Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Cliche New Year Post

I feel that I should write the obligatory end of the year post. It seems as though everyone is sharing their reflection of the past year and plan for the new year, and I have a hard time staying off of blogging bandwagons I suppose.

My thoughts are extremely scattered as I write this, so my post will be a random assortment of lists so that my nonsensical writing might be somewhat organized.

Top Ten of 2013
1. I got married to my best friend, soul mate, love of my life, other romantic cliche pet name, etc, etc.
Right after the ceremony
2. I moved two times. First from my college apartment in Kalamazoo, MI to live with my parents for part of the summer in Kentwood, MI, and finally to my current home in Ephrata, PA.

3. I transferred schools from Western Michigan University to Millersville University.

4. I went on an incredible honeymoon to Gatlinburg, TN where the man and I slept in a huge cabin, skinny dipped in our private hot tub, went ziplining through the mountains, ate fondue, fed stingrays, tried moonshine, got massages, and enjoyed being reunited after months of long distance separation.
Us after our chairlift ride to the top of a mountain. 
5. We adopted an adorable Yorkie-Jack Russel puppy from an Amish farm near us who has become our fur child/obsession. Hey, if this wards off baby fever for a few more years, I'd say it's a fairly healthy obsession.
I'm obsessed with this furry face!
6. I chopped off 11 inches of hair to donate to Children With Hair Loss.
That's a whole lot of hair missing from my head!
7. I traveled to Wisconsin with my parents and brother to stand up with my gorgeous cousin as she married the man of her dreams.

8. I learned how much I loved cooking. It's the perfect way for me to be creative and indulge my "people pleasing" ways in a healthy manner.
Mmmmm ribs!
9. I started this blog and have enjoyed getting my thoughts out into writing, sharing my life with friends and family back home, and even receiving a few free things.

10. To end this list on an even more cliche note, I realized how truly blessed I am to be going to school to get a degree in something I love, to have a husband who thinks I hung the moon and the stars (and to feel the exact same way about him), to have friends and family to love us, and to have God guiding us through this crazy journey of life.
My family
One more list to end this bad boy with:

5 Most Viewed  Blog Posts of 2013
1. My Issue with "Modesty"
2. Modest Monday (Two Outfits!) (This was written before #1 for anyone who sees the contradiction haha)
3. Gettin' Hitched Part 1
4. Gettin' Hitched Part 2
5. The Rockstar Jean

So there is my recap of 2013. Hope everyone has a safe and blessed New Year's Eve!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Greek and Quinoa Avocado Salad

I was CRAVING avocado the other day. Hardcore, I needed some of it in my life immediately. So I browsed some recipes and found one for a Greek and Quinoa Avocado Salad.

1. Put some spinach leaves on a place.

2. Put half of a cut up avocado on top of the bed of lettuce.

3. Whisk some olive oil, lemon juice and salt together for a low-calorie dressing.

4. Mix up some cooked quinoa,cut up tomatoes, ripped up spinach leaves and the dressing.

5. Put the quinoa mixture on top of the spinach and avocado, and top with cheese.

Note: The recipe suggested feta. I thought I had feta, but it was old. So I used mozzarella. Still yummy, but not as good as feta would have been.

What a delicious lunch salad! I highly recommend using fresh, high quality produce. The tomatoes weren't on point, so the salad was not as good as it could have been. But it still tasted great and had a lot of yummy flavors going on.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

BarkBox December 2013 Review

As many of you know, I'm obsessed with my dog. She is my fur child and I'm not ashamed to say it! And I will say a dog addiction is much better than a lot of addictions out there.
She naps on my chest like an infant...that's normal right?
Anywho, I found a new way to spoil my pup! It's called BarkBox, a subscription service that is my new obsession.

What Is It?
BarkBox is a monthly subscription service for your little furry friend! You sign up and pay a monthly fee to receive a box every month filled with four or more all-natural dog items such as treats, foods, hygiene products and toys.

How It Works
First you pick out the size of your dog. This is so you are sent toys and treats that are appropriately sized for your pooch.
Next you pick out what plan you'd like. You can buy anywhere from one month for a special occasion treat, to paying for an entire year of boxes. I like having options :)
Lastly, you receive your box. The boxes are shipped out the 15th of every month and they send you tracking information to stalk your box until it arrives. (Am I the only one who does this?)

For A Good Cause?
Another fun fact about BarkBox: 10% of all their proceeds go to support dogs in need in shelters, rescues, and low cost spaying and neutering. So not only do you get a surprise box of treats every month for your dog, but you also are helping save other dogs.

What If I Want More?
If you or your dog fall in love with one of the products in your BarkBox, you can get more! Each box comes with a paper with an explanation of all of the items in your box and the websites to go to purchase more. And occasionally BarkBox will give exclusive opportunities to purchase more products at a discounted rate!

