Saturday, May 30, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Have you tried spaghetti squash, yet?  Joe's a little on the fence about it, but I really kind of love it!  It's so easy and fun to make up, healthier than regular spaghetti, and still similar enough that you don't really notice you're eating squash!  If you haven't tried it, yet, and are wondering how to prepare it, then this is the post for you.  I'll take you through exactly what I do!

All you really need is a spaghetti squash and some marinara sauce, though you could also brown some hamburger, add a chicken breast, tofu, whatever your heart desires.  Personally, I can be very lazy when I'm cooking, so if I'm just cooking for me (as in this case) I just stick with the marinara sauce.  My favorite is the Classico Tomato and Basil marinara, but we had just run out, so I used this Four Cheese one.  Let's just say I'll be going back to the Tomato and Basil.

First, cut the squash in half lengthwise.  I like to prepare half the squash at a time, so I'll vacuum seal one to use later, and scoop out the seeds of the half I intend to eat.  This is always the step where I think of carving pumpkins, which makes cooking a little more fun. :)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  While you're waiting for your oven to be ready, put about 2" of water in an oven safe dish, then add the squash so that the cut edge is submerged in the water.  This will help it cook evenly.  Bake for 45 minutes.

When the 45 minutes is up, drain the water, and let the squash cool for a bit.  Once it's cool enough to touch, use a fork, and scrape the edges.  This will cause the squash's meat to fall off just like spaghetti noodles.

Transfer a serving size of these noodles to a plate, and top it off with some marinara sauce.  It tastes even better if you heat the marinara sauce in a small pan before adding to your noodles, and you get bonus points for topping the whole thing off with some basil!  

Like I said, I love eating this as a healthy meal, but I have seen other recipes that use spaghetti squash as a noodle substitute, including an Asian noodle bowl.  So, if you've tried any of those recipes, let me know which are your favorites!  Now that I feel I've perfected this traditional spaghetti squash dish, I'm ready to try and undertake something new!

Make sure to stop on by next Tuesday, too!  I'll be talking about a hair product that I think I've now fully decided that I can't live without.  I know you're curious as to what that could be!  So, I'll just be waiting here until then, expecting you. ;)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Bar Cart

I don't think I've ever actually talked about this little corner of our home, but it's a little spot that I absolutely love.  In a corner behind our spiral staircase there is a little alcove that holds our bar cart, which was a purchase I heavily debated for quite a while, but have never regretted.  I found it at Target this past winter, and we've used it so much!  The top tray actually separates from the rest of the cart, and I'm not lying when I say that we've used it for breakfast in bed.  We're just that awesome.

Of course, breakfast in bed aside, this is still a wonderful cart, and has allowed us to store our adult beverages so beautifully, it's almost just a functional decor piece.  I've decorated the top tray with a couple pillar candles on an antique silver tray with pinecones I found near our house, and a glitter deer that I purchased at Target as part of their Christmas decor.  But, living in Minnesota, I feel like I can get away with this as an everyday thing.  After all, we have deer come by our house every night!  We also have a cocktail shaker, a corkscrew, a wine aerator, and a flask that you may have seen in my Stocking Stuffers for Him video back at Christmas!

The second shelf is where we keep our wine glasses, champagne flutes, and the Bacardi cups we got when we were in San Juan, and toured the Bacardi Distillery there.  If you don't remember us going on that trip, feel free to check out Chase's Cruise Diary, where we talk all about it!  Oh, and if you look really closely, you may notice that one of the wine glasses is missing.  Guess who had some wine while she was getting this post ready! ;)

Speaking of wine, on the lower shelf, you can see exactly which wine I was drinking.  Last year, my best friend, Emily, and I discovered Forestedge Wine from Laporte, Minnesota.  It's the best wine that I've found to make Mulled Wine with, and the current flavor I've been enjoying is their Rhubarb/Raspberry blend.  We also have all our other forms of alcohol on this shelf, including some vodka, brandy, the basics - but we can only allow it to take up half this shelf.  The rest of it is devoted to coffee syrups.

Our favorites are the ones from Caribou Coffee, which are right in front, along with some of our favorite flavors.  These are all actually backups, since we have the majority of our coffee syrups by our espresso machine.  Speaking of which, our coffee bar has changed a lot since you've last seen it.  If you're interested in an update, make sure to let me know.  In the very back, you can see our old syrups, which were by the brand Torani, but when we switched to Caribou, it was impossible to go back.  We're still not entirely sure what to do with our old ones.

So, that's our bar cart!  When I sat down to write this post, I was a little worried that we would come off as bigger drinkers that we are, but now that we're nearing the end, I think we probably look more coffee-addicted than we'd like to let on.  Though, I can't say we're not as big into coffee as it looks - I think we've hidden that obsession a little more than you know!

Anyway, I'd love to know what you think of this little setup, and let me know if there are any other areas you'd like to see in our house!  I'm hoping to do more 'tour' style posts and videos, because I think our house is finally at a point where I really love it, and think it fits our personalities!  Also, make sure to come back on Saturday!  I have a recipe that I've been looking forward to sharing with you for a while!  See you then!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Red Wing Oxfords

My husband can be very particular when it comes to the shoes he'll wear, which I honestly think is wonderful.  He knows that he has a very hard time sitting still, so he needs something that will hold up well, and he wants something that he can essentially wear no matter where we're going.  That means it has to be a good work shoe that still looks nice enough to wear to church.

That's likely why he was so excited when he found out that Red Wing Shoes had a number of nice, dressier shoes for sale.  He already knew that Red Wing Shoes made good, sturdy work boots from several of his friends that work in logging or construction, and figured (correctly, I may add) that the shoes would be built just as well.  Oh, and just as a little history geek out: The company was actually founded in the 19th century in Red Wing, Minnesota specifically to make shoes for logging, mining, and farming.  To be in business that long, you have to assume they're doing something right!

I love the way these shoes look, and I know Joe does, too.  Really, the only complaint that he has about them is that because their construction is so sturdy, they've taken a while to get worn in.  However, they will form to your feet, so once they are worn in, they should be quite comfortable.

Now that I've gone on about how much we like these shoes, I do have to regretfully tell you that I don't actually know where you can get this exact pair anymore.  Joe only got these a couple months ago, but I can't find them anywhere online.  However, I did find similar ones on Amazon and Ebay.  This pair is pretty much an exact match, except they are a caramel color rather than black, and this pair is similar, but it doesn't have the cool contrasting white stitching.

They are a little pricier too, or at least compared to the shoes we typically get, so I would recommend finding a style that you or your significant other loves before taking the plunge.  I imagine this post would still apply to almost all of the Oxfords from Red Wing.  Let me know what you think, though!  Have you tried Red Wing shoes?  What have you thought?  Let me know in the comment section, below!

Also, if you are interested in seeing a little more of our home, particularly one little corner that I absolutely love, make sure to stop back here on Thursday!  If you have any guesses as to what could be in this little corner, please leave them below!  I'd love to know how predictable or un-predictable I might be!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shirley Temple Cocktail

You guys know that I love a good cocktail, and with summertime coming up, I figured that it was about time to give you another recipe.  However, when I sat down to think about different ones I could do, I started craving a nice Shirley Temple.  Now, I know this is a really easy drink to make, but I still wanted to write up a quick post on it for two reasons: 1) It's non-alcoholic, so age doesn't matter with this beverage, and 2) As a reminder that Shirley Temples are amazing.

All you need for this recipe is ice, ginger ale, grenadine, lemon slices, and maraschino cherries.  First, fill a glass with ice.  This will make the Shirley Temple super cold which makes it even tastier.

Then, I added about 6 oz. of ginger ale to my glass.  To feel particularly adult, I used a shot glass and filled it up 4 times, since a shot glass is about 1.5 oz.

I used about an ounce and a half of grenadine, or one shot glass, and added this to the ginger ale.  This ended up being quite sweet, which is what I was going for, but you can certainly play around with the measurements on this one.

Finally, it's time to garnish.  Personally, I think maraschino cherries are a must with a Shirley Temple.  It just doesn't feel the same without them.  But, if you really want to get fancy, you can also add a nice lemon slice to the rim of your glass, and you're all set!

If you try this recipe out, please let me know what you thought of it, or just if you like Shirley Temples in general!  Also, I'd really like to start delving into more non-alcoholic cocktails, so if you have any recipes or drinks that you really like that fit that criteria, let me know!  I have some friends that don't drink, so I'd love to serve them something fun when we're entertaining. :)

Well, we've reached the end of another week!  I hope all of you are well, and I'll be back here on Tuesday with a new post!  I've really been enjoying giving you guys hints as to what's coming up, so here's your hint for the next one: it's going to be about men's fashion!  If you have any guesses as to what it could be, let me know in the comment section!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Sugar Scrub

Today, I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite luxury items, and I'm sure you've been introduced to it before, whether it's been from me or another beauty girl.  It's the Laura Mercier Sugar Scrub, and my scent of choice is Crème Brûlée.  I actually received this as a gift from my best friend, and have been using it super sparingly because I love it so much.  Honestly, I have to keep myself from using it every time I bathe, and can see this becoming a part of my "permanent collection" (can you tell my real job is at a museum???).

This is an amazing exfoliant, and while I've read several reviews in which people aren't fond of the "goopy" texture it has, I really don't find that to be a problem.  I actually kind of like the texture, since it's a sticky sort of consistency that reminds me a little of a candy shop.  I do use the scoop to take the product out of the jar, just because it adds to the decadent experience, but you could certainly use your hands as well.  

Another cool thing about this scrub is that while it definitely gets rid of any dead skin, it also provides a nice, smooth finish to your body, making it almost feel as though you've put on moisturizer as well!  This is a double win for my incredibly dry skin, and a perfect product for summer when you want your legs to look their most radiant!

Finally, if you've been here for even a small amount of time, you probably know how much I love Crème Brûlée.  In fact, that's why my friend got me this particular scent, and I can guarantee that it isn't just the scent that I love.  I'm also obsessed with the dessert, as well!  In real life, I'm not really a dessert person at all - not sure why - but if Crème Brûlée is on the menu, it will usually end up in my belly.  So, apparently the next thing I should go for is the body butter, right?  Hmm.  I'll have to think about this...

Have any of you tried the Laura Mercier sugar scrubs or body butters?  What did you think of them?  Let me know in the comment section, or chat with me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!  Also, make sure to stop on by this Saturday for a new cocktail recipe!  You know how much I love a good adult beverage, so it seemed natural I should share a fun one for summer with you!  Until then, I hope you're having an incredible day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract

I have tried so many different makeup wipes, and I've disliked just about the same amount.  Either the smell drove me crazy, the texture felt weird, or they just plain ol' didn't work well.  But, I kept trying different ones, hoping for convenience-sake I'd find something that I liked.  Well, I finally found one that I not only liked, I loved: the Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract.

I'm sure that if you saw my recent Current Empties video, you've gathered that this is actually my second package of these towelettes, and I imagine I'll just keep on purchasing them I love them so much.  Personally, I still like to go through the whole routine of washing my face, but these are perfect for those times when you simply can't do all that.  

I also think they'd be wonderful for wiping down your arms and legs after a workout or day at the beach to carry you over to your next shower.  That may sound a little gross, but when I was younger, my dad would run marathons, and I remember he would wipe down with baby wipes so that he smelled better for our ride home.  It worked back then, these smell much better, and I don't plan on perspiring as much as he did, so I think it'll be fine!

So, what is it that makes these so much better than other makeup wipes I've tried?  Well, first off, the white tea extract smells incredible to me, but as you know, I'm a sucker for tea.  Maybe it's not for everybody, but I certainly think it's appealing.  The wipes themselves are really quite soft and gentle on your skin, but still nice and sturdy.  This was frequently a dealbreaker with other makeup wipes, as most of the others I tried were really scratchy.  I want to be relaxed when I'm taking care of my body, not in pain!  Finally, even though these have a nice, soft texture, they still get my makeup off quite easily.  Obviously not as well as washing with soap and water, but that's not what they're meant for, either.

These are definitely going to be my go-to makeup wipes for summer, which is so exciting for me!  After so much searching, I never thought I'd find ones that I liked!  As always, I'd love to know what you think, though!  Have you tried these towelettes?  What did you think of them?  Are there makeup towelettes out there even better than these I haven't heard of, yet?  Let me know by leaving a comment here, over on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  I'd love to talk to you!

Finally, make sure to come back on Thursday!  I think I'm going to talk about another skincare product that will leave you feeling ready to go for summer.  Any ideas on what it could be???  Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Tiny Tea Tin Garden Experiment

Some of you may know that I really don't have much of a green thumb.  But, I really want to be able to grow things, and practice makes perfect, right?  So, today, I'm starting a bit of an experiment: I'm starting an herb garden with recycled tea tins!  I saw this idea on Pinterest, and thought it was a great idea, considering I'm essentially obsessed with tea.

So, the first thing I did was found some tea that had interesting looking tins.  These Harney & Sons Fine Teas are from Target, and since they come in a variety of colors that I can switch out every once in a while, I figured they'd be a good option.  I picked up an Earl Grey (blue), Peppermint Herbal (green), and Vanilla Comodoro (cream).  The Peppermint was by far my favorite, and I loved using the Earl Grey in London Fog lattes, but I wasn't a big fan of the Vanilla.  I'm not really sure why.  I just didn't like it, I guess.

