July 29, 2011

My Favorite Lips

Lip gloss. Lip balm. Chapstick. Lipstick. Lip plumpers. If you are a girl, I'm sure you've tried them all, trying to find the best one. It is a challenge indeed. I want to share with you some of my favorites, in hopes to help you not waste any more money on trying out products! As a disclaimer, I prefer my lips to feel lightweight rather than sticky. So if you love really glossy lip glosses, this post may not be the best product review for you.

Carmex Moisture Plus

I love that this product gives your lips a glossy look and feel, without being too much. I am not too crazy about true lip glosses that feel heavy and sticky. This is lightweight and gives your lips a slight shine as well as sun protection with SPF 15. When I looked this up on the website, I just saw they now have 2 new colors added. I will have to check those out soon!


I have used this lip balm for years. Really. It is the most lightweight out of anything I've tried. It really does make your lips soft! I have tried the colors and I'm not too crazy about them because the product feels entirely different, a little too thick. If you're looking for something to always keep on hand in the winter for chapped lips, and in the summer for sun protection (has SPF 15), this stuff is great. My favorite flavor is vanilla.

Covergirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm
This is my favorite lipstick by far! It feels like a chapstick but gives you the color and shimmer of lipstick and lip gloss combined. It is perfect for the low-maintenance girl who wants to get glammed up. Also has SPF 15. The color I've picked is Pinot 245 and I love it. It is not extreme, so if you're looking for a bright color or something that will really stand out, this may not be your lipstick.

Some products I've tried and disliked are:
Nivea "A Kiss of Smoothness" - this tube looks like a gluestick and feels like one. Too thick and did not make my lips feel moisturized, but like the moisture was sucked out of them.

Anything Chapstick - Now, I can't vouch for their newer products, because I haven't tried them in a while. But anytime I have bought Chapstick I've disliked how it makes my lips feel. I've also heard that the product in it actually dries your lips out to make you continually need to put on more. That's how I feel when I wear it, so I wouldn't be surprised if that was true.

I hope these tips have been helpful!! If you have any favorites please feel free to share.
I love trying out new lip products!

July 26, 2011

Oh, baby

I've got baby on the mind, so I've been browsing these fun nursery/kids room ideas. Before you freak out, don't worry, I still want to wait a loooong time. This is just daydreaming :) and also stemming from the I-don't-want-to-be-a-grown-up-right-now section of my brain...

How cute is that quilt??

And those yellow striped curtains?
(see previous curtain blogpost)

If I had this in my room as a child,
that wheel would never not be spinning

So fun! There are even curtains for that
coveted privacy 7-year-olds so desire

Never thought of doing wallpaper in a nursery
but there is something so eye-catching about these prints!

Oh, dinosaurs!! how cute! I am so stealing this
colorful idea for my little boy (one day).

I'm pretty sure that my future nursery will include:
Pops of color
Kid-sized chairs
TONS of storage
A good place for my baby and me to curl up with a bedtime story

Follow me on Pinterest! Here is my Kiddiewinks board.

July 25, 2011

Kidney Bean Tortilla Lasagna

This is one of my favorite recipes. It is from one of my cookbooks, called "The Stocked Kitchen."  This book was a random wedding gift from one of Michael's parents' neighbors (random as in we didn't register for it), and it has been great! The thing that's awesome about this book is that it teaches you how to stock your pantry so that you always have certain items on hand that work for a number of recipes, thus preventing the running-out-to-the-store-to-get-2-things frenzy. (Especially useful in the dead of winter when you really don't feel like going out to the store!) This is also a good vegetarian option but still has protein thanks to the kidneys (I made it for my friends when they came to visit 2 weekends ago, one of them being vegetarian). I usually leave out the mushrooms, but it's your call! If you think of another yummy ingredient, feel free to share!

Kidney Bean Tortilla Lasagna
Serves 8.  Approx. total time: 1 hr.

2 15-oz. cans Tomato sauce
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. dried minced onions
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 15-oz. cans Kidney beans, drained
1 4-oz. can black olives
1 4-oz. can mushrooms
1 15-oz. can corn, drained
6 flour tortillas (8" or fajita size)
2 c. cheddar cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, dried minced onions, garlic powder, and cumin. Add beans, olives, mushrooms, and corn. Pour 1 cup of the mixture on the bottom of the dish.
3. Lay 2 tortillas over the mixture. Spread 1/3 of the bean mixture over tortillas and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat this step twice.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 15 more minutes or until cheese becomes golden brown.

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July 23, 2011

Fresh Squeezed Fruit Juice

Photo credit: Blythe Klippstein

Have you ever been to the Raleigh Farmers Market? If not, you need to go ASAP! It is the largest one I've ever been to, and they have so many options of fresh fruit, bakery goods, plants, flowers, and more. Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to host two of my best friends, Julia and Blythe, as they came down from VA for a visit. We all had such a great time! Girl talk and catching up was long overdue and is such rich food for the soul. ((They both have posted more pictures from our weekend on their blogs Skopjanka and Through the Lens of My Nikon.)) 

My adorable friend Julia

One of our favorite treats at the farmers market was this fresh squeezed fruit juice drink: absolutely sublime. They squeezed a lime, lemon, and orange into the cup, added just a touch of sugar water, and cherries. It was the most delicious, fruity, and fresh drink I have ever had. And it tasted so naturally sweet! I'm pretty sure I am going to have to mimic this drink at home. Now if only I had a juicer...

July 11, 2011

Anniversary Mocha Cheesecake

I'm calling this "Anniversary Mocha Cheesecake" because I made it for our one year anniversary tonight! I cannot believe it has been one year already... I'm having a hard time with the fact that people won't call us newlyweds anymore. I still feel like a newlywed! This past year has been so fun and so challenging in many ways. Some of the speed bumps have been: moving, and all that that entails; getting used to a husband who loves to play PS3; expectations (ha. everyone tells you not to have any... I'm telling you right now that is impossible). But we have had some very fun highlights, which definitely outweigh the bumps: going to friends' weddings MARRIED; meeting new friends here in NC; finding an amazing church; lazy Saturdays just hanging out in our new home; holidays with our two families MARRIED; and a wonderful anniversary trip to Williamsburg this past weekend! It really has been a fantastic year. I feel so blessed and I am excited for what this next year brings!

Williamsburg, VA 2011

I found this recipe on the label of my springform pan when I first bought it. I have been wanting to try it for a while now, and this occasion seemed perfect, since cheesecake is one of Michael's and my favorite desserts.

Anniversary Mocha Cheesecake

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
4-5 tbs. butter, melted
2 tbs. sugar
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbs. instant coffee (I used decaf)
3 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbs. flour
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. hot fudge or chocolate ice cream topping

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. For crust, mix crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press into bottom and sides of pan.
  3. For filling, heat cream until hot (do not boil). Add coffee; stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add flour; blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla, sour cream, and cooled coffee; blend well.
  6. Pour filling into pan; place in preheated oven. Fill a large pan with hot water and set on rack below cheesecake.
  7. Bake 70 to 75 minutes or until cheesecake is just slightly soft in center. Cool on cooling rack 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, add hot fudge topping.
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      July 8, 2011

      Dressing Your Windows

      Windows are tricky. It's hard to know what to do with them, and whatever you decide dramatically changes the room. Long drapes? Flowy curtains? Tied or hanging straight? A valence instead? Colored to match the room, or neutral? No curtains at all? Plantation blinds? Shutters? It's enough to make you go crazy!

      This is also something that is hard to search for on the internet to find inspiration. Oh sure, design websites are loaded with gorgeous rooms that have windows in them. But you can't just Google "windows" or "curtains" and get an array of different designs. Well, you can, but you get sites like Blinds.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target, which aren't exactly inspiration.

      I am in the process of trying to decide what to do with my bedroom curtains. I like the color, but they way they hang sort of gets on my nerves. I'm contemplating tying them; with what, I don't know.

      I'm liking the layer at the top of these curtains

      Love these pretty colors! They also don't go all the way to the floor.

      Brown curtains match a brown room
      A pattern, more subtle than bold

      Neutral and simple... love this room

      Neutral, barely-there shades

      The more I look, the more neutral colors I'm seeing. I guess the white, fresh, crisp look is in right now. I still like my blue, because I feel like the room would be so boring with the builder beige walls and carpet that came with the apartment. I'll post pictures when I have it figured out!

      What are your favorite curtains? Do you have any ideas or suggestions to send my way? Links to your favorite design blogs?

      Hope you have a good Friday!

      **All inspiration sites are found through my favorite blogs,
      located in the right-side margin, in "Blogs I Like"

      July 7, 2011

      Blueberry Zucchini Bread


      I stumbled across this Blueberry Zucchini Bread on my friend Heather's blog, One Fisch, Two Fisch. I happened to have some blueberries in the fridge that I knew would go bad soon, so I decided to try it. THIS IS TO DIE FOR. It is the most moist bread, and so yummy! The zucchini does something special to it... really it does not taste like veggies at all. More like the most delicious blueberry muffin you've ever had. This recipe was too good not to share with you! Enjoy it!

      July 6, 2011

      DIY Flower Pots

      Original how-to instructions here.
      I am LOVING these fabric flower pots! They are so cute and I really wish I had seen this idea before planting my herb garden. I guess I could still do something like this in my house somewhere. If you are not an artist (as I am definitely not!), this craft is great because you can just use a pretty fabric pattern and it looks amazing. Oh, I want to go make one now!!

      July 1, 2011

      Fireworks Cookies


      It's that time of year again... the celebration of our nation's independence! I am excited about this year's July 4th because I am going up to visit my family who lives in Virginia near the nation's capitol. It has been too long since I've seen them! Hopefully I will get to see some of DC while I am up there.

      One thing I am going to bring with me is a batch of these festive cookies. I saw them in the Martha Stewart Living magazine and knew that I had to make them. I believe that on the 4th of July you not only have to wear red, white, & blue, but you must also have these colors be part of what you eat! These are so fun and they are actually not that difficult. I'm going to confess something here: I used a Betty Crocker mix for the sugar cookies instead of home making them... come on, it's a time saver and they taste just as good!

      Here's the how-to:
      1. Using a batch of royal icing, separate it into 3 bowls and use food coloring to dye one of the bowls blue and one of them red. Then scoop the blue icing into a ziploc bag, and the same with the red. Cut a very small hole in one of the corners (you don't want it to be too big!). Martha Stewart would tell you to use squeeze bottles for this, but the ziploc bags worked fine for me.

      2. Spread an even layer of white icing over a cookie, leaving a 1/4-inch border (I just used a knife here).

      3. Immediately squeeze a red or blue dot in the center of cookie. Then pipe concentric rings of colors around the center dot. You can do all one color, or alternate red and blue here.

      4. Immediately drag a toothpick through the colors to create bursts, starting from the center dot and working toward the edge. You can do this all the way around, or you can also alternate dragging inward and outward as you work around the cookie. Let dry. Repeat with remaining cookies.

      These were so much fun to make! Of course I don't quite have the Martha finesse down pat, so mine did not turn out as gorgeous as hers. But let's be honest, she probably had to go through like 8 batches of cookies to get hers looking that perfect, right??

      Hope you enjoy these! What's your favorite 4th of July tradition?