Sunday, March 1, 2015

Everything is Coming Up Roses







I don’t know if it is because of all the snow and I am impatiently waiting for Spring, but I have been addicted to rose scented items recently.  It seems that I cannot get enough! Which is bizarre because I have never been partial the to the aroma of roses. 

Growing up my Mémère had rose bushes all around her house.  As beautiful as they were, to me they smelled like carrots. I can’t be the only one that thinks this, am I? Now my Mémère  lilac bushes are a completely different story. My mom had transplanted part of the bush from my Mémère ’s house right under the dining room window in at the house I grew up in. In the spring the scent would waif through the house. I would sit on my bed, close my eyes and daydream that I was in a Paris Jardin eating pastries.  My daydreams haven't changed much except now wine and cheese is included! Although I did have the opportunity a few years ago to fulfill that dream in the Jardin de Tuileries. Now that I have digressed, let me get back on track.  


Lately I love rose scented product. It must be the combination of it with other fragrances that are so alluring. 

Here are some of my favorites: 

The Body Shop’s Atlas Mountain Rose scent. I love this so much that I have the body butter, fragrance mist and perfume oil. I love slathering the butter on at night, spraying myself with the mist and crawling into bed. The scent just lingers and I find this relaxing. 

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet has been the fragrance of choice for me lately. Not really a winter scent, but the mix of floral notes (peony and rose) with the white musk and orange essence has been alluring me in every day. It has become my favorite. 

My hands have been grateful for the L’Occitane Rose Petals Shea Butter Hand Cream. This seems to be discontinued, which is really upsetting. I really love that it has the hard working formula of the original Shea butter but it has the light scent of roses that works so well to complement the Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet rather then clashing with it. Nothing worse then heavily perfumed hand creams that overpower your perfume. 

Another Dior product (I do have an odd obsession with Dior) is the Dior Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm. I have used this religiously through two winters and have not had to deal with dries cracked lips.  

Looking for something cooling and refreshing?  Fresh Rose Face Mask  is for you. The gel like formula is soothing and  it is super hydrating for these winter months. The scent is a beautiful bouquet of rose and cucumber. It is the perfect combination. 

The last product is not rose scent, but is a beautiful rose color. CHANEL JOUES CONTRASTE POWDER BLUSH in Rose Bronze. It is the perfect color to bright up my pale winter completion and the bronze add a bit of a summer kiss to my makeup look. 

What scents are you drawn to as we are deep into the cold winter season? 





Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pasta Cravings



Boy what a winter! I don’t know about everyone else here in the Northeast, but I am ready to pack up my bags and head south, preferably to a Caribbean Island to spend the rest of my life lying on the beach and eating fruit all day. Ah one can dream.

Already in my area of Massachusetts we have seen over 90 inches of snow this winter. And if that isn’t bad enough there is another 10-12 inches heading our way later today.

The boys are finished with the snow days. They can’t play in it. I would end up losing the little one as the snow is taller than he is and I don’t particularly want to dig him out. He would have to stay there until it melts, which may take until the July the way things are going.  

Even the puppy has cabin fever. Lego has a plowed path way to run up and down, but I cannot even walk him as the sidewalks are clear and the roads are plow so narrow that only one and a half cars can squeeze by. My walking companion and I would be taken out in a second by some unsuspecting car that cannot see over the snow banks. The word banks is used lightly. They resemble more the Wall from Game of Thrones.

Anyways with all this snow and cold, it’s nice to have a big bowl of pasta, but as I promised myself that I would eat healthier this year, pasta is off my diet. Even the Gluten Free pasta is load with carbs from rice and corn.  But I have found a solution to my pasta problem.

I’m probably one of the last to discover the Spiralizer. However, I am in love. I have been using Zucchini (or Courgette depending where you are from) with it and making beautiful strands of vegetable spaghetti. The best part is that it takes minutes to cook.

My favorite way to eat it is with some sausage and beans with an olive oil, garlic sauce. Here is the recipe.

Sausage and Bean Veggie Pasta
1 Serving

1 Mild Italian Sausage Link
1/3 cups of Cannenelli Beans
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Zucchini
1 tbs of Olive Oil
2 Tbs of grated Parmesan Cheese 


Brown Sausage in Medium skillet. While the sausage is browning, chop garlic and run Zucchini through the spiralizer.  Once sausage is browned drain excess fat. Add remaining ingredients, except the cheese, to the pan and sauté until zucchini and beans are heated through. Sprinkle the cheese on and enjoy!



