Monday, November 28, 2011

My Experience Cutting Down My Own Christmas Tree!

I have always wanted to cut down my own Christmas tree but never really got around to it.  As a child I remember watching Home Alone and loving how he went to his yard and cut down the tree haha In many other Holiday movies this adventure is featured as well. I got to thinking this year and did my research to assure that I would be able to make this happen :) Below I am going to post a few pictures of my day at the tree farm, I definitely recommend taking advantage of this type of activity if they offer it in your area.  It is a great way to spend the day with your family/loved ones/friends and really have a relaxed good time!

Some Highlights From This Day:

  • For those of you from New Jersey, the place we went to was called Stonerow Tree Farm.  It was a bit of a drive from my house, but well worth it for sure.  
  • It was our first time there so we had no idea what to expect.  When you arrive you get a map of the farm (which is HUGE!) and you park your car in the lot.  Then you grab a hand saw of of the fence
  • There were people/families having cookouts outside the trunk of their cars, roasting smores on the campfire that was lit at the farm, playing music, drinking etc. It was like we were tailgating at a football game! I loved it!! Had we known this, I'm sure more of the men of the family would have come knowing they could just flip some burgers and have a drink ;) 
  • The map is divided into sections called "fields" according to which variety of tree you are looking for.  My boyfriends mother was looking for Blue Spruce and I was looking for something other than Douglas Fir because that's what I always get, but of course the one I fell in love with (and that was big enough for my high ceilings) was a Dougie haha 
  • You walk through fields of trees and choose the one you want.  Mind you you are on your own, there is no "supervisor" around to assure that you know what you're doing, although I'm sure if you needed help someone could assist you in the beginning. 
  • Once you choose your tree you (or your strong husband/dad/boyfriend/friend etc) get on under there and begin sawing.  My boyfriend said it was easier than he thought it would be, which is always good to know.  After your tree is cut, you drag it to the dirt road, just a few feet away and walk back to where the holiday festivities are going on.  A truck will come pick up your tree and you claim it with your claim ticket back at the beginning within a few minutes.  
  • I loved that this farm also had a gift shop called the Merry Moose Gift shop.  They had all sorts of fun decorative Holiday things in there, I was in my heaven! They also had a little "canteen" type thing inside where you could get hot cocoa, chili, hot dogs, coffee, tea, etc! 
Overall I have to say, after experiencing this once, going and buying a pre-cut Christmas Tree will never do it for me anymore.  I am sure that I will return to this exact place next year. It was so welcoming and overall just wonderful from beginning to end.

Driving home with TWO trees on the roof of your SUV on the highway,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shop and Tell : MAC/Bath & Body Works!

* Swatches above (left to right) : Shadowy Lady, Festive Delight, Trax, Lighfully, Fun!, Black Tied
I haven't been really buying any beauty items lately because I know during the Holiday season I am going to go crazy with purchases.  I figured I would leave it until then, but also wanted to grab at least one item from the ever so coveted MAC Holiday Collection.  I was torn  but definitely knew I wanted to get one of the palettes.  I liked the other one they offered as well, but felt that this one had more "holiday-like" colors.  I love the packaging and although I have only done one look with this palette so far, I love the holiday sparkle in all the shadows :) Is this a palette I could use everyday, probably not because of all of the glitter, but definitely a fun one to say the least.  

When it comes to Holiday scents and decoration, I am a SUCKER.  I just had to stock up on some of my personal favorite things to smell during this season.  I always light my candle while I read at night or clean or watch TV, and I love my house to smell cozy and warm :) The above scents are for sure divine!

*Clockwise the candles are [Gingerbread, Marshmallow Peppermint, Tis' the Season, Sleigh Ride]
*Wallflowers, not seasonal, are Japanese Cherry Blossom (my FAVORITE!) and Cranberry Pear Bellini, DELICIOUS!

Sending You Holiday Goodness, 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter Coat Options!

In my neck of the woods (can't fathom that I just said that phrase haha!) the weather has been on an emotional roller coaster it seems.  One week its 60's-70's, the next week, like this week, its 40's! While that leaves much room for those with a weak immune system to get sick (I recommend keeping up your immune system with daily vitamins and my favorite Echinacea tea from Traditional Medicinals!), lets look at the bright side of things, and take this as a sign to whip out those winter coats :) Below I am briefly going to go over the many types of winter coats that you may see in stores while shopping for yours--take note and narrow in on the best one for your needs/fashion sense :)

1. Puffer Coat
Puffer coats are perhaps the most popular, at least where I live where the weather can get absolutely frigid. They are a more casual approach I think, as obviously you wouldn't wear this over a dress to a fancy restaurant haha However, they sure are warm.  Most are filled with down--and a they come in various lengths and colors and even some with a faux fur lined hood! Belted or not, these are the most practical in my opinion for everyday use. 

2. Trench Coat
Ahhh the classic trench coat. I really love my trench coat, it's from years ago and I got it at Gap.  It is a lighter lined one though, so I can only wear it in the spring, which I don't mind.  I love the style of the trench--that cinched waist with that signature trench style belt.  I don't recall these coming super thick and winterized, but this can go over a suit jacket/blazer for a classic look :) London Fog is my favorite trench brand--whenever I think trench, I think of them.  

3. Military Style Coats
This is perhaps my favorite "dressier" coat for the entire winter season.  I love that it is different than the traditional pea coat style (which I will touch on next) and I love that it looks edgy and structured.  I love the hardware (buttons) on these coats and I really think they add a nice military touch.  These come as thick or thin as you please depending on the months that you are buying them for.  The ones pictured above are wool :) Nice and warm!

4. Peacoat
Did you know that in the past the pea coat was traditionally worn by Naval Officers?! How cool is that! Let's talk modern though :) The peacoat is a go-to coat for many people.  It is traditionally made of wool, super warm and has neat details like different lengths and a double breasted front.   This is your best option to bring you through various styles and outfits as it can be worn over something more dressy as well as over some jeans.  

5. Cape Style Jackets

I LOVE capes! My goodness if I could wear these everyday I would haha I think I love them so much because the late Jackie O' (My style ICON) wore these very often and they remind me of her a lot.  Capes also come in varying lengths, cropped or longer as pictured on the right above.  This allows you to really customize any outfit easily.  Stay warm and look fashionable, what could be better right? I am always cold--sometimes even in the AC in the blazing summer--call me crazy I know haha That being said, I really love the sleek clean lines of a winter cape, but also that your arms are all nestled inside near your body heat :) 

6. Motorcycle Jackets
Motorcycle Jackets are more of a fashion accessory to me. Don't get me wrong, they are gorgeous, but I personally find that I am never really THAT warm in them, and you know I'm always so cold! That aside, I think they are truly a great fashion statement.  You will definitely find zippers galore on these jackets as pictured above, and that is really a nice touch. They are typically made of leather or faux leather and I actually think they look super chic and edgy on women :)

7. Toggle Coat

Toggle coats for some reason or another remind me of being a little kid and bundling up to head out to play in the snow stiff as a snowman haha I buy my nephew toggle coats a lot because I just think they look so adorable! The toggle, which is so easy to secure is a nice alternative to the already overused buttons on every other winter coat :) The toggle style can be found on wool jackets, puffer coats and many other styles of winter coat.  

Comment below and let me know which is your favorite style to wear for Winter.  I have a few coats, but thinking of getting new ones and donating my current ones to a local coat drive :) We shall see. 

To staying warm and fashionable this winter season, 


Monday, November 14, 2011

My Attempt At Making Lumpia Was A Success!!

For those of you thinking "Lumpia"--what the heck is that?! Well, my friends, it is an absolutely DELICIOUS Filipino version of an egg roll, pretty much.  I don't like Chinese egg rolls actually, but I love these babies! My boyfriend's sister hosted a "Pacquiao-Marquez" fight night party at her house.  Being that Pacquiao was the man we were "rooting" for (mind you I know NOTHING about the technicalities involved in boxing really haha), I thought it would be fitting to make a traditional Filipino appetizer. This was my first time ever attempting this and I went off of pretty much photos and a bunch of variations of recipes on the net.  The ingredients I used were pretty much a little of each recipe I found, making sure I only used things that I actually didn't mind tasting myself.  Needless to say, after having my boyfriend roll them together (as frustrating as it was!) they came out absolutely perfect.  Crispy on the outside, juicy and flavor filled on the inside--I was in heaven! You don't have to use ground pork, you can actually use ground chicken or beef etc, but I tried to stay true to what I was reading from most of the recipes (as well as a few Filipino friends we have) and I used Pork.  (I RARELY eat pork, this was definitely an exception!) 

I am not going to give you the run down on the actual recipe I used because honestly, it would be too difficult to recall exactly what measurement of each I used! I can however, recommend a fabulous Lumpia recipe from a Filipino Guru on YouTube that you all probably know, ItsJudysLife! She makes these with her mom and they look VERY close to the recipe I actually used, AND we even use the same dipping sauce (which by the way was the icing on the cake I'm telling you! DIVINE)!

**To get the Lumpia Wrappers and the dipping sauce, I visited a local Filipino Market (thank goodness my boyfriend lives in a well cultured area!) They had everything there, although I only bought the sauce and wrappers there. I purchased everything else at a regular supermarket.  

Watch Judy's video and give these a try! My version came out SUPERB and I already got requests to make 100+ for a Christmas party :) 

To see Judy's Video Click Here

To food that packs a punch like Pacquiao, 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Mini Shop and Tell: Milani/Palladio/Revlon/Estee Lauder

1. Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Fig #123
2. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in #680 Temptress (Creme)
3. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in # 013 Smoked Peach (Matte)
4. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in # 477 Black Cherry (Creme)

**I went out on a whim by purchasing Black Cherry--it literally looks almost black in the tube, but as you can see it is a beautiful cherry color-perfect for the holidays! Smoked Peach is my favorite of the bunch, I love colors like that and even in the Fall you can put this under a gloss or over a lip pencil of a different color to deepen it up a little for the perfect fall color! I must say, the Estee Lauder lipstick shown, I've had for sometime (I think I got it in a gift set or something), but never really included it in any other blogs and its my favorite red for the Fall so I decided to add it in here--I LOVE the way Estee Lauder Lipsticks smell, I can't exactly pin point what the smell is but its glorious! 

1. Palladio Eyeliner in Dark Green 
2. Milani Liquif'Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil in 04 Aqua
3. Milani Liquif'Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil in 05 Brown

*I LOVE how smooth and pigmented the Milani Eyeliners are--without a doubt some of the best drugstore brand eyeliners that I own. The Palladio one on the other hand was a no go.  It was very hard to work with, had to be heated up before I used it to get any color power and all in all just not worth it, you can even tell from the swatches how different it is from the Milani ones!

Beautiful eyes and Lips,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Product Review: Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Hot Rollers

Shown above are the Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Hot Rollers.  I purchased these for around $34 at Target.  I haven't owned a set of these for YEARS. The last ones I ever used were, I believe, for my 5th grade school photo and they were my grandmothers! haha I have tons of curling irons, wands, etc..but I wanted to try to achieve a more voluminous loose look for those days where I am time restricted (and I will tell you why this is great for those on a time constraint in a second).  I seem to have been getting really lucky with the hair tools that I am purchasing lately because I think they are all winners! I have yet to be disappointed, thank goodness :)

What this comes with: 
  1. 20 Hot Rollers in 3 different sizes, large, medium and small. 
  2. Around 23 Clips
  3. The case, obviously! haha
 What I loved about this product: 
  • These rollers heat up SUPER fast. I would say about 45 seconds and you are good to go.  There is an indicator on the top of one of the hot rollers that turns clear when they are ready :)
  • The fact that there are different sizes. This is great because sometimes you want only the large waves and sometimes you want a tighter look. What I do is I use ALL of them in my whole head but concentrate the different sizes in different areas for the perfect look. 
  • I love that there is a tiny spot on the right where 3 clips can be held.  The clips are actually clamped over a hot piece of metal that allows them to heat a little too, this helps generate more heat into your roller as you clamp it into place.
  • These clips, unlike the old fashioned metal wire like ones that I used to use, don't hurt your head at all :)
  • In just 20 minutes, the time it takes me to shower pretty much, my hair is ready to be let down.  That's pretty amazing considering the beautiful results I achieve. 
  • These store nicely in their case. I have seen the ones that come in a bag and whatnot and I definitely prefer this case, it protects all of the equipment and stores nicely underneath my vanity :) Oh and I love that they are pink, are you seeing a trend with the last two hair products I have reviewed ? ;) haha

*Always use a heat protectant on your hair before any type of heat exposure.  I use the It's A 10 Miracle Leave in Product when I have just washed my hair, and on those days where I am using hot rollers on my "day old" hair (which is when I generally use this because it gives your hair SERIOUS va-va voom where it would look pretty dull otherwise), use a regular spray in protectant like Tresemme etc. 

*Another key in achieving the look I am going to show you below is to GENTLY run your hair through the curls after they are let down and cooled etc.  This will soften them :)

*Last but not least, be sure to apply a flexible hairspray LIGHTLY.  Remember you want to achieve natural flowy glamorous hair not stiff overworked locks.

Of course the only picture I had readily available was one I took on my iPhone! The quality isn't that great but hopefully you can catch the gist of how flowy and soft this hair looks.  This is on my next day hair too! Who would have "thunk" it?! :) xox

To remembering to take pics on my digital camera instead of my phone next time,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Drinking To Your Health: My Favorite Tea's and What They're Good For!


It's Tea Time! haha Ok, just kidding--but it is time to take a look at how something so readily available to many, such as tea, can make a pretty substantial difference in maintaining your everyday health.  I sometimes think that one has to either be a tea lover OR a coffee lover, perhaps because I have yet to find many people who absolutely love both, but I am sure they are out there.  I, myself, abhor coffee and adore tea :) When I was younger and I was trying to be a "grown up", while my mother enjoyed her morning coffee, I would have her make me some decaffeinated tea, which I would then drown in milk and sweetener because I didn't REALLY like the taste of tea then, but cmon I had to pretend! haha Nowadays, I drink tea for a completely different reason, not only is it a great thing to keep your body warm during the colder months, but with age, I have come to learn that there are many health benefits to drinking certain teas--hot or cold :) Here is what I have found: 

**I do NOT claim to be a "tea-ologist" guys, this is just some basic information about what I personally researched and things that I personally drink :) 

Above you are seeing what I use to make my tea. The Kettle is called Kettle Express and by the brand Melita.  I absolutely love this thing! It heats up so quick at the flip of a switch and quickly heated water means you get your tea faster! It is also electrical so no putting anything on the stove etc., just plug it in! :) Below that is what we keep our "fresher" teas in and a few packaged ones as well.  I love this tea case--I can view what specialty teas I have right through the glass pane and also it keeps any air out that may cause the teas to age quicker--something I try and prevent especially with my fresh Chinese Tea's.  

Lets talk health for a moment:

Green Tea Benefits: 
  • Studies have shown that those who drink Green Tea on a regular basis have significantly lower risks for developing cancer!
  •  Green Tea contains tons of antioxidants which are SO great for your body. 
  • The research scientists have done has such great results as far as Green Tea being related to being cancer free, that they are considering using it as part of future cancer therapy!
  • Green Tea also lowers your chance of developing high cholesterol, which means that your chances of heart attack and stroke from this are lowered as well!
  • Green Tea is proven to lower blood pressure
  • Green Tea possesses certain antibacterial properties as well, which causes it to lower your chances of catching certain bacterial viruses--especially the Staph Virus!
White Tea Benefits: 
  • Helps prevent stroke by lowering the amount of cholesterol that is allowed to build up in your arteries.  
  • Promotes the growth of strong and healthy bones. 
  • Helps promote healthy gums and teeth!
  • Contains extremely high levels of anti-bacterial and anti-virus agents, which means better health for you!
  • White tea is absolutely wonderful for your skin :) 
Black Tea Benefits: 
  • Prevents possible clogging of the arteries which can lead to health problems down the road. 
  • Although not "proven" yet, certain studies show that elements in black tea prevent the growth of already existent cancers! 
  • Black tea is wonderful for killing germs on contact--meaning that when you drink Black Tea, you will most likely be cleaning your mouth out of any possible bacterial/viral germs that are lingering in your mouth that could lead to possible sickness down the line! How great is that?! (Makes me want to brew some right now haha)
I pretty much just wanted to touch base on the three most popular teas, at least in my household anyway.  I didn't want to talk to much on those teas that I don't regularly drink because I wouldn't be able to back anything up that I was writing! haha Below are some of my favorite ways to get my "healthy tea" on :)

Instead of sugar or other artificial sweeteners, I prefer all natural honey--it provides the same sweet taste, just better for you and if you don't like the taste of honey, no worries--neither do I and you don't taste any of it actually :)
One of my favorite packaged Green Teas is from this company--Bigelow.  Traditional Medicinals is a brand I just started drinking not too long ago and let me say I am loving it! They are in the organic aisle of my local supermarket and offer teas for ANYTHING--you name it they have a tea for it.  I bought this one because I find that in the colder months, I am ALWAYS getting sick--which means my immune system pretty much stinks. Well let me be completely honest, this is a MIRACLE worker.  It tastes wonderful and helped me through a recent cold I got--I usually get them really bad and instead only felt like I experienced a "hint" of a cold.  I am stocking up on this for sure!

The tea on the bottom is actually a cold canned version of Green Tea.  For the days when its a little warmer or for lunch etc., I drink these.  They are Organic, only lightly sweetened and are SO good for you as they are packed with antioxidants.  They come in a variety of all natural flavors which makes them even more like-able :) I HIGHLY recommend these!

Wishing you all a "TEA"-riffic day! (my corniness for the day haha),