Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday and a Long Weekend...

Oh, Friday.
I'm writing an extremely late H54F post...
We were at the Baltimore Grand Prix all day!
I'm tired and sunburned, but more about that on Tuesday's Weekend Update :)

Here are my five favorite things from the week...

{1} Zoya Paloma and Elegant Touch Envy Wraps stick-ons
Thanks to Amber for the idea of stick-ons on the accent nail!
I was kind of reluctant to try stick-ons because I hate glue sticking to my nails (I don't know why..) I really liked these though! 

{2} I've been making jewelry! Yeah, this was included in my weekend update but I made more and if it goes well, will be opening my Etsy shop sometime in the fall :) Stay tuned!

{3} Comfort food. This was much needed this week.
Mac and cheese and roasted broccoli

{4} Sneak peek of the race!
It was so loud. Thankfully I remembered ear plugs.

{5} The last happy thing about this week is that it is now the weekend. 
I have to say this has been one of the toughest weeks ever. 
To be honest, I haven't really even wanted to blog much. When I do, though, I feel so much better. Talking to my bloggy friends has made things a bit better and I'm lucky to have supportive friends, family, and an amazing boyfriend. 
So let's just say... I'm thankful for the great things going on in my life and working on accepting the crappy things I have no control over.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get things together for my September Sponsor giveaway so if you have contacted me about participating, I will get you the details soon! 

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!
Linking up with Lauren!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Birchbox

I've been getting Birchboxes for the past 6+ months. I've always enjoyed most of the products but I gained a new appreciation for Birchbox after taking my vacation. I hardly had to buy any travel sized items because I had so many lying around! I even had laundry detergent pods from a few months ago that came in handy halfway into the vacation when Jake ran out of socks. 

I had plenty of shampoo packets saved up, as well as the perfect lipglosses and nail polishes for a summer trip.

Enough about my Birchbox & travel's what I got this month!
(sorry for the phone pictures. I was way too excited to go grab my camera...)

Whish Shave Cream $20.00 full size
This stuff smells amazing and made my legs feel silky smooth. I can't say I would buy this... I don't think I can justify spending $20 on shave cream!

Jouer Moisturizing Lip Gloss $20.00 full size
The color looks super bright, but it turned out a sheer pink on my lips. I swiped again to get a slightly brighter pink color. This is a nice little sample to keep in my purse and didn't dry out my lips like a lot of gloss/lipstick does.

Viva La Juicy La Fleur $70.00 full size
I really liked this perfume. In fact, the sample I have is gone. It's a sweet floral smell so I probably wouldn't buy the whole bottle (I get sick of scents very easily). I did enjoy wearing it as long as the sample lasted, though!

Orbre Shampoo and Conditioner for Beautiful Color $36 and $39 full size
Ummm... I need to update my beauty profile. My hair's not colored and hasn't been since last December. There's no harm in using this product, but I just haven't tried it yet. I'll save it for another trip!

Schick Hydro Silk Razor $9.99, drugstores
This was a great Birchbox extra! I would never turn down a free razor- those things are expensive! The $10 value made the box pay for itself. There was also a $4 coupon on the back of this package to put towards a Schick razor. I haven't actually tried the razor since I'd just opened a new one, but I have no doubt it will give a smooth shave with the 5 blades and moisturizing bar around the blades.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my Birchbox this month.
Want to join Birchbox? Click here!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pretty Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Did you see these pretty chocolate covered pretzels in my weekend update post a couple weeks ago?
I wouldn't just leave you a pretty picture without explaining!

(Or maybe I would! I'm just now getting to post this...Vacation threw me off!)

Here's what you need:

White chocolate or any other chocolate (I used a mixture of a Ghiradelli baking bar and white chocolate chips- just what was in my cabinet)
Pretzels- as many as you want to use!
Vegetable oil
Sauce pan
Glass bowl
Baking sheet
Wax paper

Here's what you do:

Melt chocolate. 
Chris introduced me to this method of heating chocolate without the risk of burning it!
He says this is what they do on the Food Network.
So I thought, it must work.
It does!

Boil water in a saucepan.
Position a glass bowl over the boiling water and place the chocolate in the bowl like this:

The chocolate will begin to melt...
Then add about a teaspoon of vegetable oil to thin the mixture (use more or less depending on what the consistency is like)

Throw in the pretzels and make cure to fully coat them.
Use tongs to place covered pretzels on a wax paper covered baking sheet.
Sprinkle with sprinkles right away!

It doesn't have to look neat. We got chocolate all over the place!

Stick them in the freezer for 10 min or in the fridge for 20min so the chocolate can harden.
Patiently wait....
That's the hardest part.

Then, Enjoy!

These are easy, fun, and the combinations are endless. 
I'd love to hear your ideas for different variations!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Update!

Well, that weekend went fast!
I got so much done... I always feel so behind when I come home from a trip. This weekend consisted of catching up on cleaning, laundry, and some diy projects I've been wanting to do.
I was on-call for work this weekend, so couldn't really do much else but it was so nice to just chill.

I can't wait to show you what I made- the yellow flower is a hint! 
I also made a couple bracelets... I used to love making jewelry and haven't done it in a few years so I decided to get back to it.

I went shopping... and found an adorable lace top that I'll no doubt be wearing to work this week. I've really tried to cut down on the shopping this month (and done a decent job) but I found clothes I actually liked at Kohl's and just had to.

Can you believe the amount of sprinkles I got on my soft serve? I ate the whole thing... of course!

Sunday evening I baked some fluffy chocolate chip cookies that were amazing! I used this recipe found on Pinterest... usually I don't like to stray from the regular Tollhouse recipe, but I decided to try this one and am so glad I did!

I finally feel like I'm back in one piece after a relaxing weekend.
This week will be a short one... the Baltimore Grand Prix is in town, and my office is located right downtown... so I'll be in the office the first half of the week, working from home on Thursday, and off work on Friday! 
Chris bought us tickets to the practice rounds on Friday... I'm hoping to either meet Patrick Dempsey or Arie from the Bachelorette. I probably won't, but I'll be stalking them down  keeping an eye out! Kidding, kidding, Chris...
(That's how he got me to go last year. Told me Patrick Dempsey would be there. I looked and couldn't find him anywhere... It was sad)

That's last year.
I'm pretty sure it was the best day of Chris' life thus far. Hoping this year will top it!

A couple bloggy notes...
In case you missed it, I'm taking ad's via Passionfruit. Check out my sponsor page for more information.
Don't you love my new banner? Dani made it! She's the best! 

Of course, I am linking up with Sami, Dana, and Leeann for Weekend Update!

How was your weekend? I hope it was great!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shabby Apple

Have you ever heard of Shabby Apple?
If not, head on over and see what it's all about.
They're an online women's clothing boutique that also sells jewelry and accessories.

I am loving the lace trend, and am having trouble picking just one lace item to order!
My favorite so far is the Women's Mad Hatter Dress

What are your favorites?

Dresses from Shabby Apple

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hey Sponsors!

I'm now using Passionfruit for Sponsorships!
Right now, I am only offering free ad swaps.

If you are a current swapper, I'll email you separately so you can set things up for your ad to run through Passionfruit.

If you would like to swap with me, feel free to do so anytime! Don't forget to enter the code "sugarspice" for a free swap spot!

All swap ads run for 90 days and you can renew as many times as you'd like.
I'm also having an upcoming giveaway that you'll have the option for participate in!
(More details to come)

*If you submit your button via Passionfruit and we do not already swap, please grab mine from my Swap page or Sidebar. Or email me to let me know what I need to do to get my button on your page!

I love making new friends so I hope you'll join me!!!
I made it easy- you can do so below!
Have a great weekend, everyone :)

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday!
Needless to say this week has been a whirlwind of returning home from vacation, coming back to work, and adjusting to reality.
That's been hard.
I'm still working on my vacation post (truthfully... I haven't even started it)... it's coming soon! In the meantime, check out yesterday's post with some vacation pictures if you'd like.

Here are my five happy things from the week...

{1}Ok...I know I always post about sushi but this is seriously the best sushi ever. We didn't feel like going out to eat but didn't want to cook either... take-out sushi from across the street! I love how they throw in a surprise free item every time we order.

{2} I got to see my Chris after being gone from him for a week! I'm also happy because he kept my plants alive. I wasn't really worried, but he was so great and remembered to water them and pick the ripe peppers.. wow, I am "that" girl who is obsessed over her plants. Next thing you know, I'll obtain a gazillion cats and live by myself. Anyway...

{3}I got some sun! Bye, pale skin. I'm sure you'll be back soon but for now I'm enjoying my burn tan!
I don't have a picture of my "tan" because I currently have no makeup and messy hair and I'm sure no one wants to see that. Here is a happy me sipping on a huge drink at Disney! 

{4} Basin products... I really really wish I had one of these stores nearby! There are only a few in Florida and Vegas... boo :( I wanted to buy out the entire store... but instead got lip scrub, lip balm (pictured) and bath salts. 
The lip scrub is amazing. It's made out of sugar, olive oil, butter, and flavoring... needless to say it's edible so you use your finger to scrub a bit on your lips, and then can lick it off! Smooth lips and dessert in one product? Amazing.

{5} I passed 100 followers a couple weeks ago! I'm really not one of those bloggers who cares about the numbers because I'd rather concentrate on making actual connections with my readers and blog friends. However, think this calls for a celebration because I love you all! I'm planning my first giveaway so if anyone is interested in contributing something, let me know! If not, that's fine too! Stay tuned!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.
Linking up with Lauren as usual!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

From Disney World to Real World

I'm back home from Disney World!
I'm sad to leave Disney, but happy to be home and be with Chris.
I feel like I spent a week in a completely different world... well, I guess I did.

I'm too exhausted to write a real post, but I'll leave you with a few pictures. I'll talk about my trip soon!

In the meantime, it's great to be back in blog land! 
A special thanks to Dani and Leigh for guest posting for me while I was away. You girls are the best! If you missed either of their posts, make sure to check them out!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet Dani and her Whipped Cream Carrots!

Happy Friday!
I'm still on vacation but wanted to leave you all with a special something from one of my bloggy favorites, Dani!
Dani lives all the way across the country from me in Washington. 
That's too bad, because if we lived closer we would probably hang out all the time and drink wine and bake. At the same time, obviously.
Anyway, here she is!


Whipped Cream Carrots.
Doesn't that sound appetizing? 
You're mistaken then, because it's delicious.
That word....delicious...I feel like I've been using it a lot lately.
Maybe I've just been eating/cooking really good food. 

First of all, let me introduce myself to you all.  My name is Dani, and I ramble blog about my life over at Inspire. Motivate. Love. 
There is no single focus.  
Just my life. I never thought people would find it interesting, but since I find others lives, like Alyssa's interesting, I thought I'd share my own too. 
Thus...I blog. 
And met Alyssa.
And am now going to share this ridiculously yummy dessert recipe with you all while she is gallivanting around Disney World. 
I'm not jealous. At all. 
That's a lie. 

So...on to this delicious concoction.  
My mother has always made weird stuff with jello.  Most of the time, I like it.  I never would have thought to put fruit in my own jello, yet it comes in cups at the store, right?  Well, lets take that a step further.  Fruit isn't so unheard of, but vegetables? I thought I had misheard her the first time she told me. My other half, his grandmother does the same thing.  
And oh my goodness....these recipes are amazing. You would never think. 
I grow my own garden. It's full of goodies.  You can head over and click through if you want. 
This year, I have an over abundance of carrots. 
So....I went searching for a carrot salad recipe, and I found carrot jello. 
I'm sorry, what? 

Here you go:
1 (6 ounce) package orange flavored gelatin mix
2 cups boiling water
1 package Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 cup finely grated carrot
2 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (8 ounce) tub Cool Whip, softened.

Start by boiling the water, and then dissolving the gelatin in a large bowl. 
In the mean time, cube the cream cheese, or Neufchatel, whichever you prefer, and whip it in your food processor or blender.  I have a small food processor, and since you're going to add your gelatin liquid, I have found it works better in a blender. 
Add the gelatin, and cream together until the cheese is all blended in. 
Pour back into your bowl. 
Add carrots (I grate mine in the food processor), pineapple, and cool whip, and mix together. I just use a wooden spoon or plastic spoon.  The cool whip may be a little lumpy, but it's ok. Once it's set, it's like marshmallows. (Ohh...those might be good to add.....)
Let sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  I usually cannot wait for this to be done, and dive in after two hours.  And then proceed to not share the whole thing, and eat it over the next few days. 

I promise. You will love this. 
Unless you don't like carrots, or pineapple, or orange jello. 
Then you might have a problem. 
Because who doesn't like cool whip?
I personally much prefer the real thing to cool whip on my occasions, but for things like this, it's acceptable. 

I hope you all enjoy!
Isn't she the best? 
I never would have thought to put carrots in a dessert but she makes it work. I can't wait to try this recipe!
Thanks, Dani!
Don't forget to go give her some love at Inspire.Motivate.Love. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meet Leigh and her Apple Custard Tart!

While I'm away on vacation, I'm so excited to have a few lovely guest posters. Leigh is my first and I am so happy she agreed to post over here! She is so sweet and has the most adorable babies. She also knows her way around the kitchen... those kids and boyfriend of hers are very lucky! Obviously I love desserts so Leigh has prepared something pretty awesome for you all. 

First let me start off by saying I am so incredibly jealous of Alyssa for getting to vacation with Mickey & Minnie Mouse and all the princesses!  I have an almost 3 year old little girl who would be beside herself with glee to go see Cinderella's castle;  and I mean she would probably pass out because she forgot to breathe ecstatic.
Make sure to take a picture with the Princesses just for her, Alyssa!

I'm so excited that Alyssa is letting me guest post while she's away, and boy do I have a treat in store for y'all!  But before I do that, I bet you'd like to know who the heck I am.

My name's Leigh and I get comfy over at Adventures in the Fort.  In a nutshell, I write about our life.  I've got 2 extremely busy little babies, who aren't so little anymore, and a wonderful boyfriend.  We reside in the most exciting city in the great state of Texas, Fort Worth, and there is always some kind of new adventure going on for us to get in the middle of.  I love feeling pretty, drinking sweet tea, and making/eating desserts.

What I'm going to share with y'all today is hands down, the best dessert to make when you're really trying to impress people.  You know when I'm talking about;  high stakes family functions...dinner parties...guest posting on someone's blog...I could go on, but I digress.
With fall and party season quickly approaching, this is the perfect time to make this decadence.
First you've gotta have a crust.  I highly suggest this recipe for a Sweet Pastry Crust I posted a few days ago, but you could always just use a store bought one which would make things much simpler...but remember, you are trying to impress someone(s) so the extra effort is well worth it.
Once you've gotten your crust together, you've got to glaze it.  This will keep it from getting soggy when the custard is poured in.  I used fig preserves because I had them on hand, but apricot works out all right too.
See the difference?
This is the hard part.  Peeling and slicing apples, 3 Granny Smith to be exact.
Here's a funny story.

That's right.  I peeled and sliced waaaay too many apples.  
Wanna know when I realized it?  Right now.  As I'm typing this.
So save yourself some time and only use 3 apples instead of 5.
Go cook your apples

Now for the custard!
At this point I would also probably preheat my oven to 350 degrees and put a rack in the middle.
Make sure while you whisk constantly while adding the hot liquid to the paste or you will end up with scrambled eggs.  And that is not tasty in a tart.
This is the part that will really make your tart look impressive.

Sprinkle the stop with cinnamon sugar and pop that sucker in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the custard has set up and the top is a glorious brown color.
Let me tell you how fabulous your home will smell while this is cooking.
It is so enchanting I almost forgot to listen for my kids...
then I realized they were being too quiet...
then I found this...
Twenty seven minutes and a Resolve-d carpet later, voila!
You can now impress all your friends and family with a dessert fit for royalty.
For the full recipe, click here and visit Joy of Baking.

Oh my gosh. That looks amazing. 
I can't wait to try this recipe... or maybe I'll just have to pay Leigh a visit because I don't think I could make something that pretty!
Don't worry, Leigh, I'll get plenty of princess pictures for Pretty Girl :)
You'll have to follow my Instagram (@alyssalianne24) for pictures of princesses and much more!
Thanks again, Leigh!
Don't forget to pay lovely Leigh a visit @ Adventures in the Fort!


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