Friday, May 31, 2013

Get Pin-spired: June Edition

I've been on a roll with lots of food posts lately. I hope everyone is enjoying the new recipes, but I must interrupt my food kick today for this month's edition of Pinspired! Be sure to check back, though. I have lots more yummy recipes to share soon! Today I'm linking up again with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel.


This month was really a challenge. I realized that I don't have much in the way of summer clothes! I think I cleaned out my closet a few months ago and got rid of all my tees, tanks and shorts!! But here's what I managed to pull off.

My first outfit is so simple, but I love how put together it looks! I just threw on my denim shirt with my white shorts and mint bubble necklace, and voila! 


Via

Shirt: Gap Outlet (old)
Shorts: JC Penney (old)
Watch: Fossil
Mint bubble necklace: Etsy

This next outfit is a neon top and pink shorts number. I went with a green top rather than the yellow, and I don't have lace shorts, but I do have bright pink ones! 

Via

Tee: Gap
Shorts: J. Crew
Watch: Fossil
Bracelet: LOFT (old)

My last outfit is another neon inspired look. It's just a bright tee with denim shorts. So easy! 

Via


Tee: Gap
Shorts: Forever 21 (old)
Watch: Fossil
Bracelet: LOFT (old)

That's it for this month! I always feel like I'm in a fashion rut during the summer. I just feel so much better in the fall and winter when I'm wearing my colored jeans, sweaters, scarves and boots. But since it'll be several more months until that happens again, I'm trying to make the best of it with my shorts and tees. I really need more summer clothes, especially tanks and shorts, so hopefully I'll have some new items to showcase for an upcoming Pinspired linky party!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goat Cheese Sandwich

A couple weeks ago, I was out running errands one Saturday and I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat. I've great great things about this local bakery called John Dough. Actually, I had bought their homemade bread before, but it was a while ago, and I don't think they had a cafe back then. So, I'd been wanting to try their sandwiches!

When I got there and saw that they had a goat cheese sandwich on the menu, I was sold! It was one of the most delicious sandwiches I had ever eaten!! But to be fair, let's face it. Goat cheese between to pieces of wood would taste good! Anyway, after I ate it, I started thinking about how easy it would be to re-create it at home, so that's what I did!

2 slices of thick, balery-style bread (I used multi-grain, but the bakery used ciabatta. Use whatever you like!)
goat cheese
tomato
roasted red peppers, sliced

onions, sliced (I like Florida sweet onions or red)
fresh basil
Now you just have to assemble the sandwich, which is simple! Spread some goat cheese, as little or as much as you like, on each slice of the bread. One one slice, pile sliced tomato on top, then sliced roasted red peppers, onions and fresh basil. Place the other piece of bread on top, goat cheese side down. Then cut in half and enjoy! So easy and so tasty!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sundried Tomato, Avocado and Cheese Quesadillas

I love a quesadilla as much as the next person, but sometimes I get tired of the traditional Mexican fare, and I want something a little different. If you've ever had the avocado eggrolls from The Cheesecake Factory, you know how delicious they are! Well, for whatever reason, these quesadillas really reminded me of them! Maybe it was because of the sundried tomato and avocado combo. Here is how to make these quesadillas.



2 tortillas (I used small whole wheat, but use whatever you like)
1 avocado
sundried tomatoes (buy the julienne kind or chop them yourself)
2 oz. of white cheddar, or mozzarella cut into small cubes
salt and pepper

Start by smashing your avocado, like you would if you were making guacamole. Spread the avocado across one of the tortillas. Then top with sundried tomatoes, cheese, and salt and pepper. Place the other tortilla on top.

Heat your stove to medium. Spray a nonstick skillet or use a little olive oil in the pan to crisp up the tortillas. Place your quesadilla in the skillet and press down on it with a spatula for a couple minutes, until it's ready to flip. Cook each side for a couple minutes. Make sure the cheese has melted! And then slice it into triangles and serve! 


