Friday, January 30, 2015

Fashion Inspiration: Blake Lively

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been watching Gossip Girl...pretty much any chance I get.  And even though the show is several years old, I can't help but admire the fashion that is so prominently displayed.  Serena's (Blake Lively's character's) style is definitely more of what I gravitate towards. 

So Gossip Girl, coveting Serena's look, and finally having access to the internet after a couple of days of being off the grid led to a Blake Lively fashion binge and slight girl crush.  The fairly new Mrs. Reynolds is already one of my husband's celebrity girlfriends (SN - my boyfriends can be found on my Pinterest board simply titled "My Boyfriends,") and I have seen more of her recently due to her pregnancy and induction into the mommy club.  Through all stages of life she remains a fashion icon and seems to flawlessly pull off look after look. See for yourself below.




































Monday, January 26, 2015

January Obsessions and Favorites

I'm still here!  I missed a week of blogging but I am ready to jump back into it.  This year has already been a busy one for my family.  It brings a new home, new adventures, and life with an official toddler.

It also brings tons of new products.  Or at least... products that are new to me.  Here are a few of my favorite discoveries from this past month.


COVERGIRL Full Lash Bloom Mascara

Great for every day use, this mascara gives a full, natural look.  The brush is not your typical bristle brush.  It will feel different during application. But it by no means is painful or uncomfortable.

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo

Dry Shampoo has become my beauty savior.  Not Your Mother's has perfected the scent with this dry shampoo.  Similar products from other brands are heavily perfumed... most likely trying to cover the product/chemical scent dry shampoo often leaves behind.  With this dry shampoo, however, there is no "hair product" smell and the scent is crisp and fresh without being overpowering. AND unlike most other dry shampoos that leave my hair feeling stiff, Not Your Mother's leaves my hair silky soft.

L'OREAL Boost it Blow Out Hairspray

Although my straight hair makes my life just a little bit easier, I often wish my hair had just a little (okay, a lot) more volume.  THIS PRODUCT WORKS.  It did for me at least.  Its fairly simple to use and produced the results seen here.

Gossip Girl

I know.  I am super late on this one.  But I just started watching Gossip Girl through Netflix and I am hooked!


Mommy, For Real


I received a very positive and strong reaction to my  Favorites Blogs/Websites of 2014 posts.  So I decided I'm going to TRY to include at least one website/blog/YouTube Channel in my monthly favorites as well.  Mommy, For Real is a well written mommy blog that covers everything from aging to disappointment to product reviews. Stephanie Sprenger has such an honest perspective while keeping the tone of each post approachable and warm. I enjoy mommy blogs that cover the "uncomfortable" subjects because... well, we've all been there.  And its OK to talk about it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Go-To Crockpot Recipe - Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie/Chicken and Dumplings

The Crockpot.  It is one appliance that has become a must-have since I entered motherhood.  Luckily, many other moms, women, and cooks feel the same way.  There is a plethora of crockpot recipes available on the internet.  Very rarely do I come across one that's a complete fail (but it does happen - I'm looking at you crockpot French Toast.)  Several have quickly become my go-to meal options for super busy days.   Below is the recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings (though I think its more like Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie.)  Its the perfect, balanced comfort meal for cold Winter days.  And best of all, its a dump and set it recipe.  Simply add the ingredients to the pot and let the crockpot work its magic.

Recipe Tweaked and Adapted from Suburban Epicurean.

Ingredients:

 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen)
2 Tablespoons of Butter
2 cans of Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Packages of refrigerated biscuit dough
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables


Directions: 

Place the chicken in the slow cooker and top each breast with butter, then sprinkle salt and  pepper on each breast.
Add Condesnsed Cream of Chicken Soup
Add bag of frozen mixed vegetables
Place biscuit dough evenly on top (Do not layer biscuits on top of each other)
Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on high.




For more crockpot recipes (I currently have over 100) follow me on Pinterest.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Simple Solutions to Acne - Easy Treatments That Heal

Over the Holidays many of us may have changed up our diet (and not for the better,) had to deal with a little more stress than usual, and worn more makeup more often.  If your skin is anything like mine this equals breakouts. And usually serious ones.  Here are a few remedies that have worked for me giving me clear, healthy skin.


Cleanse

I never used to use products containing salicylic acid.  To be honest, it normally doesn't make a dent in my cystic blemishes.  So why do I use it now?  Salicylic acid can help fade old blemish marks.  You know, those annoying dots left behind long after a blemish has healed.  I am currently using (because we know this changes often) Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Wash.





Moisturize


I know this sounds counter-intuitive if you have oily, acne prone skin.  I used to think so too but it actually keeps your skin from over producing oil to compensate for the sometimes drying acne treatments you may be using.  For my day moisturizer I use Olay All Day Complete Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin.   For night I use Olay Pro-X Anti-Aging Wrinkle Smoothing Cream (A small dab takes care of my entire face.)  If you're uncomfortable using a cream, Sephora's Ultimate Brightening Serum gave me radiant results with just enough moisture.



Spot Treat

Spot treatment is absolutely necessary when dealing with a horrible breakout. My spot treatment may be a little harsh for some, but it shrinks cystic acne overnight.  Ready for my (not so) secret weapon?  I mix equal parts drying mask - such as Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask (super affordable and effective drugstore product) or Proactiv Refining Mask, or Origin 10 Minute Out Of Trouble Mask - and a 10% Benzoyl Peroxide treatment - such as OXY Maximum Action Spot Treatment or the AcneFree Severe Anti-Acne Lotion - and apply the mixture generously to each blemish.


Treat from Within


We all know drinking lots of water every day has many benefits.  Clearer skin is one of them.  BUT taking Zinc may also help your skin to heal and stay clear.  Like all of the solutions listed, this one works for me (and many others) but may not work for everyone.  I take the raw zinc supplement pictured and it has worked wonders at healing existing blemishes and  keeping new ones at bay.  I usually choose to spring for the supplements made of only plant materials without any fillers since I usually experience side effects with the cheaper supplement options.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Favorite Blogs, Vlogs, and Websites of 2014

This year I've been exploring this wonderful world of the interweb and have come across some pretty fantastic sites. Here are my top 5 finds of 2014.



Humans of New York
This site has made my monthly favorites and it continues to be a place I go for inspiration, motivation, and even a smile. The photographer, Brandon, walks through New York City and photographs the real, random people he runs into along the way. Some of the subjects of his photographs are definitely those that stand out in a crowd. Others seemingly blend with the rest. But all have a story to tell.

This site has a way of making me feel a range of emotions from grateful to sad to energized to connected and so much more. There are the lighthearted, adorable stories of couples in love, kids, and families. But among those you will find heartbreaking stories of struggles and interesting and encouraging stories of unknown heroes. I can not express how amazing this website and concept is and I hope Brandon continues this journey he has created for all of us. 


Tinderella
Oh, Tinderella. How your blog has become an obsession. Like a great T.V. show, I eagerly await for the next installment of Tinderella. If this blog was a show on Netflix, I would watch the entire series in just a few days.

In this blog, Tinderealla details the adventures the Tinder app brings her. The scene is (again) New York City (I have a thing for NYC. Can you tell?) While reading the entries I feel as though I'm "listening" to a girlfriend detail her journey in the dating world over a fabulous brunch (Sex and the City style, of course.) This blog could definitely be used as a guide for men who are wanting to know what NOT to do on a date.


Next Life, No Kids
This is a Mommy Blog that may not be for everyone... but I sure do appreciate it. I have expressed that entering Motherhood is like entering a whole new world where no one really talks about the uncomfortable and trying aspects that come along with the beautiful. In Next Life, No Kids, this mommy isn't afraid to put herself out there and say what has been in all of our heads at one time or another. Motherhood is a gift, but its not always fun. A lot of times its difficult and exhausting. Talking about everything from the creepy Elf on the Shelf to how kids have affected her marriage, I truly admire this mom for putting herself out there so the rest of us don't have to feel alone and wonder "Is it only me? Am I a horrible person?" Turns out we all feel this way, we're just not all brave enough to express it.


Leigh Ann Says on YouTube
You know I had to get my beauty fix in here somewhere. Leigh Ann is a pretty popular YouTuber that has recently branched out into also doing "Weekend Vlogs." Charmingly quirky, this beauty fills her channel with reviews, makeup tutorials, and a touch of randomness. She's a marvelous departure from the usual stiff, serious (and in my opinion - boring) beauty tutorial channels and brings tons of lively personality to her videos.  


Scary Mommy
Scary Mommy is a very popular parenting website that aims to be relatable and humorous above all else. I do like the site for that aspect, however, it made my "best" list because it has served a different purpose for me. Because the articles on this website are submitted by other bloggers and freelance writers (instead of a staff), it has become a portal that connects me to other bloggers I may not have otherwise come across (it is how I found "Next Life, No Kids.")