life is always about the journey...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Cheat..Do You???


In case anyone thinks I have it together 110% of the time I'm here to dispel those very silly notions.  
I, like you go through each day just trying to keep up with everything that happens in a normal or abnormal day.  And with 2 active teens, a husband who works late & travels much, and 8 animals there is ALWAYS something going on.  And some days I need any help I can get to do my best and look like I'm keeping up ;)

So here are a few things I cheat with to save time, feel better and look better:

I love dry not only freshens up your hair but gives it some volume too.  I wash my hair every 3rd day because my hair is dry and unless I'm sweating heavily it just doesn't need it.  I've tried a few expensive dry shampoos but I always come back to this Dove has a faint, nice smell and its easy to use and gives my hair some body. And best of all its under $5 and lasts a long time. Walgreens has it for $4 here.

Shapewear....I love it and have a drawer full of it for every occasion.
Hey I'm 40, I've had 2 kids and lots of surgeries...I need all the help I can get some days.
I have some Spanx but the one piece I love the most is Flexees by Maidenform Women's Fat Free Collection Hi-Waist Boyshort. Its under $20, fits fabulously without rolling up or down, is thin enough for most clothes and will smooth out the lumps & bumps ;)  Now if its 95 degs outside with 90% humidity you won't find me wearing this...don't ask me about the time I did and tried to take it off in a bathroom stall, in the heat with sweaty skin...not a pretty site & very joke-worthy ;)

I wear a BB face cream (Ponds Luminous BB Cream) every day even if I'm not wearing has spf and is moisturizing and evens out my skin enough to make me look somewhat less zombie like.  So when Jergens came out with their BB Body Cream I had to try it...and I LOVE IT!  Its great as a lotion and has just a teeny bit of color and some highlighters in it that smooth your legs. Now its not a heavy coverup so it won't cover scars, veins, birthmarks but it does just smooth things a bit.  It doesn't sweat off and leave marks either. I really like it a lot and it comes in different tones and is under $ only need to use a wee bit so it lasts too.

Before I put on makeup I use a primer of some sort...I have many including Smashbox more expensive one...but I love anything that can smooth out my skin and pores a bit and keep my makeup on especially in the summer.  My newest obsession is L'Oreal Paris RevitaLift Miracle Blur Cream ...Amazon has it fairly cheap at $14 (free ship with Prime too) so I order from drugstores have it for around $19. It just fills in your pores and with or without makeup makes your skin look smooth.

I love coconut oil...I mean I love it!  I get mine from Tropical Traditions after reviewing them all online last year I found it to be one of the best.  I use it to cook with, I put it in my smoothies, I use it on my dry feet and nails and I use it as a hair mask.  Its all around good stuff.  Much better for you to cook with than traditional oils too.  And I swear by it for dry skin.

I use Crest Rapid WhiteStrips a couple times a year to keep my teeth nice and white.  But I use this Listerine Whitening Pre-Rinse every other day before I brush.  Yes, that's rinse your teeth FIRST and then brush.  Its kept my teeth nice and white and kept me out of the dentist's chair for fillings too :)  It is my #1 secret to keeping your teeth white without a huge $ investment. Check your drugstores because its usually under $6 (I buy mine from Walgreens for $4).

