New Hair, Fun Outfit, Bright Lipstick, White Teeth

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#OpticSmiles #CollectiveBias

collection

I read a blog post the other day from a woman who is my age. The post was all about whether women should lie about their age. At one time (in my younger days) I probably would have said yes. Now that I’m past the age where I even care… my answer is NO. Don’t ever lie about your age. What’s the point? So the hair isn’t quite as thick as it used to be and my clothes are a little dated at times and my white teeth aren’t so white and bright anymore. This is me… counting down the days until 50.

The problem is that I don’t feel 50. And I know it’s really up to me whether I want to look 50. I don’t. Not because I’m not okay with my age… but because why does 50 have to look old?

It doesn’t.

This has been a good year for me (yes, I know the year just started) but I am doing some traveling and attending some conferences and even speaking at some as well. I DO want to look my best, so I decided some things had to change.

HAIR

I had the same hair style for years and was just getting sick and tired of it. In a spur-of-the-moment decision I decided to cut my bangs. Okay… maybe not my most brilliant idea. They ended up being way shorter than I wanted… but luckily hair DOES grow back. The point is, I needed some kind of change and since my hair is straight, I’m kind of limited. Never mind the deer-in-the-headlights look.

haircollage

 CLOTHES

I refuse to wear “old lady” clothes. You know what I mean. I’m a Pinterest freak and am constantly looking for outfits that I can get away with wearing without looking like I’m trying too hard to be young. Since I do have some events coming up where I need to dress up a little more than usual, I’ve been buying some fun new pieces that can be dressed up or down. Thought I would share. They all have the thumbs-up approval from my 12 year old daughter, who happens to think I dress pretty well for a woman my age. Must be why she “steals” all my clothes.

outfitcollage

LIPSTICK

Don’t laugh at me… please. I have NEVER been a big lipstick fan. I see women taking out their lipstick 100 times a day to reapply and I just sit there and wonder why on earth anyone would go to that much trouble. Every time I get a little dressed up, my husband asks me if I’m going to wear lipstick. In fact, he asked me the other day if I put on any make-up. I did. But apparently I didn’t put enough on because he couldn’t even tell the difference. I’m really bad at make-up… and colors. Nothing ever seems to look good on me. I also hate that I’m drawing attention to my mouth and my teeth (see below), but I am determined to at least TRY to like lipstick. I bought a few different colors to try… thoughts?

lipstickcollage

Surprisingly enough, I kind of like the red. I NEVER thought I could wear red, but it’s not so bad. Maybe time to rethink the make-up.

WHITE TEETH

I got braces when I was in junior high school and had them on for 4 years. FOUR YEARS! I had to beg them to take them off so I wouldn’t go through my senior year of high school with braces on. Did they fix my teeth? Nope. 4 years down the drain. (And all the money with it.) What I did end up with is horrible discolored teeth. Okay… maybe I’m being dramatic, but I’ve always hated the color of my teeth. I’ve tried over the counter whiteners before but they were messy and ugly and sticky and never really helped much.

Shopping in Walmart the other day, I noticed something new…  Colgate® Express White Toothpaste.  It has 2 times more of the professionally recommended whitening ingredient (vs. Optic White® Sparkling Mint TP) and it only takes 3 days until you have whiter teeth… just from brushing! It’s a TOOTHPASTE! What could be easier than that?

toothpaste

toothbrush

So I did the 3 day white test and I’m not disappointed. I actually really like the toothpaste – it isn’t gritty and doesn’t have any after-taste. And I did see a different in my teeth. Ready for the creepy teeth picture?

teethcollage

I took the photos in the same place and at the same time of day. I am just loving the results. I admit, I was a skeptic… but my teeth DO look whiter… and who wouldn’t want white teeth?

What would having whiter teeth mean to you? Let me know if you try out Colgate® Express White Toothpaste.

Learn more about Colgate® on their social media platforms TWITTER and FACEBOOK.


Take the Next Step: Life Coaching #Giveaway

I was provided with a complimentary You@the Center course in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are entirely my own.

logo-drop-shadow

My journey started in the first 100 days, but it hasn’t ended yet. You don’t start and stop a new life plan. It’s continuous, if it’s done right. You don’t alter the course of your life and then 100 days later go back to the old way of doing things. 100 days of introspection changes you.

I encourage you to go back and read my journey… read about what I’ve learned, how I’ve changed and where I’ve ended up.

Time to Make a Difference with You@ the Center

You at the Center – Turns Out I Really DID Need Some Life Coaching

Thinking of Getting a Life Coach? Focus on YOU in the New Year!

