Fa-Get About It Friday

fa get about it

Okay, once again I went MIA. This time it was not because I was taking a moment to regroup and get a new perspective- this time it was because I was working hard for the money. I worked 5 days last week- I know, no big deal for most of the world- but, it was the first time I had done so since before Baby Bub was born. And it once again made me appreciate how hard it is for not only working parents but also working people everywhere. And the icing on that cake was that Baby Bub was on Spring Break but I will get to that. So there, I have been- working.

I have been thinking about what I could blog about today- and since I haven’t really done anything overly worthy of note- I decided to do a short list of things to acknowledge and move forward from- much like guest writer Sarah did with her So What Wednesday post. And who knows, this same topic may appear later as well.

1. Working 5 days a week: Fa-Get About It!

View from the Office

Undoubtedly, I have an amazing view from the office. But, when I work 5 nights a week- I don’t really see Baby Bub-regardless of the fact that he was on Spring Break, my house goes to crap and I’m dead tired. (Yes, I’ll take some cheese with my whine.) It’s my reality. So, Fa-Get About It!

2. Doing the Dishes: Fa-Get About It!

the sink

If you know me, you know cleaning the house is not an area in which I excel. Some people have the ability to clean and make it look like it sparkles, ahem, my Moma, but me- it never looks like that when I clean. And when I am dead tired, doing the dishes falls to the bottom of the list so, Fa-Get About It!

3.Sunshine: Fa-Get About It!

Rain Rain Go Away

It seems like every Spring I am taken aback by how much it rains! This week last year was when we got over 20 inches of rain in less than 2 days. Well, it has commenced raining and I feel like we may never see the sun again! For some unknown reason I was wide awake this morning at 4:30 and was rewarded by getting to listen to a thunder storm. But, sunshine: Fa-Get About It!

4. Potty training: Fa-Get About It!

big boy underwear

 

I know that Baby Bub will eventually get potty trained- that he won’t wear diapers to college. But. He is in no way interested in using the potty. Now, we have been talking about the potty for months and months. And both of the downstairs pottys have a big jar of M&Ms just waiting to reward him for using the potty. We even have Thomas the Train big boy underwear and he loves them. And he knows what you are supposed to do in the potty. Most recently he has consented to sitting on the potty- used to he wouldn’t even entertain the idea- but, as far as actually using the potty… Fa-Get About It!

5. Heartburn: Fa-Get About It!

heartburn

Y’all. In the last month or 6 weeks I have been overtaken with heartburn! It is atrocious! The only time in my life that I have ever really had it was when I was pregnant and my midwife prescribed something for it and it magically went away! And I have not had it since- but lately it strikes right before I go to sleep and it not only jars me awake by stops me in my tracks! Heartburn, I want to Fa-Get About It!

Well, that’s my first ever Fa-Get About It Friday! These are the 5 things that I have going on in my world lately. What are the things in your world you would like to Fa-Get About? As always, we want to hear about it.

All the Best, Coralie

 

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Life After Birchbox: Tips and a Curio Cabinet

birchbox tips and a curio cabinet Remember when I did Birchbox product reviews? Yeah. Although a good subject idea, our modified posting schedule and life’s craziness got in the way of that venture. Plus, there are many out there who do it better than I, so I will let them to it. But, I am nearing my one-year anniversary of having a Birchbox subscription and have been debating about whether or not to continue my monthly barrage of samples. Of the 60+ samples I have received, only 5 resulted in a full-sized converted purchase. As much as I am a self-described product junkie, I just don’t know that I can do another year of samples. For, as much as I love discovering new brands and products, I didn’t want the other 55 samples that I didn’t love junking up my dressing table/bathroom counter. You guys know how much I hate throwing stuff away, and (as such) I have compiled some fun tips on how to manage the consequences of a Birchbox subscription.

Alternative Uses for the Samples:

There are certain products that never work for me: mainly bronzers/highlighters and lip glosses. I am pretty picky and can tell almost immediately whether or not a product will work for me. But, just because a product doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for someone else or in a different capacity. Here are some alternative uses for unusable Birchbox samples.

Guest Bathroom Toiletries: This may seem like a no brainer, but many of my Birchbox product rejects wind up in my guest bathroom medicine cabinet for future guests who happen to stay with us and may be missing a toiletry item.

Use When Traveling: As all the products that come in your Birchbox are sample sizes, I also use my samples while traveling. Not only do you cut down on the bulk in your luggage toiletries, but sometimes traveling is the BEST time to try samples. I save almost all my shampoo/conditioner samples for when I travel.

Lipgloss to mark picture hangingsAlternative Applications: Additionally, even if you know immediately that you won’t dig the product, consider alternative applications. Volumizing hair products are the LAST thing I need, but upon receiving a shampoo sample (and after being inspired by Coralie’s post on homemade shaving cream,) I used that it as a shaving gel with great results. Another less obvious alternative use (after following a Pinterest post on using toothpaste to mark walls for picture hanging) is that instead of wiping toothpaste off of my walls and picture nails, I use a garish purple lip balm that came in my Birchbox that had previously been relegated to the “costume makeup” box (which is also an alternative use!) Press the gloss onto the spot where a nail needs to go and press the painting to the wall leaving a tiny, light-purple spot to mark it.

repurposed birchbox bottle

Re-Using the Product Container: Although some sample products come in containers that cannot be re-used, many do come in TSA friendly-sized iterations. After finishing a sample of bath gel that didn’t particularly move me, I rinsed clean the bottle and am now using it to store the avocado oil I use to remove my eye makeup.

Alternative Uses for the Boxes/Packaging:

As the name implies, every month you receive a cute BOX filled with products. The boxes are all the same size with fun patterned liners. Some boxes are themed with matching lids and others have a simple, graphic lining. I live for finding alternative uses for things, and was determined not to just trash the boxes in which my treasures came.

Using Boxes for Craft StorageOrganizers: The boxes are of a particularly practical size and fit perfectly within bathroom/kitchen counter drawers for organization. I use particularly pretty boxes on my dressing table to hold my makeup. I also labeled the edge and use them for craft storage in my crafting room(see right “embellishments” box).

Gift Wrapping: The Birchbox packaging makes EXCELLENT gift wrapping, by the way. I save all the beautifully colored tissue paper for small gifts. Same with their small, cardboard pocket cases. Just cover the Birchbox labeling with cute stickers and you have perfect packaging for a gift. *Funny story* The above right and below pictures were taken by Josh by remote request as I am traveling and he is in Burbank. He is a notoriously bad photographer, but this next shot (of my request for a picture of my blue Birchbox that was used as gift wrapping) is hilariously bad. But, I love that he took it for me, anyways! It’s kind of artsy, really?!

Josh Photo Fail

Curio Cabinet: My final idea for how to use leftover Birchbox boxes is a little crafty. You’ll need a glue-gun and picture hanging teeth to complete this project. I noticed that several months of my Birchbox boxes were of identical or of complimentary patterns. I knew I wanted to use them for a larger project. I have a collection of miniature treasures junk objets d’art that often gets visually lost when simply displayed on one shelf.  As such, I laid out the boxes and arranged them to my liking. As the boxes are always the same size, there was a certain amount of inherent symmetry, and I hot-glued the edges and turned them into two curio cabinets.

Layout Design for Curio Cabinet

Here is the project in the layout phase before hot-gluing. I ended up separating the piece into two pieces. Hot glue all touching edges, let dry. Flip over and hot glue picture hanging teeth on back at most advantageous points.

Hotglue Hanger Teeth

As my miniatures aren’t that heavy, it didn’t have to be that load bearing. After using my purple lip gloss to mark where I needed nails, I hung my curio cabinet in my display gallery. I love it. When I get back to Burbank, I was although thinking about using one of the tableaus for a miniature paper vignette/diorama.

All this is to implore you to use your sample subscription to its fullest. There are so many alternatives to just tossing unwanted items in the trash.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox or another monthly sample service? What do you do with your leftover samples? Do you collect miniature objects? Do you know how to contour? As always, us know in the comments. signaturexo

 

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Way Back Wednesday: Leigh’s Traveling Tips

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I am a frequent traveler. In fact, I am writing this post from Georgia, having flown out of LAX last Sunday. Traveling/packing is stressful, no matter how you slice it. So stressful, in fact, that it caused this weeks ‘Way Back Wednesday’ feature to be published five days late. But, having recently gone through the traveling/packing rigmarole, I thought I would use the opportunity to round up all the traveling tips I’ve published and turn them into a #wbw post.

overpacked suitcaseI don’t know about you, but the first thing I do before getting ready for a trip is to print out my handy-dandy packing list. I generously shared my proprietary packing list with our readers in my post– To Do: Blog Post. Check! With it, you will never forget another Kindle charger or your shower toiletries. Find it here!

 

toiletry explosion

 

Speaking of toiletries, I shared my all-time favorite travel tip in my post: How to Prevent Toiletry Explosions While Traveling! If you haven’t read it, and are tired of toiletry messes in your suitcase, then click here to learn the secret to never having to waste any more time or product again. This tip really is a game changer.

 

 

Using Fabric Bedding Bags for suitcase organization

Re-using fabric/plastic bedding bags also proves to be a game changer as far as keeping your suitcase/life organized. If you aren’t on the re-using train yet, then learn all about this thoughtful travel tip here in my post: Re-Use That Thing: Fabric/Plastic Bedding Bags.

 

 

 

cleaning makeup brushes decodedLastly, although not a traveling tip, per se, I included my post about Cleaning Makeup Brushes: Decoded in this list as I always tend to clean my makeup brushes before and after traveling. Although I don’t clean my brushes as often as I would like, I love the difference it makes. One small note, I have recently begun applying my SPF tinted moisturizer with a liquid foundation brush and that brush DOES need to be washed after each use.

Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have a tip of your own you’d like to share? What are your packing rituals? As always, let us know!

piersig

 

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A Fun Things the Blog Recommendation: The Squatty Potty

I was born with a severe case of wanderlust. As such, to sate that proclivity and prepare for future adventures, I enjoy watching travel shows. In many a segment, Western tourists are often dismayed or off put by the “primitive” nature of foreign bathroom habits. I, myself, used to shudder to think about world-traveler, future-Leigh off-balanced, and squatting over a hole in the floor. But, within the last few years, I began reading about a movement (pun intended?) to properly re-align our bodies to operate as they should.

asian-squatting-toilet.jpgEverybody poops. Hopefully, none of you are clutching your pearls in horror right now after that earth-shattering revelation. And, although everybody poops, if you live in a traditional Western household, you may be doing it incorrectly. Although today’s Western toilet is thought of as more “civilized,” it may be causing more bodily harm to our systems than good. In fact, did you know, that two-thirds of the world’s population still squats to eliminate waste? And for good reason! Squatting aligns our colorectal system for optimum efficiency and ease which becomes hindered when brought into a sitting position. Allow me to let the professionals explain:

You may have seen these guys on TV’s Shark Tank or Dr. Oz. In fact, this concept is quickly gaining popularity thanks to celebrity and medical endorsements. Although I am no celebrity, I too wanted to boost the signal as I recently purchased a Squatty Potty. Without getting into too much detail, let me tell you that it works and the difference is really noticeable. Trust me, guys. Get one.  I found my Squatty Potty in a Bed Bath & Beyond store, but you can find yours in our Amazon store under our Things We Like category or our Health and Beauty section!

And if you still aren’t sold, check out their Shark Tank segment:

For those of you unable to watch the videos, here is a link to their website for more information. Although I purchased the basic model (which stores nicely under your toilet) they now make them in more decorative finishes– for those of you who care about such things. Do yourself a favor. Buy this product. Buy it for your loved ones and yourself.

What do you think? Would you give it a shot? Have you traveled abroad and seen a squatting toilet? Do you watch Shark Tank? As always, let us know in the comments!

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Tomato Gravy- aka Showstopper!

People. Seriously. How in the world did it take 35 years for this dish to cross my radar?!?!! It is so delicious! A good friend of mine has always talked about his momma making it for him- and finally back in the Fall he made it for us. Bub and I knew immediately that we would be making it ourselves in the future.

Fast forward to this past week when Bub had his wisdom teeth out- yes, at the tender age of 41. And if you’ve had your wisdom teeth out you will remember that you are limited to softer foods. So, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I could cook for Bub that was soft, delicious and hearty. And my dear friend Victoria came to visit so I wanted something good to cook for her.  All the sudden tomato gravy popped in my head. The end result was so damn good! Total crowd-pleaser.

Here is how it goes in a very simple nutshell- cook your sausage and chicken and set aside.

