Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I was overwhelmed by the amount of sunscreen choices this past week. Do I go for the most expensive to be the most effective? The highest SPF? Is a spray better than a lotion? According to Consumer Reports, the best sun protection money can buy turns out to be the cheapest which is great news for us budget-conscious.
The magazine tested 22 sprays, creams and lotions, and for the second year in a row Up & Up’s Sport Continuous SPF 30 (a Target brand - but of course) is not only the best buy ($9.00/2 pack), but it's also one of the four most effective sunscreens as determined by Consumer Reports.
Other top winners:
*Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30
*Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30
*CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30
But before you buy it and apply it, here are some tips fresh from the pages of Glamour Magazine's May 2011 issue;
1. It’s Not Just About the SPF Level: “Once you go higher than SPF 50, there’s not much difference,” says NYC derm Robert J. Friedman, M.D. For the best protection, look for SPF 30 sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl.
2. You Need More Than You Think: One bottle of sunscreen for vacation may not be enough. “It takes one ounce to cover the body, and if you’re in the sun for six hours, you need to reapply twice,” says Scottsdale, Arizona, derm Jennifer Linder, M.D.
3. “Waterproof” Sunscreen Really Isn’t: Updated labels will refer to SPF as water-resistant, which protects for up to 40 minutes, or very water resistant, for up to 80 minutes. Reapply accordingly.
4. Heads Need Sun Protection Too: “The scalp is a common location for skin cancer,” says Dr. Linder. Use a hair sun protector—it’s less greasy than a lotion.
5. We Can Do Better: Sad but true: “Thirty-five percent of women still aren’t wearing sunscreen at all,” says Dr. Friedman. Don’t let that be you!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
~Patriotic Berry Triffle~
Prep: 30 minutes + chilling
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
2 cups cold whole milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 quart fresh strawberries, quartered
1 prepared angel food cake (8 to 10 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
In two small bowls, combine each gelatin flavor with 1 cup boiling water.
Stir 1/2 cup cold water into each.
Pour each into an ungreased 9-in. square pan.
Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.
In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes.
Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.
Set aside 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup strawberries for garnish.
Cut the gelatin into 1-in. cubes.
In a 3-qt. trifle bowl or serving dish, layer the strawberry gelatin, half of the cake cubes, the remaining blueberries and half of the pudding mixture.
Top with blue gelatin and remaining cake cubes, strawberries and pudding mixture. Garnish with reserved berries and remaining whipped topping. Serve immediately.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Shop in the next 4 days (May 25-28) and Nordstrom cardholders who earn the standard 2 rewards points will earn 4 points per net dollar spent on purchases made at Nordstrom.com and in Nordstrom stores.
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2007 (with a few motifications)
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Serves: 4 servings
• 1 pound Rotini pasta
• 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
• Black pepper
• 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed
• 1 cup Ricotta cheese
• 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
• 1 egg
• 3/4 cup bread crumbs, plus more, if needed*
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 2 boxes, 10 ounces, chopped frozen spinach*
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 can of low sodium chicken stock - allows for 2 cups
• 1 cup milk
• 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, eyeball it
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
-Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta to cook to al dente.
-Form 8 medium round balls, about 2 to 3-inches.
-Place spinach boxes in a shallow dish and defrost spinach in microwave 8 to 10 minutes on "defrost" setting depending on the microwave. *It is recommended to do this step the night before or well ahead of time.
-Wring spinach completely dry in clean kitchen towel then separate as you add it to the sauce.
Serve Florentine Mac-n-Cheese with 2 meatballs per person along side. Enjoy!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
So why am I blogging about sweaty, stinky underarms you might be thinking? According to Dr. Han Lee, an assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Southern California, that you should switch up your deodorant every 6 months. But do you really know what's the best for you amongst the hundreds of sticks and cans? Keep reading...
