around the corner!  It's been in the 60s the last couple of days and the daffodils and tulip plants are starting to appear.
I love when the yard looks like this!

3.  The Tornado is OBSESSED with Star Wars lately.  We read Star Wars books, play with Star Wars toys and watch the Star Wars movie over and over.  I'm not sure who is more excited about this - the Tornado or J.

4.  Neutrogena Light Sesame Formula Body Oil.  My skin is crazy dry during winter.  Between the dry (well for Alabama) air, the cranked up heat and the extra hot showers and baths I would happily scratch the skin off my legs.  However, when I actually read the directions on this and applied it to damp skin it absorbed right in and finally provided some relief!  Now I might be able to salvage my legs for shorts season.

5.  These two:
They'd probably both kill me if they saw these pictures but they're rarely still enough enough to get decent pictures and the pic on the right is just so Ringo being himself I couldn't resist.  The two of them are just so funny and quick witted.  Dinner generally takes forever because everyone is talking.   I'm sure at some point I'll want to throttle one or both of them but right now we've hit one of those sweet spots of parenting.

6.  We're going mattress shopping this weekend!  Our mattress is insanely awful to the point that if I lay in the wrong spot I end up feeling a little motion sick because of the slant.  I cannot WAIT to actually be able to sleep on a flat surface.

7.  The owls have taken up residence in some of our trees.  I love listening to them hoot back and forth.

8.  It's almost time to start seeds for the garden!  I have 2 raised beds this year and can't wait to get stuff started. Tomatoes are my favorite and I always love seeing the different varieties I can grow.  I also can't wait for cucumbers, squash, bell peppers and all the fresh herbs.  I'm thinking about trying tomatillos but I'm not sure if I have enough sun for them.  

9.  Valentine's Day ended up being wonderful.  I started the day in a cranky mood but we ended up having a nice dinner and then J and I actually sat and watched a movie together after I put the Tornado to bed.  It wasn't big and exciting but it was nice just to have the time to sit together and talk and watch the movie.  Need to work nights like that in more often.

10.  I can read without my contacts with my Kindle!  This may not seem like a big deal but my vision is really really bad.  Like so bad that if I'd been born 100 years ago I'd be considered blind.  My contact prescription is a -9.5 which essentially means that I cannot get a book close enough to my face to actually read it.  But if I put the Kindle on it's largest text setting I can read it!  Granted people in the space station can probably read it too.  This makes me feel way less helpless without contacts which means I will probably take contacts out occasionally at night which will make my eye doctor very happy.  Apparently sleeping in contacts for months at a time isn't what you're supposed to do.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Golden Tote Review - February

I love Golden Tote!  This my 2nd tote from them and I'm once again impressed by the value of the bag and the quality of the items.  Once a month you can go to Golden Tote's site and pick 1 of 2 bags - $49 or $149.  I picked the $49 which means I get to pick 1 item and am then surprised by the rest.

Here's the item I picked:

This is the Retro Chic Jersey Dress in mint size small which is $52 in their boutique.  The dress is a super soft jersey that clings just enough to provide some shape.  The sleeves are gathered around the elbow with just a little bit of fullness.  For me it's on the borderline of too short but I think with tights it'd be really cute.  I'm short torsoed with long legs and about 5 foot 4 so I think if you were built much differently this would definitely be in tunic territory.

Now for the extras:
This scarf is in different shades of soft blue that change throughout the length and has sections of striping.  I tied the ends together to make it an infinity type loop but it'd be gorgeous in any kind of drape.  I love the colors and will get a ton of wear out of this.

This wrap sweater was a little challenging to get to drape right when I first put it on but I love it.  The fabric is a translucent almost mesh type material.  The sleeves were a little snug but not restricting.  The sweater wears well.  I wore this out to dinner and then to do some shopping and when I got home it was still exactly where it was supposed to be, not bunched up like other wrap sweaters I have tried.

Once again I'm in love with Golden Tote.  I think next month I might splurge and get the $149 tote and I can't wait!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February Thrifting

I only went thrifting twice this month but both trips were fantastic!  For a total of $44.23 I got 1 blazer, 1 coat, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of pants, 2 skirts, 3 sweaters, a cardigan and a couple of shirts. I found Emma a sweater and 2 t shirts. She collects random t shirts and was thrilled with one a friend found but let me buy that said "I survived the 1985 Huntsville Ala Freeze".  I don't think I've ever seen the girl more excited over a shirt which is a little strange since not only was she not born in 1985 but didn't actually have any family living in Huntsville in 1985.

Here's my favorite outfit from this month's trip:

Green Chinos - NYC & Co.  I may have them hemmed about a 1/2 inch or so.  I only paid $.25 so I think they're still a bargain.
Yellow shirt - J.Jill
Coat - Forever 21.  I have to sew a button back onto the cuff but luckily it has an extra.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday 5!

I'm linking up with Emmy Mom.  5 thoughts and 5 pictures from this week!

1.  We went to The Lego Movie Saturday and loved it.  The Tornado actually sat through the entire thing which I really wasn't expecting.  J and I identified a bit with the bad guy at the end.  It was a lot of fun now if only I could that song out of my head.

2.  Went thrifting Wednesday with some friends and had a great time and found some good stuff.  I found a white coat with big buttons unlike the regular white coat that I already own.  I adore coats and seem to attract them.  I also got Emma an "I Survived the 1985 Huntsville Freeze" tshirt that she's in love with.  She's a strange one.

3.  I just finished reading "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier.  How did I not know that the Hitchcock movie was based off a short story by the woman who wrote Rebecca???  The concept of the movie never seemed all the scary but the book?  Seriously creepy.

4. I'm not in love with the Postal Service right now.  My Ipsy bag which was supposed to be here on Tuesday seems to be stuck in either Birmingham or Eutaw (which I'm not even sure where that is).  I want my Ipsy bag!!!  Luckily Golden Tote (review Monday) was delivered by UPS so it showed up on Wednesday.

5.  I've been watching Numbers on Netflix lately and loving it.  I've adored Rob Morrow ever since his days in Northern Exposure and I'm loving him as an FBI agent.  J told me he has lost all respect for me as a TV viewer which doesn't suprise me.  What surprises me was that it was Numbers vs. The Bachelor or Dancing With the Stars

This nightlight may put me over the edge to crazy owl lady instead of someone who just has a lot of owls.  At least that's what Emma says.


This happened over the weekend down the street from us.  It started with the clothes dryer.  Don't put stuff on top of yours or let it run when you're not around.  This is the 2nd house I've seen decimated for this reason.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 32 Cupcakes - Skinny Chocolate

I've seen one version or another of this cupcake recipe floating around on Pinterested since I joined but I was always a little scared to try them.  I mean seriously - a mix and diet coke?  How can that possibly edible?  When I stumbled on this recipe from one of my favorite and most reliable food blogs I decided to give it a try.  The time and effort was minimal, cake mix was on sale and I always have Diet Coke on hand so even it did go terribly wrong it wouldn't be a big was of time and expense.

1. Source: Six Sister's Stuff

2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 1.5.  A little more stirring than cake mix/canned icing but that's about all the difference.

3. Changes Made:  For whatever reason my grocery store was sold out of Cookies and Cream pudding mix so I used white chocolate instead.

4. Problems:  The pudding mix and Cool Whip didn't go together very easily.  Next time I think I would use a hand mixer instead of just a whisk.

5.  Overall Impression:  The cake is light and fluffy with a good chocolatey flavor and none of the weird "diet" flavor or aftertaste that I was afraid of.  Mine stuck to the liner a little more than I like but not so much that I lost 3/4 of the cake which I've had happen before.  It tastes like a good chocolate cupcake.  My mind is still a little blown.  I didn't love the frosting as much.  The Cool Whip and the pudding turned a little gummy.  I don't know if it was because of my pudding choice or because I didn't whip it enough.  I'll probably try it again with a hand mixer but with as low calorie as the cake is I think I could probably just use of the whipped frostings in the freezer section and still have a low calorie cupcake.

6. Quantity:  20 - I always come up a little short

7. Make Again?: Definitely though I may do something different with the frosting.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

I'm linking up for What I Wore Wednesday with The Pleated Poppy in hopes to stay somewhat inspired to wear something other than yoga pants.  This week it was a little warmer so I actually wore pants that had buttons!  Big step up from last week!

Errand day and apparently I missed a spot on my mirror right about shoe level.  That's all kinds of annoying.
Top - Talbots (thrifted)
Jeans - Chico's (thrifted)
Shoes - Target
I loved the white and light blue but these jeans are just too big.  I think I'm going to have to cave and pay retail if I actually want white jeans that fit.

Yep those shoes again.  If you can't tell they're my current favorite.

