Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thirsty Thursday Revived

I am hereby reviving Thirsty Thursdays!

Last week I must have been on an apple kick, because I picked up two different apple ales on impulse. And they are GOOD. I seriously have Spring Fever and these are perfect!

Ale with natural apple flavor & caramel color

Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat is a unique, hand crafted brewed hybrid of Belgian wheat beer and sweet cider, with natural Honeycrisp flavor added to produce an innovative new brew that is crisp, refreshing and flavorful.  This unfiltered brew is the perfect beer to welcome the warming Spring days.

Have you tried these? What sounds good to you on this Thirsty Thursday?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

She's Crafty: Birthday Thank You Notes

Hold on to your hats while I get crafty!

WC and I are going to finish up her thank you notes from her birthday party tonight (which was last month, but hey, we *are* getting them done!). Over the years I've devised a quick and easy way to make thank you card with a personal touch.

First, I pick out a cute group pic from the party and print out enough to send a thank you note to each party-goer.

We start with these blank cards and envelopes.

I love these boxes of multi-colored cards and envelopes that at sold at Target- just $10 for a pack of 200. The pic goes on the front and we use the colored cards from this set to add to the inside of the white card for a pop of color.

The finished product, ready to be filled in on the inside

I give the kids a choice on what color they would like the inside to be, and of course WC picked pink!

So yes, not too complicated or time-consuming, but the kids love seeing the group pic and sending these to their friends.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chuao Chocolatier Review: Spicy Maya and Ravishing Rocky Road bars

Don't forget about the "For the Love of Chocolate" sweepstakes from my friends at Chuao Chocolatier (pronounced chew-WOW)- they are giving away a year’s supply of gourmet chocolate treats to one lucky winner and many other crave-worthy prizes every week. We have discussed Chuao before- I think their products are simply divine.

To enter, you simply need like Chuao’s Facebook page where you can then enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win the year of free chocolate. Entries will be accepted until February 28.

One winner will be selected each week during the Sweepstakes to receive a set of three of Chuao’s favorite chocolate bars, and the Grand Prize Winner will receive a year’s supply of Chuao chocolates (sent in four shipments- one for each season of 2013).
I recently received two amazing chocolate bars from Chuao to try- Spicy Maya and Ravishing Rocky Road- both were divine, in very different ways.

The Spicy Maya bar had an amazing spice to it- Chuao describes it as "seductive cinnamon, pasillavchile and warming cayenne bedded in dark chocolate".  As you can see in the pic above, you can actually see the little bits of spice in the chocolate. I LOVED this one.

The Ravishing Rocky Road bar is more traditional and is described as "Salted caramelized almonds and chewy marshmallows pave the way in milk chocolate". Full disclosure: I ate around the almonds. I'm totally weird and don't like whole nuts in my chocolate. But the flavor of this bar is wonderful and the marshmallows are soft and fluffy and add such a whimsy to this bar. Loved this as well.

Founded in 2002 by Master Chef Michael Antonorsi and his brother Richard Antonorsi - the company's Chairman of the Board; Chuao Chocolatier is pioneering “fusion chocolate” through a commitment to creating unusual, unexpected and delicious flavors using their secret blend of premium chocolate and fresh natural ingredients.

You can discover Chuao Chocolatier chocolate confections around the United States at fine specialty retailers including Whole Foods Market, Dean and Deluca, and Crate & Barrel, as well as fine restaurants & hotels including Omni Hotels nationwide, La Costa Resort & Spa, Coupa Cafe, and Hard Rock Hotel.

The chocolate bars discussed in this review were provided to me for review purposes.

February's Glam Bag from Ipsy

Here are the items I received in my February Ipsy Glam Bag. If you aren't familiar with Ipsy, it's a $10 monthly subscription sample service similar to Birchbox, although it seems to concentrate more on makeup than Birchbox does.

But I think I may be sampled out.... I just wasn't impressed with my Ipsy bag this month and will be cancelling it too.

POP Beauty Smokey Lash Kapow Mascara- I haven't tried this yet, because many girls who got it are saying it is very wet and smudges terribly.

MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner- I received the black, and I will definitely give it a try. Luckily I do have a liner brush already- if you did not, you'd have to buy one before you could use this. Altough I did receive a full-sized product, it normally comes with a brush and retails for $30.

Lash Card- not something I'd use because mascara application without it is fine for me- maybe someome with super-long lashes would get a benefit from it?

Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer sample- I now officialy have too many primer samples to count. I have used a few Pixi items from Target and I was pleased with their quality. I just don't need any more primer right now! I actually don't even use primer because I feel it clogs my pores and causes more breakouts for me.

