Friday, February 27, 2015

Banana Crumb Muffins

I always buy too many bananas, Am I alone? I should say, I can't eat the bananas fast enough before the dreaded brown spot(s) appear and they're ruined. I like my bananas yellow, even slightly green, with NO SPOTS. I have been craving banana muffins for awhile now, and was waiting for the opportunity to arise in the form of multiple bad bananas. I had 2. 

Unfortunately the recipe called for 3. But here's the cool thing...I found the recipe on, which lets you adjust your serving size! So, I manipulated the serving size until the ingredients called for 2 bananas.

Growing up my mom made banana muffins with a glaze, and no offense to her, but these are better. These muffins are absolutely delicious. I cannot believe I only ate 2 for breakfast. Pinky swear.

Banana Crumb Muffins
Adapted from here
Servings: 10 Muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, vanilla, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

The recipe made 7 muffins with 2 bananas, I plan on freezing a few for quick breakfasts. Are you a banana muffin fan?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winterizing Your Hands and Nails

I feel bad complaining about cold weather and what it does to my hands and nails, living in Virginia, where bitter cold is 30 degrees. I apologize for any complaining I do of cold to my good friends in Wisconsin and Canada, where it gets double digits below zero. Cray. Cray.

Now that I have my apology out of the way, let's talk about taking care of your hands and nails during the winter months.

I don't know about you, but my hands turn into sand paper when it's cold out, and left unattended can split and bleed. The last few years I've become more diligent in my hand care, and would like to share some of my tips with you to keep your hands and nails healthy and moisturized, as well as a few products I swear by.
  1. Apply lotion after every time you wash your hands. Keep a bottle of lotion at the sink so you won't forget. Soap can strip essential oils from your hands, severely drying them out. You could use this as a great excuse to get a cute matching soap/lotion set in a basket- I did see some pretty and very nicely smelling ones at TJMaxx this weekend. This is a favorite of mine, J.R.Watkins and is available at grocery stores and Target:

  2. Wear rubber gloves while doing dishes. Another tip would be to apply lotion right before putting the gloves on- the heat from the warm water will help your skin absorb the moisturizer and give your skin a salon-like treatment. Oh, and it'll protect your manicure from chipping.
  3. Be careful using nail polish remover. Try to use an acetone free one like Julep's Clean Slate Remover  or Zoya's Remove+ , neither of which will dry out your nails or cuticles. There are times you need acetone remover for glitters or gels, but be careful to keep it away from your cuticles and skin.

  4. When going outside, be sure to apply spf lotion on your hands. Remember, your hands show age very quickly, even as early as your mid-20s.  UV Rays can be the biggest and baddest reason for aging of your skin and brown spots.  And DEFINITELY apply spf lotion every time you go for a gel mani under a UV lamp!

  5. Wear gloves. You can pick up cheap gloves under $5 at Target, Five Below, Walmart, etc. But everytime you go out in cold temperatures throw gloves on. Hey, in the very least you could prevent some germs!
  6. Establish a hand regiment before going to bed. Apply a thick cream, cuticle treatment and a pair of cotton gloves. Wear the gloves overnight, or as long as you can stand it- the heat from your hands will act like a hot oil treatment. Trust me, you'll be amazed how your hands feel in the morning. I picked these gloves up at TJMaxx for about $3-4.

  7. Nail splitting can be a sign of dehydration. Be sure to drink more fluids and use a nail oil designed to penetrate the nail plate, containing Vitamin E oil and Jojoba. Apply a good cuticle cream regularly, I recommend Lemony Flutter by lush. Stay strong my friends, it can take up to 6 months for healthier nails to grow in. Don't be fooled by certain products promising results in days.

  8. An at-home treatment which is highly effective is mixing sweet almond oil with coarse sea salt, and rubbing into nails and cuticles. This will help strengthen weak/broken nails as well as nourish dry and flaky cuticles.
I had this post completed when I received my PopSugar Must Have Box for January, but I had to add on this wonder product I received in the box. 

This stuff is amazing. Like run to Sephora or online shop NOW. First Aid Beauty offers some other products I want to look into, but I've been using this daily since I opened my box this weekend. It has a slight Vick's smell to it, but it's not offensive, but rather a clean smell. The consistency is a soft, but thick cream and I highly recommend it for at least #6 above, your night hand/nail regiment. It's a little steep at $30 for a 6oz jar, but that just means you need to join PopSugar- cause the box is $40/month and this was $30 of it. I WILL be replacing this when it runs out. THAT GOOD.

Do you have any tips that you recommend for winterizing your hands and nails?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta

I shared this picture on instagram this past summer, and never followed thru with the recipe. Shame on me. But will you forgive me? Make this and get back to me.

It does require quite a lot of basil, I had a huge table top pot of it on my deck this summer. Til it died some weird death, after turning grey.

One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta
Source: Slow Roasted Italian


3 cups halved grape tomatoes, divided
1 large onion, sliced
1 pound smoked Italian sausage links, precooked (sliced into coins)
20-30 basil leaves, divided
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 pound dry linguine
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Reserve (set aside) 1 cup halved tomatoes, 10 basil leaves and cheese.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large (12") braising pan or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once water is boiling, remove cover and cook 7-9 minutes until pasta is al dente (with a bite to it).  Toss pasta with tongs occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking.  Liquid will be mostly absorbed when pasta is cooked.

Add cheese and toss to combine.  Cheese may clump but will melt into the sauce after a few minutes.  Toss in remaining tomatoes and basil before serving.

Friday, January 2, 2015

December ipsy Bag: Thinking of You

I don't think I've ever shared an ipsy bag on here, and for that shame on me! Ipsy has become a favorite beauty box of mine, and in my opinion far outshines BirchBox and GlossyBox. For $10/month, you receive some sample, some full size beauty products along with a little cosmetic bag that fits into the theme.

I feel that the products in ipsy bags are more my style and budget, so this puts them head and shoulders above birchbox.

I am thoroughly pleased with all the products in the bag this month:

1.) Bumble and Bumble All Star Blow Dry- I don't usually apply any product to my hair before blowdrying, but figured this was worth a try. I was pleasantly surprised that my hair was less dry and brittle feeling, and had an overall smoothness to it after blowdrying. Very finished and salon quality. I am 90% sure I will purchase a full size of this when it runs out!

2.) Crown Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush- Other than the brush that comes in the Naked Palettes, I usually use my fingers to apply my eyeshadow. This definitely applies a lot more even, not to mention I don't have 4 shadows of beige on my fingers and under my fingernails.

3.) Tarte Lights, Camera Lashes- For years my go-to mascara was this one by L'Oreal, but have recently switched to They're Real! by Benefit. Ulta gave them out maybe a year or so ago for their birthday gift, or was it Sephora? Either way I love it. Oh, and 4000+reviews on and it's a 4.3/5, so I'm guessing I'm not alone. I recently tried Julep's mascara, but after wearing it twice had to throw it out- the fibers would get in my eye and irritate them WAY too much. I also hear good things about Better Than Sex Mascara- anyone try this? Maybe I'll try this next...

After all that, I haven't used this mascara yet. Maybe I'll throw it in my travel bag so I don't have to chance losing my $23 mascara.

4.) Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream- I don't really understand eye cream- am I alone on this? For awhile I used this one by Burt's Bees, but kinda stopped and didn't finish the expensive little pot... I will say this applies like a dream, especially for an organic, cruelty, and gluten free product! I'm kinda intrigued looking at the applicator. You know, these late nights blogging and Netflix binging have left dark circles- will this help? Check back with me, I intend on finishing this tube.

5.) NYX Butter Balm in Red Velvet- This my friends was worth the whole box. Seriously am in love. Is it "nix" or "N-Y-C?" Either way, they now sell it at Target and you need to drop $4 on this stuff.  Seriously feels like rubbing butter on your lips. Even better than eos. I mean it. The Red Velvet is subtle, but good for me when I want red lips and chicken out at the last minute. Seriously, I want more. They didn't have them at my Target the other night, so I might pick some up online. (if you do, use code NYXGLITZ for 25% off.)

So, if you don't subscribe to ipsy, you NEED to. I didn't add it to my type-A list above, but the bag that it all came in is just so adorable. And you get one every month. I use them for odds and ends, or throw them in a box for gifts through the year.

Along with the awesomeness you receive every month product-wise, you can go online and review each product to collect points. Then use points for add-ons in your next boxes!

Click here to join today and get off the waitlist!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Need: Hamilton Beach Salad Xpress

Well, hello to the best thing since sliced bread. Or sliced cucumbers. Or grated cheese more importantly. This is the 2nd infomercial purchase my husband and I have purchased (the first being the magic bullet- um ah-mazing!) after watching the infomercial over and over.

Let me introduce you to the Hamilton Beach Salad Xpress. Slice, grate, shred, or crinkle your vegetables for your salad, or in our case, shred that cheeeeeese.

They're adorable aren't they? Well, we only use the orange one- it's only the 2 of us, so slicing up veggies for a salad really isn't that much of a chore. But shredding cheese...that's a total pain in the rear end, am I right? I avoid buying pre-shredded cheese due to the preservatives and poor melting qualities, but it sure is convenient. Side note...if you want an appliance to make your life slightly easier and need a way to *encourage* your husband to get onboard? Have him do said chore...Tee hee hee-- the minute I showed him this infomercial he said BUY IT NOW.

The attachments can be stored on the front of the shredder, with a protective sleeve holding them together. It's really meant for hard cheese, but it will work on softer cheeses like mozzarella and Monterrey jack. They do recommend throwing it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes ahead of time. I use it for any type, sometimes I mix them and get real fancy:

Wait, it gets better.  It's dish washer safe:

Sold yet? It retailed at $49.99 when I first saw it, but it's down to $32 on amazon now. We picked ours up at Bed Bath and Beyond, where you can use an additional 20% coupon.

Tell me this isn't awesome?!!?

Side's what I made with that cheeeeese:

Barbecue Chicken Pizza drizzled with ranch and sriracha. Holy balls my mouth is watering...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Shellac Hack: Jesse's Girl Wild Thing

I've been waiting awhile to try the "Shellac hack" for awhile now, and well boo. I don't know if it was the length of my nails or the fact that it just isn't Shellac. It lasted about 24 hours, less than regular nail polish and was chipping horribly. I am tempted to try it again with a higher quality polish, but I honestly don't know if that would make a difference.

These pictures are from this summer, when I attempted this, before D-Day and when everything was lusciously green outside.

You can pick up Jesse's Girl nail polish at Rite Aide, and retails under $5. I try not to use it frequently as it does contain formaldehyde and all the other bad chemicals the larger manufacturers like OPI, Zoya, etc. are trying to get away from. Unfortunately I've read that it's the formaldehyde that makes the colors so bright, so I guess it's a trade off.

The idea of the "shellac hack" is to alternate thin coats of Gelous (from Sally Beauty), Sally Hansen Hard As Nails, and your color of choice topped off with a top coat. You gradually apply the coats, thickening the polish on your nails.

The process is as follows:

1 Coat Hard As Wraps
1 Coat Gelous
1 Coat Polish
1 Coat Gelous
1 Coat Polish
1 Coat Top Coat

Trust me, less than 3 hours later I had this on my tips:

This is the same color, but it's extremely difficult to photograph accurately in daylight, let alone accurately inside! Again, maybe it's because I had a little bit of length on my nails that it chipped this fast? I honestly don't know...I wish I could tell you. But the Shellac Hack did NOT work for me.

You can find the original directions here, let me know if it works for you! My nails are quite long as I type this, which usually means a break is eminent. When that happens and I must return to nubs, I will try this again and update!

In the meantime, if this is something you try, let me know if it works for you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

I love this stuff. Seriously, crushing hardcore over here. I believe my collection is over 10 bottles at this point, with colors from nudes to black. I didn't need any more polish, but with all the hype, I felt the need to try it out. Then I told myself I needed a pedicure color for summer, picked up a periwinkle color, then needed a forward a few months and I recently picked up a wine color for fall, the gold seen here, and black. Don't judge- black nail polish is chic now, no longer taboo goth polish.

Before I go into details about performance, etc. I'll photo blast you with all the manicures I've done with it over the last few months.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Blacky-O

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Street Flair

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Birthday Suit
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Birthday Suit
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Pink Up
First and foremost- if you want a manicure to last you 2 weeks without chipping, through hand washing, dishes, laundry, etc.-- go to a salon and get a Shellac or Gelish manicure. There is no miracle drug store, organic, luxury brand, or special kits that will last your regular nail polish that long. With the daily hand washing, dishes, and the natural bends of your finger nails, there's no way polish can hold on that long without chipping. Pretty much every brand sells a top coat or polish they're promising to last up to 10 days but ummmm yeeeeahhhhh (in my best Bill Lumbergh voice) it won't. 

That being said, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is a step above regular nail polish and a step below Gelish and Shellac. I honestly picked it up out of curiosity- I wanted a polish that would last me more than 2 days, so that in the event we were traveling I could paint my nails before we left and not have to pack supplies for a replacement mani on the road.

The problem with long breaks between blogging, I take pictures and forget the surroundings of them. Case and point, the above manicure Pink Up.  I know it lasted 5 days as I labeled the 2nd picture that in my phone, but I can't remember doing anything out of the ordinary daily chores- cooking, dishes, laundry, washing my hands. I will say I used this as a pedicure at the same time, and that lasted a minimum of 2 weeks- I say minimum because I was forced to remove it for my surgery.

Above is Street Flair, my favorite of the colors so far, and definitely the one that lasted the longest.  I was traveling and staying with family, so my hands were not in water as much as normal not cooking. You can see from the extensive nail growth how long the polish stayed on! It did make it to a 7th day, but was highly chipped and removed once we arrived back home.

Although the polish does not live up to the 14 days as they advertise, I am still very happy with its performance. As much as I love nail polish and painting my nails, I do look forward to "taking a break" with using one of these colors lasting 5+ days.

Have you tried this polish?

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