Showing posts from 2016

Stila Perfect Me Tutorial ~ Makeup to Enhance Blue and Green Eyes

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, I like to unwind by watching Hallmark Christmas movies (even though I've seen them all at least 2-3 times ;-) or by watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

In case you are looking for an excuse to take a little break and relax, here's a quick and easy tutorial I did using the Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Palette.  This is a great eye and cheek palette that I just love! 
It's great for travel and would make the perfect gift in case any of you still have some shopping to do :-)  Check it out here (affiliate link):  Ulta ~ Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Palette (Medium/Tan) 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this tutorial.  Thanks so much for watching!

Tried and True Christmas Recipes

In case you didn't know this about me, I love to bake and I have a major sweet tooth!  In order to keep my weight in check, I usually try only to bake when I know I'll be sharing my baked goods with others.

Several years ago, I decided as part of my Christmas gift to family and friends, I would bake goodies for them.  This has become a yearly tradition now and I've added several more recipients to the list (55 in all!).  When I posted these pictures on Facebook....

....I had some requests to share my recipes.  Now, each year I try a couple new recipes to keep my goodie bag recipients guessing ;-)  However, I always include 6 items because they are tried and true and have become favorites among my recipients.  Pictured below (Wintertime Spice Tea is not pictured) are the goodies that result from the recipes that I'm sharing with you today.  I've created a separate blog post for each recipe to keep this post from being a mile long :-)

As a disclaimer, none of these …

Spiced Pecans

One of my favorite snacks anytime of year are nuts.  Add a sugary, spiced coating and I'm in heaven!  This recipe was given to me by another good friend, Patsy W.  She is a wonderful cook and baker and loves easy recipes.  When I told her I was looking for an easy nut mix recipe, she gave this one to me, promising it would not let me down.  And she was right!  The amazing thing is there is no oil or butter in this recipe!  And, if you don't like pecans, it works great with other nuts too.
3 1/2 cups raw pecans (or nut of your choice)
3/4 - 1 cup sugar (I use a full cup as I like my nuts on the sweeter side :-)
3 T water
1 egg white
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg

*Combine all ingredients except pecans in a large bowl; mix well.  Add the pecans and stir well to coat. Spread on greased baking sheet.

*Bake at 250 degrees F for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool on waxed paper.  Store in airtight container.

Ginger Spice Cookies

There is nothing like a good, spicy, chewy ginger cookie to put me in the mood for Christmas!  This recipe was given to me many years ago by a friend at church, Donna S.  These were an instant hit and have been included in the Christmas goodie bags/boxes ever since!
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (unsulfured kind is best!)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (a must if you want puffy, chewy cookies)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild flavored molasses
Sugar for coating cookies (about 1/2-1 cup)

*Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.  Mix in crystallized ginger.  Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add egg and molasses; beat until blended.  Add flour mixture and mix just until blended.  Cover and chill 1 hour.

*Preheat oven to…

Kickin' Cayenne Pretzels

This salty and slightly spicy snack is one of my favorites to throw in my Christmas goodie bags/boxes.  It gives you a little reprieve from the sugar rush :-)

From Taste of Home Magazine....I have no idea which issue but many years ago :-)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix (you can use Hidden Valley or a natural one like Simply without MSG)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-16 oz bag of pretzel sticks

*In a large bowl, combine the oil, dressing mix, garlic salt and cayenne.  Add 1/2 bag of pretzels and stir to coat; then add remaining pretzels and carefully stir to coat.  Divide between 2 ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.

*Bake at 200 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Almond Bars

One of my all-time FAVORITES, these Almond Bars are moist and chewy and SO DELICIOUS!!
Contributed by Cheryl Newendorp and published in the Taste of Home Fall Baking Cookbook 2010

1 cup butter, softened
1 pkg almond paste (about 1 cup)
2-1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Optional:  1/2 cup slivered almonds (I never add these)

*In a large bowl, cream butter, almond paste and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and extract.  Gradually add the flour just until moistened.

*Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining sugar; top with almonds (if using).

*Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.  Don't overbake!!  Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into squares.

Silver Smoke Holiday Glam Makeup Tutorial

If you are looking for a cooler toned smoky look for a special occasion like this one....

....check out my tutorial below.  Thanks for watching :-)

How to Deep Clean Makeup Brushes FAST!

One of the most despised chores in my house was cleaning makeup brushes.....that is until I discovered this method of brush cleaning.  I first learned of this method from a YouTuber named Zabrena (here's the link to her video).  After making a few tweaks to the method, I decided I must share it with you all and have recorded a short video to share the details of how it's done.

Whether you have a few or a plethora of makeup brushes to clean, this is the fastest, most effective method I've found.  And, it uses very little water!  Thanks for watching :-)

Fall Inspired Makeup Tutorial - Modern Renaissance Palette

Here is a  fall-inspired look, using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette.

If you'd like to see how I got this look, watch the tutorial here!  All the products I used are listed below.  Enjoy!

*Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette -
*KatVonD Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette -
*NYX Proof It Eye Shadow Primer -
*bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Cream Eyeshadow (Candlelit Peach) -
*UD 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil (Perversion) -
*Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer (Bronzer) -
*e.l.f Matte Blush Duo (Rosy Flush) -
*Makeup Geek Kathleen Lights Highlighter Palette -
*L'Oreal Voluminous Primer Mascara -
*CoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara -
*NYX Lip Liner…

Going NATIVE....Deodorant That Is!

A lot of ink has been spilled talking about the benefits of using a natural, aluminum free deodorant.  I embarked on quite a journey, trying various natural deodorants before finding the Crystal Deodorant.  Overall, that has been pretty reliable for me but in the summer, when the weather heats up, I would have to reapply it after about 10-12 hours in order to stay odor free.  Since it is basically a "mineral salt", my underarms would get quite chapped and dry.

Well, one day, while browsing good ol' Pinterest, I came across a pinned article about the Five Best Deodorants for Women.  At the very top of the list, ranking higher than one by Tom Ford, was NATIVE deodorant.  I'd never heard of it so I went to their website, read the list of simple ingredients and then started reading review after review.  I was so impressed, I thought it was worth a try.  Plus, they offered free shipping and free returns so there was truly nothing to lose!

Originally when I ordered, it was…

Browse My Stash: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils

Today you get to browse my stash of:
Review: *Traditional pencil that needs to be sharpened *Smooth, pigmented formula *Stays on all day and is waterproof *Retail Price - $20 each (full size - 1.2g/0.04 oz) *HUGE array of colors available - 40+ *Favorite and Most Worn Colors:  1999, Bourbon, Demolition, Perversion, Rockstar, Smog, Stash(see swatches with * below)

*Where to Buy:Ulta, Sephora, or

*Summary: I highly recommend these eyeliners.  Their smooth and creamy formula glides easily on the skin without tugging....a necessity in my book when it comes to eye liners!These also work great as a base for eye shadow.  Just be sure to blend them out quickly because once they set, they do not budge! They are pricey soI usually buy these in sets (watch for them around Christmas time).  Also, many times Urban Decay includes a deluxe size withtheir palettes so that's another way that I've been able to enlarge my collection without breaking the bank.

Styling My Hair: Tips, Products and Video Tutorial

Almost every time I'm out in public, someone comments or asks a question about my hair.  Many people think it looks hard to fix and are surprised when I tell them I style it myself!  I can't tell you how many times I've been in the aisle at the grocery store explaining how I fix it and what products I use.  Several people have suggested I do a hair tutorial so that is just what I've done!

Linked below is the video I posted on YouTube where I show you all the products and tools I use and exactly how I style my hair.   Since posting the video, I've had a few questions that I thought I'd answer here:

1. How often do you get your hair cut?
**Every 4-5 weeks
2. How often do you highlight your hair?
**Every 3 months (due to the way I style my hair, it disguises root growth very well)
3. How often do you wash your hair?
**Pretty much everyday.  It's so easy to fix that it's just easier for me to start from scratch rather than trying to fluff up my "bed head&…

Shout Color Catchers: Save Time and Water!

My wonderful friend, Debbie, introduced me to Shout Color Catchers a little over a year ago.  With six children, these became a life-saver for her in helping her stay on top of laundry.  How is that possible?  The color catchers allow you to mix a bunch of different colors in one load....yes, I said MIX colors!  As a result, you can do fewer full loads, saving time, water and money!

I'll admit I was very skeptical that these would work. I said a little prayer and tossed in a color catcher along with my white capris, my husbands red polo shirt and many other colored items.  Just take a look at the assorted colors that I washed together and the color catcher showing the excess dye that it absorbed...

And here is a recent color catcher after the wash cycle was completed....

Yep, without the color catcher that pink would have been all over my white pants!  I'm telling you, these WORK!  Just toss 1-2 in the machine then add your soap, scent booster, etc. and let the color catchers …

Food Fridays: Dogs and Cheese

Ok, let's be honest...there are few comfort foods more popular than hot dogs and good ol' mac 'n' cheese.  For years, both of these foods were typically chock-full of preservatives and artificial ingredients so these foods were never on anyone's "healthy foods" list.  I always felt like eating these were a "guilty pleasure", until now!

A few months ago, I stumbled onto these Oscar Mayer Angus Beef Franks and was immediately intrigued when I read all of the things that are NOT in these dogs.
Plus, they come in two separate packs of 4 (between me, my husband and the dog, that's enough for one meal ;-) so we aren't pressured to eat all 8 dogs once the package is opened.

I pondered what would go well with hot dogs and a craving for good ol' mac 'n' cheese hit.  The box of Annie's Macaroni and Cheese caught my eye so after a careful study of the ingredients list, I thought it'd be worth a try.
Folks, I'm telling you, …

Browse My Stash: Concealers

Normally when I do a blog in the "Browse My Stash" series, it pertains to items from one brand.  However, when I saw the plethora of concealers I have accumulated (holy cow!)... ...I thought I should do a "stash blog" to give you an idea of which one might work best for your particular area of concern, skin type, etc.  So here we go...

Grouped by brand, here are all of the concealers, color correcters and brighteners I've tried (at least in the past 2-3 years) and a brief snapshot of each one.  Stay tuned to the end for swatches and to find out which ones are my favorites!
************************************* bareMinerals BareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer - Light
Formula:  Liquid/Serum
Coverage:  Medium
Packaging Notes:  Doe-foot applicator
Best Uses:  Undereye concealing.  Be sure to set with a lightweight powder (e.l.f. HD loose powder is my favorite)

bareMinerals Well-Rested Eye Brightener SPF 20 Broad Spectrum
Formula:  Loose Powder
Coverage:  None....j…