Draw The Line

March 31, 2014


Eyeliners are definitely not one-kind-fits-all. Each one gives a specific look, and I've discovered that they each have their place in my make up drawer. Today I'm going to go over four different types that I frequently use.


One: The retractable pencil. I like this because it doesn't require any sharpening. Most of them come with a smudger thing (my technical name) on the other end too - which is perfect for getting a soft, blended look. My favorite is the Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner. It goes on smooth, doesn't tend to dry out after time, and lasts a long time!


Two: Traditional pencil, or kohl pencil. They're soft and go on easily. I like to leave the tip of my pencil 'dull' rather than sharp. The reason for this is because I use the pencil for a smoky eye look, and don't want it to be super defined. BUT...the plus is that you can sharpen it to your preference. My recent favorite is the L'Oreal Colour Riche Eyeliner. It's inexpensive and applies beautifully.


Three: Felt tip liner. These are perfect for a bold look, but the fine tip is great for the inner corner of the eye where I want a thin line close to the lashes. Felt tip liners go on smooth and don't tug at the eyelid. It took a little practice for me to get it down, so if you don't get a smooth line on the first try don't give up (tip: use smaller brush strokes)! I really like the Physicians Formula Eye Booster. It's a liner plus serum that is supposed to help lashes grow...haven't seen that perk yet.


Four: The infamous gel liner. Let me tell ya, I have NOT mastered this yet. It still takes me longer to apply than any other liner, and it's more dramatic than my preferred every day style. I do think that has its place though, so don't push it to the side just yet. Gel liners are smooth, and a little product goes a long way. My favorite is the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner. It hasn't dried out like other brands I've tried, and the black is a good deep, true black. I like to press the gel liner into the base of my lashes for a thicker lash line.

Try some out for yourself and see which one you like best!

Friday Favorites in Five

March 28, 2014

So...this week it snowed. Again. One day it was 68 and the next 38. What. The. Heck. Glad I didn't go flower shopping a couple weeks ago! Such a bummer. BUT the good news? It's Friiiidaaay. Woop woop! Time for some of the favorite things I saw on Pinterest over the past week.

Favorite Cozy Dining Room. Love that rug!
Favorite Cold Treat. Just look at those little coconut flakes!
Favorite Rustic Interior. That chair!
Favorite Craft. How cute is this?!?
Favorite Cake...I can't even talk about it. I must make this.
So there you go! Apparently I'm in the mood for some cooking and an interior re-do. Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth!

DIY Spring Wreath

March 26, 2014


Spring is one of my favorite seasons. I think it's the 'newness' that it brings. I love watching all of the flowers and trees start to bloom, hearing the birds start chirping again, and the sun shines just a little bit longer! That always means it's time for a DIY project in our house...so it only seemed appropriate to do a tutorial for today's post. 

My husband's aunt called and asked if I would make a wreath for her. She had already purchased and collected several different flowers and a square-shaped vine wreath...which was great because I was able to lay everything out and get right to work! I wanted it to look natural, like the flowers were blooming up the vine. (Get it? For spring?) Check out these step-by-step instructions...

Step 1: Organize all of your materials.

Step 2: Start placing the flowers in the vine. I started with the longest stemmed flower because I knew it would stick out past the others.

Step 3: Add some "filler" flowers to help cover the vine wreath. These dogwood blooms were just the right size.

Step 4: Add in full branches of blooms for more impact.

Step 5: If branches are too long, or too bulky, pull off individual blooms.

Step 6: Arrange the flowers until you're happy with the placement. Sometimes this takes a little trial and error. Now it's time to start attaching everything!

Step 7: Attach loose blooms with hot glue.

Step 8: For longer stems, attach with wire. If they need to be held in place use a drop of hot glue.

Step 9: For the finishing touch, attach a bow with wire or hot glue. I used both in this case.

Step 10: You're done! Hang it on your front door or over your mantel.

The colors in this wreath are perfect for spring and summer, so it can be used for more than just one season. Of course, any color combination would do. The key is to find a variety of sizes and types to make it interesting. It also helps to have a few larger flowers to hide stems and wires of the smaller ones. Also, if you don't want to use a bow, just group 3-4 flowers together and attach them with wires and/or hot glue in it's place.

Now, go get crafty and make your own wreath!

Linking up herehere, and here!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites

March 24, 2014


I was walking through my local grocery store and saw these little pretzel bites filled with peanut butter. I didn't have to think twice. I knew those salty treats were coming home with me. Then I got home and started eating them (immediately) and it hit me. Chocolate. That would make it pure salty sweet perfection. Thank goodness I already had some chocolate chips in the cabinet...otherwise I would have been forced to make another trip to the store. And believe me, I would have gone. At this point I really had to have the chocolate.

These were super easy to make. Super easy to eat too. The result was dangerously good. Don't feel guilty if you eat them before they're ready. I did...then I had to walk away. 

Melt chocolate and butter together.

Add shortening until mixture is thinned out enough for dipping.

Let the pretzel bites cool until ready to serve.

Perfect little bite sized pretzels with just enough salty and sweet.

Trust me. You'll need to hide them. They'll be gone within minutes. 

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites
hellocreativeblog.com

Ingredients:
Store-bought peanut butter filled pretzels
1 to 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp shortening

Directions:
Melt chocolate and butter over low-medium heat stirring constantly. Add shortening one tablespoon at a time until chocolate mixture is thinned. Dip pretzels in chocolate and lay on a sheet of wax paper to cool. Serve once chocolate is hardened or store in the refrigerator. 


Friday Favorites in Five

March 21, 2014

Happy Friday! After my spring prep last week, and after seeing some things gradually start to bloom around here, and because yesterday was the first day of Spring, I was inspired by these spring colors, flowers, and other general things that make me smile. :)

Hope you have a fantastic weekend! 

Favorite Invitations

Favorite Pastels
Favorite Easter Eggs
Favorite Pic-Nic Table
Favorite Puppy Picture
For more favorites, check out my Pinterest boards!

Homemade Mango Salsa

March 19, 2014


If you ask anyone that knows me, they'll tell you that my favorite 'food group' is a dip. Any kind of dip. Everything you eat needs some kind of dip. It's just better that way. Crackers for instance go with cheesy dips.  French fries? A combo of equal parts mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup (don't judge until you've tried it). Chips? There's too many dips that go with chips to name. Wings? Chicken fingers? Celery? Carrots? Potato skins? Ranch dip.

My husband and I went to San Diego last fall, and we ate at this amazing little restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. It was my first time trying mango salsa. The concept sounded nice, but I was skeptical of a fruit with things like onions and peppers. It could go either way: really good or terribly bad. It was delicious. So much so that I had to have more...and I took a mental list of everything in it so I could try to recreate this amazing new dip in my life.

Just look at those colors together!

Dig in! Dip away!

This is so easy to make. It's perfect on tortilla chips, and would also be amazing on fish or chicken. I foresee this being a new staple in my kitchen this spring and summer.

Homemade Mango Salsa
sweetandsimplelifeblog.com

Ingredients:
2 mangoes, diced
1/3 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir together. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to marinate. Serve chilled.

Eye Shadow - Revealed

March 17, 2014

There are so many options when it comes to eye shadow. I'm not gonna lie, I've found myself browsing eye shadows for up to an hour (ahem, or two) comparing this shade of taupe to that shade of taupe, mocha, chocolate, brown, tan, camel...I get overwhelmed. And that's just with the neutrals!!!

I personally feel that a lot of the eye shadows are pretty much the same. Sure, there are definitely higher end formulas that have a much better consistency than the drug-store brands, but the basics are there no matter what you pay (and some fail no matter how much you spend).


Look at the reviews on websites like Sephora or Ulta, and it's no secret that Urban Decay has been a top seller for a while. They have their stuff together, and now everyone is trying to catch up. Well, I try to stick to a budget, and I find it really hard to pay $52 for eye shadows...but honestly I probably will eventually out of curiosity. I wanted to find a budget friendly option that had good neutrals, a mix of matte and shimmer, darker shades for a smoky eye and some light shades for day time. I found this palette during a Pinterest spree when I was doing some extensive research and thought that it had everything I was looking for. When I saw that it was only $19.95, SOLD ladies and gentleman, to the lady in the front row.



When it came in the mail...I ripped that package open like a kid on Christmas morning and immediately started testing it out. It's the little things in life.

Colors: Beautiful. Honestly better than I expected. There are a couple rose tinted shades, warm tones, cool tones, matte, shimmer, light, dark, all of the above. It has a really good combination. All of them are neutral enough for day or night, and I truly think the possibilities are endless.

Pigmentation: Really good, actually. I have the Urban Decay Naked Basics, and I think the Revealed Palette hangs right there with it.

Lasting Power: I always use a primer because I have oily eyelids, so I really can't say what it would do without a good primer, but with a primer it lasts all day.

