We be Gellin’…

  

Even though I have about a million bottles of nail polish in my arsenal, I always go back to my classic red nails and it’s usually OPI’s Big Apple Red. But lately I haven’t been happy with OPI and it’s such a pain to go to the trouble of painting your nails just to have them chipping and peeling a few days later. I know gel manicures are all the rage now but I just don’t have the time or money to go get my nails done on a regular basis. So when I saw this new Sally Hansen “Miracle Gel” polish, I had to give it a try!
I, of course, went for their reddest red, Red Eye    along with a bottle of the clear gel topcoat which is in a black bottle…maybe something to do with ultraviolet light or something? I don’t know Jim, I’m a girl not not a scientist! Ok, ok, calm down feminists, it was a harmless Star Trek joke, not a slur against women and their ability to be scientists.

Sally’s website gives these easy steps;

The ONLY TRUE 2-STEP GEL MANICURE with no light needed. Over 61 shades that wow! And it’s only from Sally Hansen. Leading the revolution in gel technology.

For Best Results: Make sure nails are clean and dry. Use nail polish remover to wipe away any residue on the nail.

Step 1: Apply 2 coats of Miracle Gel™ Color. Allow color to dry for 5 minutes

Step 2: Apply 1 coat of Miracle Gel™ Top Coat

OMGel! Let natural light do the rest!

I followed the easy instructions and the result was a beautifully shiny and strong manicure that dried remarkably fast as well! I took these pictures after seven days of wear, swimming, dish washing, etc, and they are still good as new, other than a little growth at the ends but even a $50 manicure can’t stop that! (Plus my nails grow very quickly, which I guess is a good thing, but super annoying.)  

(Don’t mind my cuticles, they’re pretty atrocious, I know.) Not a red person? Check out some of their other shades!

 So whichever color strikes your fancy, you should definitely give this gel polish a try, you’ll love it! 

 

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To Die For Tomato Tart…

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So don’t get me wrong, my goat cheese and tomato tart is super delicious. However, this one almost puts it to shame. The combination of the sweet carmelized onions, light buttery crust, tart juicy tomatoes, and the rich nutty flavors from the three cheeses are to die for. It’s a fairly simple recipe, a definite crowd pleaser, and also happens to be vegetarian if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. (As I think to myself in my best caveman voice, “Me like meat”) The butcher doesn’t love tomatoes but as soon as he bit into this he immediately said, “This is fantastic!” So here’s the recipe.

Beauty & The Butcher’s To Die For Tomato & Onion Tart

3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Large Sweet Onions Sliced Thin
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Storebought Pie Crusts…obviously you could make your own but why?
2 cups of two to three grated cheeses of your choice (I used what I had on hand, a sharp white cheddar, Parmesan, and fresh mozzarella)
2 cups (or more) Cherry Tomatoes (yellow Or Red)
About a dozen fresh Basil Leaves, Chiffonade

Heat a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter, onions, salt, and pepper and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and deep golden brown.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Lay pie crusts onto a shallow sheet pan (I used my pampered chef stone) Sprinkle the cheeses over the entire crust, lay on the caramelized onions, then put the tomatoes over the cheese.
Mix an egg and a few splashes of milk in a bowl and using a pastry brush, brush it over the crust around the edge of the tart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes are starting to burst apart & the crust should be deep golden brown.
Remove the tart from the oven and let it to sit for at least 5 minutes so the juices can firm up. Sprinkle the fresh basil all over the top. Cut into squares and try to get a piece for yourself before the vultures in your house descend upon it!!!

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queue to my childhood 

Lately, strolling through the “Recently Added” section of Netflix has been like taking a stroll down memory lane through my childhood. Movies I remember watching as a kid like Michael Keaton’s Mr. Mom and the creepy but entertaining David Bowie flick, Labyrinth.  

Classic series like, Dinosaurs (you know, “Not the mama, not the mama”…cue frying pan sounds on the head), and Star Trek Voyager are ever prevalent on there as well. I’m still waiting for the real Star Trek to be on there, STNG, but for know I’ll have to be satisfied with a female captain and an annoying alien bartender who is basically the Star Trek equivalent of Jar Jar Binks… 

  
Typing STNG just caused me to have a major epiphany…for years I saw videotape after videotape in our movie cabinet with labels hand written in my father’s handwriting “STNG” with a year after it. For some reason I always assumed that it said “Sting”. I remember as a kid not being sure what that was…I thought I remembered hearing there was a singer named that and wow, mom and dad must really like him if they have all his concerts on tape…it literally just hit me what the tapes were. They were tapes containing every single episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. Dad’s favorite show, the show we had to leave the room during if we talked too much, meticulously documented by episode,  name, and date. Little did he know there would soon come a time when all shows ever made would be distributed in box sets for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, epiphany epiphanized. Pretty sure that’s not a word…but I digress 

 Then of course there are the movies of my teen years, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet and Clueless…(both of which were released when I was a kid but didn’t attain my full appreciation until my adolescence and years of teen angst) and I can pretty much quote the entire script if each film in verbatim. (A frustrating talent when you have trouble remembering scriptures but yet can somehow recall every word Mike Meyers uttered in So I Married an Axe Murderer)  

 The most recent one I stumbled on is a classic I can’t believe I’ve never seen until now…Girls Just Want to Have Fun!  

 Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, pre-teen (and pre-major jerk) Shannon Doherty, dancing, and some major 80’s fashion that has reminded me (combined with my recent trip to Forever 21) that the 80’s are back in a very large and very ugly way. Bodysuits are back?! Striped leggings and acid washed bra tops?! Wha?! Anyway, the movie was made in ’85 (two years after the release of the similarly named Cyndi Lauper tune) which was a particularly good year seeing as how it’s the year I was born! It’s rated PG and thus caused very little cringing which was nice for a change compared to today’s entertainment, just sweet unrequited teenage love and some derelict 80’s punks. This may actually be my most favorite role of Helen Hunt’s; she’s a free spirit with quite the fashion sense. I would also like to point out that it has a lot of similarities to dirty dancing (including the dance move that I guess I’ll call the “air plank”?) but came out two years before so take that Jennifer Grey! Anyway next time you’re cruising Netflix, totally check it out dude, it’s tubular! 

 

In love with my DIY midcentury coffee table

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I’ve gained quite a few readers since I first started blogging so I decided to repost one of my favorite projects, and the first project the Butcher and I did together! It was so inexpensive, SO easy, and truly one of a kind!

First, you’ll need a pencil, drill, sandpaper, and measuring tape.

Now your materials. From Lowe’s I purchased…

1 piece of pre-cut 20×45 wood
1 small can of walnut stain with polyurethane mixed together
1 paintbrush
4 angle top plates (make sure they are angled, that’s very important to get the right look) they look like this
4 metal hairpin or wooden taper legs (I bought mine on ebay, they are real vintage legs from the 50’s!) but you can find new ones here

Sand your table and prepare stain according to package directions. Apply stain to table and legs. I did two coats on the table and one on the legs. Let dry according to directions. Once dry, turn the table over and measure for the leg placement to be centered on all 4 corners (ugh math). Finally, screw legs into table. Turn it over. Take your hand and reach around to your back, all the way, you can do it. Now pat yourself on the back and prop your feet up on the table, maybe even with a cocktail…just don’t forget to use a coaster!

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Blog Update:

I just received an email from one of my readers, Rebekah Selle, with this picture along with the message… “Here’s a picture of the table after I finished it. Turned out great, it was such a helpful tutorial!” I am tickled pink that I not only have people that follow and read my blog but that actually try out the projects and recipes I post! She made the coffee table featured here. Comment on a post that you’ve tried or email me at Lorirao@gmail.com and I’ll feature you on the blog too. Thanks to Rebekah and all my readers!image

dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead deat ant…

That’s what the Pink Panther said when he stepped on an ant. Ha! Get it?! If not, read it again, really fast. And if you still don’t get it, or you don’t know who the Pink Panther is, take your right hand, slowly raise it about 3 inches from your cheek and then smack your cheek as hard as possible. Thaaaast’s it, you got it. 

Around these parts, dead ants are actually a good thing. Those ambitious little pests can really be a nuisance in your home, especially in the summertime. But fear not! I have a quick and easy solution that will make them virtually disappear! 

First you’ll need Borax. Never heard of it?
Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a mineral and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used as a fire retardant and as an anti-fungal compound.

The term borax is used for a number of closely related minerals or chemical compounds that differ in their crystal water content. Commercially sold borax is partially dehydrated and used in various household laundry and cleaning products, including the “20 Mule Team Borax” laundry booster and “Boraxo” powdered hand soap. It’s even used in some tooth bleaching formulas! 

There are all sorts of household uses for the powdery white compound, but today we’re focusing on those pesky little ants. 

Simply take 4 Tb of borax, 4 Tb of sugar and mix them together with 1 cup warm water until they dissolve. Then take cotton balls, soak them in the solution, and place them in the spots where you’ve seen the ants, most importantly the spot you think they are coming from. 

WARNING: You will see a LOT of ants! This is good! The sugar is drawing them out. (Also another warning, don’t leave this stuff lying around because it’s clear liquid and somebody could accidentally ingest it. I mean I don’t know who just randomly picks up a container of “water” that’s sitting out on the counter and drink it but apparently it happens….reminds me of a story my friend told me once where he slept over his friends house and didn’t have his contact case so he put his contacts in a glass of water. The next morning the glass was empty…turns out his friend’s grandmother had gotten thirsty in the middle the night and drank his contacts! so apparently people do just pick up a random glass of water and drink it…anyway back to the ants…)

I was spurred to do this post due to some little ants I found in our bathroom (of all places). So when I saw all the ants coming out from behind the tiny little opening on the floor behind the cabinet, I panicked a little bit but then realized they were all just clamoring to get to the sweetly poisonous cotton ball. Getting easily distracted as I tend to do, I watched them for a while then left and didn’t return to the crime scene until the next morning. To my surprise, all the ants were gone! I guess I assumed they would eat the solution and die right there on the spot. But apparently they take it with them back to their home first?  

 This made me feel a little bad, I’m not gonna lie. I could just picture a daddy ant proudly bringing back some “candy” for his kids and them all huddling around it excitedly only to drop dead a few hours later…But not bad enough to want them in my bathroom! And at least this was a natural diy solution and some chemical laden awful storebought solution. So that makes me feel a little better…I guess. 

Waist not, want not. 

  

As usual I hope you were able to determine that the title of this post was merely a play on words and not a spelling error.

At first glance these pictures may look exactly the same, but if you look closely at the bottom of the butcher’s vest, or waistcoat, you’ll see the difference. 

Recently, a friend of ours came up to my husband and complimented him on his “sharp suit” but she then looked down at his waistcoat, tsk’d, and unbuttoned the bottom button. (she’s an, um…”older” friend of ours which is the only reason why I didn’t smack her hand away haha!) “You’re supposed to leave that open”, she said. 

Now, to my credit, my husband is usually pretty well dressed (complete with matching pocket silk) but this was totally new information to me! It got me thinking about waistcoats and whether to button or not to button. So like any good blogger, I went straight to the internet. I found an article that satisfied my curiosity. According to Robert Johnston of GQ Magazine, there are, in fact, four possible answers. Johnston says, “All four would be equally acceptable as there is no definitive explanation as to the origin of this sartorial quirk. The four theories are: first, that when the future Edward VII was Prince of Wales he became so fat that he couldn’t do up the bottom button on his waistcoat so court followed suit to make him feel better about his body image. Secondly, that there was a time when young dandies would sport two waistcoats at the same time so left the top waistcoat’s bottom button undone so that you could see the one underneath. Thirdly, that it is all to do with comfort while in the saddle and to stop the waistcoat rising up the chest while riding. Lastly, that it was an affectation of members of Pop, the exclusive club at Eton, that was spotted and adopted by Savile Row as these spoilt young bucks tended to grow up to be good customers. I personally lean towards the first one, as there is nothing so weird as court etiquette.”

So there you have it, are you a “young dandy” or will you go against the grain and button all the way down?

Summertime Fruit Tart 

  What screams summertime more than fresh fruit?! Here is a delicious, light, and crowd pleasing dessert featuring the finest of Summer’s harvest. So easy too, here it is!

Beauty & The Butcher Fruit Tart

Ingredients
Crust:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp.

Filling:

  • 1 package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla

Topping:

  • Fresh strawberries
  • kiwi slices
  • blueberries (really you could use any fruit you like, raspberries, peaches, star fruit, etc. heck you could even throw some chocolate chips on there and really get crazy!)

Glaze:

  • 1 can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

* if you don’t have the glaze ingredients,  a little lemon juice mixed with sugar will work in a pinch

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • For the crust: In a food processor or blender (I used my trusty Blendtec) combine the powdered sugar, flour, and butter, and mix until the mixture forms a ball. With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, making sure it’s evenly spread and pushed into the indentations along the side. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Set aside
  • For the filling and topping: Beat or stir the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the crust once it’s cooled. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. Fill spaces in between with blueberries. For the next circle, use kiwi slices. Repeat these steps and try to make a pretty design in the middle. Pretty easy huh?!
  • For the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small pan and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pastry brush, glaze the entire tart and save the remaining glaze for another dessert!
  • Keep the tart in the fridge and remove about 15 minutes before serving. You might want to make two because this will go so quickly, trust me. It’s also a great thing to bring to someone’s house because you can make it ahead of time, it’s cheap and simple but would be at least $30 in a bakery, and this beautifully shiny fruity masterpiece will impress everyone at the party!