Sunday, March 27, 2016

3 Insanely Awesome Recipes + Family Update


So Happy Easter everyone!  I don’t really celebrate but my mother in law is totally into it so we hang out with them and do all the traditional stuff.  That actually reminds me that I need to see if she wants me to bring boiled eggs and a coloring kit.  We have (obviously because of our hens) tons of eggs ready to go for d├ęcor.
 

First I wanted to share 3 recipes.  One that is self-made and two that I found and adapted one as my own less expensive and less calorie filled version and one I follow exactly…

What I’ve been doing to rip down (by that I mean shred off fat and build long, lean muscle so I look strong) is eating 3 or 4-100 calorie snacks a day, a heaping serving of low-cal, low-fat soup for lunch and dinner and eating a gourmet low-cal, low-fat breakfast.  It puts me at about 1200 calories a day and then I have 2K to play with on the weekends to still shred 2-3 pounds of pure fat off my body a week.

1 >>> My She Crab Soup Recipe
 

You can have a whopping 2 cup serving of this and it will only run you 250 calories.  No one will ever know and if you are dieting you won’t believe it yourself.  It tastes like any luxury fattening calorie filled restaurant version.  I made it up a few days ago and blew my own mind.

Ingredients

·        2 cans 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
·        4 cans 98% fat free cream of celery soup
·        5 cans (use the soup cans) skim milk
·        1 tablespoon reduced sodium old bay seasoning
·        1 tablespoon oyster sauce (find it anywhere in the Asian department, including at Wal-Mart)
·        ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
·        1 cup of finely diced portabella mushroom
·        1 cup finely diced celery
·        1 pound of crab meat (can be the large gourmet canned kind and the claws are way less expensive than the lump… which makes no sense because the claws are the best part!?)

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients together and whisk EXCEPT for the crab meat.  Bring to a simmer and while you’re waiting just break your crab meat up so it’s ready to throw in.  After the soup comes to a simmer, gently stir in your crab meat, bring back just to a simmer and serve.  That’s it.  If you’re souping like I am this will last you 4 days of 2-2 cup servings per day.  You get carbs cut and tons of snuck in vegetables and your family will never, ever, ever know it’s healthy.

________________________________________


Now let me break this up with a little family update.  Our custom made chicken coop came in that I designed a few weeks ago. 


The birds are SO happy because they have the space and safety to free range completely.  We have 11 that are coming in to join our flock and are so excited to meet them.
 

Pretty soon our full egg assortment will range from small to large and they will be anywhere from dark brown large to light cream, blue and green.  I love the variety and colors so much that it’s hard to imagine breaking them.


It’s been a great bonding experience for our family and it’s attracted a more wholesome friend group at work.  People don’t see me as the city girl anymore. 


They know I have some wholesome roots and that doesn’t always show past my exterior.  Giving eggs to friends and family has even brought us closer together.
 

Jaime built a fire pit, which we have wanted forever. 


We are also converting our old hen coop to an awesome garden.  We’ve already started growing our kale, tomatoes, variety of lettuce, sprouting our celery, blueberry and blackberry bushes and are waiting for this frost and freezing at night to stop so we can plant.

________________________________________

2 >>> A Less Expensive Play on Savory Smoked Salmon Breakfast Toast
 

This will bring you in at a tiny 135 calories per toast! (link to original recipe)

Ingredients

·        1 ounce smoked salmon
·        1 tablespoon low fat cream cheese
·        Dash of dried dill
·        Few slices of onion
·        Cracked black pepper
·        Raw green of your choice… I usually use baby spinach

Directions

Make toast and top with cream cheese and a dash of crack black pepper.  Add a few slices of onion, top with spinach, salmon and your dill.  And that’s it!  Enjoy…

________________________________________

3 >>> Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
 

This will bring you in right around 250-300 calories depending on what type of avocado you use… (link to original recipe)

Ingredients

·        ¼ sliced avocado
·        ½ cup cooked quinoa
·        1 tablespoon honey
·        1 tablespoon sliced raw almond
·        ½ cup almond milk

Directions

Mix your warmed cooked quinoa with the almond milk and top with sliced avocado, almond slices and drizzle with honey.  That’s it.  Quick, healthy and easy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Has Sprung

 
I’m going bird crazy again!  I just can’t stop myself.  I got the urge to buy my first tiny little flock of Salmon Faverolles last year a few months after my dad passed away from cancer.  I’m not dense.  I know I was looking for more love, life, happiness and companionship (plus keeping me super busy) to add to my life to try and fill the void.
 
 
Well I don’t know if it’s because the one-year anniversary of my dad leaving us is coming up, but I went bird nuts last week.  I have ordered a giant barn big enough for 16 birds.  Legally we can have 15 but it’s good to have too much rather than too little space so everyone is super happy.  I have it decked out with 8 laying boxes, a back hatch for egg collecting and a 3 bar 5-foot custom roosting area.
 
 
I did listen to my husband and cut back from 10 new birds to 6.  And it makes sense when you think about it.  They don’t lay forever so it makes sense that with the limited number of backyard chickens I can have that I should stagger them each year.  So when my Faverolles stop laying, my new 6 will be laying and then next year I can get 5 more and those will be laying.  Then when they leave me of natural causes in 8 or 9 years, I get more and I always have fresh organic free range eggs and little friends that make me laugh every day.
 
 
The last little touches are that my barn also has a run that is large enough for 24 hens and it’s tall enough inside and out that they can totally take flight.  Which makes me really happy because even though I get non-flighty chubby AWESOMELY fluffy breeds, they do still get a little lift from time to time and like to stretch their wings.  Diet, exercise, sun and happiness for them is really important for me.  I want plenty of room for them to forage and free range while I’m at work.  I let them completely loose after 6pm and on the weekends when I can look out for my neighbor’s sneaky cat (grrrrrrrrr…).
 
 
Then we have a bright purple roof and the shutters, windows and door are all in white trim with white accenting.  Then the barn itself is in Sherwin Williams Tantalizing Teal.  A favorite color some may remember from my post when I designed my entire guest room on a dime.
 
 
So for now I have 3 Standard White Cochins and 3 Blue Ameraucanas coming in to join my current 4 Faverolles in their new decked out house.  And Jaime had me hold off on my 2 Blue Splash Marans and 2 Barred Rock.  Which is okay because I think next near I actually want 2 Blue Splash Marans and 2 Dominiques.  I know it’s so spoiled and stupid but I only like the really hard to get rare breeds.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Beauty Routine Q&A

 
I get asked in person and emailed via my blog, Facebook, etc… about my makeup and skin care routine really, really often.  Especially by people I work with all day who wonder how my makeup stays perfect and fresh not only from when I apply at 6:00am but even through after work drinks well until 2:00am the next morning.  Over 24 hours of non-creased perfect worry free wear and people will start to inquire.  And I am always willing to share.  I like for everyone to feel really comfortable and be able to do what they want with their makeup so I always give up my “secret” tips.  So for my friends who have asked repeatedly but I haven’t had time to bring my box of goodies over, this is for you.
 
1 >>> My skin care routine.
 
This is really important because a great makeup routine starts with a good base.  You can do some cool things with makeup but you can’t cover everything.  My routine is pretty natural so I always try to keep my base in good condition… aka, my face.  I’m not advanced enough to do the full on 100% acne cover up I’ve seen on YouTube.  Which is fricken AMAZING by the way!  I wish I would have known about that in high school.
 
The good news is there are some things you can reverse.  And if the natural tips below don’t help you out because it’s too late, there is always Botox.  I’m not suggesting it blanketed for everyone; I’m not pushing it.  It’s a personal choice.  But I know that’s going to be my fall back one day and I’m not afraid to admit it.  My only tip here is not to start too early because it can cause premature facial sagging and make sure you go to a well-known pro.  Don’t go to some weird chop shop or you can end up with permanent damage.
 
<<< wrinkles >>> This could be pretty boring if you already do these things or if you don’t have wrinkles, so if you want to know about my makeup “secrets,” skip to section 2… I am well over 30 years old, have twins, normal job and life stress sort of things, I’m married and I have yet to get a real wrinkle.  It’s not because I’m genetically superior.  It’s because I keep my face really still.  I know this first step sounds insane but it’s free botox.  My first tip is whatever face you make… stop it!!  Smile with thought so that you don’t make crazy crinkles by your eyes or around your mouth.  You know, keep it natural with lots of laughter noise, but rock a happy no wrinkle face.  Find a middle ground to get some extra years out of your perfect base.
 
Further on that subject, I cannot tell you how many dozens of selfies I’ve seen with people who don’t realize they are making those big wave wrinkles across there forehead.  When I skip through there other photos 99.99% of the time they are permanently there.  And somehow they don’t even see it!  It’s the biggest flat canvas area on your face.  Put the camera lower or relax your forehead or something!  It looks bad and it sticks over time if you have that habit.
 
I can tell you, making a wrinkle anywhere on your face over and over does make it stick.  They didn’t only say “if you keep making that face it’s going to stick” because they were scaring kids into being good.  It was also a cautionary quote from mothers to daughters.  The face you keep making is going to stick!!  So stop it!
 
I too had this problem and was causing my first deep wrinkle.  I have this insane stress sort of tick where I make a certain skrinchy face when I’m hella stressed out.  I noticed after a few months I had this deep odd wrinkle forming between my eyebrows and freaked out.  I made a couple faces to figure out the one and finally one matched the crease.  It’s hard not to do it, but since I stopped, it has gone away 100% because I caught myself early.
 
<<< moisture >>> Heavily moisturize 24/7.  I use Cetaphil cream.  I actually use it from head to toe.  It’s the thickest thing you can imagine and it has kept my skin soft and smooth.  Even when I wake up in the morning if I’m going to hang around at all, I reapply first thing and again after showers and any time I cry a lot from a sappy movie.  I never let my skin dry out.
 
2 >>> My Makeup Routine.
 
There are some products you can go cheap on with the right bases and some that if you cut corners you’re going to be in the bathroom wiping the eyeshadow crease out within a few hours if not within the first hour of wear.
 
Now you don’t have to try and rock my personal style by any means.  You may even hate it and that’s cool.  It’s my own thing that I threw together over time and I like it and it follows the rules.  But you might want to grab a few of these products so you never have to worry about flaking or movement.
 
 
<<< step 1 >>> I cannot live without Bare Minerals Original PrimeTime.  After I put my Cetaphil lotion on I apply one pump of it all over my face.  This will keep makeup from settling in any fine lines or wrinkles and will make everything you put on stay in place all day.  It’s natural, soft and you can’t even tell you’re wearing it.
 
 
<<< step 2 >>> I use Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion.  This is the most important thing in my bag.  If I had nothing else for bases I would freak out if I didn’t have this.  Your eye makeup will not go anywhere for well over 24 hours no matter how decadent, smoky and thick.  I apply from my brow all the way to my lashes in a quick light coat and in the corner of my eye because I add shimmer there later.
 
This is so good you want to make sure you know how to apply your products because where you put them is where they are going to be.  Even with a Qtip, makeup remover and trying to go in tight for little fixes, it will still hold onto stains.  It’s amazing!  Obviously if you are lining under or doing cool under smokey eye effects, put it in those places you’ll be applying shadow too.
 
 
<<< step 3 >>> I use the Original Bare Minerals foundation powder only on spots that need evening out and I top it with the Mineral Veil.  I personally use the original formula because I like the shine.  I think matte [and this may just be me] looks dry and dull.  I like to have that youthful glow but it is a personal choice.
 
I never reapply powder during the day.  If my face is ever getting too shiny I use blotting sheets and call it a day.  No way I’m mixing oils with new powder and rubbing it all over my skin.  I just pat and stay fresh all day.  This keeps me from getting even the smallest little skin blemish and I straight up had acne in high school.
 
If you need to, this is an area where you can skimp and save on the $$.  Or if you have acne or scaring problems you can pile on your fave foundations.  As I’ll repeat below, if you have the two primers you’re good to go.  Those are the two most important parts of your routine.
 
<<< step 4 >>> Now that my base is all perfect and set I start building.  The secret to good makeup is to follow your natural shadowing.  I see people not put any makeup color in the crease but put a bunch of dark brown on the lid.  It looks off because you naturally have a darker crease and lighter lid and then a super bright brow bone.  You can change the colors around any way you want if you just follow your faces outline.  Dark for dark and light for light.  It’s super beginner proof.  If you throw on a bunch of foundation and don’t add color back to your cheeks it makes you look weird and pale with no definition.  A face isn’t supposed to look like that.  This is the difference between an amateur “threw on whatever” look and a tailored professional look with your makeup.
 
We’re just bringing out what we already have when we wear makeup and maybe even having a little fun with color and swagger in the meantime.  Just try and remember the most important rule… you can’t bring out one thing and not another.  If you have heavy eyeliner you need darker longer lashes.  If you even out facial tone with a ton of foundation you need to add your cheek color back in.  Miss any of these crucial steps and you end up looking off.  Other important definition fades away.
 
 
For my shadow I first throw a light color on my lid.  For regular wear I’ll do a pale pink or purple.  If I’m feeling really Emo I’ll go to my UrbanDecay Electric palette and put on anything from neon pink to Elmo blue.  Then throw a darker color in the crease of any kind.  I personally use a stark matte black mixed with a cream color to slightly lighten it.  Then I blend white on the top to make the line less harsh and highlight my brow bone.
 
This is another area where you can go cheap.  If you have the good bases you can use any shadow you want and it’s going to stick and stay in place.  The investment if you can’t have it all should always be in the bases that you use.
 
 
Now I go in for my throwback wing tip eyeliner.  I use Kat von D’s Tattoo in the darkest black.  The proper way to start a wing tip or any type of liner is to start thin at the inner corner of the eye and go up thicker towards the outside of the eye to create a cat eye.
 
 
Otherwise you could end up with weird looking eye shapes.  Even if you aren’t doing wing tips your eyeliner shouldn’t be strait and even across unless you just want your eyes to look the same shape.  For me cat or almond and looking open is the way I like to go so it’s thin to thick for me.
 
 
Finally I add a small shimmer white shadow just in the corner of my eye in a little V shape.  This brightens eyes and makes them look incredibly awake.  It really helps immediately lift tired eyes.  So all these steps are lifting and opening the eye making you look more youthful and more awake.
 
 
Also very, very important is how to properly hide dark circles under eyes.  You don’t add a bunch of heavy foundation that matches your skin because it will still be darker than the rest and then call it a day.
 
 
I personally use Benefit Eye Bright stick.  It reflects the light out of the dark circle so it’s like you erased them.  I lightly add ONLY to the dark places.  Not in one insane swoop under my entire eye unless you have a complete dark under eye.  I have the smallest spot under both eyes just towards the inside corners.  That’s the only place I apply mine.
 
<<< step 5 >>> Now I knock out my mascara.  If you buy the Urban Decay Mascara Primer you can buy any brand in the world and it will stay all day.  If you don’t want to spend the extra dough try like crazy to find anything waterproof.  It sticks way longer and keeps from flaking.  Just be gentle and use an oil based cleanser when you wash it off.  The problem with waterproof is that you can break your lashes.  So let them soak and clean gently.
 
 
<<< step 6 >>> Shaping the proper cheek.  I use Warmth from Bare Minerals.  It’s a brick tone red.  Again, with the right base you can grab any brick tone red blush or sculpting brand you want.  I only use a dab on my brush and I very, very lightly add it under my cheek bone to make the actual cheek bone stand out, then a dab on my nose, chin and forehead to add a touch of nice color where the sun would normally kiss your skin in the spring and summer.  It really adds a nice youthful pop of color.  The kind you can lose as you age and the kind that disappears when you apply foundation.
 
 
Then I go in with a pop of bright pink just on the apples of my cheeks for a really youthful touch.  I also add that same touch of pink again on my nose, forehead and chin.
 
 
Finally I use an insanely small grain shimmer called Naked on the tops of my cheek bones up to my temple.
 
 
You can’t see/see it.  It’s not glitter.  It just adds a youthful glow to your skin that makes you look bright and fresh.
 
### And that’s it!  It sounds like it takes a lot of time but I am no pro.  I use really quick and simple techniques for beginners.  I’m not the one with the Mac this number brush and then the Mac that number brush and blending a half dozen colors to make awesome effects.  Any time I’ve ever tried that I’ve ended up taking a lot of time and looking really horrid.  Now that I’ve been doing this routine the past few years, it literally takes me 10-15 minutes in the morning and I’m out the door. ###
 
So there you have it.  And believe me, this isn’t a “do this it’s the best” kind of thing.  It’s just out here for people who ask because I’m always really happy to share what works for me.  If it works for you awesome!!  If you hate it… try YouTube.  There are so many amazing videos where you too can take away a little of this and that and end up with your perfect preferred routine just like I did over the last decade.

Friday, February 19, 2016

I Gave In

 
While on my quest for health, wealth and a strong body for our trip in early summer, I’ve given in on two things.  #1 >>> I’ve been drinking wine on Friday and Saturday nights.  I know I shouldn’t do it because of what it was like the last time I attempted to shape up and didn't eat clean.  I did a full 3 months of Jillian Michael’s Revolution and maybe lost 2-5 pounds max.  My body was toned, no cellulite and what not but I was the same shape pretty much.
 
Then I got sick of working so hard for nothing and ate clean.  I lost 15 pounds in a month and was super ripped.  I’m highly considering doing the Cabbage Soup Diet for a week or two to drop the pounds I need and then maintain with my fitness.
 
But, I don’t yet know if eating perfect and drinking two days a week will completely impede my ability to drop pounds because I’m not calorie counting.  So I may still be under considering how much I work out during the week and how little and healthy I eat.  I will give this week and next week the test and if I’m stuck, it’s cabbage soup for sure.
 
 
#2 >>> I stopped farting around and am doing Revolution again.  I didn’t want to do it.  I just wanted to enjoy myself and take my time getting in shape.  But darn it!  Revolution is so amazing.  You get into shape so quick and it’s only 30 minutes a day.
 
So I’m doing the same thing, working out at 5:00am Monday through Friday but I’m using Revolution AGAIN.  I’ve probably used it a half dozen times to whip myself into pristine shape over the last 5 years.  I would describe it as being a much more mom and full time work friendly P90X.  I could do P90X for 1-1.5 hours five to six days a week pre-kids, but I’m not doing that now.
 
And I hate working out at night.  If I get up and don’t have time to think about it, it’s done and out of the way.  If I leave it until nighttime I usually dread it all day and then run the risk of being too tired to care at night.  This routine keeps me from skipping any workouts at all.
 
 
Besides that, Jaime and I have been weaning tons of fresh fruit and vegetables into our diet.  They make me feel so amazing.  We started on our way to making dinner salads with mixed lettuces, oranges, walnuts, homemade dressings, goat cheese and things of that sort and topping them with sliced grilled steak, scallops, roasted cod and what not.
 
 
And for breakfast I’ve been hitting the parfaits.  They are so easy to make.  I usually buy organic granola type cereal at Wal-Mart from the “fancy health food” section.  Then I’ll pick up fruit like bananas, blueberries and blackberries.  That’s actually about all I like in the fruit department that isn’t on a pit of some kind in my parfaits.  I’ll do a layer of plain or coconut Greek yogurt, about ¼ cup of granola and a nice palm full of fruit.  Whatever I’m in the mood for.  Then I’ll repeat for a second layer all in a glass.  Then I chow on the way to work and feel like a million dollars.

Well, happy Friday! Happy health… and good luck avoiding wine. I know I won’t be this weekend…

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Getting Prepped for Our Trip

 
Yes, it’s early.  We aren’t going on our cross country camping/fishing vacation trip until early summer when the kids are out of school.  But you have to prepare for trips like this in advance (click on any of the product/video pics below for links).
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/35736760
 
Every camping season I do the same thing.  I go into our finished basement area where we store our camping stuff, organized and in a special open area where it won’t get ruined.  I pull out our linens, towels, bathroom floor mats, etc… and start to separate what needs to be washed for our first trip out.
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/34109012
 
I check our pantry and see what foods need to be thrown out, what dishes should be re-washed.  Make sure the heater, grill, etc… is still working.  And of course I wash linens between every trip but when items are sitting from late summer/early fall one year until spring the next, it’s good to freshen everything up.
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/48237542
 
This year I decided to do some massive camping upgrades.  We already have a large 2 room tent, 2 queen size air mattresses, a mosquito canopy, pantry, dishes, cookware, grills and more.  But I had a few things that I’ve decided over the years I really want too…
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/34353216
 
A grilling station where I can prep and cook.  A cleaning station for dishes so I don’t have to squat at water areas.  And I wanted to move all that stuff under the mosquito canopy so if we end up in a swarm like we did one-time last year, I can shut myself in and still cook for Jaime and the kids, no problem.
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/42338314
 
So then we needed another canopy for shade to go over the picnic tables, or our new portable picnic table.  It’s for shade and in case it rains so everyone can still come out and enjoy the outdoors.  No getting shut in for us.
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/7933628
 
I actually broke down and got an A/C unit for this year.  Last year we were stuck in a heat wave that was well over 100 degrees and we were all sleepy and had heat exhaustion.  I paid $$ fast to get in the local pool and we were all so red faced.  I’ll rock the hot weather until it’s unbearable and then our tent has a cool vent in the back where you put an A/C unit.  I’ll feel better knowing the kids have a safe cool place to hide out if it gets too hot.
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/44461785
 
And besides the other things pictured like oversized beach towels for when we hit Tybee Island, GA and the FL Keys it’s pretty much everything I upgraded.  Now I can’t wait to hit the road.  And I can’t wait to hit the Florida marinas that we are staying at!  So the last thing I’ll get in a few weeks here is our fishing licenses for Florida so we’re all legal and legit.
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/42499859
 
Hears to Spring/Summer Weather Coming Soon!
 
Some Random Pics… Our Recipes… Our Family… and the Birds are Laying Eggs Like Crazy… I’ve Been Going Outside Twice a Day (!!)
 
 
And Two Other Workout Videos I’m Really Enjoying that You May Love Too
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_0MgIJdF6k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI_fqH4Z9yU