Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dogs In Hats!!

I LOVE Etsy!  Seriously, you can find almost anything you want there, even things you didn't know you wanted. lol  There are so many great handmade goods on Etsy.  Personally, I could spend hours just browsing through everything.

I can't say that my dogs are huge hat fans, but when I found crocheted doggy hats I knew I had to get some.  The Littles will be wearing these hats for this year's funny Christmas card picture.

Shaggy Chic has some really cute things!  I hope you check them out! They are also on Facebook!

Kiki in his Patriotic Hat

Rusty in his Sock Monkey Hat

Miss P in a lovely Purple Flower Hat

And Miss P in an Aqua version!

These hats are so cute and well-made!  It looks like the seller is on vacation until September 13th, but please check out the Facebook page until then to see all the cute hats!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cancer Sucks!!

This month has been something else.  We found out my husband's father has leukemia.  It was pretty shocking news, to say the least.  That is never news anyone wants to get.  Since then, we've been juggling our regularly scheduled life chores with hospital visits and such.  Thankfully, we don't live far away and can visit throughout the week.

On August 3rd, Mr. Diva's dad (let's call him Mr. J) went to the ER thinking he might have heart attack symptoms.  After an EKG and blood tests, they thought it was a problem with his spleen.  The hospital kept him overnight to monitor his heart and transferred him to a bigger hospital Thursday morning for more blood work.  His blood platelet count was 16,000 at that time.  (It should normally be above 100,000)  He was to stay at the hospital while they narrowed down what was wrong with him because if he bumped his head and got a hemorrhage, he could die.

Because of the spleen not generating enough platelets, they took a bone marrow test.  When the results came back, it was acute leukemia.  Mr. J started chemo on Saturday (August 6th) and was on it for a week.  He had been growing his hair out to donate it to Locks of Love, so we had to cut it short and send it in before it started to fall out.

He's had various issues like a painful throat (humidifiers, lozenges, throat spray, and mints helped), fevers, retaining fluids, etc.  But he continues to go for walks around the hospital wing, or even outside when he can.  He has to wear a face mask because of his immune system. 

Last week, the results from the post-chemo bone marrow test came back and 60% of the leukemia cells were killed off!  He immediately started back on chemo that night...which brings us to the present.  He's been on his second round of chemo for five days now (he gets his last bag tonight).  It will be another couple of weeks before they do another bone marrow test to check the new results.

I remain in awe of Mr. J, Mrs. J, and Mr. Diva's positive attitudes in the face of this great adversity.  They have kept their smiles and senses of humor, though I know it hasn't always been easy.  We take it all a day at a time and visit Mr. J as often as possible.

Please keep Mr. J in your thoughts and send positive energy his way!  Thank you!

I will do my best to catch up on all the posts I have planned for the blog, but I wanted all you readers to know why I have been MIA.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birchbox Reveiw: August 2011

Catching up with Birchbox posts...

If you don't know about Birchbox, it is a monthly subscription service.  For $10 a month, you get a box of 4 to 5 high-end skincare, makeup, and/or hair care products to sample.  Sometimes there are also "lifestyle samples", like an organic granola bar, tea, etc.  Some products are even full-size!

It is a really fun thing to get in the mail!  Plus, I am a product junkie and love being able to try all these different products.  Check out the website for more information!

This month's theme was Innovation.

Birchbox August 2011

A list of the products:

  1. June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque.  Smells great and leaves my skin feeling soft.
  2. Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel.  Haven't used it enough to give a full review because I haven't done my hair naturally curly much lately.  But it seems to work well with no crunchy feeling.
  3. Shaveworks The Cool Fix.  This stuff is a gel that is said to be a solution to bumps and ingrown hairs, soothing as it works.  I don't know exactly how it works or if it did, but I like the hydrating aloe gel feeling.  However, if you have any cuts from shaving, this BURNS like the dickens!!
  4. Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer.  I love Smashbox primer, but I normally wear the Photo Finish Light because I have extremely oily skin.  I tried wearing this original one and noticed the difference in my face.  It was more oily with this formula.  So if you have oily skin, stick with the Photo Finish Light Primer.  I never put on makeup without it!
  5. Twistband Hair Tie.  They market this is the "sophisticated scrunchie you aren't embarrassed to wear on your wrist".  Well, I still wouldn't wear it on my wrist, but it looks better than a big-ass scrunchie.  It stretches out a bit over time, but I wash it in the washing machine and it is fine.  I wear it every day at home.  

Diva In The Kitchen: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I cannot believe I have yet to share this recipe with all of you!  This is my GO TO cookie recipe since I stumbled upon it three years ago.

Heather, over at Heather Drive, posted about these perfectly amazing, moist and chewy cookies.  Well, who is gonna resist making those?  These cookies are BIG; I usually get 16 to 18 from one batch.  But that is part of what makes them as delectable as they are.

Plate by Brilliant Glass Works

The outside is a beautiful brown with firm edges and the inside is soft and chewy like a cookie should be.  And you can substitute the chocolate chips for anything you want to put in your cookie.  I've done white chocolate and macadamia nuts.  I've added pecans or walnuts.  You can do M&Ms or Reese's Pieces or mini peanut butter cups.  The possibilities are endless!  And they come out AWESOME every time.

So go get that oven heating up and make these right now! (and you probably want to be able to send them AWAY as fast as possible before you eat the entire batch.  Trust me.  I have sent these to work with Mr. Diva so they aren't home alone with me.)

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Source: Baking Illustrated)
Makes approximately 18 large cookies

These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.

- 2 cups + 2 tbsp. (10 5/8 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
- 1 cup packed (7 oz.) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough (since I weighed the dough, I did 2.2 oz. per cookie) into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 30

Day 30 - Your Favorite Music At This Time Last Year

Oh my gosh, I don't know.  The kids these days with their Justin Bieber and their songs that suck and make no sense. lol  I looked up the Top 10 songs from this time last year on Billboard.com to answer this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 29

Day 29 - Music From Your Childhood

Here are my Top 3 Favorite Songs when I was a kid:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 27

Day 27 - Music That You Wish You Could Play

I'd love to be able to play the drums and guitar or piano.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 26

Day 26 - Music That You Can Play On An Instrument  

I don't think there is anything I can play on an instrument these days.  When I was 9 or so, I got a keyboard and could play "When The Saints Go Marching In".

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 24

Day 24 - Music That You Want To Play At Your Funeral

Okay, so YouTube only had live versions of this song.  I usually get teary-eyed when I hear this song and I want it played at my funeral.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 23

Day 23 - Music That You Want To Play At Your Wedding

I am blessed to have had a wonderful wedding already, so I will share with you some of the songs we played.

Around the time people needed to take their seats, we played "Chapel of Love" by The Dixie Cups.  The Bridal Party walked out to "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley.  And I walked down the aisle to "You Are So Beautiful" as sung by Westlife:

And after we were pronounced husband and wife, we exited to "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees:

And our First Dance was to "For Once In My Life" as sung by Harry Connick Jr. I mentioned that on Day 3 of the challenge, so I won't post the embed here. :-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birchbox Introduction - July 2011

Have y'all heard of Birchbox yet?

A wonderful new friend of mine informed me of Birchbox in June.  I signed up too late to get the June box; but I just received my July box a couple weeks ago, and wanted to share its contents (and the whole Birchbox concept) with all of you.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service.  You pay $10 a month and receive a box in the mail that has 4 to 5 high end skincare, makeup, and/or hair care products in it.  Most are sample sizes, but some can be full-sized products.  Brands that are included are: Benefit, DDF, kate spade, Kiehl's, Laura Mercier, Marc Jacobs, NARS, Philosophy, Redken, Stila, and more.  Go HERE to check out a bigger list of brands.

When you sign up, you can fill out a beauty profile about your skin type, hair type, skin coloring, etc. that helps your Birchbox be more tailored to you.

You also earn points that can be redeemed towards full-size products you can purchase from the Birchbox online store.  100 points earns you $10 to use on whatever you like.  It is really easy to earn those points too!  When you refer a friend and that friend subscribes, you earn 50 points.  You earn 10 points just for purchasing each month's box, and 10 points for filling out a few questions about each product that comes in your box.  You also earn 1 point per $1 that you spend on products from Birchbox.

It really is a wonderful way to try lots of different products, some which you may never of even heard of, and find something that works well for you!

So let me tell you (and show you) what came in my July Birchbox:

Cynthia Rowley was the guest curator for the July box.  It had a pretty sleeve on the box.

When I opened the box, there was a little note about Cynthia curating.  On the other side of the card was a list of the included samples, with a description of each and the price for a full-size version.

This is how it was packaged.

Birchbox July 2011

A list of the included products:

  1. Ahava Mineral Hand Cream.  I am enjoying this product.  It isn't greasy like most hand creams I have tried.  The smell is a fresh, clean "dryer sheet" smell that lasts a while.  I personally don't find it overpowering like I thought I would.  I would buy the full size of this.
  2. Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser.  I've used this before as I am a big fan of Philosophy products.  It is a great facial cleanser.
  3. Redken Shine Flash 02.  I've used it a couple times and it really does add great shine to my hair.
  4. Zoya Touch Collection Nail Polish in Shay.  This is a beautiful, shimmery, creamy nude color.  Application was a little bit streaky because it was a thicker polish than I thought it was going to be.  The color was lovely though.  It dried fast and lasted a while before chipping occurred.
  5. Kind Almond and Apricot bar.  This was very tasty.  Not too sweet, packed with protein.  I enjoyed it as a great mid-afternoon pick me up.

So there you have it.  Birchbox in a nutshell!  I'm really excited about this service.  A subscription would even make a great gift for any product junkie in your life.  Visit their site to find out more.  Sign up and earn some of those awesome Rewards Points I was talking about.

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 22

Day 22 - Music That You Listen To When You're Sad

This song is meant to be a romantic breakup song, but it reminds me of my dad and our broken relationship when he died.  So I can listen to this on repeat when I am sad.

Monday, August 1, 2011

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 - Music You Listen To When You're Happy

I love Westlife and Rat Pack music; and I love singing along to songs when I am happy.  Enjoy!

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