Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fall nails/product review for Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish

I haven't painted my nails in a minute, so I thought it was a good time to give them a good Fall dose of color.  I like going with red and burgundy or dark blue and purple this time of year.

I was just going to use some of my own stash, but the problem is that the color lasts for 1-2 days without chipping, no matter what top coat I use.  I was recently reading Allure, and it was their annual list of the best products (I love Allure by the way, I think it's the best magazine for beauty/fashion/celebrities).   One of the products listed was Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish. 
The claim was that it will last up to 2 weeks ("up to" being the operative words here), and you do not have to use a light to set the polish.  Gel polish does tend to last longer, but I don't like the use of the light.  Some places apply sunscreen, some done, some give you finger-less gloves, it's a mess.  I feel like my skin is always burning, and it's a pain to take off.  But this claims to be a two step process, no lights, and comes off with regular nail polish. 

Ok so of course I have to try it immediately.  Only the CVS by my house had one display for it, and it was completely picked over, with no top coat, and like 3 colors.  Ok, other people were on to it.  So I gave it a couple of days, went back, and still not restocked.  On to the next CVS.  They don't even stock it.  I went to Ulta, and no mas.  Ok, now I go to the BIG stand alone CVS, and they don't have the individual colors, but they have these kits:




They only have like 5 of these kits, and the other colors were royal blue and this ugly lilac, so Red Eye it is! I like red, so no problem. 

I was really impressed with the formula!  One coat covered the whole nail, but it wasn't goopy.  I applied the second coat, let them dry for a bit, then added the top coat.  And that's it! 





As I'm writing this I'm on day 6.  And they are chipping.  BUT, no badly.  This is the longest I've ever worn nail polish (other than acrylics or gel done at a salon) without it chipping horribly.  It's not going to last for 2 weeks, but I would definitely recommend it! 

The only problem is finding it.  If you see it, get more than one. 


***this is not a paid review!!!!
Friday, October 10, 2014

Potato soup

So I bought an immersion (stick) blender last February, and it's been sitting in its box in my cabinet ever since.  So I had a hankering for soup since it's Fall and all, so decided it was time to bust that bad boy out and get to blendin'!

I went to The Pioneer Woman's website, as I'm want to do, and found her Potato Soup recipe.  It's pretty easy, but the chopping.  OOOOH THE CHOPPING.  And it makes a ton of soup.

Get the recipe and the ingredients list on her website.  Here's how I got to it:

So I figured I better chop everything first, so I wasn't trying to do it mid cooking:


That's 1 onion, 3 stalks of celery, and 3 carrots.  I did not scrub the carrots like Ree said to. I peeled those things!  Who has time to scrub carrots?? 

I also peeled the potatoes, but didn't start chopping those until the veggies were starting to cook. 

Once my veggies were chopped, I cut up the bacon, and in the pot it went:


I used the specified amount, but next time I will use more so I can have it for garnish.  Fry it up until crispy, then pour the fat out of the pan but do NOT wipe it out. 

Then, dump your veggies in.  While they were cooking down, I chopped up the potatoes.  Which took forever, and I should have done it with the veggies.  Cubing 6 potatoes is a mother if you don't have the counter space, trust me. 


Then add your potatoes to the pan, mix them around, and add your seasoning.  I had Creole season instead of Cajun, but it doesn't matter. 

Once they were all cooked down a bit, then add your liquid, and let cook until the potatoes start to get tender, but not all the way because you want them to stand up to the blending. 

Then you're going to add your slurry of milk and flour.  I didn't take a picture of it, but it instantly made the soup thicker, which was cool to see. 

Now it's time to bllllleeeeennnnnnd:



Yay, this was so fun to use!!!


There was a few pieces of potato I obviously couldn't see, but that was fine because it gave it texture. 

And then, because it's a Pioneer Woman recipe, add some cream:


I decided to try and be like Panera, and bought Sourdough bread bowls:


Then I garnished with the bacon and cheddar cheese:


It was yummy!  I can't wait to use my immersion blender again.  Without one, you've have to ladle the soup into a blender, pour it back in, make a huge mess, and no thank you!

I seriously had a ton of left overs.  This will feed an army!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chambray


Chambray
Polyvore
 

 
I love chambray shirts and dresses, and think they are a great staple for your  Spring, Fall, and Winter wardrobe.  I personally have two shirts (one light and one dark) and a dress very similar to the tunic style one, if slightly darker. 
 
I use the shirts stand alone, open with a tank top like a cardigan, or layered under sweaters.  Great with shorts, capris, dress pants, or over a dress.  The dress can be paired with flats, heals, boots, and tights.  Great for work, or casual running around on the weekend.  Easily dressed up with accessories! 
 
They are such versatile pieces, the possibilities are endless! I personally bought all of mine at Old Navy because of the price point.  And the more you wash them, the softer they get.   How do you style your chambray?!   
 
 
 
 

Easy spaghetti casserole

I wanted to share a super easy meal that my mom makes all the time.  I don't have any pictures, because it's not really pretty.  But it's great for a weeknight meal (lots of leftovers), or for feeding a crowd. I made it this weekend to feed 6 and we still had some leftovers. 

I want to emphasize that you could use whatever kind of jarred sauce, veggies, cheese, or meat you have on hand.  Or use homemade sauce and fresh ingredients. This is just what I used:

1 box of thin spaghetti
1 jar of tomato basil marinara sauce
1 small jar of dice tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1 jar of sliced mushrooms
1.5 lbs of ground beef 
shredded cheddar cheese
large casserole dish (I used the aluminum throw away kind for convenience)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Put your water on to boil
Cook your ground beef, and I added a sprinkle of dried Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (drain any fat left in the pan with the meat)
Once your beef is cooked, add the marinara sauce, tomatoes, and sliced mushrooms (w/about half the liquid in the can.  You want the flavor) to the meat, and simmer together until the pasta is done. 

Once the pasta is finished cooking (you want it al dente because it's going to bake for 30 minutes), mix meat sauce and pasta together and transport it to casserole dish.  Sprinkle as much cheese on top as you like, around 2 cups.

Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes.  Take aluminum foil off, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is totally melted and bubbly. 

And your done.  PRETTY EASY.   I served with garlic bread. 

When I was making it this way, I was thinking about how many variations I could use:

-Adding onions and garlic to the ground beef
-using sausage instead of ground beef (though that would be really rich...so maybe a meatloaf mix or half beef/half sausage would be better).  Or using ground turkey or chicken
-using roasted veggies instead of canned (you want the veggies to be cooked first before adding to sauce)
-Using any different kind of marinara sauce
-Using mozzarella instead of cheddar

The possibilities are endless.  This would be great to bring to a potluck, serve it on Sunday Fundays, or anytime you feel like pasta but want to mix things up. 

Enjoy! 
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review - Lush products

I have a pretty good sense of smell.  And super strong smells give me a headache.  So I tend to avoid stores like Perfumania, The Body Shop, Bath & Body Works, and Lush.  ESPECIALLY Lush, as you can smell it from the other side of the mall.

But after watching a million British beauty blogger haul videos with Lush products, I decided to bite the bullet and go in last week and see if I could stand it for more than 30 seconds. 

Ok, it smells really...intense in there.  But they have a lot of products that are handmade and harsh chemical free.  And since I have sensitive skin, it's probably better for me to use.  They specialize in bath products (i.e. things to put in your tub to make it frothy and usually pink).  Since I don't have a tub in the bathroom I use, that was out.  Though they would make pretty good generic holiday presents *note to self.

Anyways, side tracked.  There is a lot going in the store.  But I needed body wash, so I decided to go that section and see what I could see.  I came across Happy Hippy, and it had a clean, citrusy scent, which I like.  I picked up the medium size, and it was not cheap at almost $20.  Gah.  But it was handmade, with a sticker on it giving the name of the person who made it, and the best use by date. 

Ok.  I think I was in the store for maybe 7 minutes, but that was long enough.  There are a lot of products, face masks, makeup, deodorant, lotion, bars of soup, bath bombs, etc.  But I was not going to buy more until I tried this Hippy stuff.

And there verdict is...I really like it.  It lathers really well, leaves my skin feeling clean but not dry, and it definitely perks me up in the shower.  Am I going to rush to buy it again?  Probably not, if only because of the price point.  That's extremely expensive for something that literally gets washed down the drain.  But next time I'm in the mall, I will probably go back in to Lush again and see what I see. I bet their face masks would be pretty good. 

Anyone else use Lush products?  If so, let us know in the comments!

***this is not a paid review***
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Makeup removers

I talk about makeup on the blog a lot.  I've really gotten in to wearing it the last few years, and love trying out new products.  Putting ON makeup is great and all, but taking it OFF is a different story. 

One thing I always do is take off my makeup before I go to sleep.  ALWAYS.  Just do it.  You know why you should.  It's common sense. 

How you take it off is tricky.  'Cause I'm gonna be honest here:  I.  Am.  Lazy.  For someone my age, I should be doing a 3 step process:  Washing, toning, moisturizing.  Except most of the time I just use a face wipe, and that's it. 

I've tried a bunch of different wipes, and the one that I have found works best on my skin is the Aveeno Ultra Calming Makeup Removers Wipes.  (unfortunately I can't find a good picture to post...)
1)  They smell good
2)  Take off pretty much everything
3)  Leaves my skin feeling slightly moisturized-so therefore I can skip moisturizing and go right to bed because I.  Am. Lazy.

I do not like to use wipes to remove my eye makeup because it tends to irritate my eyes, no matter how gentle the wipes are.  So I pretty much always use a separate eye makeup remover.  If I don't take off my eye makeup I tend to get stys, and those are just gross. 

The one I found works the best for me is the Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover. 

So yes, it is expensive, but it's a really big jar and it will last you FOREVER.  Just a few drops on a cotton ball or pad, and it will take off the whole shebang in a few swipes.  It doesn't leave an oily residue, and there is no harsh smell. 

These are the two products I use most nights to clean up my face.  If I just use a wipe at night, then I will wash my face in the shower in the morning with either CeraVe or Kiehl's products for a gentle clean.  My skin is sensitive and delicate so I don't like to mess with it too much.  I try to do a scrub once a week to slough of the dead skin and get into my pores. 

And speaking of pores, I have been noticing the blackheads on my nose and it has been driving me crazy.  So I am trying out Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser.


Now I have not noticed a huge different in my pores, but it is a nice cleanser, though I have to moisturize after using it or my skin feels tight.  It is slightly cooling, and definitely does not have any oily residue.  It says to use it morning and night, but I've just been using it instead of my normal CeraVe or Kiehl's wash.  So I'm probably not using it enough to really clean my pores.  Again, I. Am. Lazy. 

Let us know your favorite makeup removing and skin care products! 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Slackers!

So obviously we took a little break from the blog...Bad Bloggers!  BAD!  Life happens, you know?!

We will be back in September with new posts! 

image from Google


Monday, July 28, 2014

One pot French Onion Pasta

If you follow me on social media, then you know that I pretty much spent all day July 27th cooking.  I made beautiful butter roasted figs: 



I love figs, but I feel like if you don't eat them quickly, they go bad.  So I took half of them, and roasted them for 15 minutes in butter, light agave, a pinch of cinnamon and salt at 400 degrees.  I could have let them go longer to caramelize more, but I was impatient.  My yogurt and granola was waiting for them.  Great over ice cream, or even a simple salad.  A drizzle of balsamic syrup would be delish too.  Yum. 

I also made one of the easiest one pot meals ever.  If you're not following Joy the Baker, you are missing out.  Everything she makes is gorgeous and fun.  Though this is the first time I have ever tried one of her recipes!!!  But when I saw her post for French Onion Pasta, I was like, "get in my mouth instantly."




It was pretty easy.  The only things I did differently was 1)  Cook the onions longer, over lower heat, though I did stir them in 4 minute increments like she said.  Mine took about 30 minutes instead of 15.  But my stove is super sonic hot, so I was afraid to burn them on med/high.  2)  I used EVOO instead of regular OO.  It's what I had.  3)  I used chicken stock instead of broth.  It's what I had. 

