Monday, February 28, 2011

Do You "Top Knot" or... Not?

The top knot hairstyle has been running rampant on runways and red carpets for some time now. Initially I looked at it and thought... this bears an uncanny resemblance to the way I wear my hair when I'm washing my face. What gives? However I noticed when celebrities started wearing it they cleaned up the style and made it more palatable for the real world.
Here are a few examples of how I think it should be done:

Hillary Duff

Kristin Cavallari

Mandy Moore


Since I didn't feel like fixing my hair (another great thing about this hairstyle) I thought why not give it a try? Nathan and I had a date night planned and I figured this would be a good night for something different. I told Beth about the hairstyle and she decided to try it herself. You'll have to excuse the HORRIBLE quality of my pictures; obviously Beth is better at this part than I am!



The Verdict: I really liked this! There's just something so chic and effortless about the style. It was risky for me to pull all my bangs back and try a new look but it was a great change. Beth liked it because it's an easy, effortless way to put your hair up. If you feel like you need a little something extra to soften this look try a chunky necklace or a cute scarf paired with dangly earrings.

And if you've already been rocking the top knot for some time now why not try a center part for some variety like Whitney Port:


I love this!

So what's your opinion? Have you tried this? Are you over this? I'd love your thoughts!

~Christi

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Uncorked #1: Heavyweight Red

Many of you out there might not know this, but I am a huge fan of wine! I love trying all different kinds, attending wine tastings, and even making my own wine. I thought it would be fun to start a trial run of weekly post called Uncorked. Each weekend, I would feature a new wine that we tried and let you know our thoughts on it. When I say "we", it will be my husband and I. I am sure he will weigh in with comments once and a while. We will be doing this for two months long and just see where it goes from there...

There is a little disclaimer: I am by far no wine expert --or as I call them wine snobs. I might throw out some wine terms, but most terms I will give you the definition and try to explain them to the best of my abilities. Most likely it will just be me telling you what I think of the wine. No bottle shall be discriminated against, price is no matter (with in reason), and this is just going to be all about exploring the world of wine.

This week, we tried Heavyweight Red Cabernet Sauvignon

source

Description: Wine infused with the flavor of black raspberry, Marion berry, milk chocolate truffle, and hints of vanilla and spice.
Price: $11.99
Region: California

All I can say about this wine is that the little boxer on the front sure packs quite a punch! The name is a little misleading though, it is actually a blend of 76% Cabernet, 14% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel. We are not usually fans of blended wines, but this wine was VERY delicious. The taste is slightly sweet and fruity with an oaky* cast. It has a bold flavor, great aroma, and just overall a great drinking wine. We paired it with a of dinner of tossed salad, homemade bread, cheeses, and meats.

Would I buy it again? Yes I would! So yummy!

*Oaky- Having the aroma and flavor of oak, resulting from aging in oak casks or barrels. Oak-like qualities may impart smokiness, vanilla tones, or clove or other spicy characteristics. Some oakiness is desirable, but too much is not.


~Beth



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

I am the first to admit that I have a great weakness for comfort food. With some people it's desserts or simply chocolate but with me it's comfort food - ESPECIALLY pasta! My two favorite foods are mac & cheese and pizza. You know what's really good? Mac & Cheese Pizza from CiCi's... is anyone grossed out yet? I know, it's horribly unhealthy but once in awhile you just want some comfort food! A couple years ago I stumbled upon a recipe for 4 cheese mac & cheese and it has become my comfort food staple. So without further adieu here is my favorite version of homemade mac & cheese!


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese*
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces cubed processed cheese food
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*I just wanted to note that I've used many different types of cheese when making this. I often do not buy the Muenster because it is much more expensive so if you feel like just doubling the amount of cheddar or substituting a different kind that will work just fine!

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the oil and the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain well and return to cooking pot.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 8 tablespoons butter; stir into the macaroni.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Muenster cheese, mild and sharp Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey Jack cheese; mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Add the half and half, 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture, cubed processed cheese food, and eggs to macaroni; mix together and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges; serve.

~Christi

Monday, February 21, 2011

Midweek Motivation Link Party #4

Ahhh...the time has come...the last Midweek Motivation link party! As I said at our first party, we would try it out for the month of February and see how it goes. It's been a fun time, but hosting a party each week can be exhausting! And the cleanup is a mess!

We would like to thank everyone for linking up last week and for the full month of February! There are so many of you out there with such great ideas! Because you all have inspired us so much, we have decided to host a monthly link party. Instead of Midweek Motivation, it will be called Midmonth Motivation. Every 15th of the month we will host a link party that will last for five days. For us, blogging always starts out as a bang at the beginning of the month and seems to dwindle down towards the middle. By hosting a party mid-month we are hoping to have some great ideas from fellow bloggers that will inspire us to keep on creating and maybe you too! We hope to see you all March 15th for the next party!

As always, we decided to pick a few posts from last week's link party and feature them! You know...spread the love.

Luci's pick of the week and the most clicked on was the Crayon Organizer from Simply Crafty. Seems there might be a lot of you moms out there that are trying to keep all the crayons in order!
Christi's pick of the week was the Ballard Inspired Organization Baskets from City Girl Gone Coastal. It's an inexpensive idea to add some cute organization to her small living space.
Beth's pick of the week was the Not Quite Shrimp Scampi from Cooking for One. Great for those solo dinner nights when her husband is working the evening shift.
And our Got 5 Minutes pick was...{Easy as Pie} Mini Mud Pie from Simply This, That and the Other. A tasty looking treat that is easy to make and looks super delicious!

All the posts were great and thanks so much for linking up with us!!

AND here's this weeks party!
I don't know about you, but when it hits midweek it always seems that we lose our motivation and just can't wait till the weekend is here. This link party is designed to motivate fellow bloggers and readers out there. We will host it every Tuesday thru Thursday for the maximum motivation possible! Each week we will highlight some of our favs!


Here are the rules:


1. Become a follower of Between3Sisters.
If you decide to follow us let us know so we can follow you back!
2. Please link up a post about project, DIY, craft, recipes, or whatever you want that may motivate someone out there to try something new. (As many as you want!)

3. As always, please link directly to your post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now.
4. Also, we would love if you would grab our party button to spread the news of our party! This is not required, but it would be great if you would place it in your post or sidebar.


Between3Sisters



Enjoy visiting other post link ups and remember
"Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes"



Remodeling The Living Room

I am little behind in my blogging, to say the least...I wrote a post back at the beginning of January about us remodeling our living room. Well, the remodel has been finished for weeks now! In fact, we were able to remodel the room in about 5 days, with the help of my husband's family. So I want to shout out a big "THANK YOU" to his family for helping us out! Removing wallpaper goes much faster with five people peeling it off the walls.

We were lucky enough to find out that the wallpaper was actually primed behind! It was our first room in the house that didn't have wallpaper directly on the drywall! With the help of some hot water in a spray bottle and a steamer we were able to remove all of the wallpaper with little patching.

Here was the ugly wallpaper before:

After the wallpaper was gone, we painted three of the walls a beige color that matched our formal dining room. I wanted a little color in the room, so on the south wall we painted it red, Valspar's Royal Garnet to be exact. It looked so pretty with my pictures I had on the wall. In addition to the painting, we resurfaced all of the wood in the room (which was a ton!) and changed out the light fixture to something not so dated. Also, I got a little crafty and decided to make some shams for above the shades and cover my lampshades in a red material that matched the garnet wall.


Here was the living room before:
Here is the living room after:

A view of the bar before:
Here is a view of the room looking at the built in bar. Notice the new light fixture. We decided to go with something pretty plain because we really want the focal point of the room to be the large windows and red wall.
A before view of the room, as if walking in from the main hallway:

And the after view complete with matching lampshades and shams for the windows:

The before view of the floor to ceiling windows that look over the lake.

And the after:

Well that's it for the new living room! The red wall is by far my favorite part of the room. I think it gives the room a nice vibrant look and the red is great contrast to the green pines in the backyard. My husband and I keep asking ourselves why we waited so long to redo this room. It is such a nice feeling now to be surrounded with the beautiful view outside through the windows and beautiful walls inside. It is truly amazing what a little paint can do to a room!



~Beth



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Losing The Baby Weight Part 3

As many of you know I have been trying very hard to lose the baby weight I gained from pregnancy. I have been posting blogs on the subject periodically. (See Part 1 and Part 2)

Losing weight after having a baby can be difficult and takes some hard work, but it is even more difficult if you are like me and trying to breastfeed. I have had many people tell me that breastfeeding will make the extra weight just "melt off". Well, that has not seemed to be the case with me so far and I felt frustrated about dieting...I mean how do I even start? Many people out there say that you have to be very careful when you are dieting and breastfeeding. If you cut your calorie intake too much it can make you quit producing milk. Luckily, I stumbled across this great book.

It's called: Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding: The Complete Nutrition Book for Nursing Mothers, Including a Healthy Guide to the Weight Loss Your Doctor Promised by Eileen Behan

This book really helped to reassure me that I can lose the weight with just a little food control and exercise. The writer is a registered dietitian and offers many helpful tips on breastfeeding, balancing life and motherhood, workout routines, menus, and just overall reassurance that you can lose this weight. She talks about how many studies have "found that breastfeeding mothers could successfully nurse their babies on far fewer calories then was were usually recommended." Which reassured me that cutting calories would be fine for my baby and for me to keep nursing.

What really struck me about this book is that she talks about the "500 extra calories per day" myth. It's the idea that when you are breastfeeding you need to eat an extra 500 calories per day, when in fact studies have shown that for some women this is far too many calories. In addition to several studies about calorie intake, she dispels the myths that there is a long list of foods which need to be avoided during breastfeeding and encourages mothers not to focus on what they shouldn't eat, but "instead, emphasize all the good foods you can have."

Anyways, I feel this book is a must for a breastfeeding Mom who wants to start losing the baby weight. It's an easy read and provides the needed resources to promote weight loss, breastfeeding, healthy eating, happy motherhood, and a happy life. I am happy to say that with counting calories and some exercise I have lost nine pounds in the last 30 days. I am hoping to keep the weigh loss going and might soon be back to my pre-baby clothes!


~Beth



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Beauty Essentials

Well here we are in the thick of winter. I was just telling my Husband that my birthday, January 23rd, brings with it a guarantee of bad weather. We missed out on a blizzard this year (unlike last year) but we had to endure below zero temperatures and freezing cold wind chills. As Nathan said while walking into Target, "I hate winter! Ugh! Why do we live here?!!" Another side effect of the fabulous winter weather? Dry EVERYTHING. Dry skin, hair, hands, you name it. In order to combat these winter side-effects I amp up the moisture in practically every product I use. Here are a few of the Winter Beauty Essentials I switch to when the temperature starts to drop.

Aveeno Lotion
One of the first products I switch up when the cold weather sets in is my everyday lotion. I tend to look for something unscented so I can also wear perfume. Aside from that I need something that will provide ultimate moisture for dry winter skin. This winter I've become obsessed with Aveeno's Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion. I apply this after showering and before bed and it makes a HUGE difference in the look and feel of my skin.



Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash
Along with upping the moisture in lotion it is also important to think about extra moisturizing body wash. Olay's ultra moisture body wash is perfect for skin during the harsh winter. I also watched the ads from the Sunday paper and found a coupon for Olay body wash that saved me $2. It may not seem like a lot but little things like that can add up (especially in this economy)! The verdict? You can't lose with a moisturizing body wash at a reasonable price :)


Equate Advanced Anti-Wrinkle & Firming Eye Day/Night Cream
As I've said before skin around the eyes is extremely delicate. It only becomes more vulnerable during the winter months of wind and biting cold. My best way to combat dry skin around the eyes is to liberally apply moisturizing eye cream in the morning and before bed. Right now I'm using the anti-wrinkle cream above because it is fairly cheap (you can find it at Wal-Mart) and really packs in the moisture.


Skintimate Skin Therapy Lotionized for Dry Skin
If we're amping up the conditioning treatment in every other area it's important not to forget the shaving cream! When the cold sets in I automatically switch from the fruit-scented shaving cream to this dry skin "lotionized" formula.


Aussie 3 Minute Miracle
One of my least favorite parts of winter hair? The uncontrollable static and dry ends! It drives me CRAZY! I know there are plenty of deep conditioners out there but if you're looking for a quick and inexpensive fix Aussie 3 Minute Miracle is a great option. During the winter I try to use this once a week in the shower in order to fight the static. It's fast and easy to use during your everyday the shower.

Picture Source

Neosporin

I know, I know. Neosporin is for cuts and scrapes etc. But when I have really, really dry patches of skin on my face Neosporin really does the trick! There were a few times this winter when the skin around my eyes was getting red and chapped. It hurt so much! I simply put some Neosporin on these areas before bed and in a week it felt MUCH better. Sometimes the solution lies in using a product in a different way than what it was meant for.

Well these are the products I try to keep on hand when Old Man Winter comes to town. I'd love to hear what products you turn to during your cold winter months!

~Christi

Monday, February 14, 2011

Midweek Motivation Link Party #3

We would like to thank everyone for linking up last week! As always, we were impressed with so many creative ideas...and most of them were for Valentines Day! So creative!

As always, we decided to pick a few posts each week from the link party and feature them! You know...spread the love.

Mom's Crazy Cooking had the most clicks this week with her Mexican Rice. A great side dish for a Mexican Themed Night, Olé!

Beth's pick of the week was the How To on Creating Faux Mercury Glass from Delightsome Life. I just wish I would have seen this before decorating over my cupboards. I just love the antique look of them and you could make so many pieces in different shapes and sizes.

Luci's pick of the week was the Goodwill Blah to Valentine Love from Simply Crafty. It's great idea for kids to give to Grandparents, no matter if it's Valentines Day or not.
Christi's pick of the week was the Mini Sweetea Pies from Simply This, That and the Other. Maybe she'll make some sweetea pies for her own sweetpea! i.e. her hubby :)

And our Got 5 Minutes pick was...The Home Made Valentines from Simple Living. Great idea if you missed getting your person in your live a V-day present! They will appreciate the extra thought you put into the gift and might forget that you forgot to get them one yesterday :)


All the posts were great and thanks so much for linking up with us!!

AND here's this weeks party!
I don't know about you, but when it hits midweek it always seems that we lose our motivation and just can't wait till the weekend is here. This link party is designed to motivate fellow bloggers and readers out there. We will host it every Tuesday thru Thursday for the maximum motivation possible! Each week we will highlight some of our favs!
Here are the rules:

1. Become a follower of Between3Sisters.
If you decide to follow us let us know so we can follow you back!
2. Please link up a post about project, DIY, craft, recipes, or whatever you want that may motivate someone out there to try something new. (As many as you want!)
3. As always, please link directly to your post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now.
4. Also, we would love if you would grab our party button to spread the news of our party! This is not required, but it would be great if you would place it in your post or sidebar.


Between3Sisters

Enjoy visiting other post link ups and remember
"Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes"






Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day. I have never been a person to celebrate the holiday much, but I decided with the new baby it might be nice to have a little romance for the day. Of course we started out naked...um...I mean we started out with Four Vines Naked Chardonnay. (Some of you readers need to get your mind out of the gutter! :P )
For the main course, we had a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's.
And of course no Valentine's Day would be complete without Valentine cards.
For dessert, we had Truffle Merlot infused with dark chocolate and
a giant heart-shaped pan of brownies.
Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day and may you have many friends and family to share it with!

~Beth



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