Saturday, December 31, 2011

Montagne Jeunesse Mud Pac Review

"Your face looks very refreshed and wonderful" - My hubby's first words to me post mud face. Not sure if he could actually see the difference, but it was still a nice gesture!


     


In my Influenster Holiday VoxBox, I received a sample of Montagne Jeunesse Mud Pac in Kelp & Seaweed. Montagne Jeunesse masques are free of parabens, vegetarian approved and never tested on animals. Their claim is to "hydrate, nourish and leave the skin feeling cleansed, smooth and glowing". My first impression once I opened the pack was not the best. I didn't exactly care for the scent. It almost reminded me of a men's product but I guess that's what happens when you mix seaweed & kelp. I then followed the directions on the back of the package, cleansed my face, applied the mask anyway and let it sit for about 15 minutes. While it was drying, what I noticed the most was that my skin didn't feel as tight as it has while using other mud masks. When I smiled, I didn't feel like my face was going to crack and fall to pieces.

After rinsing everything off, my face looked and felt refreshed...maybe it was just my imagination but it seemed to be a tad bit brighter. My skin also felt smooth/silky and not nearly as dry as it has felt in the past with other face masks. Overall, I was very pleased with the product and I'm eager to purchase more (in a better scent obviously)! They can be found at many retailers across the US, including Walgreens, Ulta & Walmart to name a few.

Check out their website to learn more about this product:
http://www.montagnejeunesseusa.com

You can even follow them on Twitter to find out their latest news:
https://twitter.com/MontagneJeuness

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Wedding - 8.20.11

I could watch this everyday!! Our wedding was perfect...we couldn't have asked for more ;-)


Chad + Gabrielle Oakhill Mansion Music Video Wedding Montage from XoomworX on Vimeo.

* * * * * *

Here are a couple slideshows I put together of our wedding & honeymoon...




XOXO,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

This year my only job was to provide dessert for Christmas dinner. I searched high and low for the perfect recipe to show off my skills. When I came across this, I knew I found the one! I was a little nervous about how these brownies would be but to my surprise, they came out very moist with just the right amount of sweetness.


Brownie Ingredients
* 1 Stick Unsalted Butter * 1 Cup Sugar * 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour 
* 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder * 2 Eggs * 2 tsp Red Food Coloring * 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 
 * 1 tsp Vinegar (I used apple cider) * Pinch of Salt
* 40 white chocolate chips (This was my addition to the recipe)

Cream Cheese Ingredients
* 8 oz Cream Cheese (softened) * 1 Egg * 1/4 Cup Sugar * 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease/flour a 8 x 8 baking dish
Mix together melted butter, sugar, vanilla, red food coloring, vinegar and eggs in a bowl
Add in cocoa powder, flour and salt
Toss in the white chocolate chips and stir until the batter is smooth

In a separate bowl combine cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla
Mix until smooth

Pour about 3/4 of the brownie batter into the baking dish (making sure to even out)
Top the batter with the cream cheese mix
Add the remaining brownie batter on top
Swirl the layers using a knife or spatula

Bake for 30 minutes or so (toothpick test to make sure they're finished)
Cool on a rack for another 30 minutes or just put them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes


Enjoy ;-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Manicure Mondays - Christmas Red

Yep, I was very predictable with my choice of nail color last week. I don't do red polish very often but it was Christmas...so why not.

Nicole by OPI OMB! 

Finding the perfect red is sometimes a challenge but this shade was on point! The hint of sparkle was just an added bonus! Check out my No-Chip Manicure post to see how I make my polish last.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas weekend ;-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What's In My Bag??

I love YouTube tag videos! I've only done a few but they're so much fun. Check out my latest one...


XOXO, 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Party Hotness

Last Friday I had the opportunity to pull out the best and get dolled up for my husband's company Christmas Party...boy was I excited!! We don't really have much going on to dress up for (aside from church), so it felt great do something different ;-)


We tried to do a little coordinating and I think it turned out pretty well...        
  
           


    

Now that's a good looking couple if I do say so myself, LOL!





Monday, December 19, 2011

Manicure Mondays - Holiday Sparkle

This past weekend was filled with lots of holiday fun, so I decided to make my No-Chip Manicure a bit more festive



Wet n' Wild Shine 460D Kaleidoscope
NYX Girls NGP 172 Dark Gray

I originally had black polish underneath but decided to go with gray instead for a softer look. I'm pretty pleased with the results. What do you think?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!



We finally got our 1st Christmas Tree!!! As a holiday fanatic, I was ecstatic ;-) I was most grateful that my hubby gave me full control of the decorating...he's the best. We didn't buy enough garland and had to make our own ornament hangers out of paper clips but it all came together nicely.

Of course we can't do anything without a production, so check out our experience below





Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Purple Manicure

Still experimenting with the No-Chip Manicure formula, but I just had to show you the favorite from my recent nail polish haul.

Wet 'n Wild 231C Buffy the Violet Slayer

You can't tell me that isn't the prettiest purple you've ever seen?! Yes, purple is my favorite color so I may be just a tad bit bias and that's okay. I absolutely love it ;-) What I didn't love was the fact that I wasn't able to keep it on longer than 2 days. Normally, I wait to do my nails until after I've done my hair for the week, but I completely forgot about that detail during my impromptu (emergency) hair session last Thursday.

No worries though, it will be back soon!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Influenster Holiday VoxBox

Many of you may remember my post last month about the Influenster Fall Cosmo VoxBox that was sent to me for review. If you aren't familiar with that post, check it out. Well, a couple weeks ago I was informed that I was selected to receive their new box for the holiday season...yay me!! It came in the mail yesterday and I couldn't wait to break open the goodies.


Impress press-on manicure by Broadway nails * Softsoap Coconut Scrub Bar Soap *Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask * New York Color Liquid Lip Shine * Mentos Pure Fresh Gum * Larabar

Very excited to try out all the wonderful products included. More in depth product reviews will be posted after further use. In the meantime, check out my opening video



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Juicing on Weight Watchers

On October 4th,  I took the plunge and started up the only weight loss program out of hundreds that seemed to work for me the best...Weight Watchers. I had my goal in mind, my gym membership lined up, did my research on the new Points Plus Program, I was ready.

Fast forward 2 months and the number on the scale being than desirable. Only 5lbs...can't be right?! I've followed all the guidelines, stayed within my daily/weekly points (with a little Thanksgiving cheating) and even worked out 4-5 times a week. What gives?? I was so super frustrated that I was on the verge of giving up and trying some new.

Then there was Google. Something told me to do a little research before throwing in the towel and I'm so glad I did. Turns out that I wasn't the only one having issues with the new Points Plus system. I found forums after forums of people complaining that the new program wasn't giving them the same results as before. I felt a little better but continued to dig deeper. That's when I discovered the issue...of course fruits and vegetables are 0 point items but not free for all. What exactly does that mean? Depending on the amount of servings and method of consumption, the point value of your item just might increase. It was my beloved green juice that was causing my demise. The easiest way to explain this is that when you take a 0 point orange and decide to juice it, you're changing the nutritional value (particularly losing the fiber content). If you go to plug in an orange on your tracker, it will read 0 points. Now if you go to plug in that same orange as 'fresh juice', your tracker will read 3 points. Big difference!

After discovering that gem I decided to plug my green juice into the recipe builder (instead of listing each item individually) and it came up to a whopping 15 points!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? No wonder I wasn't making much progress! I drink this concoction at least 3 times a week and always assumed it was 0 points because it was only fruits and veggies. I've been going over my points tremendously for the past two months and didn't even know it...what a mess!

I've now made the decision to take a break from my wonderful Breville. I can no longer continue to sabotage my weight loss efforts. Don't get me wrong, juicing is very healthy and can still be done on WW. Just realize that it also means you will have to sacrifice eating food for those points in the process. Call me crazy but I'd rather have the food!

30 Before 30...here I come ;-)


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fried Zucchini

I stumbled upon this recipe that I couldn't wait to try. Being on Weight Watchers definitely has me thinking out the box, discovering new ways to enjoy my veggies.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/8 tsp Black Pepper (you can also add extra seasoning such as garlic and/or onion powder)
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 eggs (I used 1 egg and 1 egg white)
2.5 cups of sliced zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis) 


*Preheat oven to 425 degrees
*Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and black pepper in a bowl
*Combine milk, vinegar and egg in a separate bowl
*Dip zucchini slices in egg mixture and then coat with breadcrumbs
*Place coated zucchini slices on a baking sheet 

Overall, I was very pleased with they way they turned out. Next time I may add a bit more seasoning to the mix though. The recipe makes 2 servings with each one equaling only a 5 points plus value. Can't beat that! Hope you enjoy ;-)



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Straight Hair Don't Care

As of July '11, I have been natural for a whole year...yay me!! Every now and then I decide to blowout my hair for something different. I've been wanting to trim my ends and experiment with some different styles so what better time than the present?! My last blowout was sometime in late July - early August and I can definitely see the growth.


