Wednesday, January 13, 2016

10 Products That Actually Work

Yesterday I found myself perched in front of a low shelf at my local T.J.Maxx/Homegoods ...waist deep in one time use Korean beauty masks, Aloe vera sock treatments and a variety of items that boasted ingredients like "real volcanic ash!" "compressed diamond fibers!" "mineral sea salt extract!" when it occurred to me...I'm addicted to miracle products.  I mean, who doesn't love the idea of phenomenal, instentatious results?  In most cases I'd go gaga for somewhat noticeable, slowly developing results!  I can tell you with confidence, however- and if you have a similar addiction I'm sure you'll agree- that's not how things typically play out.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...except for these gems.  Every so often a blind squirrel finds a nut, as they say, and over time I've developed a small arsenal of products that just plain work.  Here's a few of my favorites...

1. Bare Minerals Blemish Therapy: The trick to this is to use it the moment you start to feel a pimple developing...I'm always astounded at how well it works.  I can neither confirm nor deny that a few males in my family use it regularly as well.

2. Egyptian Magic: I first discovered Egyptian Magic at- of all places- Costco.  The price was a little steep for skin cream but you know how it goes when you're in the zone buying in the cart it went.  It is, by far, the most hydrating product I've ever purchased.  The consistency might throw you off at first (it's more of a balm than a cream) but the results are unparalleled.

3. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask: So, my lips get really dry in the winter.  Really, really, really dry (and cracked and peel-y and the whole enchilada).  They've been especially bad this winter and after trying everything I could think of (including, but not limited to, other items on this list), I finally found my solution in this lip mask.  Just before bed I exfoliate my lips with a sugar scrub, then use just a smidgen of product.  Come morning I'm a new woman.

4. Moroccan Oil: Nothing smells better, nothing works better.  Keeps my relatively thin hair shiny and smooth without looking greasy.  The best.

5. Wet Brush: This is the most fabulous detangling brush for wet or dry hair (though it's particularly amazing when hair is wet).  It's the only brush I've ever used that doesn't feel like it's doing damage to my hair...knots just glide right out.  

6. CeraVe: I've only been using this facial moisturizer for a few months but my skin loves it.  A little goes a long way, the rate I'm going I should finish my first jar circa 2025.

7. Sweater Saver: I love our living room couch, but after about a year of use I realized it was covered in messy little lint balls.  After purchasing several products that falsely claimed they would rid me of said lint balls, I was at my wits end.  Thankfully my Mom found the Sweater Saver at a little boutique and it worked like a dream.  Every time I use it my couch looks brand new!

8. Foot Rubz: When I purchased this foot massager as a small present to throw in my husband's Christmas stocking I had no idea how much use I'd get out of it.  Although I admittedly hate the fact that whoever named the product substituted a "s" for a "z" in their name (never a z people...never a z), I have to say the dang thing rubs the knots right out of your feet without any pain.

9. Epsom Salt Soaking Solution: There's nothing like an Epsom salt bath to cheaply soothe muscle aches and pains.  I always feel like a remarkably new person whenever I take one, and the smell of this particular product is divine.  

10. Totally Awesome: If you're looking for a 100% organic cleaner made of all natural ingredients...well...keep looking cause this isn't it.  Don't get me wrong, it's not hazardous, but it is strong so ventilation is key.  That being said, boy oh boy does it work!  This stuff gets out everything.  Seriously.  It hasn't let me down yet and I've put it to the task on more than one occasion.

1. Blemish Therapy, Bare Minerals $18  2. Egyptian Magic, Costco $39.99  3. Agave Lip Mask, Bite Beauty $26  4. Moroccan Oil Treatment, Moroccan Oil $44  5. The Wet Brush, Amazon $8.96  6. Moisturizing Cream, CeraVe $12.99  7. Hollywood Sweater Saver, Amazon $7.34  8. Hand and Foot Massager, Foot Rubz $6.26  9. Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Eucalyptus Spearmint, Dr. Teals $4.87  10. Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner, Dollar General $1
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015

And the winning team is...

...Adam, Sam and Blake with the Birthday S'more Sunday!  Great job, Team Blakester.  Were shenanigans potentially involved?  Perhaps.  But you get the W regardless.

The remaining teams were:
Sandi and Nikki with the Peanut Butter and Jelly S'more
Natalie and Denise with the 10 Layer-Better-Than-Sex-Sweet-And-Salty-S'more
Danielle and Davey with Nashville Delight: The Southern Savory and Sweet
Mark and Joey with Trait Du Jour
Papa Joe and Eric with the Philly Cheesesteak S'more
Nadine and Gabby with the Mediterranean S'more
and Lillian and Nick with the Savory Spanish S'more

If you're ever in need of a delicious and unique S'more and Popcorn idea, I hope you'll refer back here.  Honestly, every single one was delicious!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Great Family Challenge: Creative S'more & Popcorn Recipes

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in last month's Great Family Challenge!  We had such an awesome time putting together our pumpkin decorating entries and were thrilled to get such wonderful feedback.  

This month's challenge was a little more outside the box but I'm so pumped to walk you through it.  I wanted to play around with the idea of re-inventing a classic fall snack...adding to or replacing ingredients, toying with savory/sweet and so on.  After some brainstorming we landed on s'mores and popcorn and decided to make this month a creative s'more and popcorn recipe challenge. 

To make things interesting, I cast a really wide net in regards to what we'd consider a "s'more"...the only criteria being 1) you must be able to make them over a bonfire and 2) there must be an element of sandwiching.  As you can imagine, my family took this and really ran with it.  There were no limits whatsoever in regards to the popcorn, except that it should theoretically pair well with the s'more.  

I've gotta say, I was extremely impressed with what everyone came up with!  I tried a little bit of each entry and there wasn't a single dud in the bunch.  I know it's tricky since you can't actually taste the contenders, but I'd recommend voting based on creativity of flavor combinations, plated presentation and the overall deliciousness factor.  Better yet- just vote for what you wish you could try most.  

Just a reminder, you can vote once per day from now until 11:59 next Thursday (11/26...Thanksgiving!) and we'll announce the winner on Friday.  Happy voting!  And the candidates are...

Birthday S'More Sundae
Traditional s'more topped with chocolate ice-cream and rainbow sprinkles 
-paired with-
Popcorn Rice Krispy Treats made of marshmallow, chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles.

Peanut Butter & Jelly S'more
Whipped cream cheese, fire roasted marshmallow and fresh strawberries sandwiched between two grilled Belgian waffles.  Topped with confectionary sugar and drizzled with strawberry jam.
-paired with-
A sweet and salty popcorn treat made with popcorn, peanut butter pretzels cover with dark chocolate and melted peanut butter.

10 Layer-Better Than Sex-Sweet & Salty S'more
Toffee graham cracker sandwiched with layers of roasted marshmallows, french fries, and homemade gooey brownie.  Topped with salty kettle chips and hot fudge, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
-paired with-
Popcorn with brownie balls and fudge
-served with-
Ice cold milk rimmed with fudge and brown sugar

Nashville Delight
The Southern Savory & Sweet
Hattie B's hot chicken, roasted marshmallow on a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut
-paired with-
A duo of popcorns...Ranch flavored with melted butter and Ranch dressing and Dill flavored with fresh dill, garlic powder and melted butter

Trait Du Jour
Bacon, Maple Bacon frosting and roasted marshmallow sandwiched between S'more Poptarts
-paired with-
Deconstructed popcorn...a choose your own adventure popcorn bar that included artisanal salts, chili powder, cinnamon, black pepper, moonshine, whiskey and Meyer lemon juice

Philly Cheesesteak S'more
Steak, onions, Shishito peppers, roasted tomatoes and melted provolone cheese on a ciabatta roll.
-paired with-
Tiramisu Popcorn with Godiva chocolate liquor, espresso and Mascarpone cheese sauce.

Mediterranean S'more
Homemade baklava spread, date honey, roasted marshmallow, and white chocolate sandwiched between white chocolate drizzled graham crackers topped with crushed pistachios.
-paired with-
Popcorn tossed with lemon oil, crispy pancetta, Mediterranean spiced roasted chickpeas and cilantro.

The Savory Spanish S'more
Puff pastry with five cheese, mushroom and onion filling.
-paired with-
Salted caramel spice popcorn seasoned with chili powder, orange zest and tossed with pecans, walnuts, and cranberries in a salt rimmed chocolate bowl.  Drizzled with salted caramel.

My favorite S'more and Popcorn recipe is:

Birthday S'More Sundae
Peanut Butter and Jelly S'more
10 Layer-Better Than Sex-Sweet and Salty S'more
Nashville Delight: The Southern Savory and Sweet
Trait Du Jour
Philly Cheesesteak S'more
Mediterranean S'more
The Savory Spanish S'more
Poll Maker
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wanted: Week 21

1. Shoulder Bag, H&M $34.99  2. Occult Collar, Olivia Palermo for Bauble Bar $68
3. Shimmering Skin Perfector, Sephora $34.00  4. Extra Soft Scarf, Zara $22.90  
5.  Sandcastle Kings, Amazon $12.68   6. Kensington Leather Watch, Revolve $125.00
7. Streaming Bow Leather Gloves, Anthropologie $375  8. Decorative Globe, Target $29.99  
9.  Choceur Dark Hazelnut Crisp, Aldi $1.99  10. Diane von Furstenberg Luggage, Macy's $179.99
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10 Movies to Watch Before Halloween

We're ten short days away from halloween and I am in the zone!  For me, "the zone" means obsessing over a halloween costume (I think I played the Hermione and Ron card too soon into my marriage and now I'm having trouble coming up with a couples costume that tops it #FirstWorldProblems).  For others- most notably my husband- "the zone" means conjuring up as many scary experiences as possible.  Davey and I have a lot of things in common but this is not one of them.  However!  Since I'm expanding the horizons of the blog a bit I wanted to share a killer list (pun intended) that he, Stevie and Jordan came up with (more on Stevie and Jordan later).  It was stressed to me- and I will in turn stress it to you- that this is not a top 10 list.  These aren't the 10 best scary movies out there but they are 10 very good movies you can watch on Netflix right this moment.  Since a great movie you can watch right now is better than a theoretically better movie you can't, I stand by their strategy. If you're in the market for a scary movie (or better yet, a scary movie marathon), read on!