Friday, May 29, 2015

5 on Friday

One. Pinterest Wins

I have had my fair share of flops while trying out Pinterest recipes. Have you searched the #nailedit or googled Pinterest fails? Do it now if you want a good laugh and to waste an hour of your life (worth it). Here are few that got me good.




Anyways, occasionally the Pinterest stars align and something turns out good..really good in these cases. This past weekend I tried out these watermelon salad and potato salad recipes I pinned and was blown away! 

I do not like potato salad. Correction, I get violently ill thinking of the yellow mush potato salad that's in a grocery store deli case. But this warm potato salad with mustard vinaigrette was stupid good. 
Does anyone else think that watermelon salads are becoming the next kale or quinoa craze? I've seen them everywhere. But it's for good reason because it is delicious. The best way I can describe this recipe is interestingly delicious. The flavors are so unique that it either has to be amazing or disgusting...and it's amazing! I will be making this all summer.


Two. Blacklight Zumba

After taking about a 3 week hiatus from Zumba (out of sheer laziness) I jumped back on the train after seeing a post that the night's class was a "blacklight dance party". It was so fun! A great way to mix up the normal workout. I quickly snapped this pic during a break.

Three. Blogger Love

The Daily Tay is one of my favorite blogs to read and she captured my thoughts perfectly this week with her post on the Duggar scandal. I will just say that they have given me the heebie jeebies from the beginning. 

Lately, I have had a serious case of the travel bug. I could spend hours reading Casey's blog Land of Marvels (I certainly have). Check out her posts on the Secrets of Booking Travel Accommodations and the post that has me convinced I need to go to Newport, RI. 

I'll go ahead and pat my own back too in case you missed my posts on blackberry yogurt dog treats or my version of Ina Garten's zucchini and cheese tart :) 

Four. Charcoal Mask

Anyone else feel the rise in humidity lately? Some days it feels like a sauna out. At the end of the day it's so nice to wash all the makeup off your face. I love using this Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. I have used Glamglow in the past and I honestly like this mask better, ahem, and it's half the price. Besides feeling squeaky clean after you get to scare your dogs by looking like this...



Five. New Blog Design

I'm so excited to share that (hopefully) by next week this blog space will be sporting a new look. I've been working with the incredibly talented Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars and giddy about showing you all!


As always I'm linking up today with September FarmLife in LeggingsMeet @ The Barre, and High Five for Friday.

What are you weekend plans?

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blackberry Greek Yogurt Popsicle Dog Treats / #BreakYouMake

Today I'm excited to be teaming up with Chobani Flips for for their national #breakyoumake campaign. Have you tried these? Key lime crumble and salted caramel crunch sound like the perfect flavors to indulge your sweet tooth. Check out all the flavors here! National Break You Make Day is June 3rd but I decided to treat two special boys in my life a little early.


blackberry yogurt popsicle dog treats


If anyone needs a break it's these two rascals! They spend their busy days barking, wrestling, begging for cuddles, and indulging in organic dog treats. On more hectic days they sacrifice their afternoon nap for dog park trips and car rides. What a life, huh? Must be rough. I'm not sure how they manage. I hope you are fluent in sarcasm because this is seething sarcasm. 




However, in all seriousness, these little boys make my life so much sweeter and I love to spoil them. More about them here.

Most of the dog treats you find in stores are full of junk and calories that aren't so good for our little buddies. Greek yogurt and most berries (complete safe list here) are safe and healthy for our furry friends. Not to mention delicious. So why not treat them to something yummy and good for them? These treats are also people friendly too..I had to conduct some safety sampling :)


Blackberry Greek Yogurt Popsicle Dog Treats
Popsicle or ice cube tray
Chobani Greek Yogurt (I used blackberry)
Fresh blackberries


Fold the fresh berries gently into the greek yogurt, being careful not to smush the berries. 


