Monday, January 23, 2012

Mani: Butter London Victoriana


Those of you that follow me on instagram may have seen this picture yesterday:


My nails have been splitting and peeling horribly recently and I decided its time to take action.  I bought a bottle of OPI Nail Envy Splitting and Peeling on eBaY for $10, considerably less than Ulta, Target, etc.  So this week will be only Nail Envy on my nails. I know, it breaks my heart too.

For now, here are some pictures of a manicure I never shared with you. Butter London Victoriana.


I nought this back in the summer in the BOGO sale at Ulta, and I'm thinking I need to revisit this! And seriously, look how long my nails were! I'm working on getting them this length again...


I'm not very good at describing nail colors in the right terminology, but this is a beautiful turquoise color with very fine silver glitter in it.  What do you think?


Find me on instagram, I'm obsessed: PinkofPerfect is my profile name!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Knocking

My sister Lyn from over at Social Work Confessions called me up Friday to tell me about Code Orange Revival, a 12 Day Revival from the Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.  It boasted big speakers like T.D. Jakes, James MacDonald, and Israel Houghton.  We didn't find out about it until day 11 of 12, but all the services, including the Praise & Worship are available online!

I had tuned in Friday night to hear T.D. Jakes, but was so sick (food poisoning I believe,) I had to turn it off and go to bed at 8.  I will most definitely be watching him!

I just wanted to pass along a small tid-bit of James MacDonald's sermon from last night about Repentance. 

Source: Google Images
Pastor MacDonald spoke about this painting which he has in his office, 'Jesus at Heart's Door', have you seen this before? The imagery is beautiful, Jesus knocking at the door of our hearts, shaped by the door and the arch.  We just need to let Him in.

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock,  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
-Revelation 3:19-20

I am not one for Contemporary Christian Praise & Worship, but Gospel Music gives me chills, makes me cry, convicts me, you name it! I'll leave you with a favorite of mine by DeWayne Woods, Let Go.

Let go, Let God.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Nipple Cream For Your Cuticles?!!?

Cuticle maintenance is very important to me as a nail connoisseur of sorts.  And now with it getting cold here most days (minus the 60 degree days like yesterday), it's important to maintain not only your dry skin, but your cuticles. 

I am still constructing my Manicure Musts Part II: Your Nails post, but you can see the Manicure Musts Part I: Preparation Products here. With proper maintenance and care of your cuticles, you'll never have to use this horrid creature:
Your cuticles are there for a reason, to stave off infection, and it will do you no good to nip them away!

So on to nipple cream.  I'm talking about Lansinoh nipple cream available in the baby isle at Target, Walmart, CVS, etc.  And it works wonders on your cuticles, as evident in the photo above. 

I want to advise you it's a thick formula, so maybe apply it before going to bed at night like I do to settle in most effectively. 

Here's a before and after for you, see the difference?



I hear it's great for chapped lips too!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken and Biscuits


Two out of the three times I've gone to the Cheesecake Factory I've gotten their Chicken and Biscuits for dinner, it's delicious.  Then I found out the calories in that baby.  2260. !!!!!!!!!! Of course it's a huge serving and I always bring home about half of it, but still... 1100+ calories in a sitting? Before Cheesecake???

I have found a suitable substitute.  It's actually beyond suitable, it's incredible! This recipe does not include mashed potatoes, but with the biscuit, they're not needed.  And you know what makes it even more amazing? It's a CROCK-POT MEAL!

And with the homemade biscuit, it's 616 calories. Much better. For you WW buddies of mine, with a biscuit it's 16 P+, but worth saving up your points through the day for.

This is one of those comfort foods that make you feel warm and happy when you're eating it. And don't skimp, make the homemade biscuits with it.  The first time I made this I used RF Pillsbury biscuits, but I only saved a few calories and they weren't worth it.  These biscuits are incredibly easy and kick Bisquick's butt. 

How gorgeous is this mirepoix?


Word of the day: mirepoix: pronounced meer-pwah, French for carrots, celery and onions.  These three ingredients are also referred to as the aromatics, and are a common base for soups, stews, stocks, and suaces.

Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken and Biscuits
Source: Real Simple Magazine
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 pound carrots (about 4), cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8) **I used breast**
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • (store-bought or Easy Drop Biscuits; see recipe), split
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions:
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, toss together the carrots, celery, onion, and flour. Place the chicken on top and season with the poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the wine and broth.
  2. Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours (this will shorten total cooking time).
  3. Thirty minutes before serving, prepare the Easy Drop Biscuits (if using).
  4. Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, cream, and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Cover and cook until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  5. To serve, place the bottom halves of the biscuits in shallow bowls, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining biscuit halves.


Easy Drop Biscuits 

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, baking powder, and salt; pulse until pea-size clumps form. Add the milk and pulse just until moistened.
  2. Drop 6 large mounds of the dough (about ½ cup each) onto a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Notes:
  •  For the wine, I use Holland House, a cooking wine available in the condiment isle with vinegars. I like using it because it's something I always have in my pantry, but if you have a bottle of white (drinking) wine open, I'm sure it would kick this up a notch!
  • I use chicken breast as I am not a fan of chicken thighs. I use three breast pieces, and put them in whole.
  • Thanks to pinterest I found the perfect way to cut the butter for the biscuits, a cheese grater.  Works wonders.
  • If you do not have unsalted butter, you can most certainly use salted butter, but cut back on the salt added.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Weekend With My Sister


My sister Lyn and her two Cockapoos Dali and Jake spent the weekend in VA with my husband and I.  And I was in heaven.  She's without a doubt my best friend, and I miss her SO much.  She too is a blogger, blogging about being a Christian Social Worker as she finishes up her MSW through USC ( University of Southern Cali.) Her blog is called Social Work Confessions, you should check it out!


Seriously, how gorgeous is she??


She is the most stylish grad student I know!


Saturday we forced ourselves out of our comfy and warm pajama's and throws and dolled ourselves up for a shoot.  And we're both SO glad we did.  The pictures came out fabulously. 


It was bitter cold as you can see from our extremities. We were only out there about 15 minutes, but managed to get about 120+ pictures.


I missed her the moment she drove off, but I am already planning for her next visit, including a few shoots.  Look at these pictures she took, why wouldn't I? She said this one epitomized my "sass:"


Later this week I'll be posting a tutorial for my hair here, it's become my go-to hair style.  The curl stays in for 2-3 days. No lie.


And just a shot on the way back to the car, doesn't this look like a wallpaper background? What a charming apartment!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bloggers Biggest Loser: Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of Bloggers Biggest Loser hosted by Vicki and I!
****************
Although we started Bloggers Biggest Loser two weeks ago, I only got serious about it personally this past week.  I know, way to be an example.  But it's ok.  You know why? I lost 5 pounds this week! The equivalent of a bag of sugar. Holla!

I decided to join Weight Watchers for a month.  I've done WW in the past, but have never been completely successful with it.  This time last year I lost 15 pounds, and I plan to keep on going this time.  I joined for one month only.  I am determined to not waste money if it's not working.  SO many times I paid for WW only to not use it and waste money.

And so far so good.  I tried a bunch of new recipes this week including Slow Cooker Lasagna, Egg and Bacon Breakfast Burritos (made twice they're so good), Texas Style Casserole, Banana Bread, and a Sausage, Peppers, and Potato dish. 

For week two, I'm providing a tip and a recipe!

First up, a recipe.  I apologize that I do not have a picture for this of my own.

Source: WeightWatchers.com
Egg and Bacon Breakfast Burritos
Points+ : 8
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 Spray(s) butter-flavored cooking spray
3 egg whites
2 large eggs
2 slices uncooked Canadian Bacon, finely chopped
¼ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp salsa, drained of excess liquid
2 large burrito-size wheat flour tortillas
2 Tbsp RF sour cream
1/8 medium avocado, ripe, cut into 2 wedges


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Coat a small baking sheet with cooking spray.  Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and eggs.  Add bacon, oregano, salt, pepper and salsa; stir well.
  3. Pour egg mixture into prepared skillet; increase heat to medium.  Let eggs partially set and then scramble using a spatula.  When eggs are set but still slightly glossy, remove from heat.
  4. Spoon half of mixture into center of each tortilla.  Roll tortilla to conceal filling, making sure to fold in ends. Place burritos, seam-side down, on prepared baking sheet.  Bake until burritos are very hot, about 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve each burrito with 1Tbsp sour cream. 
These are fabulous.  Like I said I made these twice this week.  I substituted a Tbsp of RF cheddar cheese on the burrito in place of the avocado and the points were the same. 
And now for my TIP...

Source: Google Images
Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner App!

If you're on Weight Watchers (paying customer) this app is SUCH a help.  It's meant to be used at the grocery store to chek the PointsPlus values while you shop.  Of course as soon as I downloaded it I started scanning everything in my cupboards.  It's awesome and you need it. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Everybody, Everywear: Black + White



Black + White | Everybody, Everywear

I took these pictures Sunday after church and am not very happy how they turned out.  I am still trying to learn my new camera, and I'm trying not to run back inside and grab my old P&S one.  I know it's going to just take time and practice, but I can't help but get frustrated!


I got the inspiration for this outfit from this picture on pinterest:


Source: Polyvore via Pinterest
It just so happened that EBEW's theme was black and white.  I would have preferred a more fabulous outfit to link up, but these days this is about as fabulous as it gets. 


Outfit Details:
Black Top: Target
Cami: Target
Jeans: Old Navy
White Vest: Macy's
Scarf: Target
Bag: Dooney & Bourke
Earrings: Target
Sneakers: Converse
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta


I just had to laugh at this picture, I was TOTALLY off in my placement!


I know these pictures aren't the best and I'm guaranteed at least one email telling me how to fix them, but it's ok.  I'm LEARNING

Back in September/October I started the 365 Project, where you take a picture everyday for a year.  At the end of the year, you can look at them to assess your skills, see how you've changed, see how you haven't changed, or just how you chronicled a year of your life.  I got about a month and a half in and stopped.  I'm thinking I should start it again to start working on my photo skills with the new camera. 

Anyone want to join me?

My friend Angie is doing it and documenting it on facebook, but I think I'll clear flickr of my previous posts and start soon.  Maybe my first day will be the picture of my brother Wes getting off the boat from his deployment??!!?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bloggers Do It Better: Sequins!

 
Source: Pretty Shiny Sparkly

I am so excited to be linking up once again on Pretty Shiny Sparkly for the Bloggers Do It Better group! This is only my second link-up with them (you can see my first one, Animal Print, here), and I am so excited to see what my co-bloggers come up with! I have met a few blogger friends from the Animal Print link-up, and I am beyond excited to meet new bloggers!


I had been Christmas shopping at Kohl's and of course wondered over to just "look" for myself.  Well, I ended up leaving with a sweater and this tank.  I did exercise enough restraint to pick it in one color at least, right? There were at least 5 colors, but I went with the off white with gold sequins for something different.

Tank: Apt9, Kohl's
Sweater: Apt9, Kohl's
Jeans: Calvin Klein, Macy's
Bag: B. Makowsky
Hair Tutorial: here
Shoes: Kohl's (not shown, but similar here.)



I did the mini-bun technique to do my hair, but it didn't turn out as well as last time, due to my laziness.  See, my hair is long.  And thick.  And I have a LOT of it.  And it takes forever to do anything with.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my hair, it just takes quite an effort to style.  I didn't take the time to actually twist the hair into buns, but rather twirled it, then wrapped it around my fingers and pinned it to my head.  As a result, I was left with frizz and a lion's mane.  I actually did 3-4 buns properly, and luckily they were strategically placed (unplanned!) enough to make it presentable.

Except when the wind blew.  (Case and point above.) Halfway through the pictures, I gave in and pinned it back as you can see from some of the pictures. 


And one more to show off my Christmas present from the hubs...



This is only my second B. Makowsky bag, but I love them! They are quality leather bags which I know I will have for years.  The funny thing is my other one is green too, an army green bag you can see here.

And of course my nails coordinated:

Zoya Kendal
Sally Hansen Set the Stage

**Stop by Pretty Shiny Sparkly to see the other bloggers in their Sequins!**

Magnetic Mani!

Today I'd like to show you the Magnetic Manicure, featuring Nails, Inc. Magnetic Nail Polish. I've been wanting this polish for awhile now, and finally went for it and I am so happy I did.  And the names are so cute: Parliament (purple),Trafalgar Square (chrome), and Whitehall Teal (teal).


