Cooking with Blue Apron

I tend to eat like an unchaperoned kid at a birthday party. It’s sooo bad. I am basically.. the cookie monster. In disguise. inspirational-cookie-monster

Truthfully, when it comes to diet, like most things in my life I’m kind of all or nothing. I’m either very, very good or very, very bad (normally the latter).

I10864775_1512950868973861_598524110_an an effort to eat healthier (more like a grown up) and to learn some new cooking skills, I’ve been cooking with Blue Apron for a while now. This way if I’m hosting I can come up with something better than a very fancy platter of goldfish. (cough… not that that’s ever happened… cough)

I also have been trying all kinds of different foods that I really didn’t think I would like and some of the combinations sounded strange but it’s all been amazing. They send you ingredients along with recipes for the whole week and it’s so yummy (be ready to share). It runs about $60 a week for 3 generously sized meals and I’ve even gifted some meals to friends and family (after a couple weeks they give you free meals to give away). You can skip receiving meals for up to 6 weeks so it makes sense for me. I’ve been grocery shopping much less, no food is going to waste, and I feel much more confident in the kitchen now and will use these recipes again and again. Get 2 free meals when you sign up here. I’ve cooked about 15 meals and no one has died so that’s pretty exciting ; )

My brother really enjoyed the meals I got for him and he’s even continued cooking with the recipes and made large enough portions for the week because he liked it so much.

Some of my favorites:

Pan roasted salmon ramen with spicy miso broth
Pan roasted salmon ramen with spicy miso broth
10974468_10101672305445220_2864315062944990550_o
This was so good we didn’t even talk to each other during dinner.
10389356_10101664298750700_4663095118617744701_n
beef bolognese
10511414_10101668069643800_7585155427026075475_o
cod cooked with banana leaves… it was so flavorful because the leaves sealed in all the spices. I normally don’t even like fish!
Chicken with potatoes and the best gravy made with maple syrup & lemon zest.
Chicken with potatoes and the best gravy made with maple syrup & lemon zest.
10570473_10101662435829010_7449589067051243203_n
Mexican style Beef casserole with quinoa

10624659_10101668069638810_6322938337539932073_n

10904449_10101664298655890_7978987418715313116_o
Pulled chicken tacos with Jicama
10923269_10101657987204090_5905710743970431828_n
Southern beef & collard green stew with cheddar grits
10931367_10101661509590200_4459307346830867896_n
Thai Shrimp soup with red curry, jasmine rice, and lemongrass
994489_10101670356755410_4870305514084478453_n
Buffalo chicken wings
10959764_10101670356760400_5454576120778747269_n
The best chili with tortilla and avacoda
936054_10101663659067630_7593725079212280856_n
Pistachio crusted catfish with mandarin oranges. I made a face when the instructions told me to combine fruit with the fish and almost didn’t do it… but the combination was a big hit!

Sugar, Sugar… you are my candy girl

Scrub a dub dub…

My honey mask is my favorite at home treatment, but this is a close runner up. 10945002_10101669604917100_1954250669658041303_n

I used to use this scrub all the time and ran out of some of the ingredients…took a break from using it and man oh man now I remember why I loved it. Especially in the summertime, this is the best thing to get really smooth legs and in the wintertime a great way to nourish them. I use this scrub to exfoliate my whole body and I prefer it to any scrub I’ve ever bought.

10847222_10101669604802330_6056083935804324978_o

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (olive oil is great but canola, coconut are good substitutes)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

This scrub is intended for use in the bath, but you can also use in the shower if you let it sit on your legs for a few minutes. The trick is to exfoliate your legs before AND after you shave for optimal results. This is a MUST before I go spray tan – just make sure no oil residue is left on your skin (I rinse off after a bath and get all the excess oil off).

Rapunzel, Rapunzel..

Day 1: after a few hours (somewhat tousled)
Day 1: after a few hours (somewhat tousled)

(if the links weren’t working previously, they should be fixed now!)

