Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Search for Great Drugstore Mascara

So I'm starting to notice that my trusty MAC In Extreme Dimension Lash Mascara is starting to run low. While I really love this stuff, I just don't want to pay $21 for another one. 

There's got to be a great drugstore mascara out there, right?! In the past, I've tried L'Oreal Voluminous, which has always gotten rave reviews, and I've also tried the pink and green tube of Maybelline mascara, which is supposedly a great product as well. However, I thought they were just ok. I ended up with raccoon eyes with both of them by the end of the day, and they were miserable to try to wash off at night.
My MAC mascara has served me well, that's for sure. It has never run or flaked off, and it's easy to remove. But I wonder... do I really have to pay $21 to get a good product? I'd be curious to hear what some of your favorite mascaras are. 
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Get Pin-spired: October Edition

Yay! It's October!! I just love October. It's definitely one of my favorite months. For me, it's the signal of cooler weather and all things fall. It hasn't quite cooled down yet here in Florida, but I just know we're getting really close!! At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Today I'm linking up with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel again for this month's Get Pin-spired. This is where we find outfits on Pinterest and try to re-create them using items from our own closets.

I'm all about leopard print right now. I've actually owned lots of leopard items for quite a while, but I just keep adding more and more! I have a leopard purse, belt, flats, scarf, dress, skirt, top... I think that's everything (for now)! In case you couldn't tell, I LOVE leopard print! I've worn my leopard dress a lot over the past year or so. It's actually an Old Navy find from last season. But after I saw this picture on Pinterest, I was inspired to wear my leopard dress with a pop of red. So, I busted out my red scarf and boots, and luckily I stayed in the A/C while I wore it!

That's it folks! Just my leopard dress, a red scarf and my boots! Simple, right? The month got away from me, so I didn't have time to take photos of any other outfits, but you can bet that I'll be pairing lots of cute things with my brand spankin' new pair of Dolce Vita Jaxen booties!!

I just ordered these babies over the weekend, so keep your fingers crossed that they fit and are just are fabulous as I've dreamed they'll be! 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cranberry, Orange and Pumpkin... Oh, my!

I won't even begin to go into detail about how much I love pumpkin stuff. Anything pumpkin, you name it, and I've probably tried it and loved it! Food, candles, lotion, soap, decorations... my name is Jenna, and yes, I'm a pumpkin addict. With that being said, one of my very favorite items is pumpkin cream cheese. I've been known to clear a shelf of this stuff and buy it in quantities of 10. 
This year, instead of buying regular bagels to have with my cream cheese, I found a new love in the bread aisle. I'm pleased to introduce you to Nature's Own Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Toasters. You can find these bad boys on the bread aisle, and they'd pair deliciously with butter, jam, cream cheese... or anything, really! I'm partial to the pumpkin cream cheese, though!

These little toasters are new and they come in cinnamon raisin flavor, too. They're perfect for breakfast or a snack, and they're also very healthy. I just love finding new yummy products!

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Satin Pillowcases

I know this might seem completely random, but I discovered a great new beauty product: satin pillowcases! How is that a beauty product, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Satin pillowcases are not only smooth and comfy, but they can also prevent wrinkles and help your hair! 
Traditional cotton pillowcases absorb moisture, so that means that a lot of the cream or other products you put on your face before bed could get wiped off onto your pillowcase and absorbed into the cotton fibers while you sleep. Satin won't absorb. It also helps keep elasticity in your face because it won't pull on your skin. This means no more waking up with funky creases on your face, either! 
Another benefit of satin pillowcases is that they're better for your hair. Again, they're not absorbing the oils/moisture from your hair, they won't crush your curls if you have curly hair, you won't have to worry about so much breakage, and overall you'll wake up with your hair looking more like the way it did when you went to bed.

I tried a satin pillowcase for the first time last night, and I have to say that I was impressed! It felt cool on my face, too, which is always a plus is this steamy weather. I sleep with two pillows side by side, and I generally turn over from one to another during the night. This morning while I was just dozing for a few minutes after my alarm went off, I kind of turned too quickly and my pillow slid right off my bed! So the silkiness can be a little too slick at times! But I saw no other negatives. 
I slipped my satin pillowcases right over my regular cotton ones, but you don't even have to do that. I just wasn't sure if I was going to like them. My friend's grandma gave mine to me because she swears they satin pillowcases have so many benefits. And you know what, listen to your elders! They're usually right!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Panini Press

I was lucky enough to get a great gift from my parents for my birthday a couple weeks ago... a panini press! They had heard me mention before that I was considering buying one. Especially during the summer when it's just too hot to turn on the stove every night, I like to make sandwiches for dinner. I made several paninis, but didn't have a press. I'd just put a skillet on top of my sandwich and press it down, but my skillet wasn't very heavy and didn't do the best job of pressing it.
I hadn't made any paninis in a little while, and I had convinced myself that I didn't need to buy a panini press because I really don't have room to store it, and I didn't think I'd use it enough to justify the purchase. But, lo and behold, my parents bought me one! However, it's not your typical panini press. It doesn't plug in at all. It's basically just a grill pan with a heavy "lid" on top. The thing I really like about this is that it stores easily with my other pots and pans, it's so simple to clean, and it can be used as a grill pan, as well as a panini press. 
Here is the one I have, and I love it! I broke it in by making my Greek paninis, and I'm sure I'll be making my brie, apple, and caramelized onion sandwich, too! Now I just need to come up with some more sandwich options, and maybe grill some veggies, too!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Country Caviar

Those of you who aren't familiar with Southern traditions might find this post totally boring. I'm sorry. But I'm even more sorry that you've been missing out of one of life's greatest pleasures... boiled peanuts, a.k.a. country caviar!

When I was young, I remember taking road trips to the mountains (usually north Georgia or North Carolina) with my family, and it was always a treat to stop at one of the roadside stands that sold hot boiled peanuts! They are just the most delicious snack ever! They're salty and soft, with just the perfect flavor! 
Most grocery stores actually sell boiled peanuts in a can. They can usually be sound on the snack aisle. While these will do in a pinch, they're still not quite the same as homemade. To my excitement, I discovered that the produce section of my grocery store carries refrigerated bags of boiled peanuts that are the next best thing to buying them at a roadside stand. All I have to do in pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, and they're warm and ready to enjoy!
I think each grocery store tends to carry a different brand, but if you can find the refrigerated kind in your produce section, I highly encourage you to try them. My store carries Hardy Farms brand, which can also be purchased online here. If you can't find them in the product section, at least pick up a can of them from the snack aisle!

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back in Action

Sorry I've been a little MIA lately. The past week was a tough one. We had to have our family dog, Molly, put down on my birthday. That was not fun. She was 16, and truly a part of our family. I grew up with her and enjoyed spending time with her, so I'm really missing her. In fact, she and I were roommates for about a year and a half, up until I moved last summer. She kept me company and made me feel protected.

In order to distract myself, I've been spending a lot of time at the gym. It's definitely been much needed anyway. I had gotten out of the habit of exercising regularly, and I just feel so much better when I'm working out! Part of the motivation of going to the gym is in the clothes and shoes you wear, or at least it is for me! I scored these kicks during Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale, and I'm loving them for the gym! I don't think they have enough support for running, especially for people like me who seem to overpronote, but for just wearing on the elliptical and for using the weight machines, they're perfect and lightweight. 

Another thing I recently discovered, which can also give you energy and motivation for the gym is a great snack/breakfast bar: Whenever Bars by Pamela's. These things are so addicting! My grocery store keeps them in the organic section because they're all natural. They are $4.99 for 5 bars, but they're so worth it. I promise. They're soft, yummy, and nutritious! I actually just found them on Amazon, so I'll definitely have to order them in bulk to save some money. I've only tried the oat chocolate chip coconut, but all the flavors sounds great!

Buy them here:
Pamela's Products Wheat Free & Gluten Free Whenever Bars Oat Choc Chip Coconut, 5 Count Box, 7.05-Ounce (Pack of 6)

One more thing that's making me feel great right now is the fact that the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is back! It just doesn't get any better than that. To my disappointment, I tried my very first pumpkin spice frappuccino the other day, but it just didn't live up to its latte cousin. Or perhaps I'm just more partial to the hot drinks. I have yet to find an iced drink there that I truly love as much as the PSL.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

29 on the 29th

Today, I'm 29! I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be excited about that or not. When I was younger, I thought I'd be married with kids by now, but that hasn't been the case. Apparently that's just not God's plan for me quite yet. It's a little weird approaching my 30s, but I do think it'll be a great decade!

As I look forward to what the next year will bring, I thought it would be fun to reflect on some of the things I remember most about the past year.

August 29: Last year on my 28th birthday, I was off work because I was supposed to be on vacation in Austin, TX. But due to a tropical storm that was churning in the Gulf, I wasn't able to go, so I had a staycation instead. I spent the morning of my birthday at the pool, and since it was a Wednesday, I had the entire pool area to myself! It was so nice and relaxing! My mom and I had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, and then she cooked some of my favorite foods for dinner. It was a great day!

December 3: I left for my very first trip to NYC! I was there for 4 days and had a blast! I'd go back in a heart beat! 

The weeks of Christmas and New Year's: My former job was working for a college, and I would get the week of Christmas and the week of New Year's off because we were closed. I absolutely loved having this time off! Christmas is my favorite time of year, and being able to fully enjoy the holiday season was amazing! I could go do last-minute shopping and the stores wouldn't be packed, I'd bake or cook, wrap presents... it was pure bliss! I will really miss that this year.

May 29: I flew to Dallas to meet my brother and head out for our trip to Hawaii! I was gone for a full week (even though I just spent 4 days in Hawaii) and enjoyed every minute of it! 

July 2: This was my last day at my former job. I had been there 3 and a half years, so it became very comfortable to me, and it was bittersweet leaving some of the friends I had made. And then I started my new job on July 8. 

I know there have been many more highlights, both ups and down, that have happened over the past year. Those are just the things that stand out in my mind the most right now. I am very thankful for my loving family, friends, and health. It's hard to complain when you have all of that! :)

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Goodbye, Unwanted Hair

Well, I finally did it. I decided to try laser hair removal. Last Thursday I went for a free consultation, and after it was confirmed that I'd be a good candidate, I took the plunge. I'll have treatments every few weeks for about the next year and a half. 

I'm really excited about it and hoping for good results! I did my research for quite a while before I even decided to make an appointment. I checked into the type of machines used and the feedback received.

If you wait until the hair turns gray, it can't be treated. Also, if your hair is blond or red it won't work. 

I can't wait for the day that I'll no longer have to use cream bleaches, tweezers, wax, etc! I also have to stay out of sun during treatments. If I do go to the pool or anything like that, it's fine as long as I really lather on the sunscreen and keep myself covered. 

Well, here's hoping for the best, and hoping to be free on the unwanted hair in about a year and a half!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Packing in the Protein

Lately I've been wondering if, as a vegetarian, I'm getting enough protein. I always assumed I did, but now I'm just not so sure. I haven't had a great deal of energy lately, and that could be attributed to a lot of things... the heat, learning a new job, or worst of all... my metabolism could be slowing down as I approach my 30s! So, I've been trying to be more cautious of how much protein I'm consuming each day. I've been adding protein powder to my smoothies, and it bumps me up to more than 50 grams along with the Greek yogurt and milk I add. 
Along with the protein powder, I've been drinking the Kellogg's protein breakfast shakes, eating lots of hummus and Greek yogurt (which I've always done), eating protein bars, like the Kind brand bars, and I recently discovered how great quinoa can be. 
I'm up for trying any other tasty and nutritious protein-packed products! Please feel free to offer suggestions if you've had great experiences with anything.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hello, Delaware!

Well, it's finally official. My brother is moving again. Two and a half years ago, he moved from our hometown in Florida to Dallas, Texas. I thought it was going to be awful not having our family all living in the same town anymore, but luckily with his job, he was able to come home quite often. It didn't take me long to get used to the new arrangement, and I actually enjoyed the two trips I made out to Dallas to visit. In fact, I'm pretty sad that he's leaving the area. It was always a fun place to check out, and there was still so much more I wanted to do there!

But alas, he's moving on, and this time he won't be able to come home very often. When I found out a couple weeks ago that his new job was in Delaware, I thought that sounded so depressing! Isn't that like the least popular state in the country?! I mean, who goes to Delaware, much less moves there? 

But I think maybe I could've made a quick judgment. Every state has something cool to offer, right? I'm definitely planning to make a trip up to visit in the next few months once he gets settled in. And let's face it, if there's not much to do in Delaware, New York City is only a short train ride away! 
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Friday, August 16, 2013

America's #1 Kettlecorn

I wouldn't consider myself a big popcorn eater, much less a kettlecorn eater. I like both, but it's just not something I typically buy... until now. The other night I was browsing the snack aisle at the grocery store and noticed this new product I hadn't seen before. It had a sale sign on it, and since there were only 2 bags left (I had to reach all the way to the back of the shelf), I figured it must not be that bad! (And yes, I am one of those people who judges how good something must be based on how few are left on the shelf. Hey, it always seems accurate!)

I present to you... America's #1 Kettlecorn from Popcorn, Indiana. Apparently, Popcorn, Indiana is the brand and an actual place. Who knew?! The best part about this stuff, besides the amazing taste, is that it's all natural and gluten free. 

At my grocery store, they also carried a white cheddar variety, but they were all out of it. That flavor must really be good!! But when I checked out the Popcorn Indiana website, I noticed that they have tons of other flavors!! There's a store locator on their website, so you can pop in (pun intended) your zip code and find out where the products are sold. I highly recommend this stuff. It's a great snack by itself, and I'm sure it would make the perfect side for a sandwich at lunch time. Buy it now, thank me later!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Real Simple Pad Thai

I'm usually not a big Pad Thai eater. I do like it, but I feel like no two restaurants are consistent with it. Some of the sauces taste too sweet for my liking. And I always order it without eggs since I'm not such an egg fan, but then sometimes you're left with nothing but noodles! I found this recipe in Redbook magazine and just had to try it! Best of all, it didn't even call for eggs, but feel free to add them if you'd like. I did tweak the recipe a bit, and even though it doesn't taste that much like a Pad Thai to me, I still thought it was delicious and will definitely be making it again!

1 lb dried linguine
1/2 C peanut butter (I used the chunky kind, but use whatever you have)
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs fresh ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
a pinch of sugar
1/2 C water
1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into long strips (I just used my peeler to make the long, thin strips)
1/4 C thinly sliced red onion
1 C sugar snap peas
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, you'll make the sauce. 

Using a blender or food processor, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, sugar and water until smooth.

Next, heat your olive oil in a large pan, and then sautee your veggies... the carrots, onion and snap peas.

Drain the pasta, then toss with the veggies and sauce. Top with fresh cilantro.

I think this sauce and veggie mixture would be just as tasty served over rice instead of noodles! You'll love it!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kellogg's Breakfast To Go

I don't know how time has gotten away from me lately, but it's been tough keeping up with things! I haven't been posting as much lately, but I'm trying to get back on track.

Anyway, in my haste in getting ready for work in the mornings, I often don't allow time to eat breakfast at home. Yes, I could, and I often plan to get up earlier and cook a nice breakfast, but then when that alarm clock goes off, I decide that I'd rather have a little more sleep over food. Enter Kellogg's Breakfast To Go.


I'd read about these in a magazine or something. I can't remember where exactly I had seen them, but it was somewhere. And then while I was in the grocery store the other day, I spotted them, and it triggered my memory of wanting to try them! They come in chocolate or vanilla flavor. I bought the chocolate. 

I was really excited that these shakes have 10g of protein and 5g of fiber per bottle! They also have lots of other vitamins and minerals. But on top of being nutritious and convenient, they also taste great!! I honestly thought that the chocolate tasted just like chocolate milk. No weird artificial flavors or after tastes. It's really yummy!! I paid around $4.99 for a pack of 4, and I will say that they are also pretty filling. The first day, that's all I had for breakfast, and I was satisfied. The second day I decided I should try to get a little more protein first thing in the morning, so I also ate a Kind bar with added protein (almond, walnut, macadamia... also delish!!). 


Ok, as I was writing this post, I just discovered that they also make a strawberry flavor! I didn't see those at my grocery store, but I'll check Wal-Mart or someplace like that. I bet it would be equally tasty!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Real Simple Lunch: Cottage Cheese Mix-Up

I'll admit that this recipe isn't really a "recipe." You basically just cut up some tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and mix it with some cottage cheese, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. How simple is that?

Now, don't tune me out yet. I know, I know... cottage cheese isn't considered the most glamorous of foods. I'm not sure why a lot of people don't like it, but I think it's so versatile. You can use it in place of ricotta cheese when making lasagna, it's great as a side dish, or you can add fruits and/or veggies to it and eat it like a salad.

I was a little hesitant about adding tomatoes, cukes, and avocado to it, but let me tell you... it was delicious!! I ate this one day before I went to the pool because I just wanted a light lunch, and let's face it... no one wants to feel bloated when you're about to put on your swim suit! It really kept me full without feeling like a had a brick in my stomach. It was super flavorful, too! 

