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Showing posts from 2010

Ah, Winter Weather...

All across the country temperatures are falling along with the first snow of the season (oh how I miss that white fluffy stuff!).  This is by far my favorite time of the year because it means enjoying many of my favorite things . . . beautiful sparkling snow, corduroy pants, turtleneck sweaters, down jackets, a warm crackling fire and sipping a mug of a hot, yummy beverage.  So, as a salute to"Winter", I decided to share a recipe for one of my favorite hot beverages.  It's not only great to have on hand at home but also is great for gift giving!  For those of you that receive this in your goody bag, just pretend that you don't know how easy this is to make :-)

So without any further ado, I give you. . . .

"Wintertime Spice Tea" (from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 3)


Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. sweetened lemonade mix
1 c. powdered orange drink mix (i.e., Tang)
1/2 c. instant tea
1/2 t. cinnamon*
1/2 t. ground cloves*

Directions:
Mix all ingred…

Shower Curtain Liners

Ever get weary of spending money on shower curtain liners that no one but the person in the shower gets to see?  I know I do.  But when the liner starts getting soap residue and pink mold built up on it (don't act like it's never been on your shower curtain :-) what's a girl to do?  Well, I'm here to tell you that next time that liner looks like it needs replacing, throw it in the washer instead!

Yes, that's right!  Wash it in hot water, with some chlorine bleach and laundry detergent and presto!  It comes out sparkly clean, sanitized and looking like new.  Just make sure you don't throw it in the dryer!  Simply rehang it in the shower and allow it to dry. 

Point to Ponder...

This deep question was presented during our Bible Study time yesterday and I thought it was an important question that we should each ask ourselves:

"Do I really believe that what I believe is really real?"

Makeup Tutorials

Last night as I was watching some makeup tutorials by the "Makeup Geek",  I decided I should share this great website with you! 

I was first introduced to this website by my best girl friend - thanks Earen!!  The Makeup Geek has wonderful short video tutorials from the basics of makeup application to advanced techniques.  She also has a makeup store on her website where she sells really inexpensive makeup and a few beauty tools as well.  So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a few educational videos :-)  www.makeupgeek.com

Answer to Bible Quiz

As I am running short on time this week, preparing for my three parties in Denver next week, I haven't had an opportunity to write much.  However, I don't want to leave you all hanging in suspense about last week's Bible Quiz question.  So, here's the answer . . .

FALSE- According to Joshua's account, the Israelites did NOT know God's plan was to knock down the walls of Jericho when they began marching around the walls on the first day.  Read the account in Joshua 6 and realize they just followed in blind obedience to what they were told to do.  It seemed like a ridiculous quest but "the Lord often works through the ridiculous to bring about the miraculous!" (Quote from my wonderful pastor & husband!)

Wednesday Bible Quiz

True or False: When the Israelites marched around Jericho, they knew that on the seventh day, the walls would come tumbling down.

Makeup Monday Madness

*Answer to the last Bible Quiz at the end of this post*
About two weeks ago, I was shopping on-line at one of my favorite stores, Sephora.  After selecting the items I "needed", I browsed their BareMinerals "Sale" section and found some incredible deals!  Imagine three full-size eye shadows for $15 (reg. price of one is $13) or a kit with liner, blush, 2 eye shadows, lip gloss & a cute clutch for $25 . . . can we say great gift ideas?  Anyway, since some of you are makeup collectors like me and also love great deals, I thought that whenever I come across fabulous deals like these, I will share them with my blog readers . . . Lucky You! :-)

As of tonight, Sephora still has the aforementioned deals as well as a few others that you might just want to pick up.  Here's the link to the Bare Minerals Sale section.  If the link does not work, go to Sephora.com, select "Bare Escentuals" from the "Brands" drop down list, click on "Ma…

What were you doing when you first heard the news?

9/11/01 is one of those dates that will mark history forever.  It's also one of those dates that we can recall clearly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news that the World Trade center had been struck by an airplane.

I was in my car on the way to work.  I was so excited that I only had two days of work left before I'd be taking 2 weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon.  I turned the radio on and heard the news reporter saying that someone had crashed an airplane into the World Trade Center.  The news was so unbelievable that I sped to work and had to see the images on a tv screen before reality could begin to sink in.  No work was completed that day . . . we all wondered how life could ever return to normal after such a horrific and tragic day.  My wedding was only days away and I wondered how we could have a great day of celebration with a nation in mourning.  Then President Bush gave a speech and stated how important it was that we a…

Photo Contest

Break out the camera and say, "Cheese" and you could WINone of 3 prizes!

What are these fabulous prizes?
Grand Prize ~ awarded for most creative and artistic entry - $30 Designs by Sharalee Gift CertificateSecond & Third Prizes ~ random drawing - $20 Designs by Sharalee Gift CertificateHere's the "411" on the contest:

Simply take a photo of you wearing Designs by Sharaleejewelry & email it to me at sharaleeboyer@yahoo.com.All entries will be posted in the "Real Life Models" section of my website (a new page coming soon).
Each person is allowed to submit up to three pictures. 
All entries must be submitted electronically.
Deadline for entries is 11:59pm (Pacific) October 3rd.  Winners will be announced on October 5th. 
By submitting a picture, you are granting Designs by Sharalee permission to use this picture on her website for promotional purposes.

Wednesday Bible Quiz

When Pharoah learned that Joseph's brothers had come to Egypt, he told Joseph to send them back to retrieve their father and their families and return to Egypt to live.  He gave them specific instructions about what they were to do with their belongings.  What were his instructions?

Marshmallow Puffs

Football season has begun and that means that Fall is just around the corner!  The change of season always gets me in the mood to bake.  My dear friend, Earen, taught me how to make Marshmallow Puffs several years ago and now I make them for holiday breakfast treats or when I have out-of-town guests staying overnight.  These wonderful treats are so easy to make but impress my guests every time.  In fact, this post is in response to a request from my sister-in-law who has partaken of these delectable treats.

Marshmallow Puffs

Ingredients:
1 pkg "Big & Flaky Crescent Rolls" (6 rolls)
6 jumbo marshmallows
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar

Frosting:
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (or more as needed) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon (or more as needed) milk

Directions: Open crescent roll package and divide dough at perforations, giving you 6 triangles.  Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.Dip one marshmallow into melted butter and the…

How many of you know who Billy Graham is?

OK, so that's not exactly Bible trivia, but today I thought I would write about something I heard in the sermon last Sunday . . .
 When my pastor (& husband :-) asked this question on Sunday, all but 3 people raised their hands (they were teenagers that didn't grow up in the era of Billy Graham Crusades).  My husband then asked, "How many of you actually know Billy Graham?  If someone mentioned your name to Billy, would he know who you are?"  No one raised their hands.  My husband went on to say that this is the difference between knowing who Jesus is and KNOWING Jesus.  You may attend church every Sunday and be able to say that Jesus is the Son of God and died on the cross, etc, etc.  But when you stand before Him on judgement day, will He know you?  Read Matthew 7:21-23.

Sephora....Two Thumbs Way Up!

Image
In a day and age when companies are offering fewer perks and tightening their return policies in an effort to trim expenses, it's refreshing to find a company that still goes above and beyond the call of duty in customer satisfaction.  Ttoday, I've decided to give some serious "props" to that company that stands out in the crowd . . . Sephora. Since I live in a relatively small town with limited options for shopping, I have started doing a lot of shopping on-line.  When I discovered that Sephora carried most all of my usual beauty products and that they offered free shipping on orders over $50, I decided it was worthwhile to order a few things I needed but didn't have time to drive out of town to get.  They also advertised "Free Returns" so I felt confident that if something didn't work out, I could probably return it without too much hassle.   I placed my order and signed up for their "Beauty Insider" program which earns you …

Pores, Pores, Pores!

