Whisk me away for the weekend

weekendI expected you guys to stay on top of my 3-times-a-week goal better! You gotta push me, if I don’t have deadlines, I don’t do anything. Remember, I’m a procrastinator…

This past weekend I joined TJ at Port Hueneme, which is a Naval Base up in Oxnard (about an hour north of Los Angeles). He was there for his job, obviously, and I crashed the party on Thursday night. My birthday was last Tuesday so this was a combined birthday and babymoon getaway. It ended up being a perfectly wonderful, peaceful, silly, funny, and delicious trip! (Okay, I realize a trip can’t be delicious, but there were delicious things consumed. You get the point.)

TJ still had things to do on Friday morning so I pampered myself a little and got a mani-pedi at a local salon, called LV Nails. The staff was great and I got my first set of stiletto nails! I’ve been wanting to jump on the bandwagon for a while now and finally made it happen. TJ says it makes me look evil, but I know he appreciates it when I scratch his back with my long, pointy nails.

Friday afternoon included the main fun, complete with shopping, a drive up the coast to beautiful Santa Barbara, a bike rental, and a dinner at a fun Creole restaurant called The Palace Grill. No pics of the food included, but this is approximately how it went down…

IMG_2006An obligatory pre-shopping bathroom selfie

IMG_2030We are cheesy
IMG_2031TJ had me doing all the work! 

Some snaps from our bike ride:

IMG_4768IMG_4761IMG_4762 IMG_4778 IMG_4775IMG_4771And a good night kiss from us to you:

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And that’s all we’ve got for today! See ya soon.

A Big Tale of a Little Cake

cake

Most people associate pregnancy with getting cravings of many sorts. I mentioned before that I’ve been relatively free of preggo cravings, but the other night it hit me.

I wanted cake.

It was already 6.30pm, so I knew bakeries would be closed, and I didn’t want a mediocre grocery store cake. I wanted a dense, delightfully delicious cake. Nothing too fancy, not the triple layer chocolate – caramel – white cake with ganache that I recently pinned, and nothing TOO sweet. It had to be just the right cake. So naturally, I went on the hunt and found a regular ol’ chocolate cake. (The recipe blog I got it from is in Icelandic, but by all means, try it out!)

I whipped up the batter with my two last eggs, so the pressure was on. I couldn’t mess it up because we would have to go out to find a cake, and I just knew store bought cake was not going to cut it. TJ was very understanding and even told me he’d go as far as San Diego to find me the cake I wanted *cue awws*.
Everything was ready, the oven was preheating, the batter got divided into two pans, and into the oven they went. Hold on. No heat? There was no heat coming from the oven. The rack was cool, it was all cold!

TJ ventured in with a lighter and risked his life turning on the oven so I could have my pregnancy-craving cake. Nothing worked, and I gave up and started googling “bakeries.” Then, I figured, why not get to use someone else’s oven? We don’t know our neighbours well enough to pop over with unbaked goods on a Tuesday night, but TJ has a cousin nearby that we do know well enough to pop over with unbaked goods on a Tuesday night. What lifesavers that family is.

IMG_4668Doesn’t it just look so ready to be eaten?

IMG_4666The frosting is wrinkly. That’s what happens when you frost a warm cake cause you’re too greedy to wait for it to cool. Also, I might have been able to make it more pretty, but I didn’t. Greed again. 

All is well that ends well, right? We I got cake, gave them half of it for putting up with us, and the next day, the oven started working again. I don’t know about you, but I say that was meant to be. What exactly was the point, I’m not sure. It might be that we were meant to spend time with family. It might be that someone boring came knocking on our door that evening and we missed them because we left. Or it might just be that some power above didn’t believe in us eating an entire chocolate cake by ourselves and wanted us to share. Either way, this definitely was a big tale of a little cake. Now go make yourself some cake.

Chalkboard Seasoning – most important step of your DIY chalkboard!

chalkboard

Happy Hump day everyone! Or should I say, since I’m in this state of pregnancy, Happy Bump day! It is fitting indeed since today marks the first day of my LAST trimester. The third trimester is finally here, and I feel… no difference at all. It’s like when I had my birthday when I was little and expected to feel so different being 10 years old than being only 9.

The past couple of days have been very nice and mellow, TJ came home on Monday night which made me extremely happy. Although not much got done yesterday, it was just so nice to have him around. Definitely much better than not having him around. Which is good news for our marriage, right?

We decided to take HypnoBirthing classes to prepare for the birth of our little man. Our second session was yesterday, and so far it is very promising. I’m not too good at explaining how it all works, but you can check out www.hypnobirthing.com if you want to find out more about it. Giving birth at an American hospital scares the *bad word* out of me, so doing this and preparing makes me feel more in control, and more comfortable with being away from everything I know.

My tiny baby is moving lots in there, apparently he really likes squirming around. I wish I knew if our game of poking him back makes him happy or frustrated, though. I also wish I knew which body part he’s poking out at us, is it a knee, hand, foot? Sometimes I know for sure it is his butt or head, because he will push it out real hard and there’s no mistaking that big bulb for a tiny baby foot.

But, so, to the title of this post! In the room that will be the tiny baby’s room (the nursery, if you will), is a closet. Said closet had been painted with chalkboard paint before we moved in, which we thought was cool! Except, we had a minor problem: Not only had the previous owner probably only done one coat, they had mooost likely not seasoned the chalkboard either before using it. Which made it impossible to use. See, if you don’t season it (rub chalk all over the surface) before you draw on it, the newly painted chalkboard will “soak up” that first drawing and never let it go. You can scrub and wish and pray and scrub some more, but it will stick. So we were stuck with an advertisement of our previous home owner’s photography business on our closet doors.

IMG_4663

My children, fear not! I finally ventured out to find chalkboard paint and some chalk so I could do a couple of more coats on those closet doors, and then season the heck out of them before using. Today was the seasoning day (anyone else picture me standing at the closet doors with a bottle of Season All?) and I’ll tell ya, it’s pretty difficult! For such a large surface, it’s no joke to plan on using chalk for the WHOLE thing. My fingers started hurting after only 1/3 of the first door.

IMG_4662A bunch of chalk bit the dust today. 

Moral of the story: Seasoning chalkboards is hard labor AND unbelievably important. But I’m glad it’s done and I can start sharing beautiful chalkboard artwork with the world.

Have you guys done a chalkboard in your house? How did it turn out?

Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Smoothie

Hey all, I wanted to share my latest concoction from the kitchen: Banana and almond smoothie infused with Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter with Cocoa Swirl. Now that’s a mouthful, right? A delicious mouthful, at least.

cookiebuttersmoothie

It came to be when I was looking through my pantry, trying to find something that would go well in my banana and almond smoothie. I got a devilish grin on my face when I laid eyes on the Cookie Butter. Perfect.

A couple of quick pointers, before we start:

-the riper the bananas you use, the less sweetener (that is, Cookie Butter) you will need.
-you can use any kind of liquid to soften the almonds in, my personal favorite is coconut water, but plain old water will do just fine as well.
-you can make this as thick or thin as you’d like by adding or subtracting water and ice. I like smoothies a little thinned out if I plan to take them on the go, so I can drink them with ease. So I make it more like a drink than a smoothie, if you wanna get all precise about it.

All right, so here it is:

Cookie Butter Smoothie

1 banana

2 handfuls of almonds

1 cup of water of choice (I like coconut water)

1-2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter with Cocoa Swirl

Ice

For best results, soften almonds in the water overnight, or at least a couple of hours. Put everything in a blender, start it on a low cycle (on my KitchenAid blender it’s “Stir”) and then go up to the highest cycle (“Liquify”). Let it blend for a minute or two, or until it reaches your desired consistency. If you would like it thinner, add more water. For a thicker shake, start by putting no water from the almonds and gradually add it until you reach the thickness you like.

IMG_4647Pretend there’s a dollop of yummy yummy cookie butter in there

Pour in a tall glass, pop in a fancy straw, and enjoy!

And then… there were three

As most of you might know from instagram, facebook, or just cause you know me personally, I got knocked up this summer! Which means, TJ and I will be welcoming a little one this coming April (first thing TJ said was “Oh but how are we going to watch Game of Thrones?!” His train of thought makes me laugh). I wanted to do a little recap although it’s been a long time and lots has happened!

We found out early August that I was pregnant. The first few weeks were a little scary (and I’m not going to lie, the nerves still knock on my door every now and then), especially since I had a miscarriage earlier in the year. It was a horrible experience that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but we got over it together and decided to keep trying. Luckily, this one seems to want to stick with us and we couldn’t be happier!

