Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sharing My Smiles of the Week!

What is it about a good haircut that makes you feel like a million bucks? You don't even have to look in the mirror to feel that fabulous feeling it gives you. I've obsessed over my hair before...but this time I just let my stylist do her thing. She had just taken a class from a gentleman who pretty much invented Aveda haircolor. She started telling me about this new blonde technique she just learned. She mentioned something about circles. She said it would be customized to my hair and nobody else would have the same color. That's all it took for me...I said LET'S DO IT.

I love chatting with my girl, we love all of the same reality TV, pop culture, music...she is a few years younger than me but I still hold my own. Hairstylists really are amazing souls when you think of it. They not only pamper you and work hard to make you look and feel good, but they are also like a really good visit with a caring friend. These are ladies that stand all day, do head after head of hair, and still smile when they get to yours. It's quite an intimate relationship, as you let them touch you and you are trusting them with your biggest and best accessory...your hair!

So anyway, I wanted to share my updated hair since it brought me so much joy today. With my birthday just days away, everyone could completely forget to acknowledge me and I would still feel awesome. THAT'S how great my hair is.

Now you know I won't be able to make it look like this, but I don't even care. This is all about that fabulous color!

I have no clue how she got those curls in there like that. I'm pretty sure it involved a very expensive curling iron!

I love the dark underneath...I've been obsessing over a hair color job I saw on my fave site Sea of Shoes that the cute little redhead posted of her sister...this is similar but blonde on top instead of underneath!

I'm not used to curly hair...but she wanted to show her skills! I should've throw on a bit of lipstick!

Me at home hanging out. I rarely take pics of myself. I swear this is like catching a Sasquatch. That's how much I love these bangs. I mean seriously check out that color! So cool.

Hope I didn't go on and on but I gotta tell ya, I haven't been feeling to great as of late and this really gave me a boost. Every girl needs a boost every now and then. Never underestimate the power of hair!

One more thing happened this week that lifted my chin just a bit...remember when I shared my love of the Oscars here? I won the Oscar contest at work! 2 hours off and my own little man!

I am taking tomorrow OFF...just for fun! Why not make this great week even better! :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rubber Ducky Baby Shower & Jungle Safari Shower BACK-TO-BACK

Last year my sister-in-law and I threw two baby showers back-to-back in the same weekend. It was CRAZY. But it was also fun. We made a deal, if we could use her house, I would plan it all and do all of the shopping. Since she likes to keeps her house perfect, and I love to plan, it was a perfect arrangement.

Since we were throwing two showers back-to-back, and I had church, and my daughter had her dance pictures...even I had to simplify. I decided on the menus first.

Rubber Ducky Shower Menu:

Beefburgers w/Duckie Cheese (we used a duckie cookie cutter to cut out Kraft Singles)
Chips, Salsa, & Veggies
Duck Feed (I made up a snack mix with chickadee cheese crackers from Target, white chocolate chips, pretzels and dried cherries)
Cake, Blue Punch and Water
Favors: Bubbles (Oreo Bon-Bons dipped in blue candy melt)

Safari/Jungle Shower Menu:

Safari Sandwiches (mini meatball sandwiches)
Chips, Dip & Veggies
Strawberry Cheeseball with Animal Crackers
Cupcakes, Jungle Juice and Water
Favors: Iced Elephant Cookies

Now we didn't get all Martha on the decorations. My sister-in-law's house is very beautiful and open and cozy and it was just perfect. Here are the D's that I did capture.

This was my rubber ducky cake. I used my grandma's roasting pan to make the cake. I used regular canned frosting and swirled it around on the top. I then used that color spray paint to make it look like water. I used that little white sparkly glaze in a tube to make the little bubbles on top. I found that sweet little chocolate duck at the Dollar Tree for $1.00! I used a bendy straw for the faucet and I had bought the hot and cold handles at Menard's on a clearance shelf a few years ago and sat on it just to make this cake as I knew it was somewhere in my future.

I don't like wasting too much money on fancy plates and napkins because they will really put a dent in your budget. My solution for this is to just buy them for the dessert table.

I bought a glass bowl and filled it with Styrofoam and clear glass balls. I had found a duckie photo holder (which I gave to my sister-in-law for the nursery) and added that in with a copy of the shower invite. The duck feed was put in sand pails. I picked up the other ducks here and there...I swear I started to see them everywhere!

