Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chicken Wings

The summer squad gets together on Friday evenings and my husband suggested we bring hot wings to the party.  I agreed because wings appeal to all ages and serve a large crowd.  I found the recipe on the back of the hot sauce bottle and it was a cinch to make.  Three ingredients are all that is needed to make this awesome dish.

Two packages of frozen chicken drumettes, 2.5 pounds each
1/4 Texas Pete or any hot sauce
6 Tablespoons of butter

Melt butter and hot sauce in a pan on the stove until butter is melted.  Meanwhile, bake the drumettes according to package directions.  I baked them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and then 15 minutes at 375 degrees to get them to brown up nicely.

When baking the drummettes, I arranged the frozen chicken pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, so cleanup would be easier later on.  I put them in a single layer and I  prefer
them on the overcooked side, because you can never be safe with chicken. 

When the drummettes were done baking, I was planned to transfer them to a wire rack to then baste them with the hot sauce/butter mixture.  I quickly realized that I should just drench the wings in the yummy hot sauce mixture for the best flavor.  

So, skip this step and just throw them all in a large bowl.

Dump them all in a large bowl.

Then douse the whole bunch of chicken with the whole pan full of hot sauce/ butter yumminess.

Serve hot with lots of extra hot sauce for those people who appreciate it spicier.

One of my happy customers!

As I mentioned at the top of the post, the squad consists of our beach friends, new and old, who are truly the heart of our beach experience every year.  It is hard to explain how these people unconditionally welcome us, year after year, into the social fold of Cornfield Point.  Our family has gathering at this beach for over 70 years, and so have the families of these fine women.  Whether we meet each day at the beach to soak up the sun, gather for the amazing nightly sunset, stroll to bingo, craft night, field day, or party on Karen's back deck on Friday nights, I can fraternize at the drop of the hat.  These people make summer days and nights so special that Audra and I long for them the other 10 months of the year.  This isn't goodbye yet, but it is the official picture of summer 2017.  I love our squad, keep smiling!!

From left to right
Me, Liz, Heather Karen, Lauren
Jenna up front holding Cornfield Point Sign

Friday, July 28, 2017

5 Under $5

     On the heels of my Favorite Things post, I decided to share some amazing products that I use daily that don't break the bank.  Each item I use retails for under $5 and I use them every day and cannot live without.  Again, I am not being paid to sponsor or endorse any of these products.

Goody Ouchless Hair Elastics

     In case you see my hairdresser, please don't tell her.  I have been doing nothing to my hair this whole summer.  I have curly, processed hair that usually gets put through some pretty harsh heat styling on a daily basis.  Summertime is the one exception.  I generally pull it back, wet or dry, and forget about it.  I don't have too many social outings that take me away from the beach, so the ponytail/bun look is totally acceptable.  That's where these hair elastics come to the rescue.  I don't know about you, but if the elastic is too thick and heavy, it weighs down the pony tail.  To solve the droop problem, I secure the elastic a lot tighter and get a major headache by the end of the day.  These little plastic puppies are perfect because I can secure it high or low and it never budges and  doesn't get tangled in my locks when I take it out at night.  They are light weight and come in colors, so they don't show in your hair.  I bought the black and it works with my hair color, but I could also get away with the brown or the clear.  They are made of smooth plastic and come is a variety of sizes depending on the thickness of your hair.  I have less hair as time goes on (let's not even go there), so the smaller size works well for me.   This actually works to my advantage because Audra needs the mack daddy of all hair ties for her thick mane of hair, so shucks, we can't share them.  Anything we seems to share, I seem to come out on the losing end of, so these babies are in my drawer.  I guess it really doesn't matter because the package of 400 was only $1.99.  I could afford to take two!  I bought mine at Marshall's.  I snapped them up when I spied them in that impulse section right by the cash registers.  I do see they are more expensive at Target but still under $5.  

