Monday, January 31, 2011

A Little Bit of This & a Little Bit of That!

In my makeup collection, there are two palettes that are my most recent gifts. I love these both for very different reasons, and they are almost polar opposites of each other. The First would be the Naked Palette by Urban Decay. Now, let me explain, this is MY FAVORITE palette of the ones I have. It's safe to say this is my "go to" palette. It has an array of different neutral shades that I'm confident could create a look for ANY occasion. I've done brown smokey eyes, charcoal smokey eyes, gold shimmery eyes, plum/brown eyes and so many more, all with this one palette!

The closed Naked Palette. The outside is so cool to touch, its a velveteen chocolate brown color :)
The palette opened up, comes with a double sided 24/7 eyeliner in Onyx & Whiskey & a tiny Primer Potion as well!! There are 2 Matte shadows in this Palette, third in from the left (Naked) and 5th in from the left (Buck). Virgin (1st on the left) is the best brow bone highlight EVER! :) (The new Palettes replaced the eyeliner duo with an eyeshadow brush)

*This palette is so hard to come by nowadays because it's in such high demand. I asked my Sephora to notify me when it became available and when I got the email I ordered right away and still had trouble reserving it! I suggest grabbing one if you see it, because you probably won't see them for long, and this is a DEFINITE must have for anyone's collection! The eye-shadows have a great payoff and they are a very decent size as well. To view its availability on Sephora click here ! $48

This next palette is also by Urban Decay (I think its safe to say I kind of love Urban Decay products lol) It's called the Book of Shadows III. I love this palette first off because its so uniquely packaged! It has a whole NYC cityscape with lights and a mirror.  Although this makes the packaging a bit more bulky, in my opinion, I think this is definitely worth the art work :) You will find much more bold colors in this vs. the Naked Palette. This is something I use when I'm going out at night and wearing something a bit more subdued. Personally, I never like to play up my wardrobe AND my makeup, it's one or the other.

Front cover

The artwork I was speaking of! How cool!! You cant see because of the lighting, but there are lights positioned throughout the scape :)

As you can see it comes with 16 shadows, all shimmer finishes except one matte black (always useful!) Comes with 2 eyeliners in Zero and Ransom (a pretty iridescent purple) and a tiny primer potion. 

*I love that there is a little bit of everything in this palette. There is still quite a few colors that can give you a neutral eye look, but if you're feeling bold you could definitely whip up something of that nature as well. The eyeliners are great, I have yet to have problems with smudging and I feel confident recommending them for the waterline as well :) Also, the color payoff is amazing, as with all Urban Decay shadows that I've ever used. Unfortunately, Sephora and Ulta no longer carry this product, but you can still find it on the Urban Decay website here ! $54 Happy Shopping! xox

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chop it up! --My Favorite Salads

It's no secret that when I find a great salad I can eat it for months straight! At the moment I have two absolute favorite salads, both very different. My first one is a simple, three ingredient salad, the second one is a more intricate salad with many more little parts, both are equally amazing :) Lets get started:

Simple Salad

This salad is just one of the ones I always get, there are however many brands of boxed spring mix salads in the produce section of your grocery store. This salad has a pretty great taste. I don't like iceberg because I feel as if it has no taste at all. Spinach and arugula are just two of the things you can find in these boxed salads, and this beings such a fresh great taste to your mix! With this I grill a little chicken and cut it into pieces and throw it in the salad and top it off with my MIRACLE dressing. I say miracle because in my opinion this dressing can make ANYTHING taste good. I've used this dressing on steaks, chicken and salads and I love it more each time :)  You can add some croutons or anything else you may like but I leave it at this and its just as good.

 Chopped Salad

Next is my favorite restaurant salad. With a mix of so many things that I already love eating separately, this is fail proof for me. Included in this salad is corn, apples, bacon, blue cheese, avocado, tomatoes & romaine lettuce. All of these ingredients are chopped finely to perfection and tossed in a vinaigrette dressing. You can try this salad at The Cheesecake Factory :)

I hope you can add a little spice to your normal "salad regimen" (haha) by trying one of these! Enjoy xox

Cute Knick-knacks!

