May Birchbox Review

Broke girl Sandra Leah and I have recently hopped onto the Birchbox train, and needless to say, we are hooked!  According to their website:

Birchbox delivers the best products and the best insider secrets, without any fuss. Every month Birchbox members will receive a curated box of luxe beauty samples. Each box will span beauty categories and deliver exciting products that fit into both your day-to-day routine, and into those days when you want to turn up the drama a notch.

Being the beauty-fanatics that we are, and with a price tag of only $10/month, we signed up for one initial month.  Our first Birchbox (for the month of May) was delivered a few weeks after our sign up.  It was packaged beautifully in it’s “Gossip Girl” theme and featured impressive beauty product samples.

May Birchbox1. Color Club Nail Polish in Clambake Coral
2. Kérastase Cristalliste Brain Cristal (shampoo) and Kérastase Cristalliste Lait Cristal (conditioner)
3. Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer
4. Miracle Skin Transformer – Body SPF 20 in Glow
5. Kérastase Cristalliste Lumiere Luquide (hair shining serum)

My personal favorite in May’s box has been the nail polish (I’ve been wearing it for two weeks straight) – it’s fun, bright coral color that’s perfect for summer!

Can’t wait to see what this month’s box brings.

Currently Obsessed With….Hot Pink Trousers

Long time no blog! Just wanted to make a quick post about a new thing I am currently obsessed with for spring – BRIGHT colors! I recently purchased these hot pink trousers from H&M for an amazing deal of $14.95. Adding a pop of color into your daily wardrobe through shoes, a fun purse, pants, or even a cardigan is an easy way to embody spring.

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H&M Trousers, $14.95

Guilt-free Super Bowl Recipes: Homemade Hummus and Homemade Salsa

Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t have to be sinful (see: Buffalo Chicken Wontons); there are definitely some recipes on the healthier side that are still “snacky” enough for a football game. Check out broke girl Marisa’s post on Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips, or read on!

Homemade Hummus

  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cold Water
  • Olive Oil

Combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, lemon and seasonings into a food processor or blender.

Blend, and add cold water and olive oil, one Tbsp at a time, until you reach the consistency you prefer.

Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, or assorted veggies!

Homemade Hummus PlateHomemade Salsa

I found this recipe via Pinterest and it’s amazing!

  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (10 oz) orginal Rotel
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
  • Juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or blender.

Homemade SalsaFood processor overload!

Pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with multi-grain chips. Yum!

Guilty Pleasure Super Bowl Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wontons

The Super Bowl is right around the corner, and needless to say I am extremely bummed that the Green Bay Packers did not make it this year.  Regardless, the show much go on and there is still a game to play! My friend Maddy passed on this recipe to me and it’s AMAZING. This will be a hit at any Super Bowl party you host or attend; I’ve literally had to guard these with my life so they’re not scarfed down right away!

Buffalo Chicken Wontons

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup wing sauce (recommended Franks)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 80 wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil for frying (I use Canola)
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Rub chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, 10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is fully cooked.  After the chicken is cooked, cut into small chunks.

Add diced chicken, garlic and wing sauce in a bowl.  Mix until chicken is completely coated with the sauce.  Stir in the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses until everything is well mixed.

Buffalo Chicken Wonton MixtureSpoon about a teaspoon of mixture into each wonton wrapper.  Moisten edges of wrapper and bring together in the middle, forming a little purse (this works best if the wrapper edges are wet so you can more easily seal them).

Buffalo Chicken WontonHeat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot/dutch oven. Fry wontons in batches until golden (about two minutes on each side) and then drain on paper towels.

Serve with your choice of dressing.

Buffalo Chicken WontonsThese are DELISH! Seriously.

Stay tuned… a few “guiltless” Super Bowl recipes will be posted later this week!

Budget Friendly Yoga Mat?

An awesome Groupon deal was recently referred to me from a friend that I couldn’t pass up!  I am now the proud purchaser of 30 yoga classes.  As much as I love yoga, truth be told, I am desperately need a new yoga mat and would like to purchase one before I begin any new classes.  I have been using the same cheap yoga mat for 4-5 years now and while it’s functional, I sweat a lot and slip and slide around the mat.  As a quick fix I usually just place a bath towel over my mat.  I am looking to purchase a new, non-slip mat or perhaps a non-slip towel, but nice yoga equipment is usually quite expensive.

After perusing the internet, here are my current top options:

Gaiam Premium Sticky MatGaiam Premium Sticky Yoga Mat, Gaiam, $29.98

Yogitoes Skidless Yoga TowelYogitoes Skidless Premium Mat-Size Yoga Towel, Amazon, $47.95

Aurorae Northern Lights Yoga Mat, Amazon, $44.95

Nike Dual-Sided Yogirl Yoga MatNike Dual-Sided Yogirl Yoga Mat, Sports Authority, $31.99

I have heard about and read reviews that Manduka is honestly one of the best brands of yoga mats around.  However, one of the cheapest Manduka mats I could find on Amazon was quite pricey.

Manduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga MatManduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga Mat, Amazon, $84

Is a more expensive and reputable yoga mat worth the investment?  What yoga mats or equipment do you use?

Advice From A Rapper & Dear Photograph

I wanted to share with you all a couple of websites/blogs that I am current obsessed with!

Advice From A Rapper

I recently stumbled across Advice From A Rapper, a website/blog created by a graphic design artist in Austin, TX named Jessica Wright.  She takes famous lyrics from rap songs and creates uniquely styled graphics.  She hasn’t updated in a while but the graphics she already designed are incredibly creative!

Here are some of my favorites:

Bone Thugs N Harmony I TriedNotorious BIG JuicyyTupac Me Against the WorldPhotos courtesy of Advice From A Rapper

Dear Photograph

Dear Photograph was passed on to me from a friend and reminds me of Broke Girl Sandra Leah’s favorite site, PostSecret.  Dear Photograph is a site dedicated to users submitting photos – old photos held up to the current photo’s location.  Short stories and anecdotes are usually submitted with each photograph, some being sad and others nostalgic.

Here are some of my favorites:

Dear Photograph Family - KidsReminds me of my siblings and I!

Dear Photograph Old CoupleDear Photograph Little Boy Olden DaysPhotos courtesy of Dear Photograph

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Rollerball

As displayed in my Philosophy Purity Made Simple – Travel Size post, I have an affinity towards small and travel size beauty products.  Not only do smaller, high end beauty products allow me to try/shop around to find what I like, but the items are almost always inexpensive.

My favorite perfume is Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. The sensual, floral scent is unparalleled to any other perfume I’ve had before and honestly smells amazing. The downside? A Flowerbomb 3.4 oz Eau de Parfum Spray will run upwards of $150. You obviously get more bang for your buck the larger the size, but why not try out a smaller option before you make the big purchase? Flowerbomb’s rollerball is now available at Sephora for only $25!

Viktor Rolf Flowebomb RollerballPhoto courtesy of Sephora

I purchased the rollerball for budgetary reasons about six months ago and it’s still going strong.  I use it everyday by adding a few quick rolls to my wrists.

If you are interested in a specific perfume, I definitely recommend checking out to see if a rollerball option is available.  You’ll save money and smell like a million bucks!

Spaghetti with Chicken, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Tweaked slightly from Pioneer Woman’s original recipe, this meal is definitely a staple in my household.  I have passed it on to many family members and friends and they always rave about how much they love it!  This recipe is easy to follow and yields a hearty amount of servings (especially if you only have yourself and one other person you’re cooking for like me – which just means more leftovers!).

Spaghetti with Chicken, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Makes about 8 servings

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes With Juice (14.5 Oz.)
  • 1 Whole Tomato Diced
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti
  • 1 pound Chicken Breast, cut into cubes or thin strips
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped

Boil water in a large pasta pot.  Add and cook spaghetti until al dente; once done drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the oil is piping hot, add chicken and saute until cooked through.

Dice up your onion, garlic and tomato.

Tomato garlic onion, diced
I cheated and used minced garlic this time, shhh!

Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and the butter into the skillet with the chicken and add the diced onion, garlic. Saute 2-3 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts, diced fresh tomato, and the can of diced tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Tomatoes and artichokes for pasta
Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.

Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour chicken + sauce over the top. Add chives.

Spaghetti Artichoke Pasta
Toss lightly to combine and coat.

Dinner is served!

Spaghetti with chicken, artichokes and tomatoes
Enjoy! 😀

Ingredients for this recipe are totally based on preference – feel free use marinated artichokes instead of artichoke hearts in a can, use shrimp instead of chicken, basil instead of chives, or even add capers or bacon bits! You can also interchange the pasta – my friend Shannon swears this dish is best served with campanelle pasta instead of spaghetti.

Accessorize for New Year’s Eve!

Have plans for a New Year’s Eve party but can’t afford a new outfit?  Never fear!  There are a ton of fun (and inexpensive) ways to spruce up a LBD or any ordinary outfit to feel fun and sassy for the big night.

Asos Suzy Smith Sequin Party Clutch Bag

Suzy Smith Sequin Party Clutch Bag, Asos, $27.27

Clovers & Pearlescent Beads Fringe NecklaceClovers & Pearlescent Beads Fringe Necklace, Forever 21, $14.80

Target Womens Bliss Sparkle PumpBliss Sparkle Pump, Target, $34.99

Weberline Couture Crystal Embellished HeadbandWeberline Couture Crystal Embellished Headband, Macy’s, $21.99

Aldo Winterfeld BraceletWinterfeld Bracelet, Aldo, $17.98

J.Crew Skinny Glitter BeltSkinny Glitter Belt, J.Crew, $29.50

Sephora by OPI As Good As GoldSephora by OPI As Good As Gold, Sephora, $9.50

Geo Seed Bead Duster EarringsGeo Seed Bead Duster Earrings, Urban Outfitters, $24

Quick Way to Dry Nail Polish

In a hurry with wet nails? Here is a quick way to speed up the drying process. I actually first read about this tip in one of my teenybopper magazines years ago (perhaps Seventeen?) and I still use it today!

In a sink or large bowl, add ice and water.  Stick your fingernails in the ice water and wait 2-3 minutes – then continue on with your daily activities!

Quick Dry Nail PolishPhoto courtesy of Real Simple