Hair Products

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I am a big fan of  my’pregnancy hair’. My girlfriend who is also pregnant texted me a few days ago saying how great her hair is these days, that she even doesn’t have to wash it everyday which is something she’s NEVER been able to do before.

In the past unless my hair is professionally blown out I too used to wash it every day – out of necessity  not desire. Whether it’s hormones, the weather, lack of humidity, age, water…or all of above I too love my hair right now.

My new routine consists of an awesome blow dryer and two products.

Step 1: Kerastase Nectar Theremique

Apply a quarter sized amount to towel dried hair.

BENEFITS

1. Protects dry hair from blow-dry and styling tool damages
2. Makes hair easier to style
3. Polishes the hair surface for a double anti-roughness/anti-dullness action
4. Hair fiber is deeply nourished
5. Hair is left shiny with a perfect glazed-like finish

Step 2: Blow dry normally

I fell in love with this insanely powerful blow dryer about a year ago, BeLissPRO Titanium Italian Dryer it has really cut my blowdrying time in half.

Step 3: HerStyler Argan Oil Hair Serum I’m pretty sure I got this for free from a mall kiosk salesperson… but I love it and would happily pay for it when I run out. A penny size will do, a little bit truly goes a long way. This serum repels moisture and prevents frizziness in humidity. Argan Oil Hair Serum can be applied to soaking wet hair before styling, or sparingly on newly styled hair as well.

 

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Liv’s ‘Big Girl’ Room

When I thought about my daughters bedroom I always knew I wanted Pottery Barn furniture and minimal pink. To me, Pottery Barn is quality furniture that is worth every dollar. Liv’s dresser is PB and was actually my dresser growing up – purchased in 1998! It has been in my parents house, my first apartment, first, second, third homes and is now in the fourth home – in my daughters room! The rocking horse was mine from when I was Olivia’s age that my mom had repainted to match Olivia’s furniture – she LOVES it.

Shelving: http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/classic-shelving/?pkey=cdecor-shelving&&cdecor-shelving

Mirrors: http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/moroccan-tile-mirror-white/

Lamp: http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/ceramic-animal-bases/?pkey=e%7Celephant%2Blamp%7C100%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH

Bedding: http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/monique-lhuillier-sateen-garden-floral-nursery-bedding/?pkey=e%7Crose%2Bmonique%2Bl%7C27%7Cbest%7C4294967258%7C1%7C24%7C%252Frose-monique-l%252Fbedding%7C18&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH

Bed Skirt: NOW 50% off! http://www.serenaandlily.com/fiona-crib-skirt/cornflower/37374.html

Diaper Caddy: No longer available but here are some similar choices http://www.potterybarnkids.com/shop/storage/nursery-storage/?cm_type=lnav

Bed: (NOW ON SALE) http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/larkin-4-in-1-crib/?pkey=bcribs&&bcribs

I’ve always been my ‘mother’s daughter’ but didn’t start to notice it until I became a mother, myself. I find peace in organization (thank you, Mom). Olivia’s room looks like this 99% of the time. (The 1% occurred today while taking these pictures when she pulled every diaper out of the bins in her closet and rearranged them… tried to put them back in but on top of each other.) While some Moms might read this and roll their eyes, roll away. Liv may only be 20 months old but she puts her stuffed animals in her bed or her basket every day, she puts her clothes in her laundry basket and loves to throw her diapers in the diaper genie. TEACH THEM YOUNG!  Thanks, Mom!

Pretty Happy

At all different stages in life people go through changes. Good, bad, ugly, emotional, exciting … you name it, we’ve all gone through it. At this current moment in my life my closest friends are all going through very different situations but we’re all currently going through a tough time.

Right before a whirlwind trip to Miami last weekend I picked up Kate Hudson’s new book, Pretty Happy.kate-hudson-435

While I’ve only just begun the book I found a few paragraphs that I thought to send to my friends in a group email. I then decided instead to write it here because if I felt that if this could apply to 3 of my friends in entirely different situations, I feel like it could apply to many more.