It was one hot month in 2006  (I believe), that a few friends and I ventured to Bethlehem, PA for Music Fest. Bethlehem is such a beautiful town let me tell you! Its set up like a little village with so many shops and parlors, definitely a sight to see. While venturing into different shops, mainly trying take in some air conditioning to relieve some of the heat stroke signs we were feeling haha, we came across this vintage shop. This place was crawling with everything vintage and I was in heaven! The girls and I discovered this table with tons of little knick-knacks that had the funniest pictures with even funnier captions attached. Later we learned that the woman responsible for bringing us many laughs was a woman named Anne Taintor. She creates everything from magnets to car fresheners with these hilarious illustrations and sayings! Needless to say we all stocked up on her items and I still find myself picking up some of her things which I sometimes find at local boutiques.

* To view these and even more of Anne Taintor's work click here !

Scrumptious Sweets!

A few months ago, while at my friend D's house I came across this recipe in a magazine that she had in her kitchen. This book was glorious, it had hundreds of recipes JUST for COOKIES! My taste-buds can't really handle extremely sweet things, so the baked goods that I usually make aren't too too sugary. On another note I do not like chocolate, but love white chocolate.  I know I know I'm missing out, or so I hear! haha This recipe is a mixture of oats, cranberries, and white chocolate, all things I absolutely love. For this reason I am so excited to share this recipe with you all :)

Just as it looks, this cookie has a bite of cranberry, white chocolate and oatmeal in EVERY bite guaranteed. Its quite delectable! :)

For this recipe click here. Enjoy xox!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lets Kiss & MAKEUP!

Have you ever gotten a sudden small breakout on a part of your face that you normally don't? Noticed some abnormal irritation on your face? This could in fact be from "dirty" makeup brushes! Makeup brushes can sometimes harbor some serious bacteria if not cleaned proper enough or often enough. These bacterias transfer onto your face and can cause blemishes and breakouts. Just as you wouldn't put a dirty toothbrush in your mouth, you shouldn't put a dirty brush on your face. Below I am going to show you a simple way to deep clean your brushes. Now this is just MY way of doing it, you can adapt your own way as well, as long as you're getting those babies clean! I suggest being near the sink as this will make things a whole lot easier and you will be using water.

What you will need: Sponge, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I learned this trick from a makeup artist!), Baby Shampoo, a dry cloth to lay your brushes on and paper towels or napkins.

First you are going to want to spread out your brushes on a clean dry cloth. You will be using this cloth later as well to lay them on for the drying process.

Second, grab some EVOO and drizzle a small amount onto a paper towel or napkin

On this napkin in a swirl like motion and swiping back and forth motion as well, you are going to work the brush through the Olive Oil. This conditions and gets some of that deep built in makeup out. You will often notice immediately, I definitely do, that tons of makeup comes off right away! I get so happy when this happens haha

 Grab a clean sponge and moisten it with some lukewarm water and add some baby shampoo (any brand).

 Next, take your brush and swirl back and forth in a circular motion on the sponge, creating a nice lather. This is another way of cleaning the brushes and also washes off all of the oil.When you are finished, rinse the brushes with the bristles face down in a light stream of water. work the soap out with your fingers.

You do NOT want water to seep underneath the metal part on your brushes! This will cause them to rust and you will get much less use out of your brushes before you find them falling apart at the hinge. Always work with your bristles face down!

After each time you use your brushes on a daily basis, you do not have to do this deep clean. I do it to my brushes every two weeks (I do not wear makeup everyday). In between though, when I do use them, I ALWAYS sanitize and clean them with a regular daily makeup brush cleanser. You don't have to use a MAC one, I just so happen to have this one. Any brand will work just the same. For this do the same method that you did with the Olive Oil and the Napkin!

Hope this was explained easy enough! Enjoy and remember a clean face is a happy face! xox

Here Ye, Here Ye-- I Present to You, Her Royal Madgesty, Princess Ruby!