I don’t like to spend a lot of time doing my hair or getting ready so these are some lazy girl tips and tricks I’ve found work best for me to have a low maintenance style I can get a few day’s wear out of. This all kind of started when I would go on trips with my dad and brother because they would take only a few minutes to get ready and I had to keep up with them so I resorted to finding lots of ways to get ready in a hurry.

Before I begin, let me first say this is what works for me and my hair and may not be what works for you, but it’s certainly made my life easier and I hope this helps. 🙂

Hair It Is… 

The one thing I’ve done that has made the biggest difference in my hair’s health and texture is washing it less. Years ago when my hairdresser told me to wait a few days between shampoos I thought the idea was gross and that my hair would look awful… Well, it did.

Your hair if used to being washed everyday will produce oils right on cue because that is what it’s been trained to do. Gradually, I went every other day..then every few days.. and eventually I could go 3/4 days without washing my hair and without it looking oily! Be forewarned, it did take a few months for my hair to fully adjust. That being said, my hair grew faster, was healthier and hey – you’re using less product and less time, you get to sleep in later and be a little lazier! All good things to me.

Dry shampoo is your friend. (They make it for dark hair too now which is awesome)

In lieu of dry shampoo I’ve been using a salt spray on my roots/crown. (The salt absorbs the oil). Mine is by Davines and smells amazing. Perfect for full-bodied beachy hair.

Another thing that’s improved my hair is using a clarifying shampoo to reduce any product build up (every other time I shampoo). Shampoo with sulfates in it isn’t great for you hair, but if you’ve been using one that contains sulfates and you switch to a sulfate – free shampoo be prepared for dryness in your hair FYI. I deep condition my hair about once a week. When washing out conditioner, it’s best to use cold water to rinse because it seals the cuticle. I’m a fan of hot showers so I’ll wash the conditioner out in the sink using cool water.

And if your hair is just not working with ya, you can't go wrong with a big braid
And if your hair is just not working with ya, you can’t go wrong with a big braid

Detangler (Brand: It’s a 10!) also has leave in conditioner/heat protectant in it. A little goes a long way.

wet brush (I use this daily and got a 2 pack off amazon. Only thing is you can’t use with heat)

apply a small amount of “fast food” for hair leave-in conditioner in your ends. (if you apply throughout your hair it will weigh it down)

Using a round brush I blow my hair out with my Harry Josh blow dryer. Honestly, this initially appealed to me because the Victoria’s Secret angels were being styled with it but it cuts the time in half!! I had a $50 coupon code for it – it is pricey but supposed to last years & years.

After blowing it out, I typically apply a little serum, coconut oil, or Moroccan oil. Generally, I think the less product the better. Keeping it simple is best!

Using my curling wand I got off Groupon (only $21.99 – normally $183 WHATTTT), I curl large sections away from my face. Takes 5 minutes now that I’m used to it. I keep the hair around the wand about 10 seconds. Depending on the curls you want, I pin them if I want bouncier, set curls but I prefer kind of messy curls so I only let it cool for a few minutes. The longer the curls cool in the same shape the longer they typically last. A brand I would recommend for any of their hot tools is ghd.

Day 1 - pinned to set for bouncy curls
Day 1 – pinned to set for bouncy curls

Not a big fan of hair spray. I think hair should be soft and manageable and you should be able to run your fingers though it. I only use it  sparingly (if I do use it).

After using heat on my hair, I don’t use heat on it again for a few days. I reason that if I style it once and it will last a while then it’s not really that bad. I normally get more compliments on the 2nd or 3rd day after I’ve styled it when it’s the messy bedhead loose waves.

Day 2
Day 2

Satin pillowcase. If you don’t have one, get one. My hair stays relatively smooth while I’m sleeping and there’s less breakage. Added benefit- it’s also better for your eyelashes, doesn’t leave any red marks on your face and is supposed to cause less wrinkles. Mine are charcoal grey and I got them off amazon (as I do pretty much everything because it’s cost effective and I avoid shopping). If you’re really trying to avoid breakage, stay away from towel-drying your hair and use an old t-shirt instead.

