Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Scarves - an essential and inexpensive accessory. Many of mine were less than $10 from department store sales and Forever 21. Long Peacoat - Mine is winter white and a pain to keep clean but it looks so chic I could never regret buying it. Thin Cashmere Sweaters - I can wear these with jeans, slacks, skirts, etc. They work layered or by themselves depending on how cold it gets. The ply to buy depends on your climate, the higher the ply the warmer the sweater. Boots - I think this one speaks for itself. I own several pairs but I plan on getting these now that they're on sale. Tights - My favorite brand is HUE (work appropriate) and can be found at discount retailers like TJ Maxx or in any department store. I like the Betsey Johnson ones (I found them at Steinmart) for going out.

Christmas Presents 2009

Santa Claus was good to me! I'm not going to go over every little thing - especially the clothes and costume jewelry because this post would be way too long. Here are my standouts:
  • Jerdon Makeup Mirror
  • iHome iPod Dock
  • Paula Deen 10 pc cookware set with an additional saute pan bought seperately
  • Key Pendant Necklace
  • Coco Mademoiselle Fragrance
  • D&G The One Fragrance
I also received a cute "Friendship" Jewelry Box from Hallmark from by elementary school best friend. We recently found each other on facebook, of course! She and I made "best friend" boxes out of shoe boxes and construction paper when we were nine and she thought it was time I had an upgrade - I LOVE it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review: Nailene So Natural Chip Proof Technology

I bought a pack of these for the heck of it, I've never tried press on or glue on nails before. At work I use so much handsanitizer that my polish tends to chip and my hands are ridiculously dry - not good for a manicure. I thought it might be nice to have "manicure" nails on my Christmas break. I applied mine on Monday night and took them off Saturday night, they probably would have lasted at least a few more days. I wasn't too rough on my hands but they felt amazingly sturdy, I had one break off midweek and reapplied it quickly with the glue provided.
I received two compliments, 1 from a cousin that does nails in a salon! She couldn't tell until I mentioned it that they were glued on. The color did not chip off the ends and the glue didn't pool around my cuticles (she mentioned that is sometimes common with store bought kits). I wouldn't hesitate to buy these again for a special occasion. I can't wear artificial nails in the hospital because they harbor germs and I wouldn't want to waste money at a salon to only get a few days out of it. I paid $5.97 at Walmart for the kit and $1.69 at Target for the Maximum Strength Acetone Polish Remover. The kit includes 24 nails of all different sizes, a file, glue, and a cuticle pusher. Directions and removal instructions are located on the back. It took nearly an hour with my fingers soaked in acetone to remove the nails but I'm left with no damage - just make sure you have a good show or movie on!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Makeup Tips for Glasses Wearers

Honestly you can type the title of this post in youtube and get lots of helpful videos, some of which I have watched and inspired this post. Mostly this is my opinion through trial and error. My eyes have been insanely dry this winter as I was battling viral conjunctivitis (which can last weeks by the way) so I've been stuck wearing my Kate Spade Matilda glasses (pictured above). I've gotten several compliments as these glasses look chic with my new side swept bangs but I can't wait to get back into my contacts again.
1. Matte shadows are definitely the way to go. I've been using MAC Naked Lunch on the lid with Handwritten in the crease and outer corner and a bit of MAC cream color base in Shell on the brow bone.
2. Define the brows. I've been using define a brow from Maybelline for years followed with their gel and it works well for me.
3. I keep my cheeks subdued, some peach blush Maybelline Mousse blush in Peach satin followed by MAC beauty powder blush in Shy Girl to set it.
4. Use minimal eyeliner and lots of mascara. I'm near-sited so my glasses make my eyes appear smaller, I lightly line the outer 2/3 of my lash line on top and lower 1/2 slightly under the lashline using brown kohl liner, mine is Prestige Kohl Liner in Charcoal Brown. Mascara helps open the eye, I apply a couple of coats of Almay nourishing 1 coat volumizing mascara.
5. Lipstick is the key to balancing the face. Because my glasses are wide and dark brown there is a lot of color near the top half of my face, wearing lipstick really polishes the look. Recently I've been wearing NYC Brandy Sparkle (a bronzy pink color) but I also love Smashbox gloss in Radiant. I would defintitely skip on the nude lip and try to find something with more color.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Best of 2009

I took this idea from Emily at I loved reading her 2008 "Emily Awards", so I thought I'd do my own "best of" list. I revised her list as I didn't have a standout performer in all categories. I have my own set of HG products, these are the ones that I tried this year or were well loved in 2009.

