Quick Bites – Buffalo Goat Cheese French Fries

This is one of my family’s new favorite ways to eat french fries. It’s inspired by Carl’s Jr.’s Buffalo Bleu Cheese Fries. Is it healthy? No. But we definitely watch the portions. I recently served it during the Super Bowl and the fries went over way better than the game (ouch!).

It’s pretty simple:

  • Fry (or bake until crispy) one bag of frozen french fries
  • Transfer the fries to a napkin-covered plate to remove some of the oil
  • Pour buffalo sauce over the fries; tip: I use Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce (Not too much! Buffalo wing sauces are full of sodium)
  • Sprinkle some crumbled goat cheese on top

There you have it!

Yum!

Yum!

I serve this as a side to turkey burgers or for a very casual gathering. Trust me, your friends will love it! It’s already teenager-approved in my home :)

~Ro.

Black and copper contact paper

My First DIY Project!

This is my first DIY project on the blog. And I’m excited because I like the way it turned out! The project was inexpensive and there are lots of potential for creativity.

I really like the idea of wall decals, but the price is never right. And if you’re frugal like me, you think you can make everything instead of buying it. I read a long time ago that contact paper could be used to make decals. I bought contact paper in   copper and black.

Black and copper contact paper

Black and copper contact paper

I had a little bit of time one Saturday and decided to try it out. The doors in our place needed…something. I decided to go with a simple triangle. I know, could I BE more hipster??? But, it’s cute, so give me a break. I found a simple triangle online, cut it out on a sheet of white paper, then traced the triangle onto the backside (white side) of the contact paper with a pen.

Diamond-shaped and triangle paper to trace on contact paper

Diamond-shaped and triangle paper to trace onto contact paper

Next, I cut out the triangle shape. Tip: the diamond-shaped works best because you can just cut it in half and you will have two triangles. Voila!

The ends tend to curl under, but it doesn't destroy the shape.

The ends tend to curl under, but it doesn’t destroy the shape.

I decided to make a pennant flag design and free styled the rest. What do you think?

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~Ro.

Special Edition: I Love It Wednesday

We Love It Wednesday is a segment where I share things my family is currently excited about. But today is a special edition that I call, I Love It Wednesday (Spoiler alert: The following post is hecka mushy!).

Jeff is my very best friend. I’ve known him since I was 14, so we’ve literally grown up together. He has seen me at my worst as well as my best and manages to still love me. Poor guy.

The past few months have been rough. I’m talking I-Don’t-Know-Whether-To-Laugh-Or-Cry-But-I’ll-Most-Likely-Just-Cry difficult. Yet, Jeff has held our family together in strength, good humor, and faith.

That doesn’t mean he’s perfect. And that makes me respect and love him even more that he honestly allows me see all of him, never pretending that he has it all figured out. He treats me like a true partner and he can appreciate a good shoulder now & again, too.

Unfortunately, sometimes I need things to go wrong to help me see clearly. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God daily for my amazing husband. But, these few months have given my honey multiple times to remind me just how supportive he is and how much he loves me.

Today seems as good as any other day to express my gratitude. And to send him a shout-out. He encouraged me to write this blog and was one of the first people to read it. I hope it’s a nice surprise when he reads the latest post.

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Jeff, you never cease to amaze me. To my favorite huz:

*who made up a dance about eggs
*who lets us keep the craziest dog EVER
*who loves my relatives like his own
*who makes a mean oatmeal
*who our son can confide in
*who thinks I can do anything and almost makes me believe it

Thank you, Jeff, for making and sharing a life with me. Poor guy.

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The Hair Affair

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Watching the Hair Demo

I hosted an event, dubbed “The Hair Affair,” last Friday. It. Was. AWESOME!

A friend and I have a pretty good thing going. For the second year, she provided the space and I provided the idea. It was all born out of a conversation where a friend and I talked at length about the hair products we buy and the disappointing results. I thought it would be awesome if someone else could benefit from money I felt like I wasted. It may not work for me but maybe it could work for someone else.

My friends and I host clothing swaps, so it seemed like a great idea to host a product swap. Bring your gently used hair and beauty products and exchange them with friends. What’s old is new again and hopefully someone has better results than you did. I’ve later purchased hair products that I would have never tried if I didn’t get the chance to try them for free. Win-win!

This year we focused on natural hair. I searched for hair companies that make natural hair products for sponsors. Bobeam Products was my first response. I love the shampoo bars and hair tea! The company is independently owned by an absolutely lovely woman named Laquita. The products are natural, fabulous, and highly recommended! As a customer, I have found her service to be pleasant, professional, and prompt. Check out her products!

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Bobeam Shampoo Bars

The second response came from Design Essentials. A stylist recently suggested I use a product from their line. I know the products are carried in Sally’s Beauty Supply, but I figured that all the company could do is say no. Besides, the positive response from Laquita at Bobeam Products gave me a little more courage. Design Essentials sent a box of goodies, exceeding my expectations.

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Design Essentials Products

I was so proud of my goodie bags! The guests enjoyed high quality products, hair demos, great food, and even better company. If your guests have fun, consider that a great party! And there was so much hair variety! Straightened to afro-ed, braided to bun-ed, it was so nice to see all that creativity in style and gorgeous hair.

Thank you to everyone who came and to Bobeam Products and Design Essentials! Your products really were the icing on the cake!

*Note: This is not a sponsored post. My opinions are my own and were not written in exchange for free products. Although I would love free products. Truly, I would :)

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The finished product

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Perusing the stock

We Love It Wednesday

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Around these parts, we love natural hair!

My hair hasn’t been chemically processed in over 17 years. To maintain straight hair, I used to straighten my hair every two weeks with heating tools (pressing comb and flat iron). But, after experiencing LOTS of heat damage, I decided to wear my hair in it is natural state, finding its natural texture and curl pattern.

Hilarity ensued way too many times to count since I didn’t know how to style my natural hair. But after years of trial and error, I’ve come to really love my hair.

It’s not a matter of vanity. Nappy/kinky hair textures and styles are still often seen unkempt, unattractive, and unprofessional.

It took me much longer to feel comfortable wearing my hair naturally (amid stares and appallingly rude comments) than to learn to style it. I stuck with it in a mixture of pride and curious admiration.

I feel no shame in my nappy hair texture. I think it’s quite beautiful. Sometimes I still don’t know what my hair will do next. It curls, kinks, twists, and straightens. All of these possibilities amaze me.

Okay, okay. So what is my pick for WLIW? The natural hair event I’m hosting this weekend! A fabulous group of ladies will join me for an evening filled with hair demonstrations, giveaways, and a product exchange.

The product exchange is a hit because you can give a product away that didn’t work for you and get something else you’ve been wanting to try. Product junkies rejoice!

Be sure to check back on the blog for photos and a review of the event!

We Love It Wednesday

A friend recently named 2014 as The Year of Good Health.

I type that as I lay in bed with a cold. Ha! It’s hard not to see getting sick as the ultimate time waster. Who ever has time to be sick?!

But one thing we all love is good health. Here are a few home remedies, preventative measures, and tips I’ve found useful:

Cough Reliever
Sage Tea
-Boil about 6-8 sage leaves in 2 cups of water
-Strain tea into a cup (no leaves in the cup)
-Add a slice of lemon and honey to taste
-Optional: add a shot of whiskey to make an herbal hot toddy

Cinnamon Tea
-Mix one tablespoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of honey to reduce cough and congestion.

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Research shows that an alkaline body pH helps in fighting viruses. When body pH is overly acidic, the cold virus can follow. What’s a sicky to do?

Enter: Apple Cider Vinegar.

Uses:
-Gargle with ACV (reduces mucus)
-Tea: one tablespoon of ACV, honey, and warm water. Drink a few times a day for relief of cold symptoms.

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Coconut Oil
A natural antiviral, this oil is your friend.
-Rub on your neck.
-Take one to two spoonfuls a few times a day.
-Mix into oatmeal or other hot cereal (a great way to give the oil to kids).

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Supplements:
-Vitamin C
-Vitamin D
-Zinc

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Don’t:
-Ignore your symptoms. Fast action is the key in a shorter cold.
-Go to work. Again, no one has time to be sick, so why spread your cooties?
-Eat dairy. Cheese and milk are not your friend right now, as they build mucus.

Do:
-Drink lots of water.
-Washing your hands often will keep you and others healthier since you won’t spread the virus love.
-Eat chicken soup or broth (add fresh minced garlic and eat it immediately). It is not only soothing but boosts the immune system.
-Take a hot, steamy shower.
-Get lots of rest. Sleeping will help your body fight off the cold virus.

*NOTE: These tips will soothe your symptoms and will hopefully shorten the duration of your illness. These are NOT cures but remedies.

Always consult your physician for medical care and assistance as this information does NOT replace a physician’s instructions.

January Is For Shoppers

You don’t know this about me, but I’m a reformed shopaholic.

*Note: I am also an unrepentant user of hyperbole, so you may want to pardon my extreme statement(s).

Folks: I love a good sale. It’s in my DNA. My mom was (and still is) the queen of thrift! She only bought our clothes from the thrift store (I know what you’re thinking and no, not our undies!). This was a BIG problem in elementary school when the outfit of the century was teddy bear leggings and matching t-shirt with a big ol’ teddy bear on  the front.

I begged. I pleaded. But my mother’s response: “I’ll get you one when it comes to the thrift store.” Ouch.

I like to think of this as a defining shopping moment in my life. I don’t limit myself to thrift store shopping. A sale is a sale is a sale. Be it Bloomingdale’s or Goodwill. Target or Nordstrom. I’ll take a good sale any day!

But, I said I am a reformed shopaholic, so I don’t shop often. I find that simply staying out of stores and reminding myself of our family’s financial goals is the best way to keep the money in the wallet.

Here are a few sales for my fellow dollar-stretchers:

One of my favorite biannual sales is the Bath and Body Works sale. Sale items are 50-75% off.

Bath and Body Works Sale

Forever 21 is one of my favorite places for accessories, especially earrings. The prices start at $1.50. The other sale items are 50% of the sale price. As a salesperson told me, “These prices aren’t going to be this cheap again,” as I declined on a sweatshirt with a silver studded eagle for $8. My loss may be your gain.

Forever 21 Earrings

In other news, Maidenform has a BOGO 50% sale on bras online.

Did you know that Loehmann’s is going out of business?! How sad! The retailer is currently offering up to 40% off the lowest ticketed price in-stores.

Are there any big sales that you’re excited about this month?

We Love It Wednesday!

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It is the dawn of a new year! Ok, total disclosure: This is a photo I took of a sunset, not a sunrise. But it’s still pretty, no??? Oh, here you go:  The sun has set on 2013. Better???

It seems that more people are less resolution-focused and more goal-oriented this year. Is it just me? I don’t make New Year’s resolutions after learning about their origins (the Romans’ New Year’s practices, including resolutions, were part of honoring Janus). It’s nice to see less emphasis on perfection and more on year specific goals for 2014.

For example, Renae Bluitt, beauty PR strategist and author of the In Her Shoes blog, is keeping a gratitude journal in 2014. There is plenty in life to be discouraged, depressed, and/or angry about (crime, unemployment, debt, politics, poverty, disease, …need I go on??). But taking time to remember WHAT and WHO you have to be grateful for and WHY is encouraging and refreshing emotionally and mentally.

I don’t think it makes me a positive person to decide that 2014 will be the best year EVERRRR! What do I know? I have no idea what this year holds. And my outlook does not dictate what will happen, just how I handle what comes my way.

Do I have goals? Sure:  To institute a date night at least twice a month with Jeff. Continue my daily Bible reading. Go to sleep earlier. Hug JJ more. Increase the readership of this blog. Call my parents more often. Take more freelance jobs as a social media manager and photographer.

The only thing I can guarantee is that one or more of these goals will not find it’s way into my life. But that doesn’t mean that I am not putting forth the effort to try to improve in certain areas.

My life does not need a major overhaul. As much as I believe in personal improvement, I also believe in reason, balance, and contentment. So, on this the first We Love It Wednesday! of the new year, we simply love effort.

Do you have any goals for 2014? If so, please share! I’d love to hear them :)

One Day

It’s been cold in L.A. for the past week. By that I mean we wake up in the morning and the temperature is in the 40s (yikes!). So I’ve taken the opportunity to start cooking comfort foods for dinner and our family has been watching movies together. It was a nice and cozy weekend!

The next day after watching one of the movies, JJ asked me what type of woman Jeff and I would want him to marry.

I responded quickly:

Spiritual. Loving. Kind. Intelligent. A great sense of humor. Loyal. Goal-oriented. Adventurous. Reasonable. Friendly. Close to her family and close to ours. Someone who makes him happy.

I told him that I look forward to his finding that lovely woman when he is 35 years old. He said he was thinking more like finding her at 25. He said he didn’t want to be too old to play with his children. Le sigh.

Just typing it out makes me feel strange.

Of course, I’ve thought of JJ getting married. He has crushes but he is always so reluctant to share them with me (I assumed it was a mom thing). But he’s 14 today and 25 seems too soon!

Granted, I also said that I would have four beautiful children and live in Wisconsin (don’t ask) when I grew up. Kids make plans and change their minds. Remember wanting to be an astronaut?

But this was different. The reality of his prospects are, well, real. Doesn’t mean it will happen at 25, but someday my little bubba will be married. And I’m not ready to think of marriage as prospect that could happen in 11 years for my son.

Ultimately, I am touched. My heart skipped a beat because he asked what I thought about an important life decision. I know that things change. I know that kids grow up. But his inquiry tells me that his father and my opinions matter. That means the world to me.

One day his wife will be his closest confidant, as she should be. One day he will have children and have loving concerns about them. He will have a life. And I hope that he will continue to include his father and I. I hope our opinions matter. I hope our presence is enjoyed. And, one day, I hope we are included among his closest friends.

You Better Take That Steinbeck!

Me: “I heard about the concert on the radio and I thought you’d probably want to go. A lot of artists will be there. Lorde, Of Mice and Men, … “

JJ: “Of Monsters and Men.”

Me: “Huh?”

JJ: “The group. It’s Of Monsters and Men.”

Me: “That’s what I said.”

Jeff: “No, you said of Mice and Men.”

Me: “No I didn’t.”

Everyone is silent as I carefully avoid eye contact.