Meet Rachel Davis and find out why she created the You@ the Center 100 Day Course HERE.

unnamed

Still interested? Are you ready to dive in and change your life? Rachel is offering one of my readers a FREE 100 Day Course. The regular price for this is $495 so I’m really excited that I’m giving one away. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me before entering. I want to make sure that you are ready to begin this transformation. It might be uncomfortable and it won’t be easy… but you will come out the other side more confident, less stressed, well rested and having much more fun in your life.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Launching a Business From Your Blog

blogtobusiness

This past weekend I spoke on an amazing panel at the Lifestyle Bloggers Conference that was on the theme of blogging and business. What struck me as pretty remarkable about this panel was that all three of us who were speaking each used our blog for a different purpose. Christa O’Leary created her blog as part of her business website to enhance her business services. Alaia Williams started blogging with the intention of having the blog become part of her business. I started blogging without any intention of it being the stepping stone to my current career in social media.

panel picturePhoto courtesy of Calvin Lee

While we each came to blogging through different means, we all knew the importance of having a blog and using it as a tool to enhance our business endeavors. I get asked all the time if every business needs a blog. My answer is usually no, but whether you need one or not doesn’t mean that adding a blog to your existing website or simply starting one as a stand-alone entity wouldn’t be helpful.

It also doesn’t mean that if you have a blog, even a very successful one, that you should turn it into a business. For those of you who weren’t at the conference, I thought I’d share my story.

The Journey

I have been blogging for a long time and when I look back on how I started, I wish I had known there was a community like this even years earlier. I had given up my 9 – 5 job to stay home with my babies. It was a conscious choice that both my husband and I were in agreement with. I had 3 children before I realized that staying home and being a Mom was kind of driving me crazy. I felt that for my own sanity, I needed to have some kind of creative outlet… plus, I missed working and making money. I fell back into interior design, what I had my college degree in, and tried to be a work-at-home-mom before that started wearing thin. Juggling a business with three small children at home stressed me out even more. When I realized that I just couldn’t “do it all” I again chose to stay home with my children over building the business.

When we planned a road trip along Route 66 for our summer vacation, I decided it would be fun to take a laptop with me and write about our experiences. I was always a big scrapbook fan and this was another creative outlet for me. Little did I know that those first pretty awful blog posts and photos would launch me into something so much bigger and better than I ever anticipated.

I discovered there was an entire community of women (and men) who blogged. I also knew that if I wanted to write better and have more people follow me, I needed to do some serious learning about this new craft. That’s when I learned about blog conferences. From that first conference I attended, I started to meet people and make connections that I still have today.

It was a journey for sure. I blogged for several years before I started doing what is called sponsored posts. Those are blog posts that I get paid to write from businesses that are looking to reach my audience. Eventually I’ll do an entirely new blog post on what exactly a sponsored post is… but let’s just say those sponsored posts are what turned my “hobby” blog into a “professional” blog. Once you get paid for doing something, amateur hour is over.

I did sponsored posts for years (still do), and other bloggers make money by advertising on their blogs: either through ad networks or paid blog buttons and banners. What the sponsored posts did for me is help me hone my writing skills and my photography skills. It also helped me land a job with Collective Bias, one of the premier networks for connecting bloggers and brands.

I was getting paid to write for different businesses AND I was working for a company helping to lead larger blog campaigns. While I loved working with other bloggers and being a mentor to them as well, I also became immersed in the social media side of it all. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest… I quickly learned how to use each platform in the most advantageous way and started helping other bloggers, friends and local businesses navigate the social media waters. I loved it.

One of the things I mentioned in my panel was figuring out what you are really good at and learning how to reach out to people who were knowledgeable about the things you aren’t. For me, I knew that there were technical aspects of blogging that I wasn’t very good at. I was a writer and social media strategist first and foremost, but learning how to design websites and set up hosting plans wasn’t really my strong suite. When I met Melissa Dell, I knew that she would be a strong alley to compliment by lack of skills. We partnered in the SoCal Lady Bloggers network, and then we partnered in starting our social media company, Social Elements Media.

The progression wasn’t overnight, but looking back there was definitely a logical path from those first blogging days to where I am now. Whether you start with a business plan in mind, or you come to it after a journey of trial and error, you CAN use your blog as an important tool to expand your income and your reach.

 


Celebrating Chinese New Year with Tai Pei®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearFortune #CollectiveBias

meal

If you haven’t guessed it yet, we’re not Chinese. We don’t celebrate Chinese New Year in the sense that Chinese people celebrate it. In fact, when I was a kid, Chinese New Year scared the you-know-what out of me. Now, I think it’s pretty awesome… all those firecrackers and dragons, but my first experience with Chinese New Year was when I was around 12 and we ventured into Chinatown in New York City. I used to love going there and eating at authentic Chinese restaurants. They were definitely better than the ones my Jewish grandparents in Florida dragged us too (you know… the kind where the “pork” was kosher).

We happened to be there for Chinese New Year and it completely caught me by surprise. The noise, the chaos, the crazy dragons. It was so loud that I wanted to get the heck out of there. I guess as a kid, I didn’t appreciate all that Chinese New Year had to offer. What scared me as a kid I know embrace and think is pretty awesome! The noise, the chaos, the crazy dragons… WHAT FUN!

I should mention I adore Chinese food. Seriously… I love it so much that my mother even had a gold fortune cookie charm made for me for my charm bracelet. I’m guessing I ate my fill of chow mein, beef & broccoli, and egg rolls when I was growing up. And those fortune cookies… who doesn’t love those? I don’t remember when I first actually had Chinese food, but I’m pretty sure I took a bite of an egg roll and proclaimed that it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

bracelet

This year, Chinese New Year is on February 19th and I thought it would be really fun to make an authentic Chinese meal for the family and also do something special for the kids. I think it’s so important that they learn a little about ALL customs across the world. Chinese New Year is also a great time to get friends and family together to celebrate the wish of “good fortune” in the year ahead. Traditionally, appetizers are served and red-envelope gifts given. Sounds like a great party to me!

I knew that part of the meal would have to include egg rolls, because, hey… I love me some egg rolls. Now, as much as I love egg rolls, that’s how much I don’t like making egg rolls. Seriously, when you can purchase awesome Tai Pei® Egg Rolls and Mini Spring Rolls, you can focus on the rest of your party/dinner. If you haven’t tried Tai Pei®, they are authentic Asian appetizers that are ready in minutes. They are everything you want in an egg roll or spring roll… fresh veggies, chicken, pork or shrimp… all in a crispy wrapper. OMG I’m hungry! They even come packaged with their own dipping sauce. Yes, please!

Luckily, Walmart has great Tai Pei® products that taste as authentic as you can get.

taipeicollage

While we can certainly eat egg rolls and spring rolls as a meal… my daughter had been wanting to make Pad Thai for a while now. She thought it would be a great fit with the egg rolls and spring rolls and when my kid wants to cook… who am I to stop her? So we had Pad Thai along with the egg rolls and spring rolls. Love that they take just minutes to cook in the oven (or you can even microwave them). They even come with their own dipping sauce.

padthai

eggroll1

You have to love food that you can keep in your freezer and take out for a last minute party, quick lunch, afternoon snack, or as part of a gourmet meal. Here’s a tip: Keep a bunch of chop sticks handy. They are super inexpensive and can be found at any local Asian market.

post1

Throwing a party? Tai Pei® Spring Rolls are the perfect finger food.

springrolls

One of the things I really love about Chinese New Year is learning about the Chinese horoscope. This year is the Year of the Sheep, but my kids were born in the Year of the Monkey, Year of the Horse, and Year of the Rabbit. I used to be a HUGE fan of horoscopes and I thought it would be fun to make a Chinese horoscope picture for each of my girls because I really love what they represent.

pictures

This project took me less than an hour… really! I purchased some inexpensive black picture frames from Walmart (the ones that can either be stand-up or hung on a wall) and I did the prints in a Word Doc. So easy and a great idea for any last minute gift for someone. You can make them for your whole family.

Tai Pei® Good Fortune in Every Box™

How are YOU celebrating Chinese New Year? Share your ideas in the comments.

Check out the Chinese New Year app on the Tai Pei® Facebook page. The Red Envelope tab will include a coupon and will run until coupons run out – so download yours now!

Want more Tai Pei® food ideas? Follow them on Twitter and check out their Pinterest page.

Quick and Easy Pad Thai
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy and fast pad thai recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Ingredients
  • 1 box Thai Rice Noodles (can be found in the Asian aisle at your local grocery store)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs crushed garlic
  • Pad Thai Sauce (we cheated and used a ready-made bottle)
  • vegetable oil
  • cilantro
  • chopped peanuts or peanut butter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the chicken breast up into small pieces and fry in the oil until done. Add garlic.
  2. Boil the noodles as you would boil pasta, however, do not over cook or they will be sticky.
  3. Scramble the eggs.
  4. To the ready noodles, add bean sprouts, chicken, eggs and peanuts or peanut butter if you choose.
  5. Add the Pad Thai sauce - to taste.
  6. Garnish with cilantro.
  7. You can also add in some red chili pepper flakes for added heat.

 

 


Celebrating Love this Valentine’s Day with a Dove® Fruit Chocolate Tart Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Hero Shot

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Pretty sure that’s true since every time I make something special for my husband, he is very appreciative. We are not the overly romantic Valentine’s Day kind of people. We always do cards, maybe a little chocolate, and aside from the usual roses, we’re pretty much done. I think I spend more time getting the kids something special than my husband. I don’t know why… he is one of those people it’s really hard to shop for. When I start thinking about what he would like, it usually has to do with FOOD.

Since we tend to bake a lot in our house (the beauty of having three daughters who love cooking), I started thinking about what I could make that was different from my usual recipes, but adding that extra something special for Valentine’s Day. I found some fabulous ideas when I was in Target… including some heart-shaped spring form pans. I’ve been wanting these for a long time and voila! lucky for me, Target had them.

photo6

Thinking of what I could do with chocolate (because Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate), I thought a fruit & chocolate tart would absolutely be the ideal dessert for Valentine’s Day… and the Dove® Fruit Chocolate I picked up would be perfect to help make it extra special.

dovecollage

I gathered all my ingredients and was ready to get to baking.

custardingredients

Ingredients for Custard:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 cups Half & Half
2 large eggs (you will only use the yolks)
2 tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Prep your eggs ahead of time by separating the yolks and whisking them together. Discard the egg whites. In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt while pouring in the half & half slowly. You want to make sure you whisk everything as smooth as possible. Keep whisking for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Once thick, turn off the heat. Pour about half of the mixture into the bowl of egg yolks and whisk together. Then, pour that egg mixture back into the saucepan and finish mixing all together. Add the butter and vanilla until all is mixed very well.

custardmix

At this point, you want to take a very fine colander or sieve and put it over a large bowl. You will pour the mixture through the sieve so all the lumps are removed and the custard is extra smooth and creamy. Cover with plastic wrap (you don’t want the top to harden up) and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can leave it overnight if you are making the tart the next day.

crustingredients

Ingredients for Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter cut up into small pieces
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbs. lemon juice
3 tbs. ice water

In a mixer with a dough attachment, blend the flour and butter until you get a coarse consistency. Add the lemon zest, juice and ice water until the dough forms. Take out and either refrigerate until needed… or press dough into your spring form pans. I used the heart shaped ones I bought, but you can use one tart pan if you like.

crustmix

Once the dough is ready in the pan, freeze for up to 20 minutes until the dough is hard and cold. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Prick crust with a fork and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely.

When the crusts are cool, you will assemble your tart. Spoon the custard into the crusts and top as desired.

While at Target, I picked up a few other supplies to make this Valentine’s Day extra special: Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts to pair with some fresh fruit from the produce department. Can I tell you how much I LOVE that Target is a one-stop shop to get everything I need for my family!

dovecollage2

The beauty of fruit and chocolate is that they go so perfectly together. Don’t you think? So tell me which one is your favorite?

tart6

For this tart, I added Dove® Whole Cherries on top with some powdered sugar. You can also add the Dove® Whole Blueberries or Dove® Whole Cranberries.

tart2

This tart had cut up strawberries with a Dove® Dark Chocolate Heart on top… plated with melted chocolate. Take about 3 Dove® Dark Chocolate Hearts and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. Drizzle on plate.

tart4

For this tart, I cut up fresh oranges and drizzled melted Dove® Dark Chocolate on top. Orange and chocolate are perfect together.

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? I’d love to hear about your family traditions or special recipes.

Learn more about Dove® on their Website and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Dove® Fruit Chocolate Tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The perfect recipe for someone you love on Valentine's Day.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • Custard:
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Crust:
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Whisk your egg yolks together. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt while pouring in the half & half slowly.
  3. Keep whisking for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Once thick, turn off the heat.
  4. Pour about half of the mixture into the bowl of egg yolks and whisk together.
  5. Then, pour that egg mixture back into the saucepan and finish mixing all together.
  6. Add the butter and vanilla until all is mixed very well.
  7. Take a very fine colander or sieve and put it over a large bowl.
  8. Pour the mixture through the sieve so all the lumps are removed and the custard is extra smooth and creamy.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap (you don’t want the top to harden up) and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can leave it overnight if you are making the tart the next day.
  10. To make the crust, blend the flour and butter with a dough mixer until you get a coarse consistency. Add the lemon zest, juice and ice water until the dough forms.
  11. Take out and either refrigerate until needed… or press dough into your spring form pans.
  12. Freeze for at least 20 minutes or until very cold and hard.
  13. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  14. Prick dough with a fork and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
  15. Cool completely.
  16. Fill will custard and top with ingredients of choice.