Monday, December 22, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Hello again! This time of year I am cooking like crazy! I wanted to share this Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe with you because it's easy but so good! I've made this dip every year at Christmas for as long as I can remember. Usually Christmas Eve we do a lot of appetizer type dishes. This one is always a big hit!
I usually serve this with round tortilla chips or Fritos Dips. It's also great piled on a cracker!

Ingredients:
1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
2 13 oz cans artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray (I always use a 10-inch round)

Heat spinach in microwave just enough to thaw. Using a cheese cloth or paper towels, squeeze out all the water.

Drain the artichoke hearts and coarsely chop.

Combine all the ingredients except the pepper jack cheese in a large bowl, stirring until well combined.

Pour into the sprayed dish, sprinkle the top with the pepper jack cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair 7 Day Test

Hello everyone! Today I'm sharing my results from my Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair 7 Day Retinol Test! I'm excited to be working with Neutrogena for this post, a brand I've used and respected for years!

You can read more about the products by visiting the Neutrogena website  
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum: A lightweight silky serum that absorbs quickly into the skin to instantly provide smoother, younger looking skin. Contains the highest concentrate of Accelerated Retinol SA

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30: A daily moisturizer that nourishes skin while also protecting skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Clinicly proven to deliver the following results in just one week:
- smooth fine lines and overall texture of the skin
- brighten skintone

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night: Luxurious night moisturizer that treats skin at night, when it's most receptive. Clinically proven to deliver the following results in just one week:
- smooth fine lines and overall texture of the skin
- brighten skintone

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye: Moisturizer that plumps the skin in the eye area while also helping to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

First a little background about my skin - It's no secret that I don't have perfect skin. I suffered from cystic acne in my mid twenties. That left me with scaring and premature aging skin. My problem area has always been around my mouth, where I have the most wrinkles and scars. So that is the primary area I'm focusing on here and where I'd like to see results.

My skin type - aging, somewhat sensitive, combination, acne scaring, uneven pigmentation

Now that you have a little background, let's take a look at the progression photos. I took a photo each day to document my progress. I tried to get the best lighting but somedays it didn't work out.









Results:
I did notice the fine lines around my mouth soften from about Day 3 on. Some days my skin tone looked more even than others. That's just my skin though, some days it looks more red. I didn't really notice the hyper pigmentation (spots) changing much. I did have some slight flaking (totally normal with retinol products) around Day 4 but it wasn't bad at all. 

I didn't notice any difference around my eyes (crows feet) because I do get Botox and that generally isn't an issue for me. I liked the Eye Cream though, it did not have a scent and wasn't irritating at all. Something I typically  have to worry about. 

Texture is an issue with me as well. I did notice a smoother texture to my skin despite the few flaky areas I had. 

Overall, I'm impressed by the results I got within the 7 days. These products are available at drugstores for around the $20 price point. I'll continue to use these products and incorporate them into my routine. 

There's also a Giveaway! You can hear more about my overall thoughts on these products and enter the Giveaway by watching my video below. 







Monday, December 08, 2014

Olive Cheese Crostini & Easy Tomato Bruschetta

This is a really good Crostini and Bruschetta recipe that I make each year at Christmas. It's great for all parties! If you like Goat Cheese, I recommend using that. I however, cannot eat it. I like it, it doesn't like me, lol. So I'm going to give you two options for cheese. I've also included an easy way of making Bruschetta.

Easy Bruschetta

Olive Crostini


Ingredients:

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
3/4 cup pitted green olives
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 oz goat cheese (chèvre) or 1 tub Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese spread
1 baguette style loaf, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a food processor, combine the olives, capers, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and pulse until combined. You want the mixture to be chunky, not smooth. At this point you can cover and chill for several hours until ready or use right away.

Arrange sliced baguette on a a cookie sheet. Brush each piece with olive oil. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

To serve, spread bread slices with cheese and top with olive mixture. Serve at room temperature.

Easy Bruschetta:

Toast the bread same as above.
Drain a can (or two) of Basil, Garlic, Oregano diced tomatoes and add small spoonfuls onto bread. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. You can also add fresh, chopped basil. Serve at room temperature.

