Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tea Time and 29

Royal Albert (Old Country Roses)

Today was my birthday, so I wanted to share a bit of that in today's post. For my birthday, I received my china dream come true: an Old Country Roses set from Royal Albert! It actually took up residence in our home on the 4th of July when Nick took me to pick out the patten I wanted, but being a more traditional person, I didn't allow myself to use it until my official birthday today! :) To go along with the beautiful china, I broke out the sample of Harney and Son's, "Birthday Tea" blend that I purchased with my last order. I was saving it especially for my birthday to have something to look forward to. 

This is a unique blend to say the least. Upon opening the package I thought I was really going to dislike this tea because it smells a bit reminiscent of children's cough syrup. After brewing it however, everything steeped into a wonderful, fruity tea with a gorgeous red color. So, don't let the initial scent before brewing throw you off to this tea if you are wanting to try it. Once steeped, it's quite lovely. The ingredients are listed as: Hibiscus, rosehips, decaf Ceylon, raspberry flavor, blueberry flavor, pomegranate flavor, vanilla flavor, spearmint, peppermint, marigold petals, cornflowers, natural and artificial flavors. 

Overall, I'm enjoying this tea. I'm currently winding down the day with another cup of it. While it is good, there are others prefer more, so this won't be a repurchase for me right now. This would make a cute addition to a birthday gift for any tea lover though. The full size comes in a fun, colorful tin with 20 sachets and you can order it from the Harney and Sons website. This sample I used is loose-leaf, which I prefer. 
The ride on the way to dinner earlier. One of my favorite things about Summer,  is the lush green trees that line the roads. (I wasn't driving.) 
Birthday shenanigans with Nick.❤️

Annual birthday picture with Ranger and Mykelti. 🐶
Birthday goodies from my love and the furbabies. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

An Ode to Command Hooks

I love Command Hooks *almost* as much as I love tea time! I use them all over our home to organize with; they are such fantastic little ways to organize clutter in a home! I decided to reorganize the inside of the cabinet door tonight and add a few more hooks. (You might be a tea addict if you have a cabinet door devoted to tea accessories.😉)  ☕️💗☕️ 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

This pathetically speaks for itself. 

Wigglebutt Wednesday


Isabella and Kojak

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tea & Tunes Tuesday

For Tea Time today, I'm featuring one of my very favorite teas: Kusmi Chocolate Mint. It is an exceptional tea, from one of my very favorite companies. This tea is a decadent black tea blend that combines mint, with actual chunks of chocolate. When I have guests over who are devoute coffee drinkers, this is typically the tea I brew to "convert" them into trying tea. I highly recommend this blend!

For Tunes today, I'm loving, "Find Me" from Boyce Avenue. I've been listening to them for several years now, and absolutely LOVE their music! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Makeup Monday

Today for Makeup Monday, I'm sharing my favorite hot pink lipstick. This lipstick is from Urban Decay's Revolution Lipstick line, and normally retails for $22.00. The shade I'm featuring today is in, "Anarchy". It is a gorgeous, bright fuchsia pink, with a buttery smooth formula that glides on the lips without tugging. It is richly pigmented and lasts for ages on the lips without being drying or feathering outside of the lipline. The formula is moisturizing, and the intense pigmentation makes this lipstick nearly opaque in one swipe! This lasted for around 6 hours on me, through both eating and drinking. I actually wound up taking it off of my lips for the night with makeup remover, since I was ready for bed and wanted to take my makeup off, so I have a feeling it would possibly last longer on the lips. 

If you want to get your hands on this gem, I recommend signing up for Ulta's mailing list, and waiting for a 20% off coupon to purchase it. You could also sign up for Urban Decay's online mailing list, or wait for a Sephora sale, so you can get the most bang for your buck. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites:

- I found these "Crispy Green: Crispy Fruit" snacks at Fresh Market recently, and they were amazing! I shared them recently with my Mom and Aunt, and they loved them too!
-Lupine Coupler for walks with both Aussies. Absolutely nothing beats the quality and durability of the Lupine brand's collars, leashes, and couplers. They are an excellent company and I can't recommend them enough! Their coupler has excellent durability, distributes weight evenly, and the clips are made in such a way that they can't be forced outward, allowing a dog to break free. (The Aussies are also wearing 1" Lupine collars in the picture, and using a Lupine 1" leash.)

-This Goji Berry & Tea candle from Target! I loved the scent so much recently that I froze the remaining wax, and cut it up to use in my tart warmers just so I could use it even more! 

