10.24.2014

Wedding Series Giveaway #1: Hair Essentials!!











Products Mentioned: 
Total Value = $107


Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and my Torts and a Tiara Facebook page and stay tuned for when I announced a winner the morning of October 31, 2014!!  Good luck!!







10.22.2014

Healthy Comfort: Rosemary Beef, Tomatoes, Beans Over Polenta


At this point, it should be known that I am no domestic diva.  I struggle with even the simplest recipes.  Shout-out to my girlfriends who have sent me crockpot recipes because those are usually my favorite and I mess them up the least.

J has been crazy-busy at work lately and I've found that creating healthy, delicious breakfasts and dinners really helps both of us feel a little less chaotic and a little more fit.  I'm just a not-so-domestic girl trying to navigate the kitchen quickly and easily.  

This is a recipe I altered a bit and tried out the other night.  It's delicious and perfect for a chilly night when you want something warm and comforting.




Ingredients:

1 (17-ounce) tube of polenta, cut into 9 slices.  (I used the Italian flavored kind.)
Lean ground beef (I used about half a small package)
Cooking spray or olive oil.
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half.
Minced garlic
1 (15-ounce) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Sprinkling of salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Directions: 

1.  Brown the Beef
Heat a little olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add lean ground beef and break up into little pieces with a spoon.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and ground black pepper.  You'll stir this occasionally throughout meal prep to make sure the meat is browning evenly (and not blacking… Because that means it's burning, trust me).

2.  Heat Up Tomatoes/Garlic
Get another medium nonstick skillet out (I hope you have a lot of these) and pour in a drizzle of olive oil.  Heat it over medium-high heat.  Add your halved grape tomatoes and a sprinkling of minced garlic, depending on how much kissing you're planning on doing later.  Sauté about 4 minutes or until tomatoes and minced garlic soften.  Stir this occasionally with a different spoon than your raw beef spoon to make sure oil and tomatoes/garlic combo is evenly mixed.

3.  Add Beans
While you're waiting on the tomatoes/garlic to soften, open the can of beans and drain them into a strainer over the sink, then rinse water over them to remove any residue.  Turn the tomatoes/garlic heat down to low… Then add the rinsed beans and another sprinkling of salt and ground black pepper.

4.  Add Rosemary
Take sprigs of fresh rosemary (you should be able to find this packaged neatly in the produce section at your grocery store).  Turn the sprig upside down, pinch at the top, and run your fingers down the stem over a cutting board.  The little leaves should come off as you run your fingers backwards against them.  Then take a giant chef's knife and chop, chop, chop.  Your hands will smell lovely and herbal after.  Add the chopped rosemary to the tomatoes/garlic/beans mixture and stir.

5.  Grill Polenta
While your yummy rosemary mixture heats up and your ground beef continues to brown, spray a grill pan with cooking spray and add polenta slices to the pan over medium-high heat.  Cook 2 minutes per side.

6.  The Final Step
Once you've flipped your polenta slices and are grilling them for 2 minutes on the second side, add the browned beef to the tomatoes/garlic/beans/rosemary mixture and stir together.  Place grilled polenta slices on each plate (3-4 is a typical serving) and spoon the beef and veggie mixture on top.  Sprinkle a little fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top of each serving.



Happy cooking!!  Let me know if you're interested in seeing more easy, healthy recipes like this!! 














10.21.2014

Pumpkin Glamming


It all started when one of my friends posted this article about no-carve ways to glam out your pumpkins on my Facebook wall.  We were reminiscing about our annual sorority tradition; spending an evening roasting marshmallows around the campfire at the pumpkin patch.  

After a Sunday afternoon spent at the pumpkin patch (outfit here) I stocked up on paints and set to work glamming our pumpkins. 



I set up a covering of newspaper, magazines, and paper towel on the porch - the spray paint drips everywhere, so watch out!!  Wear old clothes and put on latex gloves to protect your hands.

I started out by spraying the bottoms of each pumpkin with the corresponding paint color.  As you go down the line, the other pumpkins can dry.  The painted bottoms of the pumpkins will stick to the covering a bit; the magazines were the best, but still stuck.  

After I was completely done painting and let the pumpkins dry about 10 minutes, I carefully lifted each pumpkin and placed them on the concrete sidewalk to completely dry overnight.  You may get a tiny bit of paint on the sidewalk, but it will be minimal and you can remove it with paint thinner.


A closeup of my favorite pumpkin… I sprayed it with the ivory paint all over, then dusted the top with a heavy coating of the gold glitter paint.  I think it looks like a Cinderella pumpkin.


Some of the pumpkins had such beautiful colors; I didn't want to completely cover them with the gold or ivory paint.  So I gave them a clear coat, then dusted the tops with the gold glitter paint.


The smaller pumpkins in the front have a clear coat and are topped with gold glitter paint near their stem area.  The ombré pumpkin on the left has a thick coat of ivory paint all over, then I lightly sprayed the metallic gold paint down from the top… I love how it looks a bit speckled as it turns to ivory.  The gold pumpkin in the back has two thick coats of gold metallic paint with a light dusting of gold glitter paint on the top. 


I got my paints from Walmart.  I used Krylon Dual Ivory, Krylon Dual Gold, Krylon Clear Glaze, and Krylon Glitter Blast



Happy Pumpkin Glamming!! 









10.20.2014

Pumpkin Picking


I've been wearing this faux fur vest nonstop lately

Jeans tucked into long-lasting boots… A Fall classic.

Green sunnies and earrings


This silk blouse is on sale for $78 using code TGIFALL




A little over a year ago, J proposed to me in a pumpkin patch.  This year I've been whinging for him to take me to one, but he's been so busy with work there just hasn't been time.  Until yesterday!! 

I was so excited.  Searching through the fields for the perfect "Cinderella" pumpkin, walking through the corn mazes, munching pumpkin cookies, and browsing through Indian corn, gourds, and mini pumpkins for decorating… It finally felt like Fall to me.

After a dinner date, we came home and I glammed those pumpkins.  Photos of my pumpkin artwork will be on the blog tomorrow.  :)

The Gucci bag I'm carrying is from 2008 or 2009… It's called the "Jockey Bag".  I love carrying this slouchy, roomy style whenever we're out and about doing errands or little activities like this.  Prada has a similar style if you're crushing on a slouchy designer bag right now.  For a more wallet-friendly version, check out this one.


Wishing you lots of fun Fall activities… And a fabulous, versatile faux fur vest to do it all in.
















10.17.2014

Winter Wonderland Party


A little wonderland setup in our dining room with some pieces from our holiday decor.

Do you remember Khloe Kardashian introducing us to her new favorite drink - Sparkle - in this previous post?  

With the holidays upon us and this glam little drink stocking store shelves, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share my holiday party inspiration.


Snowflake Oreos.  Party Spread.  Elsa Pumpkin.  Snowball Garland.  Snowflake Cookies.  Dipped Pretzel Sticks.  

Think a sparkly, grown-up version of Frozen.  Ice blue accents, shimmering aqua, sparkling white, and faux snow decorate this Winter Wonderland.  Sweet treats and crystal glasses of sparkling liquor help your guests celebrate in style.

Best of all, Hpnotiq is currently hosting a great giveaway on their website.  Simply enter for a chance to win one of their weekly prize packs or their $5,000 Grand Prize.

Are you planning or hosting any holiday parties in the coming months??  Let me know what's inspiring you by using the hashtag #INeedSparkle on social media!!


Bon Weekend… And Happy Celebrating!! 










This post was sponsored by Heaven Hill Distilleries

Heaven Hill Family of Brands. Bardstown, KY © 2014


10.14.2014

Shopbop Sale Picks




Ladies, grab your wallets now… Because the Shopbop Friends and Family event has started, and the entire site (minus a few brand exclusions I've listed below) is 25% off!!  

This is a perfect time to stock up on your Fall/Winter basics, buy those boots you've been eyeing, the perfect holiday party dress, some staple jeans and leggings, or a new cozy coat.  Just use code FAMILY25 at checkout.  But hurry - the sale ends Thursday October 16th at midnight.

I've included my must-haves from the sale above in an easy-to-shop photo.  Links are listed below the photo as well.  


Happy Shopping!! 












Shopbop Sale Brand Exclusions: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Acne Studios, Alexander Wang, Aurelie Bidermann, Canada Goose, Cedric Charlier, Gareth Pugh, Giambattista Valli, Herve Leger, Hunter, J. Mendel, Jamie Wolf, Jason Wu, Jay Ahr, Katie May, Maison Martin Margiela, Michele Watches, Monique Lhuillier, Nina Ricci, Rag & Bone, Rodarte, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stella McCartney Apparel, Stuart Weitzman, Suno, Thakoon, Tory Burch York Totes, Versace, Victoria Victoria Beckham, Vika Gazinskaya, Wes Gordon and What Goes Around Comes Around Vintage.

10.06.2014

Bridal Shower Chic



[Dress]  [Earrings]  [Bracelet]  [Clutch]  [Shoes]  [Lipstick]


It's so tricky to find a white or ivory dress that is flattering.  Luckily, this one is both beautiful and figure-flattering.  It's quite bridal, but I think I can wear it to cocktail events in the Spring and Summer.

I paired it with the quintessential "Carrie shoes" and some silver-toned, sparkly jewelry.  I randomly picked up this Creme de la Femme lipstick from the MAC store in the Denver airport on my way to my hometown… It is perfect for weddings and prom; very feminine.

[Castle Invitation]

I didn't snap many photos at my bridal shower; I really wanted to soak in each moment with my family and friends and be present.  It was absolute perfection… I kept reminding myself that this only happens once, so I needed to truly enjoy each minute!!  We had a photographer taking photos for us; I cannot wait to see what she captured and I'll be sure to share with you as soon as I get the photos back.


Happy Monday!!