Typically I get a hair cut every 3 months or so (you don’t need to do every six weeks unless you have considerable damage)

Bettina Howard is my hairdresser and you can book with her at Sanctuary Salon in Cornelius. She’s an all around great lady and has somehow managed to keep my long hair relatively healthy through being blonde, brunette, black, and back to red/blonde. She was able to take me from brunette to red/blonde in ONE sitting which is a challenge for any hairdresser. (Granted, it took 4 hours, we ordered a pizza and drank sangria staying open after hours) But she’s so fun I was able to sit still for that long which is kind of unheard of.

10527564_10101569161142230_6889576840852816637_n
day 3
10524658_10101561544206630_361979787656416196_n
day 3

Girls Night In

Before Deep Conditioning your hair, I first brush it out, shampoo, then add conditioner. This is what we used but any leave-in or hair masque is fine. Rinse with cool water.

10928982_10101668464617270_8428298241061442574_n
Using my Nike kicks, I created 2 stations to heat our hair while we were deep conditioning. The heat from the dryer opens the hair cuticle for the conditioner to fully saturate your hair.
1424430_10101668482890650_5889687037550468156_n
I absolutely love quality time with friends and our little setup was so comfortable we didn’t want to get up. It’s also great to multi-task and eat cookies while you’re doing something healthy for your hair!
10929015_10101668462945620_2342215688250107695_n
My roommates and I started drinking sleepy time tea to relax before bedtime and now it’s become part of our routine. (Except we are weirdos… so after a few sips we’ll be mid sentence and pretend to pass out or fall to the floor like a sack of potatoes) Completely normal stuff, I tell ya.


10421622_10101668462326860_2203413801764941613_n10423264_10101668464851800_3812076364977316573_n10943925_10101668464976550_6831606786781578917_n10922835_10101668464627250_6189513077725737516_n 10256282_10101668483145140_658893896942505596_n10450928_10101668482601230_1702296950851216004_n10926435_10101668482725980_8852790555343442498_n10959327_10101668483155120_3025479776371990808_n (1)z 10421397_10101668462321870_2042782172902535133_n

My friend Josanne got me a whole kit of bath stuff from Lush and I'm in Love. It was kind of like watching a science experiment watching the water change from purple to green to blue and my skin felt soooo soft.
My friend Josanne got me a whole kit of bath stuff from Lush and I’m in Love. It was kind of like watching a science experiment watching the water change from purple to green to blue and my skin felt soooo soft.

If baths are your thing, definitely check out Lush bath bombs.

Tan Hands

Spray Tans..

Funny story, in middle school I tried out one of those at home sprays from the drug store and had no idea what I was doing.. Did not use gloves and my hands were super dark for school the next day. And THAT is how I became “Tan Hands”. Ross-Spray-Tan-Sunless

You don’t want to be tan hands, kids. Also, while we’re at it another rule of thumb:

wpid-Photo-5-Jul-2013-734-PM1

Spray tans are funny because they seem to show up on people completely differently. I do the darkest shade and it makes me only look only slightly darker. Don’t get me wrong, I like the pale look too but having some color evens out my skin tone and I feel I look more fit with a bit of a tan, my eyes and teeth look brighter, and I feel like I don’t need as much make up if I’m a little tan. If spray tans aren’t your thing scroll to the bottom for my other favorite tan products.

This day I had gotten a spray tan the day before but didn't let it develop long because I wanted to look really natural.
I had gotten a spray tan the day before but didn’t let it develop long because I wanted to look somewhat natural with just a little color.

I get a spray tan at least once a month normally at Ultratan. The good news is that spray tan technology has improved even in the past couple of years and the formulas are SO much better. (So if you got a spray tan for prom years ago and didn’t like it, it may be time to try it out again.) I use the mystic booth (I’ve had the custom air brush at a different place and that was nice too, but much more expensive). Most girls I know have had at least one spray tan in their life, but I’ll walk you through the basics.