I have the same Le Cruset pot that she does, though in a slightly smaller size, so I broke the pasta in half before putting it in, and used just a little less liquid.  But I followed the same amount of time for lid on/off/stirring, and had just the perfect amount of liquid left.  I also did use the cheese and arugula, which gave it a crisp peppery kick to cut through the richness.  Just mix it all together.  The arugula stands up to the hot pasta. 






SO GOOD.  Make it immediately.  Would be great in the Fall.  But is there ever a bad time for pasta?  Don't think so.


  
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trend: layered delicate jewelry

We all know that accessories are the best things to jazz up an outfit.  Shoes, purses, belts, sunglasses, and jewelry all can turn a simple t-shirt and jeans combo into a great look. 

A trend that I am really into, and that I see all over is layering delicate necklaces.  I think it's gorgeous, and gives a slightly bohemian look, but you can still look polished.  All you need to do is wear at least two necklaces of varying lengths, and you've got it.  I personally think it looks better with gold jewelry, but that's just a preference. 

Obviously, we want to look cute, but we DON'T want to spend a fortune.  Trends fade, but good costume jewelry will last!  Of course, the real stuff is nice, but save that for the classic pieces that you will wear after the trend goes away. 

Discs, bars, nameplates, initials, are all great for layering.  The trick is thin chains, and simple designs.  Here's a list of websites with great options:

Bauble Bar-They have a whole section dedicated to layering necklaces. 

Shop Bop-Their delicate jewelry section is large, but the prices are a bit higher, so you have to hunt for the cheaper pieces.  They have a lot of cool stuff though.  They also have a layered section also. 

Forever 21 - We're talking super cheap here people.  Great for building up a little cache so you can switch up your look! 

Asos - They have a ton of different price points, but none of them are expensive.  Some of their stuff is pretty funky.

Etsy- sooooo many options.  I like that you can get them with varying lengths and materials.  Probably my favorite place to get jewelry. 

Here are some looks that I love. Good style inspiration :-)







*all images from Google
Monday, July 14, 2014

Life

Hi! I know that I have been a little (ok a lot) MIA on the blog lately and thought I would share with you what I've been up to.  This past December, I found myself heavier than I'd ever been. I really hadn't lost much weight after giving birth to Kellen. I didn't like the person I saw in the mirror and actually looking in the mirror I always caught myself by surprise. In my head, I knew I was a little overweight but I wasn't clearly able to see just how big I had become.  I was miserable and was still wearing maternity clothes.  I knew something needed to change.

I saw a friend advertising a P90X3 workout group and decided to give it a try. I knew with working full-time and being a mom, I needed something that could fit into my schedule. Trips to the gym were too costly and time-consuming.  So this was perfect. It was 30 minutes a day and I could fit it in on my schedule.  I LOVED it!  It gave me the structure and accountability I needed to make working out a habit. It also taught me so much about nutrition and eating clean. I hadn't realized how much I had let my health, fitness and really my happiness take a backseat (really they were probably more in the trunk!).

As the P90X3 challenge group ended, I had lost 25 pounds and 19 total inches. I was so excited with how I was feeling, I decided to sign up to be a Beachbody coach and help other people reach their health and fitness goals. I am not at my ultimate goal weight yet but I'm getting closer each day. I love being able to help other people feel good about themselves and excited to get dressed in the morning.

I started a blog called www.changeyourselfie.com where I will be posting about upcoming workout challenges and clean eating tips and recipes. If that is something that interests you, please check it out. If you are frustrated with the current state of your nutrition or fitness, I would love to help you out! You can contact me through Change Your Selfie or you can email me at allison.oconnell@hotmail.com. I have a few upcoming workout groups starting the end of July and the beginning of August so please email me if you are interested! You can also sign up for a FREE Beachbody account with me as your free coach with access to 100s of healthy recipes.

I will still be blogging on I Like Your Style but it will be a little less frequently than before. Here is my before and after video from P90X3. I'm halfway through Focus T-25 right now and I'm sure I will force Brendan into making another Before and After Video :)