Saturday, December 31, 2011

NYC New York Color - Beauty on a budget

I love pretty things! Like most people these days, I also like to save money where I can. One place that I try to save money is in my make-up box. It's not practical for me to spend $25 on a lip gloss when I want to try a new shade. Instead, I like to find more affordable options because then I can afford to have more variety.

That's where NYC (New York Color) Brand comes in handy. Found at your local drugstore or mass market retailer, their products are easy to locate and don't put a huge dent in your wallet. They carry all the fun trends in products with the colors you want at a price you can afford.

I recently tried their Liquid Lipshine in "Nude York City" - It's a great color that seems like it would work with a variety of skin tones. Just like pricier department store brands, NYC Color Liquid Lipshine gives you pure pigment color and creates a 3D style effect for a gorgeous, glossy pout. I loved the way it felt when I put it on and the color stayed true, giving me a great glossy look.

If your make-up box needs some new life, the NYC Color brand can help you get out of that rut. You can check out the Liquid Lipshine as well as all their products at the NYC Color website. The gloss retails for about $2.49 at your local retailer.

I received this complimentary product to test as part of's holiday VoxBox giveaway. You can join Influenster too if you're interested in getting to try the latest products for free!

imPRESS Press-on Manicure

Recently, I was sent an "imPRESS Press-On Manicure" from Broadway Nails to try. This was part of my holiday "VoxBox" from Influenster. If you haven't checked out Influenster, I highly recommend signing up!

So, onto my manicure... The nails come in a cute little nail polish shaped bottle. The manicure sets are available in a variety of solid colors and patterns. I received a black and white crackle effect set. What I loved about these nails was the fact that it was super easy to put them on. I was on my way to holiday party for work and running behind, I literally put them on in the car! (Thankfully I wasn't the one driving!) I liked that they were easy to apply and gave me a special look for that night. At the end of the night, they were just as easy to take off. I found this great too, since I was a little tipsy and struggle with nails and my contacts!!!

They would have held up longer I'm certain, but for me, it was all about having that cool, trendy nail look for the night. imPRESS Press-On Manicure gave me just that!

If you want to check these out, you can find them at your local mass market or drugstore, they retail for between $5.99 - $7.99 (solid versus pattern). You can visit the imPRESS website to check out more about them.

I received this product complimentary to test as part of the Influenster holiday VoxBox. You can sign up with if you're interested in testing great new products too!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I am a mama. My babies simply have four legs and a little more hair than yours. Yes, I really love my babies as much as you love yours. I pick up scattered toys, I clean up puke, I potty train, I soothe away fears and I want to pull my hair out when they are underfoot sometimes. I pay for food and shelter, healthcare costs and the like, I reward their successes and scold them for their misdoings. In these ways, I am just like you.

I teach my babies good manners, when we are in public they know they must behave. When they misbehave, I correct their behavior or remove them from the situation, I don’t simply ignore the disturbances they are creating for other people. My babies are not allowed to play unsupervised, creating havoc for those not responsible for them. In these ways, I may not be just like you.

I will not pass judgment on the money you spend for violin lessons or soccer gear. I will expect the same courtesy for the money I spend on daycare or playgroups. You may find the clothes/accessories my babies have as laughable, but stop and consider that I might find the way you dress your children laughable too, I am just too polite to say so. It is not my place to question the depth of your love for your children. Until you know what it’s like to hold your little furry one in your arms as they draw their last breath, you cannot question mine.

“If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”—Francis of Assisi

Monday, June 14, 2010


Awe... isn't she sweet? I mean just rotten... The downstairs of the townhome is often a tad bit chilly in order to keep the upstairs bearable, so since I my lil' furbabies have practically no fur (ironic?) there are always an abundance of blankets for them to snuggle under. This weekend, while straightening up the living room (which really should happen multiple times a day with a dog that will chew anything) I finally realized something. I started to fold up the assorted throws that were scattered about and fluff and straighten the throw pillows... then it occurred to me that it really was pointless. I mean, if I do this, one of the dogs will inevitably sit and nudge at the stack of blankets until they tumble over or will curl up somewhere looking cold and me or the roomie will spread the blankets back out. Yes when company stops by, I'll take 5 minutes to fold up the throws and arrange the pillows (and hopefully have enough of a heads up to vacuum!). However, in the meantime, I think it's better to just let things remain comfortable. It's not that I don't appreciate an asthetic looking living room, but I also want it to be a living room that you can... LIVE in. This is also why, when you stop by, you'll notice that there is a gigantic dog bed crammed into the small space between the couch and the entertainment center. I'm the first one to admit... it looks cluttered, and I've moved it to other spots... but you see... my furbabies apparently love to snuggle in the bed, crammed securely into that tight spot. When the bed gets pulled out from the corner, they manage to drag it back... I've taken the hint... they live here too, it makes them happy, I can deal with it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's not over after 30, It's just getting started

I've taken a significant blogging hiatus and I'm hoping that I can now get back to it. Over the past several months, I've found interesting things I want to blog about, just never seem to manage to take the time to sit down and start typing.

I figured I'd start back up with an update on a goal that I shared awhile back. Back at the end of '08 (doesn't that sound like a long time ago) I shared that I had decided to go back to school. True to my word, in Jan of '09 I was back in school taking classes. In December of '09 I actually completed my Associate's Degree! It was odd, because from the minute I started back to school, I hadn't really given my Associate's Degree much thought. I was (and still am) focused on my Bachelor's degree. However when I received my Associate's Degree in the mail, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. I was greatful for that feeling because this past semester has been a struggle for me. Not academically, in terms of grades, I completed the spring semester with flying colors, but their were just a few snags at the beginning of the semester with my textbooks getting lost at the warehouse and stuff - not to mention that I had been going to school (after being out of school for just over 10 years!) for a year straight, including summer, with no breaks... so I was reaching a burn out.

I finished out the spring semester and I am actually enjoying a summer off. I debated taking a summer course, but after struggling to keep some momentum during the spring and knowing that the fall semester was going to be a hard one, I decided that taking a couple months to catch my breath, relax and re-focus.

Now I have my sights set on my Bachelor's degree. In the fall, I will be attending Northern Kentucky University (via online... I love that!) for either 3 or 4 semesters (I'm shooting for 3, but that may prove tricky) to finish out my Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership. I'm also starting to contemplate what I want to complete my Master's Degree in. I've been tossing around a few different ideas, but I think I'll wait until I'm closer to finishing my BA to make a final decision.

One thing that I've thought about alot as I've been back in school is how much I wish I hadn't taken time off the first time around. Once I stopped, it just seemed easy to not go back. It would be nice to already be finished. However, I don't think it was without some benefit. I've found that the work and life experience I've had over the last 10 years have given me much to draw from for my classes. Especially in the last semester, since my classes were oriented towards aspects of professional life. I don't think I would have gotten as much out of those classes the first time around. Of course, I wouldn't have been pursuing this degree the first time around. Perhaps that is why it has happened the way it did, because it's really hard at 18, with no real life experienc to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life!

So, that's where I am... a little over halfway through my BA, taking the summer off to enjoy other things, like READING for pleasure (I'm hoping to share some reviews on some of the books I've been reading). Stay tuned for the next step in this journey.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A year in books...

Recently, my friend Bobbi blogged about her top picks for books she has read in ’09. Now the first thing I thought as I read Bobbi’s blog was “Whoa! You’ve read 141 books this year?!?!” I think my count for the year tops out somewhere between 30 and 40 books. That being said, this year is probably the first year in MANY, MANY years that I have read with such intense frequency. Growing up, I loved to read. I would often read 2 or 3 books in a weekend (I’m a fast reader) for pleasure, not counting books I was required to read for school.

