Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Well Hello Again, Acne! How Nice Of You To Pop In

Tips and Tricks on How to Fight Acne

1. Watch what you eat- they say that chocolate causes acne but so do other foods too. So if you are having a major breakout, look back at what you've been recently eating. 

2. Wash your face each night to remove dirt, oil, debris, pollution, and makeup

3. Pay attention as to where you are having your breakouts- studies show that breakouts around the jawline is caused by hormones. It can also be caused by talking on your cell phone too often. 

4. Don't pick at or pop your pimples- when you do this, it pushes the bacteria down and worsens the acne. If you feel that you want to pop it, try the following methods to relieve the pain. 

Apply Colgate toothpaste directly to the pimple

Take a shower or bath and place a warm washcloth on the infected area

Try using Clinique's Acne Clearing Gel (the gel work phenomenal for me and you can use it on small and large areas)

If you aren't allergic, apply a product that contains benzoyl peroxide (it fights the bacteria)

5. Exfoliate your skin- if you aren't currently exfoliating your skin, I would recommend starting. By exfoliating your skin, it not only removes the dead skin cells that are on the surface, but it allows moisturizers and serums to go deeper and work more effectively. When you apply a moisturizer on top of non-exfoliated skin, you are mixing the moisturizer with the dead skin cells and the moisturizer doesn't actually go beneath the surface. It just sits on top. So if you have oily skin, you may end up feeling oilier than if you had exfoliated first. 

6. Get onto a skin care regiment- I would recommend having a makeup removing cleanser, a gentle soap that removes dirt and oil, an exfoliator (I use the Clinique Clarifying Lotion), a serum, an eye cream, and a day & nighttime moisturizer. Remember to not cleanse your face more than twice a day. 


This morning I had to go into Target to purchase a new pair of black pants and while I was there, I had to stop by the cosmetic department. Over Christmas, my daughter got into my makeup bag and decided to play with my mascara. So I needed to pick up a new one. Target had their Christmas cosmetic sets on clearance and I found this goodie.
For $6.98, I got a mascara, eye-shadow palette, and black eyeliner from NYX. The palette itself is retailed for over $7.
Remember to always keep your eyes open for a good deal because you never know when you will run into one!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator Review

First Impressions:
Since I have been wanting to try this for months, I had my hopes high for this product. Before I tried it on my lips, I wanted to see what it felt like on the back of my hand. It was gentle but rough, which is a good thing. I loved the smell of it because it smelled like the Shea Cashmere line from Bath and Body Works. 

Packaging is sleek and looks more expensive than what I actually paid for it. Love the black look. 

Close up of product

Has a good amount of product for the price ($3)

Box Says: 
"Gently exfoliates lips to remove dry chapped skin with a sugary sweet and smoothing sensation. Infused with Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Avocado, Grape and Jojoba Oil to nourish and protect. Treats and smooths lips for a conditioned and revitalized feel."

Once you get through the initial top layer of the product, the consistency is rough but not harsh rough. It is good for occasional and gentle enough for everyday use. I would recommend using it before bed and applying a thin even layer of a hydrating lip product. I like to use Aquaphor (click here to purchase) which you can use on your body and lips. The combination of both will leave your lips soft and hydrated when you wake up in the morning.

Overall, I would rate this product a 4 out of 5 stars.

Click Here to Purchase

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

21 and Over ::: Bailey's Irish Cream Cake

2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt

2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set this aside.

4. In a small pot, over medium heat, combine Irish Cream and butter. Heat until butter melts and mixture almost boils. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.

5. In a bowl, beat the eggs until pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 7 to 8 minutes. Reduce the speed and beat in the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time. In a steady stream, beat the warm Irish Cream mixture into the eggs.

6. Beat in the flour mixture and pour into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake.

7. Frosting: Combine the heavy cream, Irish Cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon at high speed until stiff peaks form (roughly 4 to 5 minutes). Refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Snickers Salad

16 ounces of Cool Whip

3 Large Granny Smith Apples

1 Bag of fun-sized Snickers Bars

1. Cut up Snickers and apples into small pieces.

2. Mix all together, saving crumbs from candy bars to decorate the top.

3. Refrigerate.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Pie

1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese

1/2 cup of milk

1 cup of peanut butter (either creamy or chunky)

2 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 container of Cool Whip

1. Bake a 9-inch crust (use regular, graham cracker or cookie dough)

2. Cream above ingredients until fluffy.

3. Fold in 8 ounces of thawed Cool Whip.

4. Pour into crust and refrigerate.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

1 (2.25 oz) package of sliced almonds (optional)
2 (6.2 oz) boxes fast cooking long grain and wild rice mix
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 (10 3/4 oz) cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 (8 oz) cans of chopped water chestnuts, drained (optional)
1 (8 oz) container of sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 cups (16 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Optional) Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan for 4-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. 

2. Prepare rice mixes according to package directions. 

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add celery an onions. Saute for 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 6 ingredients, rice, and 3 cups of cheese. Spoon in mixture into a lightly greased 15 x 10 inch baking dish or 2 (11 x 7 inch) baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs. 

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese and (optional) top with toasted almonds. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tips to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

Tip #1: Take a multivitamin (Click Here) each morning; this is a no-brainer, but this is something that should be taken normally on a regular basis.

Tip #2: In addition to your multi-vitamin, try taking a Vitamin C tablet or two. If you are pregnant, this is something that I would highly recommend (as long as your doctor approves, but mine said that it was fine and didn't cross the placenta).

Tip #3: If you feel a cold coming on, try drinking either Airborne (Purchase Here) or Emergen-C (Purchase Here). Both will help ward off that possible nasty cold and make you feel better in the process.

Tip #4: Drink lots of fluids; as you know, you should be drinking 8 glasses of water each day.

Tip #5: Get plenty of sleep. If you aren't getting sleep at night, be sure to find time to take a nap during the day. Even a 20 minute one will make you feel refreshed.

Tip #6: Even though it's the holiday season and there is plenty of unhealthy but yummy food, try not to over stuff your stomach. You will thank yourself in the long run. Try drinking a large glass of water before eating and watch how much alcohol you intake as well. Remember that alcohol is considered a carb.

Got tips on how to stay healthy over the holiday season? Share your tips by leaving a comment below. Thanks

Tater Tot Hot Dish

2 pounds hamburger

1 onion, chopped

2 cans of green beans, drained

1 bag tater tots

1 to 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

1. Brown hamburger, saute onions, and spread in the bottom of a casserole or pan. 

2. Top with the green beans. 

3. Put one can of cream of mushroom soup over the beans. 

4. Top with tater tots over the whole entire pan. 

5. Use the other can of mushroom soup to cover the tater tots (optional)

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour; covered for the first half and uncovered for the second half. 

My mother-in-law made this for my family right after our second daughter was born. She put it all together and then froze it for us to make it later. I have to admit that it was a hit with the family and incredibly simple to make. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chocolate-Candy Cane Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix (2-layer size)
1 package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1 package (4 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
18 small candy canes, coarsely crushed (roughly 1 cup), divided
1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Beat first 7 ingredients in a large bowl with a mixer until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of the crushed candy. Pour into 2 (9-inch) round pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Loosen the cakes from the sides of pans; invert onto wire racks. Carefully remove pans. Cool cakes completely.

4. Fill and frost cakes with cool whip and then sprinkle the remaining crushed candy just before serving. Keep refrigerated.

1. "Chocolate-Candy Cane Cake Recipe - Kraft Recipes." Chocolate-Candy Cane Cake Recipe - Kraft Recipes. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate-candy-cane-cake-89652.aspx>.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Waldorf Salad

8 cups torn mixed salad greens
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 Gala apple (I like to use Granny Smith), thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

1. "The New Waldorf Salad Recipe - Kraft Recipes." The New Waldorf Salad Recipe - Kraft Recipes. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/the-new-waldorf-salad-120749.aspx>.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Melting Snowmen Cookie Balls

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
24 peanut butter sandwich cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
3 pkgs. (4 oz. each) White Chocolate, broken into pieces, melted
48 Mini OREO Bite Size Cookies
2 tbsp. decorating icing

1. Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.

2. Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls and then place in single layer in shallow pan. Freeze for 10 min. Dip balls in chocolate and place in shallow waxed paper-lined pan, allowing excess chocolate to pool at bottom of each ball. Finally, decorate with remaining ingredients.

3. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Keep refrigerated.

1. "Melting Snowmen Cookie Balls Recipe - Kraft Recipes." Melting Snowmen Cookie Balls Recipe - Kraft Recipes. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/melting-snowmen-cookie-balls-128120.aspx>.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gingerbread Men Cookies

3 cups flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.

2. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

4. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

1. "Gingerbread Men Cookies." McCormick. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Dessert/Gingerbread-Men-Cookies>.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Myths About Makeup

Myth: Makeup causes acne.

Fact: Dirt, oil, debris that is trapped in your skin causes acne breakouts. When you have breakouts that occur on your jawline, it is caused primarily by hormones (and possibly from your cell phone, too). I would recommend not sleeping with makeup on your skin because it transfers to your pillow and will cause future breakouts. When you cleanse your skin properly, your foundation will go on smoother and your skin will be healthier.

Myth: Pump your mascara.

Fact: PLEASE do not pump your mascara! I highly recommend not doing it because when you pump it, you are forcing air that contains bacteria into the container and could possibly cause an eye infection in the long run. In addition, you should be replacing your mascara at least once every three months. If you are going longer, sweetie it's time to toss that thing out and buy a new one. Also, when you get a mascara sample, there is only enough product in there to last you no longer than two weeks.

Myth: There is no need to wash your makeup brushes.

Fact: If you haven't washed your brushes this month yet, go do it right now. Brushes pick up the oil from your skin and each day you use that brush, you are transferring back whatever bacteria and oil that is on that brush, back to your skin. One of the causes of acne comes from not washing makeup brushes.

I use my daughter's baby shampoo & body wash to clean my brushes. But I also believe that whatever you use to cleanse your face, you can use to cleanse your brushes too.

Myth: Your eyebrow color should be the same color as your hair.

Fact: The truth is, is that your eyebrow color should be either a shade darker or a shade lighter than your hair color. It should not completely match it.

Myth: Your eyebrows should look exactly the same.

Fact: There is a saying that your eyebrows should be cousins, not twins. So your eyebrows will not look identical, but similar.

Myth: It's okay to use alcohol to cleanse your face.

Fact: I, myself, completely avoid alcohol to cleanse my face. When I was a young teen, I would use alcohol but as I grew older, I found that it completely dried out my skin. Which is in fact what it does; it dries out and can irritate your skin.

In fact, just recently when I had my second daughter, I asked the nurse and doctor what we should be using on her umbilical cord. Two years ago, when we had our first daughter, we were told to use alcohol wipes, but now they say that alcohol just irritates the skin.

If you want to cleanse your face, try using witch hazel (which I am a true believer in) or another cleanser that is much less harsh than rubbing alcohol.

Cinnamon Sticky Buns

3 tbsp. melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup pancake syrup
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 can refrigerated dinner rolls (8 rolls)

1. Mix butter, sugar, syrup, pecans, cinnamon and vanilla in 9-inch round cake pan. Arrange rolls in pan with sides touching.

2. Bake in preheated oven as directed on package until rolls are golden brown. Immediately invert pan onto serving plate; remove pan. Spread any remaining topping from pan over rolls. Serve warm.

1. "Cinnamon Sticky Buns." McCormick. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Breakfast-Brunch/Cinnamon-Sticky-Buns>.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Foley Family

Recently, I was very fortunate to have gotten the chance to photograph this beautiful family. I don't normally photograph people, unless it's my own family, but I thought that it would be a new and exciting challenge for me. Plus, I got to spend time with my good friend Kaitlin (since it was her family). 

Thank you Foley Family for letting me photograph you! ~

{The family}

{The Family with the dog}

{Kaitlin and her brother}

{It was a beautiful night to do some photos outside}

{Sibling Love}

{Kaitlin and her boyfriend, Austin}

{Such a beautiful couple}

{The Proud Parents}

No-Bake Tiramisu Balls


7 oz. hard lady fingers (about 24 cookies)
1 cup, plus 1 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup mascarpone
1 tbsp. coffee-flavor liqueur
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a food processor, pulse the cookies, 1 cup sugar, espresso powder and cinnamon until finely ground. Add the mascarpone cheese and liqueur; process until the dough comes together. Roll the dough by the rounded teaspoon into balls and then transfer to a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until firm, takes about 30 minutes. 

2. In a bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and remaining 1 tbsp. sugar. Add the cookies and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate in an airtight container. 

1. "No-Bake Tiramisu Balls." Every Day with Rachael Ray 1 Dec. 2014: 127. Print.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Twice the trouble

Two weeks ago, I became a mother of two and not just one. Going from one to two has been somewhere in between easy and a challenge. I have been trying to split up my time between both daughters and I try to spend quality time with my first daughter. I forgot what it was like to have a newborn in the house. Its amazing how even watching your child sleep can keep you occupied for hours at time. I have found myself wanting to just rock her and nothing else. My oldest daughter, K, doesn't necessarily like to be rocked anymore, so having my newborn is bringing me a new type of comfort.

When my second daughter, J, was born a couple of weeks ago, I was horribly worried about how my oldest daughter, K, would react. She understands that it is her sissy, but continues to adjust to the idea that she is no longer the only child  and more importantly, the only baby, in the house. K is so used to being the center of attention in our house that I'm afraid that she might act out in hitting J or getting into more trouble than normal. But, K has been really good about letting my husband and I know when J is crying.

Since I go back to work the second week of January, I am already trying to get the girls onto a morning schedule. I still take my oldest to daycare at the same time and have been calculating how much earlier I will need to get up in order to get both of them ready in time for us to leave and for me to get to work on time. As for my house cleaning routine, that is one that I'm still working on. If you have any tips, I will gladly take them.

I'm having a hard time believing that I've been off from work for two weeks now. Time just seems to fly by but then again it has been ever since I started my job as a para at the school. I'm grateful that I took six weeks off because I have been taking night duty and have spent countless hours sleeping in the living room chair with our newborn.

I find myself doing chores late at night instead of during the day when all I want to do is catch up on my sleep. This actually works out generally good since my husband starts his job at 4 in the morning. Coffee (mixed with hot chocolate mix) has been my best friend lately and helps me to stay awake in order to get the chores done that I need to get done. Naps on the other hand, have never really been in my routine until I got pregnant with J, then all of sudden, I couldn't get enough of them. Now, I just try to catch a few Zzz whenever I can; preferably when both children are down for a nap at the same time.

All in all, I'm feel blessed to have my two beautiful girls, but I'm exhausted and feel like I will be for quite some time.

Have any tips for going from one child to two? Please leave your comment below. Thanks!

10 Quick Tips About Beauty

#1. Don't wait hours after applying your moisturizer to do your makeup.

#2. After washing your face, rinse with cold water to close your pores.

#3. Avoid shampooing your hair every day because it strips the natural oils. If you skip shampooing, try using a dry shampoo instead.

#4. When you get out of the shower, pat yourself dry instead of rubbing. It helps keep in moisture.

#5. Don't have shaving cream? Try using conditioner or body lotion.

#6. It's never too early or too late to start using serums and eye creams.

#7. Use sunscreen all year round and not just in the summer months.

#8. Got sore feet? Try sprinkling baking soda in your bath water.

#9. Take a daily dose of Biotin to help strengthen hair and nails.

#10. If your makeup comes off too quickly, try using primers for your eyes and face. They help your makeup to last longer and eye shadows to look more vibrant.

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

16 Graham crackers, finely ground (about 2-1/4 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
2/3 cup, plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 eggs
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce, stirred.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Line with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang; grease the foil. In a bowl, mix the cracker crumbs, butter, 2 tbsp. sugar and cinnamon. Press into the bottom of the pan; bake until firm and browned, roughly 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest (optional), vanilla, and salt. Pour over the cooled crust. Dollop the cranberry sauce on top and swirl with a knife.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; roughly 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Then cover and refrigerate until firm (takes a minimum of 6 hours) and then using the foil, lift the cheesecake out of the pan and cut into 1 x 2 inch rectangles. 

1. "Cranberry Cheesecake Bars." Every Day with Rachael Ray 1 Dec. 2014: 127. Print.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Classic Sugar Cookies

4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beat well. Stir in the dry ingredients gradually until incorporated for a smooth and stiff dough.
3. Using waxed paper that is lightly dusted with powdered sugar, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut our shapes with cookie cutters and trim away any excess dough. Using a spatula, transfer to the cookie sheets and repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, then remove them from the cookie sheet to allow to cool before decorating.

1."Classic Sugar Cookies | C&H Sugar." Classic Sugar Cookies | C&H Sugar. Web. 15 Nov. 2014. <http://www.chsugar.com/recipe/classic-sugar-cookies-1565>.