Monday, December 16, 2013

Felt penguin ornament, from World Market!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Delicious, handcrafted meals for two from Old El Paso - now available in the frozen aisle!

Thanks to the nice people at MyBlogSpark, I received a fun package in the mail, including a free coupon to review new Old El Paso frozen entrees for two. Here's the official blurb:
"You can now find premium, handcrafted, Old El Paso Frozen entrees for two in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store. Imagine coming home from work and digging into your favorite Mexican dish only to find delicious ingredients you can actually see including steak, chicken and rice. Talk about convenient—it’s the savory Mexican taste you love, without the hassle and ready in minutes!
With eight different flavors of fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas and burritos, these entrees are sure to fulfill your dinner needs. On your way home from work tonight, swing by the store and head for the freezer aisle– your other half will thank you!"
- We bought the Chicken Burritos at Walmart, and they were actually very good and filling. Really easy and quick to heat up in the microwave, no funky flavors, just flavorful enough without being too spicy. I added some Greek yogurt and salsa, and it was YUMMM! Can't wait to try the other products!

  “Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mary Kay® True Dimensions Lipstick

Thanks to People StyleWatch Style Hunters, I received a free sample of the new Mary Kay® True Dimensions Lipstick in "Mystic Plum". Dark, gorgeous fall color, and SOO smooth and moisturizing, love it!

Friday, September 06, 2013


Cutest. Slip-on sneaker. EVER! (Gap animal print slip-on)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Update: Fast Metabolism Diet

So, I'm approaching the end of week 3 on the Fast Metabolism Diet (review: see below post!). And I'm quite happy with it. I haven't been able to completely eradicate caffeine (still need about 1/2 glass of green tea), but I feel nice and energized, not too hungry, and lost quite a bit of weight. Here's some stuff I've been eating:

Phase 1: 

Kale salad with spiced, grilled chicken (cumin, curry, cinnamon), kale, quinoa, and green peppers in a lemon/vinegar dressing with lots of garlic. Watermelon and pineapple. Steel cut oatmeal with strawberries and (spot the hidden mistake, yes, bananas - It was day 1 and I was young and didn't know better!). Blanched broccoli and radishes.

Phase 2: 

Chicken and veggie soup (yummy!). Tuna cucumber salad. Chilled radish salad,(once the radishes are cooked, they taste all different and almost potato-y, but definitely weird!). Blanched broccoli and oven baked fish. Egg white/mushroom/spinach/green pepper/onion mini quiches (yummy, but remember to squeeze out alllllll of the liquid from your spinach, otherwise bleh!). These freeze well! Oven roasted cauliflower with tamari. A yummy grilled chicken/grilled asparagus salad. A burger made with 93% lean beef, some tamari, minced onion and garlic, wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves.

Phase 3:

Yay fat! Avocado filled with finely chopped onion, tomato, garlic, jalapeno, mixed with a little homemade hummus. Homemade raw almond butter (I bought almonds at Trader Joe's and sent them through the coffee grinder - much cheaper than buying a jar of almond butter!). Sprouted grain toast (also from Trader Joe's) with said almond butter and sliced strawberries - heaven!

Two things to note

In the first week, I felt my heart rate going up, even when resting. After some googling, I saw some suggestions to add potassium to my diet. Not sure if it helped or if the problem went away on its own, but I had one pouch of Emergen-C Electro Mix per day, for a few days, and felt better. Also, although I drank water like a boss, my mouth has been super dry all the time. Adding some lemon juice to your water helps, but it's still annoying. I tried some Biotene Dry Mouth Gum which helped a little (but of course only while actually chewing the gum).

Things I bought specifically for this diet: 

Whole Foods: Newman's organic spelt pretzels (very satisfying for dipping into hummus!), tamari soy sauce, Arrowhead Mills puffed millet (tastes like popcorn! I have this for breakfast with rice or almond milk and some fruit like chopped apple, strawberries, pineapple, or blueberries), organic kale, jicama, Arrowhead Mills dried garbanzo beans for making my own hummus.

Trader Joe's: Raw almonds, Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, frozen mango pieces - these taste great when you eat them semi-thawed.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: "The Fast Metabolism Diet" (Haylie Pomroy)

So I received this book called "The Fast Metabolism Diet" in the mail, courtesy of SheSpeaks. I'm always rather skeptical of these fad diets with the big letters on the cover and the "lose XX lbs in 2 days!!!" promises, and the book's promise to "rev up your sluggish, broken-down metabolism and turn your body into a fat-burning furnace" made me kinda leery too. Anyway, I read it, liked (most of) it, and have started to follow it this week!

Negatives: Rather restrictive diet, if you want to strictly follow it. The meal lists are a little confusing.

Positives: Not a crash diet. You eliminate wheat, corn, dairy, soy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, fruit juices, artificial sweeteners, and fat-free “diet” foods for 4 weeks. Each week is broken down in three phases (which actually makes it less boring than regular diets - you get to look forward to the next phase):

  • Phase One, days 1 and 2, focuses on fruit and whole grains (high-glycemic, moderate-protein, low-fat)
  • Phase Two, days 3 and 4, emphasizes alkalizing veggies and lean proteins (high-protein, high-vegetable, low-carbohydrate, low-fa)
  • Phase Three, days 5, 6, and 7, balances proteins, veggies, fruit, and whole grains, plus healthy fats (high healthy-fat, moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, low-glycemic fruit)

  • Phase 1 Sample Meal Plan
    Breakfast: Strawberry French Toast (fruit and grain)
    Snack: Mango or other fruit
    Lunch: Chicken sandwich with a side salad (grain, protein, fruit and veggie)
    Dinner: Chicken and Broccoli Rice Bowl (grain, protein and veggie)

    Phase 2 Sample Meal Plan
    Breakfast: Egg white, mushroom and spinach omelet (protein and veggie)
    Snack:  Smoked salmon and cucumbers (protein and veggie)
    Lunch: Tuna Salad-stuffed Red Pepper (protein and veggie)
    Snack: Turkey jerky or nitrate-free lunch meat (protein)
    Dinner: New York Strip Steak and Steamed Broccoli (protein and veggie)

    Phase 3 Sample Meal Plan
    Breakfast: Egg and toast with tomato and onion (Fruit, fat from the egg, grain and veggie)
    Snack: Hummus and veggies (Fat from the oils in the hummus and veggie) 
    Lunch: Avocado Turkey Lettuce Wrap (fat, protein and veggie)
    Snack: Almond butter stuffed celery (fat and veggie) 

    By changing up your eating, the book promises you'll lose up to 20 pounds in just 4 weeks... I like that you get to eat real food on the Fast Metabolism Diet. Nothing fake, nothing diet-y. Healthy portion sizes are emphasized (you actually get to eat more if you wanna lose more in the long run!). The book comes with a bunch of meal plans and lots of (quite yummy) recipes - I made the chicken-veggie soup today and liked it!

    This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Fast Metabolism Diet. I received the book for free; the opinions are my own.

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Puttin' The Hammer Down

    Being German, I guess I have a natural affinity for garden gnomes... This one is especially awesome: The Garden Battle Gnome! Among his main characteristics: "Not afraid of the dark" and "Prefers not to just talk it out". Hah!

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Review: Michael Buble - "To Be Loved"


    To me, Canadian singer Michael Buble is almost more entertaining when I see him talk or act on shows like SNL or on BBC's "Graham Norton Show". He just seems SO genuinely nice, humble and very funny (Hamm and Buble, anybody?). I'm not a huge fan of the old standards that he tends to cover, but I liked his previous albums, especially "Crazy Love", quite a bit (love his original song "I just haven't met you yet").

    His new album, called "To Be Loved", is in similar crooner style - love songs, mostly cover versions, with a few original songs strewn in. My favorite one is called "It's a beautiful day" - go on, listen to it a few times. It took me a while to realize what the lyrics were about...   

    "I want to take you on a wonderful journey about love—all different kinds of love," Michael says. "The album swings big time: it rocks, it’s soulful, it’s happy, sometimes a little sad. It’s romantic, it’s yummy, and it’s heartfelt."  

    One negative aspect: Unfortunately, to me, several songs sound a little lifeless and overproduced... I even thought I heard some autotuning, which I really dislike.

    "To Be Loved" track listing:

    1. "You Make Me Feel So Young"
    2. "It's a Beautiful Day"
    3. "To Love Somebody"
    4. "Who's Lovin You"
    5. "Something Stupid" (featuring Reese Witherspoon)
    6. "Come Dance with Me"
    7. "Close Your Eyes"
    8. "After All" (featuring Bryan Adams)
    9. "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" (with Naturally 7)
    10. "To Be Loved"
    11. "You've Got a Friend in Me"  
    12. "Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)" (featuring The Puppini Sisters)
    13. "I Got It Easy"    
    14. "Young at Heart"

    Disclaimer: I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the album to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013

    Ivanka Trump's New Fragrance


    Thanks to the StyleWatch Style Hunters network, I received a full sized bottle of Ivanka Trump's new scent. I like it - it's very light, floral-oriental; maybe a little too powdery-sophisticated for me, but the blend of "sparkling Italian bergamot, lush apple, and pink peppercorn" (phew!) is definitely nice. For an Eau de Parfum, the scent disappears rather quickly, but I'd love to get the body lotion. Oh, and the bottle is just freakin' gorgeous!

    Saturday, April 27, 2013

    MyBlogSpark: General Mills "Retro" cereals now @ Target!

    Have you seen the "retro" General Mills cereal packages at Target? For a limited time, you can buy the "Big G" cereals (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheerios, and Cocoa Puffs) in a special edition classic packaging from the 1950’s, ’60s and ’80s! AND the boxes have a $5 coupon for Clue® Vintage, Scrabble® Vintage, Parcheesi® Vintage or Risk® Vintage board games at Target! Make sure to print a $1/2 coupon before you go. 

    The nice people from MyBlogSpark were kind enough to send me a little package in the mail, containing a big box of Lucky Charms, Cheerios, and a vintage Parcheesi game! Fun! I'd never had Lucky Charms before but I love them now. Nothing like crunchy, colorful little marshmallow bits in your morning cereal to get you revved up!

    (Disclosure: The prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark)

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    Spring :D

    After a winter that seemed to last forever (we had snow only two weeks ago!), Spring is finally here! Yay! Including some overeager beavers:

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Shop Lately?

    I love ShopLately's website. Where else can you get awesome accessories and jewelry (like this "Caribbean Depths" agate slice necklace, $15.00) at such a ridiculously low price? 

    They have new offers every day; their daily newsletter is one I'm actually looking forward to receiving in my Inbox! And if you sign up through my link, you'll even get $5 to spend!

    Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss

    Thanks to the Vogue Influencer Network, I received three bottles of the new COVERGIRL Outlast™ Stay Brilliant™ Nail Gloss. The product "combines a base coat, high gloss color, and a chip-resistant top coat in one simple step – lasting up to a week" - LOVE it! The color lasted indeed almost a week, and I like that no base or top coat is required. "Midnight Magic" (far left in the picture below) is my favorite. So sparkly!

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    L'Oreal Magic BB Cream review

    It seems like BB creams are the latest craze on the beauty product market. I've tried several so far (hate Garnier, love Maybelline) and like how they can streamline your beauty routine. Based on Asian "beauty balms", they are usually all-in-one products that serve as serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and even sunblock, great for uneven skin tones or shiny skin. I received a complimentary sample of the "Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream" from L'Oreal Paris (through SheSpeaks) and was excited to put it to the test!

    The tube is small and has a narrow nozzle, which is good since the product is very liquid. Upon first application, I was surprised that this BB cream was white and contained tiny beads (those are "self-adjusting beads that will instantly transform to your skin tone"). Since I have dry combination skin, I applied the BB cream over regular lotion and thought it blended in nicely. The "light" shade, however, proved to be not quite right for my rugged skin tone and didn't provide quite enough coverage for red spots, but I can see how this might work for some people with fewer blemishes. It definitely leaves your skin looking nice and matte and natural.

    Friday, February 22, 2013

    Longchamp Spring 2013 Campaign

    Yep, that happens all the time when I walk through the airport... gorgeous handbags, though! See Longchamp's website...

    Monday, February 04, 2013

    Happy pillow

    You know how decorating magazines always say to freshen up your living room with new pillows or a throw in a fun new color? THIS is what they're talking about. The color is called "Beryl Green" and it looks awesome on my couch! (from World Market)