Mob Gangster Birthday Party {Mike’s 35th}

IMG_4126This mob gangster birthday party was open house style from noon to 10pm with people coming and going all day.  There were classic mob movies playing round the clock, multiple outfit changes by the birthday boy, and multiple meals (subs, spaghetti, cheese and crackers, and much more).  The hostess kept calling me her “Poppa”….as in her paparazzi since I was taking all the pics haha.  I couldn’t stay the whole time to get pics of the whole night but what I got was classic and I had a blast!  Happy Birthday Mike!

IMG_3948The idea was to make the place feel like an old fashioned Italian restaurant.IMG_3950The mantel was decorated with things like pasta, wine, grapes, corks, olive oil and balsamic.IMG_3962IMG_3961IMG_4005IMG_4009Wine for days!IMG_4045IMG_4019The bar had lots of extra props for those who didn’t come dressed as gangsters.IMG_4072IMG_3946There were cigars, tommy guns, gum, pipe cleaners, and firecrackers lying around.  
IMG_3985 IMG_3999 IMG_4002Had to sneak one of my girl in there with her “gangster” glasses on.  IMG_4017IMG_4024The birthday boy in his first outfit taking people for a spin in his Corvette. IMG_4026Some luxury cars were taking up the driveway.IMG_4032I just love the little touches of Mike’s outfit.  Not only was he wearing this ring, watch and track suit…but he had a gold chain, a gun and harness under his tracksuit, gold glasses, and blue contacts. IMG_4036The hostess with the mostess in her mob-wife attire!…..it suits her.IMG_4058The birthday boys second outfit and grand entrance.  
IMG_4065Getting a boutonniere pinned by his mob-momma.  IMG_4068IMG_4071IMG_4078 IMG_4079 IMG_4081One of the games people could play was “lock picking.”  There were tons of locks with bobbi pins, paper clips, and other tools for people to try and successfully pick.
IMG_4086The hostess handling business.IMG_4088 IMG_4097Walter White aka Heisenberg sighting!!  Def a gangster!IMG_4115One last pic:  Selfie of me with some of my faves wearing no gangster attire!

A Valentine’s Day Picnic : {Evangeline’s First Birthday Party}

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Last year I went into labor on February 13th and we were sure that we were going to have Evangeline on Valentine’s Day.  But of course she didn’t come until February 15th at 7:18am.  Even though we just missed it by a few hours, we still call her our Valentine’s baby. So when it came time to pick a theme for her 1st birthday party there was no contest; A Valentine’s Day theme!…hearts galore!  I had so much fun dreaming up the party, and then actually carrying all those things out (with the help of some awesome friends)!  I may have gone a little overboard…the house looked like a love bomb exploded in there haha. Happy Birthday my sweet Evangeline!

DSC_8174DSC_8177When people first walked in there was this sign with instructions on the party and the picnic basket of bubbles for the kids.

DSC_8149The “Love is Sweet” garland was purchased on Etsy here!DSC_8414My friend Jenna told me about where to purchase this sign on Etsy here.  I purchased the photo, had it printed at Costco for under $5 and mounted it on black poster board. DSC_8096I bought the cake toppers here! See my Healthy Cake Smash RecipeDSC_8394DSC_8067IMG_3419DSC_8095I bought these at the $1 section at Target.DSC_8144I am in love with this table runner I got on Etsy here!  See my always soft Marshmallow Chunk Rice Krispie Treat RecipeIMG_3440DSC_8211She loved looking at pictures of herself.  I kept saying “Who is that baby!?”IMG_3443DSC_8196DSC_8172I made these gorg mason jar gold glitter “vases” special for the party…now they decorate almost every room in my home and I love it!IMG_3458DSC_8326My good friend Claire was nice enough to make some heart shaped PB&J’s for the younger ones who weren’t into the taco bar.
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DSC_8216DSC_8383DSC_8447We had a decorate your own heart shaped cookie table as a party favor.

