Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eyes have it---

Lately, I have been suffering from insomnia. You’d think between work, the kids, and all the other elements of my life that I would hit the pillow and drift off into unconsciousness. Unfortunately, that has not happening. Either I wake up at three in the morning or I am up until one. I would cherish eight straight hours of undisturbed slumber. Needless to say, it has taken a toll on my skin, notably under my eyes. The bags under them are larger than a Louis Vuitton Pesage suitcase; thank goodness for good concealer! I have yet to find a good eye cream (if anyone has any recommendations, it would be greatly appreciated.) I recently purchased the Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches with Cornflower as it promised to sooth and reduce puffiness for tired eyes due to lack of sleep. This product looked as if it was calling out directly to me. 

You store the packets in the fridge, which creates the most exhilarating and tranquil feeling on application (I know it seems like an oxymoron.) The patches themselves are a thin jelly-like consistency that stays exactly where you place them. After the first time using them I noticed a difference. Even though the dark circles were still there, the puffiness was gone and the outer halves of my under-eyes were strikingly smoother.  I think I will have to adapt my skincare regimen to include these!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Balela what???

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So I trekked over to Trade Joe’s the other day to wander around. Yes, I like to go to Trader Joe’s just to walk up and down the aisles and see what they have. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Anyways, I was looking for an easy grab-and-go lunch to bring to work and came across a container of Balela in the pre-made salad section. It is a cold chickpea salad from the Middle East.  I glanced at the serving size, which was 4 servings per container. Great!!! That will be 4 lunches, right? Wrong, I devoured the whole darn thing in one sitting; it was heavenly. When I started looking at the ingredients, I realized I could make that. So here’s my own recipe for Balela.

2 cans of Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup of diced red onions
1 diced tomato (I used On the Vine tomatoes)
¼ cup of minced parsley
1 Tbsp of minced mint
3 Tbsp of Olive Oil
3 Tbsp of White Vinegar

Combined all ingredients in a bowl and it is ready to serve!!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Give Me Some Lip

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There’s nothing like the bleak, bitter winter to bring out chapped lips. My lips are customarily like sandpaper- cracked and painful. However, this year, I seemed to have found a foolproof   strategy to keep them soft and supple. This has been no easy feat thanks to that heinous Polar Vortex. I seriously cannot think of a frostier winter. There are mornings I head out the door and am hit with a wall of glacial air. It has been not fun. I have been spending a great deal of time on pampering my lips. I have been depending on these five products to safeguard my lips this time of year.

Clarins "Extra Firming" Lip and Contour Balm ($38.00) – This product is very thick, almost a Vaseline consistency, that creates a great barrier on your lips keeping the moisture in. It is unscented which is nice, as I do not like heavily perfumed products on my lips. As far as the “extra firming” part I have not notice any firming results. It is on the pricier side but I purchased it over a year ago and use it morning and night and I still have ½ of the jar left.

YSL Rouge Volupte Shine  ($34.00) – Another pricey item, but this is my go-to lipstick for the winter months.  It has great pigmentation, yet has a balmy texture to it. It keeps my lips saturated while providing me with some color too. My favorite color is #2 Pourpre In Touchable. While it is described as a purple, on me the color morphs into a pretty mix of burgundy and berry. 

Dior Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm (S27.00) – I  just purchased this product a few months ago and  still trying to decide if it is worth the price tag. I adore the smell of the product. It makes me feel like I am walking through an English rose garden and the texture is velvety. It definitely does the job. My beef with it is I use it only at night and I am already half way through the pot … and  I have only had it since November! It is undeniably a nice product, but for the price I wish it lasted a bit longer.

Burt's Beeswax Lip Balm  ($3.29) – I always have one or two... wait, who am I kidding?  I have no less than 5 tubes of this stuff in my purse at one time. I love it, my husband loves it and my children love it. This is what I use during the day under my lipstick. It has a nice menthol tingle to it when you first apply it and it positively protects your lips from the cold harsh air. 

Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm  (5.59) –It’s great at saturating my lips and provides the minty tingle that I love. I keep a tin of this at my desk I also love this as a cuticle treatment and it softens scaly elbows and knees. This is a great multi-purpose product.

I hope this post is helpful for those of you fighting the winter cold, which is most of the country this year!!! Hopefully spring is around the corner.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sunday Stewing

I love Sundays. There is something special about them. Growing up, Sunday was a family day.  We would spend the day relaxing and finish it off with a big dinner. Now that I am grown, Sunday is especially important. During the week it is difficult between work and the kids’ activities to sit down as a family and eat together- although we do manage it two or three times a week. But every Sunday, we sit down and enjoy a big dinner.

I love cooking Sunday dinner. I have the day off to spend planning and making something memorable. I love French food, not the fancy food you get at some lavish restaurant, but the French home cooking- Coq Au Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, Bouillabaisse, Quiche… you get the drift. The French have a way of not only enjoying eating, but also relishing in the process of making meals. Maybe it is the French in me, but I put love into cooking Sunday dinner.  I show my family my devotion to them by the time and effort that I put into the meal.  This Sunday I decided, with the snow, a nice beef stew would be ideal; having the aroma fill the house. It also gave me a chance to pull out my Le Creuset. 

Here is my easy take on a French Beef Stew

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
3lbs Cubed Chuck Roast (1 inch pieces)
3 Carrots
1 Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic
5 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Bottle of Red Wine (the drier the better, I like a Bordeaux)
3 Cups of water
1 6 Oz can of tomato paste (a good thickener that avoids the need for flour.)

Brown beef in in pot with oil. Once brown, remove from pan and add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook the vegetables until they are tender. Then add beef back in with remaining ingredients. (I throw the sprigs of thyme right in; as it cooks, the leaves fall off, you just need to remove the stems before serving) Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Simmer for 2 ½-3 hours. 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, bring back to a boil until the broth thickens.  I like to serve the stew over mashed potatoes.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Warm and Cozy

You have to love New England. Yesterday it was 45 degrees and sunny; today I woke up to snow. I have to admit if I don’t have to drive, I love the snow. I love the way the flakes clinging onto the branches of the trees. And today the snow is splendid. There are big fat flakes; the kind that you catch on your tongue.

Today is one of those days I want to curl up with a good book, sit by the fireplace and sip on tea. Lately, I have been obsessed with Chai Lattes. There is something comforting about the spiciness that makes it perfect on a cold day when you can hear the wind howling outside and see the trees sway to and fro.

Here is my quick and perfect Chai Tea Latte Recipe

·      2 Black Tea Bags (I like mine strong. Feel free to use only one.)
·      1 ½ Cups of Milk
·      1 Cinnamon Stick
·      5  Cloves
·      A Teaspoon of Sugar
·      A Dash of Nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer for five minutes. Strain into a mug and enjoy!!! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My very first post!! So exciting! I have wanted to start a blog for quite a while now… Why haven’t I until now? I have to admit I am a little nervous putting myself out there (so be kind on the comments J); I also wanted to plan out exactly what my blog should be. However if I waited for the perfect opportunity I still would not have it up. So I decide to just jump in and get started!!! This will probably be an ever-evolving production.   

So why am I doing this? I enjoy reading other blogs and seeing everyone’s ideas. I not only want to record my favorite things but share them as well.

I love fashion and beauty and hope to share my favorite outfits and beauty products. My style is very comfortable and casual. I have 2 little boys that keep me quite active, so while I love me some heels, it tend to wear more practical shoes. Although I am sure my husband would get a good laugh out of watching me chase the rascals in a pair of stilettos (I am not the most grace person.) I love comfy sweaters with skinny jeans, especially for these New England winters.

I also love to cook and bake. My oldest son, for health reasons, is gluten free. I enjoy taking my favorite recipes and transforming them into Gluten Free foods that my family loves. I have found some great, tried and tested, products that help me accomplish this. I am hoping that I can share some of my triumphs with others that are struggling with a gluten free lifestyle. I may even share my disasters so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

My goal for this blog is to try and post two to three times a week. Hope you will follow me along this journey!!!