Friday, October 30, 2015

Gluten-Free Fudgy Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

In a recent issue of Redbook magazine, I came across a page of healthy pumpkin recipes from Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien that used canned pumpkin. In the magazine (but not on the website), there was a note for the first two recipes that they could be made gluten-free.

However, for the last recipe, Two-Ingredient Brownies, it was not indicated that it could be made gluten-free. BUT I knew perfectly well that it could be! So I set out to make my own gluten-free version of what I'm calling Fudgy Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies.

If you also read Redbook and also saw this recipe and also need to be gluten-free, then here is how you do it. It's super easy!

All the recipe calls for is a 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin and a box of Devil's Food cake mix. Well, just pick up a can of Libby's Pure Pumpkin and a box of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Devil's Food Cake Mix. That's right! The Betty Crocker gluten-free line has expanded to include devil's food cake!

You can find the directions for making the brownies at Redbook's website, but it's basically just mixing the pumpkin and cake mix (don't add anything else!), spreading the batter in a sprayed 9x13 pan, and baking for 18 minutes at 400 degrees. (I used a spatula to press the ingredients together instead of stirring.)

These have a cake-y feel to them, which is a little different from traditional brownies. The inclusion of the pumpkin also gives a light and spongey feel and taste. But, luckily for my husband, the brownies don't taste like pumpkin. (He hates pumpkin.) Just yummy chocolate! (He's also not a fan of chocolate.)

What do you think? Will these make an appearance in your fall desserts this season?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Devil and Winnie Flynn - YA Book Review

If you need a good ghost story to read this Halloween, then check out the new YA novel The Devil and Winnie Flynn. It's written and illustrated by sister/brother team Micol and David Ostow.

The story takes place in New Jersey, home of many scary legends such as the Jersey Devil. (Driving in New Jersey is also scary but sadly, it is real and not fictional.) New Jersey is where we find our heroine Winnie Flynn. Winnie is a 17-year-old who is interning for her aunt Maggie on Maggie's popular television series that explores the supernatural and paranormal. Winnie, a fan of horror movies, doesn't really believe in the paranormal until she finds herself immersed in a paranormal tale involving her aunt and her late mother.

What will Winnie discover about how she fits into this strange family history? And can she fight all the demons around her and inside her?

I enjoyed how this story was told as a long letter to Winnie's friend Lucia. There are also illustrations throughout that give fun little details to the setting and different important pieces to the story. It's sort of like a step up from a graphic novel, with more text and less illustrations, perfect for kids who are ready to take on more reading.

There is a bit of language and some underage drinking, but I think this would be fine for kids in 8th grade and up.

The Devil and Winnie Flynn is published by Soho Teen and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free ARC at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bonjour card

Lest you think I've only been making scrapbook layouts, think again! I've also been using up my scraps to make cards.

Now who will be the lucky recipient of this cute card??

Supplies used on this card include Basic Grey Mon Ami Bicyclette, Basic Grey Mon Ami stickers, Basic Grey Paper Cottage Table Linens, October Afternoon Travel Girl Stamp Book, and Basic Grey Kiyoshi Ayaka.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cruise the Thames Scrapbook Page

I used up the last of my Project Life photo pocket pages for this layout. I really need to buy some more of those. They are perfect for layouts that have tons of pictures!

These are pictures from a short cruise we did down the Thames River. Originally, we were scheduled for a high-speed boat cruise, but it got cancelled at the last minute (which was really annoying), so we used our London Pass to get free admission on a regular boat cruise. My husband took most of these pictures. I just relaxed.

Supplies used on this layout include Lawn Fawn Into the Woods Birch paper, Stephanie Wheeler for Cocoa Daisy Flannel paper, and Making Memories Tiny Alphas Black on White letter stickers.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is on Saturday, and I'm super excited to actually be home during trick-or-treating hours to open our door to trick-or-treaters instead of commuting home from work and missing it all. But this year, I'm not handing out candy because this year, I'm participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

The Teal Pumpkin Project, launched by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) last year, raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. Because our child has a chance of having Celiac Disease, we understand that some candy is not safe for kids who can't eat gluten, dairy, nuts, or other foods. And I can't imagine how awkward it must be to go trick or treating for candy and then come home and have to separate out all the candy that you can't actually eat. (I also think a lot of parents can appreciate their child getting a small toy instead of candy because that cuts down on the amount of candy being brought into the house, lessening sugar overload.)