Take this in whatever context serves you:

“…I’ve learned I have to embrace all the ups and downs, false starts, and backward slides in my life. I’ve gotten over heartache. I’ve also had to be honest and admit that my tendencies towards extremes either backfired or failed completely. These decisions and my past way of dealing with challenges and crises are part of my history, part of me- but I no longer let them hold me back. I’ve learned how to see that baggage for what it is – a part of my past that no longer works for me. But that doesn’t mean those old feelings, old reactions to situations and, more important, old behaviors don’t surface – they do.

If you’ve gone through heartbreak and lost your confidence, you know what I am talking about. You may have found a new relationship or embraced your independence, but the wound might still hurt. Part of growth is taking the hurt and using it for something positive. This is part of happiness, but I also believe it is part of wellness.

Sure, it can be scary starting anything new- there is a fear of moving forward. Sometimes, it’s a fear of leaving what’s familiar. Sometimes it’s a fear of what lies ahead or the unknown. All change can be difficult, so it’s important that you make big changes gradually.

All things will and do change. What’s important is to be clear as you pass through the process of change so that you don’t stop or get stuck in a fear or blame cycle that throws you off course.”

In the words of Joe Dirt, keep on keepin on.

Thai Lettuce Wraps

After my husband got back from Thailand he could NOT stop raving about the food.  I never thought much about Thai food but he insisted that it was delicious and that I should A. Learn how to make his favorites and B. Find an authentic Thai restaurant to go to. We went to a Thai restaurant and I very much enjoyed it!

In high school I used to enjoy lettuce wraps so I figured I’d recreate them!

Ingredients for wraps:

  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Cucumber
  • Lime
  • Carrots
  • 1 package Ground Chicken
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
  • Rice paper

Directions:

  • Chop scallions, chop mint, chop cilantro, chop cucumbers and carrots into small pieces.
  • Add a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder to the ground chicken, sauté.
  • Towards the end of the sauté, zest the lime over the chicken.
  • Soak each sheet of rice paper in a shallow container of water for a minute or two, I used a 9×9 baking dish. It is ok if they are still wet after taking out of the water as the water is absorbed quickly as the roll is made and becomes easier to fold.
  • Fill the rice paper with the ingredients and wrap it like a burrito! My rice paper wrapping skills are NOT stellar… but it was delicious nonetheless. You can dip it into the peanut sauce or line the wrap with peanut sauce before you add the ingredients to it…or do both because its yummy.

Ingredients for peanut sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 drops of hot pepper sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Directions: Mix all together thoroughly until there is a creamy consistency.

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Summer Salad

If you’re looking for a DELICIOUS, refreshing, light salad  — see below!! This salad is full of color and full of flavor.

(Image is a different variation of this salad)

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INGREDIENTS:

FOR DRESSING:

1 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves

1 clove Fresh Garlic

1/4 cup Mayonnaise

1/4 cup Sour Cream

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

2 limes, juiced

1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil

FOR THE SALAD:

Spinach

a handful of grape tomatoes, quartered

Any color bell pepper, diced

2 cups grilled yellow Corn (about 2 ears)

2 Avocados, diced

1 medium Red Onion, diced

1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

Smoky Adobo Chicken Tacos

Smoky Adobo Chicken Tacos with Mango Slaw & Lime Crema

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This meal is delicious — it is not something I would’ve ever thought to make for myself because I’m generally very picky but I have to say this pleasantly surprised me!

Time: 40 minutes

Recipe makes enough for 2

*Nut Free & Spicy*

Ingredients:

– 2 chicken breast

– flour tortillas

– 1 lime

– 2 Tablespoons of sour cream

– 1 bunch cilantro

– 1 mango

– 1 avocado

-1 red onion

– jar of Chipotles in Adobo

Let’s do this:

Chop the cilantro, zest and halve the lime. Halve, peel and finely chop 1/2 of the red onion. Peel the mango, cut around the flat seed, then into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the slices into thin strips to create matchsticks.

Make the lime creme: in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the mango slaw: in a medium bowl, toss the mango, red onion,  cilantro, juice of remaining lime and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Halve, pit and scoop out the avocado flesh into a small bowl, mash with fork and season with salt and pepper.

Salt & pepper the chicken on both sides.

