Monday, November 25, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Preparation For Guests

Whether you have overnight guests coming to stay with you or you are just preparing for guests to come for a party or holiday celebration, make sure your home is in tip-top shape by adding a few or all of these items to your cleaning list:

*Clean Microwave and Toaster Oven, inside and out ~ 10 minutes
*Clean out refrigerator, removing old/expired food and wiping down shelves as necessary (we've got to make room for the turkey and all those side dishes!) ~ 10 minutes
*Thoroughly wipe down counters, backsplash and top of stove ~ 5-10 minutes 
*Dust off chandelier/light fixture over table ~ 5-10 minutes
*If you haven't already done so, wash windows/patio doors in the dining room, kitchen and guest room (if you have an overnight guest staying) ~ 10 minutes/window (if only washing inside)
*Sweep off front porch and wipe off front door ~ 10 minutes
*Put clean sheets/bedding on your guest bed (if applicable) ~ 10 minutes

*Tips:  Don't spend too much time on any one task!  Hopefully, you have been keeping up with the major messes and these areas just need a good touch-up :-)

Personal Notes:  As you can see, most of these tasks cover the rooms/areas where we tend to spend the majority of our time when having guests over, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There's nothing worse than sitting down to carve the turkey and glancing up at a dust-covered chandelier over the table!  Or, having a family member need to heat up something in the microwave and open the door to find the remains of last week's tomato soup splattered on the inside.  With my mother-in-law arriving this week, you can bet I'll be checking all of these items off my cleaning list!

Happy Cleaning!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Browse My Stash - bareMinerals Eyeshadows - Browns

Welcome back for Part 3 of my bareMinerals eyeshadow collection!

Today, you get to browse my stash of 
bareMinerals Eyeshadows - Browns

Favorite, Most Worn Colors:  Coffee Bean, Drama, Queen Tiffany, Snazzy, Tiger's Eye, Twig, Wearable Pecan Medium, You Can Never Be Too Rich Brown (see * color swatches below)

Individual Swatches 

(In Alphabetical Order)
 bareMinerals Eyeshadow - Camp 
Description:  Medium shimmery brown with slight peach undertones
 bareMinerals Eyecolor - Cleopatra 
Description:  Warm sparkly cinnamon
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Coffee Bean*
Description:  Matte dark espresso brown
How I wear it: Wet or dry, this is my favorite eye liner shade when I don't want to wear black.  It's dark enough to provide definition but doesn't look as harsh as black.
 bareMinerals Eyecolor - Cognac Diamond 
Description:  Medium warm brown with copper sparkle
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Downtown 
Description:  Shimmery medium taupe
 bareMinerals Glimmer - Drama* 
Description:  Cool-toned shimmery taupe with a slight purple undertone
How I wear it:  Great all-over-the-lid color or looks great blended in the outer corner and slightly into the crease with a lighter color on the lid such as Nude Beach or Grace.
 bareMinerals Glimmer - Queen Tiffany* 
Description:  Medium shimmery bronze
How I wear it: One of my all-time favorite colors and looks great with Queen Phyllis or Bare Skin!
 bareMinerals Eyecolor - Restore 
Description:  Dark, shimmery cool-toned brown
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Retro 
Description:  Matte blackest brown
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Root 
Description:  Medium khaki with subtle silver sparkle
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Smoky Diamond 
Description:  Dark, cool-toned brown with silver sparkle and purple undertones
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Smoky Quartz 
Description:  Matte, dark charcoal brown
 bareMinerals Eyecolor - Snazzy* 
Description:  Medium mauve brown with a pearl finish
How I wear it: Even though this isn't completely matte, I love this blended in the crease with Humor all over the lid.
 bareMinerals Liner Shadow - Tiger's Eye* 
Description:  Dark brown with a hint of silver sparkle
How I wear it: Wet or dry, this is another great liner shade alternative to black. There is a slight sparkle but that really doesn't show much when worn as a liner.
 bareMinerals Eyecolor - Twig* 
Description: Dark, shimmery, minky brown 
How I wear it: Really beautiful paired with peach and pink shades like Finesse and Heart.
 bareMinerals Eyeshadow - Wearable Chestnut Dark 
Description:  Dark matte rusty brown
 bareMinerals Eyeshadow - Wearable Pecan Medium* 
Description:  Matte medium terra-cotta
How I wear it: Honestly, I didn't wear this shade at all for the longest time.  Then suddenly, I tried using it lightly blended in the crease to warm up cool-tone eye looks and I fell in love!
bareMinerals Eyeshadow - You Can Never Be Too Rich Brown
Description:  Matte, wine/plum brown
How I wear it:  Blend into the outer "V" and pair with a shimmery peachy-pink shade on the lid like Finesse or Heart.

Since there are many similar colors, I also did a side-by-side color comparison to show the slight variations between the shades

Light to Medium Browns
 Medium to Dark Browns

 If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 in this series, click on the links below to view them:
 bareMinerals Eyeshadows - Light/Neutrals (includes full review of bareMinerals loose shadows)
bareMinerals Eyeshadows - Grays/Blues

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

A few weeks ago, I was checking out the seasonal baking display at Walmart and I saw this....
Being that I LOVE pumpkin desserts, I decided this must come home with me!  I thought originally that I might whip up some pumpkin cupcakes with this mix.  But then I got a hankerin' for cookies so I decided to make pumpkin cookies instead.

Of course, I then remembered that I'd also purchased some Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese (Philadelphia makes this Limited Edition in the fall) so I decided to make Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese frosting for the top of the cookies.  But then I got to thinking how nice it would be to have a little "crunch" on the top of these soft I added some Pumpkin Spice to coarse sugar and rolled the cookies in this mixture before baking.  The result?  To quote my husband, "They're cookies to die for!"

So, the next time you're at Walmart, pick up a box of Pumpkin Cake Mix and whip up a batch of these cookies.  If you can't find the pumpkin spice cream cheese, you could use regular cream cheese in your frosting or leave off the frosting altogether.  I think the cookies would still be very tasty!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies
1-box Pumpkin Premium Cake Mix
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs
1/4 - 1/2 cup coarse sugar (regular sugar works too but won't be as "crunchy")
1 - 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 oz. Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*In a medium sized bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir until well blended and dough forms.
*Then, in a small bowl, stir together coarse sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
*Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in pumpkin spice-sugar mixture.
*Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 6-8 minutes or until you see cracks appear on top of cookies.
*Remove from cookie sheet and cool.
*Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Once cookies have cooled, frost the tops and store in the refrigerator.
Yield:  About 3 dozen cookies

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Makeup Look of the Week - Dramatic Emerald Smoky Eye

While a colorful, smoky eye isn't exactly appropriate for everyday, sometimes I just get in the mood for something dramatic and go "hog-wild" with color :-).  One of the palettes I love to use when I'm in these moods is the Smoked Palette by Urban Decay.

Dramatic Emerald Smoky Eye
This makeup combo, inspired by MakeupbyTiffanyD, would be great for a Christmas party and look especially stunning on those with brown eyes!

Products Used:
 Urban Decay's Smoked Palette Eyeshadows - Kinky, Freestyle, Blackout, Barlust and Loaded

 Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 hr Eyeshadow - 50 Edgy Emerald
bareMinerals Eyeshadow - Queen Phyllis

How to get this look:
*Apply primer all over lid up to brow brone
*Optional: Apply a green-based cream shadow such as Maybelline's Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Edgy Emerald all over the lid up to the crease
*Apply Kinky shadow as brow highlight
*Apply Freestyle shadow in the crease and blend
*Press Loaded shadow all over the lid, on top of the green-based cream shadow
*Apply Blackout to the outer 1/3 of the lid
*Apply Barlust lightly to the crease and blend. Be careful not to bring this shade up too far!
*Go back and use Freestyle to blend out any harsh edges above the Barlust
*Go back and apply a little more Loaded shadow to the center of the lid
*Apply bareMinerals Queen Phyllis shadow to the inner tear duct and blend slightly into Loaded
*Working from the outside in, apply Urban Decay shadows in Blackout and Loaded along the bottom lash line.
*Apply a thin line of your favorite black gel eye liner along top lashes
*Optional:  Apply black or dark brown eye liner to lower waterline

Since this look is so dramatic, I used a neutral blush (bareMinerals Applause) and lipgloss (Lorac Trendsetter) to complete the look.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

BEST Microwave Popcorn

Have you been looking for a yummy, buttery microwave popcorn that is made with REAL butter and yet tastes better than the artificially flavored kind?  Your search may be over when you try Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet White Corn....
Now I'll admit that I was skeptical when I first purchased this a few years ago.  It was originally called "Tender White" but said nothing about it having a great buttery taste.  I decided to try it, though, because I really wanted to get away from all the artificial ingredients in regular microwave popcorn.  My skepticism continued, however, after I popped the first bag and opened it to reveal nothing but white popcorn.  I thought for sure I had a nice bag of plain ol' dry popcorn on my hands.  But lo and behold, when I tasted this popcorn, I was blown away!  Not only was it perfectly buttered and salted but the corn was truly "tender", just as the original name implied.....not chewy and tough like most all other popcorn out there. 

Since this first came out a few years ago, it has undergone a name change and a few box updates.  Here's what the previous box looked like....
Usually, when a company keeps updating the look or changing the name, it's because they are trying to get more people to try it.  However, I think the reason most people haven't tried it is because there is no way of knowing by the name that this is a richly buttered popcorn!  So, I decided to spread the word and make sure Orville never stops making this popcorn as it's truly the BEST!!!

Where to Buy:  Walmart, sometimes Super Target and some major grocery stores also carry it

Monday, November 18, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Pictures, TVs and Computer Monitors

*Clean the frames AND glass of all of the framed pictures on the walls throughout the house; wipe off all of the computer monitors and TV screens in the house

*Approx time for task ~ 20-30 minutes (depending on how many pictures and TVs you have in your house :-)

*Tips:  First, clean picture frames with a soft dust cloth sprayed lightly with furniture polish (such as Endust or Pledge).  Use Windex (or other glass cleaner) to spray a paper towel or clean cloth and wipe the glass clean.  Be sure not to spray the glass directly with the glass cleaner as some of the over spray can spot/damage the frame. Next, clean the computer monitors and TV screens.   
Important ~ Only use a cleaner and cloth that are approved for computer and TV screens!  Here's what I use:
Rocketfish LCD Cleaning Solution and MicroFiber Cloth - purchased from Best Buy

Personal Notes:  If you've been cleaning with me from the beginning, you have already completed these tasks once this year.  But the holiday season is approaching and usually that means lots of family and friend gatherings so I thought it'd be a good time to make sure everything is sparkling and clean.....especially since I love watching Christmas movies and don't want to be watching them through a layer of dust! :-)

Happy Cleaning!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Clean Windows - Part 1

*Clean windows, inside and out (weather permitting) on half the house.
BONUS CHALLENGE: Spray off the exterior of half the house as well as any patio(s)/deck(s)

*Approximate time ~ 1 hour + 30 minutes for Bonus Challenge

*Tips:  If you are doing the Bonus Challenges, start by spraying off the exterior of the house and patio(s). Remove screens from windows. Spray off screens and the exterior of the windows. Then use a rag or sponge dipped in a mixture of warm water, Dawn dish soap (or whatever brand you have on hand) and a good splash of Windex cleaner to clean the windows. Rinse well and dry off with a squeegee or towel. If you have already unhooked the hose for winter, skip the outside cleaning and just concentrate on the inside.  Clean inside of windows with Windex and a squeegee and/or a towel.

Personal Notes:  Oh how I hate cleaning windows, but what a difference it makes!  Here's to hoping my mother-in-law notices all the extra sunlight streaming in those sparkling clean windows in her guest room!

Happy Cleaning :-)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Closet Cleanout/Makeover #3

*Clean out and reorganize one closet in your home.

*Approximate time ~ 30 minutes - 2 hours

Tips:  Remove all items from closet.  Separate items into piles to keep, throw away or donate.  Vacuum out closet and shelves.  Return items to closet.  If you don't have time for a full cleanout, just quickly remove items to be thrown out or donated and then tidy up the closet.

Personal Notes:  The final closet in my house to be cleaned out was in the office/guest room.  As you can see from the picture below, it contained everything from scrapbooking and card-making supplies to air mattresses and everything in between.

I've been dreading this project and put it off for months but with the mother-in-law visit pending, I knew it was time to tackle this project!  It took a couple of hours, but the resulting outcome made it time well-spent.  See for yourself!

 Happy Cleaning!