Goody Ouchless Hair Elastics

Burt's Bees Peppermint Lip Balm

      This product is really the balm!!  I have been having a problem lately with dry mouth and, after extensive research, have figured out that it is causing my lips to become chapped and very irritated.  So, I spent a fortune on lip creams, balms and even resorted to using a lanolin based product that nursing mothers use on cracked nipples.  None of them solved my problem until I reached for my daughter's tube of Burt's Bees Peppermint Lip Balm.  I don't know if it is the vitamin E or the peppermint oil that calms the irritation immediately and seems to protect my lips from stinging when I eat very spicy foods.  I have used an entire tube this summer and cannot live without it.  It retails for around $3 a tube, but multi-packs offer more savings.

NYX Makeup Setter in Matte Finish

     I wear makeup daily, and this product was a game changer for me.  Previously, I was finding that my makeup was wearing away during the day.  Surprisingly, I would wash my face in the evening to find very little foundation would be left on my face from the day.  I am careful not to touch my face ever, but was often embarrassed when a smudge of foundation would transfer to to a person's shirt when I went in for a hug.  That's when I took the advise of another blogger, and looked into makeup setter.  I learned to spray the setter first, before applying my foundation, to set the stage for a budge-free finish.  Then I apply all my makeup and spray again.  The key is to spray four times on top of makeup, once in all directions, to set the full face.  It has never failed me and I get comments all the time from co-workers about how fresh I still look at the end of the day.  No more smudge transfers to clothing either!  I purchase the matte finish because I don't like to look shiny, but they do have a dewy finish that I may have to try eventually.   When I started buying the product, it retailed for around $5.  Probably due to major popularity, the price has gone up a little bit, but don't despair, it's name brand counterparts, like Urban Decay All Nighter, boast a price tag of $15 or more.  Yikes!! This is a product I use daily and cannot live without.

Sock Liners from GAP Factory

     These sock liners are amazing.  Let's be real here for a minute, I have a size 10 foot and most socks are snug (at best).  I have even had to buy some men's socks to get a proper fit, but this isn't the case with these beauties.  They are women's shoe liners and for all purposes, are no show socks.  I love the extra padding on the bottom of the sock, but it doesn't seem to take up any additional room in my shoe.  I am now wearing these with all of my sneakers and shoes.  I will be wearing flats to work soon and these save my pedicure from being ruined and also keep my feet comfortable without any sign of rubbing or chance of foot irritation during the day.  I love wearing a thin stockings like these because my feet don't get as tired as I am walking the school hallways and, not to get gross, no foot odor can arise, like when you are sporting your converse barefoot.  Joy!!  The price online is $6.99, but I scored them for $2.27 because I had an additional 10 percent off and redeemed some rewards.  Your price in the store would be $4.99, but here is the real kicker.  I opened the package thinking there was one pair, and to my surprise, there were two pairs of socks in each package.  So, I got 6 pairs for a whopping $6.81.  Score!!

Women's Sock Liner

Gold Disk Earrings

     As an avid style watcher, I have noticed that statement earrings are all the rage.  Who doesn't love a good door knocker hanging from your ear, right?  Any hoo, I was naturally obsessed with the earrings seen on my favorite reality television shows.  I won't admit bore you with how low I have stooped with regard the old boob tube.  I am trying to make it right and say it is for research purposes only, but that would be a lie.  I will do a post about the withdrawal I suffer because I am planning to clean up my viewing act.  Here is an example of the pair of earrings that caught my eye most recently.

So, I am walking through Walmart the other day and stopped dead in my tracks when I spied a gold disk earring on a display round.  At a whopping $2.88, I couldn't stop myself.  I have enjoyed wearing them this summer. I was concerned about the weight of some of the large earrings out there.  I wouldn't want anything heavy that would pull on the lobes.  These Walmart wonders are light as a feather.  Yay me!!

As an aside, and not part of the 5 under $5 theme, I thought I should mention a great product to help with heavy earrings pulling on the lobes.  I recognized I had a problem with my lobes stretching when I started wearing Kendra Scott Jewelry.  My daughter turned me on to the Lobe Wonder that we buy right at the Kendra Scott store.  They are little patches for the back of the ear to support and not pull on the lobes while you wear your favorite torture devices earrings.  They range in price from $6-$15 and it looks like there are around 60 patches in the box.  Here are some options.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Favorite Products Summer 2017

      I am spending time with friends and family this summer and recently compiled a list of my favorite things.  I am excited to share these gems with you and hope you try them and love them as much as I do.  I know that a product is a keeper when I share it with my sister and mother and they start using it too (they are a tough crew!).  I am going to share five wonderful products, that by the way, I am not getting any payment for endorsing.  Sit back, relax and enjoy my favorite things for the summer of 2017.

Karma Wellness Water

     My friend, Liz, introduced me to Karma water and I am in love with this product.  It is full of  A, E, D, and B vitamins and probiotics.  It comes in awesome flavors like pineapple coconut. berry cherry, acai pomberry, and strawberry lemonade, to name a few.  I bought these at CVS for between $1.50 - $2.00 per bottle.  The calorie count is around 20-30 calories for the entire bottle and my daughter is obsessed with the packaging.  You have to lift the label on the lid and then press a button to release the dry mixture into the water.  You shake well and then drink.  It is very portable and I am sure that I will stock my refrigerator in my classroom with these drinks to quell the late afternoon sweet attacks that are sure to strike.  I also love that these drinks are not sickeningly sweet. They are more like a water with a hint of flavor.
Karma Wellness Water on Amazon

Confidence in a Cream

     I would consider this product to be a splurge at $48 for 2 fluid ounces.  It claims to rejuvenate skin with a creamy emollience that softens skin, but doesn't make it greasy.  I am 52 years old (that's probably too much information about a person that you just met, right?) and find that I am dehydrated regularly (more TMI) and my skin will often appear crepey and dry (don't go visual!).  I started using this awesome product last winter because my skin was feeling tight and cranky.  The assault on my skin was caused by the addition of the dry heat inside as the temperatures outside plummeted.  I like to keep the house warm during the day (much to my husband's chagrin), probably around 78 degrees and it was taking a toll on my skin.  With one use, my face immediately felt less stressed and my skin felt soft to the touch.   It also didn't interfere with my foundation that I applied over the Confidence Cream.  Sometimes, my foundation will separate or disintegrate when I use greasy products that claimed mega-hydration.  So, I was super skeptical when this product claimed to be emollient, which is really code for greasy.  Nope, it was like I gave my skin a huge drink of comfort.  I don't have a problem with large pores, so that is a claim that I'm uncertain about.  I have average sized pores and the cream didn't settle in the pores or create acne, like some of the other emollient creams I've tried. It also claims to make skin appear younger and make fine lines and wrinkles decrease.  I would agree with this claim.  I feel my skin looks younger as a function of it being well moisturized without excess grease.  If there is one product that you must try, this one is it.
Confidence in a Cream

Jergen's Bronzer

     Okay, I took a different approach to tanning this summer.  Since I spend the summer on the Connecticut shore, I was feeling a little pale when we showed up at the end of June.  I am a teacher and my skin hadn't seen the light of day since the previous summer, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and "fake bake" until I was able to achieve the real sun kissed glow I desired.  I used this great bronzing foam that was easy to spread and soaked into my skin, creating quite a realistic tan in one application.  I was not offended by the smell and did take the time to exfoliate before attempting to slather my whole body in this luscious foam.  It worked like a charm.  I was comfortable enough to wear shorts and sport the old tankini on the beach the very same day!  I still use it to even out my tan.  I find myself sitting my bottom on the beach chair and not moving until it is time to head home.  That being said, the back of my legs don't get much color, so I slather some more foam on after my shower and voila, an even tan. Love, love, love it!!! The price is around $9 and is worth every penny.  My daughter caught me using the bronzer and I now have to wrestle her to the ground to get a handful or two.  I recommend you hide it if you have any female teenagers in the house.  We do laugh at our brown palms if we don't wash our hands quick enough.

Benefit Cosmetics "Precisely My Brow" Eyebrow Pencil

    I don't know about you, but our Ulta store boasts very little in the way of customer service.  The reason I mention this is because the stars must have aligned the day we hit Ulta in Old Saybook.  It was music to my ears when the sales person actually asked if she could assist us with anything.  My sister stepped up with her priority list and the sales person worked some kind of magic on her eyebrows.  Being the older and bossier sister (she calls it "leadership skills"), she insisted I get in the chair and have the lady fill in my brows with this magic pencil made by Benefit.  I was sold!! It was the perfect color and camouflaged the sparse hairs that I once called eyebrows.  Again, I'm told that this is perfectly normal for a woman of my age, but I'm here to tell you that the hair that used to be on my head and eyebrows is now showing up on my chin and neck.  Don't know what that is all about, but I'm just going with it.  This Benefit product is awesome.  I just outline the shape I want the brow to be, fill it in with the pencil and then use the other brush end of the product to smudge it and make it look very natural.  I am using the color #3.  Audra, who is much darker, scored a pencil in color #4.  I must have lost my mind that day because the pencil, or should I call it gold, retails for $24.  The pencil comes in 6 shades, so there is surely a color for everyone.  I will let you know if I find a cheaper dupe out there for this product.

Rosehip Oil

     It really seems like this blog should be about my favorite anti-aging products.  From a very reliable source (Women's Day Magazine), I learned that rose hip oil helps re-hydrate the thin skin under the eyes that seems to get thinner as I get older.  I noticed a huge problem with my under eye skin when I used thicker concealer to disguise my dark circles.  The thick concealer really settled into the fine lines under my eyes and made a huge mess and if I added any powder, I looked like the bride of Frankenstein.  So I took the advice of my trusty grocery store rag and started applying rose hip oil that I secured from Whole Foods and was satisfied that the oil was stamped "organic."  I have later learned from my sister that I need to make sure that I purchase pure rose hip oil that has not been laced with any filler oils (referred to as carrier oils).  Yada yada.  I have been amazed with the level of hydration I was able to achieve with just a couple drops of this very concentrated oil.  It is nothing short of miraculous.  My thin, crepey eye skin has flattened out and even plumped up a little. It takes the concealer wonderfully and I even mix it with my concealer if I am using a really thick one like Bye Bye Under Eye.  That stuff is like spackle and I only use it in emergency situations, like the nights I lie awake in bed even though I am dog tired and don't catch a single wink of sleep.  This goes on for nights on end, and the doctor thinks it's some consolation when she tells me it's part of menopause.  I digress, use the rose hip oil and trust me when I tell you that it works wonders.

I hope you enjoyed my 5 favorite products!!  After I finished this post, I feel like I should write an entire blog just dedicated to the subject of aging and menopause.  I would have enough material to keep me busy for years!!  Let me know what some of your fave products are by commenting below. Hope you are having a blessed summer!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Front Porch Stylin'

     I am more than a little obsessed with front porch decor lately.   We live outside during the sizzling days of summer and I spend time soaking in the scenery on daily basis.  Not only do I drink in the view of the Long Island Sound, but also enjoy spying the luxurious homes bordering the water.  The homes sport updated coastal chic decor while maintaining an approachable vibe that lets everyone know they are welcome to visit for a while.

     So, this post will be more show and less tell.  I will finish the post with a little before and after makeover I worked on for my mother's front porch.  Enjoy!

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These pictures I shot with my phone this morning on my walk,  Excuse the poor quality.  I am planning to get a better camera at some point.








The following pictures are the makeover I put together for my mother's front porch.  It is such a highly visible part of her beautiful home.

My mother's porch before

View of the porch from inside the front door.

After at Mom's house

Hello, initial, lumbar pillows and rug are from TJ Maxx.  Lattice seat cushion from Marshalls. The rest of the accessories I lifted from other parts of the house.