-Pineapple! I absolutely love fresh pineapple. I probably share an equal love for my pineapple core tool. It's amazing, and one of those kitchen gadgets I reach for often! I forgot to take an after picture, but essentially, if you cut the top of the pineapple, you then twist the core tool down, and wind up with a perfectly cored pineapple, and lots of delicious pineapple rings to eat! Mine is from Target, but Bed Bath & Beyond should have them too, if you want to use a coupon with it!

-Dryer balls! These are from Homegoods, but you can find them in most stores. They are genius!

They're cheap, non-toxic, soften clothes, reduce drying time, and extend the life of your clothing by reducing lint. These are also safe to use with dry-wick gym clothing and towels because they won't leave behind any residue and reduce effectiveness. 

----------Friday Fails----------
These two mascaras below we're awful; I am so happy to be finished with them! The top one is from the drugstore and was just a clumpy, goopy mess! It weighed down my lashes, without making them any longer or fuller. The formula also faded during the day.

The Smashbox mascara was a free mini sample, and was worse than the drugstore mascara. It was horrendous! If it's possible for a mascara to actually make your lashes look worse, this one did that! The formula was extremely dry, and all this did was make my long eyelashes actually look a bit stumpy. It also flakes horribly, which irritated my eyes. 

-"Walking with the Dinosaurs, The Movie". I rented this from Redbox the other day, and regretted my decision as soon as I started playing it. It was horrible, and I can't even see a child enjoying this one. I was hoping for something more along the lines with Jurassic Park, or a good dinosaur documentary. Instead, I wound up with this snore-inducing atrocity.  Since I have no way to warn the next person who goes to Redbox and rents it, I decided to include a note, and a dollar with it to hopefully make their soon-to-be regrettable DVD rental, a bit more tolerable. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Zoya's Monet

Today has been a pretty rough flair day for me, so I don't have any exciting posts to share today. Instead, I thought I'd do a fun Nailpolish post. Zoya's, "Monet" nail polish is so beautiful; it's a cellophane, holographic topcoat. 💅For a fun comparison, the background of this picture is a replica of Monet's, "The Artist’s Garden at Giverny".  I've collected Monet replicas since my junior year of high school; Claude Monet is my favorite Impressionist. (12 years after I first started to enjoy Monet's works, he is STILL my very favorite! My dream would be to take a trip to visit the actual Monet House in Giverny, France someday.) Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get this polish during Zoya's recent sale. When the light hits the glitter just right, the colors remind me so much of this Monet painting, so I thought I'd share this picture for fun! 💗💜💚 Also, Zoya is a 5-free polish, so I tend to favor them over other brands since they leave out a lot of unnecessary chemicals. 

(This picture is in our hallway, so the lighting isn't the best, sorry for the poor picture quality, but I hope you can still make out some of the beautiful colors!)

Here are the colors I recieved during the recent Zoya sale. They offered three free nail polishes, if you paid for shipping and handling. The colors I chose were left to right: Blu, Monet, and Wendy (which is currently on my nails.)

This was the cute little box the polishes arrived in. I absolutely love the Zoya polishes, and really recommend them as a brand! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WiggleButt Wednesday

Looks like the squirrel toy is trying to escape!
Isabella and Lucky
Ranger with his blanket
Giving me his best, "Bridget Jones" impersonation. 
The cutest little beggar
Car rides are their favorite!
Mykelti and Isabella
Kojak with his goldfish

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tea & Tunes Tuesday: Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry Leaf tea, in my opinion, is one of the best herbal drinks you can consume! (Although herbals are not technically true teas, we are going to call it a tea for the purpose of this review.) 

Raspberry Leaf Tea tastes very similar to a slightly black tea, with a slightly fruity undertone. Because it is an herbal tea, this one contains no caffein, so this is a great tea to switch to if you want to cut back on caffeine. It contains Magnesium (helps with cramping and spasms), potassium, iron (helps with anemia), vitamins B & C. 

Personally, I love this as a replacement for Midol since it alleviates symptoms of PMS and cramping very effectively. When I was younger, I actually had a prescription that was stronger than Midol, to help alleviate some of my problems with PCOS. Since switching to more holistic things, I have no need for it, and find that the tea for me works wonders, so I prefer it as a natural alternative as it is not only delicious, but also safer than taking a pill. A lot of women also use this tea during their pregnancies since it can help prepare your body for a safer, easier delivery. Please though, consult with your midwife or doctor first though, and research for yourself. 

Athletes use raspberry leaf tea to soothe muscle cramps and inflammation. This would also be good if you have any kind of inflammatory problems with your body. This one is also great at treating mouth ulcers, and light dental pain. The high vitamin C in it helps people heal from colds more quickly, and can also be used as a base for homemade "Gator-aids".  If you use it as a paste, the tannins in it can help alleviate sunburns and soothe eczema. Raspberry leaf tea can also help with GI upsets and nausea as well. This is definitely a great blend to use for a multitude of things, and the taste is excellent! This is one blend I always like to keep around in my tea cabinet, because it is so useful.  I highly recommend Raspberry Leaf for both women and men, since the benefits are so wonderful.

 (This particular one pictured is by Traditional Medicionals. I purchased it at a Target, but have seen it in quite a number of other stores as well. If you can find it in whole leaf form, even better!)


For music this week, I have been loving Amos Lee's songs, "Black River", "Chill in the Air", and "Arms of a Woman". Although I love ALL of his music. His voice is so soulful and soothing to listen to. I love the heart behind his music and how you can feel the intensity and honesty in his voice. Definitely check him out!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Skillet Sunday: Gluten Free Pasta Bake

This pasta is delicious! It is a quiona blend and doesn't taste like the typical cardboard-gluten free ones I've tried in the past. It tastes delicious, and had a rich flavor, and holds it's shape without becoming mush. 

(Finished product, with the pasta I used.)
These breadcrumbs are amazing! Highly recommend them! 

For Skillet Sunday, I thought I'd shade a simple pasta bake recipe. This one is gluten free, but you can use whatever you have in your pantry. This dish is so delicious that you won't even realize it's gluten free! Back last Fall, my doctors thought I had Celiac Disease, so for several months I made all of my food, entirely gluten free. They've since done some tests to rule out Celiac Disease, so I'm no longer gluten free. This was just my attempt to use up some yummy groceries we already had in our pantry. It was delicious!

-Box of pasta (any kind you prefer, cooked al dente)
-1/2 cup of 2% milk (I use lactose free)
-1 package of shredded mozzarella, 
-1 cup asiago and Romano cheese 
-dill, basil, parsley, basil to taste
-sea salt, black peppercorn, chili powder to taste
-1 TBSP Lousiana hot sauce 
-2 TBSP natural butter, 
-1 large, free range egg
-1cup panco, Italian breadcrumbs 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix together ingredients, and combine with cooked pasta in large mixing dish (hold breadcrumbs). 

Pour mixture into Pyrex dish, and top with breadcrumbs, feeling free to season the top of the breadcrumbs as you like. 

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then, broil at 500 degrees for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit five minutes before serving. 


A close up of the deliciousness!

(This dish refrigerates and reheats well).

-Just a side note, if you do have Celiac Disease and need this dish to be entirely gluten free, also make sure any cheese or condiments you use are as well. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Polished: "Rory" by Zoya 💅

Today I thought I'd share a recent nailpolish color that I've been using quite frequently for the past year. This nailpolish is by Zoya, and the shade is, "Rory". I love not only the pinky-mauve color, with it's flattering tones and slight irrridesent shimmer...but also the formula in general. This polish wears well, and the formula doesn't chip as easily as a lot of other brands I've tried. It is also 5-free polish, meaning it is much safer as a brand than a lot of other polishes on the market that use more harsh, harmful chemicals. If you're a polish fan, definitely check out Zoya polishes, especially Rory. 

(They recently had a big sale, and I ordered 3 polishes free + S&H, so I will post pictures and swatches of those sometime soon!) 

Here is, "Rory".

In case you'd like a color description, this is the Rory color description, straight from the Zoya website. (www.zoya.com)  "Rory by Zoya can be best described as: Medium mauve pink with lilac tones, gold and silver reflective metallic shimmer accents, and a foil-like finish. The gentle color of this polish gives the foil finish a softened appearance."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Favorites!

AIt's time for Friday Favorites again!

Here are the things I've been enjoying this week: 

1. Candles by Victoria's Scent Shot in, "Caramel Hazelnut Cream". If you are a coffee lover, this is the perfect fragrance to melt in your kitchen or living room warners. The scent is warm and robust, with just the right combination of coffee and sweetness to it. This scent would make a wonderful candle. It's definitely going on my CBV order wishlist! 

2. Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti Style Wedge. I found this at my local Fresh Market, and it is delicious! If you're like me and can't handle a lot of dairy, this is an amazing alternative. If someone would have handed this to me without telling me it was "fake cheese", I would not have believed them; the flavor is just so excellent! I really recommend this jalapeño garlic variety if you like spicy type cheeses with a little kick to them. I've been eating it as a snack on top of "Mary's Gone Crackers Black Pepper gluten free crackers", but you can pair it with anything you like. I plan to try this with a chicken casserole type dish; I think it would be delicious! If it turns out well, I'll post a recipe.

3. The, "Whitmor Folding Clothes Drying Rack" that I ordered from Amazon a few months back. This is one of those products that I'm kicking myself for not getting sooner! I initially ordered this to use with delicate laundry, but I've since been using it almost daily for random things, like placemats and napkins! Since it has worked so well, my goal lately has been to cut back a little on how often we use our dryer, and to use this rack instead for a few loads each week. I'd be nice to conserve a little energy, cut down on our utility bill some, and help our fabrics last longer. I especially like this drying rack because when it isn't in use, you can fold it up and store it away, taking up a minimal amount of space. When it is in use, it is still fairly compact, so you can easily fit it into a small space. This particular one has a waterproof, epoxy coating that helps it resist mold and mildew. The construction of this seems to be very well made, so I'm hoping to have this folding rack for a long time to come. 

4. Tervis Tumbler. Is it weird to be in love with a cup...because I am! I have been using my Tervis Tumbler for over a year now, and it is one of my very favorite things! Nick actually had one too that he uses as well! My brother in law, Bubba told me about Tervis Tumblers a few years ago, after I kept dropping and breaking my glass drinking glasses. I finally got around to getting this one last year at Bed Bath & Beyond, and I absolutely love it! It honestly still looks new, but I have dropped this at least 20+ times. There are no visible cracks or scratches in it, thankfully. 

My right hand has some nerve damage, so I can be a little clumsy at times. The one thing that I like the most about the Tervis Tumblers, is that you can get a separate handle to go with their cups. It may not be necessary for most people, but I really love mine. It definitely helps me hold onto the cup more easily, and makes it more stable to carry around. I typically fill this one up with ice water throughout the day, so I'm constantly drinking enough. If I'm using a cold drink, it keeps it chilled, and if I'm using a hot drink, the insulation keeps it toasty, without ever developing condensation.  I prefer this to my traditional sports bottles, because of the handle, and also like that I can use a straw with it. (I'm a straw person!) 

5. Number 5 goes along with my number 4 favorite. Last night I went to Target for a few things, and like always, I had my cup with me. (I always take it with me because I like having water whenever I go someplace.) I finished my water while I was there and was still thirsty, so I went to the little Starbucks inside of Target. The lady was really friendly, and was actually able to put the drink I wanted in my Tervis Tumbler since it's a hot/cold insulated container. I thought that was pretty neat! Starbucks will give you a .10 discount if you brings your own container to refill. I love that idea, because it keeps anther disposable cup out of the landfill, and encourages people who want an occasional treat to reuse their products.  I think that's a great idea on Starbucks part. 

Friday Fail:
I have one "fail" for today, and it is the Caviar Transformation Kit.  Pictured, are the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging moisture shampoo and conditioner. I purchased this in a four piece mini set at Sephora a while back at the recommendation of a good friend. Obviously it goes without saying that different people and hair types prefer different things; this just didn't work out for me.

This four piece kit came with minis of the shampoo, conditioner, working hair spray, and overnight hair rescue. Although I finished the shampoo and conditioner to not be wasteful, I disliked them, and wouldn't recommend them. The product didn't improve or moisturize my hair well. It weighed my hair down, and left it feeling greasy and looking dull. The kit itself was extremely overpriced, at $30 for the mini set. (I got it for less during the F&F sale, but it still wasn't worth it.) I also found the scent of these products, especially the overnight hair rescue cream, to be absolutely repulsive. It smells like you're smoothing on a fish market to your hair! It is just putrid and repulsive, and there is no way I could ever recommend it. The shampoo/conditioner were tolerable, but the night treatment smelled so putrid that I just had to toss it. I couldn't even GIVE if away, because everyone hated the scent lol. It did come with a mini hairspray as well in the set, which I haven't tried yet since I'm still finishing another one at the moment. (So, I can't comment on the quality of the hairspray yet.)  Overall, I'd go with Wella as a brand instead of Alterna. I feel that the products a better performance and value wise, and you can get them on sale at Ulta pretty often. Save yourself some money, and skip the Alterna Caviar Transformation Kit!