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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sluggish Sunday

This was actually Thursday the day after we got back but the sentiment is the same.  I'm tired and not particularly inspired to do any project or anything creative.  There is laundry to be done, a few posts to be written and a little cleaning to be done.  J has come down with a cold that he is completely ignoring and I'm trying to fight it off because I'm not quite as tough as he is so I'll be drinking some green tea and hoping that will give my immune system a bump.

This month I only went thrifting once.  I had a fantastic time and got a few sweaters but didn't write anything down.  This week nothing got cooked except for fajitas.

Yesterday I had lunch with the mother of Emma's new boyfriend?  guy she's dating?  I don't know and I'm doing my best not to worry about it.  Both the boy and the mother are very nice but it was a lot of talking.  I'm mostly an introvert with a tiny portion of extrovert and the extrovert has fulfilled it's quota for the week.  Starting tomorrow we go back to our normal routine and I'm hoping for a quiet week where I can get caught up on everything.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday 5 - Recovering from Vacation

This is a fun meme hosted by Emmy Mom.  5 facts and 5 pictures from your week.  This week we went on vacation and not just any vacation a spontaneous vacation.  Like all last week I didn't think we were doing anything and then on Thursday I said lets go to my grandparents and I packed up the car and Emma, Paul, the Tornado and myself headed down to south Mississippi.  I'm not spontaneous at all.  I have a spreadsheet for just about everything so this was huge for me!  Anyway - my 5 facts from the week!

1.  Traveling with a 4 year old is not particularly relaxing especially when you're the only adult. I've felt like I needed a nap since we got home.

2.  Emma went on a date yesterday with a guy she met at work.  He seemed very nice and polite and even opened the car door for her but I was a nervous wreck most of the day.  This is the first date she's been on with someone I didn't know.  At some point I supposed you have to trust your kid's instincts but it's challenging.

3.  We all had a great time in Mississippi.  My grandparents live on some land and we spent the week tearing around on 4 wheelers and motorized scooters.  Paul and Emma spent a lot of time at a nearby river and the Tornado and I played games and chalk and ran around with the dogs.

4.  I'm loving Dancing With the Stars this season.  It's total indulgence and just fun to watch.  I love Erin Andrews since I watched her compete the very first season I watched and she's great as a co-host.  Plus she can actually do an interview which is a nice change from Brooke Burke whatever who just spent a lot of time smiling awkwardly.

5.  The Tornado is having seasonal allergy issues and is driving me insane.  Every time he sneezes he goes completely to pieces especially in any got on his shirt or pants.  I'm glad that zyrtec makes an allergy medicine for his age group or I'm not sure what I'd do.

Crossing the Alabama/Mississippi State Line.  

The Tornado running - that's pretty much what he did the entire time we were there.

This is Smudge.  Someone dumped her when we were there last spring break and Emma and I managed to get her out of the garage.  She's been living happily inside ever since and is actually a pretty good cat which is high praise.

 This is the biggest dog I've ever seen trying to help the Tornado with chalk.  He's another animal someone dumped when he was a puppy who managed to land in the right place.  We think he's a mastiff/St. Bernard/bloodhound mix.  He's huge and just about the sweetest dog I've ever seen.

This is how we spent yesterday - in pajamas and not doing much of anything!  It was nice.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Week 37 Cupcakes - Easter Funfetti

These cupcakes got made for 2 reasons.  The first is that I got back in town yesterday and I'm tired and kind of out of food.  The second is that these are J's absolute favorite cupcakes ever.  Seriously.  I've made at least 100 different types of cupcakes and his favorite come directly from a box.  To add on to that when the Tornado had one he told me that these were the best cupcakes he'd ever had.  These people are hopeless.  I have actually made funfetti cupcakes before during the previous 36 weeks but they were a different color scheme and therefore not the same thing.

1. Source:
2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 1 because it was a cake mix and canned icing

3. Changes Made: None because it was a cake mix and canned icing.

4. Problems:  None because it was a cake mix and canned icing (are you sensing a theme?)

5.  Overall Impression:  Well these are a cake mix and canned icing so pretty much what you'd expect.  The cake is light and fluffy and the icing is sweet though has that funny aftertaste that the icing always has.  For some reason I can 't stop eating them so I'm guessing whatever it is is very addictive.

6. Quantity:  18 - I always overfill

7. Make Again?:Yes.  They're extremely addicting and really cute.  Plus I think J may mutiny if I stopped making them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

10 Smiles in the Month of March

This is a linkup with Emmy Mom about 10 things that made me happy this month!

1.  Finally getting a smart phone!  I love love love my iPhone and the camera makes it about 100 times easier to take pictures of things and then be able to see what they are.