Ranch Cocktail Party Crackers

These easy Ranch Cocktail Party Crackers are such a fun, easy snack to have at every party! They look a little more festive in a martini glass sitting on the bar or at each table. These are so addicting and yummy!

Ranch Cocktail Crackers



What You'll Need:

1 (1 oz) package ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bag oyster crackers

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 250°.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients and mix to coat crackers. Pour crackers onto a large cookie sheet.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes
Let cool and serve

You can store leftovers in a ziplock bag for up to a week.

Easy Ranch Crackers

Saturday, November 08, 2014

14 Amazing Fall Recipes



Hi everyone! Here I've gathered My Best Fall Recipes all in one place for you! Some of these are my most-pinned and popular recipes ever! Let me know what are your favorites and which new ones you are planning to try. Just click on the links below to be taken directly to the recipe. Enjoy!14 Amazing Fall Recipes





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FALL Blush + Eyeshadow Favorites


Hi Everyone! Not only do I love FALL for outfit inspiration, I love to play with different makeup as well. FALL is a great time of year to deepen things up a bit. Here are the products I plan to reach for most this season.

Cheek Products 
Lorac Velvet Rope 
Elf Mellow Mauve: http://bit.ly/1yH3zhA
Rimmel Match Perfection: drugstores (may have been LE?)
Milani Berry Amore 

Eye Products
Mac Mystery 
Mac Sketch 
Urban Decay Naked Palette 
Urban Decay Naked Basics2 
Too Faced Natural Eyes 

Sonia Kashuk Matte Palette 

You can also see up close swatches and hear more info about these products by watching my video. 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Home Decor

Hi everyone! Today I'm sharing some of our Fall Home Decor. Each year it changes. Some years we have more than others. I typically like simple when it comes to home decor. I don't like anything too flashy or cluttered looking. I hope you enjoy what I've done this year! Be sure to watch the video for more! I'll also list what's still available below.








{Source List}

Dining Room
Indoor Pumpkins: Hobby Lobby and Target
Napkins: Pier 1
Glitter Pumpkins: Hobby Lobby (old)
Small Plates: Walmart (old) (similar)
Fall Chargers: Walmart (old)
Mosaic Vases: Hobby Lobby (last year)
Candle Holders: (similar)
Linen Table Runner: http://bit.ly/1rp3TID
Dining Chairs: Restoration Hardware

All other decor is from Hobby Lobby, Target, etc. that I've had for years.



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Hi everyone! I almost didn't share this Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe because it's SO simple. But I also thought that's the reason why I should share it. I know a lot of you are looking for those easy, quick weeknight meals and this fits the bill! You could also omit the chicken and use as a side dish. This is such an easy, classic casserole you can make from items you already have in your pantry.

You may remember this from a WFD video last fall. I put this together by just using items I already had. I made it again last night and tried to re-create it so I could write a recipe. Y'all know I rarely go off recipes and this one is no exception. It's so easy though, so don't worry about following it exact. It's all about the ingredients just put together. You could also double this recipe easily to feed more.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole


Ingredients:

3 Chicken Breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces (I boil mine on the stove with spices)
1 12 oz bag of frozen Broccoli (I buy the steam kind, super quick)
1 bag of frozen or boil in bag Brown Rice (steam or boil according to directions)
1 can of Cream of Broccoli Soup or Broccoli Cheddar
1/2 can of water
1 cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese (or Pepper Jack if you like spicy)
1 tsp Garlic Salt (approx to taste)
1 tsp Pepper (approx to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 11x7 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray

Steam broccoli and cut up into bite sized pieces. Add the broccoli, cooked rice and cooked chicken into a bowl and mix. Add the soup mix and water and mix until well combined. Next add in the spices and mix well.

Pour mixture into the sprayed casserole dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle on the cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and just starting to bubble.




Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fall Lip Trend - 90's Lip


Hi everyone! Well Fall has finally arrived for most of us and that means changing up the makeup and incorporating some trends. One of the trends going on now is the 90's Lip Trend which has a brown undertone. We're seeing a lot of Mauve/Brown lips. Kylie Jenner has helped make this trend spread like crazy. Everyone is trying to get that "perfect" Kylie lip.

Here I give you my picks to pull off the 90's/Fall Lip Trend and also share my very first Mac Lipstick purchase from the 90's. It was fun being able to buy this color again all these years later! Be sure to watch the video for swatches of each color and possible drugstore/Mac dupes!

My Picks:

Mac Del Rio
Mac Spice
Mac Faux
Mac Whirl
NYC Creamy Caramel (good dupe for Mac Velvet Teddy)
Wet n Wild Fergie Bebot Love (good dupe for Mac Velvet Teddy)
Rimmel Kate #08 (close to Mac Faux)
Rimmel Kate #14
Maybelline Warm Me Up
Revlon Color Burst Rosy Nude (disc.) (close to Mac Del Rio)
L’Oreal Extraordinaire Molto Mauve
Revlon Lip Butter Fig Jam
NYX Butter Gloss Tiramisu
Milani Easy Liner Most Natural
Milani Color Statement Pencil All Natural
Milani Color Statement Pencil Spice (good dupe for Mac Spice)
NYX Lip Pencil Nude Beige



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Easy Stuffed Peppers

Easy Stuffed Peppers

I try to make these Easy Stuffed Peppers a little healthier by using ground turkey and brown rice. Of course you can substitute for ground beef and white rice if you'd like. I think the marinara sauce is what really makes these good!

Ingredients

3-4 peppers (depending on how big the pepper and how stuffed you like them)
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
10-15 crushed crackers ( I like Ritz)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup (eyeball it) water
1/2 jar marinara sauce (if you like more sauce, add more)
1 small clove minced garlic

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cut peppers in halves lengthwise, remove seeds and core. Mix raw turkey, onion, crackers, salt, pepper, cooked rice, garlic and a little of the sauce. Add the water (as much as needed) and stir until combined. Mixture should be moist.

Fill pepper halves with mixture. Place in sprayed casserole dish. Pour remaining sauce over and bake covered with foil for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Outfit: Weekend Gingham

Hi everyone!

As promised, I'll be sharing more outfit posts here and on my Instagram. I'm always more inspired this time of year to put together some cute outfits. For this look, it was game day and I wanted to sport team colors but also be comfy.

You can shop my look straight from this post. If a product is not longer available, I'll post an alternative. I hope you like it!



Top
Bag
Shorts(similar), (similar)
Shoes
Earrings
Lipstick and Liner


Friday, September 05, 2014

Fresh Summer Makeup Look

Hi everyone!

A lot of you have been asking how to get a fresh makeup look, so I'm sharing it with you here. I've really been enjoying this look in a few variations. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks Olay Regenerist for sponsoring! http://bit.ly/OLAY102





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brillant Nail Polish Collection

Hi all! I get a lot of questions about my CoverGirl nail polishes and which are my favorites. I've accumulated quite a few now, so I thought I'd share. The latest was vio-last {seen on my Instagram}. At first this line of polishes didn't catch my eye due to the lack of color selection. Well that has certainly changed! It seems I spot a new must-have color all the time now. I also love how they come out with Limited Edition collections in their Glosstini's - mini polishes.

I've mentioned many times how much I love this formula! There have been a few duds, but mostly great colors and finishes. You can find most of these colors swatched on my Instagram or here on the Blog. Just search CoverGirl and they will come up.

*I took this photo with my iPhone expecting to post it to Instagram. Trying to list all the colors there would have been difficult. The colors are pretty true though.


The three Glosstini's in the bottom row were Limited Edition from the Catching Fire Collection. I reviewed them already. Don't worry, you didn't miss anything. The color payoff wasn't great.

Let me know which colors are your favorites! If I had to pick just one, it would be Forever Frosted. I love so many though!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chattanooga Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Hi everyone! My Husband and I took a little weekend getaway trip to Chattanooga over Memorial Day weekend. I thought I'd share with you the great food we ate and a little of what we did. Even though it's only a few hours from where we live, this was our first time staying in Chattanooga. We'd always heard it was a great place to visit. We were not disappointed!

We arrived Friday late afternoon after a somewhat stressful drive. Unfortunately we sat on the Interstate for over 30 minutes at one spot due to a semi jack-knifed in the road. Thankfully no one was hurt, no accidents. So needless to say we were beyond ready to get settled and have a nice meal.