DSC_8449DSC_8594DSC_8541Evangeline’s adorable dress was purchased at my favorite Etsy shop for girls dresses: Twinkle & Whim
DSC_8654Children enjoyed the parachute games, park play ground, and bubbles.  DSC_8683DSC_8693DSC_8721See my Gold Heart Piñata DIYDSC_8924The piñata was a little too tough to break for the kiddies so my husband ripped it apart.DSC_8974The end result of the cake smash….no cake smashed haha.  Thank you Karla & Heather for decorating the high chair! DSC_9045We were so blessed by our friends and family.DSC_9058We had to sneak in a costume change to try on one of her new outfits while she played with her new toys. DSC_9004All tuckered out!  It was a great party with our lil’ nugget.

DietBet : {Heidi & Chris Powell}

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I follow Chris Powell on Instagram and he posted today about a weight loss game where you can win money (The pot is at $41,400 right now).  The game is hosted by a website called DietBet and I JUST JOINED! I am so excited to hopefully win some money!

How it works:

You’ve got 4 weeks to lose 4% of your starting weight. To begin, everyone puts $30 into the pot. After four weeks, whoever’s hit their 4% goal is a winner and splits the pot.

Check it out at: http://www.dietbetter.com/games/38335

Wish me luck!

Nékter Cleanse : {A Review}

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I was searching for a cleanse to kick start my eating healthy/weight loss for the new year, and my sister recommended the Classic Nékter Juice Cleanse.  You can do it for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days.  They recommend 3 days to fully rid your body of toxins.  I however, I only did 2…3 sounded so scary!  But the cleanse was SO much easier than I thought!….I could have easily done the 3 days, and probably will next time I cleanse.

The Classic cleanse consists of 6 Juice’s you drink each day, one juice every two hours.  If you get hungry and just have to eat something, you can have raw almonds or some avocado slices wrapped in lettuce.  I only got hungry once because I skipped Juice #4 and ate almonds instead.  Besides that, the juice’s, tea, and drinking lots of water kept me totally full and satisfied!

How did they taste?  I am not one of those girls who enjoys green juices.  I go with my Mom to Mother’s Market sometimes and she loves getting huge juices full of spinach, beets, kale, etc.  And I just gag!  I tried the Master Cleanse once and I only lasted 2 days.  Not because I was hungry, but because I just couldn’t stomach the taste.  Which is why I couldn’t drink Juice #4 from this cleanse…..it has the EXACT same ingredients as the Master Cleanse.  (Can’t handle the Cayenne Pepper!)  But if you are someone who is cool with veggie juices, then this cleanse will be extra easy for you.  As for me, I plugged my nose and chugged most bottles.  Only bottle #6 could I really sip and enjoy….that thing is like eating chocolate cake after you have been eating dirt all day.  (Dramatic much?)

Even though I didn’t love the taste of most of the juices, I loved the cleanse.  It was doable, I rarely was hungry, I lost 5 pounds in water weight, and I felt great after!  It was exactly what I needed to kick start my healthy eating and living!  And you get to keep the cute green cooler bag which I have been using to carry all my healthy lunches to work!  I will definitely do it again!

Here is a description of the different juices:

Drink #1 
Your first drink of the day is a blend of delicious vegetables like kale and spinach with a refreshing kick of cucumber, apple and mint. Day One is packed with antioxidants and vitamins to detox your kidneys, liver, pancreas, and blood. It’s a fresh start for your system and already it’s singing “Thank You for this amazing drink!”

Drink #2 
You’ll continue your day’s cleanse with a light and delicious trio of pineapple, cucumber and coconut water. The pineapple acts as an anti-inflammatory. Electrolytes are bursting out of the bottle to help you stay hydrated. This will leave your insides feeling happy and clean.

Drink #3
Halfway through! This alkalizing green blend features the Mean Greens: spinach, kale, and parsley. We’ve added lemons as a natural antiseptic to help zap the toxins. This blend will help detoxify and stimulate the antibodies. Snack on some almonds if you need to!

Drink #4 
Meet Skinny Lemonade. We’ve blended lemons and cayenne pepper, a little sweet and a little spicy, to give you a refreshing, but very important drink. The cayenne helps bring blood to the surface and allows those toxins to easily leave your body. A NEW you is just around the corner.

Drink #5 
You’re almost there! The very last green drink of the day, we made sure was a tasty one. Apples are added for sweetness and packed with soluble fiber to help clear those nasty toxins from the colon.

Drink #6 
You made it! Your very last drink. We like to refer to it as dessert because it is sweetly flavored with vanilla beans that have anti-nausea and calming properties. Plenty of protein and minerals that aid the lymphatic system in waste elimination make this a perfect, last drink. Congratulations on a successful Cleanse! We hope you feel great!

Marshmallow Chunk Rice Krispie Treats

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When planning desserts for Evangeline’s Valentine’s Day birthday party I wanted to do heart shaped rice krispie treats like this one I saw on Pinterest:

KoreanAmericanMommyRiceKrispyPopsCute right!?  Well one thing it says in the directions is to press down on the rice krispies after cooking…which makes sense…BUT I have had bad luck with pushing rice krispie treats down in the pan after cooking.  Sure it makes them perfectly shaped but when I press treats down they always come out chewy and hard after a while.  And I wanted to make the treats the day before the party so I needed the treats to stay soft.

What ended up happening is I made super soft rice krispie treats but they didn’t make cute, neat hearts so I ended up with just regular rice krispie “squares” (sorta haha).  But I got a lot of compliments on them because people loved the giant chunks of marshmallows in them.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 10oz Bag of Regular sized marshmallows (THIS IS KEY: if you want the chunks don’t use mini marshmallows)
  • 7 Cups of Rice Krsipies
  • 4tbsp Butter

Directions:

IMG_3389In a large pot on low heat begin to melt butter down. 

IMG_3393 Once butter is almost all melted, throw in marshmallows (keep heat low).  Stir marshmallows to coat with butter.  Marshmallows will begin to melt down, stir occasionally (this will show just how melty the marshmallows really are).   You want the marshmallows to be melted down about 85%, leaving smaller marshmallow chunks.  Remove from heat.IMG_3394 As soon as you remove the marshmallows from heat pour the rice krispies into the pot and stir (I used a pyrex rubber spatula).  Its important not to over stir (like biscuits), as soon as the rice krispies are coated with mallow, poor into a greased pan, and DON’T press down.IMG_3395Allow to cool completely prior to cutting.  You can see the large marshmallow chunks in the pan…yummy!  I kept mine in the pan and covered with a towel, then cut them the next day (still soft!)
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Healthy Smash Cake : {Healthy Banana Bread}

IMG_3412When it came time for my daughters 1st birthday party I immediately got nervous about her cake.  I know it’s tradition to give your child their first bit of sweets on their birthday but I desperately didn’t want to.  Now TRUST ME when I say I am not judging other moms that have, this is personal.  I am someone who LOVES sweets and has struggled my whole life to eat them in moderation…and I guess I don’t want my daughter to have that struggle.  Also she has already had sugar haha.  I came home from work one day to find out that my mom had fed my daughter donut holes for breakfast (this was months ago btw)…so she has had enough for the year.  Plus I already struggle with getting her to eat the fruit and veggies on her tray over her toast and meats…so why add another food distraction for her?  (My little sister was like this….I think she would only eat Cheeto Puffs and macaroni and cheese for the first 5 years of her life haha).  Anyway, so in order to give E a smash cake, I decided to make a healthy banana bread cake.

The Bad News:  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out a healthy frosting so she got regular whipped vanilla frosting.  AND she didn’t eat any of the cake or frosting at her actual party!  In a nutshell she had a meltdown with frosting all over and wanted out of that chair ASAP.

The Good News:  The day before when I was leveling off the cake to make even layers I gave her the excess and she loved it!  (With no frosting) 

And who cares that the picturesque cake smash didn’t go as planned haha…I have enough “cute” moments with this girl to last a lifetime!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 Individual Unsweetened All-Natural Applesauce Containers
  • 3tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 1/4 Cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp Nutmeg
  • (Optional): Nuts & sugar or natural sweetener such as honey, agave, or stevia

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
IMG_3369 Rachael Ray says instead of peeling bananas and mashing them, squish them inside the peel, then peel and place in the bowl.  Supposedly when using bananas to cook with, it helps make the bread fluffier. 
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My bananas were not fully mashed which left chunks in my bread…this wasn’t a problem for me, but if you don’t want chunks, then take a spoon and mash the bananas down a little more in the bowl.IMG_3383I didn’t measure the applesauce, I just used two of these individual containers.IMG_3374Combine applesauce, bananas, yogurt and vanilla.IMG_3378 Beat the eggs prior to mixing into the applesauce/banana mixture.IMG_3379 In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients, then combine with the wet ingredients.IMG_3382Pour into two 6″ greased cake pans.  (Just divide the batter in half), bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  (Toothpick center of cake to make sure it is done).
IMG_3385You can see the banana chunks in mine.IMG_3398Clearly I didn’t divide my batter in half haha! (Do as I say, not as I do).  Let cool on a wire rack.  It’s a pretty solid cake and won’t break easily, so let them cool flat side down.  IMG_3401 Once cakes are cool, level off the tops using a sharp knife.  (I used a serrated knife)IMG_3404After in was leveled and cooled I placed them on top of each other to ensure they were level and then placed on a cardboard cake base prior to frosting.  This is key because you need to be able to move it from your cake stand to the high chair!DSC_8955

Birchbox : {February}

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A few months back my friend Claire told me about, and invited me to join Birchbox.  I became a member and I am loving it…seriously getting my box every month feels like Christmas!  I am going to start posting the contents of my box every month so you can see for yourself.  But I have gotten perfume samples, teas from England, hand salves, nail polish, makeup, hair products, and tons more.

What is Birchbox? A box you receive monthly with high-end beauty and lifestyle samples from top brands.  And the great part is not everyone’s boxes are the same.  When you join you enter in personal information and answer a few questions about yourself and they send you samples that cater to you and your needs.  Plus the samples are usually big!  It’s a great way to discover new products without fully committing to buying the whole thing.  And if you like a product they sent you and want to buy the full size, then you can buy it right from their website.  For every purchase, you earn points that can be redeemed for more purchases.   They also offer Birchbox for men! (Coy Boy and Jakers this is up your alley).

Cost: $10 per month

You have to be invited to join Birchbox, so if you want to join click here: Sweetlylemon Invite

photo 5 (7) Dr. Brandt “Pores No More Pore Refiner”

This celeb favorite minimizes pores and absorbs oil for a photo-ready matte finish. 

My review:  Completely mattifies the skin and works great!  If you are of the dry complexion then this will dry you out too much.

photo 4 (9)Agave Healing Oil Treatment

Created by a veteran hairstylist, this lightweight oil uses agave to hydrate and protect.

My review:  I LOVE THIS! I am going to buy the full bottle soon, it left my hair silky and shiny but didn’t look greasy.  I just poured the whole thing on my damp hair, combed it through, and then rinsed it really quick.  
photo 3 (6) Benefit Cosmetics “Fakeup”

Brighten tired-looking eyes with this hydrating undereye concealer and moisturizer combo.

My review:  I LOVE THIS!  Def buying the full as well.  I LOVE under eye concealers but hate when my undereyes are super dry and then the concealer looks pasty and gets in my wrinkles.  This is like rubbing tinted chapstick under your eyes…smooth and creamy.  photo 2 (10)

Benefit Cosmetics “Big Easy”

New from the cheeky makeup line, this oil-free complexion perfector smooths and balances.

My review:  I love this too haha!  It advertises that it is better than bb cream and that it has an SPF of 30 which is better than the bb cream I use now.  PLUS this mattifies which I always need.  Once my bb cream runs out I am going with this one!

photo (19)OPI Sheer Tints in “Be Magentale with Me”

This tinted top coat gives nails a wash of high-shine, translucent color.

My review:  No need to buy this.  If I am going to wear a color on my nails it is going to be an actual color and not just a tinted top coat.  But if you are someone who doesn’t like to do your nails and just wants a quick cute look…this would work for you.

Gold Heart Piñata : {DIY}

DSC_8719When it came time for my daughter’s 1st birthday party I immediately started looking for a heart piñata since it was a Valentine’s Day theme…but I couldn’t find one anywhere!  So I decided to make my own. Trust me when I say this isn’t as cool as it sounds, it is cute, but making it myself made me so nervous it wouldn’t hold together.  LUCKILY it did!…a little too well haha…my husband had to end up breaking it himself.  FYI I seriously just made this up as I went along so if you decide to make one feel free to change things. photo 1 (9)I started by taping large pieces of paper together so that I could trace my giant heart.

I Folded the paper in half and drew my heart.  I then cut out the paper heart and traced it onto cardboard. (Luckily I had a giant cardboard box from a wagon we bought).  Then with an x-acto knife I cut out the hearts.photo 4 (6)photo 1 (10)photo 5 (5)IMG_3325Confession:  I have no ruler, I measured the side panels with a C.D. lol. 
IMG_3327 I bent the side panels and just began glueing them onto one of the hearts.  IMG_3331Things to keep in mind (that I didn’t): 1. Make an open flap for where to put the candy 2. Poke holes at the top and string rope through PRIOR to placing final heart hahaIMG_3359 After placing the last heart on top I taped all the edges just to make sure it was really secure.  IMG_3367IMG_3360 I covered my piñata with gold mylar using the hot glue gun again (But you could cover in anything).  Since I wanted a side of it to be fringed, I cut strips (about 3″ thick) to fringe.IMG_3362To fill it with candy I cut a little square on the top of the heart, then glued and taped it back shut.  Super easy!  (DON’T cut the whole on the bottom).

Drooling for Doughnuts : {Redbook Magazine Feature}

A few months back I featured a recipe about my knock-off of the Cronut….the Kronut.  Well this month Redbook Magazine came out with 10 delicious donut recipes and they featured my Kronut as one of them!  Be sure to check it out and all the other great donut recipes featured!  Also be sure to like and share it!

http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/tips-advice/homemade-doughnut-recipes-5#slide-3

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Christmas {The Highlight Reel}

Since I wasn’t blogging during Christmas time I thought I would show a highlight reel!

Graham Cracker Toffee:
IMG_2781 IMG_2804Pecan Pie Bars:

(I used this recipe and it is amazing!  The only thing I did differently is that I used wax paper instead of foil…MUCH easier!)IMG_2761 IMG_2777 IMG_2821DIY Photo Coasters (Gave as Xmas gifts):
IMG_2686 IMG_2817 IMG_2834Cinnamon Rolls:IMG_3118IMG_3124 IMG_3125IMG_2162Butter Cookies:

(I got lazy and just cut them instead of using cute cookie cutters)
IMG_3151IMG_3157 IMG_3158 IMG_3177Molasses Cookies:IMG_3154 IMG_3169A few personal photos:
IMG_2127E’s First snow
IMG_2155 She passed out in Dad’s office following Christmas Eve ServiceIMG_2173Christmas Day E got this little buggy and loved it!IMG_2184 I got the Target Bar Cart from my hubby!  I LOVE IT!

Hope you all had an amazing and blessed Christmas!