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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

For the Love...of Nutella

Am I the last person on the planet to buy and try the infamous, mysterious jar of Nutella? Ya..I thought so. But it was that $5.98 price tag for a micro-mini jar that kept me pushing my cart past the Hazelnut shrine and on down the aisle.

I never could quite figure out what it was all about...it seemed so foreign to me..like veggie-mite or some other weird thing like that. I was clueless that it contained chocolate..otherwise I might have given it a go earlier on. 


And on a slight side note..who even knows what hazelnuts taste like or would even think..yea..lets mix that with chocolate and make it into a spread? I'm not complaining..chocolate plus just about anything is a win win..but hazelnuts? Clearly..this is why I'm not making the big bucks.

But I broke down a few months back and bought a small jar (it was on sale..barely) ...caving to my persistent daughter who thought she would die without it in her life (only because she hears her Nutella obsessed cousin talk about it like it's the long lost..IDK..insert something that is long and lost..I'm drawing a blank..like some ship filled with gold...geeeeezzz

Soooo..we bought it..tried it...and are now frequent Nutella flyers. Like..it's getting a bit ridiculous. I bought the bulk pack at Costco (the only way to go..biggest bang for your buck) and it lasted for maybe a month. Say Whaaa? 



I blame my 4 girls for the disappearing act..since I sampled a a bit and was not an immediate fan. Which, I know is a shocker..given my history and love of all things sugar. It was the hint of hazelnuts. I just am not in love or even like with them. Sorry guys..nothing personal.


So back to my ub-sessed girls..they eat it on bread, in cookies, made into a fruit dip and with their bananas. Guys..there are recipes built around this jar of chocolate spread. And while it may stretch the grocery budget every now and again..I kid myself into thinking that at least they are eating some fruit and a slice of whole wheat toast more often since we are going thru the jars faster than toilet paper 'round here.


And just to give you a little more 411 on this hot commodity, here are a few more tidbits
  • One jar sells every 2.5 seconds around the world
  • It was invented during 1806 when Napoleon and his war tactics made chocolate a scarce resource so they tried to stretch the good stuff by adding hazelnuts
  • And you can all put on your Nutella sweater to wear on February 5th since it has been dubbed World Nutella Day. I swear, I did not make this stuff up..just ask Google



So if you are a Nutella virgin, consider yourself warned. Try it and risk the addiction or avoid it like the plague and save the cash and calories ;)

XO
Ashley




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do You Think That's a Rug?

So, do you own a stellar rug?  Me too.  It's in my basement living room and it fits our space down there like a glove.  No really, if my basement could marry something, it would marry it's rug.
(That sounded a little wrong, but let's just have a laugh and go with it)

But then there is a big gaping hole in my heart where once the perfect rug laid.  Yep.  Thanks to my little disgusting pets I call children, the main living room rug has been retired.  Hands over your hearts and thank you for observing my moment of solidarity.

Like any American woman, I took to Pinterest to start my search for the rug replacement.  I noticed a trend.  I was drawn to large geometric patterns this time around... more specifically, stripes.  Low and behold when I clicked on every striped rug my eyes feasted upon, I was directed to West Elm, Pottery Barn or Ballard Design.  These striped beauties are gorgeous and wonderful, but at the rate things become "well loved" around here, I'm not willing to splurge and spend upwards of $1300 on a striped gem at this point in time regardless of it's perfection.  Sigh.
Sooo... what to do?  One thing led to another, a little lightbulb went off above my head... or so it seemed... And then BAM the next thing I knew I was on the fast track to amazing.

Here we go - my take at painting --GAH-- yes, PAINTING, a striped rug out of desperation and to the tune of $15 bucks so, you know, who cares if it fails because I would have to bomb approximately 86 times before I reached the price of the original rug I was jonesin' for.  Neener Neener.

1.  Go to Home Depot or your nearest handy man type store
2.  Walk to the part of the store that houses either the Outdoor rugs (currently on clearance) or the store's bulk high traffic carpet rolls.
3.  Find your cheapie basic of choice.  Mine was right next to the fake grass stuff (that's right, fake astro turf) and the charcoal grey stuff that lines the hallways of a high school near you, and it was the only taupe-y option.  For those of you that live in newer homes and are lucky enough to bask in whites and greys... you're in.  There are a billion grey options for you out there.  Just another reason that you suck. KIDDING.
4.  Buy some blue painters tape and some spray paint (You're looking for Paint AND Primer in one can with a flat finish) OR use the stock you have at home.
5.  Laugh at your bad a$$ thrifty self for your latest chic on a shoestring project in the making.

Let's insert some step-by-steps along with some crumby phone images, shall we?

1.  Measure and tape off your design.  Listen, stripes is about all I have in me by way of "design" but if you're patient and artistic enough to do chevron or other aztec designs, go for it!  Just be sure to share so I can ogle and then claim to "still love mine more" because I feel bad for it.
P.S. You can see the quality outdoor carpet I'm working with here.  Awesome.
2.  Finish taping and press every edge down to make sure the entire "taped out" area is covered nice and tight.  Then... Take her outside and spray.  I'm including this awesome photo because a) I was yelling at my boys to stay away like every three seconds, and b) to show that I literally thought my efforts were doing nothing/nada/zilch.
4.  After letting it dry, (for approximately an hour because I'm the least patient person in the universe) drag that baby back inside and prepare for your own personal reward -- the reveal.
5.  Say something self-affirming to yourself after you get your first peek like, 
"Holy fetch did that actually just work?!"
6.  Pull the rest of your tape off and do a little heel click if you want to. 
You deserve it, says I.
7.  Revel.  In your craftiness, your DIY victory, your decorating on a dime savvy.  Then go ahead and leave a comment for my hubs telling him how stellar his wife is.  So stellar in fact, she deserves her cabinetry to be painted white and her carpet to be replaced with hard wood.  :)  
Listen, a girl can only put it out there.

And in the interim, she can make the painted rug of her dreams for a fraction of the cost of the one she really wanted to steal from Restoration Hardware.
.XO & Happy Painting
Amber

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Budget Saving Lunches...

So now that we have all adjusted to the back to school routine, are y'all back into the money-savin-budget life too? Cuz let's be honest.."budget" and "summer" can not exist with each other.



Well.. I've jumped back onto the budget bandwagon..as much as I hate too... picked up my mom-jo along the way..since real life is calling my name and guys..and I've discovered a great new tip for you.

Do your kids eat school lunch like a boss? Or are they like my kids who scrunch up their noses as I'm reading the menu choices for the day in the most enticing voice I can muster. Begging them to just try the Rib Patty Sandwich (how bad could it be) or the Chicken Parmesan ala noodles. No? Ya me either.

So I'm sayin..I pack a home lunch for three kids and one hubs almost every day. I know..you are crying tears of sorrow for me. Thanks! And I try to to it in accordance to the weekly allotment of grocery money. And the kids..(ok and the grown-up dad) love those Uncrustables. To the tune of a box and a half per week. And at $6 bucks a box..well it just wasn't fitting into the ol' budget. And I know..I know...why don't I just make the stand-by PB&J the old fashioned way you ask? 

I'm Lazy! 

That's what it boils down to..at 6:30 in the morning, yours truly is not an energetic ball of fire. I know..you're shocked. Just ask my dad who, when I was a teen, had to wake me up at least half a dozen times before I rolled my butt outta bed..it's a miracle we all survived those years;)



 Me? I'm a half-eyed open, half dressed, zombie who tries to act like I have my shiz together for the sake of seeming presentable to the kiddos. So I need something fast, easy and inexpensive.

Wa-La



You guys this little 7 dollar invention that I nabbed on Amazon will change your life. It takes a small, micro amount of time to put your own, home-made, copy-cat uncrustable sandwiches together and bam! You are in bid-ness!

I documented how it all went down...ya know..just in case you couldn't figure this geometry out for yourself.


she's beyond thrilled to be helping..can you tell?


And I did the math for you too. With all my bread, jam and PB..I'm in each sammy for like .25. Double Bam! Money well spent for an easy morning and some extra sanity on my part.  Plus we got all crazy and even made some PB&Honey ones too. Who are we? 

You're Welcome!

XO
Ashley

Winner! Winner
You guys..we reached over a 100 followers on Insta so the winner of our Target gift card is..
Marney Blomquist
@marneyblomquist

Congrats! Please comment below or on our IG account with your email so we can get you your gift card!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tune in To This...


You guys, I have been spinning and twirking around my house for the past couple of weeks to TSwift's "Shake it Off".  I can't get it out of my head!  If you walked in during any particular cleaning/cooking or… breathing stint here at the homestead you would walk right out blushing.  In the heat of the moment I can't bring myself to care.  It just gets under my skin.  And I should go with it while it's still fresh and not annoying, right?  But seriously, kudos to all the musical artists out there because at present there are some killa tunes that are tickling my ear drums.
Here is my newest "Awesome Tunes" Playlist guaranteed to help you get to it...
Whatever "it" is… :)  
Tsk, Tsk Tsk - Naughty.  
Speaking of… this really is kind of a naughty playlist so maybe it's for the ear buds as you run and not for those cleaning the toilets, blasting from the home speakers moments.  It's always a little humiliating when your kid spouts out the words to "Talk Dirty to Me" as you're walking the halls at church.  Not that I would know?

But do let it be known that I took a three-four week end of summer hiatus from working out and this list right here was the magic that got me to lace up my running shoes again.  Phew.  I tell myself I will never take long breaks because then I have to START OVER… but here I am… starting over. 
Again.
Insert Cusswords and Foul Hashtags.

1.  TSwift - Shake it Off (The video cracks me up.  Watch it on YouTube!)
2.  Meghan Trainor - All About the Bass
(This one rocks my socks off too, plus how cute is she shakin' her booty like a boss?)
3.  Katy Perry - This is How We Do
4.  Iggy Azalea - Fancy (Obvs, because it's just so fitting.)
5.  Ariana Grande - Problem
6.  Jason Derulo - Wiggle
(It features Snoop Dogg and it's about wiggly cheeks.  I may or may not be able to relate)
7.  Jason Derulo - Talk Dirty to Me 
(Yep, My kids know the chorus and sing it at the most irreverent moments)
8.  Kesha - Tik Tok
9.  Magic! - Rude
(This is my new "Red Red Wine" from my UB40 Reggae days... ah, those were good days!)
10.  Happy - Pharrell Williams
(Because that one will probably never leave my awesome tunes playlist.  I am nothing without a good, positive spin on life.)

So tell me - should I add any other new faves to my list?  'Cause Lawd knows I'll be needing some extra inspiration when my alarm clock goes off and it's pitch black and COLD-- In like, a week.
HELP.ME.

XO
Amber

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Cost of Beauty...

In my perfect world, I would get ready with a make-up counter that looked liked this...dreamy right?
Clear Acrylic Cosmetics Organizer Storage Box with built in Brush Holder

But in my world of make-up reality, I face this...



The seemingly, bottomless, overflowing bag of beautifying products that are often lost in this ugly, burgundy hued, cluttered abyss. Are you nodding your head cuz you totally feel my pain?

Like..what is it with girls and make-up hoarding? I'll tell you...

The problem with mounds and mounds of make-up stacks up to two clear points...(that sounds so official..maybe I should make a power point presentation;)

Point A- Most brands of make-up that I not only have quick access to but can afford are located at my local Walmart or drug store. And as high-end ;) retailers, they do not let you test out a product like the Mac counter at Macy's does. So we get stuck with what we buy to try. And we can all testify to the fact that not all eyeshadows and lipsticks go on as the color they portray in the packaging. Who knew a slight shimmering shadow could turn out to be a Dolly Parton glitter-gone-bad wreck? 
Bad makeup is the WORST! This video tutorial shows you all the things NOT to do when applying makeup.
Point B- Make-up is just plain expensive. And who wants to part with an eyeshadow you just dropped 8 bucks on? No one..that's who. Especially if maybe you splurged and bought some  Bobby Brown or Estee that you just aren't feelin anymore.  So the stash grows and grows and you convince yourself as you are trying to purge that you are certain you will wear it sometime. Which..if we are being honest..never happens. I mean really..the only time I've ever thrown away an eyeshadow or blush..is if I've dropped it and the powder has crumbled into unsalvagable pieces ("unsalvagable" being the key word here because I have been known to scoop it back into its case and continue to use it). 

And don't worry..I just found out about this Pin of knowledge, crumbled powders are now a non-issue. Alcohol? Who knew? 
How to fix broken eyeshadow by adding rubbing alcohol. Also works for blush, bronzer, foundation, etc.

You're Welcome!

And now you are more the wiser. We ladies love the products that make us feel/look gorgamous! And who can blame us? So we either need bigger organization make-up products and/or storage bags or there needs to be a DI or local thrift store specifically for make-up/ beauty products that we can trade in or with. 


XO
Ashley





Thursday, September 11, 2014

Coo Coo for Coco…

You guys, I'm gonna come clean and confess that I've jumped on yet another band wagon.  My name is Amber, and I'm recently obsessed with Coconut Oil.
There, I said it.  
Do I profess to know about any long lasting superior qualities coconut oil has to other vegetable oils?  
Nope.

Have I done in depth reading about the benefits of coconut oil in personal hygiene related practices?
Nope.

So why the sudden uptick in my purchase of the big friendly barrel of the stuff at Costco?
It's simple.
Dude… it's coconut.

I have a love affair with Hawaii and all tropical locations in general.  The smell brings out my inner sun goddess and my most romantic of memories from tropical rendezvous with the hubs.  AND, if it's a product that I can lazily use for multiple purposes?  I'm all in.
So here's how I've been using it like an addict lately…

Oil Pulling.  I've gone there, guys.  Several times a week after I've brushed and flossed I put a spoon full of coconut oil in ma' mouth and swish those goods for ten minutes or so.  I've heard coconut oil has antibacterial qualities and you all know I have a less than stellar track record at the dentist… so why not?  I'll have to report back to you during my next six-month cleaning for any actual results, but it's cheap and easy and makes me feel like I'm doing something to fight the good fight.  Side bonus... several people have told me my teeth are looking whiter than usual lately.  If that's all it does - me and my vanity will keep on swishing.

Oil Hair Mask?  I'm not sure what to call it, actually.  I have been coating my second or third day hair (mostly the ends) in our island scented balm and plopping it atop my head in a bun for a good overnight conditioning treatment.  It seriously feels niiicceee the next day after I shower and blow my hair out.  Again… there is no scientific evidence I've drudged up to prove any one portion of what I'm saying, but it smells good - feels good - and kinda makes me feel as if I'm being proactive against the ongoing fight against split ends.  And we all know that's a war we have to wage with vigilance.

Lastly, I've made approximately 30 loaves of zucchini bread this summer/fall and at least half of those batches have contained coconut oil.  Those loaves taste better.  I swear on my life.  They stay moister.  I swear on my life.  And as for the health aspect?  Doesn't matter... I'm not having another slice of zucchini bread until next year because, duh, you can only have so much of a good thing before you loathe the very sight of it.

I've heard people say they wash their face with coconut oil?  Listen, me and my face ain't gonna be putting something that has the word OIL straight up on my face.  That's the road to a million zits, isn't it?  Coach me... cause I could probably be convinced with a firm argument.  I'm clearly a coconut believer.
And for something that has so much hoopla around it - I'm surprised at myself.  I usually stay away just  to spite the most recent crazy craze.  You know, let it have it's moment in the spotlight and then try it out once all the madness dies down?

But coconut oil.
I'm a believer.
And I could maybe survive a la Tom Hanks on Castaway surrounded by coconuts.
Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How To Catch A Shoplifter...

So lets talk about how the other day I ran after two shoplifters in my non-stretchy pencil skirt and sandals. That's right guys...I'm a 34 year old mom of five, bad-A who will take you down..all in the name of justice.

For reals tho..have you guys ever worked retail and had one of these adrenaline pumping experiences? It's a pretty big rush and now I wanna be a cop who can intimidate all these teenage, punk kids who think they are invincible and above the law #realitycheck

And this little piggy went to the market shoplifted, and got caught.


These two girls walked into my work and started trying on Miss Me jeans (goin for gold those girls were.. at $110 bucks a pair). My sa-weet intuition is really the winner here because I had a bad feeling about these two the minute they walked in. So I kept an extra close spy eye on them. 

After a little while and a few checks to make sure they were "finding everything OK" I ran outside to tell my hubs thanks for the snow cone that he had just brought to me #isnthethebest? But I covered my stake-out operation and had another employee on the sitch-e-ation. 

I literally was gone for like two minutes but when I got back they were MIA...whaaa? And there were only 2 pairs of jeans instead of the 4 they had taken in the dressing room. Red flags were popping up all over in my mind and I knew they had taken them. I ran outside and saw them clear across the street. Time to move! I ran back inside and told the other employees I was goin after them. Are you guys on the edge of your seats yet?

As soon as I realized that walking wasn't gonna cut it, I stared running as fast as my confining skirt would allow. All the while using my MacGyver stealth moves and thinking "I shoulda grabbed my cell phone....what if they see me and start running...there are 2 of them and only 1 of me..what the crap am I gonna do when I get to them?" 

I finally caught up to them, hollered for them to stop, and surprisingly they did. Then while trying to control my outta shape, heavy breathing, I nonchalantly asked them where the other pants were and they said they had put them back..so then I said "OK..can you just pull back the waistband on your sweats"..I know..how brave am I? But lo and behold....the missing jeans. 

I grabbed their arms so fast and told them to come with me...and guys..by this point my heart was literally gonna burst outta my chest..running plus catching shoplifters equal adrenaline city. I was trying to act all cool but inside I was all over the place. At one point one of the girls asked if I could let go of her arm (I may or may not have been squeezing a little too hard) But I was not about to have to hike my skirt up with my skivvies hanging out and chase them all over again...although..let's be honest..I totally would have.

this can be interpreted in a right way and a wrong way...

Back inside the store, while we called the cops and waited for parents to show up..I chatted with the girls and asked them if it was worth it. I wish I could say it was a Dr. Phil-change your life-ah-ha-moment. But these girls had no remorse and could have cared less. It made me sad for them and the road they were headed. I also took this opportunity to tell my own kids that if I ever got a phone call from them in a similar situation, that I'd happily let the cops take them to Juvy so they could have some reflection time ;)


Free bracelets with each theft. #shoplifting #crime -- Curated by: Desert City Security Inc. | 2277 Turnberry Place, Kamloops, Bc, V1S 1S8 | 250-828-8778
So clearly, the lessons here are..do not steal and especially do not steal from me #notinmyhouse 

And to celebrate my win guys..Amber and I are doing a fab giveaway to Target..one of our faves. This way you'll have a $25 gift card and less of a reason to shoplift and have me come after you;) Head over to our Instagram (link on the right) to enter!

Fist bumps all around!

XO
Ash aka robber-catcher