Before getting a spray tan, exfoliate your whole body thoroughly and shave. (Post for my homemade exfoliating scrub.) Don’t apply lotion.

I normally wear yoga pants or something else that’s dark and comfortable.

Apply blending cream on your hands or any dry areas on your body and cover your hair. This is probably frowned upon, but rather than purchase the “sticky feet” each time, I just use the hand towel provided in the room to stand on in the booth (because who wants the bottoms of your feet to look dark? And also I’m kind of a brat and want to beat the system)

The machine walks you through it.

Don’t be like Ross. (still laugh watching this).

After, I use hand sanitizer to get some of the pigment off my hands or anywhere else as needed. The longer the spray tan develops, the darker it will be. (Wait at least 4-6 hours before showering). If I have an event or something I want to be tan for, I normally get a spray tan a day or 2 prior (not the day of).  If you ever want to remove spray tan color baking soda + water is the best at removing it. 

I'm tanner on the left side (probably about as tan as I'd dare to go) but you can see how being tanner makes you appear slimmer, etc.
I’m tanner on the left side (probably about as tan as I’d dare to go) but you can see how being tanner makes you appear slimmer, etc.

If I want to look darker (like in the left photo), in addition to the spray tan I’ve gotten I’ll use either Tomas or fake bake airbrush in the shower (a couple light coats look better than one heavy coat).  Run the nozzle under warm water after use to avoid it clogging between uses. I’ve heard great things about Tanwise and will be trying that next. I used to use gloves but now that I’m a pro I don’t use them. (Ha! Tan Hands no more!) When I use these the tan lasts about a week. The same rules apply as far as developing goes.

Don’t exfoliate for several days (until you’re ready for your tan to come off) If you do too soon your skin will look patchy. Moisturize Lots!

Listed below are some of my favorites when I don’t spray tan but still want some subtle color:

This smells amazing and adds the perfect amount of sheen. I loved it so much when I first discovered it I stocked up and gave it away as gifts.
This smells amazing and adds the perfect amount of sheen. I loved it so much when I first discovered it I stocked up and gave it away as gifts.
x354
This has a slight luminous effect.
sally_hansen_airbrush_legs
I really like the way this looks but you have to be careful about what you sit on, etc. because it will sometimes come off onto other surfaces.

Cheers

Chevy my favorite hound dog
Chevy my favorite hound dog

image

Improvising. #wherehaveallthehairtiesgone
Improvising. #wherehaveallthehairtiesgone
image
love snuggling with this dog

image image image image image image

The elephant in the room
The elephant in the room

image

image
steven madden shoes. Bebe top. H & M pants.
282563_608731097780_3407696_n
New Year’s Eve dress
1798830_10101652192656410_6522990090881861430_n
New Year’s day was spent at the park drinking champagne. Can’t think of a better way to start the new year!
10887530_10101651986594360_4269797482545771407_o
J.Crew ad
10898056_10101651888361220_1710716412493010827_n
hair of the dog

10941846_10101667781920400_4781530989296285072_n 10882146_10101652158210440_3053399553221855659_n 10906023_10101651951769150_4951539592756944238_n

Red Hunter boots. Heart Sweater from Tobi use promo code SHOP50 for 50% off. Currently out of stock Similar Here. Also Love this one & this one. Sequin Peplum top from BeBe out of stock on their website found it here. Loving this one too. My favorite Kate Spade “cheers” gold necklace here. Steve Madden heels. Michael Kors watch. Purse sold out online, similar here.

Lessons Learned

We are not “regret” people… and tend to believe that every past experience has led us to be the people who are today.

That being said – here are some of the lessons learned along the way:

1) Do not trim your own bangs. Ever.  Even if you have an epiphany about how great they would look on you and feel the urge to do it right then…. resist that urge, people.  On that note, whenever you do decide to randomly transform your hair and suffer the pangs of immediate regret remember these two words “HAIR GROWS”. 