*Answer to the last Bible Quiz at the end of this post*
Summer time seems to bring out the pores in me!  My guess is that it's a combination of heat and some extra humidity.  Today as I was examining my face, I decided it was time for my favorite pore tightening treatment....
A frothy, egg white mask.  Just crack open an egg and separate the yolk from the white.  Then stir up the egg white a little bit with a fork and then apply the egg white to your face and allow it to dry.  When it hardens completely, you won't be able to crack a smile and your kids might want to run and hide because you will look like a wax mannequin.  But never fear!  Rinse it off with warm water and your skin will feel firmer and your pores instantly tighter. 

*Bible Quiz Answer:
The three articles that were stored in the Ark of the Covenant were 1) a golden jar containing some manna; 2) Aaron's staff that had sprouted leaves; 3) the stone tablets with the 10 Commandments written on them.  …

Wednesday Bible Quiz

What are the three things that were kept inside the Ark of the Covenant?
*Answer in Friday's Post*

Don't just soap it....foam it!

Foaming soap dispensers are very popular these days.  Personally, I love the ones from Bath & Body Works but Dawn and Dial have some too that work great.  These dispensers are wonderful because they help cut down on the amount of water needed to wash your hands and/or dishes.  Of course, the manufacturers of most of these soap dispensers tell you that you must buy their special refill soap to reuse these dispensers.  Not so!  Here's how to use those dispensers with regular soap, saving you lots of soap and $$. . .

Using a ruler, measure 1/2" from the bottom of the dispenser.  Fill the empty soap dispenser with regular soap up to this 1/2" mark.  Then add water to fill the dispenser so it is 3/4 of the way full.  Replace the lid on the dispenser, shake a few times and you have a foaming dispenser filled and ready for use.  I've used various dish soaps (i.e., Dawn, Palmolive, Joy) as well as Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty and they work great!  Th…

Secret Exfoliant

*Answer to Wednesday's Bible Quiz at the end of this post *
Today as I was exfoliating in the shower, I decided I should share one of the best secrets told to me a few years ago by an esthetician.  The secret is . . .
. . . Microdermabrasion Crystals.  When you have Microdermabrasion done by an esthetician they use a machine that uses super fine crystals to remove layers of dead skin on your face.  The esthetician told me one of the best things to do for our skin is to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!  One of the best ways to do that is with microdermabrasion crystals.  The technical name for them is "Aluminum Oxide Crystals" and they come in various grits - 100, 120, 180 (180 is the finest).  I found mine online (chose the #120 grit) and they have become a part of my daily routine.  What I love is that it's just the crystals.  There's no soap or lotion mixed with them so you can use them mixed with your favorite face soap, on your body with your bo…

Wednesday Bible Quiz

A very important article in the tabernacle and later in the temple was the incense altar.  What does the incense represent?
*Answer at the end of Friday's blog*

It's never too late to do spring cleaning!

*Answer to Wednesday's Bible Quiz at the end of this post*
Monday, I did a little "Spring Cleaning" . . . yes, I know, it's mid-July and that all should have been done months ago.  But it seems that this year I've been exceptionally busy and can't seem to put a "Spring Cleaning Day" on the calendar.  Anyone else have that problem?  Well, you may be wondering how I found time to work it in this week . . . it started with a burned out light bulb in my bathroom.  On Monday, several days after the bulb had burned out, I finally got up on the counter to remove the old bulb.  When I reached in to remove the bulb, I found a thick layer of dust on the bulb. . . not only that but I looked in dismay at the layer of film inside each of the glass shades of the fixture and knew I had to take action. . .
With Clorox wipes in hand, along with an old rag and a homemade cleaning solution (I'll share that recipe in a later post), I set to work cleaning…

Wednesday Bible Quiz

Here's this week's question:  What was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant?

Peach Fuzz & Mustache Be Gone!

**Answer to the June 16th Bible Quiz at the end of this post **
For years, I've had that nice layer of blond "peach fuzz" along my jawline and a little on the sides of my mouth.  Occasionally I had an esthetician wax it off but my skin was so sensitive that I would break out in red bumps and pimples galore!  So I decided I would just have to live with it.  One day, I was browsing the latest Avon catalog and came across "Skin So Soft - Fresh & Smooth Hair Removal Cream for the Face - Sensitive Skin Formula".  I decided for $3.99, it was worth a try.

