Monday, March 25, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge

*Wash window(s) in two rooms - I chose the master bathroom and our kitchen which has patio doors

*Approximate time ~ 20 minutes

*Tips:  Use your favorite glass cleaner along with a squeegee and an old hand towel.  Don't forget to open up the window and clean inside the frame as well as the window sills.

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thai Chicken Stuffed Muffins

A few weeks ago, I decided to do a little experimenting in the kitchen.  For some reason, I wanted something with a Thai Peanut sauce so I concocted this recipe and it was a huge hit with my husband.  I have made these twice now and both times, my husband and I ate them all over the course of two days.  Normally, we are terrible about eating leftovers.  But not with these....I reheated the leftovers the next night and we thoroughly enjoyed them again.  Serve these with steamed rice or mix up a little broccoli slaw salad (recipe at the end of this post).

Thai Chicken Stuffed Muffins

Ingredients:
1 - can Big and Flaky Crescent Rolls
1 - 10 oz can Valley Fresh Chicken Breast, drained
1/2 cup - broccoli slaw, coarsely chopped

Peanut Sauce:
   *1/2 cup - crunchy peanut butter
   *2 T  - honey
   *3 T  - fresh squeezed orange juice
   *1/2 tsp - minced garlic (if using dehydrated garlic, reconstitute it with a little water first)
   *1-3 pinches - cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you want it to be)
   *1 pinch - salt
   *2 tsp - Bragg's Liquid Amino's (or soy sauce)
   *1 tsp - water

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Mix all ingredients for peanut sauce in a medium size bowl.
  3. Add chicken and chopped broccoli slaw to peanut sauce; stir to mix.
  4. Unroll and separate crescent rolls triangles.  Press each triangle of dough into the bottom of a muffin tin, allowing the corners of the dough to lay on either side of the muffin tin.
  5. Fill each muffin with approx. 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. Then fold the corners of the dough over the top of the chicken mixture.
  6. Bake for approx 10 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are a golden brown.
  7. Serve warm.  OptionalGarnish with a little broccoli slaw as shown in the picture above
Yield:  8 muffins
**To reheat leftovers:  Heat in oven or toaster oven on 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.  It's not recommended to reheat in the microwave as it will make them a little soggy.

For an easy side dish:  
Coarsely chop the remaining broccoli slaw and add feta cheese, dried cranberries, chopped almonds (optional) and a combination of honey mustard dressing and raspberry vinaigrette.  Toss together and serve.






Monday, March 18, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge

*Clean oven, inside and out; clean entire stove top, burners, knobs, etc.

*Approximate time ~ 45 minutes + 2 hours or more of "soak" time

*Tips:  Easy Off oven cleaner really does make this job a LOT easier!  For best results, spray oven thoroughly the night before; wipe clean the next day (follow directions on label).  Be VERY careful not to turn on your oven light while cleaning...been there done that and had to go get a new bulb.  Remove all burners and knobs on your stove top (unless you have a flat surface, ceramic top then you can skip this :-) and soak in hot water and dawn dish soap; scrub clean, rinse and dry.  Wipe down the sides, top and front of oven with hot soapy water or use Fantastic All Purpose Cleaner (my preferred cleaning solution).

Personal Notes:  Cleaning the oven is right up there with washing windows for me.  But, when the smoke detector went off when I was baking cupcakes last week, I knew it was time to get scrubbing! 

Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Palette of the Week - The Star Treatment by bareMinerals

Part 2 - Favorite Makeup Looks

Here are a few of the makeup looks I created, using the bareMinerals Star Treatment palette.  If you don't have this palette, you can easily recreate these looks using similar colors you may already have in your makeup collection.  Or, get inspired with these application techniques and create your own unique look with completely different colors!


Look #1:
Colors Used:
Brow Highlight and Upper Eyelid:  Carte Blanche
Crease:  Elitist
Eye Liner:  Upper and lower lash line - smudged VIP close to the lash line using an angled brush
Lips:  Since it was a neutral eye, I went with a semi-bold, red lip.

Look #2:
Colors Used:
Brow Highlight:  Carte Blanche
Inner and Outer 1/3 of Upper Lid and Full Crease:  VIP
Transition Crease Color:  Elitist, blended above the black into the brow highlight
Center of Upper Lid:  Bragging Rights, packed on the center and then blended on either side into the black
Liner:  Smudged VIP close to the lash line with an angled liner brush
Lips:  Since the eye look was more bold, I went neutral on the lips and cheeks. 


Look #3:
Colors Used:
Base:  Before applying the powder shadows, I applied a bright, cream colored eyeshadow from Maybelline in Fuchsia Fever to the upper lid and blended it into the crease (be sure to blend well so there are no sharp lines/edges!)
Brow Highlight:  Carte Blanche
Upper Lid:  blended Connoisseur on top of Fuchsia Fever, creating a golden, peachy-pink shade
Crease:  lightly blended VIP on top of Fuchsia Fever, creating a deep plum color
Liner:  black gel liner (such as MAC "Blacktrack" Fluidline) applied close to the upper and lower lash line
Lips:  again I kept them fairly neutral with a mid-toned, rosy nude color

Hope you enjoyed that!  Now go and have some fun with your makeup today :-)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Palette of the Week - The Star Treatment by bareMinerals

Part 1 - Review and Swatches

The Star Treatment was chosen for my next "palette of the week challenge" because this was one that I hadn't used very much since purchasing it last fall.  Upon first glance, the colors seem pretty neutral but when swatched, several have very different color casts, making them a bit harder to put together, or so I thought :-)  Previously, I would pull it out and use just 2 or 3 of the "safe" colors and avoided the rest.  But, I'm happy to report that after using this every day for a week, I have found more versatility and some great combinations that I love!

The palette has a shiny silver cover with 8 shadows, a small, double-ended brush and a mirror inside....


Here are the colors and swatches on my skin...
Matte black with little flecks of gold

Shimmery brassy-copper

 
White with a subtle gold iridescence

  
Shimmery cool-toned brown

Grayish taupe with a pale green duo-chrome (a fancy word that just means when the light hits, it reflects a different color :-)

Shimmery peach


Mid-toned shimmery taupe with slight olive undertones

 Soft, buttery yellow

Where to Buy:  Bare Escentuals

Cost:  On sale for $25, originally $40

Favorite Colors:  VIP, Elitist and Carte Blanche

Other Things I Love:  The bareMinerals Ready shadows are a wonderful, smooth, creamy formula; highly pigmented and with a primer underneath, the color stays true all day. They are also made with great ingredients, including a special mineral complex, reported to help revitalize the eye area, adding moisture, reducing lines, etc.

Some Not So Great Things:  There aren't any completely matte shades in the palette....VIP and Carte Blanche are close but both still have a little shimmer or sparkle.  Also, Connisseur is a tough color for me to pull off on it's own and is my least favorite shadow in this palette.  However, I challenged myself to use it in an unexpected way...see how that turned out tomorrow!

Summary:  I think this is a really great, neutral palette to own.  It's super compact, making it great for travel.  And, at just $25, you are getting some great, quality shadows at a great price!  While I can't say that I'm noticing any reduction in lines or wrinkles due to use of these shadows, it is always reassuring to know that when I'm wearing these shadows or any of the other bareMinerals products, I'm wearing makeup that is good for my skin.

So, now that the analysis is done, let's get to the fun part....the makeup looks you can create using this palette!  Check back tomorrow for Part 2 in this series and you will see three makeup looks I did with this palette :-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge

*Remove and launder all shower curtains and liners

*Approximate time ~ 10 minutes + time for 2 loads of laundry

*Tips:  Check to be sure your fabric shower curtains are machine washable.  Wash the fabric curtains first (I did them in cold water on gentle cycle).  Then while they are drying, wash the plastic liners in hot water with chlorine bleach (only use bleach if your liner is solid vinyl and does NOT have a fabric backing).  This will remove any mildew, mold, etc. and the liner will come out looking brand new!  By the time the vinyl liner is finished washing, the fabric curtain should be dry so you can hang them up together and the vinyl liner can dry in place over the tub/shower.

Personal Notes:  When I purchase shower liners, I get the clear "heavyweight mildew resistant" ones that are around $10 at Target or Walmart.  They hang so much better than the thin, cheap liners, and, since you can wash them over and over again, you get your money's worth!

Happy Cleaning :-)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Closet Makeover

Several weeks ago, I decided my overflowing, disorganized closet needed a makeover. 
 Additionally, I really wanted to create some space in our tiny, crowded master bedroom by removing our dresser.  But where on earth was I going to put everything in our dresser?  In the already overflowing, small closet of course!  Boy, was this going to be a challenge!  

First, I began sorting through everything in my closet and dresser....I discovered clothes that were well-past their donation date and others that quite frankly I really didn't like!  There were shoes that hurt my feet...purses that killed my shoulder and ones I couldn't find anything in when I carried them....socks with holes in the heels....a box of hair clips and scrunchies that obviously I've not used in years....I couldn't believe how much unnecessary stuff I found!

Next, I began the process of space planning.  I knew I needed as many shelves as possible so I marched over to Lowe's with one of the shelves from my closet.  I purchased one long board that matched the width of the shelf and had it cut into 4 pieces (Lowe's will do this at no additional charge :-).

Then I began the massive hunt for some kind of "drawers" that I could use for my socks and tank tops, etc.  Of course, I wanted everything to match so that made the search even harder.  Finally my search ended when I found these black,white and pink boxes/drawers at Michaels.

Next were boxes for the top shelf, a hamper, hanging shoe shelves and super-thin hangers to give me even more space for my clothes. 

And where on earth was I going to store my purses?!  Well, the top shelf was the only space available but I needed something to keep the dust off.  For the purses that are not leather, I decided a plastic box with a lid was just fine.  But for my really nice purses, I decided to sew some cute fabric bags with a drawstring.
 
I also needed some place to store my scarves and hats to keep the dust off....a decorative round box and photo boxes fit perfectly on this hidden middle shelf....

Last, but certainly not least, I had to add just a few touches of sparkle and bling to some of the components that were a little "blah"....

 
The finished results?  Check it out for yourself....
Before.....................................After 

Before.....................................After

 Isn't it just so pretty?  :-)

What was once a jumbled, overflowing mess is now an organized and efficient space.  And, I'm happy to report that not only did I found a home for everything that was in my dresser but I also found a home for jewelry from my jewelry box and even some of my makeup (like palettes and "seasonal" blushes, bronzers, etc.). 

There is not a lot of room to spare but that's good....I'm forced to keep things cleaned out and not stock-pile clothes and shoes that I don't need!

Now I just need to work on my husband's closet....:-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge

*It's time for "The Great Wipe Down"!  Clean and sanitize all the light switches, knobs, handles, remotes, etc. in the house.
*BONUS Challenge:  Wipe down your washer and dryer from top to bottom and sweep behind them

*Approximate time ~ 15 minutes + 15 minutes for BONUS challenge

*Tips:  Clorox or Lysol wipes work great for this challenge.  Or, you can use some other disinfectant on a paper towel or wash cloth.  Wipe down everything that gets handled....from doorknobs to cabinet knobs to switches on lamps, refrigerator and microwave handles, alarm clocks, remote controls...everything! This is super easy and goes really fast, I promise :-)

Personal Notes:  As I was contemplating what should be cleaned next, I thought about all the colds and flus that have been circling this season.  In fact, my husband just got over a cold last week.  That got me thinking about how many things get touched in our house before we wash our hands and what kind of germs might be hanging out on our door handles....YIKES!  (Ok, yes, I am a bit of a germaphobe but I think sometimes we need to think about these things :-)  So out came the Clorox wipes and I got to cleaning.

As for the washer and dryer, ours sit out in the garage....yep, thought that was a little strange too coming from Colorado but apparently that's quite normal here in southern California.  Anyway, they get mighty dirty out there and lots of little dust bunnies start collecting behind the machines as well.  For some reason, this is a task that I always put off to do another day and it's really not that difficult of a task.  Now that it's done and the machines are clean, I can breathe a sigh of relief....at least for a few months anyway until the dust builds up again ;-)

Happy Cleaning!