Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February in Review

My friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy often does a month in review post and I'd thought I'd join in.

On My Nightstand: Y'all..... I have finished two books so far in 2012!!!!! Absolutely loving my Kindle and being able to whip it out in the car pickup line after school.

However, hard copies of some things are nice to have. Our Sunday school class is doing Adam Hamilton's Final Words: From the Cross for Lent and I am reading the book that goes along with the study. Sunday's lesson on forgiveness was amazing.

TV Show Worth Watching:

Smash! Granted, I am chronically behind in my TV watching, but after seeing just the first two episodes, I'm hooked.

*small voice* I am also watching Dance Moms pretty religiously. And am not behind on that one. ahem

Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater): None, as per usual. But now that I've read The Help, I need to see the movie. If you are local and have it, may I borrow it please?

In My Kitchen: Lots and lots of Pinterest finds! We are all about the crock pot right now, and I've created a pinboard of recipes that are Sasha Family Approved- meaning we have tried them and they were big hits, even with the littles.

In My Ears: Audiobooks, audiobooks, and more audiobooks. I just finished listening to John Grishman's The Litigators (FABULOUS) and am about half-way through Grishman's The Brethren. Waiting in the wings is Sophie Kinsella's newest, I've Got Your Number.

Three Newest Blog Reads:

The Dishy Decorator- such a cutie! I think I read almost a whole year of her blog yesterday! Love it.

Momastery- I was late to the ballgame, but oh, how I love her writing. And this post, where she misplaces her van, sounds just like something I would do.

Lysa TerKeurst- if you happen to have an oh-so-spirited daughter like I do, you simply must read her post titled "I don't want to raise a good child." Life-changing for me, that post.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: Spring! And my third half marathon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Confessional Friday

Today I'm linking up with Leslie at A Blonde Ambition for Confessional Friday.

1. I confess that I fell (hard) off the Jumping Jack Challenge bandwagon last fall. But guess what? I'm back on it! I have already completed days 1-4 and girls, it's a super-easy way to add some cardio in your day. Days 1-6 have you doing 300 per day, and if you break it up in increments of 50, it's easy to fit in. I've been doing my 300 while giving the kids their baths and getting them ready for bed. They think it's hilarious that I stop scrubbing their feet and starting jumping away.

2. I confess that I haven't watched a single episode of The Voice yet! I am so sad about that! We had some DirecTV drama (self-imposed and related to our new patio cover) that led to me not being able to record shows for a few weeks, and we all know the Sashas never watch live TV. And now that I'm behind... well, it's hard to jump in.

3. I confess that there were a few days over the past week that my nails were unpainted (the horror!). But I've gotten several new shades in from Barielle, as well as some from the OPI Holland collection, and I feel like doing a mani change every day because I have so many new shades I want to try!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! I am definitely looking forward to not setting an alarm tomorrow!


On Monday the kids were out of school, so in the afternoon the whole fam headed up to the local science museum and had a ball.

In the pic above, WC is munching on a cheese ball dipped in liquid nitrogen (I think?) and look how she looks like a bull! It was hilarious!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sleep Woes

Last week I ordered a Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker from Amazon and was super excited to get it to amp up my quest for fitness. I've been enjoying ChaLean and doing my half-mary prep, but we all know I eat too many sweets, so I'm not seeing the results I'd like to see.

And I thought the sleep tracker would be cool.... I suspected I wasn't sleeping well, what with a 6 year old with severe sleep issues due to SPD and a cute little dog that doesn't seem to think she can jump off the bed herself when she needs to go out.

So when my Fitbit came Saturday I was so excited to put it on and get started. It comes with a wrist band that you put the Fitbit in to wear overnight.

The first morning when I synced and checked the sleep results, I thought.... hmmm... must not have done it right. Surely I didn't wake that many times. Let's try again Sunday night.

Same thing.

And here's last night's data.

See the red? That's when I was awake! See that 23? That's how many times I woke up during the night! I can account for that larger block of time around 1:45.... WC came in to get in our bed and I moved to her bed, and of course, Bella needed to go out once she heard us moving around. But the rest of the red? Holy cow! No wonder I am a walking zombie!

Honestly, I have felt tired as long as I can remember. In college, I remember falling asleep in class all the time, but I attributed it to late nights out. And once I had kids, I attributed it to that. And after my liver infection a few years ago, I've attributed my tiredness to B12 deficiency anemia.

But maybe, just maybe, I am not sleeping worth a crap.


Friday, February 17, 2012

New Makeup

I am over the moon for Stila's Love At First Blush ($14 at Sephora). It's just so pretty and spring-y... and I am so ready for Spring! It's a bit shimmery, but not too much. Just a nice pretty glowy pink.

And my new HG foundation is Physician's Formula Youthful Wear™ Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting Foundation & Brush (MSRP $15). It's almost a primer and foundation in one. The texture is a bit thicker than a normal foundation (see pic below), but it just seems to melt into my skin, and I feel like it really helps reduce the appearance of my wrinkles.

And the brush that comes with it is actually usable! I loathe applying foundation with my fingers- it's totally a sensory thing- so I have been using a foundation brush for years. And this one is pretty darn good!

There are only three shades to choose from (fair, light, and medium), and I choose fair since I am pretty pale. It was a perfect match for me. I've been using this for over a week and I'm absolutely loving it.

So if you're like me, in your late 30s with some slight wrinkles you are concerned about, this may be a great foundation for you to try. Remember that if you pick this up at CVS, you can always return it if it doesn't work for you (love love love their beauty return policies.)

Anything new you are trying this week?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Really Glamour?

Dear @michaelachaela, I disagree with Glamour's advice to you! There's no reason you can have long pretty nails and there is no need to continually file them down!

I have two recommendations for you, and I think if you add these steps in your nail care routine, it will make a huge difference.

1. Keep polish on your nails!

Unpolished nails are prone to breaking, tearing, and peeling. Things like the hairs on your head are often the culprit of little tiny tears in your nails that turn into big breaks, tears and peeling layers.

Keeping a strong coat of clear on your nails will give them strength. I recommend a product called Instant Artificials, which retails for about $8.30 at Sally Beauty.

Sally Hansen also has some fabulous treatment clear coats that can be found at drugstores and mass retailers like Target and CVS. Sally Hansen even has specific products they recommend for dry brittle nails.

2. Take care of your cuticles!

In my experience, I find that caring for your cuticles is another area that affects nail strength and growth. Taking care of your cuticles equals less problematic nails. Less splits, tears, and breaks. I do two things in particular to take care of my cuticles. First, a few times a week, before I apply fresh polish, I use a product like Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover. This softens the cuticles and allows them to be pushed back off the nail very easily. Having your cuticles pushed back allows a better, longer lasting application of nail polish.

Second, I use a cuticle cream with AHA at least once a day to keep them moisturized and maintained. Poshe Cuticle Care and CND Cuticle Eraser are two good ones.

Again, I see no need to continually file your nails down to nothing! Give these tips and try and let me know how they work for you! Once your nails are back in good shape, you can follow my tips for a complete home mani!



Note: Cross-posted on my nail blog,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Salty and Sweet

Do you like salty and sweet together?

Then you need to make Picky Palate's Double White Chocolate and Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt, which I made for today's dessert contest at work. (I didn't place, but there were so many entries, I am not at all disappointed!)

This was my first time to sprinkle anything with sea salt, so I was a little stingy. Next time, I am sprinkling with abandon.... the taste of the salt paired with the white chocolate chips and peanut butter cookie was AMAZING.

Did you make any special treats for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Confessional Friday

Today I'm linking up with Leslie at A Blonde Ambition for Confessional Friday.

1. I confess to being obsessed with The Bachelor and Dance Moms. Swore I wouldn't watch either (Ben's hair skeeves me out) but of course I am easily swayed by the dramz.

2. I confess that I just this week decided to read The Help. I checked it out on my Kindle through my local library, and I almost can't put it down. It's fabulous. What took me so long? I'll let you in on a little secret- Sometimes I am very stubborn about not wanting to follow along and do what everyone else is doing. I don't think I'll be reading Twilight however....

3. And it other literary news, I am listening to The Litigators (thanks again, local library!) on my ipod during my outside runs, and I confess that it is so good I just want to keep running to be able to listen to what happens next. I have missed Grisham.

4. Continuing on the same topic, I am so so so excited about next week's release of Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number. Hope that my library gets the audio book soon!

What are you reading/listening to right now?

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon referral links.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


It's been Crockpot Central at the Sashas lately. Because I can only feed my kids so many frozen corndogs....

If you follow my Nom Nom Nom board on Pinterest, you may have seen this yummy gem I pinned- Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast. It was easy and delightful! Even the kiddos liked it.

Straight out of the crockpot

It absolutely fell apart when I cut it (so tender) and the gravy I made with the liquid left in the crockpot was lick-the-bowl-clean good. It was fabulous on the instant mashed potatoes I whipped up.

Tonight we are having 3-packet Pot Roast from Crockpot 365, although I'm making it with pork. You combine 3 packets- Ranch dressing mix, Italian dressing mix, and a packet of McCormick Grill Mates Peppercorn & Garlic- and use them as a rub on your meat before you put it in the crock pot. The combo is really delicious!

What are you having for dinner?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chuao Chocolatier

I was recently contacted by Chuao Chocolatier, a company that was new to me. However, considering my love of all things sweet, especially chocolate, I was eager to sample their products.

Chuao Chocolatier sent two items for me to try.

Potato Chips in Chocolate bar
Premium milk chocolate with kettle cooked, lightly salted potato chips

and a darling package containing two bonbons.

On the left: the Love Child bonbon (an aphrodisiac blend of a port wine drenched dried strawberry in a chocolate ganache)

On the right: the Firecracker bonbon (guaranteed to blow your mind with chipotle caramel fudge, popping candy and sea salt in dark chocolate)

I cut both open to have a look. On Firecracker bonbon on the left, you can see popping candy and sea salt on the edges. When I cut the Love Child bonbon on the right open, you could see the wine drenched strawberry and the ganache looked so thick.

P grabbed a portion of the Love Child bonbon and before I could stop him, he ate it. He was not a fan, which is fabulous because he is just 8 and should not yet have a taste for alcohol! But I ate the other half and it was divine.... so rich and the strawberry and ganache together were perfect.

WC grabbed part of the Firecracker bonbon, and said "It's popping in my mouth! Cool!" And it was... and the sea salt paired with the chocolate was so so good.

Mr. Sasha and I split the Potato Chips in Chocolate bar and it was divine. Salty and sweet go so well together. This reminded us of a product we used to get for a local candy maker- chocolate covered Pringles. - Simply Irresistible

Chuao Chocolatier is offering a giveaway to win a trip for two to San Diego! Between now and February 14, click the banner above for a chance to spend two nights at the glamorous La Jolla Shores Hotel, enjoy dinner at the beachfront THE SHORES restaurant, and attend a private wine and chocolate pairing event with Master Chef Michael Antonorsi of Chuao Chocolatier. You will also have a chance to win one of 14 Limited Edition Sweetheart Boxes filled with 22 signature Chuao Chocolatier bonbons featuring delectable, aphrodisiac ingredients.

You can also use the code "BLOGGER" and receive 20% off your entire purchase at their website between now and February 14, 2012.

Disclosure: The chocolate products pictured above were provided to me for review purposes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Confessional Friday

Set me free? I'm there! Today I'm linking up with Leslie at A Blonde Ambition.

1. I took P for some auditory processing testing this week and the poor guy had a rough time at the end (it was almost 2 hours long, and that's hard for kids with sensory issues!). I've been feeling terrible about it all week, although I felt a bit better after her promised me the Root Beer Float I got him at Sonic at 10:30 am that day did the trick. I felt even better last night after rewarding him with $20 of Legos after a very successful Interactive Metronome session. But I do still feel bad for having to put him through that.

2. I have eaten way too many Girl Scout cookies this week! I did mange to lose 4 pounds since I started ChaLean Extreme two weeks ago, but I keep thinking how much more that could be if I hadn't eaten so many yummy cookies!

3. I'm working for the weekend, totally. So looking forward to sleeping in a bit tomorrow and enjoying spending time with family.

4. I had to give poor Bella an impromptu trim the other night after she stuck her head too close to some wet wood stain. I confess that it does not look good at all. But the little paw print she snuck onto some newly poured cement in the back yard *is* adorable.

5. I'm not at all interested in the Super Bowl, but I am so ready for The Voice to start! Go Team Blake!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Modern Day Moms

I'm honored to be featured at Modern Day Moms, where my DIY Mani tips are posted as part of their Beauty 411 series! Stay tuned- I'll be featured again soon with a drugstore beauty post.

Stop by and join their fabulous community!