Add as little or as much of the veggies as you like. I added a handful of grape tomatoes, half an avocado, and about a 3" piece of cucumber, chopped. It's the perfect fix for this hot weather!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Get Pin-spired: August Edition

Happy August! I'm so excited that the summer is winding down! August, to me, is the end. It means it's time to get ready for fall! But, unfortunately, the weather doesn't agree. So here in Florida we're still wearing shorts. I'm linking up with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel again for this month's Get Pin-spired. This is where we find outfits on Pinterest and try to re-create them using items from our own closets.

I'm all about bright colors this summer, so here's my take on a couple Pin-spired outfits. I think the first outfit looks a little "grandma-ish" in the picture, but I tried to make it my own. I took some peach colored shorts and a navy striped top, and voila!

Top: Gap, similar here
Shorts: J. Crew
Watch: Fossil

My next outfit is the same basic concept... bright colored shorts, but this time with stripes AND polka dots! Since it's a little too warm for layering a blazer right now, I combined my striped and polka dots in one top!

You probably can't tell from the first picture, but see how my top has stripes AND polka dots?

Top: LOFT (old)
Shorts: J. Crew
Watch: Fossil
Bracelets: LOFT and Stella & Dot

That's it for this month! I'm can't wait for the boots, scarves, sweaters and layers that the next few months will bring!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Which Flavor Are You?

I recently saw that a study was done by Baskin-Robbins that relates the ice cream flavor you like the best to what type of personality you have. I thought this sounded like the most absurd thing ever until I looked at the options myself and saw other people try it on TV! 

I was watching 20/20 or one of those shows, and an ice cream truck in NYC was giving out free ice cream. People were asked to choose which description fit their personality best, and then they would be given the corresponding ice cream flavor. Then, they were asked if that was the flavor they would most likely choose. Most people said yes! Only a couple people said they didn't like that particular flavor and would not have picked it.
Here's what each ice cream flavor says about your personality:
If your favorite flavor is vanilla, you're more likely to be impulsive, easily suggestible and an idealist.
If your favorite flavor is chocolate, you're more likely to be dramatic, lively, charming, flirtatious, seductive and gullible.
If your favorite flavor is very berry strawberry, you're more likely to be tolerant, devoted and an introvert.
If your favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip, you're more likely to be argumentative, frugal and cautious.
If your favorite flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough, you're more likely to be ambitious, competitive and a visionary.
If your favorite flavor is pralines 'n' cream, you're more likely to be loving, supportive and prefer to avoid the spotlight.
If your favorite flavor is coffee, you're more likely to be scrupulous, conscientious and a moral perfectionist.
If your favorite flavor is chocolate chip, you're more likely to be generous, competent and a go-getter.
If your favorite flavor is rainbow sherbet, you're more likely to be analytic, decisive and a pessimist.
If your favorite flavor is rocky road, you're more likely to be aggressive, engaging and a good listener.

So, now that I've outlined everything, I'll tell you what my pick is. I would typically want mint chocolate chip, or maybe the very berry strawberry, depending on my mood. I usually like fruity desserts, but I do love me some mint chocolate chip! In fact, when I was on a cruise with my family as a teenager, my dad and I had an ice-cream eating competition  and I must've had about 4 cones of mint chocolate chip!
Which flavor are you? Do you think it's accurate in describing your personality?
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frozen Bananas

I've never been much on rides. Even though I've lived in Florida my entire life, I've only been to Disney World a couple times (and not since I was a small child), and if you try to get me to go on a roller coaster, you might as well just count on that being a big fat NO! I don't know why, but I've just never enjoyed being thrown upside down at high speeds and feeling like I'm going to die.

Anyway, the reason I mention all of that will make sense, because my favorite part of going to the fair was never the rides or games. It was always the chocolate covered frozen bananas. There is nothing better on a hot day! 
Imagine my excitement when I discovered that you can now buy these at the grocery store!!! I started out by getting the Banana Babies from Diana's Banana's brand, which I must say are quite delicious. You can buy them in dark chocolate or milk chocolate. My favorite is the dark chocolate. They even have some with nuts, but unfortunately, those only come in the milk chocolate variety.
Now Dole has chocolate covered banana slices!! These Banana Dippers are perfect for when you might not want a whole banana, but just a small snack to satisfy that sweet tooth. I've only tried the plain chocolate ones so far, but they also make some with almonds that sound amazing! I highly recommend running, not walking, to the grocery store and buying yourself a package of frozen bananas this summer. They really are the perfect healthy dessert. You can thank me later.
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