First, I tested it on the backs of my fingers as I have some peach fuzz that grows there too. . . lucky me :-)  Following the directions, I applied the cream and waited for 3 minutes then wiped it off with a wet washcloth and viola!  No more hair!  There was no lingering redness and after 24 hours I hadn't broken out in a rash so I decided to try it on my face.  I followed the same application and…

Wednesday Bible Quiz Answer & New Question

Life is a bit crazy right now so my blog posts have been spread out a little more than usual but please bear with me!  I'll get back on track in a couple of weeks when I get a little break between Jewelry Parties.  Anyway, I know some of you have been waiting a whole week to know if you have the right answer to last week's Bible Quiz . . .

Joseph's mother was Rachel.  Why is that significant, you may ask?  Well, it may give insight as to why Jacob favored Joseph so much over his other 11 brothers . . . since Rachel was Jacob's favorite wife and it took her several years to bear a child (Joseph was her first), it seems natural that Jacob would begin to favor Joseph over the other children born to Leah.

Today's Bible Quiz question:  What New Testament person can we see portrayed through the life of Joseph?

Wednesday Bible Quiz

I've had so much fun this past week celebrating my 34th birthday . . . shopping, eating out, watching movies, hanging out at the beach . . . but now it's back to work and back to blogging.  Since it's Wednesday, you know it's Bible Quiz time but this one will be easy . . .

One of Jacob's sons was named Joseph.  Who was Joseph's mother?

Icy Cold Refreshment

As I was celebrating this Memorial Day weekend, it got me thinking about the hot days of summer that are just around the corner and the craving I get for an icy cold beverage . . . something other than water :-)  There are some great natural sodas out there but that would just be plain boring :-)  Besides, I learned that by mixing up my own concoction , I can control how sweet or sour or creamy the drink is. Whether you like Pellegrino, Perrier, Arrowhead or Crystal Geyser, it makes no difference in the overall taste so pick up a bottle of your favorite sparkling water and try mixing in a few of these ingredients. . .
Cherry Limeade ~  Add frozen Limeade Concentrate, Cherry flavored syrup (the kind that is used in coffee drinks, etc.)PureFitness with Fizzle ~ Add Crystal Light Pure Fitness (any flavor) **Note:  Add the sparkling water to the Pure Fitness packet contents in VERY small amounts!!!  It will fizz like nothing you've ever seen and completely overflow your gla…

Lemon Juice & Sugar Facial

**Answer to Wednesday's Bible Quiz at the end of this post**
My best girlfriend Earen told me about this Kandee Johnson, a girl that has posted numerous videos on YouTube with make-up application tips, etc.  I finally took some time to watch some of them and I'm hooked!  One of the videos she posted was about the best facial you can do at home with lemons and sugar. 
Yesterday, I cut open a lemon, squeezed the juice on a cotton ball, sprinkled it with organic sugar and applied that to my face in circular motions.  My skin felt absolutely incredible!  In fact, I loved it so much that I even forced my husband to do it last night and his skin felt so soft and looks great!  Give yourself a facial this weekend and your face will thank you for it.  Watch Kandee's entertaining demonstration of this facial by clicking here.

*Answer to Wednesday's Bible Quiz:
The Greek word that means "Overcomer; Victor" is the name of a very popular shoe & clothing bra…

Wednesday Bible Quiz

What is the Greek word that means "Overcomer; Victor"?

Sunless Tanning Secrets - Part 2

Now that you've purchased your sunless tanner, how do you put it on?  Here are the tips for application success . . .
 1) Shower and exfoliate your skin

2)Towel dry and apply a normal amount of body lotion - nothing too thick; something like Olay Body Quench
**Note:  Don't apply your deodorant until after you've applied the sunless tanner.

3)Depending on the type of sunless tanner, wait 1-3 minutes for lotion to soak into skin before applying sunless tanner (less time if you are using Bare Escentuals; more time if you are using L'oreal Sublime Bronze)

4)Divide your application areas into zones.  Example: Zone #1 - upper chest and neck; Zone #2 - both arms; Zone #3 - both legs

5)Apply sunless tanner to each zone and make sure you thoroughly rub it in and check for any streaks before moving to the next zone.  I highly recommend using a sunless tanner with some kind of instant bronzer (like the two I've recommended) so you can easily see where you've applied…

Bible Trivia Wednesday

What is the New Testament fulfillment of the Sabbath Day rest?

Sunless Tanning Secrets - Part 1

Last Friday I wrote about my love for being tan and I promised to share the secrets of sunless tanning that I have learned along the way.  Today I'll share some of the dos and don'ts and prepping your skin for the application.  Next Monday, I'll tell you how to apply it. So without further ado . . . Best application time:  Morning after showering and exfoliating the skin.
Despite what the bottle says, sunless tanner always goes on better and absorbs more quickly if you apply a thin layer of lotion first.  Lotion needs to be one that absorbs into the skin fairly quickly (I love Olay Body Quench).
It will take 3-4 days in a row of application to build up to a deep glow.  Then you can maintain your glow by applying it every 1-3 days (depending on how tan you want to be).  I recommend doing a good exfoliating of your skin once a week.  After you do, apply the sunless tanner for 2 days in a row to build back your tan.
On the days that you are "tanning", app…

Tan Without the Sun

***Answer to this week's Bible trivia is at the end of this post ***
Years ago, I worked out with a friend who's slogan was, "whatever you have always looks better tan."  I have to say that I completely agree with her!  However, after having a few "beauty marks" removed by the dermatologist, I decided maybe tanning in salons and by the pool wasn't the best way to achieve a tan and started testing out sunless tanners.   I knew I found the right ones when someone at church remarked that I had way too much time on my hands to be able to lay out in the sun for hours working on my beautiful tan.  Ahhh . . . if they only knew that now I tan from the bottle!

There are a lot of sunless tanners out there and they all claim to be streak-free and that they won't turn you orange.  However, after a lot of trial and error, I've learned that not all sunless tanners are created equal.  Here are my 2 favorites that I use on a regular basis:
*Faux Tan …

Bible Trivia Wednesday

Here's this week's trivia question: 
Of the 1-3 million Israelites that were age 20 years or older and were part of the Exodus from Egypt, how many entered the promised land?

Return Hasseling

Today I was reminded of a valuable lesson when shopping online. . . make sure to know the return policy and how much trouble and expense it will be to do the return before clicking that "Confirm Order" button.

Since I live in such a small town, I LOVE the ability to shop online.  It saves me from driving long distances especially for my beloved cosmetics.  However, after today, I will be much more cautious about who I purchase cosmetics from online, especially if it's a color I'm not sure about.  I'm a huge fan of Bare Escentuals and it's the main staple in my makeup routine.  It's available at various retailers including Macy's and Sephora.  The lesson learned today though is that Bare Escentuals makes it really difficult and costly to exchange something that you purchased online if it's not the right color.  I was told that I would be responsible for shipping costs both ways - returning my item and the shipping out of the exchanged …

What would YOU do for a Klondike Bar?

***Answer to this week's Bible trivia is at the end of this post ***
As the weather heats up, I start craving that dish of ice cream in the evening.  Maybe some of you have no problem sticking to that 1/2 cup serving but I feel like a 1/2 cup is just a tease.  The problem comes when you look at the calories and realize that even if you get something "low fat", like frozen yogurt, you are still banking 90-130 calories per serving.  If you like the "good stuff" with chocolate carmel pieces or brownie chunks . . . forget that diet!  You are talking 250-280 calories per serving (remember, that's a tiny 1/2 cup).  So what did I do with that ice cream craving?

I happened to see Klondike Bars one day when I was shopping.  I almost didn't even give them a second thought because I assumed they were like 500 calories because they are so rich and have a great thick layer of chocolate coating.  Well, guess what?  An entire Klondike Bar is only 240-270 c…

Bible Trivia - Jacob & Esau

OK, so this trivia question comes a little late this week . . . but here it is . . .

How old was Jacob when Rebekah formulated the plan to help him "steal" his father's blessing from his brother Esau?  This is probably a story you've heard a dozen or more times so before you look it up think how old you have always pictured Jacob to be at this point. . . answer is in the next post.

