June 30, 2012

Giveaway: Total Beauty Collection

The Total Beauty Collection is a box sampling program brought to you by TotalBeauty.com. Their program is different because the products and brands in the box are curated by our experts who have a proven history of delivering the best product advice and recommendations on TotalBeauty.com. Plus, they don't require a subscription! Just visit TotalBeauty.com/Collection to enter your email address. Once you sign up, they will send you an email alert each time a box goes on sale -- and it's up to you whether or not you want to purchase at that time. Each box costs $15 and contains 4-6 deluxe samples from top-rated brands. Plus, they occasionally throw in bonus gifts!

Their current box began June 18th. The box contains 5 great samples from Murad, Zents and Skindinavia. Plus, we included two bonus gifts from Zents and Sole Society. Readers can purchase and/or sign up for on sale notifications at www.TotalBeauty.com/Collection.

Here is what they sent me to test out:

totalbeauty totalbeautycollection

I got a great mix of their last box collection as well as a few items from their current one. I am LOVING this service! You get a lot of bang for you buck with Totoal Beauty. And at $15 per box, the price is a steal!!
I am hooked for sure and have also signed myself up! I have tried 4 of the products so far as well as used my sole society gift card (SCORE!) and couldn't be happier. Plus I love how it's a good mix of face, hair, and body products.

One lucky winner will win a box of thier own!
To enter:
Simply set up an account with Total beauty and leave a comment below with the email you used to do so.

For bonus entries:
Like the Total beauty's Events page for chances to win more prizes!
(leave 1 comment below for each you do!)

Godd luck! The winner will be announced 7-7-12 at 7:00am.
*Giveaway open to US residents only

June 29, 2012

Recipe: Ropa Vieja with Black Beans & Rice

I found this recipe in Elisabeth Hasselbeck's Deliciously G-free cookbook. As per my usual I altered it to fit my family's needs/tastes, but it turned out AMAZING! It has 3 different parts to it, so this recipe is a bit time consuming, but it is totally worth it! deliciouslyg-free
Serves 8:

1 large flank steak (2 pounds)
2 med. onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves (left this out)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns (left this out)

1 tablespoon olive oil (I used coconut)
1 med. red onion, chopped (I used yellow onion)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (organic)
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used minced jarred)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
1 tablespoon gluten-free tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (i used fresh)
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes w/ juices

Rice and Beans:
1 tablespoons salted butter
1 shallots or 1 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white basmati rice
2 cups gluten-free chicken broth
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and well rinsed
grated zest and juices of 2 limes
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the steak preparation I used a crock pot and skipped to # 3 in the instructions
1. prepare the steak: in a large stockpot, combine the flank steak, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef shreds easily when pressed with a fork.

2. when the meat is tender, remove the post from he head and let the ingredients cool in the liquid for 20 minutes. then remove the meat and strain the broth into a small bowl, discarding the vegetables and seasonings. Set the meat and the broth aside.

3. Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med. heat, and add the chopped onion, pepper, and garlic. Sprinkle in the salt. Cook for 8-10 mins, until the vegetables begin to soften. Then add the tomato paste, cumin, and oregano, and cook for 1 min more, until the tomato paste becomes fragrant.

4. Stir in the reserved broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes until broth reduces slightly. Add the tomatoes and the shredded meat. Cook, uncovered for 2-25 mins, until the liquid has reduced by half.

5. while the meat is cooking in the sauce, prepare the rice and beans. Heat a small saucepan over med-high heat, and add the butter, shallots and garlic. Cook for 2-3 mins, until the shallots start to soften. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute, until the rice is completely coated int eh butter.
glutenfree 6. Add the chicken broth, black beans, lime zest and juice, bay leaves, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender, 15-20 mins. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

7. serve the Ropa Vieja over the rice and beans.

(I skipped the last few steps as well and just made minute rice adding the beans, broth, lime juice to it as directed above. Just as yummy, less time ;) ropaviejawithblackbeansandrice

June 28, 2012

Rad & Refined Summer Launch Party

I had the most wonderful time at the Chicago Blogger Network Rad and Refined summer launch party event over the weekend. This is what I wore: outfit outfitpost-1
Dress: Swap w/ Kaitlyn (Discovery), Shoes: C/O Sole Society, Bag: C/O Just Fabulous , Watch and Silver bracelet: C/O Kristin Hassan, Skull Bracelet and Necklace: Baublebar, Colored stackable ring set: gift, Stackable silver ring set: Shop Jules, Heart Ring: Self Made (I SPY DIY project)

As a fan of not only Rad and Refined but also both blogs Natalie off Duty and Color Me Nana, I was in blogger heaven this night. Truly!

Natalie, myself, and Dylana
There was shopping to be done, drinks to be had, food to be eaten, and photos to be taken! I had my eye on a maxi dress all night and could not stop coming back to it! I'm so predicable. lol
radrefinedevent colormenana radrefined
Myself and Jacqueline of Rad and Refined, me totally dorking out with Natalie (or making her think I'm a total dork, however you want to say it ;) and finally me passing out Because I shop too much cards to the girls! Hopefully they will set their closets up soon! ;)
Jessica and Jill of Style Juncture and myself
Delish cake pops from Coco Mori
And the night would not be complete without a little photo booth action compliments of Shutterbooth!
I was so happy my hubby came with me (he got a glimpse of my world), I hope I didn't make too big of a fool of myself as I am a super fan of both Natalie and Dylana, and I am beyond pumped at the new maxi dress I bought! Obviously you will be seeing it soon on the blog! And obviously I needed another maxi dress. No, seriously I did! ;)
*To book an appointment to shop Rad and Refined Chicago email info@radandrefined.com

June 27, 2012

Giveaway: Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips

I was contacted by a member of the Bare Fruit team and asked to try out a bag of their cinnamon apple chips for review. I figured why not, but had NO IDEA how amazing these were going to be! There are 2 ingredients in each bag. Organic apples and organic cinnamon. That's it! bare fruit gluten freeapplechips apple chips organic
They are gluten free (which is key in my house), have no sugar added (again a must for my little man), and the best part, they taste OUTSTANDING! The only problem is you eat them like chips. Meaning you can't stop eating them once the bag is open! They should come with a warning as each bag contains 30 apples. I had to stop both kids, the hubbs, and myself from scarfing them down in one sitting. After a few minutes you realize how full you really are.
You can order right from their Facebook page and also access coupons there too! They come in cinnamon apple, granny smith apple, Fuji apple, dried apricots, pears, mangos, and cherries (all organic). I will be buying these on a regular basis. It is an amazing way to "slip" your kids some fruit with them thinking they are eating chips. ;)
They taste so darn good, I dare you not to get hooked and become a regular eater of Bare Fruit. My family now is!
Now onto the AMAZING part, one lucky winner will receive a FREE CASE (12 bags!) of Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips!

To enter:
Like Bare Fruit on FB and leave a comment below telling me you have done so. That's it!

For extra entries:
Leave Bare Fruit a comment on FB telling them I sent you and which product you'd most like to try.
(leave 1 comment below for each you do)

Good luck! The winner will be announced July 4th at 7:00am.

June 26, 2012

Bon Voyage Party for Jessica

Chicago is losing a great blogger Jessica from Bows and Sequins. She is off to start a new chapter in her life in the big apple! How exciting!!!! I wish her all the luck in the world! She had a super fun bon voyage party on Thursday night and Kristin Hassan, her team, and lots of her jewelry were there to send her off as well (and DUH we all did some shopping!). Here is what I wore:
kristinhassan Photobucket IMG_42842
Tank: Forever 21, Skirt: Kristin Hassan, Shoes: C/O Sole Society, Bag: Coach, Rings: Michael Kors, Bracelets and Watch: C/O Kristin Hassan, Necklace: Forever 21(similar and under $5)

Myself and Kaitlyn had such a blast! We had a little champagne, some cup cakes, did a little shopping, and hung with some of our favorite Chicago ladies!

Kaitlyn, myself, and Jessica of Bows and Sequins
Jessica of Little Miss 312, myself, and Kaitlyn
Lindsay and Kristen from the KH team, Kaitlyn and me taking it upon ourselves to do quality control on the cupcakes. (they passed inspection! lol So yummy!)
The KH team, myself with Kristin Hassan
Photobucket IMG_43222
Hallie from Corals and Cognacs, myself, and Kaitlyn

And the night would not be complete without doing minor mirror checks/lip gloss applications! ;)
Jessica even sent us each home with a little goodie bag (BEYOND UNNECESSARY)! Yes, we went to her going away party and she gave us gifts! Chicago will miss you Jessica! Visit soon, and have so much fun!! xo

For more on the party and to see Kaitlyn's outfit pics head over to the Sisters Marie blog!

June 25, 2012

Outfit: Ourdoor Party

pepedenimjacket threadsencedress athensjewelry
Jacket: Pepe Jeans, Dress: Threadsence, Bracelets: C/O Kristin Hassan, Ring: Self made (I SPY DIY project), Shoes: Target, Sunnies: Michael Kors

I am loving this shift dress! It was perfect for this outdoor party and when it got cool out, I put on my AMAZING new jean jacket. Can we discuss how pretty this ombre denim is?! It has an awesome wash on it, has a great stretch to it, and well, it's just pretty to look at! ;) I finished the look with some of my favorite Kristin Hassan metal pieces, flats, and a ring I recently made.

To see photos of the party and what Kaitlyn wore, head over to the Sisters Marie blog!

*And the winner of the Just Fabulous Sanaya shoe (color of their choice) is: #6
Congrats Jessica! I will pass your email along and you will be contacted for your color choice, size, and shipping information. A giant thank you to Just Fabulous for hosting this giveaway and thank you to all who entered. xo

June 23, 2012

Tutorial: Braided Top Knot

Here is a tutorial I did to show you how to get my braided top knot look. Hope this helps! ;)
topknot braidedtopknot

June 22, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes

This recipe comes to us from Katie Workman's book "The Mom 100 Cookbook".
2 pounds Yukon gold, new potatoes, or other waxy potatoes, peeled or scrubbed. (I scrubbed)
4-5 teaspoons olive oil (I used coconut oil)
1-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt, or more if needed (I used sea salt)
1) preheat oven to 425 degrees (I like to bake at 350 degrees)
2) spray a rimmed baking sheet generously with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the potatoes into 1 or 1/2 inch chunks. Spread the potatoes out on the baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil over them, sprinkle them with salt, and toss with your hands to coat the potatoes well. Make sure the potatoes are in a single layer. (I tossed my wedges in melted coconut oil in a bowl before placing them on the cookie sheet. I do the exact same thing for french fries, just peel and cut differently)
3)Bake 30-45 mins or until brown, stirring them once toward end.
4) Add additional salt if needed.


June 21, 2012

Outfit: Wearing a Dress Under a Dress

oasap IMG_40112 IMG_40302
Bodycon Dress (underneith): Forever 21, Dress: C/O Oasap, Belt: Dolce Vita, Bracelet: J Good, Ring: House of Harlow, Shoes: Victoria's Secret, Earrings: Kristin Hassan, Sunnies: Loft (similar) (similar)

I was given this dress by Oasap and when it came I new this would not be a "dress" on me. It was so short! Okay, maybe if I was shorter, or did not have to bend over it would have worked. ;)
My solution, wearing a dress under this dress! Those bodycon dresses are hot alone, but I end up using them as slips every now and then. This dress would be cute with leggings or shorts under as well. I'll have to style it different next time. 

June 20, 2012

"I Want What She Has!": Blogger Envy- Sarah

This weeks "I want what she has!" goes to Sarah of Coming Unstitched. How amazing is this look?!
Photobucket Photobucket
Dress: $40 Victoria's Secret
Cardigan: $30 Banana Republic (similar)
Shoes: $30 Charlotte Russe
Necklace: $7 Forever 21
Watch: $15 Target

I seriously love EVERYTHING about this look and would not change a thing. LOVE the mixing of bright pops of color with the shoes and cardigan. LOVE the jewelry! Head to toe swoon! What do you guys think?

June 19, 2012

Outfit: Perfect Spring Weather

oasap mididress yellowring stripedress
Dress: C/O Oasap, Top: Banana Republic, Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Ring: Guiltystar, Wrist Wrap: C/O Kristin Hassan, Sunnies: Loft (similar) (similar)

Loving this upper 60's/lower 70's weather we are having! There was just the right amount of wind this day so my dress was blowing all around.
This is probably one of my favorite outfits right now. I love the combo of the dress with the button up tied at my natural waist! This style dress is sold out at Oasap, but they do have it in black with the stripes instead of cream. It was a perfect fit with my yellow ring, wrist wrap, and a great platform heel. What do you guys think? I'm really getting into layering lately! ;)