Blendability: Is that a word? I haven't had any issues. I also think the brushes you use have a lot to do with it - so I have a hard time putting all the responsibility on the shadow itself. I will say that I'm no makeup pro, and I can blend them fine. That probably means a 5 year old could too. :)

Overall: Awesome price, good quality (in my opinion), and great color options that could work on a variety of skin tones. Would I recommend it to someone looking for an alternative to higher end neutral palettes? Absolutely!

Friday Favorites in Five

March 14, 2014

This week we had some great weather! I'm pleased to say that a few short sleeves were worn, and I busted out the open-toed shoes - about time because my feet like to breathe! I would probably wear flip flops year-round, but it's frowned upon in the snow. Preferably I would just go barefoot everywhere (well, not in public. Public places are meant for shoes. It's good hygiene.) It's common for me to kick off my shoes as soon as I get home and go barefoot around the house. It also may or may not be true that I've been known to go outside with no shoes and walk around the yard, trim a few little flowers, get the mail (although asphalt is hot, it's definitely an 'at your own risk' sort of situation), then my husband needs help with something that requires either a ladder or power tools and I say "I don't have shoes on! I can't!" He then replies "What are you doing outside without shoes???" as if it's a huge shock. Come on, you know me well enough to know that this is normal. Get with the program. So then I have to go find shoes. On the flip side of that, oddly, shoes are probably my favorite of all fashion items. If I have to wear them, they should be fabulous. That's my theory.

And that has absolutely nothing to do with the favorites for this Friday. So let's see where that takes us!

Favorite Exterior
Favorite Neutrals
Favorite Landscape
Favorite Desk Chair
Favorite Storage Idea
Hope your weekend is warm enough for a No-Shoes-Saturday. :)

Sweet and Easy White Bread

March 12, 2014

I suddenly decided one day to learn how to bake bread. From scratch. I should preface this by saying that I have never been much of a bread maker. Well, I take that back. The one time I tried a recipe for pull-apart bread that appeared to be so easy anyone could do it, it didn't rise. At all. It was hard as a rock. It had no favor. Needless to say (or should I say kneadless - ha...ha), I didn't have the desire to try again. Until, that is, enough time passed and I forgot how much of a failure the pull-apart bread was and I decided to give this thing another try. I found a few different recipes that were all very similar, and I tweaked it a little to satisfy my tastes, then off I went kneading away.

And it worked!!!!


The line-up.

1. Mix water and sugar / 2. Stir until dissolved / 3. Add yeast / 4. Stir until creamy

1. Add salt / 2. Add oil / 3. Start adding flour one cup at a time / 4. It will start to form dough

1. Keep adding the flour / 2. Dough is ready to knead / 3. Cover with plastic wrap / 4. One hour later

Place the dough in a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

30 minutes later, it's a beautiful golden loaf of bread!

Sweet and Easy White Bread
sweetandsimplelifeblog.com
Makes  2 - 9x5 inch loaf

Ingredients:
2 cups warm water (heat to about 110-115 degrees)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus an additional 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine warm water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof until it's creamy.

2. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 cup oil, stir until combined. Add the flour one cup at a time. As it thickens, start to knead very lightly until the dough is formed. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place a damp towel over the bowl. Let the bowl sit in a warm place to allow the dough to rise. It takes about an hour. Once it has almost doubled in size, punch down and knead lightly. Divide the dough in half. Place each half in a well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pan. Let the dough rise about an inch - this takes 30 minutes or so. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it is a nice golden brown.

3. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Spread butter over the top of each loaf until it is melted, then sprinkle lightly with remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

I personally like a slice of warm bread with a nice buttery spread, but to each his own!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

I Have Spring Fever...

March 10, 2014

This past weekend was glorious. It was warm (by warm I mean mid-60's, which is warm compared to the arctic temperatures we've had recently), the sun was shining, and that meant I was required to be outside a little bit. It was the perfect opportunity to clean out some of the dead winter foliage from my perennials and do some pre-spring fertilizing in my containers.

See that? That's some new green peaking through!

Loosening up some of the settled dirt in my perennial containers and adding fertilizer. They were saying "feed me!"

This little daylily was so excited for the sunshine it just had to come out to see it.

I'll admit that I was really close to going flower shopping, but I decided it was just a little bit early. Spring is one of my favorite times of year - it's a new start that is always so refreshing. People generally seem to be in a better mood too...which just makes the world a better place! I hope everyone had a good weekend (hopefully you had some good spring weather too), and happy Monday!