Coastal Scents Shadow Palette sample- it sounds as there there were two versions of the palette sent out- the gold/olive shades I received, and a smokey eye set. Since I have blue eyes, I don't think the colors I received are very well suited for me- I imagine they would be much better for people with brown or green eyes. Coastal Scents is not a brand I am familiar with, but a brand that sells an eye shadow palette with 120 shades for $20 doesn't seem very high-quality to me.

Are you an Ipsy subscriber? Were you pleased?

Monday, February 18, 2013

WFD? Muffin Tin Meatloafs

Tonight we are having Muffin Tin Italian Meatloafs for dinner. This is definitely one of my husband's favorite meals and we haven't had this in a while.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce of choice (we like Prego Three Cheese)
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella 
  • 1 egg
  • Italian seasoning (I use 6 tbsp Homemade Gourmet's Italian Mozzarella Mix, but I think any Italian seasoning mixed with with crushed up crackers would do)

Heat oven to 350 and spray your muffin cups with Pam. Fill them with your mixture- I usually get about 9 out of a pound of ground beef.

This part is optional- but we like cheese, so I add some cheese to the top.

Annnnnnnd then I spoon on some more sauce.... love the sauce.
Bake for 30 minutes.

And voila! You've got perfectly cooked mini meatloafs! A serving is about 2, or 3 if you are a husband who really loves these!

Friday, February 15, 2013

February Birchbox Unboxing

I have been a Birchbox subscriber for about 6 months. The $10 price tag and opportunity to try out new products intrigued me so I gave it a try.

My February Birchbox came last week and here's what was inside:

1. TIGI Catwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo. Sample size is 5.2 oz with a value of $7.68. Since I'm an everyday hair washer, I don't use much dry shampoo. Trust me, after running or Turbo Fire cardio, there's no option for 2nd day hair. I also have a few bottles of dry shampoo that I purchased in the last two Allure Beauty Boxes, so this wasn't a product I was very excited to receive. If I did use it, I am sure the smaller size would be nice for travel.

2. Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. Sample size is 20g with a value of $5.60. This brand is new to me, and this looks like a nice try-it size. I should be able to use it enough times to form a good opinion of it. I do like to exfoliate a few times a week, so I will definitely try this product.

3. Juicy Couture Couture La La. Perfume sample of .05 oz. I have a bazillion fragrance samples and am pretty picky about scents so I don't get very excited about samples like this. I assign no value to perfume samples this size.

4.Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel Square. I have tried these before and they are nice. Not fabulous, but nice. I'm not sure about the value because I'm not sure how many come in the big bag which is priced at $4.25. Let's just assign this a value of 50 cents.

5. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint. Sample size is .07 oz with a value of $1.56. This is a very small sample- probably one or two applications if you use it as a foundation. I may try it, but I'm not sure I can get a good opinion of it in just 1-2 uses. This is a brand I hadn't heard of before Birchbox, but I believe is my third sample of one of their products.

Verdict: The value of the box was about $15, but most are products I'm not that interested in. I went ahead and cancelled my subscription after getting this box.... if was I more into trying new skincare brands, I might continue, but I really prefer beauty products.

Stay tuned for my Ipsy February unboxing to see if I liked that better.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I'm gearing up to host a pretty exciting House Party for Own Renewing skincare. Look at all the goodies I get to give away at my party on the 24th! The back row is a full-size set of 5 products in the line that one lucky person will get. I'm trying out a set right now too so that I can have some good opinions to share at the party.

Last weekend our family did some hiking with another family at a wonderful spot just an hour from our house- it's gorgeous! I am a bit concerned about how short I look, but maybe the rock Mr. Sasha is standing on is a bit higher than mine?

Yesterday P and I were working on his valentines to take to class today and all of the sudden he said, "Wait! Look what they say!" He asked me if it was OK to scratch out the message and I told him that might be a bit rude. I assured him most everyone would be eating the candy and throwing away the wrapper and not worrying about what it says. I guess third grade is when they start noticing stuff like this?

Since they have had to split our elementary school into two buildings/locations due to size, the kids have their parties on different days. Pre-K through 2nd grade was yesterday and WC was super excited. I don't know if I have mentioned it, but we had her tested for Irlen Syndrome, and just like her brother, she needs to wear the spectral filters to assist her in visual processing. She just got the glasses on Monday and is loving them so far.

I got two books in the mail on Tuesday that I am so excited to read. Sparkly Green Earrings looks great and I am looking forward to devouring it.

And Words Kids Need to Hear - oh wow! I read Chapter 1 yesterday and I had so many ah-ha moments, I can't wait to read Chapter 2 today in the pickup line at school. The Childrens Ministries girls at my church are doing this book for book club this month, and I'm looking forward to joining them. Friends, this is going to be a life-changer for me.

So what have you been up to?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GDA: Hotel Transylvania and Pitch Perfect DVDs

Yesterday the kids and I went to Target to pick up several of the movies they have on sale for $10 this week.

The kids saw Hotel Transylvania this weekend with friends and LOVED it. And I have been hoping for a good deal on Pitch Perfect since it is definitely one movie I could watch over and over. Both are included in Target's sale!

Sadly, they were out of both. 

But luckily, Amazon is offering both of these for $10 too!

Have you seen either of these?

Friday, February 8, 2013

What's Been Going On?

I cannot believe it is February! And a week in, no less! I feel like I have so many things to share!

P has recently discovered Swamp People (Mr. Sasha and I have been watching for quite some time) and he is obsessed with it. Last night I noticed that Liz was wearing a Frontier City cap and couldn't believe it, since Frontier City is located in OKC!

And I am recycling (eating) way too many Girl Scout cookies boxes right now. This is seriously a problem. Maybe I shouldn't be Cookie Mom next year for WC's troop? I just have such good access! It did look like I was running a drug operation on Tuesday night as lots of cars were stopping by to exchange money for product....... And yes, the Special K Raspberry Cheesecake bars are YUM, but maybe it's not such a good idea to chase them with Savannah Smiles?

But at least I am doing Turbo Fire to burn some calories! This program is a blast- I LOVE it and the workouts are FUN. Now, I am just on Week 2, but I love it as much as a Week 2 person can love it. Ask me again later I suppose.

And hold on to your hat, but I've been leading some women's studies at my church! Before the holidays hit, I felt led to order two of Lysa TerKeurst's studies, Made to Crave and Unglued, and she is my new hero. Amazing. A small group of us from my Sunday school class did Made to Crave before Christmas, and we started Unglued in January and put it in the church bulletin and we had 16 people the first night! I couldn't believe it. It's been a great group and I look forward to my "girl time" every Wednesday night.

Now, even if you aren't part of one of the bible studies, Lysa has written fabulous chapter books that these studies are based on, and they are GREAT reads. I've read both to go along with the study and I can honestly say I feel changed.

(Photo from Mix and Match Mama)

Next week is a work dessert contest and I found a fabulous recipe to try from Bachelor Sean's sister! She posted a recipe for Cinnamon S'mores Cupcakes and they look delicious and I can't stop thinking about them (except I guess when I am eating a Girl Scout cookie). So I'm going to try them and hope for a win!

I'd love to hear what you've been up to!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chuao Chocolatier Sweepstakes

My friends at Chuao Chocolatier (pronounced chew-WOW) are giving away a year’s supply of gourmet chocolate treats to one lucky winner and many other crave-worthy prizes every week. We have discussed Chuao before- I think their products are simply divine. Since I knew I already loved them, I was excited to get a Chuao bar in my Birchbox a few months ago!

The sweepstakes is called the “For the Love of Chocolate” because, at Chuao, they believe everyone should be able to enjoy handcrafted, all-natural decadence. 

To enter, you simply need like Chuao’s Facebook page where you can then enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win the year of free chocolate. Entries will be accepted from January 21 to February 28.

One winner will be selected each week during the Sweepstakes to receive a set of three of Chuao’s favorite chocolate bars, and the Grand Prize Winner will receive a year’s supply of Chuao chocolates (sent in four shipments- one for each season of 2013).

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beauty Chat

My obsession with beauty products is continuing to grow! Have you watched any "beauty gurus" on youtube? I have a few favorite to share with you. 

My first is a recent discovery- Stephanie and Laura from A Brunette Duet. They are absolutely darling and have great reviews and tutorials. I have watched all of their vids and they are fabulous.

I've been watching Stephanie and Tracy from Eleventh Gorgeous for quite a while. They are sisters and I love their vids too. A must watch.

And in other beauty news, last month I subscribed to Ipsy because I saw several unboxing vids on youtube and was pretty impressed. I've been a Birchbox subscriber for a bit, and I'm actually considering dropping this subscription because I'm not that excited by what they have been including in their boxes, which run $10 a month.

But Ipsy! Wow! I absolutely think their $10 subscription price is worth it. Here's what I got in my January bag.

What monthly beauty subscriptions do you subscribe to?

Disclsoure: This post does NOT contain referral links- the Ipsy link is NOT a referral link.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Niagara Ball

Last week P's school had an Inaugural Ball, which he kept referring to as the Niagara Ball.  Too funny... it IS hard to say.

It was technically for grades 3 and up, but since WC was P's family member, she was invited too. I snapped this pic of the kiddos dressed up before we left for the ball. They looked so cute!

They had a fabulous DJ, and the kids at this age totally love to dance, so they were tearing up that dance floor. And also, at this age, they must be used to their parents snapping pictures of their every move, because there were about 50 parents lined up around the dance floor taking pics with their iphones and the kids didn't mind a bit. I assume that will change as they get older, but it was cute that they didn't mind and were even posing.