This ended up being pretty tasty! I think it's nice to have something out to munch on while guests are waiting and/or playing games.

This was before we added the ice cream. I found that little duck at World Market. He really looked like he was having a good ole time in the punch!

I found that little paper mache duck in the dollar section at Michael's. I told you...everywhere!

I bought the CUTEST mini bottles of water at Costco and had them chilling on ice. They looked so pretty!

I bought a piece of scrapbook paper for the guests to sign. I also used some scrapbooking stickers to add a copy of the shower invite. I thought when the babies get a little older and the mommies have time to scrapbook, they could add this if they wish.

And finally, nobody left without a packaged "bubble"! I found these little boxes on clearance at the Dollar Tree for 50 cents! I then glued the little duckies I found at Michael's to the box and placed the bubble inside. I am a big fan of edible favors because I know they will get eaten instead of tossed out.

 The next day...we rocked this one out. :)

I made strawberry cupcakes (pink!) with those cute little cheetah cupcake wrappers. They are sitting on a vintage stand that belonged to my mother-in-law.

I watched a Youtube video on how to make a diaper cake, and whipped this up in about an hour. I found that awesome box of Lily Pulitzer Animal Crackers...seriously how cute is that box for a baby girl's jungle shower?? Oh and before you make fun of my monkey as my children did, my boss donated that to me. She had won it and it was hanging in her cubicle with a tiny cowboy hat on it. :)

This is a mix from Tastefully Simple...a strawberry (pink!) cheeseball with animal crackers, chocolate animal crackers, and some cool little hippo cookie type things I found at the World Market. Love that place!

I also found this awesome Lion candy bar. How could I not buy it?? I "heard" it was kind of like a Baby Ruth...

Stop monkeying around in our jungle juice!! Another World Market find!

More paper mache animals from Michael's!

Nobody leaves without a pink elephant! When I bought this icing it showed a sweet baby pink on the front. Imagine my surprise when this hot pink came out! They still turned out pretty cute.

So there you have it. Two showers, one weekend. It was worth all of the work as I now have a beautiful niece and a handsome nephew and I am an Aunt again!

Me holding baby Ian

Nick holding baby Madeleine

My sister-in-law Kerry with her widdle Lion! Roar!

My sister-in-law Jen with my niece Maddie on her Baptism Day!

I am linking this up to Titus Tuesday at,,,, ,,, , ,


Ok so I'm looking through TONS of Vegan recipes...there is NO WAY I can be a vegan. Yes I could handle a vegan meal here and there....but some of this stuff is just too weird-o for this girl. I am still going to clean out my pantry to use up my stuff and have my favorite meals this week. It is my birthday next week so why not celebrate a little bit extra right? :) TACOS HERE I COME!

Plus I get my hair done this week. I'm already obsessing over what I want her to do...only to have her do the same ole same ole I'm sure. The fabulous in my head just never ends.

Menu Plan Monday Greatest Hits

Have any of you watched Forks over Knives yet? If not, go rent it, or Netflix it and watch it pronto. I am not against meat, I actually love meat....but as you get older you start to really care about what you are doing to your body in all forms. This movie will open your eyes in a good way.

So last week a vendor came in and gave us the follow up to FOK, Engine 2 Rescue. It has this dude who has been vegan forever, and he is all ripped and OH his name is Rip! even if you don't plan on going vegan anytime soon, I would still recommend you watching this just for the label reading info. Plus some of his recipes look seriously good. I think even a few vegan meals a week would do a body good. It isn't released on DVD until March 13th, but it is currently available on Netflix. He also has a website with some of the recipes here.

Now my little brain is working to try to mentally re-work many of my recipes in to vegan recipes. Will I be a full on vegan? Gosh you know I can't imagine me doing that....but my husband and I did do the CHIP program through our church, and we were vegan for over a month and we totally survived. And we both felt fabulous too! I'm not promising anything, but I'm certainly ready for the challenge! I would have to do away with my beloved yogurt parfaits....but this could easily replace and boy are my lips smacking just looking at it.

Until then, I have some meat to use up! I'm going to make my absolute know just in case. :)

Monday-Veggie Pizzas
Tuesday-Tacos....tacos are the one thing that I don't know if I can totally give up. Tacos have been my fave since I was a tiny little thing...and the bean versions do not cut it. I'm a ground beef taco gal...and I don't know if I can do the soy crumbles...just that name gives me the willies.
Wednesday-Hamburgers on the grill pan...with all the veggie fixins....mmmmm!
Thursday-Pantry Chili-whatever I have on hand is going in!
Friday-Tombstone Pizza! Extra Cheeeeeeeeese
Saturday-Out for my birthday. :)
Sunday-Freezer Potluck!

Go enjoy something that you love this week!

I am linking up to!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Cozy Jammy Oscar Party

I'm not sure if it's because I've worked in the movie industry for 20 years, (ok well the DVD side, but I like to make it sound more glamorous) or if it's because I adore all things fashion or a mixture of both but I LOVE the Oscars. There are two things I look forward to every year like a football junkie looks forward to the Superbowl...the season finale of Project Runway and the Oscars.

When I was younger I always dreamed of having some fancy party on Oscar night where everyone dressed up and we chatted and had movie themed snacks....but that never happened because they are always on Sunday and run pretty late and who wants to be cleaning up a mess in some uncomfortable dress all night? I am a Pisces and I tend to dream a lot...while my other fishy is super happy sitting on the couch with my laptop ready to do a running commentary on Facebook like anyone even cares.

The awesome thing is that I've kind of wrangled my husband in to watching them with me, and he seems to almost enjoy it! That makes it so much more fun to me as his commentary is that of a regular dude who is watching the Oscars. His version of the Fashion Police keeps me laughing all night long.

This year I am embracing my cozy jammy Oscar day with all around comfort....which means some awesome movie themed comfort food. Hope you aren't expecting high brow cuisine here...I don't want to spill caviar on my jammies. :)

And the nominees are:

Since Hugo and Midnight in Paris take place in (duh) Paris, I am going to make these dark chocolate crescents for breakfast because when I think of Paris, I think of windows of decadent pastries....mmmm. Plus Dr. Oz says that dark chocolate is healthy and this particular recipe is only 110 calories per! Two please!

For lunch in honor of Minnie from The Help, I am going to make these Southern Fried Chicken Strips (I'm sorry I can't do the chocolate pie, but here is the recipe if you would like to make it yourself!) and to celebrate The Artist and I will make the popular 1920's drink Root Beer Floats! I will need to balance this out with a nice veggie green salad ala the Tree of Life.

For dinner, as a nod to The Descendants I am going to make Hawaiian Burritos. This is an old recipe of mine...I will post later!

We all know that the Oscars last we of course need a few snacks to get us through that home stretch. So let's not forget Moneyball and have some popcorn and some Apple Nachos for that sweet little horsey in War Horse. Eating popcorn and apples can get a little YOU GUESSED IT...we are giving props to Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Whew. I had no idea how I was going to get that one in there.

Do you watch the Oscars? Maybe you should give it a shot this year if not for any reason other than to make some fun food. :)

You can see all of the Oscar nominations here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gourmet Breakfast on the GO

When you are a working mom, food on the go is a way of life. Finding ways to stay healthy and more importantly not get bored can be a real challenge. You rely on yogurt cups or granola bars just to get something in your tummy. But sometimes those little yogurt cups can feel so cold and empty. You can feel the sadness as you start to scrape the bottom of that little cup for those last few bites of yogurt that went so fast. I used to eat granola bars every morning for breakfast as they are easy to store in my desk and a box is a week's worth of breakfast. The only problem with the granola bar is that it's about 2 1/2 bites and you are ravenous within an hour.

So I came up with a solution. I adore yogurt parfaits but who has time to make them every day? As long as I remember to throw a cup of yogurt in my bag on the way out...I do!

I am a visual person and I like when food is presented on a plate or a bowl, and I like when it looks like MORE. Yes, I must admit, I am a volume eater!

I went and bought some plastic (gasp!) bowls and spoons to keep up in my desk cupboard. I then went to the Dollar Tree and bought a little container for the Love Crunch (dark chocolate & red berries) granola I buy from Costco.

I love the Yellow Submarine in the background
I then pour the yogurt out in to the bowl, which I then realize is a lot more than it seems when it's upright in that cold and unfeeling little cup.

Still a little cold and unfeeling

Now is what makes this so much yummier, is the Love Crunch Granola! I found this cute little "scoop of love" scoop at the Goodwill. Some married couple had given them out as favors and must've over-ordered. I celebrate their love silently whenever I pull it out. (Love Crunch was actually created for a wedding celebration which you can read about here) I can find romance anywhere, even in a yogurt parfait. I'm just lucky like that.

I do 2 scoops of LOVE

My girlfriend gave me some fancy-shmancy cinnamon in the coolest little magnetic container to keep on my cupboard door here at work. I use that and dash a little on top...Dr. Oz is always going on about how good cinnamon is for you but I have to admit I just love the stuff unconditionally.

Someone gave me that silly little cute!

Instead of adding fruit, I eat it on the side. This breakfast is so filling and keeps me energized and focused in the morning. If you include the banana this is approximately 270 calories and a little over a buck to make.

Yes that is a tiny square of dark chocolate!

One last thing before I go...I found this cup that has added to my gourmet breakfast on the go experience. My "frugal" boss bought a Keurig maker for our office as we vowed that we would provide our own coffee if he did. Seriously how cool is that? Now I get to enjoy whatever cup of coffee or tea I'm obsessing over at the moment, but in this amazing travel mug that is perfect for the Keurig. It's short but wide which holds 2 small cup settings. It fits perfectly in my hand and every time I take a sip out of it I am so thankful that I bought it. Oh and it's the most amazing shade of teal that changes with my mood. ;)

It has a non skid bottom too!

Ok, ok...maybe it's not exactly GOURMET...but dang it feels so much better than that cold cup of yogurt or that skinny 2 1/2 bite granola bar. It works for me!

I am linking this to,,,,,

Monday, February 20, 2012

She's So Lucky

She's So Lucky

Paul Smith swimwear
$115 -

Ankle length pants
$24 -

TOMS glitter flat
€70 -

Straw handbag
$139 -

Gold silver jewelry
$53 -

Rainbow jewelry
$29 -

Steve Madden rainbow hat
$22 -

ASOS aviator shades
$21 -

Black Star Tattoos
$15 -

Menu Plan Monday...TO GO

We are in a bit of a transition in our lives at the moment. My husband is starting a new venture which is starting us on an unpredictable schedule for the week. So I decided I had better make suppertime TO GO. I kind of like the idea of this anyway. Who doesn't need to eat on the run at least once a week nowadays?

Monday-Nothing like a fast Healthy Grilled Cheese to get you out the door and satisfied in one swoop!

Tuesday-BLT Wraps...I just got some new turkey bacon from Trader Joe's that will be perfect for this recipe!

Wednesday-Buffalo Chicken Wrap-you just KNOW this is going to be good!

Thursday-Mmmm these Balsamic Veggie Turkey Pepperoni Wraps look divine!

Friday-Aaahhh it's Friday...let's slow it down a bit! These Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Beef Wraps will end the week nicely...with me out of the kitchen!

Saturday-Out with my fabulous husband...or in...whatever. ;)

Sunday-Find something to wrap!

OK you are all on to me. I bought one of those huge things of tortillas from Costco and I need to use them up. I still think the TO GO menu is genius!

I am linking up to where the real geniuses are...go check them out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dutch Letter Bars

Usually if you mention Dutch Letter anywhere in Iowa it will be followed with MMMMMMMMMMM I love Dutch Letters!!! If you aren't familiar with them, they look like this:

 Dutch Letters from the Jaarsma Bakery in Pella, Iowa

I always think they look like they are getting their groove on. They are filled with almond paste and have a flakey, crystal sugary pastry on the outside. They really are one of a kind. And to me, a pain in the booty to make.

My mother-in-law loves Dutch Letters, and I wanted to have something for her birthday with those flavors. I found this great recipe for Dutch Letter Bars. I was afraid they might not have the same magic, but boy were they ever delicious. The hardest part of the recipe was finding the almond paste, which I ended up finding near the frosting.

If you are looking for something unique to take to your next get together, or if you love Dutch Letters this recipe is a must.

Here is what you need:

In a large mixing bowl, cream 1/2 cup margerine, 1/2 cup butter and 2 eggs.

Beat in 1 8 oz can almond paste.

Add 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of flour, mix well.

Spread in to a greased 13 X 9 X 2 baking pan.

Sprinkle the top with sugar (I left off the almonds, but toss them on if you wish)

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until the top is browned. Let it cool down before cutting.

Aren't they so beautiful? They smell even better I promise you that. Now go make and enjoy!!

I linking up to the Tuesday Frugal Tip~

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