Friday, April 27, 2012

One Year Anniversary

4/27/11 is still as real as it was to me one year ago. Here's my post from then. POST

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Popcorn Perfecto

Sometimes, I just never know which new food products to try. Luckily, a friend had some items she so graciously let me sample at her humble abode. Popcorn and girl talk? I am THERE! I tried Orville Redenbacher's Natural Simply Salted Popcorn, AMAZING. Also, I tried their Tender White type, AMAZING. People, I can put down buttery popcorn with the best of them. However, these are so much better. They are simple and flavorful, food at it's best. If I blogged about it, then you know it's good, right? ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Headlines and Hairdressers

Whoops! All of the sudden Tuesday went by and Wednesday appeared. I didn't mean to skip the blog yesterday! my absence, here are two smashing ideas:

1.) I have started a one sentence journal about myself that I call my Headliner (idea came from the book, The Happiness Project). I write each sentence in my planner. Two birds with one stone, eh? I wanted to remember more memories, thus, one sentence it is. It makes me feel like I'm "journaling" without the overwhelming task of writing a word document about each day. It has become a rewarding task. As I go throughout my routine, I think about what moment will make it into that one sentence. It's kept things interesting so far, and that's going on two weeks. Try it!

2.) I spoke with my hairdresser and friend, Heather about our overly obsessive obsession with MAC cosmetics. It's right at the price range of Clinique and Estee Lauder, and all are owned by the latter brand. If you haven't ever tried it, I definitely encourage you to do so. It is excellent and that's coming from a girl who switches make-up every time the bottles go empty. Even better, a third thought, let my hairdresser and sweet friend cut your hair. She does an AMAZING job! I wish I had the words. Heather, Salon Mod, Florence, 256.760.9663.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Coral of All Kinds

I've come to the conclusion that coral lipstick might be the most universally flattering shade. It seems to brighten all skin types. Any woman at any age with any hair color can pull it off. Thankfully, there are a ton of shades to choose from, making it easier than ever before. A few weeks ago, the Easter bunny brought me some money. I decided to take the plunge and buy some ritzy $20 coral lipstick from Bobbi Brown and I am SO glad I did. At first, I was a little ashamed to say I'd spent fun money on lipstick. Now that I feel the quality, I don't know how I'll ever go back. I'd rather eat cereal for dinner and have nice lipstick, I've decided. To each his own, I say. The color I bought was Sweet Nectar. I believe it might be one of the best beauty investments of all time. What's life without a new lipstick l, anyway? Please try coral colors! You won't regret it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The 23rd!

Yesterday, my 23rd birthday, I took an off day from jogging and blogging. I had a great day. I try to remember past birthdays every year, which is sometimes hard considering my memory! This year, I wanted to jot down a few things that highlighted my day:
1.) We went to Mellow Mushroom where I had one of the best Gourmet White Pizzas I've ever had! Oh my goodness, that place is THE BEST!
2.) On the way out of the restaurant, I was waiting at the front while my mom and Billy went to the bathroom. A little boy looked up at me and asked me my name. I told him, then asked him his. His parents were trying to get him to talk to me more. Both mom and Billy walked up and each of them spoke to the boy. My mom told him it was my birthday, to which his parents said, "Tell her Happy Birthday!" He got shy and did not want to do it. So, I told him bye and when we were walking away, he yelled out, "I love you!" The three of us plus his parents had a good laugh about it. I love the cute things little kids say!
3.) My mom got me a Pottery Barn giftcard while Billy got me a Nike running outfit. I love them!
4.) Several sweet friends sent me cards and presents, and wished me happy birthday which was super kind.
5.) I had cheesecake and raspberry sorbet for my birthday dessert.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chicken Salad Addition

I added green onions from the farmer's market to THIS chicken salad recipe. It turned out great and I think I'll keep it up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Pledge Allegiance

I like cleaners with refreshing scents and germ-killing power. I bought this not long ago in the citrus scent. It smells amazing and cleans just about everything in my apartment! I even use it to clean my antique trunk. It does a great job on every surface marked on the bottle. Plus, germs be gone! I am a germaphobe, let that be known. And...I don't love to dust, but this makes doing so a little bit easier!

Monday, April 16, 2012

You'll Never Boil Chicken Again

The other day, a friend asked me how to cook chicken best. To that I say, no boiling! Boiling chicken is blah. It doesn't have much flavor and usually turns out dry. Enter the star of the show, the oven. You can roast chicken in the same amount of time and wind up much more pleased with the end result. Here's how I do it:
1.) Preheat oven to 350.
2.) Place boneless skinless chicken breasts on baking sheet, no non-stick required.
3.) Drizzle olive oil on top of chicken, add kosher salt and pepper.
4.) Bake in oven until chicken is white throughout and juices run clear.
5.) Remove from oven and allow to rest for about ten minutes. Chop and continue with your chicken dish. Super simple and divine, I promise!
6.) For a quick dinner, pound out chicken breasts with ice cream scoop or metal spoon. Add lemon to mix of ingredients above and magical lemon chicken appears!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reusable Shopping Bags

Man, oh, man, do I love me some reusable bags. I take them to any and every store. I need produce, hairspray, and tank tops. I don't need another plastic bag. It's great to set off on a shopping trip and feeling relieved to know I won't be coming back home with a million plastic bags! I think everyone has one of those secret plastic bag drawers at their house. They just keep stuffing and stuffing until one day, "Kaboom!" Plastic bag bomb goes off in the kitchen. Target gives a 5 cent discount for every reusable bag brought. Considering how I wait until I need a carload of items, I wind up saving a good bit. I use canvas, paper, beach totes, all kinds of totes and such. Besides saving the planet, it's great for living in a third floor apartment! I can haul twice the stuff in half the time! Seriously, we've all got tons and tons of bags around the house, let's use them!
Here's a great website for some if you're in need!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Candle Hoarder

I confess, I am a candle hoarder. I am such a sucker for candles. I burn them all the time, in almost every room. My all time favorite candle brand is Voluspa. These candles come in all sizes and price ranges. They have such light and refreshing scents, heaven! You can buy them at many boutiques, Amazon, and Anthropologie, from what I've seen. I can't say that I have a favorite scent because I love them all so much. To me, they last a long time.
I also enjoy Better Homes and Gardens brand from Wal-Mart, Yankee Candle at TJ Maxx, and Bath and Body Works brand (only when they're $10).
James Keller once said, "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." Of course!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Diverting

Well, blog readers, let's circle the wagons this Wednesday and talk about a tough topic, diversion. Many of you might or might not know that I am currently pursing my master's degree from Alabama in Conflict Mediation and Negotiation. This certainly is a niche degree, I know, as many people do not know it exists. It is certainly no secret to most people that I have lived in a lot of conflict through the past several years. I wish it were more of a secret, but some involved have chosen for it not to be that way. I often reflect over my situation and again and again. Yes, I've moved on, literally and figuratively, but that doesn't mean I never think of it again. If we all personally reflected over the greatest challenge of our lives, what would we feel was the best gain of our hardship? Moreover, are we using that positive for good or letting it gather dust? In my own little way, I hope that others continually view me as an answer to a problem, not a causer of one. When I do rehash my life, I realize that my two greatest strengths from my conflict are empathy and being what I call a "non-diverter." Get serious with yourself for a minute and admit your strengths, it's o.k. to realize and express what makes you strong. Because of my experience, I have become quite interested in the science of conflict, especially related to mental health disorders. I'll get on my soapbox and say that it seems that I'm often a magnet for chaos yet, who doesn't feel this way from time to time? I am a detail-oriented person. Among my interests, I find observing why people do and say what they do and say to be fascinating. Thus, master's degree, it is.

Dr. K is quite the profound woman, indeed. She has all of these little sayings that are gems to me. I remember her saying them throughout my life, so much so that many of them are ingrained in my daily routine. "Food never stays out longer than two hours," is one of my all time favorites. Another, specifically today's topic, "Bad is when it's happening to me, not so bad is when it's happening to you." I love repeating this saying to myself because it continually brings me back to my personal attempts of being a good friend and a good listener. It is a common human trait that we make our own problems our utmost priority. While this is often necessary for daily coping, we must not neglect the problems of others, big or small in our minds. As in others, I mean those with whom we regularly discuss personal issues, i.e., family, friends, and the like.

NO DIVERTING. In my lesson today, my professor made a note that this is extremely similar to comparative shopping. We want the best of the best when buying something new. We have our little antics of how to get the best deal and show the competitor who's boss. We are the consumer. We want the right thing at the right time and the right price. Similarly, when an uncomfortable topic comes up, we might shy away from discussing it. Just as we saw a $100.00 sweater, we knew the $20.00 TJ Maxx one would work fine. We want to divert the hard topics to more light-hearted thoughts. The trouble is, when we do this diverting to those we love, we neglect our close connection. "Well, if you think that's bad, just hear what happened to me today." "I've got a cashmere problem, while yours is merely polyester." This is a self-loathing way to live.

When we see a small child fall and skin their knee, we rush to help them. We overly emphasize our comforting instincts. We kiss, console, hug, give bright band-aids, and candy. We do these things for love and care, because we know that the child does not yet understand the cause for the injury. Thus, a child might cry for hours over the knee, while an adult slaps on a band-aid and continues on with the day.

People come to you to express their problems for a reason. Yes, you might have had a car accident today, but, what if your friend lost their dog? To me, their is no range in problems of sort. The car accident and lost dog are both bad. We helped the little hurt child, so we have the same caring ability to listen to others. If we staple our finger while at the copying table, that doesn't mean that our friend's coffee stain on their silk shirt is less of a problem. In medical terms, yes, an impaling is bad. However, people approach their daily dealings in very different ways. Being highly aware of this heightens our sense of purpose. Sure, it is hard to discuss the elephants in the room, affairs, mental health problems, addiction, and so on. Still, being known for the skilled ability to listen and discuss problems of all sorts causes others to see us as a mature and memorable person. Helping the child with a band-aid and stopping to assist a car accident are both equally noble.

When we hear a said problem, in our mind, we might gauge its level of "problemness" on our personal problem scale,"You have nothing to worry about compared to me." Many people do this from the start because it reaffirms inner resilience, a silent coping mechanism, even when we might not think of it that way. Not to delve too deeply into that, the point is that we need to heighten our listening and quell our judgement. Maybe we see other's issues as small problems, because they're not happening to us. But, what if they were?

A personal example:
Not too long ago, I went to see a public official about an issue. After presenting my evidence and concerns, the official remarked that they could not and would not help me with my problem, even though they had the ability. Ouch. It pains me and bugs me to death that the people who have the resources to do the right thing do not. A shot to the heart, I assure you. We've all been there, I know. This person found it easy to divert my problem, because "other things were of more importance." To me, this is never true. When I seek out assistance, I want help or direction in which to get it. I don't want you to gauge my level of "problemness" in your own terms then tell me that your good ole' boy system is the path you so choose.

No diverting. Open ears, open heart, and closed mouth will serve us all quite well.

"Bad is if it's happening to me, not so bad is if it's happening to you."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

J.R. Watkins Room Spray

Normally, I don't get into room sprays. However, in the spring and summer, I try to keep my air conditioning off when I can to enjoy the fresh air. To me, fresh air sometimes has a dense smell. I can't quite pinpoint what it is, as it could be many things. I notice it especially in my back bedroom when the windows are open. Nevertheless, what am I to do? Trade cool air for no waft or have waft and cool air? Certainly, I'd prefer the latter, so I set out in search of a home product to lighten things up a bit. I found this J.R. Watkins Aloe and Green Tea Room Spray at Target for $2.09. The price was right for me, so I brought it home. Needless to say, I love it! I've been spraying it everywhere from the lowly floor to the ceilings high. The scent is extremely refreshing and calming at that. I've also tried the hand soap in this brand, it is great. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

French Press Fanatic

I am crazy for french press coffee!!!! It is one of the seven wonders of my world. I make it almost everyday, hot and cold. The truth is, a great french press is not too expensive. There's a great Bodum one at Target for $19.00. Billy bought it for me for Christmas, one of my favorite presents ever. If you like coffee, you'll love the french pressed process. You just boil some water, throw in equivalent coffee, stir, sit, and plunge. The finished product is too much to handle. If you want it hot, just pour. If not, add a couple more tablespoons of coffee and throw it in the fridge overnight. It has a slight kick to it that keeps me coming back for more. I make it for parties and pajamas, both. Try it, please. You might even turn into a coffee slurper. Bon Appetit!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ready, Set, Tablescape!

Single flowers in Mason jars are perfect for Easter! Throw down a table runner and some china "Voila," your table is ready. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Perfect for Easter!

I made THIS Avocado Egg Salad last night for dinner. Holy moly! It is out of this world! I used white vinegar instead of red wine. Please make this for your Easter gathering! It will not disappoint, as The Pioneer Woman never does!! Check out her cookbook and Food Network show. She is great!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bell Pepper Salad

What's better than trying a new dish with things already in your fridge? I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and had to give it a try. As you can see, I switched things up a little bit. You can do that, too! First off, I buy these haricot vert (thin green beans) at Sam's and they are to die for. You can catch me eating them out of the bag quite often. Get some! This is a very refreshing dish for the summer. Bring on the heat because I am as cool as a cucumber, which would also be great in this.

My Modifications:

1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 1/2 Fresh Lemons Juiced
Kosher Salt (taste)
Pepper (taste)
Extra Light Olive Oil
Pinch of Sugar
2 Cloves Minced Fresh Garlic
Large Handful Haricot Vert (Thin Green Beans)

1.) Chop all veggies to desired consistency.
2.) In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper into olive oil.
3.) Pour dressing over veggies. Mix and serve chilled.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

PF Chang's Coupon!

Who doesn't love PF Chang's? They now have a rewards program that gives you a free plate of lettuce wraps for signing up! Count me in! GO HERE

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wedges and Shorts

If you're a shorts wearin', summer lovin' kind of woman, add wedges to your fashion list. Not only are wedges super comfortable to walk in, they make your legs go on for miles. Wedges are great for any age, ANY AGE, do you hear me? We all know it gets really hot down here in the sweet south. That being said, use these shoes to dress up a shorts and top combo, not to mention the rest of your closet. You'll look primped, polished and poised no matter what occasion. Wedges, get some, you know you want to.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wing Tip Eyes

Genetically, I have tosis in my eyes. Most of my family members do, as well. It's not a horrible thing, it just causes your eyelids to droop over your eyes. Over time, it can cause vision problems and sometimes needs surgery later in life.
Because of this random issue, I'm always wondering how to make my eyes look bigger (behind glasses,too). The wing-tipped eye has always been a big trend for night wear, but recently, is making more and more of a daytime appearance. Since I've been wearing my eye makeup this way, many people have told me that my eyes look a lot bigger. Plus, switching up my routine is fun! So, if this is an issue for you, or you want bolder eye makeup, try it out!
Here's how I do it:
1.) I buy ELF liquid eyeliner 3-pack at Target for $3.00.
2.) I line my eye with a thick wing tip starting inside and moving out. I make more of an upward motion as I reach the corner of my eye.
3.) I take an angle brush, sweep it in some dark eye shadow, and brush it across the line. This helps set the eyeliner for the day.
4.) Looking in the mirror, I then use an eyeshadow brush to make a crease with color right at the fold of my eyelid. Usually, I use a faint plum color. (You can see it a little in picture 2)