Saturday, August 18, 2012

we've moved!

For design purposes we moved the blog over to a new site. You can now follow along HERE.

Friday, August 17, 2012

No More 'Poo

After reading great reviews, and hearing glowing testimonials from real life friends, I'm giving these all natural, sulfate-free shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley a try. My hair has been so brittle since having Silas, not to mention it's falling out by the handfuls (darn you post partum hormones!)

I'm scared and excited...and scared. I'll let you know how I'm liking them in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August Glam Bag Review

Subscription boxes are all the rage right now, and they come in all sorts of varieties. Paper goods, cosmetics, clothing, accessories.. I think the concept is cool. Getting a mystery box in the mail once a month filled with surprises for $10-$20 sounds ridiculously fun.

For my first try at subscription packages I decided to go with My Glam Bag - a cosmetics site that sends out a makeup bag full of sample sized (and a few full sized) goodies in a cute bag for $10 a month. I had read reviews about their company from a few other bloggers, who all had good things to say about them (everyone seemed to agree that the products included in the monthly bag almost always exceed $10 value.)

The experience was totally fun, from filling out the survey style questionaire on the My Glam site about what my cosmetic preferences were, to seeing the shiny purple package in my mailbox.

1. and 2. eclos Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream and Cellular Activator Facial Serum

I was probably most disappointed by these products, not because they aren't good, but because I don't really use these types of anti-aging creams/moisturizers. Maybe I should? :) The products claim to use plant stem cells to help problematic skin regenerate cells better, improving firmness and dryness.

3. Demeter Roll on Perfume Oil in "Clean Skin" scent

I'm really picky about scents, I always have been. I hate fruity scents and only like certain kinds of florals. This perfume really didn't even smell like a typical perfume, which I kind of like. The smell reminds of me of fresh linen. It's really clean and simple. I liked that it's infused in an oil, rather than alcohol.

4. s.a.l.t.y. Glama-ZOiD Eye Shadow
I wear eye shadow some of the time, mostly in neutral shades that are conservative and easy to wear. (Basically, I love the idea of makeup but have no idea what to do with it or what works for me most of the time, so I stick with easy no-brainers that I know won't make me look like a clown!) This eye shadow appeared white and glittery in the box and I was sure I wouldn't like it, but I was surprised when I applied it that it actually shows up on your eyelid as slightly purple, and is very subtly shimmery and pretty. (Yay for a glittery product that doesn't look trampy!) :)

5. Circus [By Andrea's Choice} Nailpolish in "Spectacle" color

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a full sized nail polish! It's probably ridiculously juvenile for a mother of 2 to be such a nail polish junkie, but guys, I love the stuff. Wearing a pretty nail color just makes me feel pretty and put together, even on my worst days.

The color they sent me is a bit extreme. It's very, very orange. Like, traffic cone orange. I'm not sure I'm cool enough to pull off such a bright color but I'm going to give it a try. It came in such a cute box (I love pretty packaging.)

6. myglam glam gloss [that's a lot of glam.]

This was my favorite product, which is funny because I have never been a lip gloss girl. Not even when I was a teenager did I wear gloss. I never liked the oily feel on my lips, and I never felt comfortable with so much shine. So I was very skeptical of this super bright, Barbie pink gloss that they sent in my bag, but it's actually great. Applied, it's a very soft, subtle pink color and it feels comfortable and moisturizing to wear (not icky and oily.) For a lip gloss, I don't think it's too shiny and attention grabbing, AND it smells amazing. Did I mention this is a full size product? The cost of the lip gloss and nail polish most likely exceed $10 so I think the subscription price was probably a pretty good deal.

You have the option of cancelling your My Glam Bag subscription at any time, but I think I'm going to keep mine going for September. Over all I was impressed with the quality of the items I received and the experience was a whole lot of girly fun. Like I said before, I know so little about cosmetics and am always hesitant to try anything new or out of my comfort zone, so getting these samples is a good way to branch out and try new things without committing to full sized/full priced products.

personal space

this week i was messing around with my camera and started taking pictures really up close of silas. i kept pushing the camera up as close as it could focus on his face, and was captivated by the up-close details caught on the camera.
kind of funny, but seeing pictures of him so up close, he almost seems like a different baby. little details i don't really notice when i'm simply looking at him just pop on such a close-up shot.
the drool bubbles, the wispy hair, the flaking baby skin, those speckles in his enormous blue eyes.. i took some of olive and myself too.

they almost hurt to look at, and i think the reason i have that reaction to them
is because we rarely if ever get so close to other people's faces, or allow
others to get so close to ours.
it just kind of comes naturally to us humans to protect our "personal space"
and only let those we trust most of all be there.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

27 Years Ago

Today my parents celebrate 27 years together. I'm really proud of them, and blessed to be their daughter. I love this picture of the 3 of us. Strange that I'm now about my Mom's age in this picture, with a daughter (and son!) of my own!

Improptu Party

The other night we were at my in-laws' house and my mother in law mentioned she was going to a party. Olive's ears perked up like antennas and immediately started asking questions about this party and whether or not she could go. When we told her she couldn't go, she was quite upset, and for the next day or two kept asking me when she could go to a party.

I've been sick (still - ugh) and we didn't have anywhere to go this weekend, so Matt and I decided to throw Olive an improptu, "just because" party. We ran to Target this morning for party hats, bought a new game that Olive could play with us, ordered out for pizza for dinner and made a fun evening out of it.

Gluten Free Dinner #2 - Fancy Spaghetti

Growing up, Mom's spaghetti was a weekly staple. I seriously think we had it at least once or twice a week the entirety of my childhood.

Mom's spaghetti was simple: hamburger, store bought pasta and store bought sauce. That was it, and we loved it. It was a cheap, filling meal for a big family on a very tight budget.

My family doesn't eat spaghetti every week, as we try to keep pasta dishes more of a special treat rather than weekly standby. But I get a craving every so often for Mom's spaghetti, and this is my twist on her basic recipe.

Gluten free pasta is readily available at regular grocery stores, and makes cooking so much easier! So many good old recipes that used to be off limits with a gluten allergy can now be made safely and just as deliciously  as the originals. Don't be afraid of the gluten free pasta! It cooks exactly the same way as regular pasta, comes in all varieties from angel hair to penne, and your gluten-eating family and friends will never be able to tell it's gluten free. Most gluten free pasta is made of white rice, which is not very good for you, so we usually stick to the quinoa/corn pasta (as seen above) and brown rice pasta.

I am ashamed to say I don't make my own tomato sauce. Part laziness, part time constrictions that come with being a mom to ittie-bitties, part love of the taste of my childhood years of eating Prego every week...I just don't make my own sauce. (Yet. It's on my "when I grow up" list of things to learn.) Most canned tomato sauces are gluten free, and some brands (like Prego) list that on their labels. (Remember to always read your labels!)
Instead of using ground hamburger, I use ground turkey in my spaghetti, and I season it with minced garlic, onion, and basil.

Silas cheered me on as I cut up a couple of green peppers into strips to add into the sauce, to give the spaghetti some vegetable content. We love green peppers. We like them crunchy, so I usually throw mine into the pan once the meat has browned, and let them cook a bit before I add the sauce to the meat.

I love my giant cast iron skillet, and cooking one dish meals in it! Keeps things simple.

I just topped my spaghetti with a light dusting of parmesan and it was ready to eat. If I was having company over and wanted to make the spaghetti a little more fancy, I might have added 3-4oz of cream cheese to make the sauce creamy and rich. It's a fun twist. Another fun variation is to use italian turkey sausage instead of ground turkey. It gives the dish some serious kick.

It's a simple, affordable, filling meal that can be dressed up or kept really simple. Best of all, everyone loves it, even picky kids!

*Disclaimer: This post is not endorsed by Prego or any other brands.*