Let's face it...we can all use a bit of a bump to help us look brighter, fresher and for me MORE AWAKE.  I use highlighters like its my religion...seriously.  Many eons ago I was a makeup artist for Clinique & Lancome and I learned the benefits of using highlighters to help you out and I've always had some in my arsenal.  I really loved Benefits Watts Up highliter stick but its pricey so was thrilled when Sonia Kashuk came out with something almost identical for a lot less HERE. $10 compared to $30...def a good trade in my opinion.  I use this on top of my cheekbones, brow bones and inner corner of eyes. It just brightens you up and it goes on smoothly and stays put.  I've even used it as a pretty eyeshadow during the day as it just brings light to your eyes and makes you look like you had a fabulous night's sleep...something I lack in ;)
Whoever invented the crock pot needs lots of of the best inventions EVER!  I own 4 crockpots LOL...I have a round one that is 20 years old that was an engagement present & works fab and then this one above which I love because it holds longer items better like roasts and tenderloins. My friend Pat got me a zebra one that I use for parties and then I have a mini one I use for hot dips. This Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker  is a fave of mine because of its shape, also programmable time settings (30 mins to 20 hours) and it is easy to transport if you are going to a pot-luck!  And all that for under $40.  ONE-POT-WONDERS I call them...I have an arsenal of recipes, always looking for more but have never been disappointed by my crock pot.  Especially nice during summer because it doesn't heat up the kitchen and you put your food in and forget-about-it. Great for days you are short on time...prep in the morning and just GO!
ZAQ Dew LiteMist Diffuser
 I am a HUGE fan of essential oils...I've been studying up on them for the past few years and try them out for many different uses (some of my fave uses & recipes soon to come on a post).  The less chemicals and toxins in my house, body and garden the better.  I mentioned I have 8 animals (6 cats and 2 dogs) and I HATE smelling them...I don't want my house to smell like a feel me?
So I use an organic cat litter (clean all 6 boxes multiple times a day) and I use these Essential Oil Diffusers (I have 3, one on each level of my house).  I use the Purification Oil to dispel odors in the house...they work beautifully and keep my house fresh organically.  I like this one the best because it has auto-shut off and seems to put out the right amount for my house.  There are many on the market and you can use a tealight diffuser but I like the electric ones because I can run them without worry.
An easy way to deodorize or scent your home.

Maxi dresses
They hide a multitude of sins, make dressing for the day easy, and are definitely on trend.  I have 3 and Alexa has 2 Lush maxi dressees from Nordstroms...they are usually on sale for less than $40. They fit great and I love them for traveling because they don't wrinkle much.  Slip one on add some jewelry and sandals or wedges and you are DONE. Easy peasy for those days your brain can't handle putting an outfit together LOL! (Patterned & Solid Dresses STILL on sale for $38 HERE)

What's Your Favorite Cheat??


Thursday, June 26, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?


Do you plant a garden every spring & summer?  Do you love going out your back door and picking some fresh produce. I know I sure of my favorite things about summer.  I don't use any pesticides on my plants so I know exactly where and how my produce is grown.

There is just something about the smell of a tomato plant that always symbols summer to me.
And when you cut fresh herbs....a little bit of heaven on earth I think.
Nothing better for you or more inexpensive than growing your own veggies and herbs.
Even if you have a garden in a worth it!!

This was my garden a month ago....everything coming in nicely and anticipating some yummy veggies and herbs.

And this is today!  Everything is growing in beautifully and we've been eating already from the garden most nights.

My zucchini plants are looking great....lots of beautiful blooms so I know we will be eating fresh zucchini by the time I get back from vacation!

I plant both the zucchini and cucumbers with seeds every year and have always had success with them.  In fact other than my tomato and pepper plants everything is planted by seeds.  For under $25 you can have a garden full of yummy produce for the summer....can't beat that!

I always plant 5 different types of lettuces in my garden...super easy to grow and OMGosh it tastes so good.  We have fresh salads, BLTs, Caprese Salad, Burgers...everything has fresh lettuce on it. And once these crops dwindle, I pull up the leftover stalks and plant new seeds. I usually have lettuce thru October most years. And enough to share with neighbors and friends too :)  Even though I use no pesticides the lettuce still has dirt on everything gets washed and then I use the OXO Salad Spinner to dry it out (love my spinner).

I'm most excited about having some fresh tomatoes real soon.  There are some biggun's already growing and a ton of cherry tomatoes...I expect to have them for next weekend's Fourth of July...mmm. Can we say tomato sandwich with Dukes Mayo and a bit of pepper...YUMMO!

My basil plants are doubt about it...they look beautiful! Planted by seeds and I have enough for 1000 Italian dinners LOL!  We've already used it in Caprese Salads, Chicken Parmesan and Italian Meatloaf.  I like the sweet basil so that's usually what I plant.  I also have chives, cilantro and rosemary planted that we've been using too.

This is one of my pepper plants...I don't like peppers nor do I eat them.  However the boys love them so I always plant a mix of green peppers and habanero peppers for them.  Those are my cosmos coming in nicely to the right of the peppers.  I like to plant flowers in my garden as well....they look pretty and deter the animals.

This is what I've been pulling out of the garden most days....along with bowlfuls for friends.
Soooo yummy!

Salads most nights with my homemade Caesar Dressing or Balsamic Dressings.

And chicken parmesan with fresh good...non-paleo yes but very good indeed ;)

So...How Does Your Garden Grow?


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beach Reads!


When I go on vacation, I love nothing better than reading a GREAT book or two or three....well let's be honest sometimes its as many as 12 LOL!  And some of my favorite authors have books out or coming out which means my Kindle is really, really happy!

 First & foremost I cannot wait....I mean I'm ecstatically giddy about his book release.  Its the third and last in the series...and its tops on my list to read on vacation in July.  The "All Souls Trilogy" by Deborah Harkness and the last book is "The Book of Life".  I've already informed the family that I will be reading this like a madwoman during vacation evenings...I cannot wait!  If you haven't delved into this trilogy..well what are you waiting for...its sooooo amazingly good!

I love most of the Southern women authors and their books...I have yet to read a bad one by any of these authors.  I'm saving this one for next week so I can't give a review yet but it sounds REALLY good and I'm sure its a page-turner like the rest of her books.

This is the second book in the trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe. Her books always make me happy when reading them and they never fail to be great stories...usually about women, friendships and life in general.  The first book was the opener about 3 half sisters brought together to a beach house by their involved a dolphin named Delphine that of course made it more special.  I'm halfway through the second book and so far its as good as the first book.

Under a Summer Sky
All of Nan's books are great reads...usually family sagas that make you want to keep turning the page to read on.  I haven't delved into this one yet but its next on my to-read list so I'll let you know...but I'm sure it will be a good one too!  My fave book of hers (all were good) is "More Than You Know" and its on sale for only $2.99...that's a bargain for such a great read!

The Accidental Book Club
I just bought this book yesterday...I'm a sucker for books about book clubs hahaha...but it sounded good too.  Its on the to-read list as well!

Magnolia City
This is a sweeping saga set in the 1920's...I'm a sucker for historical based novels and a friend recommended this book to me.  Looking forward to reading this one!

So there ya go....a few great beach/vacation book reads to make your R&R even better!
Let me know if you read any of them and if you love them!

And join my cyber book club "BookEndz" on Facebook to get even more suggestions
and reviews!!


Monday, June 23, 2014

SUMMER Food Porn Tuesday!


I'm all for yummy, brightly colored foods using veggies and fruits in the summertime. Summer usually makes me want lighter foods that don't heat up my kitchen or take too long to make...gotta have some lounge-time built into the summer right?
And fresh fruit that is so sweet it dribbled down your chin...amen I say!!!

Thought I'd share a few recipes I've seen around that got my tastebuds going....will be making these the next 2 weeks before we head out on our 15 day vacation starting July 9th.

Our local farmers market is promising fresh corn by next I'm thinking
this would be a yummy side with some fresh, grilled fish.  Mmmmmm!

I make a zucchini dish that I make a lot (diced zucchini & onions sauteed then add mozz cheese on top) so I'm looking to expand my zucchini repertoire because I have a LOT of zucchinis growing in the garden. These look easy & yummy!

Onions + Cheese = say no more.....sounds like good stuff to me and easy to cook up!

I love me some stuffed tomatoes....that's just good eating to me...especially when they are fresh 'maters!
Here's a few for ya in case you need variety like me ;)

I am going to have a bumper crop of wax/yellow beans this summer and was looking for new recipes when I came across this.  Sounds sooooo good & easy to do!

I'm growing a few herbs this summer as well and my basil has come in beautifully. I'm going to make this recipe and the one below with my fresh basil...should be yum yums!

Sounds yum right? I'll let you know.....

I want to try this version on my spinach-strawberry salads this summer.
Looks good, sounds good!

And for a very sweet dessert, how about these?  I think I just drooled.....
I like little desserts...just enough to sweeten you up but not enough to stuff ya!

Are any of you growing some fresh veggies this summer?  What's your favorite veggie to eat and grow?

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