If you want to prevent wetness, use an antiperspirant. Chose one that contains at least 10% aluminum chloride which produces salts that clog your sweat ducts.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
From this point on - there are no more can'ts. You CAN get in those shorts, I promise. And you can do it with baby steps. No crazy diet. No juice cleanse. No starving yourself. Below are some easy tips on how to make small changes in your diet that can result in significant weight loss without having to even break a sweat. Read on...
1. Don’t eat in front of the TV. You’ll eat up to 288 calories more, according to research from the University of Massachusetts. Instead, eat at the table, and trade one hour of TV for a casual walk. Together, that’s 527 calories burned.
2. Get in tune with your tummy. Pay attention to how full you feel, and put down your fork when you’re satisfied. Listen to your body’s cues—instead of looking at whether the plate is clean—and save up to 500 calories a day.
3. Limit dinner guests. Eating with seven or more other guests can make you eat 96% more food, says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Mindless Eating. That’s like doubling your dinner! Dine with fewer guests to save 500 or more calories.
4. Limit salad toppings and always ask for it ON THE SIDE. A big salad might seem healthy, but all those goodies on top can make it more calorie-laden than lasagna or fettuccine Alfredo. Cheese crumbles, caramelized nuts, bacon, avocado, dried fruit, croutons and vinaigrettes can add lots of calories. Save 500 or more calories by having just one topping, adding flavorful but lower-cal veggies (roasted bell peppers, grilled onions, or mushrooms) and using half the dressing.
5. Don’t clean your plate. Leave 25% (or 4 bites) of your food on the plate at every meal, says weight-loss expert James O. Hill, Ph.D., author of The Step Diet. If you normally eat 2,000 calories or more each day, you’ll cut 500 calories.
6. Use smaller plates. Swap your 12-inch plate for a 10-inch one. You’ll eat 20-25% less and save up to 500 calories. You won’t feel any less full, either, researchers say.
7. Serve and sit. Family-style meals, with platters and bowls of food on the table, invite people to go back for seconds and thirds. Cut hundreds of calories by filling plates before bringing them to the table; leave serving dishes in the kitchen, too.
8. Make a swap. Use 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt instead of 1 cup heavy cream in a favorite baking recipe. Save 684 calories. Swap out butter for applesauce and save even more!
9. Make yours a mini. Check out menus for small versions of great desserts, so you can dodge calories and end your meal on a sweet note. P.F. Chang’s Great Wall of Chocolate is 1,440 calories. The Mini Great Wall? A chocolatey yet svelte 150 calories. You’ll save 1,290 calories.
10. Ditch that buttered movie popcorn. Yes, the large popcorn at the concession stand weighs in at a whopping 1,005 calories. Smuggle in your own (microwave-popped, 94% fat-free, of course) and save more than 700 calories.
11. Count your chips (and crackers) and put them on an individual plate/bowl. No, you can’t eat your snacks from a large bag or box because it’s waaaay too tempting to eat until the bag is empty. A chip-bender to the bottom of a 9-ounce bag is 1,260 calories sans the dip. So stick to one serving, about 15 chips—that’s 140 calories or pick up some 100-calorie snack packs and save 1,120 calories.
12. Step away from the nuts, especially if they’re in a big bowl. The bigger the serving bowl, the more you’ll eat, Cornell University researchers say. Nuts have heart-healthy fats, but they’re also high in calories: One handful (about 1 ounce) of oil-roasted mixed nuts has 175 calories; three handfuls have 525. Cut out nuts altogether and save more than 500 calories. Can’t resist ’em? Eat pistachios: Two handfuls are just 159 calories, and the shelling will slow down your munching.
13. Skip the whip or at least size it down. Dessert-like coffee creations can contain as many as 670 calories, with large sizes and options like whipped cream, whole milk and syrups. Craving whipped cream? Try it on a shot of espresso for a total of just 30 calories. You save 640 calories!
14. Kick the soda habit. A 12-ounce soft drink has about 150 to 180 calories. If you down two or three a day, you’re getting lots of extra calories. Quench your thirst with water and save as many as 540 calories.
15. Drink sugar-free. A 20-ounce tea with added fruit juices can have 400+ calories. And Southern-style sweet tea isn’t much better than soda: a 16-ounce bottle of syrupy sweet tea has 180 calories; three of those are 540 calories. Choose sugar-free sips and save more than 400 calories.
16. Skinny up cocktails. Syrups, sour mix, sugary fruit juices and creamy additions turn drinks into desserts: an indulgent Mudslide can have more than 800 calories. Order drinks mixed with club soda, tonic water, cranberry juice or a squeeze of citrus; or try distilled liquors on the rocks. You’ll save up to 800 calories.
17. Eat less pasta (or anything WHITE for that matter). One cup of pasta is just 220 calories. But typical dinner portions at restaurants can be as much as 480% larger than that 1 cup, according to New York University research. That’s 1,056 calories. Even if you eat 2 whole cups of noodles, you’ll still save 616 calories.
Friday, May 20, 2011
From this Sunday, May 22 through Saturday, May 28 if you buy two bakeware at full price, you get the third FREE. And if you click on the link below, you can print a coupon for an additional 40% off one item.
For menu ideas and recipes; check out http://www.celebrations.com/graduationparty.
For tips on how to streamline your party planning; check out this article from Real Simple Magazine. Follow her advice and you might just enjoy the days leading up to the party! http://simplystated.realsimple.com/celebrations/2008/05/easy-party-plan.html
My absolute favorite party planning website however is Hostess with the Mostess. This site is truly inspiring - and a tad overwhelming. It is though the ultimate website if you want to replicate a party theme or need inspiration on how to display food or desserts. Their tagline: "Entertaining with a modern twist." Check it out - http://www.hwtm.com/.
Want to be a little more creative than a store bought sheet cake for dessert? I'm a big fan of an ice cream sundae bar. It serves as both a dessert and an "activity" for the guests. All you need is some chocolate sauce, nuts, whip cream and some candy in the school colors to make your dessert table a hit! The timing of ice cream and keeping it cold however is definitely more high maintenance than just plopping a cake down on the table. To eliminate this problem, you need to serve your ice cream in individual glass jars or glasses. To do this, you need to scoop small balls of ice cream the night before into tupperware (make a single layer) and put in the freezer. You will also need to freeze the empty mason jars/glass in the freezer the night before. The day of, place the ice cream scoops in the mason jars (really frozen ice cream keeps the jars clean from drips.) Then put the serving tray right back in the freezer until you are ready to serve. This fun twist on ice cream makes both preparing ahead and serving a cinch. Both kids and adults love concocting their own ice cream sundae.
Another creative idea and a fun twist on a guest book, is to make a Good Luck jar. This will leave the graduate with plenty of well wishes and encouraging words to send them into their next adventure.
All you need is a large mason jar (you can find at Target or Ikea) and decorate as you wish. Then supply your guests with a paper and pen to write their good luck wishes on. So simple!
And my last tip: HAVE IT CATERED!!!! You may spend a little more but it will save you on the stress. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Mexican is always a hit and pretty cheap too. Best of luck in planning a smashing Graduation party!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Product: Quick Shade 64' Weekender Canopy Shade
Color: Midnight Blue
Original price: $99.99
SALE price: $74.99 plus FREE shipping
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Original price: $59.99
SALE price: $44.99 plus FREE shipping
Rating: 4.5/5 starts
Buy together and you'll save $40.00! At midnight (PST), today's deals will be gone. Act fast.
1. Personalized Stationery: Custom stationery always makes a nice gift because it's both useful and personal. Three of my favorite stationery sites are suitorlife.com for a very simple, professional look and I love http://www.minted.com/, thebutternyc.com and Chloe B. for Crane for clean, modern designs.
2. Jewelry: Jewelry makes a lovely graduation gift. If you want the piece to have "meaning," the butterfly is representative of change and rebirth into a new life.
3. U-Haul rental: Moving costs pile up with an uncommon ease. Bestow a grad with an U-Haul rental for $20-30.
4. Gym Membership: The end of college or high school means an end to amenities - like well-stocked college gyms or mommy and daddy's auto-pay membership. A Bally Total Fitness membership is roughly $20/month with no enrollment fee right now. Pool together your money with a few family members and give the gift of health.
5. Bulk Store Membership: For a $50 Gold Star membership to Costco, you can help a poor graduate save a few bucks by purchasing massive amounts of Top Ramen.
6. Leather Agenda: A leather agenda is elegant and timeless. And even better if it comes in an orange box. Browse Hermes agenda covers here. Beware: Don't even bother clicking on the link unless you have deep pockets and/or you LOVE the graduate more than yourself.
7. Money (and wallet or money clip): Let's face it, every graduate really just wants one thing: CASH. If money feels a tad impersonal, dress it up by tucking a few bucks inside a classic wallet or engraved money clip.
8. Mattress: One shock of adulthood is realizing how expensive mattresses are. Help a grad out with a good bed so they are well rested for college exams or a hard days work.
9. Alarm Clock: A heavy-duty one is preferred for those newfound early mornings.
10. Laundry Gift Basket: Okay, so it's not the sexiest gift. But laundry - especially for laundromat-goers - requires many components. A basket, detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener and a stock of quarters might encourage a grad to take care of his or her hygiene. Empower your grad by equipping them with the keys to personal cleanliness.
11. Hip Kits: These clever little care packages make a fun gift for the graduating student. Check out the Freshman Survival Kit or the Career Kit.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
So imagine yourself sipping wine, engulfed in a juicy convo with your girlfriend in her new patio chairs. Would you be able to tell a diff between the steep and the cheap? My guess - probably not.
(LEFT: $99.99 -currently on sale for $79.99, Cost Plus World Market. Available in 9 colors and kid's sizes too. RIGHT: $199.95 - currently on sale for $169.95, Crate and Barrel. Available in white only)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Serves 4 - 6
2 large cans of Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (likely have a little leftover)
2 cans DICED/MILD Rotel tomatoes w/ green chilies
2 cans of black beans
1 packet of enchilada seasoning
2 bags of shredded “Mexican Blend” cheese (or cheese of choice)
1 package flour tortillas
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil chicken breast for 10 min, shred with 2 forks.
Season shredded chicken with packet of enchilada seasoning.
Add tomatoes & green chilies, black beans, desired amount of cheese.
Add 3/4 of can of enchilada sauce to mixture.
Mix all together.
Pour 1/2 can of enchilada sauce into casserole dish.
Put mixture into tortillas, wrap tightly, lay into casserole dish.
Once dish is full, top with remaining enchilada sauce.
Top with layer of shredded cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes uncovered.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Can't decide between the two? Then wear both at once: nudes on your fingers, and brights on your toes. Sonia Kashuk Nail Color (available only at Target) has you covered with a variety of bright and nude shades (for just $5 each) including Jammin (shown), Ohh La La and Tutti Fruitti and Tickled Pink and In the Buff for the minimalistic, bare look.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (depending on how chocolatey you want your cake)
1 standard-sized mug
In mug, crack the egg then add powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Side note: I flippin' HATE getting gas. I'll run my tank with the red light on for so long I am biting my nails wondering if I'm going to make it to the nearest gas station. Then I end up kicking myself for being forced to get the most expensive gas in town. Usually at some Chevron right off the freeway. Not the place you want to stop if you're looking to save $$$.
This past week my husband discovered a cell phone app called GasBuddy. In just one click, you can locate gas stations nearest you and see their current gas prices.