After blowing it out, I decided to straighten with my flat iron in order to really see the split ends...


The plan was then to trim it for the first time myself but I chickened out. I went to Walmart to get it done instead.



Overall, I was very pleased with the results ;-)  What do you think??

Check out the video of my straightening experience...


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Before 30

Today is November 30, 2011. In seven months on June 30, 2012 I will be 30.

While at the gym today, I made the decision that I'm tired of living on a diet, tired of trying the next fad hoping that I'll get the desired results, tired of pills, shakes, etc...over it. I'm finally ready to lose this weight for good and move on. With that being said, I will be at my goal weight by 6/30/12 - age 30. It's no coincidence that my goal is exactly 30lbs lighter than my current. For the last decade or so, I've struggled with the number on the scale. As much as I wanted to forget about it by putting my focus on measurements and the fit of my clothing, I just couldn't. It all came right back to that number.

I don't want to spend the next decade dealing with the same struggle, so it's time to make some changes. Starting today...well I already pretty much started back when I began my WW journey (for the second time) last month. I started with a goal but not a date in mind because I just wanted to take my time and lose the weight in a healthy manner. I still feel the same way but I think that 30lbs is very attainable in the time I'm allowing myself. If I stay consistent in losing 2lbs/week, I can actually reach my goal earlier.

Don't worry, I'll be sure to check in regularly & keep you posted along the way. Wish me luck ;-) 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No-Chip Manicure

Last week I decided to do something a little different for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am constantly polishing my nails because after 2-3 days, they chip. The one thing that I miss the most about acrylic is that I could keep a good looking manicure for at least two weeks - chip free.

After browsing the web for tips & tricks, I settle on the common solution of layeringThese steps have given me the best 6-7 day results:

* Two layers of a base coat
* One layer of color
* Layer of top coat
* Second layer of color
* Final layer of top coat

I know it probably seems like a lot (it did to me at first) but I'd rather put a little more time into the polishing up front, rather than having to waste time redoing them all after 2 days because of chipping.


Sally Hansen Insta-Dri 22 Jumpin' Jade
Sinful Colors 947 Mint Apple
Wet n' Wild Shine 460D Kaleidoscope
Sally Hansen No Chip Acrylic Top Coat
Revlon Multi Care Base + Top Coat 965 (not pictured)
Sinful Colors 902 Basecoat (not pictured)


With this look, I decided to get a little festive with my ring fingers by combining a couple colors and adding a touch of sparkle. I think it turned out very cute! I have to admit that I didn't get a full week's wear because I did them in a rush and skipped the second coat of polish all together. But I can say that I was still able to get a good 4 solid days of no chipping...which is way more than I've ever experienced while not having them done by a professional. 

So next time you sit down to do your nails, give this method a try and let me know how it works out for you

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pork Chops with Cranberries and Apples

Just wanted to share a dinner that I made for hubby last week. I have been kind of out the cooking mood lately so I figured I would do it up a little bit just to show that I was back! Let me tell you that this is probably the best Weight Watchers meal I've ever made. It was amazing...no really, it was! Please try this at home and let me know what you think.

Pork Chops with Cranberries & Apples


4 (4oz) Boneless Center-Cut Pork Chops * 1/4 tsp Salt * 1/4 tsp Black Pepper * 2 tsp Olive Oil * 1 (15oz) Can Fried Apples * 1/2 cup Fat-Free, Less-Sodium Chicken Broth * 1/2 cup Sweetened Dried Cranberries * 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

*Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides

*Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add pork chips; cook 2 mins on each side or until browned. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 6 mins or until done

*While pork cooks, drain apples, keeping the juice. When pork is done, remove it from pan

*Add juice, broth and cranberries to pan; cook until slightly reduced. Stir in apples and cinnamon; cook 1 minute

*Return pork to pan; cook until thoroughly heated




There you have it. The best pork chop recipe ever...and it's a WW meal. Makes 4 servings and each serving (1 pork chop with 1/2 cup apple mixture) is only 7 points (Points Plus Program). Serve with your vegetable of choice and eat your heart out ;-)




*Recipe taken from the Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2011 Cookbook 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TSU Homecoming After Marriage

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my Homecoming at none other than Tennessee State University!! I must say that I had a blast hanging out with old friends but it was different. This was my first time going as a married woman and I could definitely tell the difference.

Hubby wasn't in attendance but was okay with me going and hanging out with my friends.  Not that I would have minded but I didn't really think he would have had much fun anyway. It's already difficult to take someone that has never attended an HBCU Homecoming but it's even harder to take someone who's never experienced campus life at all. I've been with a newbie before and you end up feeling like you have to babysit entertain them the whole time because they don't know what's going on.

Before marriage, Homecoming was an annual event to get fly for, catch up with friends, reminisce on old times and just be in the scene. While the same stands for after marriage, I have to admit that being out in the club scene was a bit boring this time around. I felt out of place. The crowd was younger and there seemed to be a sea of single men/women looking for the next thing to pounce on. I found myself day dreaming about being at home, laying on the couch with my guys. Sure it's great to get all dressed up, go out and have people notice you but once you don't need that feeling anymore...then what?

Is this what life has turned into? Am I getting old?

Who knows. What I do know is that I'm probably only cut out for one more Homecoming before I take a necessary break. If it wasn't for the 2012 Centennial Celebration, this year probably would have been a wrap.

Ah well, until next time...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Influenster Fall Cosmo VoxBox

If you haven't heard of Influenster - get familiar because you are missing out! I stumbled upon this program a couple months ago after watching someone rave about it on YouTube (go figure). So out of curiosity, I decided to sign up and see how things worked. I registered, filled out a few surveys, unlocked some lifestyle badges and that was the end of that. I had quickly forgotten about the site until I received an email a couple weeks ago saying that I was selected to receive the new VoxBox and to look for it in the mail.

My Fall Cosmo VoxBox came in the mail yesterday with 3 great products for me to use and review...



Gillette Venus Pro Skin MoistureRich Razor * Proactive 3-step System * Vitabath Sulfate & Paraben Free Body Wash

All products were sent to me for free in an exchange for a brief survey review on their website. Not a bad deal if you ask me ;-) Can't wait to see how they all work out




Sunday, October 30, 2011

Farewell Indian Lady


Alas, after 2 looooong months I decided to say my goodbye to the Indian lady residing on my head and get back to my roots!! My goal was to make it 3 months but I just couldn't do it. I have never been happier to see my hair...I missed her! It's always good to take a break every now and then but my time had come to an end. Thursday night I tackled taking down my hair (with the help of my wonderful hubby) and boy was it a task. Friday I spent some quality time with my long lost hair, shampooing, conditioning, steaming, twisting...everything under the sun. She needed it though and it felt good.



I'm pretty pleased with the end result. It's probably going to take me some time to get used to her again but that's okay. I'm looking forward to exercising my creativity and trying some different styles this time around. Wish me luck ;-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Weird & Wonderful Wednesday


Weird

Showing up early to work only to remember that I don't have any keys to get in the office

Non-stop rain since I got to Indy and super cold weather...I'm over it

Going to bed & waking up without my husband - I miss him

How many times I've been to the hospital in 4 days

I haven't stepped foot in a mall yet or Target. What's wrong with me?!

No Oscar :-(

Wonderful

Spending time with my mom and sister...they always make me smile ;-)

Making money. It feels good to be back at work

Preggo best friend feeling much better & hopefully leaving the hospital soon!! 

Hospital cafeteria food - it's really good

Hopefully getting to see my Nana very soon

4 more days left to play in my hometown


Friday, October 14, 2011

Cherry Cream Cheese Cookies

**Disclaimer: I made these before I started my WW journey but I can still eat them now because they're only about 4 points per serving. (Dough makes about 24 servings)


1/4 cup butter, softened * 8 oz. cream cheese, softened * 1 egg (I used 2) * 1/4 tsp vanilla    
1 box yellow cake mix (I used white cake mix instead) * 1 can cherry pie filling 

*Cream the butter and cream cheese in a bowl

*Blend in egg(s) and vanilla with hand mixer 

*Add in cake mix (1/3 at a time so that it mixes well)

*Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour

*Preheat oven to 375

*Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet

*Bake for 8-12 minutes or until tan (it took mine about 15 minutes)

*Push down a circle in the middle of each cookie and fill with about 3-4 cherries

*Cool on wire rack



EAT UP!! 



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Newlywed 15

Why didn't anyone warn me about this?!? We've all heard about The Freshman 15 that happens when you go off to college but why doesn't anyone tell you that the same thing happens when you get married?! This is ridiculous...I've been married almost 2 months and I've managed to gain about 7lbs!!! Seriously, that's just not legal.  It's difficult to live with someone that can eat whatever they want and not worry about gaining a pound. I'm not used to it. Living by myself I went by the rule that if I didn't buy it, I wouldn't eat it. If I kept the temptation away, everything would work out perfectly. I now live in Temptation City and it's catching up to my waist.

Yesterday was the last straw. I was unpacking, organizing my closet, going through all my clothes and organizing the closet when it happened. I pulled out a pair of jeans that I couldn't button...jeans that I had worn earlier this summer. Not only were there jeans, but there were suits, slacks and dresses that also didn't fit. Talk about depressed! It all too quickly became a reality that I had to do something.

What did I do you ask?? *Drumroll Please* 

I joined Weight Watchers. Yep, bit the bullet and signed up for 3 months of online service.

Why Weight Watchers you ask??

Brief history: I am a serial dieter, like for real it's bad. There isn't much left that I haven't tried: slimfast, adipex, detoxing, juicing, the 4 hour body, the 4 day diet, insanity, atkins, maggie drozd, colonix, super dieter's tea, zantrex 3, special k...I could keep going but I won't. The point I'm trying to make is that out of everything I've tried, WW was the only program that worked without a bunch of extra. I didn't have to swear off carbs or sweets or eat only fruits and veggies. It was all about portion control. I could have whatever my heart desired as long as I stayed within my daily allotted points.

Won't I get tired of always counting points? 

Sure I do, but would I rather count up points in order to have a piece of cheesecake without feeling guilty about it...absolutely!! 

So, today was Day 1 and I'm feeling pretty good about it.  This is the beginning of a healthier me...stay tuned for more of my transformation ;-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Kind of Day



Today was awesome!! 

I went to the mall, got my eyebrows done, did a little thrift shopping at the Goodwill, saw a great movie (The Ides of March), roamed around Target AND had a tall pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks.

It almost felt like I was back to civilization.

It's amazing how much the little things are missed once they're no longer readily available. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Texas Tuna Melt

Today's lunch was inspired by none other than my wonderful creativity. Nothing too fancy, but it was super good so I though I'd share...


Ingredients Used:

1 slice of Texas Toast (your choice of flavor, just make sure it's already cooked)
Tuna salad mix (as much as your heart desires)
1/2 sliced avocado
1/2 sliced tomato
1 slice of cheese

Pile it all up high on the toast and pop that sucker in the over for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with your favorite side item.

Enjoy ;-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Picture Day

Today is awesome...the day I've been waiting on since August 20th. We finally got our wedding pictures back!!!! They are everything that I thought they would be and so much more. I have been patiently waiting...well not so much patiently but I did wait. This has probably been the longest month and a half EVER but they were very much worth the wait. We haven't received the physical disc yet so unfortunately, I can't really add any of my favorites to this post.

What I can do is leave you the link to our photographer's blog which showcases our sneak peak: Let's Do Shotz - Amanda & Rob did a fantastic job capturing our day. Needless to say, they are highly recommended ;-)

Hope you love the photos as much as we do

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Wedges

Recently I decided to make some changes to my diet and try new things such as juicing, eating mostly fruits & veggies...all that good stuff. I'm not interested in becoming a vegetarian (I love chicken way too much) but I wouldn't mind losing a little extra around the mid-section. Last week I was determined to detox for a full week. Cold turkey, nothing but fruits, veggies and water. I started out good but unfortunately didn't make it all 7 days (no surprise there). One good thing that came out of that experience was this recipe I found on jointhereboot.com. I'm proud to say that these have become my new favorite. I've made them 3 times in the past week...plus they're on the menu for dinner tonight!

Sweet Potato Wedges



1 Sweet Potato * 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil * 1/2 tsp. Cumin * 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon * 1/4 tsp. Pepper   
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt (regular salt works fine too)  

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees

*Peel the sweet potato, cut it in half lengthwise and slice each halve into 4-5 wedges

*Put the wedges into a bowl and toss with the oil, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper

*Place wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

*Bake for about 30 minutes - the outside will be slightly brown with crispy edges


Bon App├ętit!

BTW: You may have to adjust the ingredients a bit, depending on the amount of people you're feeding.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Huddle House

Me and the honey got up this morning and went to breakfast. YAY, no cooking for me ;-) I'd never been to the Huddle House before, but he explained it to me as the upgraded waffle house.

  

He was not correct. Sure the inside was a bit of an upgrade, but the food and service...not so much. For starters, we waited for our food for like 45 minutes. Is that legal?? Then once it finally came, things weren't cooked all the way, items were missing and it just wasn't a good look. Plus, I'm pretty sure it was our waitress's first day - hope it gets better for her.



Bottom line: I was not impressed, he was disappointed and they will probably never see us again :-( Where's an IHOP when you need one?