Rub or brush both sides of the chicken with 1 tablespoon of adobo (the sauce in the jar of chipotle peppers).

Heat olive oil in large pan, add chicken – cook until slightly charred.

Heat tortillas in the oven or microwave.

Thinly slice the chicken. Spread the mashed avocado onto tortillas and top with chicken, mango slaw and lime creme.

Serve tacos with the remaining mango slaw to the side. If you make it, let me know what you think. Enjoy! 

Bison Burger

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The last time that we were in Colorado we had Elk chili and Bison burgers. Now, if you know me you know that I’m not a huge meat eater, never mind meat that is ‘out of the norm’ but I cannot deny that both were good! Since we moved to the middle of nowhere in North Carolina without great grocery stores I have made even LESS meat… but then I found my new favorite store – Harris Teeter! Some people may think, ‘oh, just a Harris Teeter?’ but clearly you’ve never seen my other options- yuck! This place doesn’t have 19 year olds with 3 kids running around the store, you don’t find deodorant in the dairy section because someone just up and thought, ‘hmmm deodorant? who needs it’ when looking at yogurt. This place plays soothing music, has LED lit aisles to save $ and energy AND their produce is not only locally grown but SO fresh and beautiful.

Anyway, back to the Bison Burger. I found some very lean very organic bison and decided to try to reproduce the bison burgers I saw in Colorado- here it is!

1 pound Ground Bison*
4 Gluten Free Buns, split and toasted, try these: http://udisglutenfree.com/products/classic-hamburger-buns/
Salt and pepper

1. Shape Ground Bison into four 1/2 inch thick patties.

2. Heat your pan with olive oil, do not add your patties until the pan is hot.

3. Pan fry, turning once, just until the pink has disappeared.

4. Toast your buns in the oven.

**I added, two pieces of turkey bacon, a slice of tomato, provolone cheese and a small amount of chopped onion to each burger**. 

Serves 4.
Per patty: 156 calories; 9.1 g fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium.

10 Reasons I Keep My House Clean

10 Reasons I Keep My House Clean

I stumbled upon this great post and wanted to share the 10 points with all of you. Growing up my mother was very adamant about each of these points. Generally speaking, in my own house I follow them! Do you?

1.  It just looks better.  This should be fairly obvious right?  Straightened sheets and comforters with pillows in their proper place are far more esthetically pleasing than disheveled blankets and a pile of pillows on the floor.  A sink full of dirty dishes just looks ugly, whereas I could stare at my clean and sparkly kitchen all day long.

Let’s break this down… in my life, if things aren’t in a certain order I go nuts! A sink full of dirty dishes? I want to barf. Not only does it look entirely lazy but when you have dogs going in and out of the house all day… so too do the flies and fruit flies. A sink full of dirty dishes will attract ANY and ALL bugs. GROSS

2.  I get more done when my house is clean.  Taking the time to focus on putting things in order–especially when I set the timer and race against the clock–seems to jumpstart my productivity.  When I ignore the mess and try to work around it, I am more easily distracted by whatever comes my way, and at the end of the day I’ll find I accomplished almost nothing.  It doesn’t mean I always keep my house clean, but I do get more done on the days that I do.

To me, this screams routine. When you have a cleaning routine *brush your teeth, wash your face, make the bed, get dressed * life becomes easier, I promise! Whenever my office is unorganized with task 1 here task 2 here, press release 3 there… I go nuts! IF everything is in it’s proper place it becomes one thing after another and you can bang out as many things as you want to!  

3.  I’m not embarrassed to have people over.  I love entertaining and throwing parties and get-togethers, & greatly value hospitality.  When my house is clean I am more likely to invite someone over on the spur of the moment.

I have a few people in the neighborhood that at any moment could and do text me, “I’m coming over for a glass of wine” “I’m on your street with the dogs, coming over” “Can I borrow some spices?” and they literally will be there within 3 minutes… I once was caught off guard/having a total lazy day and the house was a mess… = I ended up embarrassed. It never happened again.

4. I can find things.  When everything has a rightful place, it is so much easier to put it away and–surprise surprise–to find things again when we need them.

I struggle with this… my mother has said it for years, my husband says my mother-in-law does the same thing, I put something somewhere specific so that I remember exactly where I put it … then I forget that special secret hiding place. **MUST WORK ON THIS**

5.  My kids play better.  My children have the incredible ability to make a mess instantaneously.  Do your kids possess this talent?  Sometimes it seems like they spend their entire day just dragging stuff out so they can leave it on the floor.  During our great purge I got rid of 4 huge bins of toys, and there is still more purging yet to be done.  I have noticed, however, that when we keep their room clean (and I do make them help with this), they actually play much better.  Just like me, they can find the things they are looking for and focus on just one thing at a time instead of being overwhelmed by 5,000 toys staring at them from the floor.

We have no children but this sounds brilliant to me. 

6. It makes my husband happy.  Who wants to come home after a hard day’s work to a house full of chaos? There are far too many days when Husband comes home at 5:30 and the kids are hungry and crabby and screaming, dishes are piled in the sink, dinner isn’t made, and the rest of the house is a disaster.  (For the record, he never says anything negative and will dig right in and help with dinner, then do the dishes.)  But on the days the house is clean and dinner is made and the girls happily run to greet him at the door, there is an unspoken joy that lights up his face.

Replace kids with dogs and this is spot on in our house! 

7.  It saves money.  Taking care of my home and my things means I am less likely to need to replace something that gets lost or broken.  When things are messy I want only to escape the clutter, which can often mean going to Target and mindlessly filling a cart with even more stuff we don’t need.  When things are clean, I have no desire to be any place but here.

Nothing is better than a clean home. If your life is chaos and unorganized with clutter everywhere, do yourself a favor and take a weekend to clean out – it is AMAZING the things you’ll find that you bought at one time and hid somewhere and forgot about! I did this when we moved, basically I will never need any body soap/hair products every again! 

8.  I am more creative.  Instead of seeing nothing but the mess, my mind is clear to see the creative potential around me, and my desk and table are clear to spread out and complete a project.   Likewise, when my kitchen is clean, it makes me want to cook things!  I know this doesn’t bother some people, but I have a really hard time creating anything–or enjoying the process–when I am surrounded by clutter.

Amen

9.  It helps me get a good night sleep.  There is nothing I love more than crawling into a carefully-made bed.   It is so comforting!  Rather than needing to wrestle with tangled sheets or scoop up blankets from off the floor, I am instantly relaxed and ready for a night of rejuvenation.  Even if I can’t manage to get to the rest of the house, I almost always make my bed because I hate sleeping in a messy bed.  A made bed just feels better, the blankets stay on all night long, and I sleep much better.

I have this thing … I HAVE to shower before bed, I truly cannot stand going to bed without showering and getting that all over clean feeling. Now, we have dogs. If the bed isn’t made… and one of them happens to jump up on the bed… then the chances it’s dirty are high! I’ll stick to making the bed in the morning! 

10.  It’s my job.  When I signed up to be a stay-at-home wife, I agreed to all the duties that came with it, including keeping house.  It’s not Husband’s responsibility to go to work all day then come home and do my job too.  Yes, I work too, but my “work” is out of my house.

This is not a sexist thing. If my husband is even home his hours are absurd. If the situation was flip flopped cleaning, laundry, cooking etc. would be the LAST thing I wanted to do. I work from home therefore I have the ability to do the laundry, stick something in the crock pot, make the bed in the a.m. as part of my routine etc. Now, on the weekends – it’s all about team work but during the week – I got you babe! 

Rachael Ray + Katie Lee

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Nearing the end of a long separation from the hubby should be exciting and happy… yet the end seems to be just as hard as the beginning. Needless to say I sat on the couch and indulged in multiple hours of The Food Network. I then decided; stop watching and start doing. I picked this delish & easy recipe that was made by Katie Lee (Joel) on the Rachel Ray show!

HOT SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 9-ounce package artichoke hearts (drained jarred, or canned, cooked fresh or frozen, but not marinated)
  • 1 cup steamed spinach – well drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 large leaves fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Use a 2 quart baking dish. In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, mayonnaise, Parmesan, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.  Spoon the mixture into the baking dish.  Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or toasted rustic bread.