On to this month's box:

The December 2013 BarkBox

This box contained five different items. I was so excited to dive into what treats my Maisy got!

1. Barkworthies Chew Stick
This is a small bully stick made with 100% beef bladder. Sounds gross, but it is natural. There are no chemicals or preservatives in them, making them a nice alternative to rawhide chews.

2. Bistro Bites
These are treats made just for small dogs! Perfect for my little 11 pounder. These are peanut butter and apple sauce flavored, are wheat-free, gluten-free, high in protein and a perfect sized bite for my little girl. The package is supposed to last for one month, so this is not just a small sample of products. It makes me feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

3. Planet Dog Biscuits
This was a bag of small little bone-shaped biscuits. These are chicken and pumpkin pie flavored (pumpkin is a natural digestion aid and tummy soother for dogs, so yay!) and are made without wheat, corn or soy. It is so nice to read the ingredients on the back and to be able to pronounce every single one! These were a cute size and a nice way to soothe her tummy.

4. GoDog Toy
This blue fuzzy toy was so cute! It does have a squeaker, but the squeaker was one of the least annoying ones I've heard. It is a plush toy, so I'm not sure it was last long against my little terror's chewing, but it was really cute and soft. She seemed to enjoy thrashing it around the apartment.

5. Simply Fido Toy
This was my favorite! The toy was a cute little reindeer with a tug-of-war rope running through it! They are made with organic, non-toxic materials and got the Maisy stamp of approval!
Sorry about the blur, but she would not sit still with her new Simply Fido Toy!
 I HIGHLY recommend joining BarkBox. And if you follow this link you can get $10 off! So you ahead and get your pooch a Christmas gift that keeps on giving!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ipsy December Glam Bag Review

I got an early Christmas present: my December Ipsy Glam Bag! This makeup addict was geeked to say the least.

The bag it came in was black and reminded me of the texture of those jelly sandals from the 90s. This will be good for travel because it will be durable. If something spills in the bag, it won't soak through to my other items in my suitcase. It was a cute, classy and neutral bag that I will be using often.

1. Salon Perfect Perfectly Natural Lash Strip
Ooo la la!
These lashes look very natural for a fake lash, which I like. It also comes with a little glue to apply the lashes. I have not tried them yet, but am saving them for the holidays to amp up my make up look.

2. POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio (Shade-Smokin Hot)
I wanted to like these shadows so badly! The colors are amazing. What is more classic than a grey smokey eye? But they just aren't pigmented enough for me. As you can see, you really do not get a ton of color payoff. I will say I'm a make up addict and these would probably suffice for the average make up user. Also, it might be nice to use them for a daytime smokey eye so it looks less dramatic.

3. Mirabella Eye Blender

I loved this eye shadow brush! It is soft and fluffy, making it perfect for blending colors on the lid. I also might use it to blend concealer under my eyes because it is so soft and won't tug at the delicate skin. The handle is long, the brush is soft, and I have no complaints about this product.

4. J. Cat Beauty Big Lip Pencil (Shade-Red Rose)
Ignore the awful photo quality and lack of lipstick application skills
A swatch on my arm
This lip crayon is a gorgeous red color that is perfect for the holidays. It went on very smooth. Because it is technically a lip liner, it can be a little drying. But this is easily remedied by applying a lip gloss over top. Overall, this product is a winner for me. I might blot it a little more next time to soften the color, but it is a pretty red that can work on my fair skin.

5. Be a Bombshell The One Stick (Shade-Sunset)
Used as a blush and lipstick
Swatched on my arm
This was my favorite product! I love that it can be applied as a lipstick, blush and a eyeshadow! It is a beautiful sunset-orange color with just a hint of sparkle. This is great for travel because it is three products in one. It did not leave my cheeks shiny and did not dry out my lips. I have not tried it as an eyeshadow yet. This product is my favorite out of the Glam Bag this month!

Click here to join me on Ipsy and subscribe to the Glam Bag! You take a quiz about your make up style, hair and skin coloring, and you get 4-5 beauty products every month delivered to your door, for just $10. What a affordable way to get your girlie-fix on and try out some products you might not normally have tried!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Jordan

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes. It sounds about as fun as flossing. But just like flossing, it is so important to do. Not only do clean brushes appply makeup better, but dirty and gross brushes can cause acne. And acne is not fun.

I'll admit, I don't wash them as often as I should. My goal is to do it every two weeks....but I haven't washed mine since we got married...in June...ew.

So while the man was in Atlanta on business, I thought it was as good a time as ever to clean those bad boys.

1. Take your makeup brush.
This is my blush brush that gets used almost every day.
2. Put a folded paper towel on a plate and pour some olive oil on it.
I know olive oil seems strange, but trust me. 
3. Swirl your brush in the oil. It will suck all of the leftover makeup off of the brushes.

This is after swirling just one brush.

4. Fill a glass with warm water and dish detergent and place the brush in there.

5. Let the brush soak for a few minutes.

6. Run the brush under warm water and squeeze the bristles to get any excess water out.

7. Lay the brush on an old towel to dry.

And voila! Clean brushes! It is kind of a pain (especially when you have a billion brushes like me...) but it truly does make a difference in applying your make-up.

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Burgers and Beer at Sturgis Haus Brewpub

The man and I wanted to go browsing for a few more Christmas gifts and ended up in Lititz, the coolest small town in America. (Seriously, they won this prestigious title in some national decision.)

A fun fact about me: when I'm hungry, I'm the biggest pain in the butt. I'm such a brat, and I was getting to that point very quickly. The man knows this by now, so we quickly found a place to eat and ended up at The Sturgis Haus Brewpub & Espresso Bar.

It was so cute! Just a tiny bar with burgers, paninis, espresso and their own beers.

And we HAD to try a beer at our own local nano brewery. We had no idea what to order, so instead of sampling or asking the waitress, we tried the one with the best name: The Angry Leprechaun.
The Angry Leprechaun 
This was a red ale, and while it had some fancy shmancy description, all I know is that it was good. It was very smooth and hit the spot.

Then we ordered bacon burgers.

Oh my goodness, these burgers were so good! They were black angus burgers with cheese and big thick strips of bacon. Not those little bacon crumbles that go on salads, but real, thick bacon.

For a delicious, affordable meal, Sturgis Haus was perfect. Yummy, juicy burgers, a wide array of beer, and located right on the main strip in Lititz. Plus, what goes together better than burgers, beer and bacon? Not too much, that's for sure.

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Spinach Bacon Tortellini Bake

After Thanksgiving, I was not up for cooking much for awhile. But I saw this recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to try it.
My Dr. Suess Apron means I'm ready to throw it down!
So I pulled out my Dr. Suess apron and got to work!

First I pressed the spinach into the bottom of a 9x9 pan.

I then cooked the tortellini according to the package.
Tortellini is my true love. 
Using the oven method explained here, I cooked bacon.

I put the tortellini in a bowl and mixed in alfraedo sauce.

I chopped the bacon into smaller pieces and added that to the mix.
It's getting there!
The mixture was then messily piled into the pan.

I topped it with some more bacon, parmesan cheese and parsley.
Oh baby!
After cooking, here is the final product.
Sweet baby Jesus that's good!
This was pretty easy and so yummy! Bacon, cheese and noodles just belong together!
My only complaint was the layer of canned spinach on the bottom. It was pretty gross, and I LOVE spinach. Next time I might add fresh spinach and stir it into the mix. But otherwise, this dish was delicious, filling, and fulfilled my cheesy-bacon-ey fantasies.

Hope you enjoy trying this dish as well!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Rockstar Jean

I struggle when it comes to finding jeans that fit me. Like most women, it had always been an ordeal to find a new pair: scouring the store through a billion different pairs of jeans, figuring out what size, style, and color work, and not trying to break the bank. It's exhausting to be a women most days ;)

Skinny jeans are definitely my nemesis. I LOVE how they look on people, but I can never find a pair that works for me. To me, skinny jeans look best if they fit tightly. But I don't want them to be so tight that my tummy blobs over the waist of my pants; a muffin top is never cute.

So I either find a pair that fits me perfectly, but is too tight in the tummy, or a pair that fits well everywhere but stretches out to give me a saggy Grandma butt.

But I read a few review online for Old Navy's Mid-Rise Rockstar Jeans. Most of the reviews came from other thick girls, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

I grabbed a few pairs, jumped and wiggled to get them up over my butt, and buttoned them. And once I did, I was in love! They fit me well, but I didn't have a muffin top. I finally had cute jeans to tuck into my boots this winter.

The fabric is super soft and feels stretchy, but did not stretch out after my date wearing them. Finally the best of all worlds!

So I give the Rockstar Jeans a A+! And if I could convince the man, I'd be back to Old Navy tomorrow to get a few more pairs...
The Rockstar Jeans...and rock them I did.
Sweater: Old Navy
Scarf: Old Navy
Boots: DSW

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ipsy November 2013 Bag

Last month I signed up for Ipsy. For those of you who don't know, it is a subscription service. First you take a quiz about your skin and eye colors, make-up taste, and beauty needs. Then you pay $10 a month, and receive 4-5 beauty and make-up products every month. Each box comes with a cute little make-up bag as well. 

For this make-up junkie, Ipsy is the perfect way to get my fix on without blowing through a ton of money. 

In my November bag (which was cute, cold, and shiny!), I received 6 items! In the future I will take pictures of each item separately, as well as pictures of the items being used. But for now, this lazy girl will just tell you what she thinks about each product. 

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic Baked Eyeshadow Sample
This was a gorgeous golden color that went on smooth and was very pigmented. It was the only sample sized product I got, and even so, it was a much bigger sample than I was expecting. Although I have a few other gold colors that are similar, it will be a nice color to take if I have little space for my whole make-up collection.

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil
This purple pencil is a dream! I love purple anything, and it went on very smoothly. It was a little lighter than I prefer, but a nice way to add a subtle purple to your eyes. 

Pixi Beauty Bronzer
I am in love with this bronzer! It is a little dark for some people with my skin tone, but since I love a dramatic contour under my cheek bones, it was perfect! I might actually buy this next time I run out of bronzer (which should be awhile because this was a full sized bronzer!)

Nailtini Straight Up Color Nail Lacquer
This light champagne pink was a gorgeous color for my nails! And I am proud to say that I have had it on for 5 days with little chipping. I usually have awful chipping after a few days, so almost a week with minimal chipping is a success for me!

Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon
I so badly wanted to like this product. And I do like how it goes on. But I do not like the shade. It is a medium wine color, which I do not think is very flattering on me. It might just be a preference thing. I think I would have liked this a lot more if it was more red or pink as it was very moisturizing and pigmented. 

Em Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Mascara
This was my most disappointing product. The mascara was fine, but nothing special. I will keep using my drugstore mascara for sure. 

Most of the products I adored! And for only $10 a month, it's a pretty cheap way to get my make-up fix. I get to try new products and feel much better not liking one or two if I have a few others that work great for me!

If anyone is interested in signing up, click here. It does take a little bit to receive a bag after you sign up as there is a waiting list (you are only charged once you are off the waiting list and receiving your monthly bag). It makes a nice little treat to look forward to. Why not get yourself a little Christmas gift? 

Love and Blessings, 

Annmarie Jordan

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm a Black Friday Crazy

You know how we spend Thanksgiving being thankful for all we have, and then some crazies go out the next day (or that same night) and barge through hoards to other crazies to get a good deal?

I'm one of those crazies.

I know how lame it is, but not only do you get some great deals, but it is kind of a high from the excitement of these late night/early morning extreme shopping events!

So here are the deals that I got and the low-down on each store.

Old Navy
The entire store was 50% off! Enough said.
I got this sweater in a lighter pink
My new cute sparkly polka dot cardigan
Red sweater dress that I died over!
You can never have too many comfy cardigans. 
I went in wearing a zip-up hoodie and tank top so that I could take the hoodie off and easily try on clothes without waiting for a dressing room. This girl don't play on Black Friday! You have to have a game plan :)

Brad also got a few pairs of jeans, socks, a sweatshirt and a long sleeve shirt. All for 50% off! We made out good at Old Navy.

It wasn't too crowded, but it took awhile to check out. They did let us in about 10 minutes before they were supposed to open, so that was kind. Although we did grab the wrong product and the cashier nicely pointed it out and helped us find the correct one on sale, so this store was very pleasant.

We now own more than one cooking knife! We got this J.A. Henkels International Everedge cutillary set, originally $245.00, for $40! And they work great! I sliced my finger yesterday while cooking with them...so they are sharp!
My new knives! Much better than using one lone chef's knife and steak knives for cooking.


Target is an intense store on Black Friday. It was well organize, but there are a ton of people! The crowds were crazy, the line to checkout took forever, there were two ambulances and cop cars parked outside (precautionary), and we ended up not buying anything there that was on sale! We browsed DVDs and BluRays, but nothing great jumped out at us. For what we were looking for, Target was not worth the trouble.

This store gets my top rating for Black Friday. Firstly, they opened at 7 AM ON BLACK FRIDAY. Secondly, pet owners tend to be nicer people, so the people in line were very friendly and were all over our dog (whom we brought along). And even in the store, people were polite and kind.
The first deal at PetSmart was the first 100 people received a stocking filled with over $100 worth of coupons and items. That was a little misleading, because a third of the coupons were for cats, a third for dogs, and a third for small pets. So we couldn't use most of them. But it was still nice. They also threw in dog treats and cat treats, which we traded with a couple who had cats, so between Brad and I, we ended up with four bags of dog treats free!
A Christmas dress i bought for Maisy! Don't judge me too hard...
A red sweater and Christmas bell collar for the season!
All of those items were 50% off. We also bought a few treats and other dog items we usually buy that were on sale.

Black Friday was a success for us. We bought a lot and saved a lot. And come on, scroll back up and drool over my cute dog in the red sweater ;)

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye