Friday, August 22, 2014

Which Kitchen Gadgets Are Worth the Money?

I know there's so many gadgets out there that you think what's the point, the old fashioned way works just fine. Well let me tell you these gadgets get a lot of use of me and make things so easy!

I've been eating so many cherries this summer because of this pitter. It's just so much enjoyable to throw a pitted cherry into your mouth so all you focus on is enjoying the flavor instead of fishing out the seed with your teeth. I've been eating a lot of cherry topped oatmeal so this makes it easy for me to prep the cherries for it.


I bought this lime squeezer for a party I was throwing to make margaritas easy but I've found that I use this very often. A lot of recipes call for half a lime and this makes it an easy squeeze. If I cut a lemon in half I can also use it in this. My favorite lime recipes are cilantro lime salad dressing and this alcohol free cocktail.

Yes I could cut the top off a strawberry but once you try this tool that makes it quick, easy, and pulls the hole thing out you'll want to use it all the time! 


I use this container to store cut lemons in my fridge.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Orange Creamsicles


Remember those delicious Orange Creamsicles from your childhood? Here's a healthy recipe to make them. It's even creamier if you add some coconut milk to it!

Ingredients
2 cups unsweetened orange juice
3/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 TB raw Agave Nectar
¼ ts vanilla extract
5 tall drops of liquid stevia

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Taste mixture and adjust sweetener as needed.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

Makes 6 popsicles



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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stylebook


I've completed my 31 Day Closet Challenge and had fun shopping my closet doing so. My goal was to not buy any clothes for a month and I only cheated once when the Autumn Mustard collection went on sale. I used the Stylebook app to keep track of what I was wearing every day to make sure I didn't repeat any outfits to work for a month. I challenged myself to wear all dresses. It's been said before but I've never met an app more perfect for me than Stylebook! It's the best $4 I've spent on an app! 

Stylebook has inspired me to wear things I had forgotten all about. I love having a photo catalog of my closet! Remember when I remodeled my shoe closet? Well I took a picture of all of my shoes to catalog into the app and discovered that I hardly wear any of them. I put my shoes into this bookcase so I could see them because there's no point in having a lot of something if you're not using it. Now I'm thinking about donating half of them and gradually getting new pieces that fit my style better. The app also calculated how often an item of clothing has been worn which is something that will help me purge of unworn items.                                                                                                                                                   I love planning, organizing, making lists, and taking pictures of outfits. You may think it's a bit overwhelming to photograph your closet, but I've done so slowly. The shoes I did one evening while watching a movie, I set up a backdrop to do so. For the clothes, I do it daily, I photograph just the outfit I'm wearing that day. One quick snap then some editing later in the day. The app categorizes all of my clothes by tops, bottoms, accessories, etc and then later you can search by color! When you buy something new, you can just take the picture from the store's website (however I've found that the app makes those pictures smaller than one you take yourself). 

This is exactly what I will be needing when making packing lists for vacations! Previously I used to take pictures of me wearing every outfit but now everything is already categorized in my phone so its much easier to play stylist. 

The app only works on iphones and ipads. The tech supports answers questions quickly plus if you follow them on facebook they often post tips on better photography. If you're worried the app will take a lot of space on your phone they said that "Stylebook optimizes your images to fit on your device. Even closets with over 100 items can fit in less than 200MB." I highly recommend you download this app!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Face Contouring


When I was in Los Angeles I visited the NARS makeup store and saw they had a new contour blush. Later I checked out the videos on their website on how to apply cheek contouring which led me to research what's the best brush to use for this which lead me back to MAC. All my makeup brushes are from MAC and any makeup artist will tell you that the brush makes the makeup artist. The experts say that cheaper brushes really are just that, the quality, how it feels on your skin, and the shedding. I own the 168 Large Angled Contour Brush and the 129 Blush Brush and use NYX brush cleaner.

I spent a couple evenings watching makeup tutorials on youtube and honestly I haven't done that in years because I've really perfected my eye makeup look so I just haven't had a need to look back. I know eyeshadow looks go in trends so I try to keep up my style with what's popular at the moment just by seeing what other women do, switching up my look just staying fresh. If you ever end up with a broken eyeshadow check out this tutorial on how to fix cracked eyeshadow.

Kim Kardashian made cheek contouring popular because that's her signature look - the high cheekbones, but anyone can have that look with the right makeup. I bought this contour kit from Anastasia the famous brow makeup artist but you're in luck, groupon has this on sale for half price!


KimK wears a lot of foundation (on top of this), but I don't even own any. So here's my condensed version of how to do this look. I don't do the whole under eye concealer like she does because I find it hard to do right and always ends up looking too white (on myself and others).

You really do need a contouring brush to do this because it's more narrow. I start with a good face moisturizer, I find it helps hold my makeup better. Then you pick one of the brown shades from the compact, based on your skin shade. Next suck your cheeks in and draw a line where you cheeks naturally suck in.  I use L'Oreal Magic Lumi Highlighter at the top of my cheekbone for my highlighter. It's an awesome drugstore find! Then I apply my blush in the area in between the brown line and the highlighter. Finally I use the middle yellow powder on top of the highlighter. I use a sponge to blend it all together. It's pretty simple to do!



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Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Edition



Beach, sand, sunshine, summertime, can't believe we're halfway through August already. I went to Ocean City beach this weekend with a group of friends and had so much fun! A lot of firsts happened on this trip: my first visit to this beach, ran 4 miles on the boardwalk, practiced yoga on the sand and played beach volleyball (something I've been wanting to do for a long time)! All of those were amazing experiences! There were 40 of us and we had the stereo set up on the beach blasting out music! I felt a sense of stillness that surrounded me and how it soothed my soul, it's nice to just appreciate the simpler things in life, better than any retail therapy. Some people smoked hookah, drank shots and played twister on the beach. I got some reading in while eating all the healthy snacks I packed.  



Even though I put on sunblock and wore my Panama hat, I still managed to get sunburned. The weather was only 80 degrees but it felt like it was 100. And then we got a short surprise shower but the funny part was when I looked straight up at the sky I saw blue, no clouds! It was the weirdest thing ever!  lol  I came home feeling relaxed with lots of wonderful memories. On the drive home I watched the sunset straight ahead as we crossed tall bridges and then saw fireworks. It was the best day ever!


that's my empty towel in the middle





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Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Turn a Scarf into a Vest


I bought this gorgeous gold foil dot scarf on clearance at  New York & Company last month. I stumbled upon this genius idea someone came up with to make your scarves into vests. This way you make your scarves more versatile for you by providing light support against cool breezes yet don't take up much space when say packing for a vacation. This picture of me was taken on a windy summer day.

It took me a couple tries to get the hang of it but all you do is fold the scarf in half lengthwise, then grab the top two corners and tie it into a small knot.  Here's a youtube video that will give you a visual.

If you're looking to buy some new scarves, here are some suggestions all under $50. 

Summer Scarves



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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grapefruit Rosemary Popsicles


Ruby Red Grapefruit has always been one of my favorite fruits! This taste absolutely amazing! I think grapefruit gets a bad rap for being a sour fruit, but if you remove all the white pith around the flesh all you will taste is sweetness. Grapefruit is high in Vitamins A & C and is a metabolism booster. I peel grapefruits like I do oranges and eat them that way. After my coconut peach popsicles, I wanted something else exotic and the rosemary added the perfect flavor compliment to this!  If you don't have a juicer you can make this in your blender but really take the time to section the grapefruit and remove as much of the white pith that you can.

I made this recipe twice with different no calorie sweeteners, once with Ideal sugar and once with Zsweet which I've used in other recipes. I found that Ideal really lives up to its claims of acting like sugar, because it melted properly in the water unlike the zsweet and thus both batches of popsicles came out tasting different. You can read here why I don't use splenda. I like to make small batches of popsicles so I can change flavors often. Also I've found that depending on the size of the fruit I use my recipes make different volumes and your popsicle molds may be smaller than mine so it's not an exact science.

Ingredients
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit. 
  • ¼ cup Ideal Sugar
  • 2 TB water
  • 1 ts fresh rosemary leaves
Directions
  1. Peel the grapefruit and puree in your blender. 
  2. Combine sugar, water and rosemary in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and bring to a boil, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse and cool for 30 minutes. 
  4. Remove the rosemary from the water and mix the rosemary infused water with the grapefruit juice in your blender. (This is the most important step, if you don't cook it look enough you will get no rosemary flavor)
  5. Pour into popsicle molds. Check back in one hour because the water and grapefruit juice separate in the molds so be sure to mix them up again sticking a knife into the molds.
  6. Freeze the popsicles for 6 hours or overnight. 
Nutritional Analysis:
Makes 3 or 4 popsicles
63 cal, 5g sugar (from the grapefruit)

ps you could add vodka or St. Germain liquor to these popsicles if you wanted, just saying...

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