Friday, December 30, 2011

Heaven on a Stick!


Just had my first Starbucks cake pop (the pink, birthday cake one). Ooooooh! So yummy! Perfect little ($1.50) treat to go with their insanely overpriced coffee.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lights

Friday, December 16, 2011

Expired: Chex Mix "Party Mix-Change" Giveaway!!!


I have a confession to make - I don't really like Chex Mix. Well no, actually, I LOVE Chex Mix, but I don't like the dry pretzel thingies that are usually a large part of the bag's contents. Can you believe I didn't know you can make your OWN Chex Mix party mix from scratch, and that there's a TON of recipes?! And that they're really easy to make?


Well, thanks to the friendly folks from MyBlogSpark and Chex Mix/Sam's Club, I received a huge box containing three different Chex Mix cereals, and a $25 Sam's Club gift card, to host a Chex Party Mix-Change - "a modern spin on the traditional cookie swap with a delicious and savory twist! With several Chex Party Mix recipes that can be made in just 15 minutes and Sam’s Club stores providing you with everything needed to host a fabulous party, there’s no excuse to not call on family and friends for a celebration".


It's ridiculous how EASY these are to prepare - just melt stuff in the microwave, pour it over your Chex Mix cereal, let cool, and enjoy! We made 3 different recipes - the "Original", the "Hot Buttered Yum Mix" (my favorite!), and "Muddy Buddies" with peanut butter and melted chocolate, oooh! There's a ton of other salty and sweet recipes out there, so give 'em a try!


EXPIRED - Congrats to the winner: June!

If you want to get your own Chex Mix party mix started, MyBlogSpark is offering one of my readers the same package I received - a huge box of Chex Mix cereal and a $25 Sam's Club gift card! (Note - if you have a gift card, you don't even need to be a paying member to shop at Sam's Club - just walk in and show them your gc. You DO have to pay 10% extra, though.)


Here's how to enter: Leave a comment below, telling me about your favorite kind of Chex Mix. One comment entry per person, open to residents of the United States who are 18 years old or older. This giveaway will end on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. C.S.T. One winner will be chosen randomly. The winner will be contacted via email. Please leave a valid email address if your email is not available in your profile. The potential winner will have 48 hours to respond by email or another winner will be chosen. Good luck!


"Disclosure: The Sam’s Club gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by Sam’s Club, Chex Party Mix and General Mills through MyBlogSpark."

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Blue Christmas

Soo pretty! I found this in the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. A miniature tree with blue spray-painted pinecones, silver stars, tiny acorns, and a light blue chiffon ribbon garland. Love the shades of blue!


Saturday, December 03, 2011

The best thing about Thanksgiving...


... is the leftovers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Question:


Is it Boxing Day already? 'Cause I'm ready!

Yum Yum Squash


Oven roasted Delicata squash (quartered, slathered with butter, brown sugar & salt, roasted @ 400F for 40 minutes), gnocchi, roasted red onion, garlic salt, more butter & olive oil, and some melted mozzarella.

"Tastes better than I thought!", says The Husband. Nice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

God, I love Black Friday sales...


But only the ones at CVS and Walgreens drugstores! No need to get up early, since they had plenty in stock... all pretty much free after rewards and coupons!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

MoMA design at JCPenney


I just saw this in a JCPenney flyer yesterday. Apparently you can buy stuff from the MoMA Design Store @ JCPenney now. This owl kitchen timer is SO freakin' adorable!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

EXPIRED - MyBlogSpark Seventh Generation Giveaway!


Yay! I got THE most AWESOME package from MyBlogSpark, containing:
  • (4) bottles of Seventh Generation natural dish liquid varieties in Free & Clear, Lavender Floral & Mint, Fresh Citrus & Ginger, and Lemongrass & Clementine Zest scents
  • Premium 3 Qt. 12” x 9” Baking Dish from Le Creuset©
  • (2) Twist© loofah sponges and (2) Twist© scour pads made from 100% post-recycled materials
  • Set of 3 organic cotton dish towels
and I can GIVE AWAY an identical set! Here's how to enter:

UPDATE: Congrats to the winner, Cindy Loo! You'll receive your package within 2-3 weeks!

Just leave a comment below, telling me which of the 4 different scents you're most interested in trying (or email me your comment - I need to be able to contact the winner, so don't just leave an anonymous comment!)
One comment/entry per person, USA only please. I'll draw a winner on Monday, November 28, email them to get their mailing address, and MyBlogSpark will send them their package! Winners have 48 hrs to respond, so check your email!


This gift pack is just wonderful. The dish soaps work great (a little goes a long way) and smell yummy (the lemongrass/ginger is my favorite - it even gets me to do the dishes, although I usually leave this to hubby!), the little towels and scrubbies are super handy, and the Le Creuset baking dish I received is apple green and has already been used for making baked chicken and potatoes.

By the way, Seventh Generation is also hosting the "Nature Makes Perfect Scents" sweepstakes right now at seventhgeneration.com/scents - you can enter to win a trip to France, Italy, or Vermont (the areas where the essential oils for their scented natural dish liquids come from)!

Disclosure: The Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid prize pack, product and information have been provided by Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark)

Friday, November 11, 2011

There's something about Ramen noodle soup....


... that's just insanely satisfying. Especially if you only use half the seasoning (c'mon, only half the MSG isn't gonna kill ya, right?), add some healthy stuff like cabbage strips, carrots, and peas before adding the noodles, and finish with some toasted sesame oil. Yum!

Also, today is 11/11/11. I feel like I should be standing in front of an Elvis impersonator at a Las Vegas chapel...


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Introducing DIANE by Diane von Furstenberg via Vogue Influencer Network




Thanks (once again) to the Vogue Influencer Network, I received a free sample of the brand new scent DIANE by fashion legend Diane von Furstenberg (and a full-size body lotion!).

I'm usually not into big, complicated scents (for the longest time, I used to buy my perfume at The Body Shop because I loved their one-note scents!). This one is nice, though. I was a little worried it was going to be some powdery, old-lady smell - but
DIANE is fun and sexaaayyy. The Notes are Frangipani, Violet, Patchouli, Musks, Myrrh. It's definitely very feminine and luxurious, but not too aggressive.


On a side note, I love how this was packaged and the handwritten note it came with: "Everything I know about seduction is in this bottle. I hope you love it as much as I do. Love, Diane".

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sam’s Club Pink Promotion: Win a $25 Sam’s Club gift card!


Yay! MyBlogSpark is letting me host another giveaway on my blog, this time for a $25 Sam's Club gift card! Here's the official blurb:

"This October, by making simple everyday purchases at Sam’s Club, you can help support breast cancer education and research. Beginning September 19th, Sam’s Club stores will feature exclusive pink packaging on some of your favorite participating General Mills products in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For 5 years, General Mills has partnered with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Foundation to bring breast cancer support to local communities, and this year they are making their annual donation of $2 million to the foundation to advance breast cancer research and support education and community outreach projects.

Purchase specially-marked General Mills products like Cheerios and Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies at your local Sam’s Club and help decide how half of that contribution will be donated by voting at PinkTogether.com from now until April 14, 2012."

GIVEAWAY UPDATE: Congrats to winner Jessie C.! You should receive your gift card within the next 3 weeks. Happy shopping!

“Disclosure: The information and gift card has been provided by Sam’s Club and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara Review



Thanks to a free sample from Vogue Influencer Network, I was able to test out the new Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes mascara! I'm not a huge mascara user, but this one is fun: to get thicker and longer lashes, you "squiggle" the cone-shaped wand from root to tip and apply extra coats on the outer corner for a '60s look. Easy to use, smudge-free, very light, and a great look - my lashes got all curled up on their own!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Roasted yellow beets


I'm kinda drooling over this - yellow beets, simply packed in foil and roasted in the oven 'til done, peeled, and served warm with freshly ground garlic sea salt - yum!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Taco Rice *drool*


I found this recipe in last summer's Penzey's spice catalog (love their spice store in Overland Park, it is SO much fun just walking around and smelling different spices, plus some of them, like the Sweet Curry, are absolutely the best!) - AND their quarterly catalog always has a bunch of really great recipes.

So, Taco Rice. Basically a taco filling over rice, topped with the usual stuff, this is INSANELY good. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. I went for the slightly less healthy options, but if you use brown rice and ground turkey instead, and fatfree Greek yogurt as a topping, it's actually not TOO unhealthy... I made my own taco seasoning mix using
this recipe from Allrecipes (went a little lighter on the chili powder and red pepper flakes), and it was perfect!


Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

4 TB. taco seasoning
3⁄4 cup water


1 cup salsa

1 TB. salsa salad seasoning, optional

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Optional toppings: chopped onion, sliced black olives, diced avocado, sour cream.


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef or turkey and cook for about 5
minutes until nice and browned, breaking it up into chunks and stirring it to brown all sides. Add the taco seasoning, cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add water, stir to combine, reduce heat to medium and cook 8-10 minutes until most of the water has cooked away and the meat is deliciously saucy.

If desired, mix salsa salad seasoning into salsa, set aside while meat is cooking.


Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top each serving with seasoned meat. Add 1⁄8-1⁄4 cup salsa to each bowl and stir to combine. Top with shredded lettuce and cheese and serve with extra toppings on the side. SO, SO, SO good!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Foods I like (and the husband doesn't), Part MXIV...


Mmmh radishes. With butter and salt. Mmmmh.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gomez - "Options"

My favorite song right now! They're a Scottish Indie band. This makes me think of Dr. Seuss for some reason...


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Excuse me...


...can't you KNOCK?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Clarisonic Plus Skin Cleansing System





The Vogue Influencer Network was nice enough to send me a free Clarisonic PLUS Sonic Skin Cleansing System! It came with a bunch of little cleanser bottles to try out, a charger, a facial brush and a body brush head. This thing is awesome.

According to their blurb, the Clarisonic system is supposed to "use sonic technology to gently, yet thoroughly, cleanse 6X better than using your hands alone". I've been using this baby on my face and shoulders/back for three weeks now. Since the first week, I LOVE how it makes my face feel all clean and tingly and fresh. I use the facial brush mornings and evenings for about a minute (it beeps to tell you when it's time to change sides/areas, which is kinda cool but slightly annoying...), and the body brush a few times a week.

Not only is my skin feeling softer and radiant; my slightly blemish prone skin has cleared up quite a bit since using the Clarisonic. I still get the occasional pimple and blackhead here and there, but a lot less than before (you gotta make sure to wash the brush with antibacterial soap and let it dry really well to prevent spreading any bacteria). I love my Clarisonic and am actually going to spring for replacement brushes when the time comes.


Monday, August 22, 2011

There's a Darkness upon me that's flooded in Light...

Came for the beautiful, haunting video, got hooked by the lyrics, and stayed for the insanely catchy melody: The Avett Brothers' "Head full of Doubt, Road full of Promise":

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beets! Eek!


Here's something I never thought I'd make (and eat): Roasted beet salad! Growing up, we were exposed to jarred, pickled beets that people in the old country love, apparently. Well, I always hated the weird half-rotten, half-vinegary taste those had.

Fast forward to this year, and I see beets show up on all the cooking blogs, and find a bunch of really nice looking beets at my Whole Foods.
Well, I bought exactly two - "if they turn out icky, at least I'm not out a lot of money!" was the thought process here. I wanted to make a beet and feta cheese salad - kinda like this one from Whole Living, but I roasted the beets, with garlic and herbs, in some aluminum foil in the oven until soft, used toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts, and added some zucchini and chopped sweet onion, just because I had them.

Turns out, it was actually quite yummy! Still a little too beet-y, but definitely edible (mostly b/c I put a crapload of walnuts and feta in there - anything's better with nuts and cheese!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tee hee!


This is seriously the cutest sh*t I've ever seen: A solar powered bunny desk toy! From a Hongkong website called Meritline. Looks great next to my Flip Flap solar plants. I strongly recommend using Paypal or a one-time CC# for safety reasons (although I've placed a few orders without any issues). They do have awesome stuff for cheap, shipped free!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Grillin' time


Happy Fourth of July with grilled pork chops, corn cobs, zucchini + sweet potato slices. Yum!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hangin' out

Still too hot to do anything but sit on top of a tree, apparently.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book review: Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda

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I'm not a fan of anything "chick lit". Catchwords like "inspiring", "upbeat", and "moving" make me gag (the last book I really enjoyed was "World War Z - An Oral History of the Zombie War", for chrissake). So, why did I sign up to review a book named "Here, Home, Hope" by Kaira Rouda? Because I'm a greedy bitch and love free books? Possibly.

So anyway, the book arrived, with a weird, chick lit-y cover involving hydrangeas and women's legs and scroll designs in light blue, and I immediately hid it under a stack of other books. Eventually, the slightly urgent sounding emails from One2OneNetwork.com - the online women's network I got the book from - made me cautiously start reading it, and, well, I read the whole book in less than two days!

The story is basically about a middle aged housewife named Kelly. Kelly is in a midlife crisis, just had a breast cancer scare, and is even - gasp! slightly depressed, since she hasn't worked a job in a long time, her kids don't really need her any more, and her girlfriends are oh-so successful (and of course beautiful!) businesswomen. So, she devises a plan (using lots of post-its to write her numerous resolutions on) to give her life a makeover. Here's where it all turns a little Desperate Housewife-y - the neighbors and girlfriends are actually all stuck in some relationship dramas, have anorexic kids (that Kelly ends up taking care of, aww!), just got fired etc. All the drama leads to, of course, a super happy ending, mid-life reinvention, a successful new business as a home stager, great sex, female empowerment for everyone!, etc.

I never really related to the heroine or the style of writing (although at times nicely humorous, it's trying a little too hard to emulate a "Bridget Jones' Diary" style of wry, self-deprecating internal conversations). I did not laugh out loud or need a box of Kleenex while reading. I DID, however, find it entertaining and a quick, fun little read. So there. Now off to reading Mark Helprin's "Winter's Tale".

*I received a copy of this book from One2One Network to review.*

Wednesday, June 15, 2011




Salad weather!... followed by mini banana cupcakes! Because, what you REALLY want to do in 100+ degree weather is turn on the oven for an extended period of time (well, I do - it was worth it for that frosting alone!)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cat in his tree



Apparently very comfy... btw he's just yawning, but look at those teeth!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011



Gotta love Kansas City's Loose Park and its rose garden (even in 100 degrees and right after eating Indian food. It was HOT!)


Monday, May 30, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Running out of planters


Patio season is officially open. Thank goodness I had a gift card from Lowe's.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Grill's up!

Trader Joe's is coming to town!


I love Trader Joe's. Strangely enough, they're owned by Aldi, the German company known for their no-frills, off-brand supermarkets. Trader Joe's follows the same idea but with a lot more fun - affordable, choice, organic products (beautifully) packaged under their own brand; awesome treats from around the world (their frozen meals are great, their cheese and yogurt products yummy, but the snacks REALLY make the trip worth it for me); a fun store where employees wear Hawaii shirts and are insanely enthusiastic! And they're spreading around the Midwest! Now Omaha, soon Kansas City!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mighty Mo'


Flooded Missouri River, Nebraska (and a woodpecker who doesn't care)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mmmh.


From the Cupcakery down the road. Cupcakeriffic!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Slight double chin...

... but still adorable for his age (aren't we all)!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Playtex Sport Wipes


I was chosen to test these for crowdtap - they are great! I love that they are individually wrapped and have a light, fresh scent. Just right for a humid Kansas summer (right now it's 88F outside, sigh).

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Garden Koi


So beautiful, but insanely expensive: uncommongoods' fishy garden decor.

Om Nom Nom


Poundcake, vanilla ice cream, strawberries + a splash of Limoncello = heaven.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's not Easter...

... until my fingernails are dyed red, yellow and blue!

...and it's not Easter without a raisin Easter braid (and tiny Asian ginger-salmon cakes for some strange reason, and some savory feta/roasted red pepper/basil muffins - meh, I got bored...)