How it works: GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices to help everyone save on gas (Gas prices for USA and Canada only). This guarantees up to the minute accurate gas prices. This is a FREE app that according to the Apple iPhone store, has received 5/5 stars from 7,177 ratings. You can either just use it to research the best prices nearest you or you can go one step further - If you become a member and you update or report a gas price, you can earn points toward prize give-away entries. You could win a $250 gas gift card every week.
My take on the app: I'm a fan. Great for travelers, especially now that spring is in the air and happy families and adventure seekers are hitting the road. And while it’s good for what it does, it does have a few flaws. All of the GasBuddy price updates are submitted by users. If no GasBuddy member updates the system with price changes, then the info will be inaccurate. That leads to numerous stations in the search results with wrong prices or no prices listed whatsoever.
GasBuddy does give a good representation of prices in a general area, and the mapping features available are very handy, especially for a traveler is in a strange area. For people doing a lot of traveling, this app will pay for itself…and that’s good, cause it’s FREE! But the average user may not see much use in it. Does it really matter that a station three miles away has gas that’s 2 cents per gallon cheaper? A 15 gallon fill up will save you 30 cents. That will make a difference over time, but people who have gas sipping cars or who drive little, this will be meaningless. But all in all, given the price of the app, the price of gas, and the potential to avoid running out of gas somewhere and getting the cheapest gas around, this is a worthwhile app to have on your mobile device. So save some coin and make GasBuddy your buddy!!
Download the GasBuddy app on your iPhone, Android and Windows. Don't see your device? Visit m.GasBuddy.com from any mobile device!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I'm obsssssessed. And you will be too once you get your hands (or boobs) on this bra! I've never been one to spend big money on workout clothes. Especially when I don’t think it really makes a difference whether you have the expensive stuff or the affordable stuff. Honestly the girls at the gym all done up aren't there to work-out, they're there to look good. Ummm leave please.
Wait. Time-out. Is it bad that I just said boobs????? I guess breasts are politically correct but that just sounds too formal. Anyway, moving on.
Or you can spend $16.99 at Target on essentially the same thing - the C9 by Champion Fashion Seamless Cami.
So now that I've talked this bra up like it's the best thing since sliced bread, you've got to go pick yourself up the C9 by Champion Seamless Fashion Cami ($16.99, Target).
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The market for dry shampoos, which are sold in both spray-on and powdered formulas, has exploded over the past few years. Name a high-end hair-care brand; Frederic Fekkai, Bumble and Bumble, Oscar Blandi, Rene Futerer; and the chances are good that a revolutionary new dry-shampoo product is one of the top-selling items in the company's inventory. Their average price hovers around $20 for about 3 ounces - not exactly a bargain. Two very recognizable dry shampoos are Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder and Oscar Blandi's Pronto Dry Shampoo. Although the Bumble and Bumble offers a line specific for each hair color (black, brown, blonde and red), it will run you around $40. Allure magazine's favorite, Oscar Blandi, is a less expensive option but it will still set you back $11-19 per bottle. As an inexpensive alternative, people started using baby powder to achieve the same effect. Unfortunately baby powder does not give you the same volume as the actual dry shampoo. I also do not recommend it as it leaves the hair looking gray and you walk around smelling like a baby's bootay all day long.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
~Ice Cream Pudding~
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pudding mix, any flavor
1 cup cold milk
2 cups softened ice cream, any flavor
In a mixing bowl, beat pudding mix and milk on low for 1 minute.
Fold in ice cream until smooth.
Spoon into dishes.
Chill for at least 1 hour.
Garnish with fruit if desired.
Friday, May 6, 2011
As I went deeper into the pages of ooh'ing and ahh'ing over beautiful bodies...I mean cute suits...I realized I was going to tailspin into a depression (ok not really but for lack of a better term) if I wasn't careful. It was at that moment, Chase pulled me away from the computer. As I sat helping him put on his shoes, I had a much needed heart-to-heart with myself.