Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding: Bridal Shower Preparations

Planning a bridal shower for best friend has proved to be easier than I could have imagined.  After pouring over magazine and online inspiration for tablescapes and elegant finger food I decided it would be a whole lot easier to hire someone else to do the work  *big smile*.  Until last week we had almost everything planned but we lost our venue so everything had to be changed.  I called / emailed at least 30 locations in the Raleigh area and had a lot of difficulty finding a location that could fit our party of 15-20.  The group size was too big for some locations and too small for others.  I also had price quotes all the way up to $1000 (eek!  just for the space, no food involved). 

Needless to say, I found the perfect spot!  A small tea room sandwiched in a shopping center that has ample parking for everyone so nobody has to park and walk in heels.  And I can play into the bride's affection for the beautiful Duchess of Cambridge. 

Okay - I'm pretty sure everyone loves her.

So we are going to have a formal afternoon tea and the whole tea room is ours for the entirety of the shower.  The food will be set up in the Victorian style back room - fine china and linens belong to the tea room so there's no need to travel with mom's full set of crystal.  I'm really excited - mostly for some of these:

So I have three weeks to brush up on my ettiquette, (i.e, to add jam then dairy to your scone).  And learn important differences between "high" tea and "low" tea.  I had even thought to honor Princess Catherine that I might don pantyhose for the occasion but decided against it - afterall, I'm a Carolina girl and the thermometer in R's truck read 112* just a couple of nights ago. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the Kitchen - White Bean Salad

I made this delicious white bean salad as a side item for dinner the other night and took the leftovers as my lunch this week.  It's so quick, simple, and inexpensive I can see it being a regular in my house.
***I can't give credit for this recipe; I had something similar at a cookout and found a few recipes online that had about the same ingredients and tweaked it to suit my own tastes.

2 cans cannelini beans (washed and drained)
4 roma tomatoes chopped
1/4 red onion chopped
1 T dijon mustard
2 T minced garlic
S and P
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (can also use red wine vinegar)
1/4-1/2 cup oil (add to the consistency you prefer)

The beans, tomatoes, and onion go into a bowl.  In another small bowl make the dressing - mustard, seasonings, garlic, vinegar and whisk in the oil in the end.  Pour dressing over the bean salad and refrigerate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Product Review: Ole Henrikson Three Little Wonders

So I picked up a new skin care system from Sephora yesterday:

Three Little Wonders from Ole Henrikson ($70).  The set includes Truth Serum Collagen Booster which I have tried before and loved as well as the Sheer Transformation Renewing Creme and Invigorating Night Gel Firming Treatment.  The package suggests using Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation in the morning and Invigorating Night Gel and Sheer Transformation in the evening.  Per the Sephora website each formulation is "oil free, light in texture, firming, lifting, pore tightening, and promotes uniform pigmentation.  They embrace your skin with protection, comfort, and hydration without overlooking the importance of providing antiaging and retexturizing benefits."  The products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMO, and triclosan.

First impressions from my first use of all three products.  The gel is very thin, it's my wild card product - probably the one I'm the least impressed with from the reviews.  Sheer Tranformation has a great "whipped" texture and is very light, I imagine it will work well on my combination skin but probably doesn't have enough moisture for dry skin.  Truth Serum I'm already in love with, my skin really looks it's best when I use it;  I can't even describe the "glow" but it's better than any cosmetic highlighter.  The formulas smell great and for the money getting 3 products is a pretty good deal.  I'll do a full review after a few weeks of use.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In the Kitchen: Frosty Paws

So this week I was inspired by the 110* heat to make a frozen treat for baby.  Our local grocery carries a "Frosty Paw" ice cream treat in the freezer section but I found a recipe online for a much healthier (and cheaper) option.  Since I wasn't sure if she'd like it, I reduced the recipe so she could give it a try.
I used:
an 8 ounce container of plain yogurt (vanilla will work too but make sure there are no artificial sweeteners as some of them are dangerous for dogs)
1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1/4 banana mashed (the rest went into R's smoothie)

Mix ingredients in a bowl and scoop into cupcake liners.  Freeze for a couple of hours and move the treats to a freezer bag.  Baby helped me clean up by licking the bowl and spoon.

Here is a live action shot of Baby enjoying her Frosty Paw.  I microwaved it for about 4 seconds so I could easily remove the wrapper and she gobbled it up.

These were a hit!  I'll definitely make these again but I'll probably keep doing small batches, the originial recipe makes approx 12.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beauty Spree - Ulta Grand Opening

So we just had a new Ulta open in North Carolina and I went to the grand opening this weekend.  I needed hairspray and shampoo anyway so the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  Here were my finds:
 I picked up a liter of conditioner and a liter of shampoo for $14.99 each.  This is a great deal since I wash my hair every three days in the winter and every other day in the summer - this size should last for several months.  I've used the All Soft products before but on of the salon associates recommended this line as a color safe option for my dry hair.
 My HG hairspray.  This is the anti humidity spray that keeps my hair bouncy and frizz free.  I haven't had any for months and I've missed it so much.

 Since I haven't bought any nail color in so long I decided to splurge.  This is Essie Island Hopping which is a dusty purple that would work on hands and feet.

My favorite nail color, Essie Mademoiselle.  I've finished my other bottle and I've been out for several months;  this is my go to manicure color, especially for work.
This is Essie Angora Cardi and I've wanted this one for a while.  It looks like a maroon color but I have a feeling it's going to appear very dark and opaque.  I'll have to test it out but for now I'm only planning to use this as a pedicure color.

Since I was one of the first customers through the door I recieved a grab bag with some goodies - A SexyHair Soy hairspray mini, an Ulta lipgloss in Whisper, an Ulta Tangerine hand lotion, and an Ulta body wash mini.  I'll probably save these for travel but I think it's so sweet that they had gifts for their grand opening and I really can't wait to stop in when they start having events.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding: Part 2

So the BFF has confirmed our oufits for her wedding:
Dress:  Simple Sillouettes  - Style Reed - Color Paprika - Material Silk Shantung
Shoes :  Nina Forbes in Gold
Jewelry:  Probably pearls but it hasn't been confirmed yet

Our dresses should be in next month and I can't wait to try it on!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meet Baby

This is R's dog...Baby.  She is a 10 year old lab shepherd mix and has become a big part of my life in the past few months.  I'm usually the one who lets her out in the afternoon since I get off work before R and I love spoiling her with belly rubs and "cookies". 

Here is Baby posing for a photo between naps.

This is the new collar / charm combo that I purchased for Baby at Petsmart.  I love the polka dot grosgrain collar and pink ID tag.