I've made this a couple times so far, and the second time I made it, I had some fresh cilantro on hand, so I added that! It was delicious! If you have cilantro, by all means add it!!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Bachelorette Season Premiere

It's hard to believe that another season of The Bachelorette is already underway! Des Hartsock had her heart broken on The Bachelor by Sean Lowe. But in Sean's defense, he almost had no choice but to send her home. Des' brother was a real jerk to him and wanted no part of Des finding love on the show. I imagine that his tune has changed since she's now the star of the show, or if it hasn't, then Des' suitors are going to be in for a wild ride!
Via
Now onto last night's episode... To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the guys at all. But I'm usually not. It typically takes a couple weeks before I like a lot of them. There are always one or two standouts, though. For me, it was Drew, the digital marketing analyst from Arizone. He just seemed genuine and normal!! What a concept! 


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I also liked Ben, the entrepreneur from Dallas who has the little boy, Brody. He received the first rose, too, but it looks like Ben is the source of some drama this season, so my feelings for him might change. 

Via

I'm so glad Des sent Jonathan home before the rose ceremony! When he first got out of the limo, I thought he seemed decent, but all of that changed within about two seconds. He is a nut case! He wouldn't let up on the fact that he wanted Des to go to the fantasy sweet with him! Definitely not cool.

And what was up with the dud who high-fived her when he got out of the limo?! Not the way to treat a lady. At all. I think worst of all, though, was the guy who just didn't wear a shirt. He is not as good-looking as he thinks he is. 

It'll be interesting to see if any other guys make a good impression in the coming weeks. But as of now, I'm rooting for Drew. I'm also trying my best not to find out about any spoilers this season. It seems like just typing "Bachelorette" into Google can end up giving you all the information about who is picked! That has happened to me in the past, and it kind of ruins the whole experience of watching the show! I'd love to hear who everyone else likes this season! 

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Sale and a Funny Story!

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day spending time with family and friends! Let's not forget our troops who have served this country, and those who continue to make sacrifices every day to keep us safe. God bless them!

Now for some sale info! Gap has had a Memorial Day weekend sale for the past four days. Today is the last day! Lots of things are 40% off in the store! If you can't make it to a store, just shop online, but you'll only get 20% off. On Saturday, I went to the store to check out the sale, and I scored some great deals! 

I got this tee for only $2.79!! Can you believe that?! I don't think I've EVER bought a shirt for that price! It was on super sale (all essential tees are 50% off), and then an additional 30% off in the store! I love the neon yellow color for summer!



Next, I bought this top for $9.97! Obviously, I'm really into the neon trend right now! Going back to my 80's roots! These are on sale for $10 online, so not much of a difference in the store price.


I wanted a striped tee, too, and I had been eyeing this one online for quite a while. I'm so glad I waited and bought it in the store, though. The sizing was a little off. I typically always wear a small in Gap sizes, but in this shirt, I had to buy an XS, and it's still a bit of a loose fit (but I like that). 


While I was browsing the sale rack, I also came across this shirt, which I thought would be perfect for work, or pairing with jeans. One of my favorite bloggers, Sheaffer, at Pinterest Told Me To, has raved about this shirt! She has it in green and has worn it with lots of cute things! They didn't have my size in green, so I opted for the bright pink instead. It was only $15.39!


All in all, I think I did pretty well at Gap! I usually have better luck with them when I shop online, but in this case, the prices were better in the store, and they still had a decent selection. But since I had a store credit at LOFT and it was right next door, I popped in there to see what I could find. I tried on a couple casual tops/tees, but I didn't like the fit. They seemed too tight and the material was a little scratchy. However, I did find a couple of clearance tops for work. I got both of these on sale, and then they were an additional 50% off!



I'm excited to have some new tops for work and for the weekends! So now, onto the funny story... While I was in Gap, I had been in the fitting room trying things on. Well, just as I opened the door to come out, this older lady was standing there and immediately said, "Hi! What do you think of this dress on me?" Now, before I tell how you I responded, I have to say that I was caught a little off guard! I didn't expect someone to be standing RIGHT THERE when I walked out. It's like she had been waiting on me!

So, I took one look at the dress she had tried on, and started trying to think of how I could give an honest response in a tactful way. The first thing I noticed was that the dress was skin tight and her belly was sticking out so much!! It was so flattering! The dress was a wide stripe maxi tube dress. Not exactly something you'd picture a woman in her 70s to have on. Now, perhaps she was in her late 60s, but I really think she was in her 70s and had benefited from some plastic surgery. 

I was trying to buy time with my response, so I said, "Uhh, well... it's kind of..." and she responded, "A little young for me?" And I said, "Yes, yes I think it is." I was so glad she said that, because I was about to say that I thought it looked a little tight! Yikes! Maybe that wouldn't have been the best response, but it would've been honest. She said she thought it was a little too young for her, so thankfully, she walked out of the fitting room without it! And, just so you can get the full effect of my story, this is the dress she tried on!

Via
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Almond Joy

If you don't like nuts, particularly almonds, then this post is not for you. Sorry! 

I love snacking on almonds. They're healthy and delicious, and these days there are just tons and tons of flavors out there! About a year or so ago, I discovered salt & vinegar flavored almonds, and I was instantly hooked! I ate them almost every day for quite a while! 
But just recently, I noticed that the grocery store now carries several more new flavors! I grabbed the toasted coconut, and it's been a match made in food heaven ever since! One reason I might be a little partial to these almonds is that they remind me of the taste of honey roasted macadamia nuts! And if you're not familiar with those, then does the Almond Joy candy bar ring a bell? Just imagine that candy bar without the chocolate. Ok, maybe that doesn't sound so great anymore, but I promise... these almonds are delicious!!


Go grab yourself a can! Happy snacking!
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Real Simple Tips for Shopping

I love to shop just as much as the next girl, but I do have a method to my madness. Here are my real simple tips for shopping!

Via

1. Shop online.

I would say that at least 90% of the things I buy are purchased online, and a good portion of those items are bought on eBay. Why should I spend my money on gas driving around from store to store, only to find out that they don't have the size or color I'm looking for? Plus, coming home to a package at your doorstep is just so fun! And better yet, you can shop in your pajamas if you want!!

Via

2. Find a few stores/brands that you really like, and try to stick with them.

I used to shop at several different places, but because of that I never knew how their sales worked, how things fit, etc. Now that my style has evolved over the years, I have a few stores that I buy most things from, and since I know what their policies are, when things go on sale, and how their sizes fun, it makes it so much simpler to order online!

3. Follow a "fashion icon" or define your own style and stay true to it.

One way to prevent yourself from spending too much money is to stick to a certain style or color scheme and don't stray from it. I used to buy things just because they were on sale and I thought they were kind of cute. I didn't think about how much I would actually wear it or if it would look good on me. But now, I stick to a certain style and only buy things I love, or things that some of my "fashion icons" have and recommend. (By the way, my fashion icons are not celebrities and supermodels... they're just regular bloggers like me!) It's also important to buy colors that work well with your skin tone. So many times, I'd get something home and put it on, and then realize the color completely washed me out! Now I know which colors work for me and which ones don't, and I won't buy something that makes me look sick!

4. Try to never pay full price.

There's usually no reason to pay full price for something. It will eventually go on sale. And if you're afraid they'll run out of your size or color before it does go on sale, try to find a coupon. Especially when you order online, you can almost always find some sort of discount, or free shipping at the very least. Follow sites like retailmenot.com and do Google searches for coupons. Some sites like Gap, Old Navy, J. Crew and LOFT even post the coupon codes directly to their websites!

Via
5. If you can't justify wearing something several times, don't buy it!

Even if you think it's a great deal, it's not worth it if you're only going to wear it once. Make sure you buy things you love and will get a lot of use out of. I'd rather pay more for something I'll wear often, rather than getting a steal on something only to decide later that I don't like it.

6. Get more mileage out of your clothes.

By this, I mean that after you're done with something, try to sell it on eBay or consignment. You may only get a few dollars for it, but isn't that better than nothing at all? I try to sell most of my things that are still in good condition, and then I use the money I made on eBay to buy new things. That way I'm usually not spending much at all! It's just a continuous cycle!
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Peanut Noodles

I used to buy pre-made peanut noodles each time I'd make a trip to Trader Joe's. I loved taking them for lunches, but they were pretty pricey, and I figured they would be so simple to make and for a fraction of the price. I was right! These peanut noodles are sure to satisfy! I ate them hot right after I made them, and then I put the leftovers in the refrigerator and ate them cold for the next couple of days for lunch.



