Showing posts from 2011

Fluff Up That Down!

Down jackets, throws and comforters are so wonderful at keeping us warm but sometimes can be a bit tricky when it comes to laundering them.  So, as I threw my down jacket and blanket in the washing machine today, I thought I'd pass on a little tip.

After washing your down jacket, throw or comforter (most are machine washable but double check the label to be sure), put the item(s) in the dryer along with 2-3 clean tennis balls.  Yes, that's right!  Good ole "Wilson Tennis Balls"!  As the balls bounce around in the dryer, they help fluff up those feathers inside, preventing them from bunching in one spot and speeding up drying time.  You can also do this when your down blanket or comforter just needs a little extra "fluff".

BEST Queso Ever!

As I was walking the aisles of Walmart the other day, I got a craving for cheese dip.  There were several new brands on the shelf so I started reading ingredients and decided to try On the Border's Creamy Monterey Jack Queso.  There's no MSG, it's gluten-free and it's made with 3 all natural cheeses.  And, at only 45 calories per 2 tablespoons, I felt I could eat it without feeling too guilty.

When I got home, I promptly did a taste test and fell in love!  It is SO yummy!  The queso has a bit of a kick (might be too much if you can only handle extra mild salsa), but it doesn't overwhelm the flavor of the cheeses, and there's no weird tangy taste, like some cheese dips have.  Just to be sure it wasn't just my tastebuds being thrilled, I had my husband sample it a few moments ago and he completely agreed with me....this is the BEST queso dip ever!  In fact I think it's so good that I want to figure out how to turn it into a soup so I can eat …

Share Your Opinion & Get Rewarded!

Remember the days when you answered the phone and an operator would "ask" you to take a "brief" survey?   They were so persistant, I did cave in to the pressure a few times but I found it was never a brief survey...15 minutes later I would practically have to hang up to get them off the phone.   Nowadays, most companies are now asking you to fill out surveys on-line.  I guess they learned that people are more apt to fill out a survey on their own time and they might be persuaded if you dangle some kind of incentive like being entered to win a gift card, etc.

Well, I'll admit....I like earning gift cards!  But I'm terribly unlucky when it comes to "winning" prizes!  So, until recently, I pretty much ignored the bottom of my store receipts requesting my opinion.  However, after these 3 experiences, I have become very interested in the writing at the bottom of my receipts!

1) This past summer, my husband and I ate at the Cheesecake Factor…

Let's Talk Seriously About Skin!

As I was removing the outer bandage over my incision today, I thought it would be good if I could spare anyone else from having to experience what I did this past week.

About 9 years ago, I decided to go see the dermatologist and have my moles checked.  I'd never been a huge "sun worshipper" but I did spend a fare amount of summers poolside in my teenage years and then did a few rounds in the tanning beds.  I know that probably wasn't the best decision but I was young, wanted to look tan and convinced myself that a little bit wouldn't hurt. 

On my first trip to the dermatologist, she identified two "suspicious" looking moles and removed them.  Some "a-typical" cells were identified (basically that means cells that are on their way to becoming melanoma) so I returned again to have a little more tissue removed to make sure all these bad cells were gone. 

Well, as the years passed, I got a little lazy and only went once to see the …

These are a few of my favorite things...

As you read the title, you probably started humming the tune along with Julie Andrews and the Van Trapp children as they sang "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings, These are a few of my favorite things."  Yes, I'll admit I've seen that movie a few dozen times :-)  One day that song popped into my head and suddenly I was inspired to write about my favorite things. 

As the song says, these are a FEW of my favorite things...that is true for me too.  Once I started writing the list, all kinds of things popped into my head.  So to keep this blog from becoming a novel, I decided to make this a monthly blog topic and write about 10 of my favorite things each time.  Without further ado, here's the first list in no particular order:
1)Aussie Freeze Hair Spray - This has been a favorite for years!  Holds your hair in place all day (without feeling crunchy or helm…

The secret to longer, fuller-looking eye lashes? Underwear!

Some of you may be hesitant to even read this blog for fear that the subject is "underwear".  Well, don't worry. . . it's not that kind of underwear. . .it's Underwear for Lashes! 

Over 10 years ago, I discovered this product, made by Origins.  It was one of the first eyelash "primers" on the market and when I saw how full it made my lashes appear, I became a huge fan.  I always like to try new mascaras (shocking I know:-) but as long as I use this underneath my mascara, I get nice, long, full-looking lashes.  Of course, there are certain mascara formulas that work better than others but that's a topic for another day. 

Anyway, after several years of "Underwear" use, I was doing some budget trimming and thought this would be a product that was merely a luxury and I could easily do without it as long as I had a good mascara.  Well, I did survive for a couple of years without it but decided a year and a half ago to try it agai…

Origins VitaZing = Fabulous, Glowing Skin

I heard about this product first on a makeup tutorial on youtube.  Then my best friend gave it a try and told me how fabulous it made her skin look, so I decided to give it a try.  Let me say I am very impressed!

As some of you may know, I have struggled with difficult skin for years!  Thank goodness it's not as bad as it use to be but my skin is still far from flawless.  Without makeup, my skin tone is quite uneven, a bit blotchy and is also on the sensitive side.  Therefore, there are very few products that I can use on a regular basis that don't make me break out in a rash or that actually work on my skin. 

I was therefore blown away when I tried VitaZing!  It is not a tinted moisturizer but after applying it on my face, it almost looks like I have applied a tinted moisturizer.  It does an amazing job of evening out the skintone and providing the perfect amount of moisturizer without making my skin feel greasy.   According to the Origins website, it "give…

Cookie Cravings That Can Be Good For You

Ten or eleven years ago, I was introduced to Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookies.  These cookies are made with all natural ingredients and are just scrumptious!!!  I hadn't ordered any for quite awhile but just received an order yesterday and let me tell you how I've missed them! 

They are made with whole grains which make them very filling but also help satisfy that craving for something sweet.  There are several flavors that are available all the time and others that are just available seasonally.  This time I ordered "Morning Glory", "Peanut Butter", "Double Chocolate Chunk" and "Oatmeal Raisin".  The regular size cookies are HUGE so I usually only eat a half at a time.  However, they do have several flavors now available in "mini" size which make them great for snacking.  

If you are tired of eating granola bars or just want to eat a healthy cookie, give these a try!   You can purchase them online at…

Fabulous Bare Escentuals Sale - TODAY ONLY!

Today is one of those amazing makeup deal days!  Bare Escentuals has a number of great eye shadow, lip gloss and blush kits at 30% off.  The sale ends at 9:00pm (Pacific).   Don't miss out!  Here's the link:  30% off Bare Escentuals Sale
If you are seeing this blog post after the sale has ended, go to the Bare Escentuals site and sign up to receive their newsletter.  Then you will be notified the next time they have an amazing sale.

Does a high-quality makeup brush make a difference?

For years, I assumed that "a brush was a brush".  They were all made from similar materials and it was absurd to pay lots of money for something to apply my makeup.  Then I started using Bare Escentuals foundation and found out quickly that a good brush was essential for applying that and thankfully their starter kits usually come with a couple of free brushes.  But I still wasn't convinced that I needed to spend lots of money on fancy brushes to apply eye shadow, liner, etc.  Then I was introduced by my dear friend to two brush companies that sell professional grade brushes on-line at fabulous prices.
I ordered several brushes from both companies and noticed an immediate difference in how my makeup went on and how the brushes have held up over time.  What a difference a good brush can make! 

So if you find yourself in need of some new brushes and/or you've always wanted to try some nice brushes but didn't want to spend the money, check out the brus…

Favorite Snack Under 100 Calories

Whether you are counting calories or not, snack time can quickly become boring or dangerous!  There are some days when fresh carrot chips sound fine and others when I need something more tasty and filling.  So, when I put together this scrumptious snack and realized it was only 95 calories, I was hooked!

All you need are Orowheat Double Fiber English Muffins and Laughing Cow Light Cheese wedges.  Lightly toast one half of an english muffin (60 calories) and spread one wedge of cheese (35 calories) and viola!  A nutritious and delicious snack!  The Laughing Cow cheese wedges are great because they are individually wrapped so you don't have to worry about using up the container quickly like you do with cream cheese.  Plus, it comes in a variety of flavors . . . my favorite right now is French Onion.  It's usually found in the deli area and not with the rest of the cheeses.  Happy snacking!

Pompla who?

There was a Hyundai commercial that ran on TV this past December.  It featured quircky videography and a catchy version of a Christmas song.  I know many of you have DVRs and no longer have to watch commercials.  However, if you are still in the dark ages like we are, you probably saw it and couldn't help but be drawn in by it's quirky, unique sound and video.  My husband decided to find out more about it and discovered a group called "Pomplamoose".

It's a two person band, Jack & Natalie, and they have recorded many songs, most of which you can see on youtube.  There are several that I love . . . "Mr. Sandman", "Beat it", "September". . . but one song in particular has become a favorite and it's "Lady Gaga's Telephone".  As a musician, I am completely blown away by their creativity and ability to combine an old time organ sound, with a kids piano and xylophone along with an array of other instrument…

What to do when the pants get tight...

Last November, as the weather turned cold and I started wearing my jeans and corduroy pants, I started noticing an alarming trend. . . they were tight!  As every woman does in these types of situations, I blamed the dryer on shrinking my pants and made sure to air dry them the next laundry day.  The results?  Yep, still tight.  Was I gaining weight?  The scale at the gym seemed to think so . . . but those always weigh "heavy" don't they?  After a few weeks of denial, I finally decided that it was time for me to face reality and get a handle on what was going on.

I decided to measure and calculate calories for everything I was eating and started keeping a journal.  If you've never done this before, it can be quite a shock.  I was able to see all of the areas that I was loading on the calories without realizing it and decided to take action to drop a few pounds. 

My plan consisted of something I had heard Jillian Michaels recommend. . . eat strictly 2 da…