Everyday Inspirations

 
 
Magic Bullet
{angie}
Dear readers,
It's not often I ask you to do anything for me. Okay, it's pretty much never, but I have a bit of a favor. I entered to win the Magic Bullet Kitchen Magician video contest. Winner gets $10,000 and I would love to at least make it to the top three so I have a chance in the final round in Hollywood. I mean, has it not been my lifelong ambition to be in an infomercial? Seriously, as kids my brother would play the "product inventor" and I be the amazed by how it worked and that is was only three easy payments of $x.99. Apparently playing house or cops and robbers just wasn't enough. 

Anyway, I truly am in love with my Magic Bullet (as I have told you here and here). That being said, I totally wasn't convinced at first because I didn't see how it was different than the blender I already had other than it came with smaller cups -- until I tried my best friend's. 

When I first tried it I was impressed by the fast blending and grinding ability. It blends really smooth in a matter of seconds, I think partially because they are designed to move the liquid up to the top and back around -- something a normal blender can't do without spraying everywhere.

I also love how convenient they are because you blend in the same container you drink from. I thought it would be annoying because you can mostly just make single servings, but I feel that actually makes it more convenient 95% of the time. No taking apart the blender or hand washing it every time I use it. I now only have to rinse the blade right away, then the cup is dishwasher safe. It's really pretty easy to make multiple servings too since you just put pieces into several cups then blend one and a time or use the larger blender top. Because you're blending in the cup you drink from, it's easy to measure quantity so you don't end up with too much smoothie, soup, etc.    

There are so many uses for them, but I use them the most for smoothies (I know, cliche). I make fresh smoothies nearly everyday now as a result (usually one part frozen fruit, one part fresh fruit, protein powder, water and a big handful of spinach) and it's a great way to get in fruits, veggies and nutrients super quick. It's also small, so doesn't take a lot of space in your cupboards and comes at a pretty low price (only one easy payment of $29.99 at Costco last time I checked).  

No, I'm not their saleswoman and this doesn't count for the competition (though it should!). I just wanted to share that I truly love them. 

Anyway, without further ado, here is my recipe submission for Magic Bullet Dog Biscuits. I made peanut butter and oat flour biscuits from scratch for little miss Daisy and she love, love, loves them. I actually had to shut them away in the freezer so she'd stop whining for more. Plus, they are healthy and I control the ingredients, which also means you can sneak in vitamins and such if you want. 

{Magic Bullet Dog Biscuits}

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsalted peanuts
3-4 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons honey
dash of salt
2 eggs
baking powder
water to moisten (as needed)
Dog vitamins/supplements if desired (it's a great way to sneak in the stuff they need)

Directions
In a large container, grind oats using the flat blade. In a small container, grind peanuts until large pieces are mixed. Add 1 teaspoon oil (to start), honey and salt, switch to cross blade. Add the rest of the oil and blend until smooth. Transfer peanut butter to the container of oat flour, add eggs, baking powder and a little water as needed. Pulse and shake, then transfer in a bowl. Hand mix, adding any additional water to add moisture. Roll into balls, place on a cookie sheet, and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Your dog will love these! Great for training or to sneak in those extra nutrients.


Share |
 

Picture
{ash}

Dan and I took a couple days off work last week, so we enjoyed a four-day weekend stay-cation. On Thursday we were driving to a mall downtown and passed Salt Lake's famous Temple Square. The tulips on the grounds were out-of-this world beautiful, and I immediately squealed that we had to go back home and grab the camera. I'm so glad we did. How beautiful is this?
Share |
 

Picture
{ash}

I've spent part of this weekend preparing for an upcoming business trip to Florida. One of my most important tasks was to buy a new pair of black shoes to wear to my meetings and dinners. I would bring my current pair of black pumps, but I may or may not have worn them so often that one now has a tear running along the material that sits next to the ball of my foot.

I also may or may not have worn those heels while they looked like that. Hey, I needed black shoes for that outfit and my pants were long enough to cover the tear. Mostly.

I follow a pattern with shoes: every so often, I buy a pair that I love and wear them day in, day out for months until I inevitably tear them, wear down the heel, or scuff them beyond recognition. What can I say? I love my shoes to death. But because I can be so very hard on shoes, I follow a specific pattern for buying them: 1) I always, always, always buy great (read: not cheaply made) shoes on sale (not a difficult thing to do if you're willing to look); and 2) I always buy a pair that can go with everything. When I'm getting ready in the morning, having a go-to pair of shoes (that look perfect with any outfit) saves my sanity. Best of all, buying a versatile pair of shoes for a business trip means I don't need to cram two or three pairs of heels into my carry-on bag (something I would not be surprised to find myself doing).

I found the shoes above in the clearance section at DSW -- for 40% off. (Oh, by the way, they're MUCH blacker in person... there isn't that much contrast between the faux scales. I just became waaaay too happy with the photo edit feature and saved the changes before I realized that I had deleted the original file on my camera.) I can't wait to wear them as I meet my colleagues from around the world.
Share |
 
Picture
{angie}
To me, Suave was the brand we used when I was little because it was cheap. I stopped using it as soon as I hit junior high because I had already grown out of its lack of coolness. I know, I know, did anyone really know what hair products I used? But somehow when you're 13 your hair products are part of what define you.

The other day I'm at the store and run down the aisle to get some hairspray for my hubby. He uses what I call the cheap brand -- again, Suave, though their standard line. I generally avoid using his because it's just too sticky for my liking, but works great for his man hair. While I'm on that aisle I glance the Suave Professionals. I had seen some commercials for it, but wasn't fully convinced it was going to be any better than the original. I figured it was like most of those "special lines," basically the same product but at a slightly higher price. I was out of hairspray too, but I generally buy a more expensive salon brand so I'm on the fence.

Picture
I decide to go for it -- it was just over $2 so it could at least fill in until I got my normal stuff and I figured Nate could use it if I didn't like it. There were two options, lightweight hold or maximum. I went for the first because I don't like it super strong. I'm not much into using a ton of hair product and, in fact, don't use stuff in mine everyday. I don't find that so weird, but some people gasp when I say that. (My hair dresser tells me my hair is almost too healthy though, so I must be doing something right). I use a little hairspray to add volume or to hold a curl, but in my experience, hairspray almost always tends to make my hair even frizzier so I avoid it unless needed. It will look good to start, but the minute I get out into the world, it feels sticky, gets frizzy and/or the curl just falls -- reasons 1, 2 and 3 I rarely curl my hair. It starts looking great, it just doesn't stay looking great for very long. 


Picture
So after my first use of Suave Professionals I am thoroughly impressed!* The lightweight hold held my curls and volume for not just one day, but two! Both photos of me on this post are from day two -- over 24 hours after a curling iron had come near my hair and it had been slept on. Only thing I did was add a little extra hairspray on day two and the frizz was gone and squeeze to make the curl bounce right back. Not too shabby! It truly felt lightweight too even though I used plenty to hold those curls. My fingers could run through my hair and it was not a bit sticky to the touch, but actually soft. I don't think I have ever experienced that. I think I just might be sold. The excellent hold, non-sticky feel + it's under $3? Um, yes please. 

I was doing research for this post and I also found on their website you can play "can you tell which is Suave and which is the salon brand?" game. Pretty cheesy, but if you do it, you can win coupons for discounts or free products. I played and won 2 free Suave Professionals products so I will be sure to try a couple more things. I'm interested to try their dry shampoo as I don't wash my hair everyday to keep it healthy.

Anyway, give it a try and see what you think. The best part is it's still so cheap, the barrier to entry is pretty low. :)

*I am not being compensated in any way to write this.

 

Picture
{ash}

Last weekend Dan and I had to pick up some ingredients for a Mother's Day dessert. One of those ingredients was marischino cherries, something I haven't had in my house in... I can't even remember when. I started talking about how much I loved them in Shirley Temples as a kid. When Dan told me me he had never before had a Shirley Temple, we made a beeline for the soda aisle.

The recipe is so darn simple: pour a little bit of the cherry juice into the bottom of a glass (I find a little goes a long way--it's really sweet!). Add ice, if desired. Fill the rest of the glass with a lemon-lime beverage of your choice. Drop in a few cherries and enjoy.

Sometimes there is nothing better than revisiting a childhood favorite.
Share |
 
view from my window
{angie}
Share |
 

"I deserve all the happiness in my life."

Share |
 

Picture
{angie}
Dear Starbucks, thank you for bringing back the mocha coconut Frappuccino. I think now my life might be complete.

It all goes back about a decade ago when I first realized I liked coffee in frozen form. I was 15 or 16 and I had a Frappuccino at the airport on the way home from skating camp. That same summer I discovered the mocha coconut version at Starbucks and fell in love. All was good.
Picture
Then a very sad thing happened -- they took it off their menu! I was devastated, but settled for the regular mocha Frap. But my love never died and I still dreamed of the delights of mocha coconut -- the way the smoky flavor of the toasted coconut mimics that of the coffee and dark chocolate creating the ideal threesome of flavors.  Three of my favorite flavors anyway, and the marriage of them together is perfection. I have tried many other kinds and none have matched up.  

After years of dreaming about these, it's like that long-lost love in movies. I often wondered if I had the idea of their deliciousness all built up in my head or if my love was real. Also, my taste in food has changed so much since my teenage years, I wasn't quite sure if maybe it wouldn't be as good as I remembered. I spent years trying to develop a good recipe, even consulting my friend who worked at Starbucks. All last summer was devoted to creating a good recipe that came close to it so that I could share it on my blog. I consulted other recipes and tried changing things up, but dear readers, I never could make one that was good enough to post. 


#thisisbliss
#thisisbliss
Then yesterday an amazing thing happened. I was taking my mom to Starbucks for Mother's Day for Frappuccino happy hour (get half price for a limited time only from 3-5pm). We were pulling up to the drive thru and I was going to make a comment to her, for about the millionth time, about how much I missed the mocha coconut one. As we pulled up to order I *GASPED* so loud because there was a sign advertising their returned Mocha Coconut Frappuccino! Yes, it is back. If this were a movie this is the part where I'd be passionately kissing my returned soldier and it's even better than I remembered. Yes, I'm that in love. 

No more need for my laborious recipe-making, they are available now. You must get one! I don't know if they are temporary this time around, but in the chance they are doing a marketing test to see if it should be brought back permanently, everyone go get one for my sake! I need them to stay! No, Starbucks is not compensating me in any way to write this -- I just am in love. That is all.  

And the girl walked into the sunset and lived happily ever after, Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino in hand. 

Share |
 

{ash and angie}

When we have conversations about strong, inspirational women, we inevitably talk about our mothers. Both of us have been blessed with beautiful, amazing role models, and we are beyond grateful for the love we have shared with them. Today, we are expressing thanks for these women and passing on some of the most valuable lessons they have taught us over the years.

Happy Mother's Day!
Picture
{lessons from ash's mom}

Family is the most important thing in the world.
 
Pursue your passions. Happiness is what life is all about.

Fall in love with someone who challenges you to be a better person--and return the favor.
  
Life is a gift. Be humbled and grateful for all your blessings.
 
Above all else, give and receive love.
Picture
{lessons from angie's mom}

When you're making a big decision, make yourself wait for as long as possible before you get it. 

Don't spend money you don't have. 

Always be a good friend and the best representation of you, even to those that don't reciprocate. Karma will be kind.

Working hard is just as important as playing hard. 

Don't do your best to please anyone else but yourself. 
Share |
 
Picture
{angie}
"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."  ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

I am definitely like my mother and I'm certainly not pining. I am proud to be a chip off the still young and beautiful block. Can you believe she is only 29? Yep, gave birth to me at four-years-old. ;) 
Share |