Our first stop was Bluewater Grille. Not only did I have this as one of the places to visit but the lady checking us in at our hotel recommend it. Just a few short blocks from the hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown. Being Friday evening, the actual bar was packed but seating in the bar area is first come, first serve so we lucked out with a nice booth. Service was good, happy hour was still going on. Really great drink discounts. I believe my Pomegranate Martini was only $5! My Husband had a local beer.

{Get my top here and my necklace here}

Everything on the menu looked great. We decided to get an appetizer and went with the Blue Cheese Chips - House made chips with Blue Cheese sauce, crumbles and bacon. It was awesome! Not heavy at all like I originally though it would be. For dinner I chose the Grouper Picatta and my Husband got the Stuffed Lemon Sole with Lobster Sauce. Both were great but my Husband said his was very rich, as you could imagine.

Great food in Chattanooga

Great food in Chattanooga

Great food in Chattanooga

{Saturday}

The next few days were going to be spent just walking around and being tourists. Saturday morning we started out at the Tennessee Aquarium. We'd always heard such great things. We did the Ocean side in the morning and came back later that afternoon to see the River side. Tickets are good for the entire day. I was most excited to see the Penguins. Of course they put on quite the show.









After that we walked up to the Walnut Street Bridge which is the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the country, or so we're told. It goes over the Tennessee River and you have a great view of the downtown area. From my research, I knew we wanted to stop at Brewhaus on the bottom side of the bridge in the North Shore area. They have great German food and are known for their pretzels and beer. It looks like a hole in the wall but of course the food was out of this world good! My Husband got a local beer and I got the Blueberry Smash - it was so good! We wanted to try a few different things so we got the appetizer sampler which comes with the pretzel, (it's huge!) Brat Sliders and Kraut Balls. I'm not a huge Brat person but they were ok. The Kraut Balls were amazing and the
Pretzel was the best I've eaten. We only ate half and had to stop ourselves so we wouldn't be sick. We also got a side of the Potato Salad because we both love German Potato Salad. It was served warm and was VERY rich. It was good but we could only take a few bites.








After that awesome but overly filling lunch, we did a lot of walking. Went back to the other side of the Aquarium and then chilled out until dinner that evening. Because lunch was so filling, we decided to do a light dinner at Easy Bistro & Bar. Again, this was a place I had on my list to visit. They have a great restaurant but we chose to sit out on the patio and people watch. Again my Husband had a beer and I had a glass of Pinot Noir, both recommendations from the waiter and both great! We went with the Marinated Olives, (comes with toasted sourdough) the Meat Platter and a single serving of cheese from the Cheese Menu. This is totally up our alley and we often eat like this at home on nights we don't know what we want or want something light. Fantastic!


{Sunday}

Sunday we decided to go to Lookout Mountain and see Rock City. I have to laugh at that a little because growing up we passed a hundred signs "See Rock City" each year on the way to Florida for summer vacation. I think this might have been my first time actually going though. Rock City was great and of course the views from the top are amazing. You can see 7 states from there (they list them out). We decided to have lunch at their cafe. Can't beat lunch with an amazing view. So glad we did that because the food was also amazing! My Husband had the Pulled Pork Sandwich and I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT. Anything with bacon and avocado gets my attention. :)






Sunday afternoon we stopped at Local 191 for a drink. It's close to the river and again a great place to people watch and just hang out. We'd stopped there Friday night as well. Great place to just have a drink or they also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner next door at Blue Plate




Sunday night we decided to do something pretty casual for dinner. We went to Big River Grille. It's located beside Bluewater Grille. They even have some of the same menu items. It was a little hotter that day so we chose to eat inside. They have a huge menu with all kinds of food. It's one of those places that I don't think you can get anything bad. I took these pictures after we already started eating but I got the Cajun Fish Tacos - something I try out everywhere - they were great! My Husband got the Sizzling Stuffed Peppers and said they were great as well.



{Monday}

Monday morning we walked a few blocks downtown to where the tents and start of the USA Cycling National Championship was being held. It was a fluke for us that it was the same weekend but my Husband was totally looking forward to seeing this since he's into cycling. We got to see several laps of the Women's race and later watched the Men's online from home. It was my first cycling event and it was pretty cool to see in person!

There were so many more places we would have loved to eat at but there's only so much of that you can do in a weekend.  What are some of your favorite places to visit while there?


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