Friday, August 21, 2015

Outfit: Bridges and Balloons

     I've been out of the "outfit" game for a while now. The truth is that my wardrobe is going to an odd transition. I've been in the mood for change in just about every aspect of my life, and it's definitely proving evident in the way I dress. The past couple of weeks have been spent wandering aimlessly around my apartment, doing everything I can to keep busy while I wait to start a new job. I am no good at having "down time". One thing that has really been helping me through this transition period is sewing; something I haven't done much of since college. Andy was kind enough to buy me a new sewing machine and few accessories for it so that I could really give it a go, and I've been working away making things for a farmer's market booth I'm sharing with a friend. I can feel myself getting better with every garment, and it feels really great to be crafting things again. I used to sew all of the time, making patches and pillows out of old clothing or thrifted fabric. It was something I really loved doing, even if it was just for me, and I'm happy to be back at it again. I guess I did away with it because it seemed pointless, unless I was fixing a torn seam or something. But, I'm finding that there is nothing wrong with having things and routines just for yourself; ones that calm you down and keep you motivated. I'll try to share some of the things I've made when I get a bit more practice in. Which is what I think I'll do now! 
With love,

Outfit Details:
Boyfriend tee- Old Navy
Skirt- Vintage
Tote and Necklace- Forever 21 (tote was thrifted)
Sandals- Aeropostle
Glasses- Flower Eye Wear

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

5-Ingredient Pesto Pasta Salad

I am a firm believer in recipes that can make anyone look like a pro. Recipes with easy instructions and simple ingredients, that look and taste like they required a degree from a prestigious culinary school to make. This pasta salad just happens to have all of those elements.
Whole wheat penne pasta
Fresh arugula 
Fresh mozzarella (I used the mini, marinated mozzarella balls, and sliced them in half)
Jarred pesto sauce
Roasted red peppers (fresh or jarred), chopped
Cook your pasta until "al dente", drain, and rinse with cold water.Transfer pasta to a serving dish, and add all of the other ingredients. Mix together and serve. That's really all there is to this one, you guys!

You can add as much or as little of each ingredient to make it perfect for you. This meant a whole container of mozzarella cheese and a couple handfuls of arugula for me. I served this pasta with a pinch of pepper and shredded parmesan on top, and it was perfect. This pasta salad is great for just about any occasion; nights that you want a quick, no-fuss meal to Summer picnics. So, there you have it. Impressive food that is insanely simple. What recipes are you loving this season?

(Recipes found here)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vegetarian Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw and Creamy Avocado Sauce (featuring Gardein!)

"That title doesn't read quite right, does it? Vegetarian fish tacos? Heather, what are you talking about?" I hope those are things you thought when you stumbled upon this post. I have been craving fish something fierce this Summer, which is odd because I haven't eaten meat in almost 8 years and I really wasn't crazy about it when I did. But, alas, here I am; ready to sacrifice all that time for a few bites of lemon-pepper salmon or a spicy tuna roll. OH MY. But, anyways, now I can enjoy "faux-fish" with Gardein. 
I discovered Gardein a few years into being meat-free, and was instantly hooked! A lot of meat substitutes can have a weird, goopy texture that is not appealing to anyone, but Gardein really gets it right. I'm a huge fan of their mandarin "chik'n" and their scallopini fillets. When I learned that they had a fish substitute, I knew I had to give it a shot. The fish is in breaded form, so I thought they would be perfect for fish tacos. And, I don't mean to brag, but I WAS RIGHT. Oh, man. These were good. Here's the scoop;
Cook the Gardein Fishless Fillets according to package directions. To prepare your slaw, thinly slice half of a red cabbage and half of a green cabbage. Chop 1/2 cup of cilantro and half of one red onion, and add them to the cabbage, along with the juice of one lime. Add salt and pepper to taste, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in the fridge.  Next is the sauce! Cut open and remove the pit from a ripened avocado, and scoop the insides from both halves into your food processor. Add in a 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime, and half of a diced jalapeno. I removed the seeds from my jalapeno for a mild flavor, but you can leave them in or add the entire pepper for more heat! Pulse the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
I wrapped a few corn and flour tortillas in aluminum foil, and put them in the oven during the last two minutes of the fish-less fillets cooking to soften and warm them through. Then you just assemble, and eat! In addition to the slaw and sauce, I added crumbled queso fresco and cilantro. This was such a nice Summer meal; light and fresh. The fillets turned out a lot better than I was originally expecting. They were crunchy on the outside and tasted great. Different from the real thing, but certainly a nice alternative!
The world of vegetarian cooking is far beyond salads and tofu, and I think Gardein and other brands like it are making it more fun. I obviously don't eat these substitutes everyday since some of them are GMO or high in sodium, but they're great for adding variety and re-making classic dishes. It's cool to be able to enjoy dishes I'd otherwise miss out on by not being vegetarian-friendly. So, yeah! Moral of the story: tacos rule. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Favorite Drugstore Makeup for Summer (with swatches!)

Summertime for me is all about simplicity. Sun-dresses, sea salt spray, and sandals; all of the fixings for an effortless look. It also means simplifying my make-up, with lighter products and bronze-y tones.
Here's a breakdown of my favorite Summer finds so far. And, even better yet, they are all from the drugstore!
NYX Studio Photogenic Foundation in 101 Nude $16
The first thing that caught my attention with this foundation was the fact that it is formulated without talc or parabens, as I know those are two things that my acne-prone skin does not approve of. The formula is very light, but can be built up to medium coverage. It almost wears like a tinted moisturizer, with it's dewy finish and silky texture. I went with the lightest shade in the line, and it suits my neutral, fair skin really well. I've been applying it with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, then adding concealer to any blemishes that require fuller coverage, followed by blending everything out with a dampened Beauty Blender. 
Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Shadow in Creamy Beige $7
How and why its taken me this long to hop on the Color Tattoo bandwagon is beyond me. I have been hearing rave reviews of these little miracle pots forever, and finally bit the bullet a couple of months ago. These cream shadows are so versatile, as they can be used as a base for other shadows or on their own. I am loving the shade Creamy Beige because it is so effortless. You literally just dab some on your finger, and blend it onto the lid. I've been wearing it on its own a lot, but it also looks great with a gold eye shadow layered on top. If you try this shade out, go ahead and grab "Bad to the Bronze" while you're at it. You won't be sorry!
Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel $3
This is the first eyebrow pencil I have ever owned, and it has not disappointed. I typically go for gels or pomades, but this pencil is so easy to use, and really helps create great shape. The shade Hazel is kind of a taupey brown, and the formula is very build-able, but easy to blend. This is probably the lightest brow shade I've used before, but I'm liking a more natural look for Summer.
Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso $8 and Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Light $5
Blushers and bronzers are my favorites, and I have been wearing these two almost everyday this Summer. I typically like a cream blush in the warmer months to mock a dewy glow, but this baked blush by Milani is out of this world. It is kind of a peachy pink tone, that has a shimmery finish without looking like you have glitter all over your face. The formula blends out so nicely and you can really build it to your desired look. I will definitely be picking up a few more shades from this collection! Bronzer is something I just recently started wearing more often because it really does bring some life to my pale, dull skin. I like this one from Rimmel because the shade is very natural looking, and it has a matte finish. I just sweep a bit of this onto the hollows of my cheeks, around the edges of my forehead and jawline, and on the sides of my nose for a bit of warmth and subtle 
(very subtle) contour.
NYX Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee $5
Aside from these glosses having the best dessert-inspired names, the formula is great for Summer. They are ultra moisturizing, and go on smooth. I've been loving Creme Brulee for its neutral tone, that really just enhances my natural lip color by giving it a glossy finish. This shade can be built up or layered over your favorite lipstick for a deeper pink tone,
It was hard to narrow down my Summer faves to just these six, but they really are wonderful products, especially for the price. Drugstore beauty forever and always. I'd love to know what your most coveted Summer beauty items are, so be sure to leave comments below!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Beauty: The Skin Detox (Featuring Batty's Bath)

My skin has been through a lot in the last few years. I had pretty terrible acne in my second half of high school and into college, but experienced relief for a while after that. However, this past year brought it back full force. I attempted to go back to the products I had been using when my skin cleared up, hoping they would work for me again, but they did not. My skin seemed to develop a sensitivity to the benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid which were once helpful. So, I searched for all-natural products to keep my redness and blemishes at bay. 
I ended up finding a few cleansers and masks that kept me relatively clear, but my face would feel dry and dull at times. I was fighting the acne, but I traded it for dull, tight skin instead. I began researching Accutane, thinking that the medication was the only thing I hadn't tried and my final resort. Reading about all of the side effects and precautions you have to take while on the medication scared the crap out of me, But I was at a point where I was basically willing to try anything.
However, the course of my skin took a different turn, I was catching up on a few posts from the bloggers that I follow one evening, and I saw an ad for Batty's Bath on The Dainty Squid's blog. The ad was for natural skincare, and my curiosity got the best of me. Clicking that link just to check it out turned into hours of reading reviews and watching shop owner, "Batty", talk about natural skincare. It all seemed too good to be true, but nobody who had tried/reviewed Batty's products had anything negative to say. They raved about the struggles of trying everything before finding her line, and how it changed their skin. I figured there was no harm in trying one last time to maintain healthy skin the natural way. 
I ordered The Detox Kit, which is what Batty suggests everyone begin with. The kit promises to act as a "re-set" button for the skin; removing built-up residue and bacteria from cleansers and make-up. I could tell this was something special from the very first use. The kit includes cold-pressed charcoal soap, a jojoba facial scrub, a moisturizer, and a clay mask, plus instructions on what products to use for your morning and evening routine. My face feels cleaner than it ever has before, without feeling dry or tight. It's as if I finally have some balance. I notice my complexion clearing more everyday, and that I can actually see my skin-tone rather than just redness.  You can see my results so far below; and please ignore my resting bitch face.
Week one
Week four
I plan on moving on to Batty's Acne-Prone kit once I finish my detox, as well as the mineral make-up they offer. Batty's Bath includes a full range of problem-specific products, so you can customize your own routine to match your skin's needs. This has been a long-time coming to find something so gentle and effective on my skin, and it feels so good to be using chemical-free products. To learn more about Batty's brand, head here!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Outfit: You Struck Gold

Ever since I pinned a picture of Alexa Chung wearing one of these button-front denim skirts, I have been on the hunt for one of my own. I would absolutely die for Alexa's own design for AG, but unfortunately my skirt budget is far from $100. Luckily, I was (FINALLY) able to find one at a thrift store for $2. I had searched for at least a couple of months, only finding larger sizes or ones that flared up oddly in the back; any of my fellow big-behind-ed ladies feel my pain? Alas, it is mine. I can already see this piece becoming a staple for me, whether it's paired with black and white striped tops or thigh-high socks in the colder months. I kept it casual this time around with my beloved Kate Nash t-shirt, cardigan, and cat flats. I'm really into "playful" clothing right now. I think it has something to do with wearing business attire Monday-Friday. B-O-R-I-N-G.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Outfit Details;
Hat- H&M
Bag- T.J. Maxx
Tee- Kate Nash show (old)
Flats- gifted
Sunnies- Gabriel Brothers
Cardigan/skirt- thrifted

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recipe: Cauliflower Steaks

For my 21st birthday, my sister took me to dinner at Wheat Penny in Dayton. I ordered the best lasagna I'll ever have, and she ordered cauliflower steak. Now, even after being a vegetarian for several years, that just didn't sound like anything special to me. I mean, celebratory meals are meant for cheesy, creamy, decadent, "I'll regret this tomorrow" dishes. But, I could not have been more wrong. I spent the duration of the meal picking off her plate, dipping this amazing, meaty cauliflower into a side of polenta that I swear was heaven-sent.
I recently tackled polenta (click here for recipe), and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't mess it up. But, cauliflower steaks have been off limits for me in fear of tarnishing the memory of Wheat Penny's masterpiece. Too much? Well, they were really THAT good. But, alas, I conquered the fear and took the plunge into making my take on the dish I continue to swoon over after almost a year. And, while it may not live up to the restaurant's version, I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the results.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the outer leaves from a large head of cauliflower, and cut it in half. Take one of your halves and slice 1-inch slabs, starting from the cut side and working your way to the smaller edge. Repeat this step with the other half. Your slices should include the stems, as these are edible and have a very "meaty" texture. Put your cauliflower slices into a large resealable plastic bag with a 1/2 cup or so of your favorite salad dressing or marinade. I used a creamy garlic and black pepper salad dressing, but Italian dressing or lemon pepper marinade would be great! Place the bag in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes. This next step is optional, but I highly recommend it. While the cauliflower soaks in the marinade, roast a full bulb of garlic in the oven. If you don't remember how to do that, go here!
Once the garlic is roasted, its time to cook the cauliflower. Place a frying pan over high heat, and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil once its screaming hot. Place the cauliflower slabs into the pan and let them sear for 45 seconds to a minute on each side. This step is not about cooking the steaks all the way through, it's just about developing a crust that will lock in the flavors of the marinade and give you that 'charred" meat affect. Once the steaks are seared on both sides, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown/fork tender, flipping half-way through. While the steaks are baking, squeeze out your roasted garlic into a bowl. Add a half stick of butter, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs/spices(I recommend parsley, rosemary, or lemon pepper). Melt the garlic butter in the microwave, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Baste the steaks with half of this mixture five minutes before they're finished cooking. It adds so much flavor!
I added the rest of the garlicky, herb butter to the cauliflower steaks once they were finished cooking, and ready to serve. These "steaks" were so filling and decadent. The roasted garlic adds a really refined taste that pairs so well with flavors from the marinade. This dish is very versatile, too. I plan on making one with caramelized onions and mushrooms with some sort of gravy/sauce. Or even one with a pico de gallo on top. The pairings are endless! This would also make a great alternative to the traditional frozen veggie burgers most people prepare for their vegetarian friends at barbecues/parties. I hope all you meat eaters and herbivores alike try something new with this one.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Birchbox: May Review

I love trying new beauty products. I mean, who doesn't? But, I really LOVE it. I can easily kill a couple of hours browsing the drugstore or Ulta, mindlessly tossing item after item in my basket until I've tallied up a hefty tab. But, some beauty products, not unlike clothing, are often just fads.They are destined to find their demise in the back of my bathroom cupboard, until I remember to throw them out months later. However, the hope of finding a "holy-grail-can't-live-without it" product keeps me searching and trying new lipsticks, moisturizers, setting powders etc. This is why I finally subscribed to Birchbox. It gives me the option to try samples of high-end beauty products, each month without the guilt of not liking something/letting it go to waste. With products ranging from cleansers to eye shadows, each month really is a treat to open and try out. And, perhaps the best part, it's only ten dollars a month! Here's what I scored in my May Birchbox;
This month's box was probably the cutest one yet.
Benefit Cosmetics 'It's Potent" Eye Cream// This stuff is honestly the most effective eye cream ever. "It's Potent' promises to reduce dark circles and boost skin's elasticity. And, after just a week of using it, I am seeing results. I have MAJOR dark circles that I conceal everyday. But, just a dab of this cream really does give me eyes a brightening effect. I am definitely going to grab a full-size of this one.
Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Eye Shadow Quad// The colors in this quad go really well together. I absolutely love the darker brown and gold shades. And, while I don't typically go for purples, I really liked the two in the palette; great for days you want to do something different. The formula seems pretty long-lasting, too!
PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray// I am an avid sea salt spray lover. Nothing gives hair better texture. This sea sat spray adds a healthy dose of shine, along with adding wave. And, it smells wonderful!
Marcella Energizing Hydrating Gel// This is the one product in this month's box that I could have lived without. I found that it made my skin feel tight and broke me out. It promises to go on "cucumber cool", but all I got was a burning sensation. No thanks.
Harvey Prince "Hello" Perfume// This perfume is such a bright and happy scent. Packed full of floral and citrus notes, it really does just feel like Spring. A little bit goes a long way, though. Less is definitely more with this one.
There you have it! Are any of you Birchbox members, or subscribed to any other beauty sites? What are some of your favorite products that you've found through them?

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