Tuscan Truffle Fever 

Firenze, Italia. 

Tuscany has to mean bliss in Italian, with Florence being the crown jewel of the region. As if the stunningly beautiful Duomo isn’t enough, the city also hosts Michelangelo’s masterpiece David and offers a plethora of authentic Italian cuisine experiences.  

  
The photo above is such a tragic attempt to capture the intricate sculpture and detailed artistry that covers the massive Duomo in Florence’s city center. Thankfully better photos are safely stored on our DSLR memory card so perhaps a post from home will include some better snapshots. While Tej loved the unique color scheme, for me the best part is that it truly pops out of nowhere. For such a huge structure, you would imagine that you would see it from every area of the city, but we literally turned a corner and stood at it’s footsteps with our mouths hanging open. The green and red exterior sets the Duomo apart from other Italian churches and basilicas, and really embodies the quirky and rustic spirit of the city.    

   


A major highlight for us here was a food tour we booked through Florence for Foodies. Starting off with our Florentine-born guide “Mama Nat” we were led to a Pasticcheria (bakery) for a traditional Italian breakfast. Nat was so playful and fun, and renamed each member of our group with a traditional Italian name… I was Beatricce and Tej was Francesco (not making this up – Nat felt he should be named after the current Pope). We were served creamy cappuccinos and the shops signature sfoglia pastry, a warm “leaf” of puffed pastry with a vanilla cream filling. As we sat waiting for the groups pastries to be delivered, we watched as the baker literally brought fresh batches of 8-10 s’folias, which flew off the platter before making it to the pastry case. One bite.. Instant love. This bakery shop hosted us each morning for the rest of our stay in Florence and it worries me as I consider the lengths I’d go to for another one right now.   
  

This post could be the longest in history if I explained each stop on the tour fully, so the readers digest version is as follows: 

  • Boiled Beef Sandwiches from the “old market” in Florence where the butcher refuses to speak to any tourists. You must have an insider that can order for you. And ps – don’t make the mistake I did at first and assume “boiled beef” is gross. I hate roast beef and this baby blew me away. 
  • Market Tour showcasing stalls with the most gigantic steaks ever, and traditional Tuscan foods like dried mushrooms, truffles and bull testicles (the dish served by Florentine wives when their husbands are in the dog house) 
  • Balsamic Vinegar, Olive oil and cheese tasting at the most beautiful wine cellar in an artisan shop. The owner shared her wealth of knowledge on the depths of the flavors and explained what separates a grocery store balsamic from a tiny $100 euro bottle. For those that are curious, One drop on a teeny spoon and you taste the classic balsamic flavor that proceeds to linger with a super smooth molasses finish. We had to take home a truffle honey, sourced by the owner from a private farm outside Florence. Truly liquid gold. 
  • Gelato and Semifreddo from Florence’s best gelato shop. Like all local secrets, the outside was completely unassuming but the flavors were sooo decadent. Earthy pistachio, chocolate as dark as brownie batter, and their signature flavor “la bomba” a custom tiramisu espresso gelato with chocolate chunks and lady finger.  

  

    This tour was perfection. Totally worth the money and definitely gets the Pandher stamp of approval! Thank you Florence for Foodies and Mama Nat for an amazing, authentic experience.  

     The next day we explored the Uffizi Gallery, home to famous works including the Birth of Venus, La Primavera and Da Vinci’s Annunciation. We then headed to the Accademia to view the statue of David. While neither Tej nor I claim to have any expertise in viewing art.. Seeing this masterpiece in person it is clear that it was a revolutionary work. The lifelike intensity of David’s expression and relaxed pose literally make you pause, waiting to see if he’ll blink. What I love most is that this sculpture was created by Michelangelo from a block of marble that two previous artists attempted to work on. Abandoned due to it’s difficult nature, and called too “imperfect”, this block of marble ended up becoming one of the most revered and admired pieces of art in history. There’s a little free motivational inspiration for you! 

      

    In summary, Florence filled our tummies with love, our minds with culture, and captured our hearts. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we’ll be back. 

    Next stop: Venice.

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    Leaning Tower & The Worlds Best Panino

    Pisa, Italia. 

    In the interest of maximizing time, we spent only one night in Pisa. Arriving in the evening, we noticed a huge temperature change from Rome. From our turtle packs to our bare legs and sandals we certainly stood out from the North Face clad locals. Before you go thinking this would never happen to you, I have to mention… it was 15 degrees. They were exaggerating.   

    The Leaning Tower visit was a peak touristy day for us. We had a blast snapping all the cliche pictures and checking out the other Pisa monuments on the property. We stopped to enjoy a beautiful rose garden in the center of the museum, with long stemmed rose bushes so perfect it’s hard to believe they’re real. Tej’s bapiji (grandpa) is an avid gardener so we took a few extra minutes to get some beautiful detail shots to show him later this summer.



     Thanks to Trip Advisor we had starred a small panini shop as a MUST for lunch. A total hole-in-the-wall, you’d never know from the outside that it is such a gem. Many highly rated foodie spots we have come across have a “serve yourself” system. The licensure is very specific and strict so as they are not classified as Ristorantes or Bistros, they cannot do certain things like have real plates or serve your food to the table. This carry out/serve yourself concept allows the establishments to provide the most premium ingredients  for minimum cost. Perfect for the traveller looking for an authentic experience! We ordered a porchetta panino to share, and sat down at a small table for two. We were totally blown away, I’ve never enjoyed a sandwich so much! Fresh porchetta, homemade olive tapenade and pepperoncini peppers topped with thick slices of brie. Seriously spicy, and surprising.. Who knew a sandwich could be so delicious. Best part: no guilt in eating every bite. We already took the stairs!! 
         

    Next Stop: Florence.  

    Roman Holiday

    Roma, Italia. 

    Cobblestone streets, towering monuments, forkfuls of swirled spaghetti and selfie sticks? Rome is full of surprises and tourists, so being pushy isn’t rude, it’s required. 

    Kicking off our historical stops we enjoyed a walking tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palentine Hill. Our guide, a young Doctor of Anthropology had a contagious passion for the history of her home city and literally glowed with pride and she shared the history and secrets of the most well known sites of Rome.  

     
    To describe the colosseum in one word: Epic. I had seen many photos of this monument, as I’m sure we all have, but to stand on the upper floor and take in the panoramic view of the stadium was an indescribable experience. The Romans were true architectural geniuses, building the colosseum in only 7 years. Something I had not known previously was that the stadium featured the first ever special effects. Secret elevators with trap doors under the sand carried animals and weapons to the ground floor where the fights and hunts took place during the shows to add elements of surprise. 

     
    No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to Vatican City. We were lucky enough to be in town for a Wednesday,  where the Pope literally kisses babies and addresses swarms of tourists and devout Catholics weekly. He spoke on marriage. No joke! Maybe he knew we were coming ☺️ We spent the entire day touring the Vatican museums and taking in the pristine beauty of St Peter’s Basilica. The stunning art that adorns this place of worship is unparalleled,and elicits an emotional response. If you get the chance, GO. You won’t regret waiting in the giant line to get inside.  

     
    Another highlight was our afternoon spent at the Villa Borghese. This gorgeous park is full of lovers strolling down tree lined trails, families playing in the sunshine and classical musicians seated on park benches. Seeing the expanse of the property, we rented a bicycle-cart contraption to tour the grounds. What we assumed would be a romantic and leisurely activity turned into a hilarious episode as we narrowly dodged a man aggressively attempting to sell us a selfie stick, and forgot more than once that the brake was a hand brake. Not ideal for maximum speeds downhill. To recover from the gigantic laugh attack, we rented a row boat and enjoyed our lunch on the lake. Total Ariel + Prince Eric moment from the Little Mermaid. Needless to say, I was in heaven.    

           We spent the rest of our time in Rome indulging in pistachio gelato, sharing charcuterie plates piled with secret family recipe salamis and truffle honey crostinis, and stealing smooches behind the Pantheon. 

    Things we’ve learned so far: 

    • It’s pronounced “pee-stack-ee-o”
    • The brakes on two person bicycle contraptions leave something to be desired 
    • Diets are for people that live where the food is bad

    Next Stop: Pisa, Italia. 

    Italian Impressions

    Ostia, Italia. 

    When we told our well-travelled friends we were heading to Italy, I heard more than once that I would fall in love. Rich in culture, history and arguably the best food on the planet – its not a surprise that Italy has gained this reputation. 

    We landed in Fumicino airport late in the evening and attempted to find a taxi. Greeted with lightening speed italian and finding only Rome Central taxis, we laughed out loud as we wandered until we came across and English speaking employee to help us. Our original plan of “catching an uber” was quickly abandoned as we realized this was easier said than done, and we hiked turtle style to the local taxis away from the main airport terminal. We had booked a hotel in Ostia, the city closet to the airport and outside of Rome central.  

     
    After arriving at our hotel, we ditched the bags in search of some authentic Italian cuisine. Ostia is a smaller town set right on the marina, and we were worried that the sleepy town may have limited options for us to fill our grumbling tummies. After some exploring we found a late night spot where a few locals sat sipping wine and sharing artisan pizzas.

       

    For our first honeymoon meal we shared a fresh pizza and an order of Sippoli, a traditional roman street food. Rice flavored with Bolognese sauce and stuffed with mozzarella is then rolled into a ball, lightly breaded, and then fried. All I can say is thank the LORD I don’t know how to make these. Limited access to this kind of salty goodness is required, will power stands no chance. 

    Next Stop: ROME  

    Pandhermoonium Begins!! 

    After 10 months of married life we are finally off on our Eurotrip Honeymoon

    When we received confirmation from our friends Kaila & Camille that their wedding would take place in France in May, there was no question in our minds that a Eurotrip was in order!! Moving to Florida less than 12 hours after our reception concluded meant that we opted for a Honeymove in place of the classic honeymoon.. Knowing we would take our trip later in the year. While Tej studied for his seemingly neverending final exams, I passed the hours gathering travel tips from friends and researching on Tripadvisor and Pinterest.   

     Our Adventure Itinerary: Italy, France, Spain

    Rome –> Pisa –> Florence –> Venice –> Paris –> Bayeux –> Paris (Part 2) –> Barcelona –> Menorca –> Alicante 

    I will use my blog as a sort of informal travel journal, posting highlights, memories and photos from each city we visit!  

    Disclaimer: Were totally doing the cheesy romantic stuff. While we both want to experience the authentic culture in each country we are 100% mixing in a few cliche classics. Baguettes will be bought, gondolas will be ridden and we will take ultimate tourist pics at Pisa. 

    Next Stop: ITALIA 

    Ciao! xx

    Love Month Advent


    The countdown to Valentines Day has been on in a big way at our house since February 1. As Tej and I have been together since 2007, it can take a little creativity to keep things fresh on the holidays. This year I decided to do a “Love Month Advent”, inspired by a Christmas Countdown I did for Tej in 2013.

    I really love the whole concept of advent. A little reminder each day leading up to a special occasion totally ramps up the excitement and anticipation for the big day! If it works for Christmas, why not for Valentines Day, Anniversaries or Birthdays? The BEST part is that this is not just for couples… Advents are a great way to surprise your family member, best friend or coworker!

    To make it extra fun, I made a simple Love Note Envelope out of felt and some ribbon. Each day, Tej has to find where the envelope is hiding, and OF COURSE I mix up the time and location of delivery. It’s always somewhere where I’m sure he’ll find it, but by changing it up he get to expect a little surprise every day.

    DIY: Love Note Envelope

    Project Cost: $5

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    Materials:

    • White felt sheet x 2
    • Red glitter felt sheet x 1
    • Black sparkle ribbon
    • Glue gun
    • Glue stick

    Instructions:

    1. Draw a thin line of hot glue along the perimeter of the left, ride and bottom sides of a piece of white felt – leave top side unglued

    2. Carefully align the second sheet of white felt over top of the base, and press edges to create glue seam

    3. Trace and cut out heart shape from red glitter felt

    4. Measure and trim 2 black pieces of ribbon, from corner to center point of felt sheet. Glue on an angle so that you form a triangle

    5. Secure glitter heart on center point of triangle with hot glue

    6. Fill with treats, a love note or any special surprise for your Valentine!

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    The key to a successful advent is advanced planning. The whole concept works best if you stick with the general flow of the original “12 Days of Christmas” song, so I always try to match either syllables or the rhyme scheme.  I replaced the original “On the First day of Christmas” with, on the “First Day of Love Month”… You get the idea.

    For my Valentines, I purchased 2 packages of assorted heart cut outs at Michaels, and hand write them each day for a more DIY feel.

    Warning: This gift can get really expensive if you plan on purchasing something for every day. To cut costs I always do a mix of gifts, homemade treats, snacks and DIYs – In addition to selecting one or two “higher priced” items. The only bummer is that usually this means Tej gets his best gifts earliest in the advent.. It’s not practical to give twelve watches.

    When planning an advent for your loved one, start to plan a month in advance. If you listen closely to your lucky recipient, you’ll likely pick up on some things they need or want… perfect for incorporating into your gift!

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    Advent items for HIM:

    • Golf balls
    • Tech Accessories
    • Pairs of dress socks
    • Bar Accessories (glasses, stones etc.)
    • Bottled old fashioned colas
    • A dinner out: 12 chicken wings?

    Advent items for HER:

    • Nail polish sets
    • Makeup combination kits (multipacks)
    • Spa Gift Certificate: 10 pretty fingers?
    • Candles

    General items:

    • Mini packages of fave chocolates
    • Bottled old fashioned colas/cocktails
    • Home baked treats (cupcakes, cookies, bacon roses…)
    • Concert/Sport event tickets
    • FREE items: love notes, poems, photos (memories), custom playlist

    Nothing feels better than giving your loved one a series of surprises!

    Knock their socks off with a thoughtful and fun gift for your next big occasion.
    Fun Valentines Day plans? Comment below with how you’re celebrating!

    xxo

    Slip Into Style

    3ways

    Marsala + Lace = happiness. When I came across this slip dress on my Birthday Shopping Spree I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. A slip dress is a staple for the on-the-go fashionista, and totally on trend with it’s feminine detail and flowy silhouette!

    When I am looking to purchase clothing for my closet, I like to add pieces that I can get a lot of mileage out of. Dresses, while great for special occasions, are a perfect everyday item that are often neglected by so many! While yes, you probably shouldn’t be wearing a bandage dress to the grocery store, day dresses are clutch for looking stylish without having to put in much effort. When you can find a dress that can go from day to night with a mere change of accessories, you’ve hit the jackpot!

    For my first ever Style post, I wanted to show off a few ways I’ve been wearing this bad boy.
    For all future style posts, I will link the items featured or similar styles available online for interest’s sake.

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    Slip Dress

    Daytime Look: Boho Vibes

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    Sandals, Necklace, Earrings (similar), Crop Top (suggested style)

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    The key to an effortless boho look is layering! This sheer cropped poncho was actually a beach side purchase in Mexico! Unfortunately, since it was literally found at a market stand, I couldn’t find a similar one to link! The bonus is that there is no shortage of boho style sheer and lace crop tops out there these days! Beachy brands like PacSun have so many options that will achieve this look. Adding a cropped, flowy top in a fun print takes this dress into daytime territory, perfect for running errands or a lunch date. Leather sandals and simple accessories compliment the casual vibe while adding some shine with metallic accents.

    Glam: Get an extra day out of your voluminous curls by sweeping it into a side pony tail. Tease the roots of the hair and smooth to give some body, and pull out a few side pieces. Simple makeup is key here, defined brows, wing liner and a nude lip look polished and pretty without taking away from the natural look.

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    Edgy Day to Night: Leather and Lace

    IMG_3423Leather Jacket (similar), Necklace, Tights, Flats

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    Nothing can make you feel cooler than a leather jacket! The slip dress is so obviously feminine that the contrast of a leather jacket is edgy and fun! For days where you know that you’ll be on the go overtime, rock a pair of comfy flats. Add a pair of opaque tights in a dark neutral for warmth (hey Canadian friends) or just to add a bit more dimension to your outfit. A long pendant necklace compliments the v-neckline of the dress, and provides an extra touch of femme glam.

    Glam: Loose curls are perfect for action packed days. Curl with a flat iron, wand or curling iron and allow curls to cool before you comb your fingers through to loosen the curls. This will allow the curls to set and help your style to outlast your schedule! Pair your basic makeup look with a bold matte red lip. Choose a matte lip cream, liquid lipstick or even just use lip liner. The matte finish is a more subdued way to wear red lipstick, and lasts longer on the lips.

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    Date Night: Simple Sultry

    IMG_3389 Heels

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    Sometimes all you need is a great pair of heels! This date night look is minimalistic but still looks ultra glamorous! By not crowding the look with any jewelry or flashy accessories, the dress and ultimately YOU are the star of the show. Rather than a pump, black strappy sandals compliment the delicate lace and soft fabric of the slip dress.

    Glam: A messy updo is a sophisticated and classic style that compliments the simplicity of this look. This is my go to style when I have minimal time and need maximum glam! This works best for me when I have day-old curls, my hair is always a bit more obedient when it has some product in it! Sweep the curls over to the side opposite your part, and using your fingers bunch it all up into a loose pile. Begin securing the pieces with bobby pins, using your other hand to hold the hair in place. Once you have enough pins in to hold the hair, remove your hand and add a few extra pins where ever it feels loose. Lashes and lips are the focus here. Use a volumizing mascara to pump up your lashes, and go all out with a pair of falsies! Finish off with a bold lip in a deep wine shade. I lined my lips here with a deep purple liner and topped with a marsala toned high shine lip lacquer.

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    One little dress, so many options. Marsala you da bomb.

    xxo

    Mani of the Moment


    I’ve never quite understood the whole “Pantone Color of the Year”, but when they named Marsala as the ‘it shade’ for 2015 I officially jumped on the band wagon!

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    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, the Color of the Year is carefully deliberated and selected by an ominous panel of ‘experts’ to reflect the current zeitgeist, or spirit of the times. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director for Pantone, described 2015’s shade saying “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth”. The chosen color is expected to influence fashion, style, and decor trends for the year it is selected in AND… this year is no exception!

    When compared with 2014’s Radiant Orchid, I find that Marsala comes with a greater universal appeal! Gender neutral and subtle, it lends itself to incorporation in nearly every area that we add personal touches and expressions of style. From beauty products, to home decor to fashion, the color is flattering on nearly every skin tone and evokes warmth, elegance and luxury. Sign me up!

    I wanted to kick off my first post featuring this delicious shade with a high gloss marsala manicure! A dark manicure is daring, sophisticated and sexy. While some may shy away from black or deep navy, a glossy marsala gives you the same polished feel with a warmer touch! Brownie points: marsala is a fabulous neutral, pairing well with everything from basics to pastels to neons making it a perfect everyday shade! Extra tip: I’m a big fan of high gloss and gel polishes because they hide any imperfections on the nail surface, so they’re a great choice for those of us doing our manicures at home!

    photo 2After moving to Florida and readjusting to a student budget, I knew that I needed an at home Gel Manicure System. From a few years in the work force, I became totally accustomed to having my nails perfectly polished so I began to research. I purchased the Gelish At Home System and LOVE it! For those of you in the market.. I definitely recommend this baby! On the hunt for the perfect Marsala shade, I ended up at Sally Beauty Supply and picked up Elegant Wish by Gelish. This deep wine shade has the perfect burgundy base with a warm touch of earthy brown! Finished with the high gloss “Top it Off” – I am totally smitten with this seductive shade!

    Slide1For other non-gel polish formulas in Marsala, check out these great options:


    More style, fashion and beauty posts featuring 2015’s Marsala coming soon!

    xxo

    Five Minute Face


    The people closest to me can vouch here – I am a pro at getting ready in a flash! Through years of having the craziest schedule, I developed the ability to speed-beautify and have even been known to do my makeup at stoplights (false lashes included). While I love a full glam look, the reality is that most of us don’t have the luxury of time when it comes to a typical morning routine.

    On a beautiful summer day or on vacation, I’m all for a fresh face… but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard the awful phrase “You look tired today!”. Nothing makes me regret skipping a minute to throw on some mascara more than this baby! 5 minutes, 6 products and you’re ready to face the day without everyone knowing you really only had 4 hours of sleep. IMG_2942

    The Goods:

    • Concealer – Elf – Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter in Light/Glow
    • Foundation – Chanel – Perfection Lumiere in #30 Beige
    • Bronzer – MAC – Bronzing Powder in Golden
    • Eyeliner – Elf – Cream Eyeliner in Black
    • Mascara – Chanel – Le Volume De Chanel in #10
    • Lipstick – Lancome – Rouge in Love in #379N Berry in Love

    Speedy Steps:

    *DISCLAIMER* – Time is of the essence so you have to let go of that perfectionist inside that wants to analyze the wings of your eyeliner. Today is not your wedding & you are not attending the Grammy’s girlfriend – Pretty doesn’t have to be perfect!

    1. Concealer

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    Fresh face selfies, that’s right my friends! Under eye concealer is a quick trick to brighten up any dark circles or hide blemishes. This wand concealer by ELF is great for a light day routine where you aren’t looking for super extreme coverage, and the price point makes it an easy choice. Wash your hands prior to beginning your makeup and apply the concealer under the eyes in a triangle shape. Blend with your finger by lightly tapping into the skin.

    2. Foundation

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    Foundation is a personal thing, and everyone has their favorite products/methods to apply. When I’m in a hurry, I find that a liquid foundation is perfect for me! Apply one pump of foundation to the back of your hand and using your finger dot the product on the main areas of your face (cheeks, chin, nose, forehead). Using a stippling brush – I love mine by Real Techniques – pat the product into the skin. Stippling brushes are great because unlike sponges that absorb the product, the synthetic fibers create an airbrush finish and keep the product on your skin where it belongs!

    3. Bronzer

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    For maximum effect in minimal time, I like to apply a quick powder contour on my cheeks with bronzer. Using your favorite product and a small contour brush (small, round head) using back and forward strokes apply bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks to add dimension to your face. When you don’t have time to highlight, blush and bronzer, you can still get that chisled cheekbone that slims the face – in a third of the time!

    4. Eyeliner

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    This is the trouble spot for so many people! If you find that the quest for perfection overcomes you or you just can’t step away from the mirror.. skip this step! Whatever is your weapon of choice, pencil versus brush and gel liner, apply a thin layer along the upper lash line. Building up the outer corner into a slight wing will shape the eyes and bring a little extra definition. I personally skip the bottom lash line to keep my look fresh and light.

    5. Mascara

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    Mascara is my ride or die. I’m a total lash girl, and I love the transforming power of this magical potion. A quick application of mascara can really change your whole look, opening up the eyes and adding a youthful freshness. For my speedy application I always choose a volumizing mascara, as the formulation of the product provides maximum payoff in a single swipe. Look for mascaras with a big, fluffy brush that will quickly coat the lashes and give you the fullness you want without requiring multiple applications.

    6. Lipstick

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    Bold lipsticks are a gift from beauty heaven for girls in a pinch! The best feature of a bold lip is that it attracts attention, minimizing the need for any other major elements in your look. People automatically assume you are put together when you don an eyecatching lip shade! Hellooooo effortless glam! When you need to apply your lipstick in a flash, select a formula with a glossy finish. The creaminess of the lipstick will add the punch of color you want, while the sheen gives it a more daytime feel. Matte lips, while cool and trendy, require a little more time for perfect application. Any dry spots on your lips will be super visible and the lipstick may fade while you’re out and about. Choose a longwear formula with moisturizing goodies to keep your lippies fresh all day!

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    Ta Daaaaa! 5 minutes later and you’re ready to face the day… literally! Bring on that impromptu meeting with your boss or run in at the gas station with your ex. No worries here!

    Take 5 for yourself… you deserve it!

    xx

    B


    A Most Delicious Day!


    This January has been filled with lots of studying, organizing and of course cooking in our house! In between preparing to write the LSAT examination in February, I have been playing around with new meal ideas and recipes and wanted to share a few of my new faves!

    BREAKFAST: The Ultimate Breakfast Pancake-wich

    I love starting off my day with a tasty breakfast! Whether I find myself at home or perusing a diner menu, I always have a dilemma choosing between savory and sweet. During my usual morning debate, it came to me… Why not both? The sweet cinnamon and vanilla pancakes paired with classic ham and cheese… pancakewich for the win!

    photo 3Ingredients:

    • Pancake batter (I use Gluten-free Bisquick)
    • 1 tsp Cinnamon
    • 1 tsp Vanilla
    • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – shredded
    • Honey Ham – thin slices

    Instructions:

    1. Mix pancake batter according to package directions
    2. Add 1 tsp Cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla extract
    3. Cook pancakes in pancake maker or skillet. Set aside until stack has been made
    4. Return one cooked pancake to low heat skillet and sprinkle cheddar cheese. Place 2 slices of honey ham on top of cheese and top with additional pancake.
    5. Heat for approximately 2 minutes, gently flip to warm top side.
    6. Serve immediately

    Hostess Tip: if you are preparing multiple pancakewiches, turn your oven to 100 degrees F and place assembled pancakewiches on a cookie sheet to keep warm.

    LUNCH: Trailmix Chicken Salad

    Some days you just want something simple. This recipe is the perfect make ahead and store in fridge item for a busy week! Not skimping on protein or flavour, this salad is great alone, mixed with greens, or in a sandwich or tortilla.

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    Ingredients:

    • 2 Cooked Chicken Breasts – shredded
    • 1 cup Celery – diced
    • 1 cup Green Grapes – sliced
    • 1/2 cup Green Onion – diced
    • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
    • 1/2 cup Walnuts
    • 1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp seasoning salt
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper

    Instructions:

    1. Using 2 forks, shred chicken meat and place in large mixing bowl
    2. Add celery, green grapes, green onion, cranberries and walnuts
    3. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, seasoning salt and pepper. Mix well
    4. Add seasoned mayonnaise to main mixing bowl. Stir well to evenly coat chicken/fruit mixture
    5. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes
    6. Serve in a bowl, on a sandwich, tortilla, or bed of greens

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    DINNER: Slow-Cooker Jambalaya

    If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I love my slow cooker! Slow cookers rock for maximizing your time while still allowing you to serve up a delicious home cooked meal at supper time. After searching up a few recipes online, I cherry-picked what sounded best to me and went for it! Caution: this recipe makes a TON of Jambalaya, great for a large dinner party or for treating a friend or neighbor.

    Slide1Ingredients:

    • 2 large Chicken Breasts – diced
    • 2 Italian Sausages – sliced
    • 1 lb fresh Shrimp – tails removed
    • 2 – 14 oz can Italian Tomato – diced, with italian herbs
    • 1 cup Celery – diced
    • 1 White Onion – diced
    • 1 Red Pepper – diced
    • 2 cups Chicken Broth
    • 1 tsp Thyme
    • 1 tsp Oregano
    • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
    • 1 tbsp Franks Red Hot Sauce
    • 2 tbsp Creole Spice Blend – recipe from allrecipes.com
    • 1.5 cups Jasmine Rice
    • Optional Toppings: Sharp Cheddar Cheese, fresh Parsley, Red Pepper Flakes

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    Instructions:

    1. Turn slow cooker on high setting, set timer to 2 hours 30 minutes.
    2. Place canned tomatoes with juice, diced raw chicken breast, sliced raw sausage, white onion, celery, spices, hot sauce, and chicken broth in slow cooker and cover. Cook for 2 hours.
    3. Add fresh shrimp and uncooked jasmine rice. Cook 30 minutes.
    4. When timer runs out, check rice to ensure that it is cooked to your preference. If requiring additional liquid, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and allow additional time to absorb.
    5. Serve in a dinner bowl with shredded cheddar cheese and fresh chopped parsley

    Hostess Tip: For more heat select spicy italian sausage and serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.


    Overhaul your typical menu and get adventurous in the kitchen! No risk… no reward!

    xxo

    B