Carrot Cake, Must Make!

If you are a lover of carrot cake, this one can’t be beat.  I have tried many carrot cake recipes over the years and this one is definitely the best by far.  I have to thank my good friend Katie for this amazing recipe.  She brought this to my house one night for happy hour years ago and I beg her every time she comes to bring it again!

Mrs. D’s World Famous Carrot Cake

Batter:

1 ½ cup oil

2 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. vanilla

3 cups grated carrots

Chopped nuts (optional)

Combine sugar and oil and eggs.  Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  Add to sugar mixture and beat well.  Add vanilla and grated carrots.  Bake in a 13×9” pan at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  When cool, ice with icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

1 stick margarine

8 oz. cream cheese

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

 

LipSense…my new must have!

My friend Heather started selling SeneGence products and in particular the LipSense product (you can find her page here Heather’s Luscious Lips).  The company stated that the lip product was an “all day wear” color which could last from 4-18 hours.  I love to support my fellow Mom’s in their endeavors, so I ordered.  I had never heard of it before, and figured why not try it out.  I did a little research to find out that their products are made in the USA, no testing on animals, made with only a handful of ingredients.  In my research I did see that some celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Christina Aguilera also use it.

I decided to order the starter kit…always a good place to start…LOL!Starter kit was $55 and came with one tube of the color choice, gloss, and oops remover.

I choose my color PRECIOUS TOPAZ as it was most like other lipsticks that I wore and knew it would go with most of my clothing options.  With over 79 different colors, choosing one was the hardest part of the process.

I received my product a few days after ordering and off we went to apply!  I did watch an application video provided on her FB group page  Heather’s Luscious Lips.  It was very easy, three very light coats with 3-5 seconds of drying in between and it was done!  Yesterday was a busy day for me and I knew I would really be putting this product through its paces and would be a great day to really review it.  We had a baby shower to attend (lots of eating and drinking) we also had church and plans for dinner and drinks after with friends.  I showered and dressed, makeup applied at 10:00am…you can follow the picture progression, but I applied it ONLY ONE TIME!

Application:

3 coats of color, 1 coat of gloss

Longevity:

NO RE-APPLICATION of color!

Off to baby shower, I did lots of eating and drinking.  No lip stains on the glasses.  Next to church, added a little more gloss. Dinner and drinks with friends.  Lots of hugging, kissing cute kiddie faces hello and goodbye, and eating/drinking.  No lip prints left behind.  Several times I wiped my mouth with a napkin just to see if anything came off…NOTHING was there!

After almost 12 hours, still going strong!

Removal:

By 10:00pm I was ready for bed!  Off I go, taking the advice of the application and removal video I watched I put a generous coating of the Oops Remover on and let it sit while I took off the rest of my makeup.  I would say it sat for maybe like 5 minutes total.  I took on clean tissue and with no rubbing, just a gentle wipe, it was off.  No tugging or massive scrubbing at all.

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  • Long lasting
  • Easy to apply
  • Great saturation and pigmentation of color
  • Lots of color selections
  • Gloss was VERY hydrating and NOT sticky at all (felt like a nice lip balm)
  • Did not wipe or kiss off
  • Easy to remove

Cons:

  • Lips did feel a little dry when the gloss had worn off.
  • By 9:30pm I could see that the color was stronger on the outside of my lips than it was on the underside.  With my lips together you could not tell, but when I looked in the mirror with them apart I could see it.  Not a huge con as it was almost 12 hours after application and only myself would have noticed it.

Verdict:

LOVE and will definitely purchase again.  The $25 tube of LipSense will last me a lifetime with only three very light coats applied a day.  I love that you can get other colors and mix and match a coat from two different tubes to make your own special color.  The colors combos are endless.  They have a great selection of lighter shades/hues to dark and rich ones to suit everyone’s tastes and styles.

*This is an honest review of this product.  I have no affiliation with this company and I purchased this product for my own personal use.  I was not given any compensation for this review.

Stitch Fix GUY!

You can check out my LIVE box opening Heidi’s Happy Hour to see the whole reveal.

My guy’s turn to Stitch Fix !

If you want to try STITCH FIX, click here.

After having success with my last Stitch Fix box, I decided to introduce my husband to the world of subscription boxes.  He reluctantly agreed and I he is very happy with the results!

What’s in the box?

Weston Crew Fleece: Great piece by Threads 4 Thought – Basic black pull over, but super soft.  Lightweight and can easily be paired with jeans or even chinos.  Can wear a tee under it or a collared shirt.  Husband like casual comfort, so this was a great choice for him.

Verdict: Keeper


 

 

Kingston Burnout Vee Tee: This piece was a great choice for hubby.  The casual wear is great and the color was spot on for him.  He will get a lot of use out of this one.

Verdict: Keeper

Lancaster Chino: Flag & Anthem brand, love them!  Theyar eLove the style, colors are fun, and fabric is very nice.  I am not thrilled about the pattern and think for me its a little too trendy and not sure I would wear it after this season.

Verdict: Keeper


Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt: Hawker Rye brand, color and style was right on.  It was not quite the fit that he was looking for as it was a ‘slim’ fit and hubby is more of an ‘athletic’ fit.  Quality was very good, heavy cotton blend.  It will need very little ironing when traveling.

Verdict: Keeper*

Painted Leather Belt: Boconi brand, great belt and his wardrobe was missing this color.  He had a great pair of shoes recently purchased and it matches perfect.  Nice quality.

Verdict: Keeper

Styling sheet is one of my favorite things about Stitch Fix, you see different ways to wear the pieces, day to night or casual to work.  I also love the personalized note that my stylist left for hubby.  Emily really did a great job on this box.

The million dollar question

and the one that I have gotten asked often is this…what is the cost?  Hubby set his parameter for “cheaper the better” and for his box, I thought it was spot on!  His total box (including the bonus 25% off for taking all items) cost less than $150 for FIVE items of clothing.  I was very pleased at the quality of the items as well.

*The button down shirt was not a perfect fit for hubby, but we kept it because it was essentially free (if you purchase all five items, you get 25% off, well that discount was right around the cost of the shirt).

Final verdict…

Hubby is already signed up for his next Fix!!  He thought the stylist did a great job.

What’s Next?

I’m a goer, a doer, a fixer…I’m not a good wait-er. Patience is something that I struggle with, something I pray for daily.  I hate being stagnant as it only creates more havoc than good in my life.  That being said, my meditation mantra, something that weirdly enough has just morphed for me is “be still and wait”.  Sometimes I think we just need to sit back and see what comes next and not always push forward and ‘make’ or ‘force’ things to happen.  Of course nothing happens without hard work, determination, and vision we all know that, but sometimes just being still and waiting to see what the universe is saying is just as strong an asset as any of the others.

So, for now, I will leave this here….I’m strong and ready for what is next.  Bring it on!

Thank you to Helene at Center for Clarity, Compassion, and Contentment for the wonderful free 40 Days of Meditation that I have been following.  It has been so beneficial for my focus.

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Apple Cider Vinegar…Yay or Nay?

I’m intrigued with all the different uses of this common household staple.  From drinking it to using it as a face tonic, to washing your veggies and even as a hair product.  It seems the more I research the more amazing uses I am finding.

SKIN / HAIR:

  • Mud Mask – Last night my husband and I (yes, I convinced him to try it with me) did a great mud mask using Aztec Secret – Indian Healing Clay it’s made up on 100% natural calcium bentonite clay and you mix it with equal parts mask and apple cider vinegar (ACV) (I used the organic Braggs ACV).  If you have sensitive skin, you can start with mixing with diluted ACV.  Leave it on the recommended amount of time, we did our for a little over 15 minutes. My skin felt like I had just gotten a facial at a spa afterward.  I will be doing these weekly.   Dan (hubby) said the same thing, it felt like it really exfoliated his skin and left it feeling very pure.  You can see the LIVE video of the whole process here at Heidi’s Happy Hour.
  • Toner – I’ve also put some in a small container in my bathroom to use as a face tonic. I mixed 1 part ACV with 2 parts water.
  • Hair Wash – 1 part ACV mixed with 1 part water and put it in your hair.  Let it sit for a bit and then wash out.  It is said to remove product build up.  I did this today, and it made my hair feel very soft and *clean* – but not stringy at all.  I will make this a routine as well.

INGESTING:

  • Drinking – For days the bottle has been sitting on my counter staring at me.  I know the benefits, I’ve researched and read it, but somehow, I just couldn’t bring myself to get it down the pipes!  Well, after lots of encouragement on my Heidi’s Happy Hour FB page, I decided to give it a go.  I decided I would start with a small 2 tsp amount and I would mix it with 8oz. of cold water.  I have to say, you can watch the video for yourself  on my page, but it wasn’t all that bad.  I would like to work up to the recommended 2 tbls amount that most researchers  suggest.  This is a great article that lists the benefits 6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.

WHY DRINK? Researchers have found that drinking 2 tbls of ACV a day can lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, aids with weight loss by helping you feel full, and kills bacteria from the inside out.

Braggs ACV

  • Eating – You can also add ACV to bone broth soup and enjoy the benefits that was as well.  I got the recommendation of this soup that looks very delicious.  Bone Broth you can add a few tbls to the broth and enjoy.

Check out the research and this article from Authority Nutrition with these 30 Surprising Uses of ACV.

As with anything, please check with your healthcare professional before starting anything new!  Don’t overdo it!

I would love to hear more about your experiences, tips/tricks.  Leave me a comment below or head over to my FB page Heidi’s Happy Hour to see more discussions.

Cheers!

 

Tiki whatawhat?

That was my response when I asked what’s the first dish a non-Indian eating girl like myself should have to try the cuisine.  The dish is actually called Tikka Masala, and let me tell you, I was in for a treat!  I searched around the web for a bit and settled on this recipe from Food Network – Chicken in Creamy Tomato Curry: Chicken Tikka Masala that you can find here.  We’ve had it twice now and both times it’s light out good.  I am not a “high spice” girl, which has been my hesitation behind even venturing into Indian food to begin with.  This recipe was super flavorful with just a hint of heat.  All three of my mildly pickey eater kids even ate it and liked it last night.

 Helpful Hints:

  • Had a hard time finding Garam Masala seasoning in our grocery store.  Here is a link where you can order it from Amazon http://amzn.to/2lU3CHC
  • We used our electric griddle to cook the chicken on since we don’t currently have a grill.
  • We substituted the serrano peppers with ONE jalapeno pepper with seeds removed.
  • We were short on time so we only let our chicken marinate about 1/2 hour.
  • Served it with jasmine rice on the side.

I would rate this recipe a 4 out of 5 stars.  Will absolutely make again.  If you decide to make it, leave me a comment below.  What should I try next?

Tea Anyone?

As Mother’s Day is approaching, I like to think ahead.  I did these for Christmas this year, but I think they would be super cute for Mother’s Day gifts.

Waterfall Mugs…  You can see the video that I used to do them from the Babble site here.  Here’s my pro’s and con’s…

PRO:

  • Easy to do with kids (mine are ages 8-12)
  • Very little mess
  • Quick
  • Inexpensive for a nice gift

CON:

  • Using the alcohol ink / Mod Podge method, they bled a little bit which didn’t give us the exact look we were going for.  Still cute and gift-able, but not exactly like the end product on the video.

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VERDICT: The came out cute for a nice quick gift, but the next time I do them I would try this method using nail polish instead of ink, I don’t think they would bleed as much.  You can check the post from Working Mom Magic here.

I gifted these mugs with some loose tea (I purchased a sampler set and broke it up, one for each mug), these adorable Owl Loose Tea Reusable tea bags, and Snail tea bag holders.

We did these mug gifts for under $10.00 each which I think was a great deal.  People love to get handmade gifts if they are useful and of course made with love!

WIN_20170312_11_50_16_Pro

Here is a complete list of the items that I used, I ordered them all at Amazon to save my sanity and the running around.  You can probably easily find them at a local craft center – Michaels or A.C. Moore too:

Rubbing Alcohol

Foam Paint Brushes: http://amzn.to/2mfxiv8

White basic mugs: http://amzn.to/2nt2hE4

Alcohol Ink: http://amzn.to/2lQxmFc

Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge: http://amzn.to/2niRPzU

Added these to make the complete gift:

Loose Tea Sampler Pack http://amzn.to/2niOIYJ

Owl Loose Tea Reusable Tea Bag http://amzn.to/2mA2k38

Snail Tea Bag Holder http://amzn.to/2nsRABo

If you make these, let me know how they come out!  I would love to see your designs.