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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! Halfway through the work week means time to link up with Jamie @ This Kind If Love and see what everyone is loving...

I'm loving... City Bites red velvet cookie.
It is really more of a cake cookie with cream cheese icing, my favorite! A wonderful co-worker surprised me with it.

I'm loving... These pretty dresses

I'm loving... Hot Springs, Arkansas. Bond and I had a great time on our first visit there!

As always I'm loving... My sweet husband!

What are you loving today?

- Posted using my iPad 2

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend Getaway

I haven't posted since last weeks what I'm loving Wednesday because Bond and I took a weekend getaway to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It was my first trip to Hot Springs or any spa based destination.

The night we arrived we just walked around the downtown area and grabbed a drink at a local bar.  The people were so nice.  The owner told us about several other places we should try while in town, including a German restaurant/bar that we loved!

The next day Bond had a meeting to attend for most of the day so I headed out to explore.  I started by getting dropped off at the mountain view tower.  Here are some views...

Afterwards I headed to a trail and started down the mountain.

At the base of the mountain there is a park area and walking trail that runs behind bathhouse row with stairs leading up to the hiking trails.

There are hot springs dotting this area.  Much like this one...

After my hike I went to the visitor center.  The visitor center is actually in the Fordyce Bathhouse which was a working bathhouse from 1915 to 1962.  When I got there they were starting a free tour of the first and third floors.  The guide explained all the basics of the bathhouse, but also went into some specifics about the "cutting edge medical" treatments and equipment used at the time.

The Fordyce bathhouse also had all the original stain glass (except one small window that was broken and replaced during neighboring construction).  The men's bathing room has the most exquisite ceiling...

Below the stain glass window was this fountain which represents a native attempting to give Coronado water from the Hot Springs.  

After the tour I walked down to the Buckstaff Bathhouse.  This is the only bathhouse on bathhouse row that has been in continuous operation since 1912.  At the front desk I asked to have a mineral whirlpool bath and a swedish massage.  No reservations are taken, but I was able to walk right in without a wait.  

First you get a 20 minute soak in a bath of hot mineral water.  During this the attendant brings you glasses of mineral water to sip.  Then you do a sitz bath for 10 minutes, which is a bath you sit just your lower back in.  This targets your lower back muscles.  After that you are laid down wrapped in hot towels.  This is called "packing" and it continues to loosen and relax your muscles.  You spend about 10 minutes in the packing room too.  Then in to the steam cabinet.  This is a primitive version of the sauna and the steam is directly from the hot spring water so it is really hot!  You can only spend a maximum of about 4 minutes in this.  The last part of the traditional mineral bath is the needle shower.  Her is a picture of the needle shower from the Fordyce bathhouse...

It has shower heads all around the shower stall.  The shower heads shoot small "needle" like sprays of water with various levels of pressure.  Then I had my swedish massage to stimulate the muscles.  It was wonderful!  

Have you ever been to a natural hot spring?  Where?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! Lets link up with Jamie @ This Kind of Love.

1. I’m loving…So you think you can dance. I can’t get enough of this show! I also find the best new music through the choreographers. Every season I download a bunch of the music, especially for the dances I love, and then make a SYTYCD album. I make copies for my sister, sister-in-laws, mother-in-law, and friends too!

2. I’m loving… Dove’s new Bliss candies. I usually try to keep individually wrapped chocolate candies in the house and at work so that I can get a quick fix without too many calories. Dove’s Bliss dark chocolate is perfect for this. They are 35 calories each and really take care of my cravings!

I also love the Dove Bliss Mint Chocolate. They are a bit higher at 45 calories a piece, but worth every bite!

3. I’m loving… Fun summer polishes for my pedicure. I especially am loving these colors…

4. I'm loving... that tomorrow is my Friday! I love it when I have short weeks!!

5. I’m loving as always my wonderful husband! Bond and I are taking a short couple days in Hot Springs Arkansas and I am so excited!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palette

Eye make-up has always been a bit scary.  I had little experience with make-up prior to graduating from law school so purchasing and applying eye make-up was definitely intimidating.  I felt like most of the time I bought the wrong colors, had the wrong brushes, and ended up looking like I was playing dress up.

When I found a blog post about this make up with a link to an online tutorial my first thought was finally eye shadow that does not scare me.  The colors are neutral enough that anyone can wear them without being boring.  Most importantly anyone can apply them without a lot of practice. 

The price is a bit high, especially for someone that doesn’t know what they are doing so I watched several more tutorials online before I committed.  The tutorials convinced me that my brushes could do the job eliminating that additional expense, and that this palette of eye shadow was diverse enough to become the only thing I use. 

I purchased the palette at Ulta for about $50, and it has become the only eye shadow I use, especially for work.  There are matte shades and shades with a bit of shimmer, but all are appropriate for daytime wear.

I have a couple of favorite tutorials that I think helped me experiment with the palette and different color combinations.  The biggest difference in the tutorials was my palette came with a brush instead of the double ended eye liner, so when the tutorials reference the eye liner, I use the ones I already had which are Neutrogena nourishing eyeliner in spice (brown) and cosmic black (black).  I like it Neutrogena’s brand because it does not irritate my eyes.

My favorite thing about using the Urban Decay Naked palette is that I can do a day look or a night look without any other eye shadow.  It’s also simple to take a day look to night without taking off my make-up and starting over.   

Here are links to some of my favorite tutorials...

Have you tried this palette? What is your go to favorite eye make-up?

New Fence...what's next?

Our new fence is finally finished! What a nightmare that was…oh the joys of home ownership. To be fair we knew we needed a new fence at least a year ago, but kept putting it off because it was working for the most part. Then during the spring weather we had a day with 60+ mph winds all day and came home to a partially blown down fence. We could not avoid it any longer. All our neighbors got on board and we started to get quotes.