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday WIP (Works in Progress)

I try hard not to start new projects until my current one is completed, however I think most people will agree there is always one or two that have been set aside that need to finished. The first one I am featuring this week are these adorable snowman mug rugs. 

I am ashamed to admit this but I started these last January. Last January! It has been a whole year and they are still not finished. The worst part is that they were so quick to whip up, that I only have the binding left. 

Thats right, these have been sitting around for a year almost done. How nice it would have been if I could have given these as Christmas presents this past year. I am determined that I will complete these and set them aside for Christmas this year. 

With all the snow that Massachusetts has seen within the last 2 1/2 weeks (over 90 inches in my neck of the woods), I don't mind playing with these snowmen. Perfect excuse to stay in the warmth and be productive. 

It would be amazing if I already started stock piling my Christmas gifts already, rather then waiting until December 15th to start all my Christmas projects. I am determined to be more organized this year.


What WIPs do you have laying around? 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Easy Mexican



There is nothing better than a Margarita on the rocks with salt and a spicy dish to accompany it.  I have always loved Mexican food. As a child once a month we would have tacos on Saturday night. I always loved taco night!  My brothers and I would scramble to the table and load the tacos up with all the fixings.

When my husband and I lived in New Jersey, we would frequent Jose Tejas in Fairfield NJ. Besides having the best margaritas around, the food was fabulous as were the prices. When we moved back to Massachusetts I was devastated that there was not a good Mexican restaurant in our area. 

One of my coworkers suggested a place in Cambridge called the Border Café. So Steve and I made the trek into Cambridge. We opened up our menus and SURPISE; it was Jose Tejas’s menu. We call the waiter over and found out that it is the same restaurant but different names. If I wasn’t such an introvert, I would have gotten up and done a happy dance then and there.

I have been trying to recreate some Mexican dishes at home so we don’t always have to make the journey into Cambridge when the desire hits. I came across this slow cooker recipe for beef barbacoa from the Unsophisticcook.com (Recipe Here http://unsophisticook.com/beef-barbacoa-recipe/).
It is amazing. The whole family loved it. That does not happen in the house very often. Actually it might be the first time that the family was unanimous about liking a meal. And it was so easy, just leave it in the crock pot for the day and by dinner it is already.

I served it up on tortillas, with sliced avocados, fresh salsa, and sour cream. It was the perfect dish to satisfy my cravings.


What is your favorite Mexican dish?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Morning Rush

 I used to be a morning person. One of those annoying ones, that is a little too chipper and annoyingly happy, at least that is how my husband would described it. There was one morning (3:00 am) he was driving me to the airport and I was enthusiastically going on about whether our locate Dunkin Donuts opens this early. I managed to have the whole conversation out loud all by myself. To this day I am surprised he did not open up the car door and push me out.

But at some point after kids, I am no longer a morning person and ironically not a night person either. I’m more a midmorning to early evening person. I have to drag my behind out of bed in the morning and make a beeline straight to the coffee maker. Thank god for programmable ones!!! My oldest son is not a morning person either, and he is only 9. In his teenage years, I can see him still lounging about in bed until noon on the weekends. 

Even with all the prepping I do at night (showering, making lunches, making coffee, etc.) I still struggle to get everything done in the morning.  Which ends with me not having breakfast until 10:00 after I have already gotten to work and typically it is not the healthiest of meals as I grab some processed food that can be scoffed down between calls.

This week I have discovered the best breakfast ever and it can be made and eaten quickly in the morning between feeding the boys breakfast and getting them dressed. Jamba Juice Smoothie Kits in Green Fusion. It is a blend of fruit and veggies. The directions do say to blend it with apple juice. However I try and stay away from juices. The amount of sugar in them can send anyone into diabetic shock! I add 8 oz of water with a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder and use a hand blender to combine it. The protein powder adds a milkshake vibe to the taste. Even my 7 year old guzzles it down and he has no idea that he is drinking broccoli and spinach! And all that is left for clean up is a couple glasses and the hand blender, which can be quickly rinsed.


What do you go to for a quick and easy breakfast during the hectic morning routine?


***not sponsored 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Keeping Toasty Warm

One of the amazing aspects of going part time is that I am able to be more involved in my children’s after-school activities.  About two to three times a year the school provides superb after school enrichment classes. The programs range from Karate and Zumba, sciences programs and crafts.

I was so excited I was chosen be a volunteer in the crochet class. While I have been knitting for the past few years, I have never learned how to crochet. Now was the time! I hopped right on YouTube and started learning. My first project was a bit ambitious but my son was thrilled with the Pikachu hat I made for his Halloween Costume.   While it is not perfect, I could do better now, I thought I did a decent first job.






Since then I have made several other hats and a couple throw blankets. This past week I have been cranking out the ear warmers.

With trying to lead a healthier life style, Lego and I started the C25K program. (There is a free app for your IPhone.)  Because of the cold New England weather I needed something to protect my ears. I hate wearing hats while running; I find that my head gets too warm with a hat, but I need protection for my ears. Nothing worse then that cold burning sensation from leaving them unprotected. The ear warmers come in so handy for that. Plus I can use up left over yarn and they are so simple to make. What a perfect combination!

Both ear warmers were crocheted using an H hook and bulky yarn. For the tan one I chained 50 and did a slip stitch in the first chain creating a circle. I then did 5 rows of double crochet, chaining 2 at the end of each round. 50 chains were a little too many and it is a little loose. The black and white one was created chaining 45 and single crocheting 11 rounds with a single chain at the end of each round. This one is the perfect fit.

 

What projects have you been working on? Have you tried a new craft?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Cold Months Ahead

In December, I welcome the crisp air and the gentle snow fall. The twinkle lights are up adding a charm to the winter, along with the anticipation of Christmas with friend and family gatherings and festivities. Now that Christmas is over (how did that happen?) the cold depression of the winter months are lying ahead.  Time to start hibernating and looking forward to the spring.





This Wednesday evening as I took the dog out for our nightly ritual, it was -2 F. That does not even include the wind chill. Can you say BRRRRR.  And there are 3 more months of this.  Anyone else dreading this?

To get through the winter there is nothing better than curling up on my oversized chair with the dog and kids. Yes we can all fit! Love that chair! I grab a cup of tea and  we settle down with a good book. We are currently reading Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians Series #1) .

Needless to say I don’t tend to dress up in the winter. The goal is to stay warm. My cold weather wardrobe consists of thick leggings, warm sweaters and shearling boots.  I purchased this sweater from Banana Republic Factory Store this fall and it has been one of my favorites (similar here and here .)  With its thick, heavy knit it is easily one of the warmest sweaters I own.  Just throw on one of the Old Navy Perfect Long Sleeve Tees.  

My favorite leggings for this time of year are the Kohl’s Vera Wang ponte leggings (Similar here). They are much thicker than normally leggings adding extra warmth.  

And as if I can’t get any more comfortable I throw on my BEARPAW Lauren Snow Boots.  The fur lined inside is so warm and soft; I wish I could crawl on in and stay there until the Robins come back!

 What is your winter uniform?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year New Beginnings




Hoping everyone had a magical holiday season and a great New Year!

I have started typing this post so many times and have no idea where to start. Where the heck have I been? I am sorry for neglecting you. Seems like schedules took over and left me hanging on for dear life! Between soccer, scouts, work, appointments, I have put my blog last and have really missed it.

As the New Year comes around I have spent time reflecting on last year and what I can improve on. While last year was a great year with watching the boys grow, going part time at work, and adding to the family (see picture below), there are still ways to make this year better.




Normally, resolution making is not on my agenda. There is just too much pressure on them and by March they have been thrown to the waste side and you’re left feeling disappointed. However, after the last year sweeping me up, I need to make some goals and keep them!

First off I will be posting once a week in the blog. I already have a schedule for each month and will be sticking to it. Last year posting 4 times a week while working full time and shuffling the kids around was unrealistic. This plan is much more practical.

Secondly, after spending the majority of last year eating pizza and chicken nuggets, I need to start living a health life. Notice I did not say go one a diet. This is about being healthy and taking care of myself.  If a few pounds drop off, great! I am going to cook again more often and even freeze meals and just reheat them as I go. Along with eating healthy, I am going to get my butt in gear, even if it is just going for a walk. No excuses, especially seeing our newest family member needs it.

Lastly my life needs to be more organized and decluttered. I purchased the Erin Condren Life Planner back in September. I cannot sing its praises enough. Besides being stylish, it keeps all our weekly activity on one page and makes it easy to refer too. I LOVE IT! I have also decided to create a Home Management binder. I found some great free printables from www.organizinghomelife.com. It has everything from cleaning schedules and meal planning tools to budgeting worksheets and important number charts. It is going to be so refreshing having everything in one place rather than rummaging through the house for it.  


What are your goals for the New Year?