Then somewhere along the way, my passion for reading seemed to fade. I’m not certain why, because I’ve always loved the mental escape that reading provides, but it always seemed like life got in the way. I would read when I traveled (still is my favorite way to kill time on a plane) or occasionally see a book that I just had to read, but probably averaged no more than 2 books a year!

So what have I been reading this year? A completely random assortment of books on every imaginable subject. I’ve decided to steal Bobbi’s idea and share a list, though I’m putting my own little spin on it.

My Top 5 books for 2009:
(5) The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – I was required to read this for a class I took fall semester. After reading the book, I easily would put this on the “Must Read” list for all women. The book is a fictional book that takes place in an alternate future in which women become something much worse than second class citizens. It really makes you think about some of the “innocent” fanatics and encourages readers to explore the notion that what may seem harmless today, could quite possibly become something far worse.

(4) Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships! (Kenneth Blanchard) – I thought that this book would be useful to read, considering my major. Additionally, I was taking a communication class that focused on interpersonal communication, so maybe I was just in the mood for this kind of book. This is a fairly easy read, nothing technical. The average person could most likely read it in a single sitting. The focus of the book is about using positive reinforcement to foster better relationships, which is something many of us have heard of. The reason I like this book is because it is able to clarify in very simple terms how to accomplish this, how many of us aren’t accomplishing it (even when we think we are!) and what we’re doing instead.

(3) Lover Eternal (J.R. Ward) – This is the second in a series of books called the Black Dagger Brotherhood. If you enjoy vampire books, you’ll want to check out this series. I will say, the first book in the series, I only thought of as “average” but I am glad that I have continued on in the series. I’ve currently finished 4 of the books, though this book remains my favorite.

(2) Dead to the World (Charlaine Harris) – For the minority of people out there who aren’t reading the Southern Vampire Series (it seems everywhere I turn, people are) this is the fourth book in that series. Why did this one make my list? Because after being teased in the first 3 books, for many readers, this book has some plot payoff! I must say, if you watch the series, True Blood, that is based on this series of books, I strongly encourage you to pick up the books, they are much better!

(1) Dead and Gone (Charlaine Harris) – Yes, I have picked two books from the same series for my top two books, but I really have enjoyed this series thus far. This is book 9 in the series, the last book until May of ’10. I know that some people didn’t enjoy it as much, but I really like this one.

One book that I am a little sad to say didn’t make the list… The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. I have loved, loved, LOVED Mr. Brown’s work over the last few years… And have been anticipating this book for awhile (it was at one point rumored to be released in ’07, so yes, I’ve waited AWHILE!). I even preordered the book, so I would have it the day it came out.

Unfortunately, it took me a few months to find the time to read it. While I didn’t completely despise the book, I didn’t love it either. Perhaps waiting so long made it hard for the book to live up to it’s hype, but I found this to be a just average read, though the subject is controversial.

Looking into 2010 I have stacks upon stacks of books that I’m trying to wade through… There are two books that I am eagerly anticipating.

First up – Dead in the Family (Charlaine Harris), the latest and greatest Southern Vampire Novel. I read the sneak peak of Chapter 1 on the author’s website earlier this week…. I cannot wait for this book to come out!!!

And second – is more of a wish… a pleading even… to Stephenie Meyer to please go back and finish Midnight Sun, or heck, rewrite the darned thing… I need more Edward!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Once a month cooking?

MoneySavingMom & FishMama are hosting a live once a month baking/cooking event that starts today. Once a month cooking... an interesting concept, but I am not quite sure I'm ready to jump in with both feet. There are only two people in my house (myself & the roomie) and our schedules vary, so we don't always eat at the same time, we eat out sometimes, and sometimes we just snack. However, I can say that the concept of having some meals on hand so that my kitchen can stay cleaner...well I can buy into that... so I'm dabbling with this notion of cooking/baking ahead... though I must say I cheated a tad, I roasted a turkey breast yesterday and have the deconstructed results already packaged and in my fridge, but I was really wanting some turkey and knew that would occupy my oven for much of the time, so I decided to get a jumpstart on it. So what else am I up to... well it's midday here and so far in addition to the turkey I roasted yesterday I have already made:

Baked Pasta - No recipe here, I just pick a pasta, this time I chose a whole wheate penne, cook as directed, drain, stir in grated parm cheese, saute up any veggies you have on hand, add in pasta sauce ( I had some jarred variety) and mix it up. I go ahead and portion it out in 2 serving portions and freeze. Then, just pop out of the freezer and into the oven... I usually top it off with cheese when baking (you can also stir in some cheese when you're making it up) and it's pasta for dinner without having to wait for water to boil, etc...

Stuffed Mushrooms - Again, no recipe, I'm really more of a method cooker. Start with stuffer mushrooms, remove stems and reserve... gently clean your mushrooms with a lightly dampened paper towel. Finely chop your mushrooms. In a skillet melt about a tablespoon of butter (or you can use an oil, I happened to have small piece of butter left over from some other recipes), as it melts, sprinkle in a tiny pince of red pepper flakes, lightly sautee a minced clove of garlic and a few tablespoons of chopped onions (I made veggie dogs last night, so I had some leftover onion... chop it once, store it in the fridge and add to dishes during the week!), stir in your mushrooms, and add some crumbled precooked meat (I actually used some Boca soy crumbles, work just as well, taste the same and you don't have to precook!). Season with whatever you have on hand, I used a bit of poultry seasoning, which is a fun little mix to cook with. Cook until onions are soft and then stir in some grated parm cheese. I then let the mixture cool... then just stuff about a tsp of the mixture into your reserved mushroom caps. Place on a lined baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer into another freezer safe storage option. You'll probably have some left over stuffing, just pop it into a freezer bag and toss in the freezer too, it's a great addition to pasta sauces! When ready to use, just pop them out and lightly spray or brush the caps with a little olive oil and bake at about 350 for about 15 minutes or until heated through. Oh, and sprinkle on some cheese!!

Next up - I have some yummy homemade bread that is rising and will be going into the oven shortly.

And I just pulled some yummy French Puff Muffins out of the oven and am getting ready to top them now.

I am also planning on whipping up some peanut butter fudge and then I'm probably going to call it a day for today... but that will definitely stock me up on some quick dinner options, breakfast options and a sweet treat... Also have to get some homework done and then I might regroup and see what I want to work with tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spicing it up affordably

My kitchen is full of spices, I don't know that I could even rattle off the assortment of spices and herbs that I have on hand. The great thing about having a variety of spices is the ability to change things up when you get bored with a particular dish. That being said, spices can be expensive. I don't mind spending a little money on quality spices however sometimes I run into a recipe that calls for a spice that I don't have on hand and don't frequently use. Obviously, depending on what it is, I can always substitute, but sometimes I like to give it a whirl. What I don't like to do however is spend $6-$10 on a spice that I may not use very often, especially if I'm unfamiliar with the spice. So what's a girl to do?

Check out your local health food store or the bulk food section of your local grocery store. Up until recently, when I needed a random spice that was a bit pricey, I headed to Whole Foods, but now, I can actually take advantage of the updated bulk food section at my local Kroger. There you will most likely find a bulk spice section. Now don't let the prices on the bins scare you... it's not oncommon to see prices like $17 or $29, this is however the price for a pound of the spice! You can simply get as much or as little as you like. Last week, I was trying a recipe that called for coriander, which I didn't have any of. Now a jar of coriander was around the $4 mark, but I wasn't sure that I would use it frequently enough to pick it up, and I was sticking with a budget... so instead, I just went over to the bulk section and dispensed out what I needed for my recipe - the cost was around 14 cents!

I really recommend this method if you're trying a new spice or if you are trying to stay within a weekly budget and don't have much wiggle room that particular week!

Be sure and check out Tammy's Recipes for more Kitchen Tip Tuesday Tips!