Thursday, March 31, 2011

Uncorked #6: Robert Mondavi Pinot Grigio

Welcome to Uncorked! Where I feature a wine that I've tried and let you know my thoughts on it. There is a little disclaimer: I am by far no wine expert --I am just going to tell my thoughts on a wine. Some wine snobs out there might turn their nose up at my opinion and that's fine with me! Wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed! I might throw out some wine terms here and there and if I do, I will make sure that I give you the definition and try to explain them to the best of my abilities. My goal is to share some tasty wine picks with the world and hopefully encourage some of you out there to try a new 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's wine is:
Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2009 Pinot Grigio

Description: Through tireless wine making innovation, an uncompromising eye for quality and unshakable faith in California's vineyards, Robert Mondavi was a pioneer in producing wines that rival the world's finest. Our Pinot Grigio captures bright citrus, pear and tropical fruit flavors that culminate in a crisp refreshing finish.
Price: $7.99 per bottle
Region: Woodbridge, CA

I've said it before and I am sure you can tell with all the uncorked so far, I am a red girl. However, it can get boring reviewing red wines all the time so I decided to actively seek out a white one for this week. With the onset of spring, I thought a Pinot Grigio would be a good start to kick off the season. Pinot Grigios are an Italian white wine that usually is a nice mid-palate* balance with a short, clean finish. This pale golden wine opens up with a fruity, yet floral bouquet*. Immediately I could taste pear in the wine, but not an overpowering amount. The wine is on the dryer side, but has a fresh and crisp taste.

Would I buy it again? Like I said before, I always have considered myself a red girl, but this white wine might make me change my ways...or at least make me break out of my red shell. I was pleasantly surprised to find a white wine that I am looking forward to drinking again. Because it's an Italian wine, I served it with Spicy Tomato Cream Penne Pasta and some garlic bread. The wine went great with the meal and we ended up finishing the bottle. In fact, my husband even commented on how he wished we had some more...so yes, I will be buying this one again.

Fun Wine Fact: Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have determined that Pinot Grigio has a remarkably similar DNA profile to Pinot Noir (a red wine) and that the colour difference is derived from a genetic mutation that occurred centuries ago.

*Mid-palate- When you take a sip of good wine there is often a sequence of flavor and texture impressions, of which the mid-palate is the impression registered as you hold the wine in your mouth for a moment but before you swallow.
*Bouquet- As a wine's aroma becomes more developed from bottle aging, the aroma is transformed into a bouquet that is hopefully more than just the smell of the grape.

~Beth

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tex-Mex Calzones

In my quest to keep dinner somewhat exciting, while still watching calories, I have been trying many different dishes. We really enjoyed this dish and it will probably be a regular from now on. I was thinking if you have older kids, it might be a fun thing for them to make their own calzone.
8 ounces of ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fat-free fire-roasted salsa verde
1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated thin-crust pizza dough
3/4 cup (3 ounces) preshredded Mexican blend cheese
Cooking spray
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble.
3. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring mixture occasionally. Remove turkey mixture from heat; stir in salsa.
4. Unroll dough; divide into 4 equal portions. Flatten each portion into a 6 x 4–inch rectangle.
5. Working with one rectangle at a time, spoon about 1/2 cup turkey mixture on one side of dough. Top with 3 tablespoons cheese; fold dough over turkey mixture, and press edges together with a fork to seal.
6. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and turkey mixture.
7. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until browned. Serve with sour cream.

Serves 4 @ 423 calories

~Beth

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sophistication Sundays - Coral Craze

My sophistication muse, Audrey Hepburn
Sophistication Sundays will revolve around my favorite beauty finds, techniques, fashion trends and anything else "pretty" that catches my eye. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you and hope to hear your suggestions and feedback as well! I am no expert at beauty or fashion by any means but perhaps that will make my thoughts more relatable. Simply put, I'm just a girly-girl navigating my way through the fabulous finds I come across.


As I mentioned in my previous "SS" post, one of my favorite things about Spring is the return of COLORS. It's natural to gravitate towards a palette of black, gray, silver and well, more black during the winter months. When Spring finally shows its face again in March, the colors are a breath of fresh air. Honestly, you have no idea ecstatic I am every Spring when I receive the In Style Color Issue.


In Style Magazine

Isn't it complete happiness?!

All this color talk brings me to the topic of the day: Coral. Coral has always been one of my favorite colors to wear; I really gravitate towards this happy medium between pink and orange. It works well with my skin and hair color (red) and encapsulates the bright & cheery side of Spring.


Imagine my delight when I saw it splashed all over the Spring 2011 runways and the lips of models in numerous ad campaigns. Suffice to say there is a coral craze taking over and this lovely shade has infiltrated makeup, clothes and accessories alike.

BCBG's beautiful and asymmetrical interpretation of a coral dress


Banana Republic keeps it simple and breezy with
cargos and a subdued necklace


Love the zipper detail on this Top Shop shell


If you're itching to try the continuing crochet trend you could try it in this
Coral dress from Top Shop. I can see it with a beige or white body cami underneath and a brown, braided belt knotted around the waist.


If you're anxious about jumping on the coral train in the form of clothing
why not try it in a lip color or nail polish?





Or if you're feeling a bit more adventurous (but not ready for coral clothes) there are always accessories.
What girl doesn't love accessories? :)






So what do you think of coral? Do you stay away from this pink/orange shade? Would you try it in a clothing item or beauty product? Maybe you don't like coral. What color trends are you excited about?

Have a great week. xoxo.

~Christi


Friday, March 25, 2011

Spicy Tomato Cream Penne Pasta

I was watching Eat, Pray, Love this afternoon and it really inspired me! Not in the way that you would think...really I thought the movie wasn't that great (sorry to you fans out there) but it inspired me to cook some pasta! All the food it in looked so yummy! I am still trying to watch what I am eating, so I created a somewhat healthier pasta dish. 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes
2 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces of whole wheat penne pasta
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Fill large pot with water and bring to boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package directions.
2. In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent.
3. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt and pepper. (Note: Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes you might need to add more sugar.)
4. Bring tomato mixture to a boil and continue to boil 5 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates.
5. Remove from heat; stir in cream and butter.
6. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes.
7. Serve over penne pasta with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

The Skinny: Serves 4 @ 475 calories

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Uncorked #5: Big Green Box Cabernet

Welcome to Uncorked! Where I feature a wine that I've tried and let you know my thoughts on it. There is a little disclaimer: I am by far no wine expert --I am just going to tell my thoughts on a wine. Some wine snobs out there might turn their nose up at my opinion and that's fine with me! Wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed!

I might throw out some wine terms here and there and if I do, I will make sure that I give you the definition and try to explain them to the best of my abilities. My goal is to share some tasty wine picks with the world and hopefully encourage some of you out there to try a new 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's wine is:

Pepperwood Grove Big Green Box Cabernet Sauvignon


Description: Inviting red fruit aroma, with black currants, Italian espresso, and bittersweet chocolate flavors
Price: around $21 per box
Region: Chile

I know what you are thinking...box wine?!?!..this is Uncorked! Well, I don't know if you have tried boxed wine lately but there are so many different kinds out there that can really give their bottled counterparts a run for their money...quite literally! This particular box is my "go to" wine that I love to keep around the house. Don't let the box fool you, this is a great wine that does some great things. The company boasts how the box is "green" because it's made from 100% recycled product, uses less energy because glass bottle production isn't required, its light-weight and compact so less transpiration cost, and the packaging is printed on paper from a sustainable forest. That stuff is all nice, but really how does the wine taste?? Well, it's a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah grapes, so it's not a true Cabernet Sauvignon*. The wine is medium bodied and well-balanced*. It opens with the flavor of oak, raspberries, and cherries and finishes dry with a little lingering flavor.

Would I buy it again? Um, yes! This is my go to wine daily wine. I am actually drinking this wine as I write this post! For those of you out there who turn your nose up at box wine, I really suggest trying this one. Just pour it out of the box and put it in a decanter and I swear no one will know otherwise. It's a great drinking wine and the perfect accompaniment for a piece of dark chocolate, a nice books, and a relaxing way to end your evening.

*Cabernet Sauvignon- Originally this type of wine was derived from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet grapes.
*Well-balanced- Wines whose components - acid, alcohol, tannin and residual sugar - relate in a balanced way, so none overwhelm the others.


~Beth





Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Food On A Budget Part 2: Casseroles

A couple of years ago my husband lost his job...just like a lot of other people out there when the stock market went crazy and our economy tanked. I still had my two businesses (in-home salon and daycare) but I knew we had to make changes to our budget. So the first thing I did was slash what we were buying for meals. I am very healthy when it comes to food...but I had to find a cheaper way! I have started a post periodically, sharing my ideas to cut the food budget, save some money, and still feed my family with some healthy and tasty meals. I would love to hear any food budget saving ideas that readers might have so please feel free to share!

This week's money-saving tip is how to make a basic casserole!
As you know casseroles are an inexpensive way to feed a family. So, what makes up a casserole or “hot dish” as we say in Minnesota?
The basic casserole or hot dish consists of a starch, meat, veggie and a soup mix.
• The starch includes things like rice, potatoes, or noodles.
• The meats are anything on sale because meat is a big portion of your food cost. Don’t forget about canned tuna, salmon or chicken they are still cheaper on the budget than swinging by a fast food joint!
• I find that I use a lot of frozen veggies that are on sale or root vegetables like onions and carrots. Or really anything I have stocked in the fridge that needs to be used up before the next shopping trip or are about to go bad.
• Now for the soup mix…I usually use something in a can that I can stock up when it’s on sale. Thick or cream based soups like cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, and tomato are great starters.

One of the easiest, cheapest, and tastiest casseroles I make is Shepherd's Pie. This casserole originally called "cottage pie" and became quite the hit in Ireland around 1791, (thanks wikipedia) when the potato was being introduced as an edible and afforadable crop for the poor. The term "cottage" was coined because most rural/low income workers lived in cottages during the time. In early cook books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, veggies, and always a mashed potato crust on top.

Shepherds Pie
Source
This easy shepherd's pie variation is made with green beans and tomato soup.
1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 can green beans, drained (can substitued frozen) and/or any other leftover veggies
2-3 cups of left over mashed potatoes (or you could simply make the box kind)
9 slices of American cheese (or shredded cheddar cheese)

1. Brown ground beef and onion in frying pan.
2. Mix in tomoto soup and green beans.
3. Place all in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
4. Spread mashed potatoes on top.
5. Top with slices of American cheese (or shredded cheddar)
6. Bake at 350 degrees until center is warmed and cheese is melted.



~Luci



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sophistication Sundays - Sally Hansen "Blue-Away" Nail Polish


My sophistication muse, Audrey Hepburn
Sophistication Sundays will revolve around my favorite beauty finds, techniques, fashion trends and anything else "pretty" that catches my eye. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you and hope to hear your suggestions and feedback as well! I am no expert at beauty or fashion by any means but perhaps that will make my thoughts more relatable. Simply put, I'm just a girly-girl navigating my way through the fabulous finds I come across.



Today is OFFICIALLY the first day of Spring and I couldn't be more excited! Yes we have long, cold South Dakota winters but I think it makes us appreciate the other wonderful seasons even more. Aside from the improvement in weather, Spring also means other things that make me happy. To name a few examples: cute sandals, bright colors, trench coats, and a transition in handbags. Spring fashion = oh happy day. :)


To celebrate the commencement of Spring I only thought it was fitting to try out a bright new nail polish shade. If you haven't figured it out by now I adore nail polish. I went through a phase in 4th grade where I was obsessed with nail polish (particularly the glitter kind) that I think was nurtured by my dear Aunt Dee. At least I remember getting a little bottle of gold glitter nail polish from her anyway :) Then I went through a dry spell until Sophomore year of college. All of the sudden my nail polish phase was back in full force. So fast forward to a week ago when I was perusing through Target's makeup area and happened upon a beautiful baby blue bottle of nail polish.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish had a new display out for Spring and I was instantly drawn to "Blue-Away." I saw it and knew it must be mine! :) Note: This is not to be confused with Sally Hansen's "Blue Me Away" which is a bright turquoise shade.



The lovely lady blogger from Glitters N Shimmers took the fantastic photo above and debuted it on her blog here. It sounds like she is from a smaller town in Utah and plans to talk about how she uses fashion and makeup to express herself - sounds a little similar to my situation and like my kind of girl! ;) Welcome to the blogging community, Glitters N Shimmers!

As you can see from her nails and the bottle, it is a beautiful dreamy blue color. The pictures I tried to take of the color just wouldn't do it justice! (BIG sad face). Unfortunately all of my photos came out looking kind of turquoise. That being said, in some lights this color looks a little Tiffany blue on my fingers (which, who doesn't mind that?!!) but I definitely wanted the light blue shade to remind me of a perfect blue-sky Spring day. Final verdict? I am loving the pop of color this brings to my fingers and look forward to the shade catching my eye throughout the upcoming week :) And I can only imagine how much more I will like the shade when combined with a tan later this summer. That being said, the only downside to me is the brush. Perhaps I am spoiled with OPI brushes, who knows. The brush used for the insta-dri brand just seems to grab too much lacquer or not enough; I have to be abnormally careful about how I am painting each nail due to this feature.


Have you tried a new color of beauty product lately that you adore? One of the neon bright lip colors or a new (to you) shade of eyeshadow? I'd love to hear about your makeup trials or thoughts below!





~Christi

Friday, March 18, 2011

Uncorked #4: Naked Chardonnay

Welcome to Uncorked! Where I feature a new wine that we tried and let you know my thoughts on it. There is a little disclaimer: I am by far no wine expert --I am just going to tell my thoughts on a wine. Some wine snobs out there might turn their nose up at my opinion and that's fine with me! Wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed!

I might throw out some wine terms here and there and if I do, I will make sure that I give you the definition and try to explain them to the best of my abilities. My goal is to share some tasty wine picks with the world and hopefully encourage some of you out there to try a new 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's wine is:
Four Vines Naked Chardonnay


Description: Step away from the barrel. This Chardonnay was fermented in 100% stainless steel and has not see any oak, not does it want to. This is crisp, concentrated Chardonnay with all its natural acid. Eat oysters and drink "Naked" often!! Share with a friend...
Price: $12.99 per bottle
Region: Santa Barbara County, CA, USA

Well, if you have noticed by now I like my red wines, but I felt my Uncorked has been overran by reds so I decided to review a Chardonnay. I purchased this wine back on Valentine's Day and I am now just getting around to finishing the bottle! It's been sitting in my refrigerator with about two glasses left. It didn't help that the cold weather also left me without any desire to drink cold wine. So given the recent sunshine and milder temps, I thought it would a perfect time to review the bottle. The wine has a very clean taste to it, hence the name "Naked". You can taste a little apple, pear and peach in the wine but as the desription on the bottle states there is no oaky* cast to the wine. Personally, I like my wine a little oaky. I don't know why but that flavor just seems to provide an organic feeling; as though the wine is from the fruit of this earth..

Would I buy it again? Maybe... it depends on what I am serving it with. If you are eating a dish where you want the wine to compliment the flavor of the dish, like the bottle suggests of oysters, this wine would be perfect. This wine is clean and crisp and would compliment the flavor of your meal, rather then overpower it. If you are looking for a Chardonnay for a wine party and are focused on tasting and drinking, I guess I would choose a different brand. To quote a fellow blogger, "I like my wine dirty, but sexy." As I stated before, I like my wines with a little more oak to them or some other organic flavor. Although the name is sexy I just don't feel the wine is "dirty" enough for me. So whether you like this wine or not I know it would be a hit at any party because of the name. I'm sure it might evoke some interesting conversations and facebook statuses to say the least!



*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





Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

To celebrate our Irish heritage, I decided to make an authentic Irish meal tonight! I found out today that the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage isn't really a native Irish dish, so I decided to make something that people actually make in Ireland. I am still counting calories, but thanks to Cooking Light, I can make a yummy meal with less calories and fat!

Here's what's on the menu:
Beef and Guinness Stew
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
1 tablespoon raisins
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices carrot (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices parsnip (about 8 ounces)
1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled turnip (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and beef.
2. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return meat to pan. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 8 @ 365 calories per bowl


Brown Soda Bread

11.25 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats (such as McCann's)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Coat a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt). Combine buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a wire rack; cool completely. Remove parchment; slice bread into 12 slices.

Makes 12 slices @ 160 calories per slice

And even though I am counting calories, I do allow myself treats once and a while so here's my treat!



Guinness Stout Brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer (see Note below)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips



1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick foil.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
3. Melt butter, bittersweet chocolate, and white chocolate chips in a double-boiler over very low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined.
5. Beat reserved flour mixture into melted chocolate mixture. Whisk in Guinness stout beer. The batter will seem a bit thin. Drop semisweet chocolate chips evenly on top of batter (some will sink in).
6. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes on center rack in the oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

Note: The Guinness should be at room temperature. This recipe uses a little less than a standard 12-ounce bottle of Guinness stout beer. Do not include foam in the measurement. Either spoon off the foam or let it rest until the foam subsides.

Makes 24 brownies @ 228 calories



~Beth



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Midmonth Motivation #5

Welcome to 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!

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

Luci's pick of for last month 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 from last month was the Organized Workspace from Simply Living. Some great ideas to keep her office at work nice and tidy!

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.

And our Got 5 Minutes pick was...The 5 Minute Apron Tutorial from You Seriously Made That!? 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 15th thru the 20th 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"




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sophistication Sundays - MAC Studio Finish Concealer

My sophistication muse, Audrey Hepburn

Sophistication Sundays will revolve around my favorite beauty finds, techniques, fashion trends and anything else "pretty" that catches my eye. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you and hope to hear your suggestions and feedback as well! I am no expert at beauty or fashion by any means but perhaps that will make my thoughts more relatable. Simply put, I'm just a girly-girl navigating my way through the fabulous finds I come across.

If I had to pick the most important beauty item I could NEVER go without I know exactly what I would say: concealer! Unfortunately I am not one of those ladies who can throw on foundation or powder and leave the house. I inherited horrible, unattractive dark circles... ugh (thanks, Dad!)


Okay they may not be this bad but seriously that's what I would feel like if I left the house without concealer under my eyes. Yuck!

And of course the other wonderful thing about concealer is how much it comes in handy when you have a blemish. Yes, suffice to say concealer is my best friend. Over the years I have tried many, many different types of concealer. So much of it is thin and has the consistency of foundation. Basically it helped a little bit but it didn't truly cover those dark circles or blemishes.

Concealer Attempt #1:


Covergirl Fresh Complexion Concealer
Photo Source

This was my favorite kind of concealer in high school because it was cheap. But really, it didn't work well for my dark circles... actually it didn't really cover the blemishes well either :(

Concealer Attempt #2:

Photo Source

During college I moved onto Neutrogena 3-in-1 Concealer for eyes. This seemed to work a tad better than Covergirl but I still wasn't satisfied. This cost anywhere from $7-$10 a pop and I would go through it very quickly. They just didn't put that much in the little tube and I remember feeling like for the quality of the product I was spending way too much money and constantly running out.

Attempt #3 - The MIRACLE WORKER ((angels singing))

Enter that fateful day when I happened upon MAC Studio Finish Concealer. We were in Florida for my bestie's wedding and her childhood friend (who's makeup always looks AMAZING) was using it under her eyes. I was very curious and asked her about the concealer. She was happy to let me try it and needless to say I was instantly hooked! I think I asked her about 20 times what color it was so I could be certain to order the right color off the website when I returned home (we don't have a MAC store in SD). This stuff is fantastic! It has just the right consistency so it really covers the dark circles and blemishes and stays put. The cost is a bit higher than what I used to pay - it's $16.50 - but don't get sticker shock because you wouldn't believe how much makeup they pack into that little container! I usually buy one shade for the winter (NW 20) and one for the summer (NW 25) and they typically last me a whole year! When I think about how quickly I would go through this little tubes of sub-par Neutrogena concealer I can easily see I'm getting a better quality, more cost-effective product. I will never go back!

One last note, in order to stop this product from settling into lines under my eyes I make sure to use primer under my eyes. I will still get a few faint lines but they appear within 5 minutes and I usually just take my finger and quickly swipe over them and right before I walk out the door.

So do you have a beauty product you couldn't live without? What is it? Do you have a concealer that you think takes the cake? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Have a fabulous Sunday... xoxo

~Christi




Friday, March 11, 2011

Uncorked #3: Prairie Berry Winery

Welcome to Uncorked! Where I feature a new wine that we tried and let you know my thoughts on it. There is a little disclaimer: I am by far no wine expert --I am just going to tell my thoughts on a wine. Some wine snobs out there might turn their nose up at my opinion and that's fine with me! Wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed!

I might throw out some wine terms here and there and if I do, I will make sure that I give you the definition and try to explain them to the best of my abilities. My goal is to share some tasty wine picks with the world and hopefully encourage some of you out there to try a new 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 last weekend was quite a treat! My husband's parents live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and I was lucky enough to spend some time with them while my husband attended a conference in a nearby town. We explored all over the Black Hills and stopped by Prairie Berry Winery, a nice local winery in Hill City. When you walk in you are greeted with a large open room, crates of wines, a roaring fire, and of course a little counter serving wine tastings and some delicious hor'dourves.
Prairie Berry Winery has been creating wines for five generations. They have a large selection of wines all developed from South Dakota grown grapes, fruits, and honey wines.

The winery was closing for the day when we arrived, so we weren't able to try all of the different wines, which was quite a disappointment. Lucky for us, they had a nice art exhibit put on by their own employees called the Prairie Berry Homegrown Art Show. We were surprised to see all the creative artists that work at the winery. They were eager to give us a glass of their award winning Three Red Necks wine and encouraged us to look around at all the art exhibits. I met one great artist in particular, Sarah, who had a nice film exhibit of super 8mm footage taken of her Grandfather. Everyone we met there was very friendly and like I say wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed and there is no better enjoyment then a nice glass of wine with some new friendly faces.

This week's wine is:
Prairie Berry Winery's 3 Red Necks

Description: The bottle doesn't have a description on it and neither did the website but I did find another review that summed it up as "A dry, maroon wine with noticeable legs and intriguing aroma."
Price: $16.00 per bottle
Region: South Dakota, USA

This wine was delicious and very different then what we expected. The wine is considered a Cabernet Sauvignon but it tasted much lighter and sweeter then a normal Cabernet. It seemed more like a Pinot Noir to us. There was a hint of some fruit, maybe some raspberries or cherries, but really no particular type of fruit stood out in the flavor. I thought I could taste a hint of some spice, maybe some cinnamon or cloves. For a person who has never enjoyed a Cabernet, maybe due to the dryness and full bodied quality, this would be a good starter wine as an introduction to the Cabernet family.

Would I buy it again? Yes, we really enjoyed this wine. Most Cabernets are very full bodied and much of the time the flavor is better with a side of cheese or a dark chocolate. This wine, because it was a lighter than normal, made for a great sipping wine. Also, I just love the fact that the wine is made from local South Dakota grapes and fruits. I love supporting locally grown food. I think it just gives the produce an exceptional taste and freshness, plus it's a great way to strengthen your local economy and support endangered small family farms.

~Beth





Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Losing The Baby Weight Part 5

Here is another post about my journey to lose all the baby weight I gained during pregnancy. (To read the previous posts see 1, 2, 3, & 4) Today I was happy to step on the scale and see that I have lost another 3 pounds. That means I only have 11 more pounds to go to get back to my pre-baby weight size.

Here is a nice before and after shot so you can see my progress. (Look at that belly!) The first one was taken at the end of January and the new one is today. Total weight loss between the pictures is 19 pounds!

I attribute all of my weight loss to the good old fashioned counting calories and exercise. I think the exercise has really helped me drop the pounds faster. I try to lift weights twice a week and workout on the treadmill or elliptical for 30-45 minutes four times a week. I have been getting bored lately with just the same old cardio routine, so I have been switching it up with some workout videos. I thought it would be great to share some of the videos I use frequently.

Many people don't know this, but if you have Netflix they have a ton of videos that you can watch instantly. Here are a few of my favorites:

Crunch: Boot Camp Training
Description:
Military style, rigorous half-hour exercise program from Crunch gym. Designed to tone every muscle in the body and get your heart rate going, the class is separated into eight-minute sections and uses strengthening techniques to work both the upper and lower body.
My Review: I really like this video. It starts you out with easy warm-up steps then proceeds into the "boot camp" style class I like. I am pretty uncoordinated but this video does moves that are easy to do, even if you have two left feet like me. You need weights for this workout to be totally effective though. I use 8-pound weights.




Trainer's Edge: Killer Abs & Back with Michael Olajide
Description
: Targeting abdominal and back muscles as it strengthens the body's core, this exercise program led by Michael Olajide, a former boxing champ, will have you punching, jumping and twisting your way to a new body.
My Review: Don't let this one-eyed guy fool you, this video kicks your butt....uh, er I mean abs and back! This is my fav out of all the videos on Netflix because so many workout videos do like 90% lunges. I hate them and they are so hard on my knees. Michael, who is a really interesting guy look him up on wikipedia, is funny and makes you want to keep going. He kind of hits on the ladies in the video too, which makes me laugh. My husband, who is not a workout video type of guy really likes this video too. You need weights for this video and a broom (for stability). He has a jump rope segment, but I just pretend I have one in hand.

Crunch: Cardio Dance Blast
Description:
Sculpt and tone your bodies with this fun dance routine. It's a booty-shakin' and booty-blastin' regime, which has participants on their feet for an entire hour groovin' to the latest tunes while getting the heart pumping for good health.
My Review: Let me just say (again) that I have two left feet. So why on earth am I doing a dance video? Well, I was bored one day and decided to try it. Thank goodness that no one could see me in my house doing it, it would have been hilarious! This video was super fun, but I know I looked really stupid doing it! The moves were hard at first but I think I am starting to get better at it. I like it because it didn't feel like I was working out at all! Great to get a light cardio routine in and have a little fun. If you have little ones that can walk/run, it might be a good video to do with them.

For those of you who don't have Netflix, here some videos I own that I like:

Jari Love: Get Extremely Ripped Bootcamp
Description:
This is an intense bootcamp-style workout, you can choose between 6 - 10 minute workouts or 2 - 30 minute workouts or one full hour of Ripped! With a series of core, strength and cardio tracks, you will shock your body and blast out of any ruts or plateaus.
My Review: MY FAVORITE VIDEO by FAR!!! This video is so tough, I honestly have to stop and take breaks...which I love! I use this video on days I would normally be lifting weights because just with 8 pound weights you sculpt your whole body. This video leaves me out of breath and sore the next day. To me that means that it is working for me. I usually try to do the whole 60 minute video, but on days I don't have time I can choose which routines I want to do or just opt for one of the 30 minute segment. You need hand weights to do this video.




Jari Love: Get Ripped 1000
Description:
A workout that you burn up to 1,000 calories per session, you'll be shedding pounds and reshaping your body fast. By mixing weight training with cardio, all muscle groups get working and the heart rate high so that you burn maximum calories.
My Review: I bought this video at the same time as the bootcamp one and this one is pretty good too but I just prefer the other one. This has more cardio then the other one. You need a step to get the maximum workout for this routine. I don't have one, so I just do all the exercises with the weights. Do I burn 1000 calories, probably not, but with a step I think you would.




Winsor Pilates Basic 3 DVD Workout Set
Description:
Mari Winsor's 3-DVD set is a set of workouts for beginners and intermediates. Used to increase strength and flexibility while using your "power house".
My Review: I try to do one flexibility workout a week. I prefer the advanced workout dvd in this set because it is 50 minutes long and it really does help your flexibility and strength. Mari focuses on your "power house" which is code for your core/abs. It's very easy to follow and proves to be challenging and beneficial. No weights needed for this video. I am sore the next day after this video, so I guess that means it makes me use muscles that I am not use to using.





Well, that's my list of my workout videos. Do you have a favorite workout video? If so, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to comment below.

~Beth

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