2.  Golden Tote arrived!  I got the bigger tote and it's fantastic as you can tell by the review yesterday!

3.  We got a new mattress!  It's heavenly to be sleeping on a flat service though it's a little disorienting to not be able to tell where you are on the bed based on the slant of the mattress.

He discovered garden stores aren't so bad.

It's finally been warm enough to play outside lately!

My daffodils are blooming!

Cadbury eggs!  I hoard these when they go on sale

8.  It's been a great month for subscription boxes!  Ipsy, Birchbox and Golden Tote were great and I also got MyIreland and Target's limited edition Beauty box.

9.  J, the Tornado and I went on a spontaneous day trip and had such a good time.

10. Am completely 100% caught up on laundry!  It's kind of a weird feeling.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March Golden Tote Review

Golden Tote is a kind of a subscription service that is quickly becoming my favorite.  Each month they have about a dozen new clothing and accessory items to pick from.  It's not automatically billed or anything like that.  The site has either  a $49 tote where you pick 1 item and get 1 or 2 more other items based on your style profile or buy a $149 tote and get 5 or 6 more items.  This month I splurged and bought the $149 tote and I"m completely and totally in love!

 This chevron print open weave cardigan is one of the 2 items I picked.  It's by Love Stitch in a size small.  I think it's really versatile and will be a great in between seasons piece.

 This sweatshirt is the second item I picked.  It's by Beautifully and I got it in a size medium because I like my sweatshirts a little big.  I'm glad I did because it's definitely a little short.  It's super soft and the gems are actually sewn on and have a good weight to them.  You do have to be careful when taking it off though so that you don't scratch yourself.

 This sleeveless slit top blouse is a really pretty blue print.  It's a silky material that is super comfortable and flowy.  It's by Under Skies and also a size small.  It can be dressed up or down really easily.

 This v-neck shirt is by Porridge and a size small.  It's pretty low cut so I think I"ll wear a cami or tank under it but I like the flow of it.  Below is the back and I love it!  It's not sheer at all which I was afraid that it would be.  It's super soft and light weight so I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it.

 I adore this sweater.  It's open weave and the texture is almost mesh like but is still really soft.  It's so lightweight it can be worn with shorts so I'll get a lot of wear out of this one as well.

I was a little nervous when I saw this in the box.  I'm not a huge fan of maxi dresses and was afraid this was what this was.  I was still nervous when I discovered that it wasn't because I didn't love the dress when I saw it.  Then I put it on and realized that the Golden Tote people are genius.  It's soft and lightweight, it's figure flattering which I didn't expect and is so comfortable.  There's a cutout back detail that hits perfectly at the lower back. I think it will look really cute with a pink or bright blue cardigan and a pair of sandals.

Once again I'm nothing but impressed with Golden Tote's selections.  I probably won't get the $149 bag more than a couple of times a year because I'd be overrun with clothes but I will definitely be ordering the $49 every month.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

This Week in Food

I feel like things were a bit to chaotic to actually do any cooking this week but looking back on it I find that I cooked every night.  Weird how that happens.

I've been using Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen by Sarah Wells and Kate Jones lately and loving it.  Since I'm a big fan of the blog this wasn't a surprise.  The monkey bread recipe out of the book was insanely good.  It uses honey which I'm pretty sure makes everything better.  We had that for dinner with scrambled eggs and bacon and everyone was happy.  Well except J, he had toast.  We don't think he's human sometimes.

Then Monday came St. Patrick's Day.  I made a cheddar Guinness soup where I discovered that while I like Guinness and I like cheddar I do not  care for the flavor combination.  Then I made Soda bread from My Irish Table.  It was good.  Like I now understand why soda bread is a thing kind of good.  As someone of pretty hefty Irish heritage it was a  little embarrassing that I didn't particularly care for soda bread.  Then I made this from an Irish cookbook from an Irish chef and I feel all better now.  This book is gorgeous and I plan on buying it in hardcover form soon as I just have it in kindle form and I don't like cookbooks on the kindle.

The next night was not a night for inspired cooking but I was rescued by a seasoning blend.  I have a ton of tasty seasoning blends floating around - mostly from Penzeys.  I sliced some chicken up, crusted it with a jerk seasoning blend and we had chicken sandwiches.

For the big finale I invented my own recipe!  I'm not good at this.  I can follow a recipe.  I can tell if a recipe will be good just by reading it but I am missing the brain cells that let me create my own.  Thursday night however I did just that with a little help from Paul and a Martha Stewart pancake recipe. Paul has been working at McDonald's for the last 6 months and has fallen in love with McGriddles with the exception of the weird aftertaste/film that remains after eating one.  But we did it!  And they were good!  Paul and I could have eaten about 10 of them.  Emma has discovered that she doesn't like the bacon/sweet combination which makes us question her humanness.  J wouldn't even try them but we'd kind of already given up on him.

This week won't be quite so interesting as spring break always makes food a low priority!  I'm thinking funfetti cupcakes for the cupcake of the week this week!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Random Saturday - The Scary Lawn Statue Pictures

Last Saturday J and I went to a garden store because one of our fountains didn't survive the freezing temperatures this winter.  We don't normally go to this store because it's a bit out of the way and normally pretty expensive.  It will probably be awhile before we go back because it's pretty expensive and everything is enormous.  We did, however, find some truly terrifying lawn statue/decorations.

 If you have around $900 to spare this metal family of pigs could be yours.

 This would't be so bad except it's HUGE.  Like 2 feet around.

 This copper steer is also a grill and for $2500 you could have this on your deck!

 I like owls quite a bit but I think this one would give me nightmares.

 The good thing about this little gem is that I can text the picture to the kids when they're not behaving or when I think they need a little shaking up and tell them to behave.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday 5 - The Week of Creepy Pictures

This week I'm linking up with Emmy Mom and Nicole at Life's a Beach for the Friday 5.  It's a fun way to end the week with 5 facts and 5 pictures about the past week.

1.  We ended up going on a spontaneous adventure Saturday which is so not our usual style but so much fun.  We drove to this little town near us where they have an old fashioned hardware store and some gorgeous houses including one that we decided has to be haunted.

2.  This week was also the birthday party of a friends' little girl and the Tornado has been looking forward to it for WEEKS!  It was such fun.  The friend always does a fantastic job with playdates and parties and this one was no exception.

3.  We have finally made our spring break plans and it looks like the kids and I will be heading out of town down to south Mississippi to stay with my grandparents for a few days.  They live in the middle of nowhere and have an assortment of animals and lots of places to wander so it's always a good time.  I don't think J is going to make it but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

4.  Our allergies are all going crazy right now.  I'm about 50% benadryl.  Paul should be but he gets all teenager-y stubborn/forgetful and doesn't take any which makes him sniffly all the time.  The Tornado is having some problems especially in the morning.  Not sure if he's going to school today but I'm hoping the allergy medicine will kick in because he's not a good patient.

5.  Speaking of teenager-y problems Emma broke up with her boyfriend this week.  It's always awful when stuff happens that you can't fix for them.  I let her take a personal day the day after and she seems to be doing okay with it.

 He was so excited he got to use a cart his own size when we made a quick run to the grocery store.

For the low price of $300 you can own this terrifying lawn statue.

 Found this house on a drive through the area around us.  It has to be haunted right?

The Tornado in his St. Patrick's Day shirt.
The dessert table at a Lego Movie Themed birthday party we went too this weekend.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Week 36 Cupcake - Peanut Butter Cupcake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations and one I've been seriously craving lately.  I think all the Reeses' eggs that are everywhere tempt me.  Something about the seasonal Reeses' make them hard for me to pass up.  So when I saw these peanut butter cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting I decided this may be the answer.  Plus the recipe makes 12 which is high on my priority list.

1. Source:  Sally's Baking Addiction
2. Ease of Recipe (1 being cake mix/canned icing - 5 tons of steps and very time consuming): 2.  Just a cake and frosting so pretty simple.

3. Changes Made:  I was out of dark brown sugar so I had to substitute light.  Also, I didn't have the cute little mini-Reeses' to top the cupcakes with because 2 unknown people (J and the Tornado) got into the bag I had bought and ate them all.

4. Problems:  Mine needed less cooking time than called for.  Since I was paying complete attention they got a little overdone.  Next time I would shorten the cooking time by 2 or 3 minutes at least.

5.  Overall Impression:  I really wish I hadn't overbaked these because they would've been fabulous.  I always taste the batter before it goes into the oven but in this case I ended up eating it out of the bowl with a spoon.  It was amazing - probably one of the best ever.  So peanut buttery and amazing.  My cake texture was dry but that was due to over baking.  The frosting was a little heavy though the flavor and sweetness were really good.  Next time I'll try whipping it on high speed for an additional minute or two or substitute half the cream for milk.  Other than these 2 tiny problems (one my fault) the cupcakes were absolutely everything you could want to satisfy a chocolate peanut butter craving.

6. Quantity:  12

7. Make Again?:  Yes, though I'll watch the baking time  a little more carefully.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

In an effort to get inspired about clothes to keep myself out of yoga pants everyday and to prevent myself from eating large quantities of Cadbury Eggs I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday!

This looked better on but I think it was a little too much black for me -

Jacket - H&M (thrifted)
T-shirt - Target
Jeans - Wal-Mart
Boots - Aerosole (thrifted)

I didn't love this outfit when it was on but seeing it the picture I'm going to have to rethink it.  It's kind of cute.

Sweater - Gap (thrifted)
Scarf - Target
Jeans - Target
Boots - Apt 9 (thrifted)
 Blazer - Glenfield (thrifted)
Top - Banana Republic (thrifted)
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes - Ann Taylor Loft

 My dog was most insistent on being in this picture.  I think she knew we were about to go abandon her for the rest of the day.  For a spontaneous Saturday adventure -

Cardigan - Target
Tank - Ann Taylor Loft (thrifted)
Jeans - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shoes - Target
Necklace - Lauren Conrad/Kohls - it's actually really cute.  It's an owl with glasses!

 And apparently the dog needed to be included again.  This sweater actually has a lot of silver thread so it's really shimmery.  It also has a zipper down the back and looks better in person.
Sweater - Forever 21 (thrifted)
Jeans - Target
Shoes - DSW

And finally -
Sweater - American Eagle (thrifted)
Tank - Target
Jeans - H&M
Shoes - Ann Taylor Loft

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Reasons Teenagers are Great

This week I was planning on doing by post for the Leibster Award that the adorable Maria over at Not Fancy, Just Life nominated me for.  However, that became a casualty of a busy weekend and a 2 day soul crushing headache.  If anyone knows any good blogs with less than 300 followers please let me know!  I need a few more.

So instead, we have the Top Ten Reasons Teenagers are Great.  This week's list was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend at a party a week or so ago.  She has kids who are around the Tornado's age and is terrified of having teenagers.  J and I are a little unusual in that we're a blended family (the true his, hers and ours kind of blended) so we have older teenagers and a preschooler.  The Tornado is of course the ours, 1 of the teenagers is mine and 2 are his but we've been married forever (well 11 years) and have always been custodial so I've given up worrying on the whose kid is whose kind of thing.  All of this craziness does give us an interesting perspective on the advantages of having non-4 year olds.  So after lots and lots of rambling here's my:

Top Ten Reasons Teenagers are Great:

1.  No more babysitters!  Want to go on a date night?  Go for a drive and a lunch at a new interesting sounding restaurant that no kid would want to set foot in?  No need to hunt down an available and hopefully responsible teenager.  You just say "See you in a few hours." and you leave!  It's magic.

2.  No more worrying about bedtime routines.  Once they get past 14 or 15 are bedtime routine consisted of a knock on the door and "Hey, shouldn't you be trying to go to sleep?"  No stalling, no stories, no arguing about brushing teeth just a simple "Go to bed"

3. You can have an actual conversation with them or around them.  With the Tornado dinner time is still more of chaotic event where we're trying to include him in the conversation without letting him interrupt but keeping him at the table.  With teenagers they are able to be included in actual conversations (or you can let them stare at their phones in which case it's easy to ignore them).
(this picture was taken during the 10 day power outage we had after a tornado a few years ago so excuse all the mess.  Also, it was apparently near Easter)

4.  No more awkward small talk with other parents when you pick them up from a friend's house.  Get there in the morning to pick them up after they've spent the night.  Just text them "Here" and in a few minutes they come out.  It's lovely.  You're also no longer obligated to stay for parties.

5.  No more kids' shows!  I have done my time with Lizzie McGuire, Hannah Montana and the oddly fascinating Wizards of Waverly Place.  They're old enough now where I no longer need to monitor their TV which is great because they watch some really awful sounding stuff.

6.  You have an idea of how you've screwed them up.  With the Tornado we don't know what possible hangups he'll have because of us.  With the older 3 we've got a pretty good idea.  It takes a little weight off your shoulders once you see you haven't messed them up too much!

7.  They have their own transportation.  Once they get above 15 or 16 they start having friends that can drive or they start being able to drive.  Them driving means you don't have too!  Oh you have to be across town at 8AM on a Saturday?  Be very quiet so as not to wake me up!

8.  You don't have to stay for practices.  Emma and Paul have played soccer for years.  All 3 were in band at one time or another.  All of those evenings stuck watching them practice whatever it is that they've got going on are over.  If I have to drop them off at all it consists of a "See you in a couple of hours.  Call me if it ends early."

9.  Watching them become actual people is really kind of fun.  They're developing the interests that will actually turn into their careers.  Eleanor already has her major declared, Emma is talking law school and Paul is researching the military.  It's terrifying and amazing all at the same time.

10.  You get to start figuring out what to do with their rooms once they have homes of their own.  The time they've got left with you is not so long anymore and it's growing shorter everyday.  So you can leave their rooms as shrines to them or you can turn them into something else.  I have plans for all of their rooms though I have agreed to wait until they have actual homes of their own and not just dorm rooms but they know it's a temporary lease!