Happy 4th of July!

>> Friday, July 1, 2011

I found an awesome, super-easy recipe for Fruit Pizza on Allrecipes.com that I thought would be perfect for the upcoming 4th of July weekend. I love a good dessert and anything with fruit, I'm sold on.

Fruit Pizza


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (I used neufchatel cheese for less fat)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 1 teaspoon)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Mix in egg. combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased pizza pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until light. Spread on cooled crust.

Arrange desired fruit on top of filling, and chill. I used strawberries and bluberries for a festive 4th of July theme. Enjoy!


Royal Wedding Mania

>> Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding

The big day is just around the corner. Tomorrow Prince William will marry Catherine Middleton and her dreams of becoming a princess will come true! While most of America won't be awake for the royal festivities, the DVRs will be set on record. I'm excited to view this little piece of world history, as I was not around when Prince Charles wed Diana Spencer all those years ago. It makes me think of my own wedding some day- What dress will Kate choose? How will her hair look? Will she be super nervous and forget her lines at the altar? The whole world will find out tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Vacation: All I Ever Wanted

>> Saturday, April 9, 2011

You know the words, "Vacation, had to get away." The Go-Go's definitely knew what they were singing about back in the '80s. Jon and I just got back from a relaxing six day vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We truly needed the rest and relaxation. It was so nice to enjoy each other's company and not worry about work the next day. Our main priorities were sleeping in, getting plenty of sun and downing several alcoholic beverages. Mission accomplished. Now if we could just schedule a regular vacation every three months or so, we'd be set! Check out some of our photos from the trip:

Hanging out under my palapa
View from our room at Villa del Palmar

We had dinner here. Food was delicious!

Square in downtown

Night photo of us at the beach

Los Arcos

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

 Enjoying the sun and pool


Spring is in the Air!

>> Thursday, March 24, 2011

With the time change and the first day of Spring this past Sunday, I've been in the mood for baking. I stumbled on this delish recipe for blueberry muffins in the March issue of Woman's Day magazine.

Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins
from Woman's Day Magazine

Active Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk (I used skim milk)
1 large egg, beaten
6 oz fresh blueberries (1 1/2 cups)

Recipe Preparation

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup of the sugar; make a well in the center.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it melts, swirl the pan until the butter begins to brown and smell nutty, 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat.

4. Pour the butter, milk and egg into the well of flour and stir to combine (a few lumps in the batter are OK—don’t overmix); fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups; sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool before unmolding.

These are so good that all of your neighbors and co-workers will want to know your recipe. Be sure to bring enough for everyone!


What's in My Bag

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011

It has been a whole month since I last posted! That kind of upsets me, but I know currently "life" is getting in the way. Anyway, I realized I'm missing out on doing something I love when I don't post, so here is my latest post to get back in the game. (Sometimes adages are so lame - if think about it literally, blogging is not a game).

I wanted to do a fun post about what's in my purse; essentially items I can't leave home without. Every woman has at least a few things she must carry with her at all times. Here's what's in my bag:

  1. Michael Kors black leather wallet - I found this for a steal at Nordstrom Rack. Perfect for keeping all of my cards organized. Sleek and sophisticated; just the way I like it.
  2. Clinque Almost Powder Makeup in Neutral Fair - By far the best powder I've found. I like my face to look fresh and light, never cakey. I swear by Clinque's light-weight formula and this compact is perfect for touch ups.
  3. iPod Ear Buds - These are a must have when I'm trying to talk on my phone and drive. The buds have a speaker that when connected to my iPhone I can talk hands-free. Also, they come in handy for their main purpose of listening to music while I sweat it out at the gym.
  4. CVS Maximum Redness Relief eye drops - My eyes tend to get strained while staring at my computer screen all day at work. I whip these drops out when the redness starts to set in and viola! My eyes are fresh and relieved once again. No one likes to look like a stoner in front of their colleagues.
  5. True Blue Spa Look Ma, New Hands lotion - The dry winter really gives my hands that years-beyond-their-age look, so I need a thick, moisturizing hand lotion. This small tube is the perfect size for my purse and packs a moisturizing punch for my cracked digits. The softening paraffin smooths out the lines and leaves my hands soft as ever.
  6. Nivea A Kiss of Recovery Healing Lip Care - Just like my hands, my lips always suffer winter's wrath. Luckily I discovered this great lip product that smooths and softens my chapped kisser and protects against sunburn with an SPF 6.
  7. M.A.C. Lip Glass in Pink Poodle - This lip gloss has always been my go-to when I want a punch of color. Unlike other glosses that can be oily and wipe off right away, Lip Glass is lasting and thick so you don't have to reapply every few minutes. My other favorite color is C-Thru, which is a great neutral for when you want to go heavy on the eye makeup but not on the lips.
  8. TRESemme TRES TWO Hair Spray - This miniature version of it's bold counterpart helps me tame my frizz on particularly humid days. I spray a couple spritzes into my hairbrush and run it through to get rid of fly aways or static.
Now that you know what's in my bag, what items can you not live without?


Shattering Effect

>> Thursday, January 27, 2011

I love keeping up with the latest nail polish trends, and I'm always looking to try the next new thing. So, I was excited when I heard OPI had recently come out with a new line of colors named for pop crooner Katy Perry, that launched earlier this month. Included in the line are fun colors named appropriately for the newly- minted Mrs. Brand: Teenage Dream (a plummy pink sparkle), Not Like the Movies (metallic silver), Last Friday Night (a Crayola blue glitter), and The One That Got Away (a deepest dark berry purple). The line also includes a top coat called Black Shatter, which does just what the name implies. I decided I had to test this polish for myself.

I started with a basic manicure and cleaned up my nails trimming, filing and buffing them. I gathered a shimmery silver polish I already had in my collection (Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Celeb City), the recently purchased Black Shatter and my go-to base coat (Orly Top 2 Bottom). *Side note: I tried to get a polish from the Katy Perry line but my beauty store did not have a stock yet. I literally bought their last bottle of Black Shatter. Yes, this stuff is that popular!

I applied a layer of base coat, which I always think is super important because it keeps your nail bed from becoming "stained" or yellowing from the polish. After it dried, I did two coats of the silver polish and let it dry completely.

Finally it was time for the Black Shatter. I did a thin layer of it over the silver polish. As soon as I lifted my brush to move to the next nail, the top coat would begin to "shatter." Depending on the amount of top coat you put on, you can get different effects on your nails. Here's how mine turned out:

I have to say I'm impressed by end results. I love the cool effect it gives my nails, and I think it would be fun to try with the other Katy Perry polishes. I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for what OPI has to offer next.


Best Beauty Finds of 2010

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I hope everyone had a fabulous New Year! I started this post at the end of December, and didn't get around to finishing it until now. Whoopsie.

I learned a lot in the beauty department in 2010. I definitely cut back on the amount of money I spent on beauty products and went on a search for more budget-friendly alternatives. I was pleasantly surprised that many drugstore brands can hold their own to the pricier department store products. While I still had my little splurges, I managed to find some great stuff out in the sometimes overwhelming beauty arena. Let's take a peek at a couple of my faves:

Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara
I call this my "miracle in a purple tube." Not only does it give me thicker, fuller-looking lashes but it doesn't clump either. I traded in my beloved BeneFit BadGal Lash mascara ($19) for the same effect with a smaller price tag of only $8.99. This way I can afford to have one at home and one in my purse. I've even had a woman ask me if my eyelashes were fake - Compliment indeed!

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
I have been waiting for a cheaper, yet comparable eyeliner to hit the market and here it is! This baby glides on smooth with the help of my flat liner brush (the eyeliner comes with a small brush, but I chose to forgo it) and rarely needs a touch up. I was previously spending $14 for M.A.C.'s Fluidline eyeliner, but got this for half the price, with the same effect.

L'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base Primer
This little jar of primer is an all-in-one wonder for prepping my face before I apply makeup. It's great for hiding unwanted fine lines and smoothing your skin for a perfect canvas. And for all of those Urban Decay Primer Potion fanatics, this one can hold its own for applying eyeshadow as well. I had previously been using the department store products at $18-$30 for a small tube, but scored this 0.5 ounce jar for $10.99. L'Oreal usually has coupons in the Sunday newspaper circulars or on their website, so you could get it for much cheaper. Score!

Too Faced Lip of Luxury (*splurge*)
I'm usually a lip-loss-only type of gal, but after reading some stellar reviews for Too Faced Lip of Luxury lipstick, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I scooped up this lipstick at Sephora for $20 in Free Love (pale pink) and it's been a staple in my purse since. This lipstick glides on smooth, is easily buildable, and leaves my lips feeling smooth. If I wear it out at night, I put a little clear gloss over it to make it shine. While the price may be more than the drugstore brand, this stick is worth it!

I'll be keeping my eye out in 2011 for more great beauty deals. Do you have a favorite product you just can't live without?