8 oz. spaghetti
1 bunch of scallions
2 Tbs. sesame oil 
1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1/3 C peanut butter (I used chunky because I like bits of peanuts in it, but use whatever you have!)
1/4 C low sodium soy sauce
1/4 C hot water
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Cook pasta. While pasta boils, sautee scallions in oil. Add ginger and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in peanut butter, soy sauce, hot water, vinegar, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes. Combine well and then remove from heat.

After you've drained your pasta, toss it with your peanut sauce and serve, or chill and eat it cold if you like it that way.

Wasn't that simple?!



Friday, May 17, 2013

Affordable Keratin Treatment

As everyone knows, Keratin is the latest and greatest when it comes to nourishing hair treatments. It smooths and protects your hair, makes it easier to comb through, hydrates it, and makes it feel silky smooth. I've never had a professional keratin treatment (and let's face it, they can be pretty pricey), but I did find the best at-home product!

Just last weekend I was with my mom at the store where she buys her supplies (she's a hairdresser). When we got up to the counter, I noticed this new product and saw that it was a conditioning treatment. Ever since I started highlighting my hair again earlier this year, it's been drier and harder to comb out after I wash it. The lady who worked at the store said she had tried this new product and it was great! One excellent testimony and I'm ready to give it a shot!


So I bought some of the Biolage Keratin Dose Pro-Keratin Renewal Leave-In Spray! Whew! What a mouthful! 

I used this stuff for the first time the other night, and I can vouch that it is a miracle product! It says that your hair will be 90% more conditioned after one use, and it's completely true!! It was so easy to comb out my hair when I got out of the shower, and it feels so smooth and healthy! It even looks better! I'm sold on this product! And why wouldn't you give it a try when it's just a fraction of the price of a keratin treatment?!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sunless Tanners

I consider myself to be a pretty low maintenance person. I've never had a manicure in my life, I've only had a pedicure once (it was not a good experience, so I don't think I'll be getting another one anytime soon), I've never had a spray tan, never had a massage... and the list goes on. I'm a do-it-myself type of person. 

Well, a few years ago I decided to try a couple of different sunless tanners. The two I used the most were the Jergens Natural Glow lotion and the L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Body Towlettes.



While I was pretty pleased with the color I got from both of these products, along with the ease of use, they both ended up peeling off of my skin after a few days, and I'd end up with orange residue on my bath towels, sheets, and clothes. I was not too happy about this! Plus, because it would come off so easily, even after I applied it, I'd have to wait for it to completely dry before I could get dressed.

Eventually, I got frustrated with the process and the fact that these sunless tanners were ruining my stuff, so I just gave up on it and embraced my paleness. But recently I've been hearing great things about some other products, particularly the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pad. 



I like the fact that these are a pad because it's just so simple to apply compared to a lotion. My only concern is that I could have the same peeling problem I've had before with other products. I wonder if I just didn't moisturize enough, but I have heard from other people that they've had the same problem, so I guess it's not just me. 

Dr. Dennis Gross also makes the pads for face, so I think I might give this product a shot and see what happens. If I have the same results, then I'll know that my skin just doesn't want to glow!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Subscription Boxes

Everywhere I turn these days, a new beauty box, food box, coffee box, or something similar pops up! Whoever developed the concept of these sampling services is a genius in my opinion! The first one I ever heard of was Birchbox, which seems to get great reviews and appears to be one of the least expensive at $10/month or $110 for a year's subscription. Birchbox contains luxury beauty samples that are delivered to your door, and they also have a rewards program. You can write reviews on the samples you receive, and that earns you points that you can use to buy the full sized products. Pretty neat concept! Some of Birchbox's competitors are Ipsy and Glossybox
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I've recently seen more and more of these sample boxes being offered. As someone who's quite the beauty junkie, these boxes really pique my interest. I've never tried any of them, but have been toying with the idea of giving Birchbox a go. I'm curious about how big the samples are. Are they only enough for a couple of uses? And how many different items do you receive? Do you feel like you get your money's worth? 

As a foodie, I'm also intrigued by several of the healthy food boxes I've seen. There are so many, though, I don't even know where to start! I think these seem like such a fun and simple way to try new things without spending a lot of money. I'd love to hear about any experiences anyone has had with these boxes. Love 'em or leave 'em?