Ruby and I do photo-shoots often, as you can tell shes LOVING this one hahaha

Royalty has arrived! lol Ruby is definitely Mommy's Princess, and I always keep her well aware of how amazing she is via supreme spoiling. Everyone knows I talk to her more than some people in my own family, yes I'm one of those. 8 years ago I was so blessed with her presence when my nagging brother finally got his way and was able to get a dog. He loves her, but lets face it shes a mommas girl so I took over primary care of her haha Ruby has many nicknames, most of which just I call her including, Rubina, Princess, Mama, Ruby Scooby and many more. Ok...ok lets get back to normality, ehh hem..Dogs are seriously mans best friend. I had always heard this before, but never truly became attached like this to a dog until Ruby. Shes such a bundle of joy. She greets you at the door, wags and jumps around, shes AMAZINGLY house trained, its astounding how short a time it took us in the beginning to teach her rules and commands etc. All in all shes just a pretty amazing dog, and I feel so lucky that we got to share our lives with her! <3

On a less brightening note, there are many canines out there (and other animals as well), who aren't as lucky as Ruby to have come across a loving home and shelter and food everyday. If you've ever visited an animal shelter, you know that as soon as you come into the sight of a needy animal, their eyes light up (I always ball out crying of course). No animal deserves to live their lives in a shelter on a cold cement floor, crowded with other animals. Every animal deserves a chance to become part of a family, and to share their lives with someone. Although Ruby didn't come from an animal shelter (mainly because my brother was younger and we didn't want to risk possible unstable behavior from an adopted animal), without a doubt in my mind, I will for sure have pets from animal shelters in the future for my own children, its an amazing gift to give to not only the pet but to yourself.

*If you are not able to shelter a pet for whatever reason, no worries there are other ways that you can help! It's as simple as calling your local animal shelter and asking them if they need anything i.e. food, toys etc. Sometimes they just need people to come visit the animals and play with them, my brother and I have done that before and it's so much fun! Either way act now or regret it tomorrow. xox!

To find out more about what you can do, and info on your local ASPCA click here & here, or just call your town municipal offices.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Can I get a SIDE of that?

Do you ever make an excellent main dish and think, hymm what can I use as a side dish that not only complements what I made, but also makes the plate look even? lol This has happened to me so many times, so I am going to share a few dishes with you that are quick and compliment a few dishes that come to mind.

Firstly, Sauteed Green Beans, one of my personal favorites!

Level: Easy
Ingredient Count: Approx 4

What you're going to want to do is go to the grocery store and get those green beans that you have to get a handful of and throw into those plastic produce bags. Once you get home, with kitchen scissors if you have, or a knife if not, trim off the ends of the green beans and halve them.

Grab a saute pan and drizzle a little bit of Olive Oil on the bottom to cover the bottom of the pan. Add some minced garlic, DO NOT burn the garlic, which is so easy to do. Don't let the oil get too hot before adding the garlic or else you will get a huge splatter and burnt garlic in no time. Another key is to keep the flame at a low level. Once you add the garlic and it has been sauteing  for a few minutes, add the green beans mixing thoroughly to assure the flavors of the garlic are distributed throughout.

I love the part where I see the green beans turn a bright almost kelly green color, this lets me know that they are cooking to perfection. Add salt and pepper to your liking and mix thoroughly once again. Now this part is completely up to you, how long to saute. I like my beans to have a little bit of a crisp to them, I'm not one for mushy vegetables, but if you like them softer leave them cooking a little longer.

Next, Garlic Chive Mashed Potatoes!

Level: Easy
Ingredient Count: Approx 5

Growing up, my brother and I would always ask my mother and grandmother to make mashed potatoes, it was by far our favorite side dish ever. Mashed potatoes are a go to item when cooking a steak or sometimes a chicken as well. They are simple to make and always a hit as well.

You can start by peeling the potatoes if you wish, often when I use red skin potatoes I leave the skin on, adds a delicious texture and taste to the recipe! Add the potatoes cut into tiny chunks into a pot of boiling water which you should season with salt. When the potatoes are soft enough for mashing, drain them and add butter, milk, salt and pepper while mashing and stirring. For the Chives and garlic, use finely minced garlic and wash your chives (found in any supermarket near the produce) and finely chop. Throw these ingredients in the pot with your potatoes and mix all together for a lovely savory side dish!

That's a Spicy Meat-uh-Ball!

Ground meat has to be one of the most versatile things one can have lying around the kitchen. You can make so many things with it just think. There's meatloaf, hamburgers, Meat sauce..MEATBALLS! lol One of my favorite meatball recipes comes from Teresa Giudice. My grandmother makes amazing meatballs, I was raised on them! However, I was looking for a different tasting meatball one day and I came across this recipe one morning while watching The Rachel Ray Show. These meatballs are juicy, optionally spicy, and so succulent not to mention that whenever I cook them at my boyfriend's house they are such a hit with everyone! Well lets get to the good stuff already, here we go.

Level: Intermediate (don't let this scare you though!)
Ingredient count: Approx 9 (this includes sauce as well)

To see all the details on how to whip up this fantastic dish click here ! Enjoy :)

 Just for fun, I think of this clip whenever I think of Meatballs! haha

Some of my Favorite Eats..Yummy! :)

Ok so everyone who knows me knows I may be thin, but I eat like there's no tomorrow! haha There aren't many foods that I won't try and that I don't like. That being said, I have razzled and dazzled a little in the kitchen myself, to feed my craving for a delectable dish. I love spicy anything, so most of these recipes are altered to be more spicy, but I shall let you know where that part is optional. Shall we begin? YES!

Cacio e pepe
Ingredient count: Approx. 6

Cacio e Pepe is such an easy dish, anyone can whip this baby up in no time and find their stomach happily filled :) Its pretty much cheese, pasta, and pepper. How simple is that?!

Ingredients : Olive Oil, Pasta of your choice, Black Pepper, Salt, Pecorino Romano Cheese grated and Butter & Red Pepper Flakes which are completely optional!

1. You are going to want to cook a pot of pasta as you normally would. I suggest adding a teaspoon or so of Olive Oil to avoid the pasta sticking together, gross! Salt your water well, and cook the pasta until its perfectly al dente.
2. Drain the pasta and reserve just about a cup or so of the water, this will be used later :)
3. At this point, in the same pot that you cooked the pasta in, you may add the optional butter, and throw that pasta back in there. Some recipes will say to add the reserved water in as well, but I like to add it gradually after adding the other ingredients to assure the texture I'm going for is achieved to perfection!
4. Add a significant amount of Black Pepper (approx 1/2 tsp), salt (approx 1/4 tsp) and your grated Romano cheese (approx 2 cups) at this time, as this will be the means of flavor.  At this time you may also add some Red Pepper Flakes. Warning: with red pepper flakes a little goes a long way!
5. You are going to want to "fold" all of these ingredients together while slowly adding some of the reserved pasta water. Once you get to the texture you're going for, voi la, you have yourself one of my favorite delectable EASY dishes.  Buon Apetito!

Note: Another recipe for Cacio e' Pepe can be found in Skinny Italian which can be purchased here !

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Sissy Poo!

My Dearest Sistah Sistah! lol You are my bundle of joy :) You are silly, thoughtful, gorgeous, caring, loving, smart, a go getter, and best of all you're one of my Best Friends. I love that we can lay in bed and talk all night giggling and making our stomachs hurt from our awkward sense of humor! To have a sister is truly a blessing. Its someone who you can nag and get on their nerves but at the end of the day they still love you the same. Unconditional love comes with most family, but with sisters its extra special. I have big aspirations for you. Go get em' girlfriend! Love you xox

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there.
-- Amy Li


Friend, Amiga, Ami, Amico....SOULMATES!

My 23rd Bday With My lovies <3
Ahhh Puerto Rico 2007 With my Best Friend!

These are my very best friends ever :) There is so much I could say about each of them, but then this post would NEVER end lol So I'll just say this, they are each amazing in very unique ways and without them, my life would be pretty boring. When you find a great group of girls like this, you hold onto them tight and cherish their friendship forever!

Good Reads

"Obviously, if I was serious about having a relationship with some one long-term, the last people I would introduce him to would be my family."-Chelsea Handler

"My relationship with my father had been on the proverbial fritz since the time I was fifteen and called the police to report him for child molesting. He had never molested me, but I wanted to have a party that weekend and needed him out of the house."-Chelsea Handler
"I went out with a guy who once told me I didn’t need to drink to make myself more fun to be around. I told him, I’m drinking so that you’re more fun to be around."-Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler, Chelsea handler, where do I even begin lol Well aside from having a pretty hilarious night time show, where she refers to Belvedere Vodka at least 5 times per interview, she is also a NY Times Best Seller!!! I have always found it hard to find a comedian that really cracks me up, and let me just say she is surely one of them haha I decided to start this year off purchasing a few new books, and took it upon myself to decide that comedy was going to be the genre for January. As I perused through bunches of books in the biographical section, I found something that was a great mix of both, almost as perfect as a mix of lemonade and iced tea, Chelsea Handler books! Needless to say, when I know I'm going to be purchasing a lot of books at once, I always order from amazon, because it comes out cheaper, why pay cover price right?! It took me just short of two weeks to finish reading both of her books! My Horizontal Life is a comedic book based on all of her one night stands, and boy she was one wild Jewish girl I'll tell you that much lol Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea, is another book that had me cracking up! This one is about various things she went through in her life that were just too funny. One of them I remember was about her getting jumped by a bunch of Latina school girls haha I can't wait to start reading her latest book Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang ! All in all I would definitely recommend these books to anyone who enjoys her show and her sense of humor, as it is very much brought out in her writing as well :)

A Woman of Inspiration, My Idol!

I honestly can't remember a time I wasn't enchanted by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's ways. Everything about her phased me as fabulous and sophisticated. From being a debutante, to being a courageous mother and wife, she was always a person I found myself admiring and looking up to. I have an extensive library of books about her life and the life of her family. Those who know me well know that I often grab another book about her whenever I stop by Barnes & Noble. To me, there's always something more I could learn :) I remember doing four biographical papers about her through my academic career, and as I got older the intense research required of me for these papers got deeper and deeper, and therefore more exciting for me. Jackie O' was an amazing woman, a woman who was filled with courage and valor, and I can only hope to be like her one day!

The Fork & Knife of Makeup!

Just as we use different utensils to eat and write, we also need utensils to paint the canvas called our face! Makeup is truly an art, they don't call em' makeup artists for nothing. I've seen some work done by artists that completely transform the clients look and I always thought it was so interesting. I do not want to be a makeup artist myself, but I can definitely appreciate their talents. For years I have been doing my own makeup, I started doing makeup that required more than two brushes Sophomore year of high school. The brushes I used were cheap to say the least, but hey I was just experimenting so I didn't want to go all out yet. In order to achieve a masterpiece you need to be patient, practice and most of all HAVE THE RIGHT UTENSILS (tools)! For the makeup connoisseur this would be brushes, all kinds, colors, and textures. This Christmas my boyfriend purchased me the best brushes ever, and I'm so excited to talk a little about them :) 

Sigma Makeup Brushes Complete Kit with Brush Roll. Click here for more info!

I can definitely say that these brushes, and any good brushes for that matter, make makeup application so much easier, and all in all more fun! I have yet to really use every brush, but for the most part I have tested all of these babies and I'm in love :) This is the perfect starter kit for anyone who does makeup on a daily basis or just for special occasions as well. Its easy to use and easy to store away nice and neat, something we all know I'm obsessed with haha Thanks Gerard! <3

Meet My Lovebug!

So this is Gerard, my boyfriend :) We met in College at Seton Hall University, and clicked instantly! We became best friends and inseparable, but didn't maintain a romantic relationship until 2007, 2 years later. I'm so lucky to have him, and feel blessed everyday that I found someone like him, we are literally two peas in a pod! We just marked another year of being together and I couldn't be happier.
"For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
~Rosemonde Gerard"