Nail talk!

Last night I barely slept. I was hyped up all day yesterday, and I couldn't wind down! Also the moon was so bright that it make it hard to fall asleep. Total darkness sleeper here. I was thinking about a new blog post and decided to write about nail polish and nail care.



Nail stamper! Not sure why I wanted to pose with this mason jar...


I love nail polish and nail art! My sister Judy got into it first when she watched some Youtube nail tutorials. I was the test subject for her designs since she has an artistic flair. I can barely keep my hands steady to paint my own nails. We share nail polishes. Our collection has gotten pretty large.

This was created with a stamp.

Lately, I have branched out on my own and started polishing my own nails, and I am actually getting better at it. I like that nail polish makes me feel more put together. I basically sit and work at my computer at home all day, so I can look down and see pretty nails. It makes me happy!

Galaxy nails! One of my favorites! 

I err more on the side of caution when it comes to nail polishes, so I would say we mostly have OPI. I hate hate hate essie polishes. They never seem to stop disappointing me. I should just throw them out because it pisses me off everytime I use a polish and it turns out too light or chips instantly. Orly is ok, so I do have a few of their colors. Other than that I like Nubar, and Seche Vite. I want to try Butter polishes, but I don't want to pay $15 dollars for them! There was a buy one get one free sale a few months ago, but it was one of those days the semi-recluse part of me reared its ugly head. Maybe next time!

Close up of water color nail.

A little note about the Seche Vite top coat: it is literally the holy grail of top coats! I never knew what a top coat could be until I tried Seche Vite. I was so blown away. It does have toluene in it which is sad, but I do still use it on occasion. It is a must have for nail art. The first top coat I ordered from them got too thick to use after the bottle was just halfway gone. Judy said to toss it, so 20 seconds later, it went in the trash. I later found out that I could put a little polish remover in it to thin it out. :( A new bottle is in the mail now. When I ordered it, I sang the Incubus song "I Miss You" which perfectly captures my feelings for the product. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Judy with watercolor nails

Since Seche Vite does have toluene in it, I have started using another product more frequently. It is Nubar Diamont Seal and Shine Top Coat. I am pretty impressed with it! It is also Cruelty Free which was a wonderful surprise when I got it! I will be trying more Nubar products for sure. It is not as rock hard as Seche Vite, but when the polish is scraped or dented the top coat actually bounces back. I have done it a million times already being the picker that I am...

Nubar top coat that work great!
In all but the below picture, the nails were painted by Judy. As you can see I do a little more simple and easy nail designs. I love shapes, so I have been doing variations of this on my nails this week. This is Nail Envy Original, OPI Alpine Snow, the Nubar top coat, then Tiffany Case OPI liquid sand. I love the liquid sand.

My nails today!
Future nail purchases that I will make when I get more polish. Someday...
Nubar JellyBean series
OPI Tints
OPI Glitter Off Got it!
OPI Dating a Royal
OPI Atomic Orange  Got ORLY Orange Punch instead
A light small speckle glitter
A light large speckle glitter

Update: Found an Ulta card in my purse with some money on it, and I had a return, so I got these babies today.



What are some of your favorite brands and colors?


10 Random Things I am Thinking About This Week

1. Blackfish! I watched the Blackfish documentary a few days ago. I was so outraged by the movie. SeaWorld treats the killer whales and the employees that work with them in a disgusting manner. If an appropriate habitat for an animal can't be created, then the animal should not be in captivity. An appropriate killer whale habitat can never be created because they are a family driven species that travels thousands of miles of ocean. It was so sad, but I do recommend that you watch it!


2. Smoothies! I have been drinking smoothies all week which I don't normally do! They were delicious! 

Chocolate banana! 


3. OPI Trend Toes in Cheetah Sparkle! I love anything animal print! They don't make enough animal print items for me! I am just a tacky old lady at heart, so I grabbed these when I came across them. I am on week two, and they still look almost perfect. I did take a picture, but my feet are as white as a ghost, and I don't want to scare you. 

I had a coworker about 10 years ago that said that she didn't like what her feet looked like, but her manicure lady said that she should wear open toed shoes and not worry about it. Her feet were horrific! I just kept staring at them while she was telling me this. I probably had a grimace! I was literally at a loss for words. I would have told her to put 5 layers of socks and some steel toe work boots over those suckers! So that's why I will spare you from my ghost feet. They are not that bad, but I have to be considerate! Otherwise my feet may imbed permanently in one of your memories! 

4. Eclipse! I finally get to start programming in Eclipse instead of Notepad++, and Eclipse actually fixes some errors automatically. It is also more likely to be the program that I use in a job, so I am semi-excited to see what it is like! 

5. Brethren Butter! I have a little jingle that I sing when I eat it:

Amish butter
Touched by amish hands (I don't know why that sounds appealing, but it does!)

I have to tell you, it is AMAZING! It is like tasting butter for the first time! I was intrigued by it at the store when I first saw it a few months ago, but I didn't buy it because it was a dollar more than regular butter. I finally had passed by it one too many times, and I had to have it. I am so glad that I bought it. 



6. Instagram! I am a late social media bloomer. I got MySpace when Facebook was cool, and Facebook when EVERYONE but me seemed to already have a page. I like that I can keep in touch with my family. I read that many young people (not that I am a young person...) exclusively use instagram. I had no idea what it really was. I had just got a new iPad, and I checked it out. I love it! I can post pictures of whatever I am doing, and it's fun. :)

This is totally unrelated to this post, but I love taking bug pictures. 


7. Blood Oranges! I am one of those fruit lovers that waits for certain seasons all year long. Lychee, watermelon, and BLOOD ORANGES! They are so tasty! Moro is another name for them. If you see them, try them, and maybe they will become a new favorite for you too!

8. Earthing! I have been earthing all my life, but I never knew it had a name. It is basically walking around barefoot outside! It is supposed to connect you to the earth and lower inflammation in the body and much more. I just like walking around outside barefoot. I have earthed at the grand canyon, Zion National Park, and pretty much everywhere I have been. I have heard the word "barefoot" in almost every language when people comment about me walking barefoot, but I don't really care.  I do it for me. The last thing I am going to do it let a social expectation keep me from doing what I want! 



I am lucky no bugs got me! :)


9. Mineral baths! I have an amazing recipe for a mineral bath that I use frequently! 
-1 to 2 cups baking soda
-2 cups epsom salt
-1 teaspoon ginger
-essential oils (I use lavender! Also, save yourself some trouble and NEVER use peppermint oil. It burns like the dickens!)

Just plop those ingredients in your bath and enjoy!

10. I almost cut this to 9, but then I remembered CamelCamelCamel.com! The best website. It checks prices on amazon and gives you a low and high price that the item has been. It can also email you when your desired item gets to a certain price! I have been using it all week! I LOVE IT! It has already saved me a ton of money. 

What are you guys thinking about this week?


Waking up early!

There is that old saying that "the early bird gets the worm" however I see more worms out on my late walks than I ever have in the mornings...


This is me tired... Plus I got rained on. Worst day ever.
I am pretty much a zombie before 10 am. I have always liked to get the day started early in theory, but in practice, I just don't do it. It doesn't help that I am a night owl, and I can't normally get to sleep until at least 1 most nights. My perfect schedule would be sleeping from 3 am to 11 am and conducting my life in the hours in between, but that doesn't work because everything here closes by 9 pm. Plus everyone I know is normally asleep by 10 pm, so there is a lot of limitations to that schedule.

I have made the decision to start waking up early about a week ago, and so far, I have not been able to. One day I actually woke up at 12 pm! Granted that was after two nights of poor sleep. I am determined to get used to an earlier wake time, so I pretty much have to start forcing myself up early because there is no way I can go to sleep early. Hopefully it will only be a few weeks of transition because I never have down time anymore.

Fairly frequently I am coming across articles (listed below) that mention that successful and productive people are early risers. I am productive, but I certainly see room for improvement. As this new semester comes at me like a freight train, I have to be on my game with my assignments. Of the many techniques that I have tried to boost my memory, attention span, and productivity, I am really hoping that this one might help! I will keep you updated!

Also, for an explanation as to why I am not writing about food: I decided just to write about whatever I want to write about because I no longer have the massive amount of free time to do the sort of cooking that I enjoy. Much to my partner's chagrin, I have been so overloaded with my studies that I have not had a lot of time to cook! This semester I am taking one less class, so maybe I can manage my life and time a little better! :) That is the dream!

Articles: Forbes 5 Things Super Successful People do Before 8 AM by Jennifer Cohen 

The Huffington Post The One Thing These Crazy Successful People Do Every Morning
  By Carolyn Gregoire

There are a ton more articles to that tune, but these are some good ones. 

Totally unrelated but look at that sky! 

What are ways that you guys stay productive? It is so easy to get distracted from tasks that are important!

Kale Chips

Kale chips! Everyone at the health food store constantly raves about these kale chips that are sold at the store. I was compelled to buy them even though they were SIX DOLLARS A BAG, which is an insane price to me. So I buy this expensive bag of kale chips, and they were horrible. Of course, I choked them all down because I felt bad about spending 6 dollars on them, but I wanted to throw them out!

Never one to give up on the first try, I decided to try making them at home. I love kale, and the chips I made at home were night and day better than the ones from the health food store. I would like to eventually get a dehydrator, and make the chips that way, but these were made in the oven. This recipe uses one bunch of kale.

Kale leaves are so beautiful to me! It is such a robust leaf! 
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the kale thoroughly then remove the stems! Pull kale into bite size pieces.  



STEP 2: Dry the kale as much as possible! 


I use a towel to get the leaves a little more dry before cooking.


STEP 3:  Drizzle the kale with one tablespoon of olive oil and salt it to taste. I am not a salt lover, so I probably use about 1/4 a teaspoon of salt in mine. 


STEP 4: Bake it about 10 to 15 minutes until chips are crispy. Some of the chips will cook faster than others, so remove the cooked ones and place the rest back in the oven until they are done. 


Even blackjack got excited about these. Just the thought of people food makes him crazy!

homemade kale chips

This is how they look when they are done. They are crunchy like a chip!

make kale chips at home
Kale chips!

One tip I would add is that a Silpat works great for these. If you have not gotten one yet, they are amazing and very inexpensive! I got mine from Amazon, and I have used it for about two years for everything that I bake. It is great for any type of cookies, whoopie pies, biscuits, and much more! I hope you enjoy these kale chips! 

If you make them, post below and let me know how you like them. Have you ever bought some new type of food that turned out to be disgusting?

The most important meal of the day!

I am sure you have heard it a million times, and I will say it again. You should eat breakfast. I literally have to eat breakfast, or I will become tired and moody. I took pictures of my breakfasts for five days to give you some ideas of what to eat. There are so many breakfast options so enjoy! I start every day off with a large glass of water to wake my body up.

Toast, grapes, and tea!
I always have a tea in the morning. This is a Teeccino, which is a tea that tastes like coffee. I think it tastes better than coffee, and it has no caffeine. The toast is from my favorite bread maker, Rudi's Organic Bakery. There are many gluten free options as well, but my favorite is the Marvelous Multigrain. I found the bread in the freezer section of the grocery store, and it is delicious. I have repurchased it many times! I also found some organic grapes on sale at the health food store. It has been forever since I have eaten grapes, and I forgot how amazing they are.

Toast, banana, almond butter treat, and tea!
Yum! I really enjoyed this one. I had the same toast and tea as the day before, but I added banana. Of course, the grapes did not last long! I made a almond butter dessert from the foodbabe website, and I decided to add it to my breakfast today. Also, it is a way to use up my cacao nibs. I have so many more cacao nibs that need to be eaten, but they are disgusting. At least with this dish, I could not really taste them. Not all health food is a winner!

Banana, acai, chocolate, and protein smoothie
Banana, acai, chocolate, and protein smoothie!
I have so many things to do today, that I just wanted to drink a smoothie and get started. I will be hungry shortly I'm sure... I do love this smoothie though. I add two bananas, one tablespoon of chocolate (baking kind), one tablespoon of protein powder, one half a pack of acai berries, and one cup of almond milk. I normally add one tablespoon of almond butter, but I am out. Sad... Oh well, I actually drank it while writing this, so now I have to get to work. I am cleaning all of the floors in my house today. Pity me!

Teeccino yellow grits banana bread
Yellow grits! So good!

The only thing I changed about this meal was adding grits and drinking chai tea instead of my normal Teeccino. I hated the tea, so I ended up tossing it. I love grits, and I eat them a LOT! I try to buy organic grits from Bob's Red Mill which I buy from Swanson. :)

Watermelon breakfast
Amazing watermelon breakfast!

I have been CRAVING this watermelon for several days now, and it did not disappoint! I did take a larger piece than I could actually eat because I was starving, and I still have half of my piece left. Fruit is such a great breakfast because it help keep the body hydrated.

Papillon watermelon
Even his highness got to try some! 


Read food packages

There is more than one reason to read the back of food packages. In addition to looking at ingredients, I love to look at the recipes printed on the back. I have found some of my favorite recipes this way, so I normally will make the recipe if it looks like something I would like. A few months ago, I bought red lentils then promptly forgot why I bought them. They sat around for a few weeks. Then I looked at the package again, and noticed a soup recipe on the back. I already had all of the ingredients, so I made it shortly thereafter. It was amazing! It makes me want to eat the whole pot in one sitting! I have made it many times since then, and I hope you will get a chance to try it too.

cornbread
Red lentil soup with cornbread!

It is on the back of the Bob's Red Mill Red Lentils package, and it is called Rachel's Lentil Soup. The website is under construction, so I was not able to link to the recipe.

Red Lentil Soup (adapted from Rachel's Lentil Soup on the back of Bob's Red Mill red lentil package)

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups red lentils
8 cups of water
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil on medium heat, and cook the onion, carrots, and celery until the onion is tender.
2. Stir in the garlic and spices, and cook for a addition two minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients: tomatoes, lentils, and water.
4.Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer for an hour.
This makes about 6 servings in my experience, but I also eat it with cornbread.

I love cornbread, and I have several great recipes for cornbread. It compliments this meal well, and I would suggest at least trying it once. I typically make Homesteader Cornbread, but I wanted to try a new recipe this time. Both recipes come from Allrecipes. Check it out if you haven't already!

Golden Sweet Corn Bread (adapted from from Allrecipes)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup organic yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar (I use 1/3 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup coconut sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup of almond milk
1/3 cup of olive or coconut oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease your pan. You can use a variety of pans, I used a 8x8 glass pan, but I also love to use my cast iron skillet.
2. Combine dry ingredients then stir in remaining ingredients until smooth.
3. Pour into baking pan, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

papillion loves food
I have this creeper that loves to watch me take food pictures!



Make (or buy) a Healthier Pie Crust!

I love pies. I make pies constantly. Dessert pies and dinner pies are my go to food. Before I started reading ingredients, I used to just buy the cheapest crust at the store . When I did start reading ingredients, I was shocked at all of the crap that is in pie crusts. Many of the store bought crusts have tons of ingredients, trans fat, and preservatives. Plus they are frozen, and I used to think that frozen goods should be a little better for me because they don't need as many preservatives and whatnot. Wrong! Crusts are such a simple product that I never really expected that they could be so terrible for me. When I say simple, I mean it. A typical pie crust does not need more than four of five ingredients.

Making my own crusts was frustrating at first because I overworked the dough, and they turned out hard and terrible! I finally found a healthier pie crust at the store. The brand is Wholly Wholesome, and the crusts are absolutely delicious. I was hesitant about the whole wheat crust at first (they do have a traditional crust too), but it was great. The crust is organic, and it only has five ingredients: flour, palm oil, water, sugar, and salt. It does cook faster than the traditional crust which was great because I used it when I was starving. They are a little pricy running from four to five dollars a crust, but they are great when I don't want to or have the time to make my own.

wholly wholesome
Wholly Wholesome pie crust is worth buying!


Because I am on a strict budget, I decided to try making a pie crust again. I am the type of person that wants to break everything in the kitchen when a meal does not turn out as expected, so I tried a highly reviewed recipe, and followed it completely. The crust turned out good! I did not roll it quite thin enough, but it was a success!

Pie Crust from All Recipes  Makes 1 crust, so I normally double it.

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum Shortening because it does not have hydrogenated oils in it)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water

Directions

1. Mix the shortening, flour, and salt together until the batter gets crumbly. Use a fork and a light touch. Be very gentle with this dough. Then add the water, but you may not need all of it, so add it slowly until the batter holds itself together.

2. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface about an inch larger than the pie pan. One tip I would add about rolling is to make it thin otherwise you will have a very thick crusted pie. When moving the dough to the pan, fold it in half, place it in the pan, then unfold. Press it into the pan, and cut off the edges. Pinch the edge of the crust so that it is raised a bit from the rim.

3. Add your favorite pie filling, and bake it! So good!

Apple pies! My mind is telling me no, but my BODYYYYYY is telling me yes! 

Make some pie crusts, and let me know how they turn out! Tips are also appreciated!