Pour the mixture into the trays. I'll warn you now--it's messy.
blackberry yogurt popsicle dog treats

Pop them in the freezer for 2-3 hours then hold your breath they pop out smoothly! Run under warm water if you have trouble. They didn't turn out beautiful but I didn't hear any complaints. 

Licks all around! 

I can't in good faith tell you these boys have ever met a treat they didn't like but I think they were happy campers! 

Jax wised up and realized if he just stuck the whole popsicle in his mouth he wouldn't have to share. Smart dog. 

Who in your life deserves a break?


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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Skin Care Tips

Disclaimer: The Naked Bee did not sponsor this post but did provide me with samples. However, I am a long time fan and all opinions are 100% genuine. 

Now that the temperatures are rising I'm finding myself paying more attention to my skin. Wearing sundresses and sandals is not fun (or cute) when you've got dry elbows, knees, hands, and feet. 

When it comes to my skin and products that I use I'm becoming more and more conscious of the importance of what's actually in the bottles that I'm slathering on my skin. Obviously, the more natural the better. But who has time to whip up their own body butters, oils, and moisturizers? Not I. Luckily, I've found a product line that does all the work for me and I trust to only use the best natural ingredients.


I discovered The Naked Bee by accident as I was browsing my local pharmacy waiting on a prescription. I picked up the Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion and have been hooked since! All of The Naked Bee's products are 70% Certified Organic and are paraben-free, gluten free, no propylene glycol, drying alcohol, EDTA, dyes, pigments or mineral oil, phthalate-free fragrances, and no animal testing. Whew, that's alot I know, but that just tells you all the junk that other brands include in their products. The Naked Bee is sold exclusively in mom and pop shops and on Amazon. Check them out! 


Exfoliation

You've heard of a snake shedding its skin, right? Well you should too! Your body is constantly regenerating itself and your skin cells. Gently exfoliating your skin once a week helps your body boost that process by getting rid of all the dead skin that's on the surface and allowing the fresh skin to shine through. This is the one skin product that I do make myself--Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub. It's so easy and works great! You can customize it however you like. I usually add a few drops of lemon or lavender oil in mine. I always use a healthy amount of this scrub before applying self tanner (my favorite self tanner). 


Moisturize

The cold winter months are very hard on our skin causing it to dry out and crack..not boding well for shorts and swimsuit season that quickly creeps up on us. After showering in the morning and before bed I love to slab on this rich Coconut and Honey body butter. It smells amazing. Other scents include orange blossom, lavender and beeswax, and grapefruit blossom. Try not to lick your hands after applying :)   
I also keep this Coconut & Honey Hand & Body Lotion by my desk at work to use on my hands throughout the day. I read somewhere that your hands are the first place to show age on your body. Yikes, let's keep our mitts moisturized!





Now, I love a good pedicure as much as the next girl. Actually, I like the end result. Anyone else hate the process of actually getting a pedicure? I do. Anyways, at least for me the results last maybe a few days to a week. I was so excited when the Naked Bee sent me this Foot Balm. It's like chap stick for your feet! It is great for keeping maintenance on your feet in between pedicures to keep your heels and feet moisturized! 

Protect

We all know the importance of SPF and protecting our skin (especially face) from the sun. Unfortunately, lots of the sunscreens out there are full of toxic chemicals and likely doing some harm to us. Check your bottle for these toxic ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. You won't find any of this junk in The Naked Bee's Vitamin C Facial Moisturizer and SPF. I love this product because I can use it as a daily moisturizer and get my SPF 30 protection--all in one product!

I'm not trying to preach to anyone because I, too, still use and love certain beauty products that have harmful chemicals. But I think it's important for us as consumers to at least be knowledgeable about the products we use and what's in them. This website is a great tool and resource where you can search for a product and see it's toxicity level from 0 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard).

Do you have a favorite natural skin care routine or product?

  
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Zucchini and Cheese Tart: Cookbook Review Pt. 1

In the age of Pinterest it's so easy to browse your latest pins when looking for a recipe. However, there is just something nice about flipping through a cookbook. I love cookbooks and think they are beautiful. But I'm far too guilty of having them just continue to stack up and be merely kitchen decor. So, I'm going to start making an effort to glance through the cookbooks I have for recipes instead of relying entirely on Pinterest and food blogs (which I also love). 

Ina Garten is my favorite Food Network start by far. All of her recipes are so classic, accessible, and delicious! Not to mention, who wouldn't want to divide their time between the Hamptons and France :)

For this first Cookbook Review I will be cooking through Ina's latest book: Make It Ahead. This book promises recipes that you can prep ahead and finish easy right before you're ready to entertain. 

 

The first recipe I tried out from the book is the Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tart. However, my grocery did not have softened goat cheese so I used a garlic and herb spread and I did not miss the goat cheese!
zucchini and cheese tart


Zucchini and Cheese Tart
Adapted from Make It Ahead by Ina Garten

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
salt and black pepper
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (the good stuff not margarine)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons ice water
3-4 medium zucchinis sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces of spreadable cheese (I used garlic/herb blend)
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Dough Prep

Place the flour, salt, and butter into the food processor and pulse 12-14 times until the butter is combined. Next, pour in the water and vinegar as you continue to pulse until the dough forms into a ball.

On a floured surface roll the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. preheat oven to 400 degrees.



Zucchini Prep

Place the sliced zucchini in a bowl and toss with salt. Set aside for around 15 minutes. The salt helps to absorb some of the moisture of the zucchini. 

Spread the sliced zucchini on a dish towel, wrap, and gently wring to release some liquid. Next, place the zucchini in a bowl and toss with 1 tbs of olive oil. 

With a fork mash together the cheese spread, lemon zest, thyme, salt, and pepper. 

Assemble

Take the dough ball out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface to an approximately 11 inch diameter and place on pan lined with parchment paper.

Spread the cheese mixture onto the dough leaving a perimeter for the crust.
Now add the zucchini overlapping in a circular pattern.


Drizzle the top with olive oil and black pepper and bake for 40 minutes (or until the crust is brown).

I was so happy with this recipe! The crust is always my favorite part and this one was so flaky and buttery.


zucchini and cheese tart

The cheese mixture was so creamy and full of flavor. The flavor is quite rich so would be lovely to serve 1 slice along with a simple salad. Perfect for a brunch! Zucchini is always in abundance in summer so this is a great recipe for using it up! I will def be making this again! 




zucchini and cheese tart

Have you tried any recipes from this cookbook? What's your favorite cookbook?



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Monday, May 25, 2015

Find the Workbag that Fits Your Life

This post was originally a guest post on Alanna & Company.

I like to think of the workbag as the little black dress of handbags for the working lady. Your diaper bag for the office. The minivan of handbags. I'll stop with the analogies now because I think you see where I'm going with this..you need one. But not just any workbag..the RIGHT workbag. You will use it endlessly. It has to be sturdy, dependable, but cute. If you're like me you will have everything from your wallet, snacks, files, books, makeup, planner, and about 2 more pounds of absolute junk piled into your bag.

The workbag that I need for my office desk job won't necessarily be the right fit for a teacher, writer, nurse, etc. I've put together my favorite bags that will fit every lifestyle and job!

The bags below are made for the office gal. Perfect for storing files and your laptop, but also stylish enough to head to dinner or drinks after work! I'm currently carrying the Street Level Reversible Vegan Leather tote (below furthest right) and love it! It's a great size and the reversible option is so fun. 






These bags are for the creatives of the world. Teachers, bloggers, writers, and the like---I'm looking at you! If you want a bag to store your stuff but also showcase your personality these fit the bill.


We're all busy. But some of our jobs cause us to constantly be on the go. Whether you're an event coordinator, shuffling PTA meetings, or running to meetings throughout the day these bags will help you sail through your day with everything in tow.





I've joined with six other amazing ladies to bring you a $70 Target gift card giveaway! Enter below and good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway
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