Sunday, May 20, 2012


I went home a few weekends ago, and while at home, I found a jewelry box filled with awesome jewelry from my Grandma (thanks Gram!).  My Grandma and I have similiar tastes in jewelry, and there was some amazing stuff in the box.

One of my favorite parts was all the clip-on earrings.  They inspired me to start wearing more earrings because I hadn't worn earrings since our company's Christmas party.  In fact, I momentarily panicked and thought my holes might have closed up, but thankfully they didn't.

The problem I am having now is earring shopping online is really fun.  You don't have to worry about the earrings not fitting, and the box is so small they usually fit in the mail box.  This is good because I don't have to make a trip to the office fit into my schedule.

Here are my favorites.

These bohemian hoops are from Forever 21.  I prefer the style I got - hot pink with gold, but this color pairing is also pretty cute (and the one I got is sold out).  The best part about these earrings is they only cost $7 and they don't look cheap at all.  I have always liked the look of hoops but never thought I could pull them off, so this will be a fun way to try it out.

These are Isabel Marant earrings from Net-A-Porter.  They are pretty expensive, but the sleek design with fun tassles is classy yet unique.  The color is gorgeous and the purple and clear beads are very shiny.  The gold hardware is also a nice burnished color.  Even better - these match a dress I have perfectly!

I got these ones from Mango as my super-adventurous pair.  I wouldn't recommend buying them.  They are super heavy and some of the white strings are starting to fray already.  I knew I was taking a chance on these, but I still think the design is fun.

These earrings are Vanessa Mooney earrings and they are 100% my absolute favorite.  I am in love with Vanessa Mooney.  She is a jewlelry designer based out of California, which means any purchases arrive at the house fairly quickly.  The items are handmade and gorgeous.  These beauties are super light weight and make a quiet tinkling sound when shooken.  They are smaller than I thought - only about three inches long.  The colors are gorgeous and I would recommend these for anyone.  They give a cool Native American type look.  I also love the earrings in green.

There is pink as well, but I don't like the design as much.
In addition to earrings, Vanessa Mooney makes necklaces.  These are my two favorite African inspired necklaces.

As a warning, for some weird reason, Vanessa Mooney always lists her jewelry more expensive on her site than the price at other sites.  I would recommend looking at (trying using VIP20 for 20% off) or

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tropical Nails

I am far from good at painting my nails, but it is fun to try and get creative sometimes.  When I was in middle school, my best friend's new year's resolution was to paint her nails a different color every day, and she actually did it!  I paint them about once a week and then I spend half the week with chipped nails.  It is a bad habit and not cute.

I decided I wanted to paint my nails in my favorite shade of blue - 404 Titanium by Rimmel Lasting Finish.  I have had this nail polish for at least 7 years, so I couldn't even find the shade online.  I am surprised it still works.  I have Revlon nail polishes that seem to get a weird texture almost immediately after purchase.  The Rimmel polish is still as good as new and one of my favorite colors.  However, I decided that because I have had this nail polish for sooooo long, it was also time to splurge on a new shade.

I went down to Walmart to check out the Maybelline Color Show collection.  I LOVE IT!  All the polishes are great colors with four main categories - denim (2 shades), shredded (4 shades), metallics (I think 3 shades) and normal color (about 30 shades).  All the colors are awesome and the best part is the polish only costs $3 a bottle.  It is very hard to find qualiy nail polish at that price.

This is a new line so I had to find it on the end cap of a makeup aisle.  I almost thought it wasn't available, until I turned the last corner.

I decided to buy Denim Dash because A) I had no idea what "denim" nail polish would look like and B) I already love the blue I have so might as well try another shade.

Denim Dash goes on as a really pretty, beautiful sparkly dark blue.  I really liked the shade.  However, I looked down at my toes about five minutes later, and they looked completely different!  As the color dries, it turns into a matte blue that somehow does look strangely like denim.  I have never had a matte nailpolish before, but it is a very cool effect.  I couldn't believe Maybelline actually held up their end of the bargain and created a nail polish that produces an actual denim effect.  I was expecting a blue denim shade, but the nail polish even looks like the texture of denim.

This is a great nailpolish and I can't wait to try out the other shades.  I still haven't bought a shattered/shredded/crackled style nail polish, so I am curious to see how I end up liking those.

Also note that when I paint my nails, I like to experiment with some really fun nail stickers my Mom got me for Christmas (Thanks Mom!).  They are super easy to use and come in fun designs like small flowers, large flowers, decorative lace tips, and rhinestones.  I use tweezers to peel off the stickers and place on my nails.  They stick just fine, but a top coat would help keep them on longer.  They look great and a few people have even asked me if I painted the flowers myself.  I think they run about $3/pack, and a pack holds at least 200 stickers.  If you compare that to the price of a professional nail salon flower (five dollars, just five dollars!) it is a great bargain.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Steel Cut Oats

I love oatmeal.  It becomes a special treat when slow cooked over the stove, rather than prepared in the microwave with the contents of a packet.  Don't get me wrong - I do love packets of instant oatmeal and they have saved my starving belly more times that I can count.  However, slow cooked oatmeal and instant oatmeal are barely even in the same food group.  Slow cooked oatmeal is luscious and satisfying, and sometimes I even eat it for dinner.

My favorite way to make oatmeal is with steel-cut oats.  I buy the Bob's Red Mill brand.  Steel cut oats look different than normal oatmeal - they look kind of like tiny slivered almonds.  I cook them until they are softened but still chewy.  I am honestly not sure if they are always chewy, or if I stop cooking too soon and just prefer it like that.  It seems like the texture I enjoy them at is a texture most people would find odd, so you may want to experiment with cooking longer or adding more liquid.

Ingredients (for one serving)
1/3 cup-1/2 cup nonfat milk, depending on how soft you want the texture
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup steel cut oats
Dried cranberries
Cinnamon, to taste
Heavy cream (optional)


1) Bring milk and water to a boil in a small saucepan.

2) Add oats, cinnamon (as much as you want), and cranberries.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for at least 20 minutes.  Add more liquid as necessary to get the desired texture.

3) Serve with walnuts and a small amount of heavy cream drizzled over top (optional).  You can also try adding coconut, brown sugar, raisins, almonds, etc.  Get creative!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Skillet Eggs and Tomato Sauce

I love eggs, but freaked out temporarily when fried eggs just wasn't hitting the spot for me.  I went from craving eggs (evening snack, dessert, over salads, etc.) to indifference.  It was really sad, so I started looking for egg recipes to reinvigorate my love of eggs.  I think I just may have just ate too many of them.

My search for egg recipes brought me to Skillet Eggs and Tomato Sauce, which is an awesome recipe for a healthy, delicious, indulgent breakfast.  I made it in the morning, but I wake up ridiculously early so I have plenty of time to relax.  My mom does this and I used to think she was crazy for waking up so early, but now I totally get it.  Make this for a Sunday morning brunch or if you have some extra time before work.  It doesn't take a lot of work, but did require some monitoring. 

This is also another awesome egg recipe that makes it almost impossible to overcook your yolks.  I hate when yolks are overcooked!

Ingredients (for 2 servings)
Olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Crushed red-pepper flakes, to taste
1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped (sold where you buy tuna fish, in a little tin - about $3.00)
14oz whole peeled tomatoes in juice
4 large eggs
Fresh parsley
Crusty bread (I didn't use, but would be delicious)


1) In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high.  Use however much oil you need to reasonably coat the pan - ~2 teaspoons.  Add onion, garic, red pepper flakes, and anchovy. Note that I was totally terrified to use anchovy because I thought it would taste weird.  To make up for my worry, I made sure to cook the anchovy for a very long time and cut it into very tiny pieces.  I don't like to cook with salt and I think the anchovy did a good job of adding a salty taste to the food (anchovies are very salty) without adding a fishy taste.  It was actually very mild but good.  So use the anchovy!

2) Cook onion/anchovy mixture for about 5 minutes until onions are soft.

3) Break up the tomatoes using kitchen shears, or just tear them apart with your hands like I did.  You want them in little chunks.  Add tomato chunks and their juices to the skillet. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. 

4) Reduce heat to a simmer (about a 3 on the scale).  Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the skillet.  Break 4 eggs into the skilletm as you would if you were making a fried egg.  Cover and cook for approximately five minutes, eggs whites are set.  Remove from heat and let set for 5 more minutes.

5) Serve with a parsley garnish, and if desired, with crusty bread.  The bread would be wonderful to sop up the tomato sauce.  YUM.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Salmon with Peas and Mushrooms

Last time I made salmon, I really hated it.  It was so awful - it wasn't cooked through completely, which started to freak me out.  Yes, I know that doesn't make any sense, as I am fine with eating salmon that is completely raw (aka sushi).  Something about the fact that it was supposed to be cooked and it wasn't was quite unsettling.  I also cooked it along with bok choy that turned out incredibly slimy.  All in all, a terrible meal that I couldn't even finish eating. 

This time, I decided if I was going to eat salmon, I would have to ensure it was super delicious so none of the nasty taste from last time got in my head.  And that brings us to Salmon with Pea and Mushroom Sauce courtesy of Bon Appetit May 2012.  DELICIOUS!

1 cup white wine
1 can sweet peas
1 8oz container sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 salmon fillets
2-4 tablespoons butter


1) In a large saucepan with high sides, place salmon fillets.  Add white wine and fill with cold water to cover salmon by about half an inch.  Cover the pan and heat over medium heat until water comes to a simmer.  I heated mine for about 20 minutes because I was so paranoid I would undercook it.  The beauty of poaching is nothing really burns and turns dry, so cook as long as you want.  Then once the water is simmering, remove lid and cook on medium low for about 6 minutes (to be clear, I did the 20 minutes PLUS the six). Reserve some poaching liquid.

2) While the salmon is cooking, you can make the sauce.  Heat some butter in a saucepan.  The recipe called for 4 tablespoons, I used 2 and you could probably get away with a few squirts of cooking spray if that is what you prefer.  After butter melts, add mushrooms and cook for approximately three minutes.

3) Add half a cup of poaching liquid and peas, then simmer for another two or three minutes.  Add heavy cream and bring sauce back to a simmer.  Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  The sauce will thicken up a bit more when removed from heat. 
4) Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I used no salt but tons of pepper - pepper, cream and peas go wonderful together.

5) To serve, flip salmon onto a plate, top with sauce, and garnish with chives.