Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January Recommendations


Skimmers, recommendations are in bold. Anything that's colored text is a clickable link. Aside from me, this month you get recs from Emily at Martinis & Bikinis and Nicole at Nicole Marica.  Both of these ladies are on my daily reads list, I hope you follow them all the ways! Links to their blogs and social media accounts are beneath their photos.


Follow Emily on
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1. L'Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Exfoliating Scrub: I've been using this scrub for over two years and love how it gently cleans your pores, removes makeup, and exfoliates skin. It comes with the Srublet attached at the front which is soft but still effective at deep cleaning your face at the end of the day.

2. Formula 10.0.6 So Totally Clean Toner: The sales clerk at Ulta recommended this toner and I love how it works. It's also gentle without a harsh alcohol smell and the price tag is very affordable compared to some of the bigger makeup brand names.
 

3. OPI's On Her Majesty's Secret Service nail color - I painted my nails this color for NYE and loved the dark sparkly look for the holidays or, if you love sparkles like I do, it's a pretty nail color for anytime of the year. 

4. Bluapple: These babies help prolong the freshness of your fruits and veggies. We eat lots of veggies so my storage drawer in the fridge is usually stacked full and I place the Bluapple in there to keep everything fresh and prevent fast spoilage.

5. Stirrings Dirty Martini mix: It's no secret, I love dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives. I've experimented with different recipes and finally found Stirrings Dirty Martini Mix which is the best tasting in my books.
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Follow Nicole on
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1. Lace Sleeve Tee at Loft. I ordered this shirt originally in the wine color and loved it so I waited for it to go on sale again (longest week of my life!) and ordered it in the white color. I rarely purchase the same shirt in different colors so it's safe to say that I love it! The fabric is soft and lays perfectly.



2. Risk! Podcast I'm obsessed with this podcast ever since I discovered podcasts existed. I love listening to other people tell tales from their lives. It makes me feel a little closer to understanding others.

3This is Where I Leave You I love books that make me laugh but are also "dramatic" enough to keep me intrigued. This book was the perfect mix and I couldn't put it down. The movie was really good too, plus it had Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in it and you can't go wrong with those two!

4. Cheesesteak Egg Rolls I had these gifts from God at a work function and they were amazing. I tried to make them at home and failed (it was, in fairness to me, my first attempt at frying anything), but they're so good I'll risk making them again. 

5. Hand Relief Creme by Aveda. I've never had to deal with dry hands and I hate the greasy feel of most lotions. This year, however, my hands have been ridiculously dry and I've tried a ton of hand cremes, this one was the only one that moisturized my hands and didn't leave me feel like my hands were an oil slick. 


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1. Wayfair: I bought pendant lights for the kitchen from this site. I think their home stuff is really cute and the prices are pretty good on some stuff. High on others. Anyway I also got a fruit basket that arrived sort of leaning a little. They were really great about the return, helped me to process it when the website gave me trouble, and refunded it without me having to ship it back. They said to just donate it. I thought that was cool. This level of customer service will guarantee that I'll be back when I need something else.

2. Not Your Mother's Way to Grow Long and Strong Shampoo and Conditioner: First, they smell awesome - my coworkers can smell it on hair washing days. Second, they're safe for color-treated hair and are sulfate-free. Third, they're only $5.99 each. Fourth, they're recommended by my beauty guru Jill. Win, win, win, win. I recommended some other Not Your Mother's products back in April 2014. I really love this line.

3. Bite Beauty high pigment lip pencils. These are awesome and not drying at all. I have one in Velvet and one in Amarone. I love them. They're pricey at $24, but they have no parabens, sulfates, or synthetics. Kathy B originally introduced me to this line and I love it. I have a lipstick too but these pencils are where it's at for me.


4.  Getting groceries delivered. Seriously, where have I been? I used Peapod this past weekend and that's how I'm rolling going forward. They shop, pack, and bring the groceries right to your door. I'm trying to cut down on my after work errands and this will be revolutionary.

5. Baking your hard boiled eggs. Put eggs in muffin tins, bake at 325 for 25 minutes, put immediately into an ice bath for 10, peel, store, done. The most success I've ever had with hard boiled eggs on the peeling side. Plus I don't need to wait for water to boil. Done and done.

Thanks to Emily & Nicole for their recommendations! My sixth recommendation is that you enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card. What else are you going to do in February aside from troll the internets looking for loot?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you recommending this month?

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 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Breakfast Burritos. Ole.


Sometimes I look at my calendar and see very little time for food prep. So I need to make adjustments. One of those adjustments is using a weekend where I have more time to do some make ahead meals I can freeze. For breakfast, my favorite freezable option is the breakfast burrito.

They're super simple and customizable. In the picture above, I've omitted the spinach and topped with the salsa instead of incorporating it into the egg mixture. If you have any questions about what might work and what might not, let me know!

Thanks to Kristin's help with recipeasy, all of my recipes will now be printable. I'll eventually go back and reformat the old ones too.

Breakfast Burritos

by SMD @ Life According to Steph
Keywords: breakfast
Ingredients
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 pound ground meat - pork sausage, ground beef/chicken/turkey.
  • small can diced green chiles
  • 1-2 cups of baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • whole wheat soft tortillas (I've used varying sizes)
Instructions
Melt butter in large pan. Add onion and saute for about two minutes.

Add ground meat and brown until cooked through. Drain and set aside.

Beat eggs well and add spices. Pour into greased, warm non-stick pan and scramble. Add spinach, salsa, and diced green chiles about halfway through. Towards the end, add the ground meat mixture. When eggs have reached desired consistency, set aside to cool.

Lay tortillas out on clean surface. Put a little over a 1/4 cup of the egg mixture down the center. Top with cheese. Roll up into a burrito and secure in plastic wrap.

Continue until the egg mixture is gone.

Stack wrapped burritos in a gallon-size freezer bag and freeze.

To prepare, unwrap burrito and place on microwave safe plate with the folded side down. Heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds, flip over, and heat for another 30-45 seconds.
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Haikuesday
Eggs are a good start.
So is winning the lotto.
Eggs...a better bet.
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Linking up for
Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, January 26, 2015

TWTW - where is January going?

Spotted at the gym Friday night: a Ghostbusters car. After a year and five months of living here Mae realized the china cabinet rattles sometimes and remained obsessed and disturbed all night while Gus adopted his typical WTF attitude about the situation. Other excitement: laundry and obsessive book reading. Have you heard of You?
Saturday presented itself with a small amount of wet, heavy snow. I am the neighbor you see outside shoveling snow in her pajama bottoms. It wasn't that cold, so no need to get gear on or get dressed to shovel. I followed that up with a nice breakfast of avocado on multi grain toast, eggs, and strawberries. Then I sat in my nice quiet house (thanks Kate for the gorgeous flowers) and ordered a new washer because ours shit the bed that morning. I was downstairs wringing out clothes over the sink like Laura Ingalls Wilder on the freaking prairie and MFD yelled down, "I guess we're not calling American Home Shield." No, we are not.
Things I'm attempting:
-Eliminating a lot of driving/after work errands so I had groceries delivered on Saturday. I was always all no one else can pick my produce and wrong again, they actually can.
-Sticking to my eating well 80% of the time thing, as evidenced by weekend lunches which usually tend to involve a lot of cheese.
-Using up all of my candles. I like how cheap and smelly (in a good way) some Glade candles are, but they burn foolishly. No thanks.
-This isn't new, but making more granite cleaner for my counter tops. This time I used melaleuca and wild orange essential oils.
Saturday night we met our good friends Jill & Frank at Cibo for a late dinner. Good food and the wait staff all sings so there was entertainment too. I had pan fried goat cheese over arugula with a balsamic reduction (I would eat this every day) and linguine & clams, one of my old favorites. I was not impressed with their dessert menu. My cheat meal for the week and those fuckers didn't have any cake. Why I didn't bring my point & shoot, I don't know. Sorry for the grainy pics. But take note of the elevator graffiti. Juicy karkass indeed...it hurts me to mirror their misspelling.
Work is crazy, so I spent a lot of Saturday day and Sunday working. I wanted to get going right away on Sunday morning so I whipped up a two minute breakfast, egg in a mug (click to go to the recipe), thanks to Nicole  from Nicole Marica Blog. I used regular eggs, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. You can't beat the simplicity. Try it! Our washer was also delivered and installed before 11 a.m. Now that is some awesome.
Weekly food prep, starting from the bottom...hard boiled eggs and power breakfast muffins for this week's breakfasts; potato leek soup skinny style for this week's lunches; butternut squash, peas, quinoa in an olive oil/rice wine vinegar dressing; and baked shrimp, sauteed veggies, and brown rice for Sunday dinner with leftovers for Monday. Other dinners include baked chicken with the quinoa side, blackened salmon with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed veggies, and eggs scrambled with veggies and salsa.
I closed Sunday out with the gym, clothes all laid out for the week, a book, and my beloved Downton Abbey.
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If I could trouble you for a minute of your time on this fine Monday, would you mind clicking here and voting for MFD (Michael Doyle on this list) for Bucks County Happening Realtor and clicking here and voting for Mugshots owned by our BFF Angie on the Philly Happening List? And of course, if you're looking to buy, sell, invest, rent, or anything else to do with real estate in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, I got a guy I can recommend (MFD). And if you want a good local coffee place in Philly, check out Mugshots!

Lots of good stuff coming at you this week: breakfast burritos; recommendations from me/Emily at Martinis & Bikinis, and Nicole at Nicole Marica; a giveaway, and more. Let's end (!!) January on a high note, shall we?
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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending
















Saturday, January 24, 2015

Egg in a Mug


Hello everyone! I'm Nicole and I blog over at Nicole Marica. Steph has graciously allowed me to take over her blog for the day and since she likes to share simple, delicious recipes with you, I figured I would do the same! Nicole Marica is more than just recipes though, I like to share books I've read, beauty products I like, and things that happen in my everyday life too!
                    
