Thursday, July 21, 2016

Easy DIY Outdoor Lighting

This is a sponsored post.

This summer I’ve really taken to enjoying my outdoor space. You may remember that I did a little rearranging around here and finally placed furniture that used to live on my patio on the deck off of my bedroom. This is such a welcome and practical change. I don’t mind entertaining on my patio but most times when I am alone, I simply go out on my deck to enjoy the night air. My backyard is woodsy and full of all types of animals. I prefer having my feet high off the ground when I am alone enjoying the stars. I’ve invited friends to enjoy my deck with me and I complained that when I am outside despite having citronella candles, I am still bitten by bugs! Well, my friend Tanya informed me that my placement of the candles was slightly off.

I *thought* I was creating an invisible barrier around me and had my candles on the table and in back of me on the railing. She noted that this particular arrangement leaves my legs open and isn’t effective to ward off bugs (hence my bites)! She suggested that we place the citronella candles on the floor and the essence will float up, protecting our entire bodies. Well, she was right! That evening not a single bite! The citronella was effective however, some of the beauty of my outdoor space was lost because I no longer had candles on my table.

I love candles so I decided to make some for my table. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t exactly “make” candles but I did devise a pretty holder for my tea lights that I think are stunning and can actually be crafted for any decor. I used a few Kerr mason jars, artificial flowers and tea lights for my creation. I have to tell you, this is probably the most simple, elegant lighting to change your decor. I removed the flower heads from the stems and placed them in the jars. Next, I filled the jars with water. My final step was to add tea lights.  They float on the water, provide light and the flowers look gorgeous. My mom is visiting and she was impressed! If you are looking to beautify your outdoor space, use this simple inexpensive tip and I promise you will love it!

Check out my video below to see just how easy this craft is to make!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer beauty routine 2016

My summertime beauty routine is a pared down version of my normal routine. Summer is hot, I am ALWAYS prone to sweating and in 100 degree weather, I am pretty much melting. This means I need a foundation that is light, long wearing and stays in place. When I initially went to Walmart in search of the perfect foundation, I looked for CC and BB creams. Unfortunately, at the store I visited I didn’t see one that seemed like the right color for me so I had to go in another direction. I picked up L’oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte foundation in Soft Sable.

I was attracted to this foundation because of the demi-matte finish, air-light weight and most importantly because it says it lasts for 24 hours! I haven’t tested out the longevity but I can say that I like the light feeling of this foundation and the coverage it provides. I have talked about my hyperpigmentation marks that are from my adult acne but I am happy to say that my marks have now faded almost completely. This means that I only need a very light layer of foundation to provide me with even looking skin.

For the summer, I stick to a pretty natural look and for the longest time I’ve wanted eyeshadow that is a golden tawny color for my lids. I found the Black Opal Color Splurge eyeshadow duo in Tawny Tease. I am IN LOVE! These colors are hyperpigmented and give me a pop of neutral color. Exactly what I’ve been looking for and a great bargain at $6.47 price point. Because of my neutral eye, I wanted to make a statement with my lip color. 
I am a big fan of purple so I went with Revlon Super Lustrous lipgloss in sugar violet. This is my least favorite purchase. It is a moisturizing gloss which I like but the color is so light that I might as well be wearing a clear gloss. Not at all the look that I was going for, however it does tie in to the whole “natural” summer glow.

I’d recommend the lip gloss for a teen or pre-teen who is just starting to wear makeup but quite frankly this is not a product I’d purchase again for myself. Overall I am extremely happy with my summer cosmetic routine but I am still on the search for a lip gloss that will pop!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Seafood pasta salad (recipe)

During the summer my cooking habits change a bit. I try to focus on making things that are quick, easy and don’t require during on my oven! We have been experiencing 90 plus degree weather on a daily basis here in Atlanta and the last thing I want to do is make my A/C work harder by generating heat. Summer meals in these parts are pretty light and I enjoy firing up the grill to cook fish, meat and veggies! However, some days I don’t even want to do that, the sweat is real when I am on that hot grill and sometimes I just can’t take it. So what’s a girl to do? I like to enjoy salads and my absolute favorite is seafood pasta salad.

Seafood pasta salad is so tasty, is easy to make and the only thing you have to cook is the pasta! I was able to purchase everything I needed for my salad at Walmart. I started with
Pasta Gourmet Ocean Adventure Pasta 100% all natural ingredients, GMO free, no added salt or sugar, Durum Wheat pasta made with dry tomato and spinach.

I love the shapes, they provide something interesting and fun for my son and the pasta tastes great too! My son is picky so anything I can do to make eating new foods adventurous, I try it!

All seafood pasta salads are not the same, for quick and easy I took several shortcuts. I used imitation crab and lobster meat which comes in a package. Of course if you are having a dinner party or special occasion meal, you can go full out and buy lump crab meat, cook lobster tails and chop into pieces. I also purchased a cocktail shrimp ring. Notice a theme? No cooking on my part, all I had to do was boil water for pasta and cook for 7 minutes! I added chopped celery, fresh dill, mayo, salt, pepper and onion powder to the mix. Chilled and served. Absolutely delicious and ready to be chilled in less than 15 minutes. I suggest placing the salad in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving and this salad lasts so you can actually make it a day ahead of time if you like!

I served up my seafood pasta salad with a green leafy baby spinach and spring greens salad topped with Ristorante Italiano Garlic Parmesan Dressing.  This Italian dressing is a blend of oils, vinegar, artisanal cheeses and spices. Seafood pasta and green leafy salads, perfect for the dog days of summer!

Seafood Pasta Salad

1 package Pasta Gourmet Ocean Adventure Pasta
3 stalks celery chopped
1 tbsp chopped baby dill weed
1 package imitation crab meat
1 package imitation lobster meat
1 cup cooked chopped shrimp (I used a shrimp cocktail ring for my shrimp)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 small onion chopped

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, rinse and place in large bowl.
Mix in all other ingredients.
You can add more or less mayo based on your personal preference.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Balance Bars a perfect snack for sugar cravings!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, products and compensation have been received for the creation of this post. As usual, all opinions are my own.

As someone who enjoys working out, I try to find the perfect combination of exercise and healthy eating that will keep me as healthy as possible. Most times I am successful but like everyone I do give into my cravings. I believe in eating everything in moderation but I can tell you that keeping my desire for sweet treats in check does take tremendous willpower and sometimes I am not as successful as I’d like to be. Moderation becomes overdoing and I am left feeling like I’ve comprised the hard work that I’ve been doing. I try not to beat myself up about it and recognize each day we are given is an opportunity to rally and turn things around.

I know I share this struggle with many other women, especially during that time of the month when my hormones want what they want and eating fruit just won’t cut it. That is why when I was introduced to Balance I was pleasantly surprised. Balance bars allow you to give into the cravings for sweets and incorporate nutrition at the same time. The bars are a balance of protein, fiber and fat with the sweetness that I know I enjoy.

The best part? The flavor. Balance is available in five flavors - chocolate caramel peanut nougat, Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle, Dulce de Leche and Caramel. My favorites are the Dark chocolate pecan turtle and chocolate peppermint patty. They are so delicious and a perfect snack after I finish my workout. And at under 200 calories, no guilt! Balance bars are available in regular and mini-sizes and can be found at Walmart and Amazon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

4th of July Red, White and Blue Fruit Cheescake Pizza

It is hot, hot, hot! But heat won’t stop the show. And by show I mean the 4th of July! I have been taking full advantage of the weather and using my grill for good! I cannot wait for the holiday because I know opportunities to go to a barbeque will abound and I have the perfect dessert to bring to the fete. Fruit cheesecake pizza! When asked by Walmart to come up with a 4th of July baking recipe I had a great dessert idea. I went to the store, picked up all the items and was ready to get to cooking. However, there was a niggling feeling in the back of my mind that perhaps I’d already shared this particular recipe. I checked and sure enough I’ve already blogged it. These are the problems that come with blogging for almost a decade! But have no fear, I am pretty inventive and decided to use most of the ingredients I already had on hand and made a quick stop at Walmart after my son’s camp drop off to acquire the additional ingredients.

I am beyond pleased with this red, white and blue fruit cheesecake pizza! And since it was quickly devoured, I am convinced that this is a winner. The ingredients are simple - refrigerated sugar cookie dough, cream cheese, plain greek yogurt, vanilla, blueberries and strawberries. I rolled out the dough into a circle and baked for 15 minutes. After I removed the giant cookie from the oven, I used a plate as a stencil and cut it into a circle. I then made the cheesecake using 1 package of low fat cream cheese, 1 6 oz container of plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.  I whipped in my Kitchenaid mixer until it was fairly stiff and spreadable. As it whipped, I cut up the strawberries. Next I spread the cheesecake in a thick layer on top of the cookie. I decided to make a circular pattern with the fruit but the design is entirely up to you. I refrigerated it for 15 minutes and my work was done!

This quick and easy 4th of July dessert is sure to be a winner at your holiday barbeque or get together!

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