P&G Beauty VoxBox


I was lucky enough to receive the P&G VoxBox free for testing. This is my first experience with Influenster and I have to say that I am very impressed. I have done the usual Ipsy, Birchbox and POPSUGAR Must Have Box, but this VoxBox contained many full size samples of products that I could actually use! This box was all about pampering and came right on the heels of the big 50 birthday for me, so it was very appreciated. The VoxBox contained a 1.7oz Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer, a box of Vidal Sassoon Salonist Hair Color, a 23.6oz bottle of Olay Age Defying Body Wash, a 5.2oz Herbal Essence Hello Hydration All whipped Up Conditioning Mousse and a 4.2oz Head & Shoulders Instant Relief Scalp Soother. Do you see the common theme of ageless pampering?

I already am a devoted fan of Olay and the Total Effects goes on smoothly, leaving my skin feeling firm but not tight. This will remain part of my daily beauty routine to help diminish those fine facial lines that creep up on us all!

The Olay Body Wash helps to keep my body smooth, soft, moisturized and ageless. The scent is wonderful and after using in the shower I don’t even need lotion!

The Vidal Sassoon hair color made me a little nervous- it is a multi step process, applying mixture to roots first then adding in the rest of hair after 20 minutes. I didn’t need to worry- it was easy and the included mixing bowl and brush kept it neat. My hair came out shiny and soft and although I feel the color is a bit light for me, I will definitely use again in a darker shade!

The Herbal Essence Mousse feels like a decadent treat for my hair. The whipped formula goes on easy, light and doesn’t weigh my hair down. It helps to tame any frizz while adding silky softness. This is perfect for my fine, wavy hair.

The final product, Head & Shoulders Instant Relief Scalp Soother, is like a miracle in a bottle. The dry winter air irritates my scalp and this formula really did what it promised- instant relief with a cooling, refreshing minty feel.

This VoxBox was a home run for me. Five out of five products I loved!! I’m looking forward to participating in future VoxBoxes and have referred family and friends to give it a try!


Baking Week 1: White Chocolate Creme Brulee

Great start to a new food blog!



I know, white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate. But it’s delicious and chocolate’s in the name anyway, so I think I’m allowed a pass on this one.

I’ve never made any kind of custard before, so I thought that the baking challenge would be a perfect way to test my skills. The hardest part of this recipe is tempering the eggs. When you combine the hot chocolate mixture with the eggs, you have to be careful to add only a little bit at a time. Otherwise you may end up with cooked eggs in the custard.


The real finishing point of the creme brulee is the crust of crystallized sugar. You want the sugar to melt and bubble when it’s broiled. The crunchy crust juxtaposed with the soft custard is the perfect combination. It’s sweet enough to be satisfying but not overwhelmingly so. I would definitely suggest making it. This recipe…

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52 Week Challenge


Having to wait until January to start culinary school is taking it’s toll on me. I’m having a tough time figuring out how to spend my time. I can only watch so many consecutive episodes while cuddling with the dogs, after all. That’s why I’ve decided to challenge myself with “52 Weeks of Cooking and Baking”. Each week for the next year I will be cooking and baking a dish based on the weekly themes. They are as follows:


  1. Eggs
  2. Polish
  3. One Pot
  4. Ingredient you hated as a child
  5. Vanilla
  6. Color Inspired
  7. Poaching
  8. Pop Culture Inspired
  9. Garlic
  10. Australian
  11. Molecular
  12. Street Food
  13. Russian
  14. Knifework
  15. 80s Food
  16. Caramelization
  17. Diner Food
  18. Beer
  19. Confit
  20. Historic Foods
  21. Stone Fruits
  22. Philippines
  23. Tenderizing
  24. ‘Murica
  25. Clean Eating
  26. Breading
  27. Melons
  28. Opposite side of the world
  29. Pickling
  30. Hot and Cold
  31. Apples
  32. Stew
  33. Screwups Revisited
  34. Pumpkin
  35. Native American
  36. Candied
  37. Horror Inspired
  38. Whole Grains
  39. Rustic
  40. Pan Sauces
  41. Unexpected Combinations
  42. Dried Fruit

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Staircase Redo- From Blah to Pugalicious

When having our house built 10 years ago, the one thing I wanted was a grand staircase visible from the front entrance-one that would beg for grandiose dressings for holidays. We had our house built off of plans, there were no model homes to visit and in our excitement of picking out a plan, we didn’t notice that the house we chose once again had a hidden staircase off of the kitchen. Alas, no grand foyer staircase, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have personality. This was the one area in our home that I didn’t give too much attention to- it always posed a decor dilemma for me and often wound up as the home for things I had no where else to put. I guess it was pretty, it just lacked that certain spark I try to incorporate in each of my rooms. Where did I find that spark?- in my grumble of pugs! I used this tricky space to showcase how important a role my pug grumble plays in my life. Take a look at some before and after pics and let me know what you think. I would love to know how any of you have handled hard to decorate areas of your homes. Where have you found your inspirations?

Stairwaybefore Before- a collection of pictures and accessories that held no common theme.

swafterThe after- love the look of the rustic ladder shelves which hold the phrase Live Love Bark, PUG DOG in big letters going up the bottom steps.

20150304_111212This is the corner of first landing- dog toy basket with stuffed monkey and dog themed blanket, hanging hook right above with rope toys.

20150304_111245                                  Upper wall- I really like how the vintage pug picture adds a pop of color!

20150304_111310I think my favorite piece is the center wall collage- it is visible from all angles of the staircase, holds so many great photos of my pugs and photos can be easily changed out with new ones.


Who would have thought that this decorating dilemma would actually turn out to be one of my most favorite areas of my house. I love it almost as much as I love my grumble- almost!

New Year New Decor. Step 10. How to Accessorize.

I love accessorizing- it is definitely the icing on the cake and http://yaydecor.com offers up wonderful tips on how to do it properly!


If you are just joining us, I have been writing on how homeowners can design their homes, step by step. And this week we are talking about accessorizing.

Accessorizing is typically my dead last step when I am designing for my clients. Not on purpose, but I love going on those 1 day spending sprees with a set budget, a list of antique malls, and my latte. In reality, if you think about accessorizing much sooner (like before you leave the house to shop) you would be more successful. This is because that final layer, the accessories, is typically the most interesting. Collecting items and considering placement at this step creates a more curated look.

Before I get into the hows and how not’s, lets recap on the steps you may have missed that got us here:

Steps 1 & 2 – Getting Inspired

Steps 3 & 4 – Function…

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