About the same time I was trying to get through all that tea, which really wasn't too difficult, I started some seeds in one of those Jiffy greenhouses.  I honestly don't remember which plants are what, or even exactly what I planted.  I'm sure that's bad, but the ones I kind of care about are lavender, basil, and oregano.  They're all in this little greenhouse somewhere, so if things keep going the way they are, I should have at least a plant of each!

When I was finished with the tea, and some of my seeds had sprouted, I filled the tin with some of the Miracle Grow Seed Starting Soil.  I'm no connoisseur of soil, so everything's essentially just dirt to me.  If you have a little more experience, please don't hesitate to tell me more about this topic in the comment section!  Really, anything to do with gardening would be helpful.  Anyway, in the picture below, you can see that I filled the tin up to the line with soil.

Then, I dug a little hole, and put my little seed starter pellet in the tin. 

All that was left was to make sure the soil was nice and even, then water the new little garden to make sure the soil was moist.  Clearly, I'm not very far into this experiment, so I'm not even sure it will work.  However, I loved the idea, so I wanted to share it with you, and will be providing updates on my little herb garden as it hopefully grows.  Make sure to follow this blog to see when I post those!  Wish me luck on this little experiment, and like I said earlier, if you have any tips and tricks on gardening, please let me know!

I'm so glad to be back into blogging, and working on my YouTube channel!  Last month was really tough, and throwing myself back into work, whether it be my real job, blogging, YouTube, etc., has just been so good for me.  You guys are just the sweetest, and I really do appreciate each and every one of you.  

With that, I should probably sign off for the day, but make sure to come back next Tuesday!  I'm going to be talking about a skincare product that I've been on the hunt for, and am now obsessed with!  If you have any guesses as to what it could be, let me know by leaving me a comment below!  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quick and Easy DIY Floral Necklace

This project was so stupidly easy, that I honestly didn't think I should even bother putting it up.  However, I've found myself wearing this necklace a lot, and since there clearly isn't a store I can point you to to purchase your own, I figured I'd do the next best thing and tell you how I made it.

For this project, I used a wire cutter, a needle nose pliers, a cool chain, and a floral pendant.  Both the chain and pendant were purchased at Hobby Lobby and they were made by Metal Gallery.

First, I found the center link of the chain, and used the wire cutter to take this link out.

Doing this essentially gives us two separate chain lengths, and space to add the floral pendant.

All that's left is to attach each end of the chain to the jump rings included with the pendant.

See what I mean?  This project is so simple and easy, yet it yields an awesome result!  I know I'd pick  it up if I saw it in a store!  If you're new to jewelry making, a project like this is wonderful, because it just quickly introduces you to a couple tools, then you're left with a ready to wear piece.

As always, if you make this necklace or something similar, please let me know, and definitely send me pictures of your creations!  You can contact me through a comment here, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Oh, and make sure to stop back on Saturday!  I have a fun post planned that also has to do with a way. ;)  I bet you won't be able to guess what it is!  Let me know what you think it could be in the comment section below!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maybelline Blushed Nudes Palette

It's a makeup review!  This particular one is going to be on the Blushed Nudes palette from Maybelline.  I did receive this product to test out, but rest assured, this will still be an honest review.  I know some beauty bloggers will say that they won't talk about a products they wouldn't purchase themselves, but as I'm sure you've figured out, I'm really trying to downsize, so I probably wouldn't have bought this myself.  I already own the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay, which is what this palette seems to be compared to most frequently, so it just wouldn't make sense.

However, right off the bat, I do have to tell you that if I could go back and just choose between the two of them, I'd actually go with the Blushed Nudes palette.  I've been using this palette a lot ever since I got it, and if you were around when I got my Naked 3 palette, you may have noticed that I really didn't use it much.  I think the biggest difference for me is that the shades in the Naked 3 are a bit warmer and brighter, which made it difficult to use on my super fair skin.  I had to be really careful with them, or it would look like I had an eye infection.  Because the Blushed Nudes are a little cooler, they are much easier to wear.  I also like that these colors have more of a satin finish, while the Naked 3 has much more glitter in their shadows.

As for the quality of the shadows themselves, this is where we do have to be a little more brutal, I suppose.  They're a little chalky, which you can see in the photo below, and you do have to work with them a bit more to build up the color.  You have to be patient in blending the colors together, but once you get it, this really is a wonderful palette.  Plus, this sells for around $10, whereas the Naked 3 sells for closer to $55.  You simply can't expect them to perform the same way.

As for me, I really like this palette, and like I said, I reach for it way more than my Naked 3.  However, I do think a big part of that has to do with the fact that these colors are better for my fair skin.  Because they aren't as pigmented, I imagine they would be difficult to use on darker skin tones, though, and it's probably not a palette that would be good if you're running late since it does require a bit of work.  I have a feeling this is one of those 'love it' or 'hate it' products.

