Saturday, December 1, 2012

Festive Fingernails!

It's getting into the season of holiday parties and that means adding a little sparkle to your nails and makeup! I love this nail polish combo as we round out Fall and move into Winter!
OPI Over the Taupe and The Living Daylights (from the Skyfall Collection)
  I used two coats of Over the Taupe as a nice neutral base for The Living Daylights and only used that about 3/4 of the way down the nail. Then I topped it all off with a good coat of Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri topcoat. The glitter particles in The Living Daylights are very large and flaky and can feel a little bit scratchy on the surface, so using a good, shiny topcoat over those is a must!
OPI Over the Taupe & The Living Daylights and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Topcoat
 The glitters make this an extremely long wearing trio! I'm pretty sure I had this combo on for about 10 days, so you can definitely get a good wear out of these and the color combo makes it easy to match with most of your fall/winter wardrobe! I think the glitter coat would also look great on a variety of other base coats like a rich creamy red, a dark teal, or even black! It's the perfect thing to give your nails a little burst of festivity!
Happy December!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep!

I've realized recently that the stress in my daily life is really affecting my ability to sleep deeply. And anyone who has experienced Sleep Deprived Bethany knows to steer clear of her!
So, in an effort to improve my sleep habits, I have adopted a nightly (or most nights) "get ready for bed" ritual.
Now, my previous "get ready for bed" ritual was pretty straightforward: 
1. Lie in bed for hours watching You Tube videos
2. Groggily eye clock and realize it's time to remove makeup
3. Take out face wipe from bedside table and remove makeup
4. Slather on closest moisturizer and eye cream
5. Read a few pages from latest book
6. Fall asleep reading said book
7. Wake up a little while later completely unable to fall back to sleep!
8. Eventually fall into fitful sleep, only to awake the following morning even more tired!

It seems like it would be a fail safe routine, but alas, it is not! Apparently, it is wise to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Who knew???

Here's what I've been trying lately, and I am already enjoying more positive results!

1. Light candles in bedroom
My favorite candle right now is Marshmallow Fireside from Bath & Body Works
2. Take a long, hot, shower or bath (also with candles)
3. Slather on body cream
 (always a good option: Calm to Your Senses)
4. Slather on moisturizer and eye cream
(Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre & Nuance Anti-Aging Eye Cream)
5. Dress in PJ's and proceed to bedroom to practice a 30 minute yoga session
Love this candle too! Calming Lavender Vanilla

This is a great yoga DVD for beginners! Element: Hatha & Flow
6. Feel delightfully drowsy
7. Read a few pages from latest book
8. Fall into blissful slumber
9. Wake refreshed!
(Sometimes, I might also have some hot tea while reading)
I'm not a big fan of chamomile, so this one does the trick for me! Numi Pu-erh Chocolate Tea

And on that note, I'm feeling very sleeeepy!
 Namaste, peaceful dreams, and goodnight!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yummy Mini-Meal/Snack

One evening recently, I had eaten a very early dinner and by 9pm was starving! I didn't want to eat too much right before bed, but I wanted a little something substantial too, ya know?
After a little root around the old pantry, this is what I came up with;
 PB & Spiced Banana Sandwich.
1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
Arnold Flax & Fiber Sandwich Thins
about 1/2 a banana
sprinkle with Pumpkin Pie Spice or just plain cinnamon
This snack packs a decent amount of fiber into a small portion coming in at about 7 grams, and more is more when it comes to fiber! Plus it's filling and delicious! I've eaten it several more times since that first discovery. I think it will be my new go-to quickie meal!

Friday, November 9, 2012

What's All the Fuss About Bioderma?

If you are into beauty trends and follow any sort of beauty blogs, you'll have heard rave reviews about Bioderma Crealine H20. 

ALL of my favorite beauty bloggers seem to love the stuff and it's a professional makeup kit 
must-have, apparently. After hearing so many amazing things about Bioderma, I felt that I would be quite remiss not to buy it! (Ah, the dangers of following beauty blogs...)
My beauty peers have said that Bioderma is the end all and be all of makeup removers/waterless cleansers! It is supposed to be wonderful for quickly and effortlessly cleansing the skin of any and all traces of makeup. It's also said to be great for both acne prone and sensitive skins alike. All of that and you don't even need water! You simply soak a cotton pad with the solution and swipe away!
Ok, well, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that, while it is good, it's not my favorite! Gasp, gulp, horror!
I do love it for quick eye makeup removal, and it is completely unscented so it doesn't irritate even those with sensitive skin around their eyes. I can give it a solid A+ on those points!
But for use all over the face, I find that it leaves a little bit of a sticky feel to the skin, and since I like my skin to feel, umm, CLEAN after I CLEANSE it, this aspect of Bioderma definitely turns me off. 

