Monday, July 23, 2012

The Secret to the Best Chicken Tikka Masala Ever

So it's no secret that I LOVE all types of cuisine. However, my favorite cuisine is Indian food....and my favorite dish (you guessed it!)--Chicken Tikka Masala. As a student with a limited amount of time on her hands, I like to make food from scratch but I also like the process to not be super time consuming. This is why I love Maya Kaimal's Tikka Masala sauce. It makes an authentic Indian meal in minutes. I'm pretty sure you can buy the sauce online; however, I actually buy it at my local Williams-Sonoma, and I know that if you live in Southern California you can find it at your local Bristol Farms.



Here's my recipe for the Best Chicken Tikka Masala Ever:

1 lb chicken breast sliced into strips
1 jar of Maya Kaimal's Tikka Masala Sauce
1/2 a bag of  thawed, frozen peas (you can add more if you like)
3 red potatoes, peeled and diced
cilantro to taste

Directions:

Wash the chicken before cooking. Lightly cook the chicken in vegetable oil until it is about halfway done on medium heat. Then add the masala sauce, peas, and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes and chicken are done. The chicken should not be pink. Add the cilantro towards the last five minutes of cooking. Enjoy with some naan or steaming hot rice.

Hope this makes everyone's Monday better! What is your favorite Indian food dish? Also please checkout my Beauty Giveaway.

Haylee :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Butter London Polish: Royal Navy and West End Wonderland

So lately I've been getting into Butter polishes and I have come to love them very much. At first I was concerned when I swatched Royal Navy since the polish chipped after two days. The polish seemed like a waste since I was spending $14 for a bottle of polish that did not last that long. However, I can to realize that if I used a different brand of top coat and base coat, the product would not chip as fast. Here is a breakdown of my review (there are photos at the end):

Packaging: I LOVE the Butter packaging. The square bottles make me feel so sophisticated and definitely make the polishes display worthy. I like to leave mine out on my vanity. Also the square bottles make storage so much easier than the rounded bottles that most nail companies utilize. It's just easier to save space and pack bottles in a container tightly together when they are square.

Price: 0.028 fl oz/ US dollar. This is in the mid-range for polishes. I am ok spending this much for what I believe is a quality nail polish, but I know some of my readers might differ.

Color Selection: I think they have a fairly good sized range of colors--not as many as OPI and Essie but enough to satisfy the average polish afficionado.

Application: I have a hard time applying this polish when I put my first coat down. I have not figured out if this is because of the basecoat I am using (OPI basecoat) or if this is how the polishes always act. My first coat is usually uneven and streaky, but any mess is cleared up by the second coat and my topcoat.

Longevity: 6 days before my tips started to chip. I am happy with this since I usually only have the patience to wear my polish for a week anyway.

Fun Facts: Butter polishes always have fun names like "Yummy Mummy" and "Come to Bed Red". The polish names also reflect their British heritage. If you are interested a few of their polishes also have matching lip colors. Butter is also 3-free (no DBP, Toluene, and Formaldehyde) meaning that it is free of chemicals that are carcinogens when exposed to them for long periods of time.

Individual reviews:

Royal Navy: I absolutely LOVE this polish color. It reminds me of Kate Middleton (I don't know why, maybe because she wears a lot of blue) and just seems so sophisticated to me. I had been dying to buy a navy blue and I purchased this to go with my spring nautical themed clothes from the Jason Wu for Target collection.

West End Wonderland: I love this polish as an accent nail. I feel like it would be unprofessional of me to walk around with all of my nails in this color at work, but maybe over the holidays I will do a full manicure with this color. The microglitter (in yellow/gold and orange) makes me all happy and giddy like a little girl.

Without Flash

With Flash 

With Flash

 Without Flash

The full manicure without flash (excuse the slight mess, I took pics before the final clean up)


Have a blessed day and check out my Beauty Giveaway! Also I have added links so you can get your first Julep box for a penny here.

Question of the Day: Should I do a Butter giveaway? What color would you like me to giveaway?

Haylee :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If You Like Pina Coladas....

So the last few days have been rainy, hot, and humid in my city. The heat and humidity inspired my boyfriend and I to make some refreshing pina coladas and mai tais. We tried a recipe from Paula Dean which I have posted below (will my own alterations in parenthesis and colored). The drinks were amazing and it was a recipe I would definitely try again.

Ingredients:
Ice cubes
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup pineapple chunks (I don't really like to taste alcohol in my cocktails so I would suggest decreasing the amount of rum or adding more pineapple chunks (which is what I did))
Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional

 Directions:
Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, cocnut milk, and pineapple chunks. Puree. Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry, if desired.

Negatives: The one down side of the recipe is that the pina coladas settle after a while but if you give them a quick stir, the drink goes back to normal consistency. If you find the coconut cream hard to find at your local grocery store, try looking in the baking aisle or in the alcohol aisle.

Positives: By using the recipe instead of the pre-made mixes found at the store, you save your body from the artifical additives and preservatives found in many of the mixes.

Enjoy! What are ya'lls favorite cocktails?

Haylee :)

PS Check out my Beauty Giveaway!




 

 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nail Salon Horror Story: Nail Fungus...and How to Get Rid of It

So a few months ago, I visited Europe. Before embarking on my exciting vacation, I got my nails done at a salon for two reasons: 1) I wanted to do something different with my nails 2) I wanted them to look nice and be hassle free while I was on vacation.  I rarely go to the salon since I am a nail art afficionado and rarely pay for things I can do myself. I picked out what I thought would be a nice, CLEAN nail salon to get my nails done for the trip. My girlfriends and I even ohhhed and ahhhed over how clean and beautiful the salon was. The manicure was fabulous. It lasted the entire time I was abroad and I was in heaven. Finally I had found a salon I liked. I even went back to the salon a second time. Then a few weeks later while cleaning off my polish, I discovered I had nail fungus!

This was the first time I had ever gotten nail fungus. I had to google what the white spots on my nail were and get a doctor to confirm my discovery before I believed that I had nail fungus. The salon had been so clean! Surely they could not have given me the fungus! When I finally accepted that the salon was dirtier than meets the eye, I vowed never to return there and focused my efforts on trying to get rid of my fungus. My doctor recommended an over-the-counter nail solution. However, after being unsatisfied with how long it would take to get rid of the fungus using the solution (FOUR weeks!) , I turned to my home remedy: distilled white vinegar.

It took one week to get rid of my nail fungus with my cheap home remedy. It was a lifesaver for me since I did not want to walk around with ugly nails. Here is how I did it, in case you fall victim to this unsightly disease:

  1. First,  file the areas on the nail that have fungus on them so they are as thin as your normal nails. When you have a fungus, the nail grows thicker than normal so that the fungus is shielded from light enabling it to grow better.
  2. Throw out all nail files used for the past two weeks before the discovery of the fungus. If you use these products again, you will definitely contaminate your nails once more and the treatment will be ineffective. Nile files are cheap--it is definitely worth the $1-$5 to get a new file.
  3. Clip your nails as short as possible. I cut mine so short, it was almost painful to clip the nail further. This helps light to reach the fungus and prevents it from being able to hide itself under your nail.  Immediately use a hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Also I held my nail clippers over a candle flame so that the fungus would not contaminate my nail clippers. You can either do this or throw your clippers away.  After sanitizing the clippers, I again sanitized my hands using hand sanitizer.
  4. Dip your hands in a bowl of distilled white vinegar for 20 minutes. The bowl does not need to be super full; you just need to insure that every nail is immersed in the vinegar.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until the fungus is gone. Mine took about a week for this to happen.
Good luck and here's to enjoying healthy fungus free nails! Also check out my Beauty Giveaway!

Haylee :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Slow Cooking

So a few weeks ago, the company that provides internet and cable to my apartment was doing some repair work; as a result, I did not have internet/cable for a week and was bored out of my mind. To help alleviate my boredom, I took a trip to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore and ended up in the cooking section....bad idea. To borrow/misquote a quote from Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series (if you don't know this by now, please crawl out from under your rock), the cooking section of any bookstore is my own personal brand of heroin. I'm pretty sure I broke my pocketbook with the number of books I walked out with that day, one of which I wanted to share with you guys: Gluten-Free Slow Cooking by Ellen Brown.

I love slow cooking, but I have never had a whole collection of recipes at my fingertips so this book was a great choice for me.  Since I work all day, it is nice to be able to come home and find dinner has practically made itself. Slow cookers also allow me to have healthier meals since I am not just running out to the local fast food joints. Also I find that with a lot of slow cooking books such as Crock-Pot and Betty Crocker, the recipes in the books are all very much the same: American comfort foods ranging from chili to casseroles to pulled pork.  Don't get me wrong, I love American comfort food just as much as every other American--I just don't want to be restricted on my cuisine choice whenever I decide to utilize my slow cooker. This is why I am ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with Ms. Brown's book.  She has recipes from all over the world: France, Spain, India, the Middle East, just to name a few. I am also a big fan of bread pudding so the "New Orleans Bread Pudding" sealed the deal for me as to whether or not I should buy this book.

So far I have made two recipes (Boeuf Bourguinon and the Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup) from this book and everyone that has tried them loves them. One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who can eat gluten is that the gluten-free food they have tried does not taste very good. I can attest to the fact that these recipes taste just as good as their gluten counterparts since I am NOT gluten-intolerant. I just bought the book since all the slow cooker books for gluten-eaters just had American comfort food recipes. However, it is definitely a handy book to have around when my gluten intolerant friends come over.

Have a wonderful day! Check out my Beauty Giveaway!

Haylee :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Clinique Favorites

Since it is summer time, I figured it is the perfect time to review my favorite Clinique brand products since one of the products is a sunscreen I use all the time.

Clinique SPF 50 with Solar Smart body cream-I love this suncreen because it is not as greasy as the standard drugstore sunscreens and works just as well. I was really excited about this since my boyfriend never wears sunscreen/lotion due to their greasy nature and, I had finally found something he agreed to try on. Between you and me, I think he likes it. :) The sunscreen also does not have a scent and (even better!) it does not have the overpowering "suncreen" smell that most sunscreens are notorious for having. Although the product I have is a body cream, I use it on my face as well and have never had any breakouts. However, if you are prone to breakouts you might be better off trying the face cream version of this sunscreen that Clinique also sells.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus-This product is a bit pricey at around $70 a bottle, but I think it is well worth the splurge. The product is marketed as a wrinkle and UV damage corrector; I bought it to try and get rid of my forehead wrinkles. Although I have not seen any effect on my wrinkles (since I have not finished using the product for the recommended four weeks yet), I have noticed a dramatic diffference in the overall state of my face. I started using the product at a time when my skin was looking particularly awful. I had been on a trip to Europe and had neglected to take care of my skin. As a result I had a few pimples and some dark spots from pimple scarring. The Laser Focus cream eliminated my breakouts, erased my dark spots, gave my skin a healthy glow, and made my skin baby soft. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up one morning and find that I felt like I had a face equivalent to a fashion model. I really did not need to wear makeup thanks to how great my skin looked.

The product does have an interesting application, however. The bottle comes with a dropper so that you can apply the serum to your face twice a day. I apply the serum once a day and drop the serum directly on my face. Other people I know prefer to mix the drops in with their moisturizer. In all fairness, I should warn you that for the first few days when you try the product, your skin might break out. Mine did, but cleared up after a few days. During this time, I never stopped using the product. Also the instructions that come with the product say that it is important to wear sunscreen and shield your skin from the sun while using the product which I did as well to prevent "sun exposure breakouts."

Finally, remember that I currently have a beauty giveaway going for some Julep and Smashbox products. The winner will come from one of my first 100 followers so click on the right hand panel under Followers to join the site! :)

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what Clinique products would you bring along?

Haylee :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

So a few weeks ago I got my boyfriend a cookbook. We periodically exchange "just because" gifts. I was having a hard time trying to narrow down my gifting choices when I noticed Rachael Ray's  Book of Burger on a display shelf at Barnes and Nobles. The gift was perfect since my boyfriend had just gotten a new grill and was planning a BBQ for the weekend I was planning to visit him.

I HIGHLY recommend this book for the men in your life if they are grilling afficionados or into cooking at all. The book has various burger recipes as well as common (and not so common) side dishes that compliment burgers well such as fries, tots, and jalapeno poppers. I think my favorite part of the book is where Rachael asks other famous chefs for their favorite burger ideas including Bobby Flay.

My favorite recipe so far is the Roasted Jalapeno Poppers. The jalapenos are formed into a boat, the insides are scooped out, and the peppers are stuffed with cheese, more jalapenos, cream cheese, and covered in bread crumbs. They provide the perfect amount of kick for guests who are not shy about spice. I should warn you, however, to use gloves when you scoop out the centers of the jalapeno peppers (or any super spicy pepper). Unfortunately I DID NOT use gloves and had to soak my hands in a bowl of milk for 24 hrs when the burn finally kicked in. I also washed my hands repeatedly in vegetable oil to remove the burn from the peppers. My boyfriend and I agree that we got some extra spicy jalapenos since they were still super spicy after being baked in the oven as well; however, I would recommend that you wear gloves when dealing with any pepper that has lots of capsaicin in it, the chemical that gives hot peppers their "kick".

What is your favorite Rachael Ray recipe (or recipe in general)?

Beauty Giveaway

Hi guys! I have decided that if I reach 50 followers I will do a beauty giveaway. Once I have 50 followers, one of my lucky 50 will win a surprise package of beauty goods. :) To become a follower, go to the right side of the page and add your name under the Join the Party and Follow Me list by clicking "JOIN THIS SITE". This contest is open internationally so for all your international girls that want to get your hands on Julep, this is the way to do it (they only ship to the US and Canada right now).

Rules:

  • You MUST become a PUBLIC follower to qualify for the giveaway. 

This giveaway includes:

1 Julep polish ($14)
1 Julep Nail Revitalizing Growth Serum($38)
1 Smashbox's Try It Kit ($19) (kit shown below)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Have a fabulous day!

Haylee :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Julep Promo

Just saw this! I am DYING to get mine. Julep has a special promo for today only! Get yours at julep.com

Blogging Ideas

Hi guys! As I am new to blogging about beauty and food, please let me know if there is anything you are interested in hearing about. I would love to do any product reviews you request! Leave your comments below. I read all of them

Haylee :)

Julep June Mystery Box Product Review

So my last post was about the mystery box I recieved. I said I had not used the products yet and would post product reviews later so here they are! :)

Julep emory board - The Julep emory board is actually not one of my favoriate products at all. They provide them complimentary in some of their monthly boxes as well as mystery boxes. It's a nice touch but I feel like the grit on the emory board is not as tough as the grit on some of my other emory boards that I purchased a while back at Target (I think?). I should let you guys know however, that I do use emory boards incorrectly since I file my nails back and forth (a BIG no no in the beauty world) so maybe I don't like the grit because I feel like my nails don't file as fast.

Julep Best Pedi Prep Ever- I LOVE this product! I was hoping that the mystery box I received would have some pedi prep stuff because I was dying to try it out. I followed the instructions on the bottle exactly to make sure my feet would turn out nice. After applying the roll on product (super easy application, yay!) I opted to use a pumice stone I had previously purchased from Target (I think?) to buff my feet instead of their foot file since I didn't want to open too many of the same products all at once. I used the stone to buff the edges of my feet and the heel of my foot before moving on to the center of my foot and the toes. Then I washed the stone and my feet in warm water. My feet were super soft and callous free for TWO weeks!!!! TWO weeks! This is a very big deal since I live in the desert and I wear flip flops all day long since it is too hot to wear anything else in the summer time. My flip flops are black and they stain my heels and give me rough edges, but with Julep's product my feet were as smooth as a baby's for two weeks. :) I would definately buy this product on my own and at $20, the cost is not bad either for the results.

Julep Best Pedi Creme Ever- After I used the Pedi Prep, I rubbed my feet with this product. It's a good product and definitely moisturized my feet. The results don't really stand out to me, however. What I do like the most about it is the scent: a cool cucumber that is not over powering. It gave me my "ahhhhh", relaxing moment when I put it on.

Julep June Mystery Box

So my Julep June Mystery Box came in like two weeks ago...and I finally decided that I would start a beauty/food/things I like blog. I just want to be able to share my love of makeup, nail polish, cooking, and all things girly with everyone out there. Hopefully this blog will help me explore my creative side a bit more since as a graduate student, my day job is very technical and not super creative. Anyway on to the mystery box....

Let me begin by saying that my box really was a pleasant surprise. The box was only the second thing I've ordered from Julep and I definately got one of the biggest boxes out there. If you are not familiar with Julep, they are a nail polish parlor/company that is located in Seattle, Washington. As a member of their MAVEN program (which I am), subcribers spend $19.99 a month to get a box of 2 polishes and some sort of accessory for a mani/pedi such as a hand cream or a pedicure prep cream and foot file. They have several different styles of boxes based on different personalities (It Girl, Classic With A Twist, Boho Glam, etc). I am Boho Glam, so each month, I get two polish picks that Julep decides are what a Boho Glam girl would like. I must say they are pretty spot on with their choices. If you would like to join, my referral link is:

http://julep.com/?r=20564143

Use the code COLOR2012, TWITTER1, MAVENINTRO, or COLORS4ONE to get your first box for a PENNY!!!! If this code doesn't work anymore, let me know via a comment on this post and I will try to get you a more up-to-date code. Also please leave a comment below letting me know if you signed up so I can make sure my code works. :)

In addition to monthly boxes, Julep sometimes releases mystery boxes which are rumored to help them clear out old stock so they can bring in the new stock. Each mystery box costs $60, however, you should never pay the full $60 since there are always coupon codes floating out there on the internet and available to mavens via emails from Julep that bring the cost of the box down to $19.99, the same price as a regular monthly box.  Each box contains $60-$200 worth of  FULL SIZED products and in the June mystery box, buyers could win either a special limited edition color (it turned out to be a pretty purple color) or the ENTIRE Julep polish collection of 80+ colors.

I was very surprised to have received one of the bigger boxes especially since this was only my second Julep order. They have great customer service as well for such a small company. They are my favorite company when it comes to customer service. Anyway, I knew I was getting a bigger box when I saw that my package was shipping as "package services" on the USPS tracking comfirmation website instead of the usual "first class". I would have been just has happy with a small box since it would have still had $60 worth of product, but I was super excited for my big box since it was filled with so many goodies I have been wanting to try especially so I can give myself better at-home pedicures.  On to the products I received:

A Julep emory board (Free)

Julep basecoat and Julep topcoat($14 each)

Julep Nail Growth Revitalizing Serum ($38)

The Best Pedi Prep Ever + Foot File ($23)

The Best Pedi Creme Ever ($22)

Julep Pomegranate Body Scrub ($18)

Julep Polishes: Emma, Maggie, Sandra, and January (from top to bottom). First without flash and then with flash($14 each):


Total value for my box as listed on Julep.com: $185
Total paid by me to receive the box: $19.99


Overall the box I received was a great deal (more of a steal really). I haven't tried a lot of these products yet for various reasons but I will be sure to let you know how the products turn out.

To view my review via youtube go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6WDCTb5cHc&feature=youtu.be

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