Friday, September 27, 2013

TGIF: Drink Up

It's Friday. And I'd love a cocktail come 5:00. But with these twinsies cooking in my belly, I'm left to daydream of one. Not a real fall-like recipe but here's what's on my mind. You better believe once these girls pop out, I'm celebrating with a pitcher. All to myself. :)
~Tequila Mint Limeade~
  • 4 oz crushed ice
  • 1 1/2 oz tequila (I prefer Blanco (Silver))
  • 8 oz Simply Limeade
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 2 oz club soda
  1. Add ice, tequila, limeade, simple syrup and mint to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously
  2. Pour all contents into a highball glass. Or my preference, a mason jar!
  3. Top with club soda and garnish with mint and lime wedge

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tool to avoid winter weight gain

Already feeling the winter flub creep up on you? Aka - the extra poundage from weekend after weekend of football tailgating and all day beer drinking. Fall comfort food. Seasonal drinks. Trader Joe's pumpkin bread. Most are. But most just pull out the oversized sweater to hide behind and carry on.

If you're determined that this won't be you this fall/winter but have no idea where to start to target your trouble areas, I encourage you to check out this resourceful, interactive website that allows you to select the body part you wish to work on and provides you with easy at home exercises you can do to keep those unnecessary pounds at bay.

To use the Exercise Finder, click HERE.

Friday, September 20, 2013

If you do one thing TODAY... gotta to tune in tonight (Friday, 8/20/13) for the season premiere of Shark Tank at 9pm on ABC!!! My girl, Lynnae Schneller, a young entrepreneur from my hometown of Tacoma, WA, took her grandma's 100 year old pickle recipe to market and now Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles is blowing up! I am so so proud of this pickle princess!

Her pickles are legit. Some of the best I've ever tasted. The "Hot Mama" is a favorite in our house. So addicting with just the right amount of sweet and spice. Tip: Order in bulk. You will literally eat the entire jar as a snack.

"Mrs. Pickle" is the original recipe with a unique blend of sweet and sour. Again, better than any other pickle on the market.

So enough reading, get buying. And don't forget to watch these girls rock it tonight on Shark Tank!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Just can't seem to nail the wrap and roll technique that an ordinary curling iron requires? Ummm. Me neither. Luckily for the hair challenged that want that beach wave look (yes you can still rock this look even though summer is over), the Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret ($99 on is an automated curler that makes Taylor Swift-worthy waves a breeze.

To use, clamp a small section of hair in the round portion of the tool, Squeeze the handle and the tool rolls the hair up into the chamber. After you hear a series of beeps, release and the curl is set. Repeat as needed.

Skeptical? Read more reviews HERE.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Make-up Must Haves for Fall 2013

Now that school supply shopping for the kids is over, it's time to shift gears away from crayons and make ourselves a priority. If you’re ready for a new look, the beauty trends seen on the fall 2013 runways are full of wearable inspiration. Here are the essential makeup items for the coming season:

- Oxblood Lipstick -

A little bit ’90s, a little bit bad- ass, and a lot chic. Stay-put tip: An invisible lip liner is an absolute must for keeping this color where it belongs.

Try: Forever 21 Creme Lipstick in Burgundy, $3.80,; Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Burgundy Shine, $7.29,; Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in Rosary, $19,

- Matte Nail Polish -

Matte nails were everywhere at the fall fashion shows, and if all the recent matte polish and topcoat launches are any indication, we’re going to be seeing a lot less shine this season. Choose a matte topcoat rather than buying new matte polish as an economical way to transform your existing nail polish colors. To avoid streaking, apply one thin layer of the matte topcoat, let it dry, then apply a second.

Try: American Apparel Matte Top Coat, $6,; Essie Matte About You Finisher, $10,; Deborah Lippmann Flat Top, $20,

- Skinny Liquid Eyeliner -

Clever eyeliner swipes and variations on the cat eye were seen on tons of runways from New York to Paris. A skinny eyeliner pen is the most versatile tool to get these looks - you can draw a thick or thin line with it, and it’s more precise than a pencil.

Try: Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner, $7.99,; Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, $19,; Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc-er, $30,

- CC Cream -

Last year was all about the BB cream, but CC creams have since taken over. These so-called “color correcting” creams tend to be sheerer than BB creams and foundation, boast a skin-perfecting tint, and usually contain some active skin care ingredients and SPF.

Try: L’Oreal Visible Lift CC Cream, $12.99,; Yes to Grapefruit CC Cream, $15.99,; Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, $35,

- Chunky Eyeshadow Pencils -

There’s no easier way to put a shimmery wash of color on your lids than with an eyeshadow pencil. From a full smoky eye to a subtle hint of color, you’ll reach for one of these all season long. Bonus: No brushes or applicators required. Just swipe on and blend with your finger.

Try: NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil, $4.49,; Sephora + Pantone Universe Jumbo Waterproof Eye Pencil, $17,; Makeup Forever Aqua Shadow, $20,

- Metallic Nail Polish -

Metallic nail polish was a big thing at the Fall 2013 shows, and it’s a look that’s really versatile. Consider chrome, gold, rose gold, and bronze, this season’s neutrals.

Try: Maybelline Color Show Metallics, $3.99,; RGB Nail Polish in Slate, $16,

- Orange and Copper Eyeshadow -

Orange-y copper eye makeup was many a designer’s choice this season. Skeptical? Hear us out. When it skews coppery, this metallic shade is surprisingly wearable. If metal isn’t your thing, reach for a subtle peachy shade to open your eyes and make them pop - it’s particularly flattering on blue-eyed girls.

Try: Target Botanics Eyeshadow Duo in Copper, $6.49,; Stila Cosmetics Eyeshadow Pan in Compact-Copper, $18,; NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Alhambra, $34,

 - A Beauty Blender -

Foundation should never look like a caked-on mask, but this season natural “no makeup-makeup” is bigger than ever. For that perfect skin appearance, swap your foundation brush for an egg-shaped Beauty Blender sponge. The unique shape helps blend in foundation seamlessly and only where you need it.

Try: Beauty Blender, $28.95 for two,; Models Own Acorn Sponge Set, $11.88,; Stila Double Ended Blending Sponge, $12,

Monday, September 9, 2013

RAVE REVIEW: A product EVERY girl should own

I was fed up. And I mean FED up with my cosmetic brushes. They were MAC. And always shedding. Anyone else annoyed with loose bristles stuck to your face? If so - you need to check out Ecotools make-up brushes. Getting gorgeous, going green, and giving back is what Ecotools is all about!

I am smitten over their Domed Bronzer Brush. Super dense. Never sheds. Incredibly soft. Totally affordable. I got mine for under $10 and now after using it, I would have easily paid 3 times as much seeing how flawless it applies the powder. And did I mention - it NEVER sheds!!

And all their brushes are environmentally friendly, 100% Cruelty-Free, 100% vegan, made of bamboo + recycled aluminum. They have an entire line of beauty products not just brushes; eyelashes, bath products, cosmetic bags. Make sure to check out their 6 piece starter kit for $12.99 that was awarded one of 'In Style's' 2013 Best Beauty Buys.

You can find Ecotools at Target, Walmart, Amazon, among other places.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Don't put away the WHITES

Can you believe Labor Day has already come and gone? I'm in disbelief that summer is over but to be honest, today when I walked into the silent house after dropping both boys off at school, I did a happy dance. Entertaining these rascals all day long is exhausting, especially while my body is an incubator for two others. (Yes I am pregnant with identical girls!)

While fashion isn't at the top of my list these days, I can't neglect you all of what you need to know. And I know y'all are dying to know if it's really safe to wear white after Labor Day. And the answer is, according to Glamour magazine -- YES! As a matter of fact, there was just as much white as there was gray on the fall '13 runways, so go nuts with your snowy brights well into the winter.

Wondering how to pull off white into the winter? Layers, longer lengths, and heavier knits will keep the hot white look seasonally appropriate. Fall-ready accessories, like a belt with dark details, scarves and tough stacked-heel ankle boots, will complete the outfit.

For more inspiration, check out these 9 non-rebellious ways to wear white after Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DIY: Chic Shelf Liners

 Looking for an inexpensive project that will add a touch of fun & a pop of color to your everyday? Attach trendy self-adhesive and repositionable liners inside drawers, on shelves, on the backside of a bookcase, or jazz up the bottom of a nightstand. Check out for the largest online selection of stylish liners. Starting at $2.50 per square foot.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If you do one thing this week: Clean out your hairdryer

People always ask me how I manage to always have my hair washed, dried and flat ironed. Besides the obvious that I have to get up a tad earlier to make this happen, I do also clean the lint/dust trap in my hairdryer on a consistent basis which according to Glamour magazine and Harry Josh, celebrity hair stylist, will cut your get ready time down significantly.

By cleaning out the lint, the air flowing into the dryer will circulate better so it can continue to blow out with full force, so the process is shorter. Wow. What a aw-ha bit of information.

Wondering how often you should do this? Hairdressers do it almost daily as their hairdryers get used much more but for the average home use, once a week is recommended.

If the grooves on your hairdryer are small, I recommend using an old toothbrush or tooth pick. I will warn you, it is a bit tedious so don't attempt this on a morning you have to be out the door at a certain time. Once you have all the lint/dust cleaned out, take a damp cloth to wipe down the hairdryer.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Eats: No bake lasagna with corn relish

No bake? Yes please. This recipe from the July/August edition of "Fitness Magazine" takes lasagna, which is known as a heavier, wintertime meal, and makes it colorful, light and full of flavor. While the picture makes it look like a sloppy mess, it's worth a try while the sun is still shining.


8 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups  part-skim ricotta
1 tablespoon  plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme                        
1 teaspoon  lemon zest
1 1/4 teaspoons  kosher salt                        
1/2 teaspoon  black pepper                       
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds                      
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced                        
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips                        
3 ears yellow corn, kernals sliced from cobs                        
2 scallions, thinly sliced                        
2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice   
1. Cook noodles until al dente according to package directions. Drain, toss with 1 teaspoon oil and arrange on a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 tablespoon thyme, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Add zucchini and cook, flipping once, until browned, about 4 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and transfer to a plate. Return pan to heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, garlic and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pepper is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and transfer to plate with zucchini.
4. In a large bowl, combine corn, scallions, lemon juice and remaining oil, salt and pepper. Cut noodles in half and lay one half on each of four plates. Top with 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture and zucchini. Top with a second noodle, 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture and 1/4 cup corn relish. Top with a third noodle, 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture and bell pepper mixture. Top with remaining noodle, ricotta mixture, corn relish and thyme.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Are you getting your "greens?"

I feel like everywhere I turn, everyone is obsessed about "getting their greens." Greens meaning spinach and kale. Swiss chard and bok choy. I feel like the whole green movement is like the fat free trend of the 90's. Its hot right now. I put it in the same bucket as "eating clean."  

And no I am not bashing anyone who eats clean or green. 90% of the time, I eat that way. I just get annoyed at all the people who talk about it. Or "pin" it. Just eat. Eat because of the health benefits. Not because you think if you pin it, people will perceive you as this raw, organic wonder woman who concocts amazing, healthy recipes and crafts all day, everyday. Not reality.  

Obviously a hot button for me. I'll stop.

There's no denying that greens are nutritious and more people should be incorporating leafy veggies into their daily diet. But many of those people don't even know where to begin to make them delicious. One of the freshest, fastest ways to get your greens is in a smoothie. Plus smoothies are a good gateway drink for vegetable-adverse kids.

Here are a few tips for the best results and recipes from Real Simple that will have you turning over a new leaf in no time. These are simple recipes that you can make from the things you already have at home. I personally would add Greek yogurt to any of these for a more creamy texture. And if you want to get really fancy, you could add chia or flax seeds. But again, I'm trying to keep this simple.


1) Put the liquid in first. Surrounded by juice or water, the blender blades can move freely. Next add your greens with the chunks of fruit or vegetable going into the pitcher last.

2) Start slow. If your blender has speeds, start it on low to break up big pieces of fruit, then work your way up to high for a puree. For blenders with function buttons, pulse a few times before switching to the puree mode.

3) Thicken with ice. Added too much juice or coconut milk? Toss in a few ice cubes and voila!


Collard Greens Smoothie With Mango and Lime: Frozen mango and green grapes naturally sweeten this refreshing drink.

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens or spinach
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 cup green grapes

Directions: Combine the lime juice, ½ cup water, the collard greens, mango, and grapes in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.

Spinach Smoothie With Avocado and Apple: The avocado makes this smoothie creamy without any additional dairy.

1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 cups stemmed and chopped spinach or kale
1 apple—unpeeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped

Directions: Combine the apple juice, spinach, apple, and avocado in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding water to reach the desired consistency.

Kale Smoothie With Pineapple and Banana: Coconut milk, chopped pineapple, and banana add a tasty tropical twist.

1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach
1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)
1 ripe banana, chopped

Directions: Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
Spinach, Grape, and Coconut Smoothie: With just 3 ingredients and a handful of ice, you can whip up a delicious breakfast or snack in minutes.

1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup packed baby spinach
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions: Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut milk in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Kale-Apple Smoothie: The apple juice and bananas mask the vegetable flavors so well, you’ll barely taste the kale.

3/4 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
1 small stalk celery, chopped
1/2 banana
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup ice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions: Place the kale, celery, banana, apple juice, ice, and lemon juice in a blender.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Time to Toss: Food Expiration Dates

I can guarantee that almost everyone reading this right now, has a  jar of something pretty old lurking  in the back of the refrigerator. And that mystery jar usually contains some sort of ooey, gooey condiment. Regardless of the fact that I'm naturally a tosser and am constantly purging to satisfy my OCD, most all the condiments in the Dawson refrigerator get used on a consistent basis. Thanks partly to my hopeless attempts of drowning food my kids claim they hate but have never tried with ketchup or ranch.

But for the sake of this post, I went to my refrigerator to unveil my mystery jar. And there she was. The Vegenaise spread. Think yellow-tinged mayo. Funny thing is I'm not Vegan. Nor do I intend to be. But for some reason something was telling me I should be. So I went out and spent a sh*t pot of money at Whole Foods only to walk out with an itty-bitty bag of "alternatives." That are sadly now past their prime but because I know how much money I spent on them, I can't pull myself to throw them away. Umph.

Which got me thinking about the shelf life of the other condiments stocked in my pantry and sitting in my refrigerator. Curious to know? You've come to the right spot. I've picked a handful of staples but for further reading on thousands of other items, check out StillTasty’s guidelines.


Unopened: 12 months in the pantry.
Opened: 6 months in the refrigerator, 1 month in the pantry.

While you see opened bottles of ketchup sitting out on restaurant tables, it’s best to store your own ketchup (which probably gets used less often) in your refrigerator.


Unopened: 3-4 months after the sell-by date on the package.
Opened: 2-3 months after the sell-by date on the package.

Sell-by dates represent the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the product will be at peak quality. In most cases, opened food is safe to consume after a sell-by date if it has been stored properly and continuously refrigerated.

Barbecue Sauce

Unopened: 12 months in the pantry.
Opened: 4 months in the refrigerator. One month in the pantry.

Store opened barbecue sauce in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. Toss any sauce that develops an off color or scent.

Mustards - All types

Unopened: 2 years in the pantry.
Opened: One year in the refrigerator. 1-2 months in the pantry.

Opened mustard has a very long shelf life (one year!) when stored in the refrigerator. Toss any mustard that develops an off color or scent.


Unopened: 2 years in the pantry.
Opened: One year in the refrigerator.

Like mustard, opened relish has a long shelf life when refrigerated. If relish develops an off color, odor or appearance, discard it.

Creamy Salad Dressings - Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island

Unopened: 12-18 months in the pantry.
Opened: 6-9 months in the refrigerator.

Creamy dressings must be refrigerated after opening. If mold appears, discard the entire product.

Vinaigrette Dressings - Italian, Balsamic

Unopened: 12-18 months in the pantry.
Opened: 6-9 months in the refrigerator.

If your salad dressing develops an off color, odor or appearance, discard it.

Pickles - All types

Unopened: 2 years in the pantry.
Opened: 1 year in the refrigerator.

If your pickles develop an off color, odor or appearance, discard it.

Salsa - Fresh, store bought in the refrigerated section

Unopened: 10 to 14 days (or date on package) in the refrigerator, 1 to 2 months in the freezer.
Opened: 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator or 1 to 2 months in the freezer.

Fresh store-bought salsa should ideally be eaten when you open it. If you do have leftover salsa, freeze it in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag.

Salsa or Picante Sauce - Store bought, sold unrefrigerated

Unopened: 12-18 months in the pantry.
Opened: 1 month in the refrigerator, 1 to 2 months in the freezer.

Jarred salsa is cooked, so it has a longer shelf life than the fresh kind. Discard salsa or picante sauce with an off color, odor or appearance.

Tartar Sauce

Unopened: 12 months in the pantry.
Opened: 6 months in the refrigerator.

Creamy condiments should always be refrigerated when opened. Discard tartar sauce with an off color, odor or appearance.

Hot Sauce - Most brands

Unopened: 5 years in the pantry/
Opened: 5 years in the refrigerator.

Discard hot sauce with an off color, odor or appearance.

Olives - Ripe in oil

Opened: 2-3 months in the refrigerator

Keep olives submerged in liquid after opening. Discard if they develop an off color, odor or appearance.

Olives - Green or black, canned

Unopened: 2-3 years in the pantry.
Opened: 1 year or date on can.

Keep olives submerged in brine after opening. Discard if they develop an off color, odor or appearance.

Doesn't cleaning out the refrigerator sound so fun this weekend!?!?!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Uses for Old Things: Valentine's Edition

This February 14, you can craft handmade and heartfelt sentiments even if you're all thumbs. Like me. These DIY cards are inexpensive and simple. What's not to love? 

Birthday Candles: Turn a birthday party prop into a loved one's bright spot on February 14. All you'll need to make this card is a blank note card, glue, birthday candles and a felt tip marker.


Matchbook: Once you've found your perfect match, it's easy to turn sentiments into handmade crafts. Start with a blank note card, glue, matchboook and a felt tip marker.

Playing Card: When the stakes are high, you'd bet your money (and your heart) on this guy. Start with a blank note card, glue, playing card and a felt tip marker.

Puzzle Pieces: For the one who lights up your life, create a card that'll be for keeps. Start with a blank note card, glue, puzzle pieces and a felt tip marker.

Want to give the best Vday gift of all time? Discover what it is HERE.

Other Valentine's Day food ideas from Hailey's Helpful Hints found HERE.

Looking for sweet inspiration for Vday treats? Click HERE.

Want thrifty but cute Vday gift ideas? Get inspired HERE.  

A yummy pink dessert that is great for summer but works for Vday as well found HERE.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Did you know??

...that certain colors influence your spending?

Thanks to Real Simple magazine, I came across this article that I thought was too good not to share. Marketing experts agree that people subconsciously associate specific social or cultural messages with color. Next time you walk through the mall, look at the rainbow of colors on signs, labels, doors, and shopping bags. These colors are usually always strategically placed in an effort to get you to loosen your purse strings.

Below explains how 10 different shades affect your purchasing habits;

BLACK: The signature color of sophistication (hello little black dress), it dominates high-end makeup packaging and can even make inexpensive blushes and lipsticks seem more upscale. Insert: MAC cosmetics.

BLUE: Most people like blue. No wonder it connotes trust and dependability and is a favorite logo color for financial institutions seeking to make people feel more secure. Insert: My husband's company, Deloitte & Touche. Blue can improve customer loyalty too. Patrons are 15 percent more likely to return to stores with blue color schemes than to those with orange color schemes, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Business Research.

BURGUNDY: This color reminds us of all things rich and refined (think red wine), so don't be surprised if the Merlot duvet cover you covet costs more than a white one in a similar style. Its prismatic cousin, brown, has similar connotations of luxury.

GREEN: Retailers often employ this color to attract eco-minded clients. But remember: just because an item is green doesn't mean it's environmentally friendly. INSERT: Whole Foods.

ORANGE: The color is associated with fairness and affordability which is why you'll find it at stores offering good value. Insert: Home Depot and Payless Shoes.

PINK: This sweet color - in particular a shade close to bubble gum - has calming effects, according to research published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry. Scientists found that seeing pink slows people's endocrine systems and tranquilized tense muscles. Wondering how that might influence your wallet? Feeling relaxed may make it less painful to part with cash. Insert: Victoria Secret.

RED: Although plenty of shops embrace this color (Target, TJMaxx) and still find financial success, market experts warn that, just like a stop sign, a red placard can make consumers hit the brakes. It serves as an alarm, triggering a more careful consideration of our outlays.

VIOLET: Purple reigns in the beauty industry, especially in the category or anti-aging products. When people see it, they think of royalty. Consequently, a purple box may help us persuade us that the product has special properties and is worth a princely sum. Insert: Alterna's Anti-Aging line at Sephora.

WHITE: In branding, white suggests simplicity and purity. Note: 75 percent of top skin-care brands are packaged in white. Insert: Oil of Olay to name one. It also stands for modernity and honesty, which may be why Apple swears by it.

YELLOW: A mainstay at fast food restaurants, yellow evokes energy and increases appetite, perhaps explaining why your stomach may start to growl when you pass those golden arches.

Interesting, eh? I thought so.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Why didn't I think of that?

How genius and functional is this water bottle? It's almost as cool as my iPhone card carrying phone case with an added bonus of carrying a key. It's products like this that make me shake my head and wonder - why the heck didn't I think of this? I'm smarter than that.

Perfect for the gym, long bike rides or to carry with you all day as you try to get in your 64 oz of water. Which I can't seem to master for the life of me. Tomorrow I keep saying. But for today, I sit surrounded by wine glasses and Diet Coke. Sigh.

To purchase, click HERE.