I love eggs with add ons like ham, cheese, tomatoes, or bacon. The problem is that when I'm at work making a decent breakfast isn't always an option. That's where egg in a mug comes in! 

It's super simple, all you need is egg beaters and then whatever add ins you'd like! I use 1/2 cup of egg beaters (which is the equivalent of 2 eggs) and prefer the Laughing Cow creamy Swiss cheese with some deli ham sliced up. I also highly recommend spraying the mug with some cooking spray before you put the eggs in for easier cleanup. 

Here's how you do it:


 That's all there is to it! Super easy and quick! Please come visit me at my blog, I'd love to hear from you!

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There you have it friends! A special Saturday treat from Nicole, a quick and easy recipe for you to try. Start your day off right with eggs in a mug and a visit to Nicole Marica! Another local blogger, Nicole is one of my daily reads and I hope she becomes one of yours too. 


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Friday, January 23, 2015

The heart that gives, gathers - Tao Te Ching



Every January I pick the charities I'm going to focus on that year so I can look for volunteer events and set our charity budget. Charitable donations of all kinds are very important to me and MFD. We believe in helping others and that life is not complete unless we're doing that. We believed that when we were young and struggling, hoping we could pay all the bills that month and eating noodles for dinner, and we believe it now. Even when you have no money, you have time, and time is much needed.

While I do give to help others, I also give because giving makes me feel good. There's something intrinsically, instinctively human in seeing a need and doing whatever small thing you can to fill it without wanting anything in return. I'm a reflection of my community and what does it say about me if I ignore situations in front of me that could use my help?
I wanted to share this year's choices with you not to be all look what I do but to spread the word about the charities I've chosen and tell you why I've chosen them. You might find one here that resonates with you, or it might inspire you to think about the impact you want to have in your community this year. The giving spirit can spread like a virus - when I hear of others helping, I want to help too. Let's spread the giving sickness like wildfire.

Project HOME
Their mission is quite simple: none of us are home until all of us are home. Project HOME works to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. I like that this organization is close to my office and helps the homeless people I pass on the streets and in the train station every day. Philly friends, the homeless outreach hotline is 215-232-1984. If it's freezing or if you see someone struggling on the streets, give them a call.
Closer to our home and his office in Bucks County, MFD volunteers with Advocates for Homeless and Those in Need, an interfaith nonprofit providing temporary help to the homeless and those in need by offering emergency shelter, food, clothing, and other related services with dignity and compassion. He works on Wheels to Meals year round and Code Blue overnights during the colder months.

Rosa's Fresh Pizza
I first mentioned Rosa's here, and have since shared updates on my FB page as they got facetime from the local Philadelphia media as well as Ellen and People Mag.  I am crazy about this guy's business model. He wants to serve me hot, fresh, delicious pizza for $1 and also give me the opportunity to feed someone else in a dignified manner that day? SOLD. You can also purchase t-shirts and sweatshirts to help the cause. When I can't make it down there, I simply buy Little Rosas online and I can feed one, two, five, 10 people with the click of a button. It reminds me of Mother Teresa. Do what you can. Rosa's gives you the opportunity to help someone with just a dollar.


Bark For Life
This is the first year in I don't even know how long that I will not be at a Relay For Life event. I love Relay because it honors those with all types of cancer, and unfortunately we know many people who have or had all types of cancer. Both Relays local to me are on the same day, a little later in the month than usual, and occur when I'm away on vacation. Since I can't physically be there, I'll be donating to a friend's team and forcing my dogs and two additional lucky handlers to participate in Bark For Life in May. Bark money goes to the American Cancer Society as well and supports their research, patient advocacy, and patient programs.  I'm also looking for a Pancreatic Cancer Walk in the Philadelphia area that my family can do in memory of my Grandmom. Please let me know if you know or hear of any.


Bucks County Housing Group Food Pantry
Aside from not having a home, nothing makes me sadder than thinking of people going hungry or being unable to afford to feed their families. This program is independently operated and funded. MFD passes by one of the food pantries frequently so he can drop off our donations. It's important to remember that they need food donations all year - not just at the holidays.

At Christmas we'll be adopting a family through the workplace of our friend Jack. I always want to do this and forget and end up spending most of my budgeted charity money with Toys for Tots. We'll still do some for that, but the majority will be for this to address specific needs of kids.

We'll also support charitable causes/activities/races of family and friends (usually Charity: Water, Lupus Foundation, Wounded Warrior, Juvenile Diabetes, National Multiple Sclerosis Society) as we typically do throughout the year, but these five above are where my attention will be focused: I want to keep it local this year. MFD has a few of his own to add to the list as well, I'm sure.

What about you? What types of causes speak to you? How do you give back?

Do you guys read Karen at Book Delight? Fellow readers, you should follow her. You'll enjoy her posts. Anyway, I'm over on her blog today talking about my five favorite books. If you know me, you know that was an impossible list to make. Click here to see it. Thanks for the invite Karen!

I have something special for you tomorrow! A super simple, healthy, and quick breakfast recipe from Nicole Marica. See you in the a.m.

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Linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites.


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