When things get sticky...

Ever heard of or tried Reynolds "Easy Release Non-Stick" Foil?  When it first came out, the commercial featured two ladies following behind a big truck with a picture of cinnamon rolls or sticky buns and they were instantly enlightened to the idea of a foil for "when things get sticky."  I have to say that I LOVE the stuff!  It lives up to it's claims . . .

I use it quite often in my toaster oven - melting cheese on my nachos or on a pita or bagel for veggie sandwiches, etc.  The melted cheese just slides right off the foil along with the rest of the food.  The biggest test of the "non-stick" claim came when I was making wonderful peanut brittle in my microwave (EASY recipe from Andre . . . I promise to share it with my readers around the holidays :-).  I simply lined a cookie sheet with the Non-Stick foil and poured the peanut brittle on the foil to cool.  After completely cooling, the foil easily peeled off and saved me hours of scrubb…

Peanut Butter....the Miracle Worker!

**Answer to Wednesday's Bible Trivia is at the end of this post **
Through the years, I've heard how wonderful the peanut is and that there are so many uses for peanut butter . . . other than eating it on bread with jelly or adding it with marshmallow creme to make fudge (YUM!).

Last weekend, my husband had just given our dog a bath.  When he and our dog returned from their afternoon walk, I discovered a big "glob" of sap in our dog's hair.  We tried dish soap & shampoo and scrubbing his fur with a towel . . . all to no avail.  My husband was about to reach for the scissors when I said, "Wait!  Let's try peanut butter!"  He looked at me rather strangely and I went on to explain that I've heard it helps get gum out of hair and tar off of cars without damaging the paint.  So, we rubbed a glob of peanut butter into the hair & sap and it was like magic!  It dissolved the sap and we simply rinsed off the dog's fur.  Amazing stu…

Bible Trivia Wednesday

How many of you know who Perez was or the story concerning his conception/birth?  I would not have recognized his name until learning about him recently in our Wednesday Bible Study. . . I was so amazed when I learned who he was and how he came into this world that it got me thinking. . .

I've been in church my whole life, graduated from a Christian High School and yet there is SO much of the Bible that I've just skimmed over and amazing details I never knew were there until I slowed down and took time to really study what I was reading.  To many, the Old Testament seems to be dry and just a compilation of interesting stories that have nothing to do with the New Testament.  But oh, my goodness is that ever wrong!  Since I get to learn from the best Bible teacher there is every week (a.k.a. my husband :) I thought maybe I should share what I'm learning with you.  So, come on and have a little fun.  Who knows . . . you might learn something amazing!  Answer wi…

Recipe for Cleaning Silver

When it comes to cleaning jewelry, I usually tend to stick with conventional solutions and polishing cloths.  However, when I came across a "Home Remedy" for cleaning silver, my interest was peaked and I just had to give it a try.  So, this afternoon, I gathered the appropriate materials and prepared for the experiment.

I decided to try it on my interchangeable Sterling Silver chains that I wear quite often, and a few pairs of earrings.  These pieces were not completely tarnished but had a bit of that yellowish tone and definitely had not been cleaned for some time.  After completing the process, I was AMAZED at how beautiful the pieces came out!  They were bright and shiny and looked like new!  A word of caution:  before you unload your jewelry box and start boiling water, let me suggest that you only pull out pieces that are completely made of sterling silver (i.e., chains, hoop earrings, etc.) or that have hard stones/crystals.  There is truly some type of &…

Get Every Last Drop of....

LIPGLOSS!  Those of you that know me well, know that I have quite a collection of lipglosses.  There are many that I know I will never use all of before they go bad.  However, I have several that I will use until they are gone.  It use to be so frustrating to get to the end of my favorite lipgloss and not be able to get that last little bit at the bottom and at the top of the tube. 

One day, I was at the Bobby Brown cosmetics counter and one of the beauty experts let me in on the secret to getting every last drop.  Here's the secret (applies to lipglosses that have a brush/sponge applicator that you insert into the tube of lipgloss): 
1)Remove the applicator from the tube & set aside.
2)Slide your fingernail around the lip of the tube and separate the hard rubber "filter" from the tube of lipgloss and wiggle it free from the tube.
3)Insert a q-tip or brush and scrape that tube clean!

Pure Fitness by Crystal Light

For those of you that have wondered if there would ever be a great tasting beverage without artificial sweetener and without a bazillion calories, the day has arrived!  It's a new drink mix made by Crystal Light called "Pure Fitness". 

There are 7 packets per box and each packet flavors 16 ounces of water.  Thus far, there are only a few flavors available . . . I tried Strawberry Kiwi and it's great!  Not only are there just 30 calories for a whole packet but there are no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.  Usually these types of drinks taste like watered down Kool-aid . . . not so with this one.  I don't know how Crystal Light packed so much flavor with so few calories but they managed to pull it off.   So, here's to a nice ice cold glass of refreshing Pure Fitness water.  Cheers!

Multiple Uses for Bare Escentuals Blush

One of the many things I love about Bare Escentuals' products is that many have dual or even triple application possibilities. 

Take for example their blush - aside from brushing it on your cheeks you can also apply it as an eye shadow or on your lips.  My favorite way to use it on my lips is to apply it wet, like a lip stain and then after it dries to apply a sparkly gloss over it.  Fabulous!

Mexican Fiesta Side Dish

About a month ago, we were having burritos for dinner and I wanted something other than refried beans for a side dish.  I love black bean salsa so I tweaked the recipe a little and came up with this great side dish that is super easy to prepare and tastes good without tortilla chips. . 

Mexican Fiesta Side Dish Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.25 oz) Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 can Original Rotel, drained
1/2 tsp. Salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
Sour Cream
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Finely chopped Walnuts

Directions:
Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Stir together and add additional salt if desired.  Garnish each 1/2 cup serving with a dallop of sour cream on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and walnuts (about 1 Tablespoon of each).  Enjoy!

Secrets of Coupon Clipping

Coupon Clipping is in my genes, what can I say?!  My mom was my chief mentor in the coupon clipping world.  She always sat down on Sunday with the newspaper and carefully clipped coupons.  As I grew up and moved out on my own, I followed in her footsteps.  Many of my friends have said that they aren't sure it's worth the time and trouble to clip the coupons and then try to remember to bring them to the store with you.  One of my record coupon savings in one transaction (without any double coupon promotion) was $13. . . that's not chump change :-)  Here are my secrets to coupon clipping. . .

Secret #1:  First and foremost, do not clip unless it's for a product and brand that you use or will use to substitute for something you normally use.  Keep in mind that the manufacturer's main purpose of coupons is not to save you as a consumer money but to get you to try a different brand or buy more than you would normally buy.  
That leads me to Secret #2:  Don&…

Bacon....YUM!

When it comes to breakfast meats, bacon is at the top of my favorites list.  I'm pretty particular about how it's cooked though . . . no limp chewy bacon for me!  Since I'm so particular, it has to be cooked in a good ole' frying pan - no microwave bacon please!  Now, the problem comes when I open an entire pound of bacon and only need 2 or 3 slices.

Here are a few solutions that I came up with:
1) Cook the entire pound of bacon all at once.  Drain the bacon on paper towels and cool completely.  Put the cooked bacon in a ziploc bag and freeze.  The next time you want to eat bacon, you can heat a couple of strips in your frying pan on the stove as you are finishing up your eggs and the bacon is crisp and wonderful!
2) Or, cook only the strips that you plan to eat that day.  Tear off 2 or 3 sheets of wax paper & size them to fit in a large gallon-size ziploc bag.  Separate the remaining raw bacon and lay each strip side by side on each of the wax paper shee…

Accesorizing Rule #1 - Enhance, Don't Distract!

The purpose of accessorizing is to add interest to your outfit and enhance your beauty, not to distract & detract from it. 

Pick one or two bold pieces, whether it be a bold necklace or bold earrings and a bold bracelet and lighten up on the rest of your accessories.  You want the eye to be able to take in and absorb your whole look and not be distracted, going from one wild accessory to the next.  If you have too much going on, it "cheapens" your overall look.  Stick to the rules and you'll come out with a look that is classy and sophisticated and will get you noticed . . . in a good way!

Eyeshadow Combination...."Adventure Girl"

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Of all of the many eye shadows and liners that I have in my collection, I often find myself in a rut, using the same colors over and over.  So after looking through the last Mary Kay catalog sent from my dear friend, Earen, I was inspired to venture out and try a new color combination last week.  I loved it so much that I thought I would share it with you.  Hopefully it will inspire you to be adventurous this week and try a new color combination.



Here's how I used these colors:
Applied Drama over my eyelid from the lash line to the crease; from inside corner of the eye to the outside corner.Applied Skywalker over the top of Drama just on half of my eyelid - from the inside to the center of the lid
Applied Merlot across the entire crease of my eyeApplied Nude Beach above the Merlot to my brow lineApplied Smoky Diamonds liner shadow wet along just my upper lash line **Make sure to apply a primer first so your artwork stays in place and blend each of the shadows into the nex…

"Do my necklace & earrings have to match exactly?"

No, however, there should be at least one element in the necklace/bracelet that is repeated in the earrings you choose.  Here are a few tips on how to do that:
*Shape - choose earrings that have a similar shape to the pendant or the beads in the necklace.  If you have a teardrop shape gemstone pendant, choose earrings that have a teardrop shape dangle.
*Color - if you have a multi-colored necklace, choose earrings that have at least one of those colors as well.
*Metal - if your necklace has silver accents, make sure your earrings have silver in them; if it has gold accents, choose earrings with gold or brass accents; etc.

To Prime or Not to Prime

Ever put on eye shadow and eye liner in the morning and wonder where it disappeared to by the end of the day?  I tried every trick in the book . . . various eye shadows, putting foundation under the eye shadow, dusting my eye lids with powder first, even water proof eye liner. . . nothing kept my shadow and liner in place.
Then one glorious day, I was introduced to Eye Primer.  Now, I can take that extra time on my eyes in the morning because I know my "eyelid artwork" will still be in place by evening.  My two current favorite formulas are by Mary Kay (most "bang for your buck") and Bare Escentuals.  If you've never tried a primer, try one of these - you'll be amazed!  Not only will you see the staying power it gives to your shadow but you'll also see how the primer makes even the lightest shades pop on your eyes.  Happy Priming!

Fabulous Lemon Cookies

A few weeks ago I had a craving for something "lemony" but didn't have a lot of time to make lemon bars so I tried a lemon cookie recipe and oh, was it good & so easy!
Double-Lemon Cookies

Ingredients:
1 pkg Lemon Cake Mix
2 T. lemon juice
Not quite 1/2 cup vegetable oil (see directions)
2 eggs
1 tub Lemon Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting (loved these cookies with the cream cheese frosting)

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets really well or use a well-seasoned pampered chef stone.Place 2 tablespoons lemon juice in 1/2 cup measuring cup; add enough vegetable oil to fill the rest of the 1/2 cup.In a large bowl, combine lemon juice & oil with cake mix and eggs and stir with a spoon until dough forms.On cookie sheet, drop dough by teaspoonfuls.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until set.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack & cook completely.Spread with frosting and enjoy!*High altitude: Bake 8-10 minutes

"Value Pack".....Value for the Consumer or the Retailer?

The other day I went to the store for toothpaste.  We needed two tubes of toothpaste so naturally when I saw the "Value Pack" with two tubes I was ecstatic (always love a deal:-).  However, when I looked at the price to see how good of a deal I was getting, I realized it was no deal at all . . .
The price for an individual tube was $1.96.  The price for the "Value Pack" of two tubes (same exact type & size as the individual tube) was $4.18.  Now I didn't have to remember any formulas from Calculus to figure out what was the better bargain.  Lesson learned:  when purchasing something in larger quantities labeled "Value Size" or "Value Pack", make sure to do the math to figure out who is receiving the better value - you, the consumer or the retailer.