But I wouldn't go on and on about something I don't love without telling you about something that I DO love, and so I give you (well i don't, the company does, but as I was saying...!), La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution!

In my opinion, this one does everything that Bioderma does except make my skin feel sticky! Hooray! Now, the La Roche-Posay water does contain a fragrance which normally I am not a fan of, but this one is very light and fresh. It has never caused any irritation whatsoever on myself or others on whom I've tried it. I've used every last drop of my bottle and am currently saving my pennies to get more! This is a product that I definitely don't want to be without, and I would say it's a great one to have on hand for many purposes. I like to have it on my bedside table for those nights when I'm so tired and just can't bring myself to get up and wash my face. I also love it on my makeup table for quick makeup corrections, and it is also wonderful to travel with when you want to clean your face but don't have access to water.
I've taken a good look at both of these products side by side and while they contain very similar ingredients, my guess is that the Castor Oil in Bioderma is what causes it to be slightly sticky. Then again, many skincare products do contain castor oil as a hydrating ingredient and it is not always a bad thing. You can take a look at the ingredients and decide for yourself.
Bioderma Ingredients
La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution Ingredients
I got both my bottles from Amazon but sometimes you can also find the La Roche-Posay at a cheaper price on and CVS. Bioderma is a French brand and a little more difficult to buy in America.
I will definitely put my Bioderma to good use and it finish it all, but between the two
 the La Roche has my heart!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cooking to Combat the Blues

A few things before I jump into the recipes:
  1. Last week was a bad, bad week, the kind you want to erase from the history of your life.
  2. I do not particularly enjoy cooking.
  3. I've decided I need to start limiting my intake of sodium.    
  4. I hate it when we Fall Back and the days become so dark and short. I need sunlight!
So, with those points in your mind, let me proceed...
Last night the time changed, and while most people are super excited about the prospect of gaining an extra hour of sleep, I always dread the time change because I personally would rather lose an hour of sleep and continue having long sunny days! Every year I go through what I call my "Hibernation Period". This morning I woke up already blue from the lingering effects of my awful last week and with the knowledge that the day would be so short. But as I was drinking my coffee, I decided that I would not allow myself to succumb to the winter blues! (Sometimes you just have to chant in your head "I will be happy, I will be happy, I will be happy" until you actually start to feel that way.) Therefore, I went from window to window opening all the blinds letting in as much light as possible, turned on my Sunday Mix and peered at the contents of my fridge. That's when I realized I had the ingredients to make not one but TWO fabulous meals that would most likely last me all week. Hooray! With a renewed sense of purpose I began to create the recipes. 
Now, last week when I was grocery shopping, I really didn't have any specific recipes in mind so I just threw a bunch of ingredients that looked enticing into the basket thinking I could figure out what to do with them later. And as I pulled everything out onto the counter, I knew a recipe wasn't really needed, I could just throw everything in and it would be tasty! That's the way I like to cook. I may be a planner in other areas of my life, but when it comes to cooking, I just can't be bothered to plan it all out!
First, I put together what I will call...
Chicken Curry and Vegetables
6 frozen chicken breast tenderloins
1 can lite coconut milk
1 can reduced sodium chicken broth
1 12oz. bag vegetable medley
1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
1 heaping tsp. curry powder (or add to taste)

I threw all the ingredients into the Crock Pot, turned it on High and went on to recipe #2.

Beef with Broccoli Soup
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
6 new potatoes
about half of an 8 oz bag of Tyson Grilled & Ready Steak Strips (you could definitely use the whole bag, but I only had half left, or skip this entirely)
1 12oz bag of Broccoli & Cauliflower (you could chop your own but I got these bags BOGO!)
1 32oz box of reduced sodium beef broth
3 cups water

First, I sauteed the minced garlic with the onions in a little drizzle of olive oil.

Then I chopped the new potatoes in half. You could chop them into smaller pieces, but I do not like to chop! Plus, when they are cooked you can easily cut them up smaller with your spoon!

Add those to the pot, then add the beef broth and water. Finally, dump in the vegetables and give everything a stir.

It should look something like this:

Simmer at a soft boil for about 30 mintues. (You can let it simmer on low for as long as you want to let the flavors marry)
Finally at the end, I topped my individual bowl with a tiny dash of salt and pepper (see #3 above) and some bean sprouts. 
They give the soup a nice little crunch! 
(I will also add some of these to my Chicken Curry when that is ready!)

And here is the final result!

You can also add rice to the curry, but it tastes great without rice too!

I divided these up into one serving containers and put them in the fridge so that during the week I can just grab them and go! And since I am sure to be suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder in the week ahead (NO! "I will be happy, I will be happy, I will be happy!"), those ready made meals are sure to come in handy!
Let me know if you try the recipes and how you like them!
Now, the sun has mostly gone and the day is growing dark, so I'm off to light some candles and eat some soup!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Berlin There Done That

I've fallen in love with OPI's Berlin There Done That from the Germany Collection!
What do you think? Should I take up hand modeling? LOL!

If you've previously loved OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, another amazing neutral shade, then you will definitely love Berlin There Done That.
Left: You Don't Know Jacques. Right: Berlin There Done That

It is  more of a milky gray with less of a brown undertone than Jacques, and it will truly go with everything in your Fall/Winter wardrobe. Sometimes OPI can be hit or miss when it comes to the opacity of their shades. It really bugs me when you have to apply 3 really thick coats to achieve anything resembling the color of the bottle. Not so with Berlin! Two coats is all it takes to get a beautiful, non-streaky coverage!
Try it, you'll see!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yummy Fall Food

Some friends of mine were kind enough to allow me to use their washer and dryer to do my laundry, so to repay them for their kindness I brought over some yummy Fall food while the laundry was going. Both recipes are super quick and easy and that's my kind of cooking! For dinner we had Taco Soup, a recipe that I've adapted from an old Kraft Foods magazine, and it's been a favorite for years. And for dessert I made another adaptation on an old favorite, Banana Bread (except my new version is named Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread!).
Since I put the Banana Bread in the oven first, I'll start with that recipe.
My sister Susie gave me this recipe a long time ago and it is yummyummyummalicious!

 But I have been trying to find ways to make old favorite recipes a little bit healthier so I made a few tweaks to her recipe. And then I fattened it up again with the chocolate chips! Ah well!
I substituted regular flour for whole wheat flour and applesauce for the oil. I used 3 full smashed, very ripe bananas, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and then at the end added about 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. I don't like nuts in sweet foods so I left those out. But I followed all of the steps of the above recipe exactly and it came out very nicely!
This pic was taken before I decided to use the whole wheat flour and the bananas shown are not the actual bananas that were used as those were completely brown and unsightly!

All coming together!

Mmm, chocolate chips make everything better!

And then THIS happened, DOH! That fork jumped out of the bowl and FLEW to the ground! I definitely didn't drop it...

All ready to go!
I am not a very neat baker...

Let me pause this story to mention that most of the time, when I am baking/cooking, I like to have a little jazz on in the background. Somehow it makes me feel more productive in the kitchen, and I can also imagine that I speak fluent French and Italian. I don't know how jazz gives me those magical powers, but it DOES!
As I was putting the bread into the oven this song came on! Perfecto!
 After a quick tidy up of the counter, I assembled everything needed for the Taco Soup. I don't really have a printed recipe for this so here is the doubled recipe:
2 lbs. ground beef (i used lean beef)
1 can Mexicorn
2 small cans sliced black olives (i only ended up using one due can opener issues...)
2 cans diced tomatoes (i used organic)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 tsp minced garlic
one large handfull chopped cilantro
You can really adapt this however you like using whatever you enjoy or whatever you have on hand.
All you do is brown the meat, pour in the taco seasoning with a little water, add the garlic, and then dump all the cans in together. Stir and simmer!

I began to question my choice of a recipe that included so many canned items when I realized that I was in possession of the WORST CAN OPENER EVER! GRRR! I may as well have cut the cans open with a knife...Anyways...

Makes me hungry!

The soup tastes great by itself but these are the toppings I like to add to each individual bowl.

Right about that time, I had a little peek at the bread, it was almost ready!

There is nothing like the smell of a sweet baked bread in the Fall!

And just as everything was ready, this song came on and put the icing on the cake!

 It's always nice to share a meal with friends, and even better when you have leftovers! After several days in the fridge, the soup turns more into a chili as all the liquid gets absorbed into the ingredients and it makes a great base for a hearty salad. I warmed up a big scoop of the soup/chili and then added it to a big bowl of lettuce, threw a couple cherry tomatoes on top, drizzled a little bit of Light Ranch dressing and chowed down. It was sooo good!
From my kitchen to yours, Happy Fall!