So that's why, with the Teal Pumpkin Project, participating households hand out small toys instead of candy. There are an estimated 100,000 households participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year and you can be one of them. In order to do so, sign up to take the Teal Pumpkin pledge, buy some inexpensive non-food treats, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out.

To get a teal pumpkin, I purchased a craft pumpkin at Walmart and painted it teal with acrylic paint. I thought a craft pumpkin would be a good idea because that way I can reuse it year after year.

For my non-food treats, I went to the birthday party aisle of Target to see what they had in terms of party favors. I picked up three bags each containing 12 star-shaped bubble necklaces because what kid doesn't love bubbles?? (And I'd really be surprised if we got more than 48 trick-or-treaters.)

And now, I just sit back and wait for the kiddos to come knocking!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Project Inspired - Book Review

I'm all about empowering girls to be true to themselves and not conform to whatever standards society sets forth, especially when it comes to the oversexualization of girls in magazines, books, TV shows, and movies. It's hard to tell young girls that they don't have to be "sexy" to have worth when that seems to be the only message conveyed to them through all forms of media.

So that's why I chose to review Nicole Weider's book Project Inspired: Tips and Tricks for Staying True to Who You Are. The book is based on Nicole's website, Project Inspired, which gives inspiration and life advice to Christian girls.

But after reading it, I was really torn. The first four chapters are all about fashion, beauty, and looking your best. I agree that you feel better about yourself when you look good, but "looking good" is subjective. Girly-girls might like the beginning of this book, but I really can't see "tomboys" taking a shine to it. And because this is a book based on Christian principles, it's a little awkward to be spending so much time on appearance and then quote 1 Samuel 16:7 a few chapters later: "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

I also wasn't fond of using the story of Esther in these chapters without really going into what Esther's story was. If you just read this book and not the Bible, it basically seems like Esther dressed nice and got the guy!! Oh, and she also used clothing to save the Jewish people. But the King picked her, you guys! OMG!

I also cringed when the author wrote that TV shows such as 19 Kids and Counting and Duck Dynasty were models of moral television, but how dare Danny Tanner from Full House not commit to his girlfriend Vicky. And don't watch horror movies or shows and movies that promote witchcraft. Come on. Can't we all agree that witches aren't real? No one can really perform magic. Not even David Copperfield. And if you have a problem with Harry Potter simply because he wields a magic wand, then I think you need to lighten up.

I just don't feel like boycotting Harry Potter or Full House (quite possibly THE most wholesome show of the '90s) is really promoting the message of Jesus. If you don't want to watch these things, that's fine. But don't make it the pillar of your Christian message. Too often Christians get hung up on "This is bad" and "You can't do that" but fail to show what is GOOD and what you CAN do.

While there were a few good points about friendships and relationships, I was a little disappointed that this book seemed to barely scratch the surface. It was a little too "Rah-rah God! Everything will be sugar and candy when you believe in God! Just look at my life! It's great!" But that isn't the reality of being a follower of Jesus at all. There's a lot more to it than that.

Also, are there books like this for teen boys? Why are girls being told how to act and what kind of guy they should wait for, but boys aren't being told how to act like those "good guys"?

I don't think I would give this book to my daughter (if I have one).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It's Not What You Think - Book Review

I read Jefferson Bethke's first book Jesus > Religion, and so was super excited to check out his follow-up.

In It's Not What You Think, Bethke challenges your notion of Western Christianity. Today's Christianity is self-centered, not God-centered. There's a skewed notion of what being a Christian means, and Bethke's book points out how wrong all of that really is, using scripture as a reference point.

The Bible narrative is God-centered, not about self-centeredness. Christianity is about an intimate relationship with God, not worshiping God from afar. Christianity is about community, not separating ourselves from our neighbors. Christianity is about setting aside time as sacred, not setting aside time to waste on Facebook. It's about pausing to be present. Christianity is about creating Heaven on Earth by doing God's will, not sitting around and waiting to get to Heaven.

Once again, here is a book that all Christians should read but that those Christians who really need to read it probably won't. Maybe if enough buzz surrounds this book and its message, it will open the ears and, ultimately, the minds of Western Christianity.

If you're looking for your next Bible study or small group book, I would recommend this one.

It's Not What You Think is published by Thomas Nelson and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free ARC from BEA with no obligation to review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chicken BBQ-Salsa Tacos

A few weeks ago, I (literally) dusted off the crockpot to make Chicken BBQ-Salsa Tacos. This recipe came from the What to Eat When You're Pregnant cookbook, so I can't share the full recipe with you here. But it was super simple. Chicken breasts. Your favorite salsa. Your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook. Eat.

The chicken also made for really good leftovers. Just make sure you have some sour cream handy for your tacos. I thought they tasted better with sour cream. Cooking these also made our house smell so good and almost fall-like that it put me in the mood to break out my Halloween decorations.

Also, if you're making these gluten-free, be sure to check the ingredients on your salsa and your barbecue sauce. We also used soft corn tortillas warmed in the microwave to make them more pliable.

Here are a few similar recipes to jumpstart your crockpot cooking!

1. BBQ Chicken Tacos from Lovely Little Kitchen

2. Shredded BBQ Chicken Tacos from Florida Gal Eats

3. Crockpot BBQ Ranch Chicken Tacos from Chelsea's Messy Apron

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Honest Burgers Scrapbook Page

Just sharing a quick scrapbook layout today. These are pictures from when we ate at Honest Burgers in London. So very good! I think this might have been my husband's favorite place to eat.

The papers and stickers and sticker letters are all part of the Basic Grey Mon Ami collection. I've been using it a lot for our London photos, but I hope I have some left for when I get to scrapbooking our Paris photos. After all, "mon ami" is French!

Monday, October 19, 2015

We That Are Left - Book Review

You know when you're reading a book and you think you know what's going to happen next, but then you're wrong, and you think, "Well, NOW what's going to happen!!" So you keep reading, and you think you've figured it out again, but you're still wrong and thinking, "Oh my gosh, what could possibly happen next???" So you keep reading, etc.

Well, that was my experience with Clare Clark's We That Are Left.

This story spans a decade (1910-1920) and focuses on the Melville family and a family friend named Oscar Greenwald. The war touches this family directly and changes the course of their lives and fortunes. You just want everything to work out perfectly for these characters (well, except for the youngest daughter Jessica when she's being particularly annoying), but as in classic stories of this time period, there are misunderstandings, conniving family members, affairs, and virtue to be lost.

If you need something to replace the void Downton Abbey is leaving in your life, then I would highly recommend this book.

We That Are Left is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

City on Fire - Book Review

On New Year's Eve 1976, six already-intertwined lives become even moreso after an attempted murder during a snowstorm. Who are these people (Keith, Regan, William, Mercer, Samantha, and Charlie)? And can they fix their broken lives as 1977 starts?

From New Year's Even 1976 to the New York City blackout in the summer of 1977, author Garth Risk Hallberg takes readers on a (very long) rollercoaster ride through what is a love story, a crime story, a murder mystery, a story about immoral business practices, a story about the punks of the '70s, a story about gay people in the '70s, a story about drugs and sex in the '70s.

And to find out just what brought each character to this point in his or her lives, the author takes us through many flashbacks and throws in a few non-traditional storytelling devices, such as letters, magazine articles, emails, etc.

If City on Fire's 927 pages don't scare you off, then you'll find this a pretty epic story. Perhaps some of it could have been edited down, but once you read it, you really can't see any part of it being cut. All of the description, all of the other characters who end up popping into the story are all necessary parts of the story as a whole. It really gives you a sense of what New York was like back then, the difference between the Upper West/East Side and the lower part of Manhattan, the turmoil brewing among the lower classes and the minorities. So, yes, this is a LONG book and one that you'll probably want on your e-reader instead of trying to lug it around in a purse, but take the time to read the book and become part of the story.

City on Fire is published by Alfred A. Knopf and is on bookstore shelves today. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Monday, October 12, 2015

10 Best Products from NJ GFAF Expo

Last weekend I attended the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly (GFAF) Expo in Secaucus, NJ as an official blogger. I got to see, taste, and buy some really cool new products. There were LOTS of vendors at the show. Some I remembered from last year, but others were new to the show and new to me, and they had some really cool new products. Those are the companies I considered when compiling my 10 Best at NJ GFAF Expo list.

1. Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans
Chips. Pretzels. Beans? That's right. The bean has now become a snack food (and a gluten-free one at that) thanks to these delicious snacks from Enlightened. The roasted beans come in different flavors, such as sea salt (my favorite), wasabi, garlic & onion, sriracha, and mesquite BBQ. The crispy beans are also high-protein, non-GMO, low in sugar, all-natural, high in fiber, low in fat, and 100 calories per serving!

2. GeeFree Puff Pastry Sheets
I've let so many recipes go by because I couldn't find gluten-free puff pastry. Well, no longer! GeeFree makes a gluten-free puff pastry, available in the frozen food section, as well as frozen pre-made snacks using the puff pastry, such as cheeseburger bites, spanakopita, and franks in a blanket. Would make a great after-school snack!

3. Otto's Cassava Flour
I made yuca dough from scratch once. And I will probably never do it again, nor will I need to with Otto's Cassava Flour. This is a gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free flour made from yuca. It's a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour in recipes, and you can find recipes from the Otto's Naturals website.

4. Nima
Nima is a handheld device that lets users discreetly test their food for gluten. Just place some food into the disposable capsule and insert the capsule into the device. Turn on the power and in two minutes you'll either see a smiley face (gluten-free!) or a frowny face (gluten!). This is a pretty cool device that would be nice to take when you're eating out or traveling just to make sure that the gluten-free food you're served actually is gluten-free. It's a little pricey at $249, but if you pre-order from October 20 through October 25, it's only $179. The price goes up to $199 from October 26 until limited quantities are sold out.

Have you ever watched The Sopranos? If you remember the character Bobby Baccalieri, then you'll know who Steve Schirripa is. If that's not enough to make you want to try out his marinara sauce, then how about the fact that it's SO GOOD. It's homemade sauce for people who don't have time to make homemade sauce. There's no added sugar, it's non-GMO, and it's gluten-free. There's also a Tomato Basil Sauce and an Arrabiata Sauce. Though these sauces are naturally gluten-free, they are manufactured in a shared facility but good manufacturing processes are in place to avoid cross-contamination.

6. Wholly Gluten Free Pizza Dough Balls
It can be difficult to find a good gluten-free pizza dough for making your own pizzas at home, but I was really impressed with the dough from Wholly Gluten Free. It comes pre-made in the freezer section. Just roll it out, put on your toppings, and bake. You could use it for lots of other things, too! Plus, the company also makes pie shells and brownies.

7. Fresh Kids 
Among the gluten-free snacks this company makes, don't you just love their colors and packaging? These non-GMO snacks include gluten-free star-shaped pretzels, gluten-free popcorn, and gluten-free white cheddar puffs. The company launched its products in schools first in order to be part of the healthy food revolution taking place in America's school cafeterias. But you can buy these products at local stores, too, and give your kids healthy and gluten-free food for lunchboxes or after-school snacks!

8. Banza Chickpea Pasta
So much of gluten-free pasta is made from rice and corn. And that's fine, but there is a concern about eating too much rice, and therefore, ingesting too much arsenic from the rice. Also, with corn being an ingredient in almost everything else we eat, why make it the main ingredient in our pasta? So I was happy to find Banza pasta, which is made from chickpeas, and even happier that it tasted really good! They make four different types of gluten-free pasta, including shells, which is something I have never seen from gluten-free pasta before.

9. Pretzel Crisps Gluten-Free Minis
Everyone knows Pretzel Crisps, but if you're gluten-free, you can't eat them! Until now. The company recently launched a gluten-free version of their pretzel minis. Along with the original pretzel flavor, you can also find gluten-free vanilla yogurt-flavored minis, dark chocolate, and salted caramel. Just make sure to read the package so you don't get them mixed up with the regular pretzel minis.

10. Conte's Cheese Tortellini
If you were following me on Twitter during the Expo, you might have seen my update about how I've been looking for gluten-free tortellini since my husband was diagnosed. But nowhere had I been able to find it! We have this amazing recipe that uses tortellini and goat cheese, but I had to stop making it for lack of any gluten-free tortellini. Until now! Conte's, which makes great gluten-free ravioli, is now coming out with gluten-free cheese tortellini. If you don't see it in your local grocery store, make sure to request it!

So now we've come to the part where I'm going to give away some goodies I got at the Expo. Starting today and going through Friday, use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win an assortment of goodies. (Contiguous U.S. entries only. No Alaska or Hawaii. No international entries.) One winner will randomly be selected to win:

- breath mints from Minute Rice
- "Don't Wheat Me" button
- coupons for Walker's shortbread, Nature's Path Organic, Veggie Fries, and Enjoy Life foods
- Buddha Bowl Himalayan Pink Organic Popcorn
- Milton's Gluten-Free Crispy Salt Baked Crackers
- Wild Garden Snack Box to Go
- NoGii Chocolate Caramel Bliss bar
- Mediterranean Snacks Bean Stacks Sea Salt
- Baby Mum-Mum Carrot Rice Rusks
- Wellaby's Cheese-Ups
- Nature's Path EnviroKidz Gluten-Free Berry Blast Crispy Rice Bar
- Enjoy Life Cinnamon Bun bar
- GoPicnic tote bag

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Announcement Scrapbook Page

Real quick for this Friday, here is a scrapbook page I made using the picture we took to announce my pregnancy on Facebook. These are my parents' dogs, so they are my dog "sisters", hence why their sign says "We're gonna be aunts." 

This page was made using up some scraps from another layout I finished. I even raided my ribbon stash, which I have a tendency to ignore sometimes. The butterflies are Making Memories, and the sparkly pink letter stickers are (no surprise) American Crafts Thickers.

Stay tuned next week for coverage from the NJ Gluten-Free & Allergy-Friendly Expo. I just didn't have time during the week to write up my recap, but there will be a recap and probably a giveaway, so you won't want to miss out.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 3 London: Royal Albert Hall and Snog

A little out of order, but here is how we started off day 3 in London before we went to Wimbledon. It rained, surprise! surprise!, that morning, but we still made it to the Royal Albert Hall for a (long) tour courtesy of our London Pass. I thought the Basic Grey Mon Ami papers and stickers with the raindrops worked out just perfectly for the rainy morning feel.

After the tour, we took the tube to our lunch destination spot, Snog. If you don't know, "snog" means "kiss". But this place didn't really have anything to do with kissing. It had EVERYTHING to do with frozen yogurt! It even has gluten-free cones and brownies!!

For this layout, I used up old American Crafts Neapolitan papers, letter stickers, and embellishments. I just love the colors and those little ice creams in this collection. I knew I was keeping that ice cream-patterned paper around for something useful!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gluten-Free Frozen Pizzas

Frozen pizza is a classic weeknight staple, but it can often be difficult to find gluten-free frozen pizzas that are good or large enough to satisfy two people. For the cost of what one regular frozen pizza costs, you usually only get about half the size in a gluten-free frozen pizza.

But no more! We recently sampled some of the newest gluten-free frozen pizzas on the market, and I'm blogging here today to tell you that we were really impressed!

First up, California Pizza Kitchen gluten-free pizza. I just happened to notice this in the freezer section at my local ShopRite while looking for a different brand of gluten-free pizza (more on that below), and I thought, "Well, let's just give this a try."

There are two varieties. We got the Margherita pizza, but you could also get BBQ Recipe Chicken.

The crust on this pizza is EXQUISITE! It is thin and crispy and just all-around perfect! We had never tasted a gluten-free frozen pizza like this or ANY gluten-free pizza like this before. My husband has already requested this pizza again, and thanks to a ShopRite coupon for it that printed out with my receipt, we will definitely be purchasing this again.

The next gluten-free pizza we tried was the pizza I had originally been looking for at my local ShopRite: Freschetta's new gluten-free pizza. I was participating in a BzzAgent campaign to review the pizza, but none of the grocery stores near me carried it! I had to use Freschetta's store locator feature on its website and then drive 30 minutes away to use my coupon for a free pizza at a Weis store. For all of that trouble, I was definitely thinking, "This better be good."

And it was! We got the 4 Cheese Medley Pizza (you can also get Signature Pepperoni Pizza), and I don't know if it was how long we cooked it for or just the cheese on this pizza in general, but the cheese was SO GOOD. Just how I like it. And this crust was also thin and crispy and didn't taste gluten-free at all! I would buy it again if I could get my local grocery stores to actually carry it.

Freschetta also makes single-serve gluten-free pizzas, perfect for when it's just my husband on his own for dinner.

So there you have it. More choices in the gluten-free food market! Have you guys tried either of these gluten-free frozen pizzas before? Do you have a favorite brand of gluten-free frozen pizza? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The White Rose - YA Book Review

image credit
When we left off in The Jewel, Ash and Violet had been caught. And that's all I'm going to say about that in case you haven't read it.

Now Ash and Violet are on the run, but it's a good thing they've got help because if they're caught, they're dead. As they make their way to safety, they make some new friends and learn about a secret group by a mystery man named The Black Key. And Violet might have some special talents that could aid this group in bringing down the Royals.

I wonder if the author got the title of the second book in this series from the Nazi Germany-era resistance group called the White Rose that called for active opposition to Adolf Hitler's regime. The characters in this book are also fighting against a terrible regime, a regime that promotes human trafficking, the medial experimentation and murder of innocent people, and the exploitation of poor people. While this book is fiction, it definitely has roots in historical past and present, and I hope that teens who read this book are able to make those connections and realize that they, too, can "rage against the machine" to bring down governments or organizations that try to take away the individual rights of human beings.

This book is for ages 14 and up, and there really isn't anything inappropriate in it.

The White Rose is published by HarperTeen and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free autographed advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters - Book Review

image credit
Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is a collection of previously published short stories from author Bonnie Jo Campbell. Each of these stories tells the tale of a different woman: mothers, daughters, grandmothers, nurses, farmers, drug addicts. And usually, each of these stories involves a jerk of a man.

"A Multitude of Sins" tells the story of a woman taking care of her dying husband, trying to get him to apologize for beating her and driving off their only son when he was well.

Or how about the mother in "Tell Yourself" concerned about her teenage daughter's budding sexuality and how the men in the world - a friend's father, the mother's boyfriend - will respond to the teen daughter and her low-rise short-shorts.

And there's the title story, "Mothers, Tell Your Daughters", about a mother who is ridden speechless by a stroke and can only think of all the things she wants to say to the daughter who is now her caregiver.

Sixteen different stories. Some short. Some long. And if you're female, all of them will make you think about the relationships you have with your mother, husband, daughter, son, friends, co-workers. The stories may also make you very afraid to have a daughter.

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is published by W. W. Norton & Company and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wimbledon Scrapbook Pages

Back to our summer vacation from last year! We took a side trip from London and visited Wimbledon for a lovely afternoon getting a VIP tour of all the places we'll never be able to afford to go on the grounds of this tennis campus. What was great about this tour was that it was part of our London Pass, so all we had to do was flash our London Pass card, and we got the tour and access to the museum for no extra charge.

I had a lot of pictures from Wimbledon, but I had to cut them down and then I had to cut THOSE down to keep it to just three pages. To create these pages, I used up some paper from my stash. I also included the 3D glasses we got in the museum because I thought they were fun and they included some fun Wimbledon trivia.

I always find it hard to work a bunch of pictures on one or two pages. Usually I check my Scrapbook Pinterest board for multi-pic inspiration, but for this one, I just sort of went with it. I think I really just wanted to make some progress on this scrapbook album no matter the cost. It will be done ... soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Four-Tool Face

A recent conversation at my house:

Me - "I still have to put on my makeup before we leave."
Husband - "You don't have to put on makeup. You look fine without it!"

While I appreciate that my husband thinks I look good without makeup (we'll see how long that lasts as I approach old age), the truth is that I like wearing makeup!

For me, wearing makeup isn't a hassle or a chore. (Finding the energy to remove it after a long day when all I really want to do is fall into bed is another story.) I'm not trying to hide anything. (I actually have pretty good facial skin, thank you very much.) And some days, I do go out without makeup. (Making a ShopRite or Target run really doesn't necessitate much effort.)

I just like wearing makeup!

At work, I do a lot of on-camera work, and without makeup, you can look washed out, especially if you have pale skin like me and have to stand in front of a white backdrop and behind a white table.

But even when I'm not at work, I just like wearing makeup because it enhances what I've got. Blush gives my pale skin some color. Eyeshadow and mascara make my aqua-colored eyes stand out more. (FYI, the DMV does not accept "aqua" as an eye color.)

My makeup routine also takes all of five minutes to do, and that's if I'm going to work, going to book club, or going to a wedding. I use Cover Girl TruBlend liquid foundation. Then, I apply Almay eye shadow for blue eyes. (They make three color palettes for blue eyes, and I rotate through all three.) Then I apply Maybelline Great Lash mascara in brownish-black. And then it's blush, which right now is Cover Girl blush in Rose Silk.

Usually, I just swipe on Burt's Bees lip balm before I walk out the door. Before I go on camera at work, I'll use Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede lipstick in Finale (red) to give me a little more oomph under those bright lights.

But beyond that, it's easy and simple. When I say things like, "Oh, I still have to put on my makeup," I'm not complaining about doing it. And I guess I don't really HAVE to put on my makeup. But I want to! I like to!

What about you?