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Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Walk Along The Water

This past Wednesday was such a beautiful day, that I got to enjoy a nice walk along the water! My boyfriend and I went and had a nice lunch with my best friend Julia, from Enchanted Fantasy, and her husband. We went to Buffalo Road House, which has these really delicious rolls and cinnamon butter. So good!! So not good for my diet, but it's all good. Sometimes you just need to have a cheat day. Anyway, it was such a beautiful spring day in Buffalo, that my boyfriend and I decided to go for a walk. So from lunch we drove over to Niawanda Park and took a nice walk along the river. There was still some ice floating in the water, but it looked so pretty! And the ducks were enjoying the water too, although I couldn't get a good picture of them. Anyway, this is just a short post to share a few pictures that I took at the park. I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday and enjoying the sun today! Springtime in Buffalo has arrived!!

The River
The River With Ice


Docks Again

Friday, April 17, 2015

Foodie Friday: Protein Pancake

It's Foodie Friday again!! I love pancakes! However, as delicious as pancakes are, they aren't the most healthy option, but they can be. A protein pancake is a healthy alternative to a regular pancake, and a great way to start your morning! Did you know you starting your day with a protein rich breakfast can help you stay feeling fuller longer? Carbs are fuel for the body, but protein is too. So start your day off right and get a good mix of both! There are so many different variations for protein pancakes, but the one I found and like the best so far, mostly because I can tweak it when I want to, is Joy Bauer's recipe. The serving size is one large pancake, which is exactly what this recipe makes! Now the only thing with protein pancakes, they can are nowhere near as moist as regular pancakes. However, you can cover it with a lid while it is cooking, as Joy Bauer suggests, and this does help. I have gotten used to the texture of this type of pancake, so it actually doesn't bother me that it is a little bit dry. I am more concerned with hoe it tastes anyway, and it is delicious!!

What You Will Need

Protein Pancakes(original recipe)

1/2 Cup Quick Cooking Rolled Oats
4 Egg Whites
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon(optional)

To this I also add 2 Tablespoons of ground flax-seed, I also like to add blueberries into the mix, and I like to top the pancake with a banana and just a little bit of all natural maple syrup. Sometimes I will substitute the sugar with honey. I also use 2 whole eggs, instead of 4 egg whites, I just prefer the whole egg. I have also tried mashing the banana up and adding it to the mix, which is also very tastey! Sometimes I substitute orange extract for the vanilla, just depends on what flavor I am going for.

To make this pancake, mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Spray a skillet with some non stick spray or coat the pan with a little bit of butter or oil. Poor the pancake mix onto the skillet and cook over a medium heat, when the top of the pancake stops making those little bubbles, flip it over. It only takes a couple of minutes to cook, when it is golden brown, it is done! Top it with your favorite fruit or eat it as is! I hope you enjoy this heart healthy breakfast!

Happy Friday and happy eating!

Delicious Protein Pancake

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trader Joes Grocery Haul

I love Trader Joe's! You know what else I love and have a minor obsession with? Haul videos on YouTube, any kind of shopping haul video! I especially love grocery hauls! I don't know why, but I just love seeing what other people are buying. Weird, I know, but it gives me ideas for food to try and to buy. I was originally just going to write out a haul blog, but I figured it would be easier to record it and share it. It isn't the best quality video, as I used my phone to record it and I didn't talk in it, mostly because I am camera shy lol. I didn't have to get much, but I hope you enjoy it none the less!


Happy shopping and eating lol!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Going Greek

Greek Goddess Salad Dressing and Marinade

Ingredients Label

I do believe it is Tasty Tuesday and I am going Greek! I don't know about you, but I love Greek food. I almost never cook it though, because well, as much as I love to eat it, I never really knew how to make it. So whenever the Greek food craving would strike I'd head out to Kostas or Panos, or some other Greek restaurant to eat. However, this is not the case so much anymore. A while back, I had the pleasure of meeting the maker of Greek Goddess Salad Dressing and Marinade! I had no idea she was the creator of this dressing until she brought in a couple cases of them and started handing them out to us at work as a way of saying thank you for something I cannot discuss here because it would violate laws as it pertains to my job. Anyway, I was so grateful to her for doing this because of my love for Greek food. I still can't really cook Greek food, but when the craving for Greek flavors hits, I take my bottle of Greek Goddess Salad Dressing out of the cupboard and marinate some chicken in it or use a little bit of it on a salad. The picture here is my second bottle, as I finished the one she gave to me because it is so delicious! This dressing is all natural and you can actually read and pronounce all of the ingredients on the label, which is always a plus! Not only is it delicious, I love that it is made locally and that I get to support a local small business when buying it! Remember folks, when possible, it is always better to buy from your local small businesses. We live in a world of super stores a la Walmart and Target and other huge conglomerates, and because of that local businesses and merchants kind of become the underdogs of the retail world. Don't get me wrong, I have a love, well minor obsession for Target, but I am a firm believer in supporting all things local from small businesses and individual merchants to farmers at the different farmers markets we have here in Buffalo. Think of it this way, when supporting local businesses, you are supporting your community! Ok, tangent over! This dressing can be purchased online at the Greek Goddess website, but it is also distributed to and sold at many local stores. I get mine at Wegmans. It retails there for $6.29. If you love the flavors of Greek food, this dressing is a definite must try!! I promise, you won't regret it!   

My favorite way to eat chicken marinated in Greek Goddess Salad Dressing!
I like to cut it up and combine it with spinach, lettuce, and tomatoes for a delicious wrap.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mani Monday: Metallic Mani

Sinful Colors Mesmerize
Sinful Colors Supernova
It's Mani Monday!! I love nail polish! This is no secret! I think, however, the manicure I gave myself this week, could be my go to favorite. I am loving the color combo and the contrast between the metallic and creme finishes! I love how metallic nail polishes look! Funny thing is, when I see them in the store, I never buy them. So the other day I was in Target and I was perusing the Sinful Colors display and I picked up this metallic nail polish and decided to buy it! It is Sinful Colors Supernova. I was drawn to it because it is a rose gold color and I just think rose gold is so pretty. It also has a silver shimmer to it that gives it the metallic, tin foil looking effect. The picture of the bottle to the left is accurate, the pictures of it on my nails look more gold, but when I used a flash, you can see the silver shimmer. Anyway, I thought it looked familiar, so I did some digging and found out it was originally released in 2012 as part of the Fall Collection Hot Flash Metallics. Sinful Colors will sometimes re-release limited edition colors on their own or as part of a new collection. I am glad I spotted this one because there were only a few bottles left! I paired it with Sinful Colors Mesmerize. This is also a limited edition color. It was first released in 2012, also in the Fall in the Enchanted/Muse Collection. It was re-released again in the Spring of 2013 as part of the Haute Rebel Collection, which is when I picked it up. Mesmerize is a deep purple color with blue undertones that has a creme finish. When you see the picture of it on my nails, the camera makes it look more blue than it actually is. the picture of it in the bottle at the top to the right is more accurate. Now, on to how to get this manicure!

Step 1: As always start with a base coat to help prevent any staining. As usual, I used Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Strengthener.

Step 2: Apply your base color. I used Sinful Colors Supernova. This is other tape mani, so let that base color dry completely before going onto the next step!

With Flash

No flash
Step 3: Apply the straightest edge of the tape to the nail.

Creating the Nail Design

Step 4: Paint the nail below the tape, the part of the nail closest to the cuticle. Then, before that polish dries, remove the tape. It should leave you with a nice, crisp line! Repeat this on all of your nails!

Paint the Color and then remove the tape

Step 5: Let that second color dry a little bit, to prevent streaking. Then apply a fast drying top coat. Once again, as usual, I used Sally Hansen Insta Dry Top Coat. Clean up the cuticle and around the nail bed with some acetone or nail polish remover, if necessary and voila, an easy to create and pretty new manicure! 

Finished Manicure

Happy Monday and happy painting everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Foodie Friday

It's Foodie Friday! Food is amazing! And I think most people would agree with me on that statement! In the last month, I have started on this food journey of sorts. I have been trying to eat more healthy and focus on whole foods that are "clean". While I have my off days, as many people do, I have been pretty successful sticking to this new diet, well I guess lifestyle change is more fitting. It isn't always easy, but I can tell you on the days that I eat well and manage to stick to it for the whole day, I feel great! I feel like I have more energy and I don't feel so weighed down. Don't get me wrong, I have my cravings and I do  end up giving into them sometimes no matter how hard I try to ignore them. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving into them once in a while and I am not going to beat myself up over it. I just tell myself tomorrow is another day! Anyway, I have been loving this so much because I have been trying new things and cooking way more than I ever have before! And I am having fun with it, cooking is fun! Now if you had asked me if I liked to cook when I was 20, it would have been a resounding NO!!! In my thirties, I have come to love it! So I thought, maybe other people might like to try some of the things I have tried. And here begins a new series to this blog, Foodie Friday. I am going to share one recipe a week every Friday, well at least try to anyway. They will range from recipes I have kind of just come up with to recipes that I have found in cookbooks and other sources. If it is a recipe I found, but made changes to, I will include the original recipe, as some people may prefer the original. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I figured I would start it off with something that will give you a good start to your day! It is an easy one and takes all of maybe 10 minutes to make, so it is perfect for those days you feel rushed to get out of the house on time! This is my own recipe and I call it my Banana Bread Oatmeal, mostly because it smells just like banana bread while it is cooking, and it tastes pretty darn good too!

Banana Bread Oatmeal

1 Banana (mashed or sliced)
1/4 -1/2 cup quick oats (Depends on how hungry you are!)
3/4 cup milk or water (either one works, milk makes it a little more creamy though and water is the healthier option) 
About 1 Tbsp honey (I usually just squeeze a dollop into the pot)
About 1 Tbsp Cinnamon (The amount of this will vary, depending on how much you like cinnamon, I prefer more some days and other days less)
Raisins (I only add these when I want it really sweet)

In a medium sauce pan, over low heat, combine the oats, milk/water, and banana. Stir occasionally. As it starts to thicken, stir in the honey and cinnamon until well combined. If you notice that your oatmeal is too thick, add a little more milk or water until it is the consistency you prefer. Once it is fully heated, pour into a bowl. Add some raisins as a topper, if you'd like, and enjoy!

Banana Bread Oatmeal
I love this oatmeal! It is so satisfying and the best part is the banana and honey act as a sweetener, so you don't need to add any brown sugar or other sugars to it. This recipe is also heart healthy, so for any of you trying to stick to a heart healthy diet, this is a good one for you! This is also vegetarian and vegan friendly, so for all my veggie friends out there, this is a good one for you too!

If you find yourself wondering what is so healthy about this breakfast, then I will tell you! However, before I tell you, I will add a disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, so don't take my word as gold here. Do your own research on these things too! The oats by themselves are a good source of soluble fiber that can actually help lower cholesterol. The fiber content of the oats actually helps to slow down digestion and can help to stabilize blood glucose levels, which is why eating oatmeal in the morning is so great. It will keep you feeling fuller longer. Now add to that a banana, which has virtually no saturated fats or cholesterol and is another good source of fiber, further adding to that staying fuller longer feeling. Bananas are generally know as a good source of potassium, but did you know they are also and good source of Vitamin C? Why, hello antioxidants, yes I will enjoy you today!! Bananas are also a really good source of Vitamin B6, which helps metabolize amino acids, glucose, and lipids. Essentially, a banana is a good helper in breaking down the proteins, sugars(carbs), and fats that you ingest into, well the things you need to fuel your body and make it run, so to speak. Now there are a lot are arguments out there about why cow's milk is bad for you and why dairy products in general are bad for you, however, I love milk! It is a good way to get in some Vitamin D, and living in Buffalo, where we don't always get a lot of sunlight, I will gladly have a glass of milk to get in that Vitamin D. Honey is a natural sweetener, which in my opinion is better than using other sugars or artificial sugar substitutes. Just make sure you are using 100% raw honey, because if you aren't more than likely you aren't eating real honey. Honey is great because it is a carbohydrate made up of Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, and Maltose. These are basically fuel for your body, making honey a natural energy booster. This is kind of perfect when used in the morning with breakfast, because it will help you wake up and get going! And what is so great about cinnamon? Well, cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels, so if you are considered pre-diabetic and you are trying your hardest to stave of diabetes, then adding cinnamon to your diet might help, this is not a guarantee, but it is worth trying. Feeling bloated? Cinnamon can help with that too. Cinnamon is also known to be a great antioxidant. Cinnamon can also help boost your metabolism. It has a tendency to act as a natural blood thinner, therefore increasing blood circulation. Increased blow flow could mean a boost to your metabolism, which in turn could help with weight loss. I could go on with the science of it all mostly because it fascinates the hell out of me, but others may find it boring to read, so I will end this here. Now what are you waiting for? Go enjoy a delicious breakfast!         

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Painting On The Go

Sally Hansen Ice Queen
Sinful Colors Endless Blue
My best friend Julia, from Enchanted Fantasy here on blogger, came to visit me at my second job last night, and she decided to do a little painting on the go. So while I was pouring drinks, she sat and painted her nails. I loved the color she was using so much, that I needed to share it with all of you! And surprisingly, it isn't a color I have in my collection. She used Sinful Colors Endless Blue. It is a beautiful cobalt blue shade, that I am now going to go out and buy so I can have it in my collection too! And on her ring finger she added Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Ice Queen as an accent. The Sally Hansen is one she borrowed from me! And it is one I don't reach for enough! I definitely love how it pairs with Endless Blue!

Finished Manicure

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Wednesday and happy painting!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Nails

It is Easter, and that means Easter Nails! I always like to do something fun on my nails for a holiday! Eh who am I kidding? I love to do something fun on my nails anytime lol! So while I was deciding on what to do, I remembered seeing this tutorial on YouTube by My Simple Little Pleasures for a Green Mosaic French Tip design. If you are a lover of water marble designs, you definitely need to check out her videos! I have yet to master this technique, but she always manages to make it look so easy and so amazing every time! Every once in a while she throws in something else, like her Green Mosaic French Tip Tutorial, which inspired my Easter design this year. Keep in mind this is inspired, not identical. I was going for a triangular mosaic look, that kind of reminds me of an egg shell. If you would like to try this look keep reading to find out how I did it! It is a little time consuming, but super easy, and you don't need any fancy nail tools, just some tape and some time to kill!

1. Start by applying a base coat. This will help prevent the nail polish from staining your nails. I like to use Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Strengthener, but you can use any base coat of your choosing.

Base Coat
2. Apply your base color. For this I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Gunmetal. I chose Gunmetal because I knew I wanted a dark gray base, but I liked that this one has a shimmer to it! The colors I used on top of it all have a sort of satin or glossy finish, so I wanted a little sparkle for the base! It very important to make sure that whatever base color you use dries completely before moving onto the next steps, otherwise you are going to tear up that base color! Whenever I need to do that, I usually apply the base color the night before and then finish the design the next day.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Gunmetal

3. Cut your tape into strips, any thickness you want. Just remember to keep them narrow enough to fit your nail, since everyone has a different size nail bed and different length nail. Cut them to fit your nail. They won't be even, but that is ok. That is one of the great things about this type of design, no two nails will be exactly the same!

Cut the Tape

4. Apply the tape for the design you want to create. I used three pieces on each nail. I applied each piece on a diagonal to form a zigzag. The biggest tip I have for this, do one hand at a time. If you try to the apply tape to both hands, it can be difficult painting your nails. Also, trying to apply tape to the other hand isn't always easy when you have tape already on one set of nails.

Create your Design

5. Apply your colors or color, depending on what look you are going for. Apply the color to the areas that aren't covered by the tape. And for this, I would work one nail at a time because you don't want the nail polish to dry before pulling off the tape. While the polish is still wet, remove the tape. This will ensure that the tape doesn't pull off any your design with it! Applying the colors can be a little messy, but no worries. It's nothing a little nail polish remover or acetone and a q-tip can't clean up! For my design, I wanted to go for a monochromatic ombre look with purples. The color closest to my cuticle is Sinful Colors Mauve, the next one up is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Lacey Lilac, the next one up is Sinful Colors Rose Dust, and the tip color is Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Lively Lilac.

Apply the color

6. Let those colors dry a little bit before applying a top coat. If you don't then the colors might streak a little on you as you brush on the top coat. This is when I like to clean up any colors on my cuticles or around my nail beds. It doesn't take very long, but it is usually enough time to let the design dry a little bit.

Clean Up with an Acetone

7. Apply a top coat to lock in the design and give you a manicure that will last all week, depending on how hard you are on your nails that is. I wear gloves at work and wash my hands a lot because of what I do, so mine usually last for 4-5 days. I like to use a fast drying top coat. I have been loving Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Top Coat. Works like a charm every time!

Top Coat

And voila!! Finished!

Mosaic Ombre Manicure

If you like this look or recreate it, I would love to see your designs! You can share them on my Facebook page or in the comments below! Happy Nail Designing!