  Best Liquid Foundation: Korres Wild Rose Foundation
  Best Bronzer: MAC MSF Natural
  Best Blush: Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush
  Best Concealer: MAC Studio Finish Concealer
  Overall Favorite Eye Shadow Brand: MAC Honorable Mention: Coastal Scents
  Best Single Product Eyeshadow: MAC Graphology
  Best Eyeliner: Prestige Waterproof Kohl Liners
  Best Mascara: Covergirl LashBlast Luxe
  Best Lip Gloss: Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lip Gloss
  Best Lipstick: Rimmel Airy Fairy
  Outstanding Brush: The Sigma Face and Eye collection, especially the SS224
  Best Packaging: Two Faced Shadow Insurance
  Best Hair Product: David Babaii for World Aid Volcanic Ash Sculpting Clay
  MVP (Most Valuable Product): Merlot Grapeseed Night Moisturizer

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Message for Friends and Subbies

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An Angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." - Luke 2:8
xo April and Lilly

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Goodies

Results of todays baking session....
Turtle Bars.
Buckeyes with a chocolate drizzle lined up on wax paper.
Linzer Bars made with rasberry preserves and toasted almonds. Lilly showing off her new candy cane toy. She kept rubbing her head against it so it was hard to get a good photo.

What Makes You Happy

This is the best time of year to really be thankful for things in life that make you happiest. I'd thought I'd share some of mine: My Faith in God Dinners with Family Quality time with mom Memories of my Deceased Loved Ones My Cat Lilly Old Friends Chocolate Ice Cream Red Wine Sushi Dark Chocolate The Beach All Things Fashion and Beauty :-)

In the Kitchen: Grands! Monkey Bread

I'm definitely making this on Christmas morning, I think it sounds like a fun version of cinnamon rolls, and it's easy. I'm not a fussy breakfast eater but I definitely don't want anything complicated when I'm hungry. For all you coffee drinkers I think this would be super tasty addition to a morning cup. This recipe was taken from the Pillsbury website.

 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted Directions Heat oven to 350*. Lightly grease 12 cup fluted tube pan (also known as a bundt pan) with cooking spray . In large plastic storage food bag mix granulated sugar and cinnamon. Seperate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces. Bake 28-32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Makes 12 servings

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Tradition: Granny's Tea Cakes

Not really a cake, but a lightly sweetened crispy cookie served best with a cup of sweet tea. I'll be making these when I'm at home for my Christmas Vacation. I thought I'd share this traditional southern recipe with my fellow bloggers.

1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups AP flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract (lemon or almond can be substituted for a different flavor.)
variation: 1/4 t nutmeg

 Directions 1. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time and stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt (and nutmeg if desired). Stir into the creamed mixture. Knead dough for a few turns on a floured board until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until firm. 2. Preheat the oven to 325* F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes (I use a biscuit cutter). Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. 3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Best eaten 1-2 days after baking, these actually taste amazing slighty stale.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Tis the Season to be Jolly" - Blog Update

I've looked forward to this day for weeks. My own personal "get in the spirit" day. This morning I'll be reading the Christmas story in the Book of Luke followed by a WHOLE day of Christmas movies that have been accumulating on my DVR (Miracle on 34th Street, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Carole, etc). I've also planned to make holiday treats...linzer cookies, snowballs, and buckeyes. They'll be no need to get out of my lounge pants today.
Tonight I'll pack my suitcase and get to bed early. I plan on getting to work 2 hours early tomorrow, we have our department Christmas party after lunch and I'd really like to get off early so I can get on the road before dark. Technically my extended family is celebrating Christmas on Wednesday with a large meal and it'll just be mom and I for Christmas Eve. We plan on seeing some local Christmas lights, fitting in some last minute shopping and seeing a couple films at the movie theater.
PS - I even saw a hint of snow a couple of days's slush now of course but at least it felt Christmasy.

Tag: Whats in Your Shower?

Paul Mitchell Daily Shampoo for Color Treated Hair
Paul Mitchell Daily Conditioner for Color Treated Hair
Generic Value Products - Joico K Pak (from Sally Beauty Supply)
Nivea Cream Oil Body Wash with Hint of Sparkle
CVS Brand Apricot Scrub Soap and Glory Sugar Scrub
Avalon Organics Vitamin C Cleansing Gel
*Not Pictured-
Pantene Pro V Conditioner (I'm finishing this bottle by using it as shaving lotion)
Loofa and Razor :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Top 5 Christmas Movies

Alas, yet another movie list. I guess everyone knows by now what my favorite weekend activity is. You either love or hate holiday movies, I thoroughly enjoy them. I usually have a movie marathon on Christmas Day and I love watching the 28 days of Christmas on the Family Channel leading up to the big day. 5. The Santa Clause 4. Miracle on 34th Street (the original one) 3. Love Actually 2. The Nightmare Before Christmas 1. The Grinch

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cocoa - Single Serve

I love the recipe for Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cocoa, the recipe is conveniently printed on the back of every container of Hersheys Cocoa powder. It is absolutely the best but the recipe as printed yields 4-5 servings; I poked around tonight to find a recipe that was scaled down that still had that great Perfectly Chocolate taste. This recipe comes form the hersheys website.

 Microwave Single Serving:
1 heaping teaspoon Hershey's Cocoa (this is key!)
2 heaping teaspoons sugar
6-8 ounces of milk
dash of salt

 Combine in a microwave safe mug. Add 2 teaspoons of COLD milk and stir until smooth. Fill cup with milk. Microwave on high 60-90 seconds. Stir to blend and serve with or without marshmellows. (I prefer mine without). Awesome, this is way easier than making it on the stovetop!

Christmas Card Photo 2009

Lilly loves to lay under the tree and one night she had selected an ornament as a toy. She knows she isn't allowed to play with the ornaments so when I caught her in the act she gave me a wide eyed look. I used to to make online photo cards at Walgreens, for $12.99 I got 20 cards and envelopes and they were ready in 24 hours. I may do photocards again next year, I had no idea how easy it was. Here are a couple of other photos I took while watching her play.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Decorations 2009

I made this wreath a few years ago and I decided to hang it above the oversized chair in my living room. I have another wreath that hangs outside my front door, this one I love too much to hang outside.I don't have a fireplace so I'm hanging my stockings from the bar area. I love these cute dark metal deer stocking holders from Walmart and the fur trimmed bronze stockings from Belk. I love to decorate with reindeer, there are a few of them scattered throughout the apartment.
My Tree - I use bronze, gold and brown ornaments with white lights.
My tree is several years old and super bulky; I really hope to get a new one on the after Christmas sale this year. I'm looking at this skinny pine tree from Target. I think it will look much more sophisticated with my ornaments and more appropriate for apartment dwelling.

Winter Reading List

Friday, December 4, 2009

In the Kitchen: Pumpkin Pie

Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can Libby's 100% pure pumpkin
1 can Nestle carnation evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9 in deep dish pie shell
whipped cream (if you like it, I personally do not)
Mix spices and sugar in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake in preheated 425*F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350*F for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin:
Fiber, about 11 grams in 1/2 cup
Vitamin A, good for eyesight, immune function, and necessary for production of red blood cells
Carotinoids, offers possible protection from certain cancers
Also contains potassium, vitamin C, and iron

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blog Update

My grandma died on Friday. I'm still in shock, I spent Thanksgiving day alone with her. At midnight on Friday morning my mom and I left to hit up the black friday shopping sales and we came home around 11 am - we found her on the bathroom floor. It was too late, about half an hour late according to the doctor who signed the death certificate. My grandma had been living with my mom for 5 years and I spent most of my weeks at her house growing up; I feel like I've lost a parent. I don't think she suffered, according to the medical examiner her heart stopped. Her funeral was on Monday and I took a couple of extra days to spend with family. She was a tough woman, very hardworking, always put God first in her life and loved her family. My grandma was also a beautiful woman, she never went anywhere without wearing her Avon Plum Pink lipstick and Estee Lauder White Linen perfume - both of which I wore on many occasions as a child. She kept a super clean house, perfectly pressed clothes, and her outfits and accessories were always well thought out. Her hair was styled every morning and sprayed with a half can of AquaNet. She survived 2 strikes by lightening and breast cancer. She physically helped build the church she was a member of and helped clear the land in our county to be used for farming. I will miss her. " She flew up to Heaven on the wings on angels By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting And I know she's smiling saying Don't worry 'bout me." - Sissy's Song, Alan Jackson