If you'd like to see this palette in action, make sure to check out my Blooming Roses Makeup Tutorial, which features these shadows!  It's my first makeup tutorial in quite a while, so I hope you like it!  Also, make sure to come back on Thursday for another floral type post.  It'll be a DIY, and I know how much you guys like those!  I hope to see you then!  As for now, make sure to let me know what your opinions are on this palette in the comment section, or chat with me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

London Fog Lip Scrub

Some of you may remember that back in March, I posted a recipe for a London Fog latte.  Well, after that, my obsession with the beverage just continued, and I ended up creating a lip scrub that was based on the drink, as well!  I absolutely love the gentle exfoliation it gives your lips, and this is definitely the yummiest lip scrub I've ever made, so clearly I had to share the recipe with you guys!

1/2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea
1/4 tsp Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Almond Extract

Making a lip scrub is incredibly easy!  All you have to do is combine all the ingredients into a small bowl, ramekin, or in my case, a measuring cup. Mix the ingredients well, and you have your lip scrub.

To use, apply the scrub to your lips with a finger, and gently rub to exfoliate.  Remove with a warm, damp rag.  Though all of these ingredients are edible, and it smells to appetizing, I would not recommend licking it off, as the point is to get the dead skin cells off your lips, so at this point, the scrub is mixed with dead skin...kinda gross.

Finally, I like to finish off with a nice lip balm that compliments the scrub, like the Bee Well Essentials Lavender Bliss Lip Balm.  I know I've talked about those balms a lot, but they really are amazing, and you can find them on Etsy.  I would highly recommend them!

Please let me know if you try this scrub out, and tell me what you think!  You can let me know through a comment here, FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.  I would particularly love to see pictures of you using the scrub!  As for now, I think I'm going to let you go for the weekend, but please come back next Tuesday for a new post.  I suppose that since I've been giving you hints as to what's coming next, I maybe should give you one to hold you over, hmm?  Well, let me just say that if you love rose gold and makeup, you'll want to be here on Tuesday. ;)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Vogue Knitting Lace Batwing Top + OOTD

A lot of you really enjoyed the Sweater a Month series I did last year, and I got a ton of requests to continue it this year, but just between us, that was a lot of work.  I just couldn't get myself to do it again.  That doesn't mean I've stopped knitting, though, and I wanted to share my newest creation with you guys today!  

I have been obsessed with Dolman/Batwing tops for a little while, now, so when I was browsing Vogue Knitting's site recently, and came across the Lace Batwing Top, I couldn't help but to get those knitting needles going again!  I did up my needle size from what was recommended, just to get this sweater to be a little more baggy and casual looking than the original.  I also used a yarn that was new to me, but already a favorite: Baby Bee Sweet Delight yarn in Teddy.  Yes, I used baby yarn, but I love that it's not as shiny as other yarns, and super soft!

As for my outfit, I feel like a dolman top, jeans, and boots is quickly becoming somewhat of a uniform, so it's not really surprising that I chose to wear that exact combination today.  It's just such a nice, cozy outfit, and considering that it's been such a dreary, rainy day here, cozy is precisely the way I want to feel today.

I kept this outfit super simply, my only accessories being my wedding/engagement rings and a bracelet I picked up from J. Crew a couple years ago, and still wear quite frequently.  I love J. Crew's bracelet selection!  They fit my wrist perfectly, and are so nice to pair with just about anything!

These boots have been an absolute staple in my closet this past Fall, Winter, and Spring, and I can kind of see myself wearing these on cooler Summer days, too.  They'd also be perfect for bonfires, or a casual camping trip if I could convince the hubby to go! ;)

Finally, the bag I'm carrying is an old favorite from Rebecca Minkoff.  This is the Quilted Mini Affair bag, that kind of reminds me of those classy, quilted Chanel bags.  Honestly, I would love a Chanel bag.  Love it.  But, at $1,000+, it makes this purse look like a steal.

I think that's it for today's post, though!  I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this post, and you love this top as much as I do.  I know summer isn't typically when one wears sweaters, but since this one is so lightweight, I think I actually might!

Oh, and make sure to come back here on Saturday!  I have a fun beauty DIY for you that I'm really excited about. :)  If you're looking for more fashion content, though, hop on over to my YouTube channel tomorrow.  There's a video going up there that talks about a concept that has completely changed how I think about my clothing.  You aren't going to want to miss it!

Sweater: Vogue Knitting / Jeans: American Eagle / Boots: Target (similar) / Bracelet: J. Crew (similar) / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff