I absolutely LOVE Halloween and love to dress up every year. But, I don't want to end up spending hundreds of dollars on a costume I'll wear for a few hours. This year, I have been trying to find a costume I could put together on a fairly small budget, from my own closet, or something that is primarily make up. I also want my costume to be creative (I don't want to end up dressing like anyone else). These are some of the ideas I pinned on my Halloween Pinterest board that I considered dressing up as this year.
Maleficent (Angelina Jolie version)
I really love the thought of dressing up as Maleficent. No, I wouldn't be as gorgeous as Angelina Jolie, but her version of this famous villain is really stunning compared to the original green face we are all used to. With the right contouring, you can get those insane cheekbones too.
Yes, clowns are creepy. I happened to grow up being incredibly scared of them (thanks, Goosebumps) so I like to think that if I were the one dressed as the clown, it might not be so bad. The options really are endless though. You can be as colorful, scary, pretty, or cute as you want.
These cats aren't the same as the cat you would have dressed up as when you were 3 years old. How pretty are these looks?! You have freedom with any animal to make it as adorable and cuddly, sexy and seductive, or elegant and beautiful as you'd like.
Fairy or Nymph
I feel like there should be a monthly holiday that would allow me to dress up like a fairy. The world would be a happier place! The costumes and makeup below are gorgeous and while you may not be able to get your hands on anything as intricate, they show how simple it is to put something like this together. Grab a few flowers and make a crown. Add some exaggerated makeup, a flowing dress and you are good to go!
Gypsy or Fortune Teller
I love the make up ideas for this one because it is all about framing those eyes! You can get incredibly creative like the picture on the left or do a simple smokey eye. Throw on a bunch of jewelry, get some henna drawn or temporary tattoos, tie a scarf around your head or waist and you are set.
If you choose one of these options for your Halloween outings, post your picture below in costume so we can see how they turned out! Happy Halloween!!!
One of the hardest things for me to see is someone trying to eat a healthy diet, and they have trouble sticking to it because of the boring food. Healthy food does not have to be boring! And one thing that makes a huge difference is good seasoning. I’m not talking about a BBQ sauce full of sugar, or a creamy dressing full of I-don’t-know-what, I’m talking about natural spices and herbs that can totally transform your meals.
I take a trip every now and then to one of my favorite foodie stores, Penzeys (no they aren’t paying me.. although, that would be lovely). They have locations around the country and best of all, you can order online (sometimes they add free stuff to your order). While it is nice to be able to walk in and smell what you want to purchase, sometimes depending on location, that just isn’t an option. So I am going to help out as much as I can and post about some of my favorite mixes that you can’t find elsewhere.
I always use this mix when I make salmon. It is really perfect for a lot of veggies such as zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, or a mix of veggies on the BBQ. You can use it to change up the flavor of your chicken, fish, or even on your breakfast eggs. Salt, shallots, chives, garlic, onion, green peppercorns.
This one is similar to Fox Point, and I sometimes use both at the same time (on my salmon). Sunny Paris doesn’t have salt so I’m more likely to go heavy with this one or use it when I want to control the amount of salt in my meal. Sunny Paris tastes great on vegetables, salads, and any fish. Purple shallots, chives, green peppercorns, French basil, French tarragon, chervil, bay leaf, dill weed.
This is one of my absolute favorites especially for this time of year. Great on roasted potatoes, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, or in a stew, it really adds some warmth and German oomph to any meal. If you’ll be drinking beer, it will probably work with your food. Bavarian style crushed brown mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, sage.
I always add this to my chili (which has been entered in competitions… it’s good, trust me) and sometimes I’ll add a sprinkle to a curried chicken if I want to spice things up a little. This would be perfect on beef, tacos, beans, and vegetables. Ground ancho, onion, garlic, paprika, citric acid, lemon peel, chipotle pepper, red pepper, jalapeño, cocoa, natural smoke flavoring.
Herbes de Provence
My mom made chicken breasts last week with this mix and some salt (that’s all) and it was so good! This one is perfect for chicken, stews, anything you want to roast, pork tenderloin, and soups. Rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, French tarragon, dill weed, Turkish oregano, lavender, chervil, marjoram.
This is a must for chili. I am obsessed and use a ridiculous amount of it, but every person that has tried my chili wants the recipe and is upset when they can’t replicate it without Chili 9000. You can use it for fajitas, tacos, vegetables, and when you want your fish with a kick. Ancho chili pepper, cumin, garlic, cilantro, onion, paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon peel, Mexican oregano, black pepper, cocoa powder, citric acid, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, natural smoke flavoring, fenugreek, cloves, fennel, nutmeg, white pepper, anise seed, jalapeño pepper, star anise, cardamom.
Roasted Garlic (very different from the regular Garlic Powder, so having both doesn’t hurt)
Hungarian-Style Sweet Paprika
Jerk (chicken seasoning)
You can find your closest location or shop online at www.penzeys.com
This topic was covered in this Sass, Smarts & Scotch podcast if you’d like to listen in.
My mom works more than anyone I know. She leaves for work incredibly early and probably gets into the office between 7 and 8am and sometimes stays until 5 or 6pm. She gets home, has dinner, and pulls out her work and keeps at it until she heads to bed (sometimes as late as 11pm). Weekends? Yeah, she works then too. Sometimes, I can see the stress coming off her like steam from a boiling pot of water. So when I was thinking of a topic to cover for the podcast, I thought of something that always pops into our lives (some more than others). Stress!
Stress really just sucks and in the long run, can wreak havoc on your body. Here are some simple things you can do to help manage stress, or help make it go away altogether.
Make Your Bed in the morning. This should be something you can accomplish in a very small amount of time. There’s just something about leaving the room with a made bed in the morning and pulling the sheets down when heading to sleep at night.
Workout whether that means heading to the gym, walking the dog, sex, moving furniture, or playing a sport. We’ve all seen Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.”
Practice Self-Kindness in whatever way works for you. Put a Post-It on your mirror with a great quote to wake up to in the morning. Say something you love about yourself to your reflection (out loud). Do something to honor your body. If you feel better, if you feel confident, stress will have a harder time finding its way into your body.
Make Time For You at your favorite coffee shop for 30 minutes a week. Walk your dog by yourself. Lock yourself in the bathroom and get in the tub with lit candles and a glass of wine. Plan a monthly dinner with friends. That time will help recharge your batteries and make it easier to deal with stress.
De-Clutter your closet, desk, pantry… Getting rid of things that don’t serve you anymore, and creating a cleaner, organized space will make that space more inviting. When you want to sit at your desk because everything is where you need it, and the pictures of your dog, or kids make your smile, it will be easier to get to work.
Get Off Your Phone & Read when you go to bed at night. Focusing on one story relaxes you, while sitting on Facebook, doing emails, or going through any other feed will fill your head with (mostly) irrelevant stories, some which may be upsetting, and stress you out more.
Give Praise & Compliment Others every day. Sending that kindness out into the world will improve your mood, and you’ll potentially make someone else’s day.
Write Down Your Goals whether they be big or small, short or long term. Make them big and work towards them. Having a goal down on paper makes it real, and knowing that you are working towards something makes everything else feel like a stepping stone to something you really want.
Reprioritize your daily to-do list. Do the big, ugly, daunting tasks first and get them out of the way. You’ll feel accomplished and continue through your list in a better mood.
I love a good shower. It will most likely be a little party where you can celebrate someone that is either a great friend or family member. Maybe you’ll play some games, eat good food (we hope), spend some time catching up with old friends or meeting new ones. But if you are hosting, the event might seem a little daunting. And it really shouldn’t be! To help you out, we have compiled some great ideas and advice from women that have attended and thrown their own fun and creative Bridal Showers. Have anything to add? Comment below.
Did the Bridal Shower have a theme?
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Everything was ‘Robin’s Egg Blue’, down to the tablecloth and napkins. We ate little Petite Fours (bite sized cakes) that were decorated as little Tiffany boxes, a big Tiffany box cake, and had white accents (candles, flowers). The ladies dressed like Audrey Hepburn in LBDs with pearls and updos. The party favors were also wrapped in the Tiffany blue paper and tied with white ribbons. - VM
We had a tea party for one of my friends. Big hats and a good social hour. It was really fun. – MA
The theme was Rustic/Shabby Chic/Tea Party. I wanted it to be girly but country. We used recycled bottles in place of vases for flowers, wood crates as stands for food/drink, and ate outside on picnic tables. – MK
‘Day at the Races’ where you can wear cocktail attire, hats, and gloves and attend a horse race while drinking champagne. - MF
Where should you have a Bridal Shower?
I’ve heard of some that were at a facility where they took cooking classes, and I was at one where we did pole dancing. – AL-G
The Bride’s or a Bridesmaid’s home. If the guests really don’t know each other, it might be easier to plan something at a restaurant so everyone can get to know each other over a meal. – VM
There are some Paint & Wine places popping up all over the country that would bring everyone together and keep them busy for the entire party. – MW
We had it at her grandmother’s home so it wouldn’t be at the Brides house but this way we could keep it in the family. We set up everything in the backyard since the weather was perfect. - MK
What games/activities can we play/do during a Bridal Shower?
Mad Libs are always fun. Here’s a good one I’ve used before. – AG
We played a game of ‘Who Knows the Bride’. Usually the MOB, a sister, or MOH win this so it might be best to have them think of the questions and sit out for this one while everyone else battles to win. - VM
We played a game called ‘Don’t Be Surprised’. Everyone wrote on a piece of paper the craziest thing their significant other has done. The bride read them out loud and everyone had to guess who wrote it. – MA
We played a version of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ (Pin the Junk on the Man), ‘Bra Pong’ where we pinned bras with different cup sizes to a board and tried to toss ping pong balls into the cups, Romantic Quotes & Movie Match game, we had a picture of the Bride and Groom for each year since they’ve been born and had to match the couple at every age, and we pinned a bunch of household items to an apron and the guests had to count all the items as the Bride walked around. The prizes we gave were different body products like nail polish, body scrubs/gels, etc.. – MK
I found a ‘panty poem’ and along with the poem, you start displaying the panties that go with each stage of married life. It's something different and it gets a laugh and sometimes tears. – AG
What are some inexpensive shower favors?
I found sets of really cheap, pink tinted martini glasses, and also found cosmopolitan flavored jelly beans. I filled each glass with the jelly beans and covered the top part of the glass with pink cellophane and tied it closed with a name tag (the guest name on one side, the Bride’s name and shower date on the other side). – VM
I went to an antique store and picked up a bunch of Tea Cup and Saucer sets and added a tea bag inside the cup. - MK
Anything with candy is always good. I like to get creative with the packaging. For one Bridal Shower, I placed candy, bundled inside tulle, inside a glass slipper. – AG
I gave jars of honey at mine. They were $1 each. – MA
I found little clear plastic bags that I filled with coffee, hot cocoa mix, and mini marshmallows, and put them together in a little box. If you could find cheap mugs, those would be perfect too. - VM
A little packet of things ‘For A Rainy Day’, like tea, a book, slippers/socks. – AL-G
I love to read. And I will definitely be posting some of my favorite books one of these days, but today I wanted to post with those special books that I like to go through every now and then and that look fantastic on a shelf, coffee table, or ottoman (aka ‘Coffee Table Books’). I call them my ‘Books on Display’ because I never seem to have mine sitting on a coffee table. I really think these books should be about subjects that make you happy. Most of mine are a mix of Fashion and History (two subjects that I love) while the rest are about some of my Idols, favorite cities, and dogs. A few of my favorite are listed below along with some you might find interest in. Some may find these a waste of money, but I find some of the best inspiration and beauty from the pictures and stories in these books.
Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the Eighteenth Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
by Harold Koda
Marilyn Monroe: Platinum Fox by Cindy De La Hoz
Diana Style by Colin McDowell
The French Dog by Rachael Hale McKenna
Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson
Paris in Love by Nichole Roberston
Audrey Hepburn by Christine Kidney
Diana: The Portrait by Rosalind Coward
The following are books I have sent as gifts, books I find interesting, and books that are on my personal wish list. Comment below if you have any favorites!
Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail by Lucy Johnston
The French Cat by Rachael Hale McKenna
A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005 by Annie Leibovitz
Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries by Avril Hart
Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age by Graydon Carter
Finding Home: Shelter Dogs and Their Stories by Traer Scott
The New York Dog by Rachael Hale McKenna
The French Cat by Rachael Hale McKenna
Spectacular Scotland by James Gracie
Streisand: In the Camera Eye by James Spada
England's Hideaways: Discovering Enchanting Rooms, Stately Manor Houses, and Country Cottages by Meg Nolan Van Reesema
Slim Aarons: La Dolce Vita by Slim Aarons