The first company we hired took down the old fence and then nothing happened for several days, so they were “replaced”. The second company was great, but unfortunately not all the lines got marked by the electric company and they cut one. It took 5 days to get someone out to fix the line so that they could finish. It ended up being almost 3 weeks of no fence and very unhappy dogs! Now it is done and it looks great!

Now it’s on to the next home improvement project… we have discussed tearing out some of the landscaping and put down sod in the backyard, re-landscaping the front yard, putting doors on the formal living room Bond uses as an office, and replacing the sliding back door with French doors. It seems like a never ending battle to have the house in good repair, but for now at least the fence is done!

What was your latest home improvement project and how did it go?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Salad

Another great find in my newest book, The Healthy Cook, is a spinach mandarin orange salad with a honey mustard dressing.  It is the perfect summer salad with fruit and a light dressing. 

8 cups spinach
1 red onion
½ cup mandarin oranges
2 tablespoons almond slices, toasted

Put the clean spinach into a large salad bowl.  Peel the onion and slice thinly.  Separate the slices and add to the spinach.  I did not leave mine in full circles, instead I cut them up a bit more like a diced onion.  Drain the mandarin oranges and add to the salad.  When you purchase the mandarin oranges try to find ones in 100% juice instead of syrup.  Toast the almonds.  Top the salad with the almonds.

Tip to toast the almonds: place the almonds in a dry skillet or pan on medium heat.  Heat for 3 to 5 minutes moving or tossing as needed until lightly browned. 

1 tbl orange juice
1 tbl lemon juice
1 tbl honey
2 tbl Dijon mustard

This is my first homemade dressing and it was so easy.  Just mix all the ingredients together.  Taste and adjust as necessary.  I added a bit more honey and orange juice to mine so that it was a little sweeter.

This recipe makes 4 servings at 98 calories a serving.  I served myself one and put the other four into containers for lunches.  I added an ounce of fat free feta cheese to my salad for some extra flavor.  I am not a fan of fat free cheese normally, but in a salad I think it works.  This add 35 calories. 

What is your favorite summer salad?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fill In the Blank Friday

Happy Friday! Let's link up with Lauren @ The Little Things We Do for some random questions.

1. I am a (morning, evening, middle of the day person)… I am either a morning or evening person. I hate the waking up part because sleep is one of my favorite things. But once I am up I love to get as much done in the morning as I can. Especially at work since I am anything but an afternoon person. Afternoons are for naps!

2. My favorite Pandora stations are… I usually listen to Pandora in my office and right now I am loving the Vitamin String Quartet Station. It’s great for an office atmosphere without putting me to sleep.

3. 3 of my “must-have” songs for a road trip playlist are… Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane or Rascal Flatts (I love both versions), Don’t Stop Believing by Journey (usually an entire Journey playlist is necessary), and the latest Glee soundtrack (or all of them!).

4. My favorite pattern is… I am not very into patterns. I usually go for a mix of neutrals and bold solid colors. But I can appreciate small amounts of polka dots or vintage sketches of flowers or dresses.

5. My favorite perfume is… I don’t wear perfume. I use body and hand lotion. My favorite body lotion does not have scent, its precipitation extra by Origins and keeps me feeling moisturized all day. My favorite hand lotion is by e.o.s. in cucumber.

6. Rule are… usually followed, sometimes bent, but not typically broken.

7. My most overused phrase or punctuation is… the exclamation point! I tend to put it after every text I send. So when I am actually really excited I have to use two or three to get the point across!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter...

Bond and I were so lucky to get tickets to an early screening of the final installment of the Harry Potter movies.  We saw it at 6 p.m. today, Thursday, evening.  It was, like all things Harry Potter... amazing!

Afterwards I came home and hopped on ichat with one of my sisters, currently living in England.  She and her husband saw the movie when it opened at midnight, so we saw it at the same time (cool right!)  We talked about all our favorite parts of the movie and book, what they left out and added new, and she pointed me to an article posted on, Harry Potter and the Loss of My Adolescence by Meghan Overdeep.  This article does a wonderful job of summing up the feelings I have been having as the Harry Potter series comes to a close.   Especially the very last sentence, because as is true of any great book, the Harry Potter series has the power to truly transport you.

I have moved from adolescence into young adulthood.  But as I contemplate this article, look to the future, and of sharing the magic with my children, I realize that growing up and finding your place in the world never really ends. So the guidance and wisdom gained through the wonderful world of Harry Potter will never really end, only change as I change.  "And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure" (Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! We are half way to the weekend… and it’s time to link up with Jamie @ This Kind of Love and see what everyone is loving this beautiful day.

I’m Loving… Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I have just finished re-reading the book for the 4th time (I think?) and I am so excited for the movie opening Friday!

Bond and I have been given the opportunity to see a special showing tomorrow night (Thursday) at 6 p.m!!

I’m Loving… My new Hobo Lauren Clutch.

It’s a wallet and clutch in one, plus the color is so fun! To see more info check out the link to a post all about the wallet/clutch, complete with lots of pictures.

I’m Loving… Musical’s with this Season’s Lyric productions.

Oklahoma City’s Lyric theatre puts on 8 to 9 productions a year. Four are musicals performed at the downtown civic center and Bond is kind enough to buy us tickets. This season Bond and I have seen Oliver and Hairspray. They were both great, but I am really looking forward to the next two shows… Ragtime and A Chorus Line!

I’m Loving… As always Bond, my wonderful Husband! And I am so looking forward to spending some time with him during a mini road trip with him next week!!

What are you loving?