Tomato Gravy Meats

 

I cooked 2 chicken breasts in the crock-pot and then shredded them. I also cooked a package of Conecuh sausage in the skillet and then set both aside. My friend used kielbasa sausage but, Bub and I prefer Conecuh.

This is when my sous chef, aka Bub, stepped in and made the rue. In a pot he warmed up about 1/4 cup of olive oil and added 1 1/2- 2 cups of flour. You stir this until it is brown to your liking-

Tomato Gravy Rue

And then Bub decided it need a little butter- so he added about 1 tablespoon and a little more flour. Next he added the meat back into the rue.

Tomato Gravy Meat plus Rue

And then he added 4 cups of chicken stock and 4 cans of pureed tomatoes. Our friend just roughly chopped his tomatoes but we decided to puree them mainly so that it would be easier for Bub to eat.

Tomato Gravy in the Pot

Then also Bub added salt, cracked pepper and garlic powder- all to taste. He brought this to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes- and then Bam! Tomato Gravy.

Tomato Gravy

We served it over biscuits— and it was so good. It was so, so good. Our friend served it with rice and it was good but the biscuits were the best!

Tomato Gravy- aka Showstopper!
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cans of tomatoes
  • 2 cups of flour
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tble butter
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1 package of sausage, cooked
Instructions
  1. Cook and shred chicken, cook and thinly slice sausage and set aside
  2. Add olive oil to warm pot and allow to heat
  3. Add flour and stir constantly
  4. Add butter and allow to melt
  5. Stir until the flour mixture has reached your desired brownness
  6. Add chicken stock and pureed tomatoes and stir. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Serve over biscuits or rice

Do you have any recipes that your friend gave you that will become one of your stand-bys? This will most certainly be in our rotation forever!

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Soups On- Southwestern Style- An Update.

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We decided to go back and clean up our catalog a year ago and it has taken us a year to actually begin that process. But, here goes nothing! This was one of the first posts that I published and it was actually scheduled and published before the blog went live. I did not realize that this post commemorates the first time I ever made this Southwest Beef Taco Soup because I have made it at least a million times since! It is so easy and so good. I totally think you should take a look at it  and add it to your dinner rotation. #WayBackWednesdays 

Baby, it’s cold outside! And when it’s cold outside, it’s the perfect time to make soup. Living on the Gulf Coast, I have to take advantage of what cold weather we have to make cold weather fare. Seeing the weather report last week calling for lows in the 30s got me thinking about soup- I love soup. I love my Moma’s soups in particular. This is my Moma’s recipe for Southwesten Beef Soup and I have had it many times but this is the first time I have made it. It is super easy and super delish! (It is in her cookbook).

Mary Made It

You begin by collecting all your ingredients.

  • 2 pounds of ground beef (I use 93/7- trim the fat where ever you can- you do not miss it in this recipe)
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix
  • 2 (29oz) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz) can black beans (I didn’t rinse nor did I drain)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I make my own)
  • 1 (16 oz) can of whole kernel corn (I used fresh frozen from my freezer)
  • 1 (4oz) can of green chilies
  • 1+ (16 oz) can beef broth or chicken broth

After you have gotten everything together, you need to brown your ground beef and then drain it. I usually brown it on medium to medium-high heat. (My Moma sometimes uses chicken instead of beef and it is equally tasty. Beef is best)

While your meat is browning, go ahead and open all those cans and empty them into your soup pot. Chop your onion (and I had to cut the corn off the cob). I kept my eyes on the meat and by the time I got all the other ingredients opened and chopped and off the cob, it was ready.

Browned Beef

What is that in that little tin-foil lined bowl you ask. It is a little trick I use to deal with grease. The grease cannot be poured down the drain or out in the yard, so- I put it in a tin-foil lined bowl and let it cool and when it is cooled and solidified, I pull the tin-foil with the grease out of the bowl and throw it away in the trash- grease conundrum solved.

Add the beef to the soup pot and let it all come to a boil and then turn it down and let it simmer for an hour and call it a day.

Let it Simmer

It’s ready! And oh so good. I have it on first hand knowledge that it is delightful with cornbread… or saltines… or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… or a grilled cheese… or anything else you can think of! This soup is very user-friendly and very hard to mess up. Supper was great tonight and I am so looking forward to lunch tomorrow and the day after!

SW Beef Taco Soup
All the Best, Coralie

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