Sweater - Modern Apple via Golden Tote
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes - Target

Wore this outfit to take the Tornado to a movie Saturday

Green Cardigan - Target
Plum colored top - Old Navy
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Boots - Aerosole (thrifted)

For a thrifting trip -
Army Jacket - H&M (thrifted)
shirt - Old Navy
Leggings - Wal-Mart
Shoes - Toms

For Book Club -
Navy Blazer - Ralph Lauren (thrifted)
Navy Striped Shirt - American Eagle (thrifted)
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Brown Heels - Ann Taylor Loft
Gold Owl Necklace - Lauren Conrad

This is my staying at home yet still wearing actual pants outfit -
Top - Christopher Banks (thrifted)
Jeans - White House Black Market (thrifted)
Shoes - Rock & Candy

*I have removed word verification from the Comment section*

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Favorite Drugstore Beauty Items

In college and in the few years after college I used to spend insane amounts of money on makeup.  I went years without glancing at the makeup section when I ran into Target.  Then when I left work to be a SAHM the reality of only having one income became a factor so I had to start tightening my belt a little on the makeup front.  I also started to get less joy in going to the counters and looking at all the new collections and colors.  I'm not saying I don't love my occasional trip into Sephora, it's just not as important to me.  Also, I started turning into my father and I started becoming cheap.  The idea of spending $20 on a lip gloss would just about make me pass out now.  Luckily, I've found some products I love for a lower price and easy to grab when I run into Target to pick up one of the hundreds of things I always find myself running into Target for.

I actually got this through Birchbox but I love it.  I don't have sensitive skin but it does get dry especially during the winter.  This moisturizer has kept my skin soft and I haven't had a breakout since I've been using it.  The fragrance is on the herby side but it fads upon application.  It's definitely made me want to take another look at Burt's Bees skincare line.

I don't need much coverage but I do want some evening out of skin tone and just a more polished look and this definitely provides that.  I've used some higher priced BB Creams and so far this is my favorite one.  I'm fair skinned with freckles and the light/medium works great for me.

I was actually using a concealer I'd bought at Sephora when I picked this up and to be honest I like this one better.  The sponge tip makes the application really easy and it blends in very nicely.  I use this in brighten.

This is my favorite mascara of all time.  I don't have to worry about curl but I do need definition and length and this mascara does the trick without flaking or irritating my somewhat sensitive eyes.  I've tried others but I always come back to this one.

I love this shampoo and conditioner.  My hair always feels great and styles better after using it.  I love the scent and the whole flashback to middle school/high school when I desperately wanted this product makes me giggle a bit.

I love Sonia Kashuk brushes.  I've had some for 12 years or more and they've held up as well as my high end brushes.  

I love this stuff!  It's essentially a topcoat for your eyelids.  A little goes a long way so the bottle lasts forever and it's only $3!  I use maybe a drop for both eyelids and brush it on very lightly after doing my eye makeup.  It's a little sticky for a few minutes but it goes away once it dries.  This is a great way to get more out of drug store eye shadows that have great color but not great lasting power.

These are products I use everyday and love.  I'm still in search of an eye cream that helps with puffiness and a good body lotion to keep my dry legs in check.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Birchbox Review - February

This month's Birchbox was partnered with US Weekly with a Red Carpet theme.  Not quite sure how I feel about this box.  I have marked on my profile that I don't want hair products and this is the 3rd month in a row I've gotten them plus this took up 2 items of my box.  Occasionally I don't mind and I've actually gotten some great stuff (amika dry shampoo and Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect) but I'm just not thrilled with them being such a large percentage of the box.  They're nice just not something I'm excited about.  So enough whining this is what I got:

Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish in Ride 'em Cowgirl

Okay this is pretty fun.  Inside it looks like a clear polish with chunky gold glitter.  Outside it looks like a light red polish with more of a copper glitter.  Would definitely be great during the summer especially at the pool or beach.  It did chip pretty easily but I think a top coat would fix that up.  Size was a small nail polish bottle - a little bigger than the OPI minis.

Bain de Terre Passion Flower Color Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner
In terms of color preserving I don't really have an opinion but I was not impressed with this shampoo at all.  It smell nice but it didn't leave my hair feeling very clean and I ended up using a lot of product.  The conditioner is nice - very hydrating with a nice light fragrance but nothing particularly special.  I'm going to give the shampoo another try but right now I'm not impressed.  These came in nice sized travel bottles.

Joan Vass Leau de Amethyste
I love this perfume!  It's crisp without smelling like a lemon with touches of floral.  The lasting power is good without being overpowering.  This would be a wonderful everyday perfume.  I may splurge and spend some of my points on this!  This came in a larger than normal sample tube with a spray top.

Previse HydroMilk
So I didn't read the instructions carefully enough and used this on my face when I tried it.  The good news is that it worked great.  It didn't feel too heavy and didn't irritate my skin.  Tonight though I'm going to give it a try on my actual legs and see how it works there.  This is a nice thick creamy lotion with no scent and no greasy residue.  This came in a little cardboard package with enough product for maybe 2 uses.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

This Week in Food

This week didn't exactly go as planned food-wise because of this:

Now this doesn't look like much to most people but in Alabama where we get snow that actually sticks to the ground maybe once every 3 years it's disastrous.  No one knows how to drive on ice because we never have too.  Roads don't get cleared because our entire county only has one truck that does snow related things.  Not to mention we're cold because most of us have heat pumps that don't do very well in below freezing temperatures.  Cold makes me cranky and lazy.

What We Did Manage to Eat -

Fajitas - this is one of my go to recipes when I'm in a crunch because they're so good and I always have the ingredients on hand.  I make the tortillas using this recipe from Mom on Timeout.  They're so good and simple to make.  They take a little more time but they're so worth it.   Plus I love that I control the thickness.

I did manage to make Italian Tomato and Pasta Soup from Nigella Kitchen.  After her last soup didn't turn out right I was a little concerned about this one.  I really shouldn't have been because it was wonderful.  The starch from the pasta did thicken the soup up beautifully and the flavor was great. I used my immersion blender in the pot instead of a vegetable mill to make the soup smooth but that was the only change.  Next time I think I will add a little more herbs just to spice it up a bit.  I served it with this Quick Sour Cream Cheese Bread which was also super good and perfect with the soup.

For Valentine's Day we had macaroni and cheese and chocolate milk shakes (the Tornado picked the menu) and I learned that cream is a very tasty substitute for milk and a little bit of water works great for thinning it out.  I think I'll be making milkshakes with cream from now on!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Five! Snow!

This is a linkup hosted by Emmy Mom where you share 5 thoughts and 5 pictures from this past week!

This was a big week for us in North Alabama because we had something that we very rarely see - snow that actually stuck to the ground!

1.  I'm seriously craving a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit right now.  Fried chicken goodness on a buttery biscuit!  I may have to talk J in to going there tomorrow morning.

2.  I'm feeling so un-Valentine-y right now it's ridiculous.  I don't know if it's all the grey weather, the snow and ice getting us off schedule, everyone being home for 3 days which drives my inner introvert crazy after awhile or lack of exercise but my mood is foul.  The sun's out, the house is empty, I"m getting my workout video ready and everyone's back where they're supposed to be so hopefully that will get turned around.  We are doing a little dinner tonight.  The Tornado helped me pick the menu so it's macaroni and cheese (with smoked gouda - SO good) and chocolate milkshakes.

3.  I'm loving The Taste on ABC right now.  Really I just want to listen to Nigella Lawson speak and Marcus is such a decent guy.  Definitely looking forward to the finale next week.  Can't wait to see who wins.

4.  We've been watching the Olympics some this week.  I love figure skating!  I haven't watched it ages though in the last winter Olympics I watched the ice dancing because that was always on at 3AM when I was up feeding a very very tiny Tornado!  The luge completely mystifies me though.  I get the sport aspect of it but what I don't get is how does it start.  I know you have to start training for most things insanely young so at what point do you tell your child "Yes, dear of course you can start training for a sport that involves sliding down a long track at about 80mph with only a tiny sled and a helmet."  I just don't see this conversation coming up!

5.  We're taking the Tornado to see his first movie tomorrow and he and J are beyond excited about it.  I have commitment issues with movies so I'm not quite as excited but it should still be fun.  We're going to go see the Lego movie.  Emma saw it last weekend with her boyfriend and hasn't stopped raving about it since.

I actually have pictures this week!

This is why having a 16 year old boy around is entertaining - they do stuff like this.  He just ran out to see if he could.  This was the first snow day when we only had maybe an inch.

This was the 2nd day where we had at least 4 or 5 inches.  The Tornado was fascinated.

A little boy and his dog.

A rare Emma in the snow sighting.  She doesn't do cold weather.

I'm still not sold on the whole snow thing but I have to admit the house does look pretty.