I believe the only place to get it is at Sephora, and only in store if it's a flagship, or larger store.  I bought mine online as the Sephora here in VA is smaller than my living room. The link is for the set of 3 for $30 which I purchased, but you can buy them individually for $16 each.

Here's how you apply!

1.) ALWAYS start with a base coat.  This protects your nails as well as creates a smooth surface for your manicure.  I go back and forth between two, Deborah Lippman Rehydrating Basecoat and Nail Magic Nail Treatment.

 2.) Apply first coat of the magnetic polish.  Allow to dry. I usually get done all 10 fingers, check Twitter and apply the second coat. Before applying the second coat, make sure you have your magnet (included in set or with polish) at the ready.

3.) Apply the second coat one nail at a time.  After painting a "generous" second coat on your first nail (I always start with my pinky), replace brush back in the polish and hold the magnet over your nail for 10-15 seconds.  The magnet has a ledge of sorts to rest on your cuticle so as to maintain the proper distance.  Continue with the rest of your nails. 

4.) Finish with topcoat.  I swear by this topcoat, Seche Vite.  It's available pretty much everywhere, Target, CVS, drugstores, etc.  I buy mine at Sally Beauty Supply as it's a little bit cheaper and considering the amount I go through, it's worth it. This top coat is applied while your nails are still wet, and will have your nails 99% dry in less than 5 minutes.  Trust me. 

Voila!


I highly recommend this nail polish, it's just as fun to apply as it is to look at!

Cool, right?

Stop by My Vickilicious Life and Fabulous but Evil to see the other Nail Files Link-ups, you know I will!


The Nail Files

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recipe: Four-Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham


Four-Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham
Total cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
source: Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

Kosher Salt
12        ounces penne
1          cup frozen peas
2          large eggs, plus 1 egg white
1          cup evaporated milk
4          tablespoons unsalted butter
3          ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 scant cup)
3          ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
3          ounces fontina cheese, grated (1 scant cup)
3          ounces deli ham, in one piece, diced (ham steak)
1          ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until very al dente, about 8 minutes, adding the peas in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

2.) Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg white, evaporated milk and 1/2 tsp of salt in a bowl.

3.) Drain the pasta and peas; wipe the pot dry and return the pasta and peas to the pot.  Add the butter and stir to coat.  Add the cheddar, mozzarella, fontina and the egg mixture.  Place the pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 8-10 minutes, adding the ham halfway through cooking.  Don't let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. 

4.) Remove the post from the heat and stir in the Parmesan.


Per serving:
Calories: 878
Fat: 43g (Saturated Fat 26g)
Cholesterol: 249mg
Sodium: 1,273 mg
Carbohydrate: 77g
Protein: 44g

So yeah, this isn't exactly a healthy recipe.  It's actually QUITE rich.  But it's amazing.  I mean really...how can anything with 4 cheeses and ham and pasta be anything but? It's worth the calories.  Trust me.

I feel a little guilty posting this a mere 2 days after I started the Bloggers Biggest Loser link up, but I did make it January 2nd, so I was safe by 24 hours!

Like I said, this isn't something you'll make every day, or every week for that matter, but store this away for a special occasion.  We had this for a late lunch/early dinner paired with a simple salad of mixed spring greens and tomatoes and definitely stuck to one bowl each. 

Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mani: OPI DS Extravagance


So at this point I believe I'm close to 300 bottles of polish.  And this is my favorite.  OPI DS (Designer Series) Extravagance.  It's a Maroon/Glitter/Holo polish that sparkles like CRAZY.  It's just absolutely gorgeous!

The above is a cell phone picture, so I apologize for that line my blackberry puts on every picture...March and my iPhone can't come soon enough!


Although blurry, this picture shows the shimmer of the glitter a little better.  A blogging friend of mine Amber from Real Girl Glam said she wears this as a pedicure and constantly gets compliments, so I must try that next!


I currently have DS Extravagance and Mystery (a black base with gold glitter, rather disappointing...) and I'd like to add a few more to my collection, especially the two new ones, Temptation and Bold:


Source: Google Images

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