The first couple of months I was positively exhausted. I guess it really is hard work to make a human, and I just napped whenever I possibly could. TJ made a joke of singing Kendrick Lamar’s Swimming Pools but instead of saying “Wake up, drank, stand up, drank” etc he sang “Wake up, sleep, go to work, sleep, school, sleep, eat, sleep” hahaha! It was really like that though, I was tired all the time. I was also a little nauseus but was very lucky to not have any extreme nausea and only actually threw up a couple of times, even though I felt sick a lot of the time.

A lot of people have been asking me about cravings, which is funny because it seems like I’ve almost gotten scott free out of that one! Only during the first 3 months, I wanted to eat steak all the time. I didn’t want any sides or anything with the steak – just a simple steak and maybe barbeque sauce to go with it! It was pretty funny actually, but turned out good because my restaurant serves great steaks.

After those first 3 months I haven’t had any specific cravings, nothing that I can relate to pregnancy anyways. I might want hot chocolate this day or pasta the next, but it’s never *so far* been an overwhelming craving that I can’t resist. (I do use the “well the baby wants it, what can I do” excuse once in a while 😉 )

I have been eating a lot of bread, though. Chicken is not appetizing to me, especially if I need to cook it myself. So whole wheat bread with cheese and cucumbers, or bananas, has really been my go to for the past few weeks.

Other than this I have mostly felt perfectly fine. I continued going to school and work (with naps at appropriate times) and finished the fall semester right before Christmas. I did get migraines once a week, like clockwork, for a few weeks in the fall, but my doctor recommended I drink some coke when I have a migraine and by golly, they went away!

The only thing that has started acting up is my back. I’ve always had back problems, and I guess this pregnancy thing isn’t helping. It’s not horrible at all, but I do need to make sure I don’t overdo it. For example, I got a steam cleaner (which I will talk about in detail soon), and when I took it out for the first time and did my entire kitchen with it, I was totally done. I started waddling like a duck, which would have been funny if it didn’t hurt.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the lab office to get my glucose test done. It’s a test to make sure I don’t have gestational diabetes, and everybody here in the states has it done. I drank a bottle of the sweetest juice I’ve ever had – I’m pretty sure it was just water, sugar, and fruit punch flavoring, and then I wait an hour to see if my blood sugar is normal. If it is out of a certain range, they have you come back for a 3 hour test that you have to fast for. So let’s cross our fingers that I’m in the right range, people!

Let’s finish this post off with a few pictures, shall we?

bumbumyndir1
Progression 🙂

announceOur announcement on facebook

IMG_1724On Thanksgiving we revealed that we are having a BOY!

IMG_1712And here’s a sweet little profile picture of our little man.

From now on I will do updates on here on various things regarding the pregnancy and the baby, so beware! Looking forward to sharing the rest of this journey with you all.

-Maggie

2014 All Stars Pt. II

Here comes the second part of the All Stars of 2014! Let’s move from skin care to makeup, shall we?

MAKEUP

Foundation

I fell in love with the bareMinerals foundation in late 2013 so I’m totally counting that for this year’s All Stars. I tried both the original and the matte, but found the formula for the original a little better, and I didn’t really need the matte formula after all. I got a trial kit at first and then I’ve proceeded to buy the foundation again a couple of times. I use the color Fair, which they describe for “Porcelain skin with pink undertones.” Yeah, they got that right. I studied it a lot before I used it first, and it really does matter what kind of brush you use. I like using a dense brush like the RealTechniques Expert Face Brush, and believe me, a little goes a long way.

If there’s one thing I would have to admit to dislike about it is the packaging. Once you open it, it makes it impossible to travel with unless you can guarantee that it will sit right side up the whole time – which I don’t know how you would do. It would be great if you could shave a little off at a time, like the Smashbox powders, but I guess that might mess with the formula.

So, all in all, it’s nearly perfect!

bmfoundation

Blush

I continue to struggle with really using blush, but when I do, it will either be the Nars Orgasm, or this beautiful NYX Dusty Rose one that I’ve had forever. It’s a muted pink, which I really need cause I don’t need any more red in my face! When I do use it, I use a tiny bit and make sure to blend it with my contouring product.

nyxdustyrose

Contouring

For contouring I like using a simple face powder that’s a few shades darker than my skin color. I am currently, and have for a long time, used an Icelandic brand called NN Cosmetics. However, I’m running low and might need to start looking for another one. I will probably end up purchasing a bareMinerals one!