2) Do not try to eat anything barbecued while wearing white.  Very bad idea.

3) If you are angry, get offline.  Turn off your phone.  Once something is said in anger – it’s out there and you can’t take it back.

4) Most of us girls learned this lesson as teenagers… be very careful when plucking your own eyebrows.  It’s easy to get carried away.  I wish someone had told me this early on. 

5) SAVE.SAVE.SAVE.  Start having a budget early on.  If you’re already in the habit of being in a budget it will be much easier than starting when you absolutely have to. And don’t look at budgets as a punishment – instead of things, you have money!  Tip: Only buy things if you absolutely LOVE them.  Don’t buy anything impulsively.  Leave the store and if you still find yourself longing for that item sleep on it.  If you really want it then you’ll find time to go back for it.  I also try to think about how many hours I would have to work to pay for that item.  (If someone said to you – “Would you work x amount of hours for this item?”, would you?  If the answer is “no” then skip it.  Chances are you’ll forget about how badly you wanted it in a few hours anyways.  When I moved recently I came across so many things that I bought because I reasoned with myself that I “needed” them and now I wish I could have the money instead and INVEST it. You live, you learn.

6) This always seems to happen when you’re working on the majorest of major projects.  Your computer shuts off.  Everything is lost.  Hit “save” every 5 seconds.  It will save you so much grief if you’ve ever lost all of your work.

7) Girls & Guys – Be single and ENJOY it.  And while you’re single focus on yourself and self-improvement… so that by the time you meet an oh-so-special someone you are even more amazing than you already are.  And have even higher standards than ever before.  Learn a new language, get another degree, work out allll the time and focus on your professional career.  Grow as much as you possibly can.  The happier you are by yourself the happier you have the potential to be with someone else.  Besides, what if this is the last time you’re ever single? LIVE. IT. UP.

8) You have the key to your own happiness.  Change your way of thinking.  Choose to be optimistic and let things roll off your shoulders.  Take a deep breath and ask yourself if in the grand scheme of things if it’s really worth being upset over.  You’ll live longer.  You’ll be more attractive to others.  And you’ll be more successful in everything you do.  If you don’t like your situation FIX IT.

9) Don’t “hunt” guys.  They don’t like it and it makes you look desperate.  I would never ever want to be “that” girl who is still texting some guy even though he wants nothing to do with her.  I’m a strong believer that  guys should pursue girls anyways.  I hate seeing girls chase after guys.  Let them chase you.  It’s half the fun.

10) Don’t eat it unless it’s worth the calories.  Certain things are just worth gaining a pound or two for.

11) Be careful who you surround yourself with.  Aim to be friends with those who are of a good quality.  It’s far better to have a few friends that you can genuinely count on as opposed to many who aren’t very worthwhile to have around.  Whether you want to or not you end up absorbing things from those who you spend time with.  It’s always better to have friends who are a little wiser, more experienced, and more mature than you so that you can learn from them.  And if they have a boat that’s a plus, too.  JK.  But… really if you can find friends that have a boat shoot for that.

12) Bro’s before Ho’s.

13) Try your best to not burn bridges if it can be helped.   Leave a business on good terms.  Refrain from speaking badly about exes if you can.  The faster you can let go of any bitterness and resentment the happier you will be.  Only wish good things for them even if it didn’t end well.  You’ll feel better. 

14) Ladies, I know you may like to wear red lipstick from time to time and you do look chic.  But let me fill you in… most guys can’t STAND it. 

15) Guys, do not wear puka shell necklaces. Just… don’t do it.

16) Spending time with the wrong person is just time wasted.  True, you learn from the experience and it DOES shape you.  And sometimes you can’t move on until going back for a second round and after the punches roll, maybe you wish you hadn’t.  Sometimes you need to go back to have that extra push towards moving on without a shred of doubt.  After that second round… RUN.  Far away.  Again – wasting time with the wrong person is just time wasted.  This applies to friendships and relationships. 

 Lots of Love

J

%d bloggers like this: