Monday, December 29, 2014

Goals for 2015

New Year, New Goals!

A new year is the perfect excuse to set new goals. And actually stick to them. I know for most, we fade out of that mindset, but there's just something that seems like a challenge at the beginning of the year. You've got 6 months till it's summer. I'm not huge on shorts or bathing suits, but it'd be nice to don some cute high-waisted skirts or shorts this summer!
I would love to start a little support group for anyone else that would like to fulfill their goals! I've said this before, but if you'd like to be little friends on the myfitnesspal app, add me! toriiix30

My goals for 2015:

Cut out something different each month
(January: refined sugar)
Drink more water & green tea
Work out at least 4 days a week
Eat cleaner
Take fun workout classes
Blog more
Spend more time with people I love
Save, save, save $$ for my California trip in the winter!


I would love to know what everyone's goals are! Share in the comments! (:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Cookie Week Pt. 2

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, & Candy Cane Kiss Dip


Is anyone else around here extremely last minute? I've been meaning to post this baby (since yesterday), and I've just been hammered with stuff! Working 10s, last minute plans with friends, and getting ready to leave for the holiday. So, It appears "Cookie Week" is a two week business. Don't mind me and my slack! So, these are my final cookies. Not to fret, I'll be posting a Peppermint Dip and Cranberry Brie pastry, as well. (Hopefully tomorrow. If not, I am BEHIND!) So, my fellow procrastinators, let's get to it.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

These chocolate mint chip cookies are another that I make yearly. They're my brother's favorite, and , therefore, I feel obligated to make them! Plus they're delicious, and mint is just a Christmas flavor. Of course I need to make them. 

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 c. cocoa powder
2 c. flour, sifted
1 bag mint morsels of your choosing

How To:

In a large bowl, whisk together butter and vanilla. Using your hand mixer, beat in the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda. Carefully mix in the cocoa, until the mixture is combined well. Slowly add in the flour, adding about a half a cup at each addition. Mix well! Now fold in the mint morsels. I used Nestle's dark chocolate and mint chips with a some broken up Andes mints. Stick this in the fridge for at least an hour. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325˚. Using a tablespoon, plop balls of dough on a greased (or wax paper-lined) cookie sheet. Bake these for 10-11 minutes. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack!

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Anyone that knows me, also knows I will eat spoonfuls of peanut butter straight out of the jar. I'm pretty sure peanut butter is my first true love. So, of course, the perfect peanut butter cookie is needed.

 Ingredients:

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/4 c. flour, sifted
Extra sugar, for rolling

How To:

In a large mixing bowl, start by whisking the butter and vanilla together. Using a hand mixer, beat in the egg, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and peanut butter. Slowly beat in the flour. As always, I do about a 1/2 cup at a time. Beat this until it's mixed well. Eat the dough, because it's amazing. Pop this dough in the fridge, too. Also for about an hour or so. Preheat the oven to 350˚.  Use a spoon to scoop the dough out. Roll them into balls between your hands and roll in sugar. Place your little dough balls at least 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake these for 9-10 minutes. Let them sit for a minute or two, then transfer to a baking sheet. They're going to seem like they might need to be in there a little longer, but I promise, they don't. They're going to be chewy and delicious and heaven.

Candy Cane Kiss Dip

When you're entertaining on Christmas eve, it's definitely necessary to have more than just cookies. I'm sure, by now, they've all had their fair share of eating dough and an excessive amount of cookies. So, this dip is perfect. It also happens to be ridiculously easy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

40 Candy Cane Hershey Kisses
1 (7 oz.) jar of marshmallow cream
4 oz. cream cheese

How To:

Using a double broiler, melt down the kisses. If you don't have a double broiler, boil water in a medium-sized pot. Place your kisses in a metal bowl, and set the bowl over the boiling water. Stir the kisses as they melt down. Once melted, beat in the cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. BAM!! You're done. Place this in the fridge until it's serving time. Serve it up with some chocolate graham crackers, or whatever else you can find!

Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Cookie Week! Pt. 1

Chocolate Chip Cookie & "Sugar" Cookies


Ya know how there's just some memories that you just remember? Like, it's really vivid and you can just remember everything about it? One of those for me is when I was in cooking class in middle school. We were making chocolate chip cookies, and we were at the point of adding the chips in. One of the girls I was working with says, "we need to fold the chips in. Do you know how to fold them in?" She was like Hermione in Charms class. "It's Levi-O-sa, not Levios-A." I honestly had no idea what she was talking about, but promptly responded, "yes, I know what folding is," and I went about using common sense and folding the the chips.
It's not an important memory. It's just something I can recall so vividly. From then on, though, I loved baking. For Christmas this year, I have a hefty list of cookies and treats I intend on making. In fact, I have 5 or 6 doughs in the freezer now, waiting for me to bake and blog! The week before Christmas is when it all goes down in the kitchen! So, I'm going to share these recipes with you this week! (Probably some next week, too.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies



Let me begin by saying, not one woman in my family is capable of baking chocolate chip cookies without them turning out flat as a pancake, except me. So, every year, I'm obligated to make them. I'm also not into using all the bowls in my kitchen to bake. Enjoy only using one bowl!

Ingredients:

3/4 c. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
3/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
2 1/4 c. flour
16 oz. bag chocolate chips

How To:

In a non-metallic mixing bowl, melt the butter down. (If you only have metallic bowl, sorry! You'll be using 2 bowls.) Whisk in the vanilla. Did you know that melted butter and vanilla form a chemical bond perfect for baking? I always start with those two together. Now, whisk in the egg and extra yolk. Whisk in the sugars, baking soda, and cornstarch, mixing after each addition until smooth. Now start whisking in the flour. I usually do 1/2 a cup at a time. Once this is smooth, mix in your chocolate chips. Pop this in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour. You can stick it in the freezer, too, if you don't intend on making it the same day.
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Using a tablespoon, start scooping your dough out. Roll it into a bowl in your hands, and place on a greased baking sheet. Pop these in the oven for 11-12 minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. Done!

"Sugar" Cookies



I'm calling these "sugar" cookies, because the almond definitely stands out! They definitely aren't your typical sugar cookie, but they are delicious!

Ingredients:

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

How To:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it's fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla, almond, and baking powder, combining well.  Slowly add in the flour. Again, I do about a 1/2 cup at a time. Beat well, until there's no lumps in the dough. Now pop the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. You can put it in the freezer if you aren't making them the same day, just make sure to pull them out and let them thaw a bit..
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Roll your dough out on a floured surface. Use your little cookie cutters, and place the cut out dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rake and cool completely before frosting. I used colored sugar on mine. For that, just sprinkle the sugar on before baking!

What's your favorite Christmas cookie!? (:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Foxbrim's Natural Refresh Toner


Toner!


I think we've covered several times, that I'm pretty lazy. Literally, I time my morning routine that way I can sleep in at much as humanly possible. I've got my makeup down to 20 minutes. That's after I sit on my bed and mentally prepare myself to get ready for a good 5 minutes. This is a reason I love toners. My face gets a bit oily over night, and I can't stand the feeling of it, but I'm just too lazy to fully wash my face. Although I know toner isn't a good substitute, it works and it's quick. So, leave me to my unhealthy ways. It doesn't have the most wonderful smell in the world, but it's witch hazel. You can't expect it to smell like roses!
Even better about Foxbrim's toner? It's in a spray bottle. Spray that baby on your face, wipe it down, and done! You're free to now carry on with your typical routine. Don't get me wrong, it has a ton of other benefits. For one, it's 100% Natural and Alcohol Free. It also has some great ingredients.

Witch Hazel: Fights acne, reduces puffy eyes, reduces the appearance of varicose (inflamed) veins, heals bruises, tightens pores, locks in moisture, treats sunburn.
Aloe: Acts as a moisturizer, fights aging, lessens the visibility of stretch marks, lightens skin, tightens skin.
MSM: Softens skin, smoothes skin, hydrates, oxygen to skin is increased, reduces inflammation and swelling.
Vitamin C: Anti-aging, protect skin cells from UV, promote collagen production, boosts the efficacy of sunscreen.

Ready to try it out? You can check it out here!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Favorites

TGIF!

1. Kate Spade

Boyfriend gave me an early Christmas present, and she sure is pretty! I'm in love with it!
I didn't realize how awful this picture was until I went to put it on here! :O

2.  Sofritas!

Guys. I have been waiting for sofritas to hit Ohio since my trip to San Francisco this past summer. The wait is finally over!

3. Boyfriend's Birthday!

A quote comes to mind... "It comes in pints!? I'm getting one." Name that movie, and you win life. (:

4. Christmas Tree!!

I love decorating for Christmas. I'm not sure there's anything that makes me as happy as decorating a tree and putting my little village up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

KISS Instawave Review


Automatic, Tangle-free Curler

So, here's the lowdown on my hair. It's pretty damn long, but it's also really fine and really stubbornly straight. You might remember that I recently went to a wedding. I used crazy, mega cement hairspray, and guess what? It was mostly straight in an hour. I must tell you, that's not at all ideal.

I was recently given the chance to try out the KISS Instawave. Maybe you've seen it around. Maybe you've been like, "huh, that's pretty nifty looking. I wonder if it works." Well, how bout we take a little sneaky peak. Here is the "how-to" directly from Kiss.


I get it, I get it. You're still skeptical. Of course you are, it's directly from the company.  So, here's my "tutorial," if that's what you want to call it. 

A video posted by toriiix30 (@toriiix30) on

Now is when the real questions start. Did it really work? Is it actually tangle-free? What are the heat settings? Does it curl in both directions?
Did it really work? Yes, it did work. It worked and my stubborn hair held a curl all day. Ya know the wand curlers? Well, I literally burn my little hands up using those. This is basically a wand curler that curls itself. Does that make sense?  Is it actually tangle-free? As with anything, this takes practice! Brush your hair before using it. I have a bad habit of not brushing my hair, ever, except right after I get out of the shower. It also takes a minute to figure out that one angle definitely works better than another. Hold that puppy straight up and down, otherwise it isn't going to work. So basically, follow the instructions. What are the heat settings? The curler gets unto 420° on the high setting. Is that scary to anyone other than me? All I can think of is that viral video of the girl burning her hair off. Obviously, that didn't happen. Keep it on there for 5-10 seconds. I'd say 30 seconds max. Does it curl in both directions? Yes! For me, that was something else that took me a minute. Like, I had to think about what way to push the button to get the curl I want, but eventually, I got it down. I always use a combination of directions, because that makes it look more natural.
Final question, Is it worth it? To be quite honest, for someone like me, yes. I'm clumsy, I have stubborn hair, and I'm not the most hair savvy. I can assure you that all of these things were taken care of while I used this curler. I was actually proud of the bouncy curls! Nobody needs to know that you didn't work for those! I think it also cut down on the amount of time. As stated, I have some long hair. It takes a while to curl, and I'm impatient.

Now enjoy these freeze-frames of all the wonderful faces I make while doing my hair.

This post is powered by BrandBacker, but I think you can see it works. (; I wouldn't tell you it did if it didn't.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Make It Monday

Christmas Wreath

What?! Oh, yes, yes, I'm still alive. Alive and kickin'! However, it was time to spend my time with friends and family, and that's exactly what I did. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I sure did. Boyfriend's birthday was Black Friday, and, of course, he drug me out into the hoards of people. But we were so accomplished! We finished over half of our Christmas list and got good deals! I guess, in the end, it was doable. I still don't like going out on Black Friday (please remember your manners and humanity!), but at least it was successful. I also got presents all wrapped up! Do you remember my DIY inspiration post? I absolutely love how they're wrapped. The brown paper wrap is actually packing paper from Target. $6 for 800 ft! Steal!!! The twine is from Michael's, and, surprisingly, the paper doilies are from Walmart. They have a few different sizes, and I needed multiple, but they're only $2 for a 10 pack! (:

So, it's make it Monday, and you may have gathered that I like wreaths by now. I had this whole idea planned out with "Do you wanna build a snowman?" lettered out on it, but that's a ton of work. and how on earth do you securely attach that? You don't. That's all. So instead, while bored at work all day, I sketched this little guy up and sent it off to boyfriend. He liked it, so done deal. It was cute and much easier!

What you'll need:

Grapevine wreath (size o' choice)
Christmas bow of choice (just make sure it fits nicely on the wreath)
Spool of litter ribbon
2 sheets of white felt
1 sheet black felt
1 sheet red felt
2 pearl beads sprays
2 frosted cranberry sprays
Hot glue gun and glue
*FYI, I bought everything at Jo-Ann's, in case you don't know where to find something.*

How to:

You can start where ever your little heart desires. I started by making my little snowman. Mainly because I didn't have the other parts of the wreath yet. For his body, I made 3 different size white felt flowers, like the ones in this tutorial. FIY your circles don't have to be perfect. I hotglued his little body pieces together and set him aside. Then, I just cut out 2 rectangles of red felt. The first one, I glued around his neck. The second, I tucked into the first, to make it look like his scarf was tied, then hotglued the end down to his body so it didn't stick out all crazy. Now just cut a top hat shape out of the black felt, glue a little sliver of red felt to the hat, and glue it to his head. Voila! Cute little snowman. I used some pearl beads for his buttons. You can use what ya like, or leave him naked. 
After I got the wreath, bow and sprays, I took apart the sprays. For this, all you have to do is pull the grouped bunches off the main stem, or just cut them off. Before you start putting those one, you might want to put on your bow first. All I did was take the twisty tie that typically comes on the bow, and twisted it around a branch of the wreath to secure it. If yours doesn't come with a twisty tie, take one off your bread or something. (; 
Tuck your spray fragments into your grapevine wreath and arrange them to look neatly disheveled (yes, that is possible). Hot glue the ones down that are feisty. Start wrapping your ribbon around the top fourth of the wreath, overlapping the wraps. Once you run out of ribbon, just hot glue the end down in the back. Final piece! Find a happy home for your little snowman and glue him on!