Eyeliner
This year, I’ve really been reinventing the use of eyeliner pencils since being a devoted gel liner addict for years. I’ve started to like them again and a few great ones are MakeUp Forever (their black is quite exquisite!), Urban Decay (their dark colors are great), and NYX (try some of their bright colors!). Not to leave my favorite liquid eyeliner out – after years of listening to TiffanyD talk about this one, I finally went out and got it, and I was not disappointed – L’oreal Lineur Intense. The one that really stood out this year for me is the Stila Smudge Stick, though. I have two colors, black and purple (the top two in the picture), and they are just great. Stay on forever, perfect smudginess but you can still build up a solid line, and they are VERY easy to maneuver and manipulate. You can even create a subtle “wing” with them.

stilasmudgestick

Eyeshadows

I’ve been very into subtle earthy colors it seems like, this whole year. Lots of browns and easy purples to go with them. Make Up Geek’s Vanilla Bean, Cupcake, and Sensuous have been my absolute go-to colors, if you force me to pick only three.

mugvanillabeanVanilla Bean

mugcupcake
CupcakemugsensuousSensuous

Mascara

L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black… It’s just great! It does all the work it’s supposed to while not clamping up my lashes. Can’t ask for much more than that, now, can I?

lorealmascara

Lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina. Hands down. Goes on SO smooth, and even though it dries to matte it doesn’t look bad when your lips are not perfect (read: a little chapped). I wouldn’t have chosen this color myself, as I almost always go for light or nude colors, but I got it in a gift box and it’s so much fun to change it up once in a while and wear a bold color on my lips.

stilalipstick

Lipgloss

NYX makes my go-to glosses. I’ve come to love the Butter Gloss (try Créme Brulee) which is so perfectly soft, but the one I need a refill for ASAP is the plumping gloss. It gives a great tingly sensation, smells wonderful, and stays for a long time. I love the shade Kim.

nyxplumper

That concludes my beauty All Star awards for 2014! These products are really my favorites, and lets face it, I’ve kind of gotten into a routine with my makeup for the past year. I really wanna start doing some different looks again, so if you have any requests for looks/tutorials/color combos, please let me know and I’ll try and oblige!

Also let me know what kind of beauty posts you would like to see, I plan to do weekly beauty posts of some sort from now on.

-Maggie

2014 All Stars

It’s the thing to do! Share what mattered to you throughout the year. So that’s what’s happening. I could go sentimental and recount all the fun I had this year, but alas, I decided to go for my favorite beauty products of the year. The All Stars, if you will. If there was a Harlem Globe Trotters of beauty products, these would be on the team.

I figured I’d do a few categories, and without further ado:

Facial Skin Care

Moisturizer
Although I got this one in the home stretch of 2014, it still counts, cause I love it. I love the smell, love the feel, love the rewards. It is so what my skin needed, but I went almost the whole year depriving it of this greatness. I used to use Lancome products all the time – when I worked in a boutique that sold them! It was like a blast from the past to realize that they’re every bit as good as I remember. The award for best moisturizer goes to: Lancome Bienfait Aqua Vital. Its lightweight properties melt into your skin for an honestly unique feel when you put it on. I love how the smell is not overwhelming but lingers with you so you’ll feel moisturized and refreshed whether you’re going to bed or putting on makeup. An added bonus is that it doesn’t have SPF so I can use it day and night and it won’t clog my pores.

lancomeaqua

Facial Cleanser
My skin is going through some changes. It can’t decide where on the scale it is, which results in dry spots and breakouts. Not the most feasible of combinations. On top of that I have the problem of notoriously sleeping with my makeup on, so that doesn’t help much. But when I use face wash, I like the foam types. I tried Ole Henriksen’s foam wash for a good while, and it was fine! Nothing really against it, but then again, I didn’t use it consistently enough to really reap any benefits from it. So now that I got the new Lancome one right before Christmas, my skin just felt so good, especially combining it with the moisturizer above. Lancome Mousse Radiance, you have my vote.

lancomemousse

BB Cream
If there’s one thing I’ve used all year long it’s Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream. Hands down. SPF 30, evens my skin tone before applying foundation. Excellent. Need I say more?

maybellinebb

Just so this post doesn’t get too lengthy, stay tuned in the next couple of days for the next section of All Stars. It may include some Stila, bareMinerals, and Make Up Geek!

See ya soon!

Maggie.