Easy Home Made Sugar Scrubs

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I'm kind of obsessed with home made sugar scrubs right now. Is that weird? Oh well, I blame the evil influence of Pinterest (and also the fact that every once in awhile I like to play mad scientist in the kitchen haha.) The thing is, sugar scrubs are so nice for exfoliating and moisturizing dry winter skin and so easy to make that I can almost guarantee you already have everything you need in your kitchen right now to whip up your own little jar of awesome. 

So all you really need for this quickie project is some sugar (white or brown) and some oil (olive, coconut, almond or grapeseed.) Simple, right? For fragrance you can add any combination of extracts or essential oils that float your boat, and maybe a few drops of vitamin E oil for extra moisturizing. Those things are optional, though! Go crazy! 




Below are my two most recent recipes, and I'm kind of in love with both of them.





Almond Rose Sugar Scrub

1 cup white sugar
3/8 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tsp rose water
1/2 tsp almond extract
splash of vitamin E oil

Mix the sugar and oil well then add rose water and almond extract. Store in glass jar. 





Lemon Vanilla Sugar Scrub

1 cup white sugar
3/8 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
16 drops lemon essential oil
splash of vitamin E oil

Mix sugar and oil well, then add vanilla extract and lemon oil. Store in glass jar.









Have you ever made your own sugar scrub? What are your favorite ingredients? I'm thinking maybe lavender and honey for next time :-)

Linking up with Momfessionals, Sincerely Paula and...

Kristin's kNook

Vive Mexico! (Bachelor notes)

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Being on the mend, obviously one of the first things I needed to do today was catch up on Monday's Bachelor (duh!) So, let's get into this week's highlights. Monday's episode takes place in luxurious, exotic...Mexico City? Ok, then.

First off, for his one on one date with Amanda, Ben decides it would be a fabulous idea to wake all the girls up at 430 in the morning, with a camera crew in tow ready to film all the glamorous bed head/no makeup/weave-draped-over-nightstand situations. Great thinking, Ben!  I'm sure all the girls were as thrilled as Lauren H who quickly tried to pop out her retainer: "Thish ish how the guy that I'm competing with 11 other women for shaw me thish morning!?" Not just Ben, Lauren H. Not just Ben. 





Ben takes Amanda on a hot air balloon ride, a refreshing departure from the standard convertible/helicopter routine. Over dinner Amanda tells Ben about her kids and her divorce and it's sad and Ben gets all choked up and I cry because having Madi has turned me into a mushball.

This week's group date starts off with a really unique adventure you could only have in Mexico City a Spanish class. Whomp whomp. The girls get their Espanol on (of course Olivia already "knows Spanish." Not.) and then one by one go up to the front of the class where Ben repeats basically the same lines for each girl: "I'm falling in love with you. I want to kiss you. I love you."  Everyone is swooning according to plan until Jubilee gets called up and she's like nope, you've said that to the last four girls. Which is exactly what I would've been thinking. 





The group pairs off for part two of the date, a cooking challenge. Olivia immediately "claims" Ben, pissing off all the other girls, but especially Jubes who wanted Ben for herself and is clearly not pumped to be partnered with "lawn" Lauren. Everyone goes to the market where Olivia feeds Ben crickets and Ben makes Olivia eat some mint leaves. Subtle, Ben.





It's time for the food critiques and Jojo remarks, "I'm excited for the chefs to taste my taco! Ben already tasted my taco and he loved it!" ...and I'm just going to leave this one alone. Do these girls even know what they're saying half the time?

Olivia makes the executive decision to spice up her dish with a few insects because "people here love crickets." Wtf? The chefs didn't, apparently,  and Jubilee and Lauren win the challenge. Unfortunately, Jubilee's combined strategies of "playing hard to get" and "not enjoying group dates" cause Ben to suddenly rethink their future together and realize he's not into working that hard. 




Oh yeah, and Olivia gets the rose.

Ben and Lauren H have their one on one at "every girl's dream," Mexican fashion week. Can't say that's ever been a dream of mine, but eh, I guess it was a decent date. Ben was on the fence about this  particular Lauren (can't say I blame him after the chicken suit and puppet kissing awkwardness) but I think we can all agree that he is a sucker for a bad breakup story. As soon as Lauren opens up about hers...bam. Ben sees wifey material. And the date ends with a rose and a makeout sesh to the lovely strains of a...street harp?

At the cocktail party Olivia takes her amazing social skills to the next level by telling Amanda that talking about her daughters makes Olivia "feel like this is an episode of teen mom. You know, that show?" Good thing Oliva likes crickets, because that's what she got with this comment. I'm sure Amanda was like...





The show ends as everyone lines up for rose ceremony and Ben tells Olivia he needs to speak to her outside. The girls think this means Olivia is going home for being a biatch, but nah. I'm pretty sure she's sticking around, especially given that next week's previews seem to show every single girl in the house having a melt down. Good times. Until next week, Bachelor Nation!




Return of the plague

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Ack! The plague is back, and this time it brought a fever along with it just for funzies. Big jerk. To be honest the past couple weeks have been kind of a blow to the old ego since I used to claim "awesome immune system" as my one and only true talent (I can't sing, dance or tie a knot in a cherry stem using only my tongue so you know, go with what you got, right?)  Anywho, here I am now curled up on the couch looking like  a boss in 3 awesomely mismatched layers trying to get rid of the chills and feeling a little demoralized since it turns out my "talent" actually sucks. Basically what I'm saying is, I better start practicing that cherry stem thing and also, The Bachelor and Vanderpump Rules are both on tonight and I don't even care which means there's a good chance that none of this matters anyway because I'm actually at death's door (kidding, kidding.) And on that note I'll leave you with an awesome poem from my childhood obsession Shel Silverstein. It totally doesn't apply here, but who cares? It makes me smile.  




Easy low-cal chicken cordon bleu + 2 Friday faves

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These days -meaning the 4 weeks since my usual November/December eat-all-the-things period ended haha- I'm really trying to get my focus back on healthy eating. For someone like me who doesn't love to cook (and also has a husband who refuses to eat anything made with tomatoes or onions) it can be tough to come up with a good variety of main courses that don't break the calorie bank. That's why I love this version of chicken cordon bleu! It's under 300 calories per serving and something different from my usual go-to of just throwing some meat on the grill.

What you'll need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dijon mustard
  • Italian herb panko bread crumbs (1 Tbsp per breast)
  • Laughing cow light swiss cheese
  • Grated parmesan (1/2 Tbsp per breast)
  • Deli ham (about an ounce per breast)

 




Directions: 


  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a glass baking dish with a light coating of your favorite cooking spray.  

  • In a separate shallow dish mix panko and grated parmesan and set aside.

  • Halve your chicken breasts if necessary, then use a meat tenderizer to flatten them out, making them easier to roll up. 

  • Place the breasts in a bowl or large ziplock, adding enough dijon mustard to give each breast a light coating (I use about 2.5 Tbsp for 6 breasts.) 





  • Season the breasts with pepper and sea salt, or garlic salt --that stuff is my jam!

  • Spread one triangle of creamy swiss on each breast, then add about an ounce of ham.





  • One at a time, roll your breast/cheese/ham combo and dredge in the bread crumb/parmesan mixture. 

  • Place in glass baking dish and if necessary, secure with a toothpick or some baker's twine. 





  • Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 


Enjoy!!

*Using a 5-6 ounce chicken breast, each serving should have approximately 270 calories, 40g protein, 7.5g carbs and 6g fat
Since it is Friday, I need to share a couple more favorites with you, both gifts from my bestie:


This illume candle in noble currant smells absolutely amazing! I might need to stock up.





These chocolates are like little bites of heaven! I'm restraining myself from sitting down and devouring the entire bag, because they're not exactly diet friendly. Oh, but they are good!




Happy Friday! If you try the chicken, I would love to hear how it turns out!


*Linking up with  MomfessionalsSincerely, Paula and Stuff, Things, Etc!



Embracing the insecurities

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Can I be real for a second? I came to the blog today intending to write a post about some of my favorite hiking spots, but what's on my mind at the moment is something else entirely. 

Not to get all existential crisis-y but man, coming back to this business of blogging after two years away is harder than I thought it would be! Taylor at The Daily Tay had a good post today about the evolution of blogging, and it got me thinking. She's right, of course: things have changed over the years. I'm not sure I would really notice if I hadn't stepped away for so long (similar to the way I never notice my extra winter fluff until I try to zip up my skinny jeans haha) but it feels like blogging is becoming more of a competition than it used to be. It seems to be a little more difficult to make those connections that are such a great part of belonging to the blogging community. And it's flat out daunting to scroll through sites like Bloglovin and see the quantity of good blogs that are out there and wonder how my own little corner of the internet could ever measure up. 

Probably the hardest thing is to see that I've lost a few followers since I started writing again. My head tells me I shouldn't really care, because no one is holding a gun to my head to be here and I've never paid much attention to stats and "numbers." But I still can't help feeling that moment of  shame, wondering if I've unintentionally offended. 

I absolutely hate giving actual voice to some of my insecurities, especially since I come from a long line of stoic "never air your dirty laundry" types. But I came back to blogging fully intending to be true to myself in this space, and if that's really going to happen then I need to learn to embrace talking about the things that make me uncomfortable. Just like life, blogging is  not all sunshine, rainbows and The Bachelor.  And that's ok.  Maybe somewhere out there other bloggers of little blogs might be able to relate. I hope so! Isn't that what blogging is all about anyway? 

If you're new here -or still with me after all this time- thank you! You rock socks! And I'm sure my next post will be much cheerier :-) xoxo, Jenn





Ben plans the worst dates ever and Olivia makes it all awkward (Bachelor recap episode 4)

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You guys, it pains me to say this, but I did not love this week's episode. I thought Ben's dates were sub-par, and Olivia...well, you'll see. Let's dive into the recap!


This week's episode opens with the girls finding out they'll be meeting Ben in Vegas. They are excited. Actually, that's a severe understatement. The girls collectively freak out on the level that I would reserve for someone telling me I won the powerball or something. 




Maybe I'm just jaded from living an hours flight from Vegas? Either way, when Ben informed the cameras that "Vegas is a place people go to find love, " I was kinda like, huh. I thought Vegas was the place people go to gamble and get their drink on. Or you know, get married (guilty.) But a place to find love? Yeah, I don't know about that Ben.

Side note: I think the twins deserve a shout out this week for their epic treadmill workout. If I could get legs like theirs from strolling leisurely in the gym with my bff, I could take over the world. #KillinIt

JoJo was the first to receive a one on one date this week, where after the very first helicopter ride in Bachelor history (oh, wait) she and Ben got all dressed up for...dinner on the coffee table? Ben, Ben, Ben. No woman wants to get all dolled up just to stay in and try to somehow gracefully consume steak from her lap. 




During the dinner which was eaten by no one, JoJo opened up about her past by mentioning a recent failed relationship. When asked if her ex had cheated she neatly skirted the question by saying she just felt insecure because she "gave that one person everything and didn't get it back in return." Methinks JoJo may have a little undercover psycho girlfriend lurking beneath the "cool girl" surface. Not that I, personally, would know anything about that *cough cough.* They finished the date by taking some time to check out the "view," also known as "making out on the balcony." 

Ben was "nervous" for this week's group date which consisted of the girls putting on a talent show as  the opening act for Terry Fator and a huge crowd at the Mirage. Seriously? Who plans these dates? I realize nothing says soul-mates and romance better than providing a group of your potential-wifeys with a good dose of public humiliation, but come on. I can pretty much guarantee that in that situation I would  crap my pants, pass out and then die from heart failure. (Just to take the heat off the other girls, of course. Not because I'm a complete wuss.) 

Olivia's talent act took the cake (haha). No really, she actually jumped sort of climbed out of a cake and did the most uncomfortably awkward shimmy dance back and forth across the stage in a really ...feathery costume.  





After watching her act  I literally felt like I needed a drink. Unfortunately for me, what I didn't want to do was explain to the husband why I needed to open a bottle of zin before lunch, so I'm still perfectly sober. I kind of feel like my socks are egging me on, though...





Olivia continued her tragic downward spiral with a dramatic panic attack after the show, but totally redeemed herself by playing it cool at the afterparty. Just kidding. Mostly she followed Ben around, interrupting his conversations with the other girls and trying to extort a kiss with some awkward grimaces and finger snapping. Guys dig that, right? 

Ben mused about how shy and innocent Caila is, except when they're alone and she becomes a "sex panther." Rawr. Get some, girl!

Incidentally, Sex Panther is also the name of a cologne you can purchase on Amazon.

Becca received a wedding dress to wear for her one on one date this week. Jokes on you, Becca! You're not really getting married! Ben just wanted a really fancy way to invite you to spend the day officiating other people's weddings at one of those chapels on the strip. 

The twins got an impromptu date -at home- so Ben could kick one of them to the curb. Because it is apparently very, very stressful dating two beautiful women when they look the same. Too bad; they were growing on me! 

Someone named Jennifer (who??) got to Ben first at the cocktail party this week, while Olivia glared daggers for stepping on her turf.  She made sure to rush over and explain to Ben how she's totally not really insecure and how -even though she's never been alone with him for more than 30 seconds- she's definitely falling for him. 




Side note #2: I love a classy little black dress and Jubilee's was spot on this week! She didn't feature much in the episode, but I'm still #TeamJubilee.

At the rose ceremony, Olivia was convinced that she'd get a rose because she "read(s) a lot of romance novels where everything just comes together." Or something. For the second week in a row, she was dead last but only because she's "the best!" Duh!

Jennifer and Leah got roses. Seriously who are these people?

Amber and Rachel The Unemployed made the walk of shame. Nothing surprising there, although I was hoping for a little more goodbye-drama from Amber. 

That's about it you guys! The previews for next week tease Olivia saying "He's falling for amanda! I feel like this is an episode of team mom!" so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for better drama.  





Did you watch this week? What did you think?




My 5 favorite cleaning hacks (and a hair meme)

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  Are you all enjoying the weekend?? Not much of note going on over here at the moment, although I did chop a few inches off my hair yesterday and can I just tell you how good it feels? Liberating, really. Especially when I was able to spritz in some dry shampoo and touch it up with a flatiron this morning for a grand total of <5 min spent dealing with hair. Love it!



And on to what I really want to talk about today, which is cleaning! (Maybe if I talk about it long enough I can avoid actually having to do it? Ha.)  There are a ton of cleaning hacks making the internet rounds these days which is awesome, because the quicker we get that shiz done, the more time we have for the good stuff, right? Below are the 5 hacks I use most often to make cleaning easier. Hopefully they do the same for you!





1. Easy Off Oven Cleaner for a hopeless shower or tub. This is by far my absolute, most favorite cleaning hack of all time. Last year when Madi was about 8 months old we decided to sell our starter home and move to a better school district a little closer to family. If you've ever gone through the hassle of being a "seller," then you know the pressure to get everything as spotlessly clean as possible. Well, the textured fiberglass bottom of the shower in our master bath had some seriously unsightly stains. Gross. Over the time we owned the house I tried everything to get it clean: Magic Erasers, vinegar and lemon, bleach, Bar Keepers Friend and every bathroom cleaner known to man. Nothing worked. Once the pressure was on I took to the internet and eventually happened across a random forum where someone mentioned using Easy Off. My expectations were pretty modest by that point (so unfortunately I didn't bother with any before and after pictures) but trust me when I say, Holy Crap! That stuff worked an absolute miracle and removed Every. Single. Stain! Obviously, this is not an "organic" cleaning solution and the chemical smell is pretty terrible. You don't want to be inhaling those fumes so make sure you ventilate well and avoid the area for the 3-4 hours the Easy Off needs to sit and work it's magic. And it is most definitely magic.


2. Citrus peel for a fresh smelling garbage disposal. I used to buy little scented pearls at Linens and Things to occasionally freshen up the garbage disposal until my father in law let me in on a little trick: any time you eat an orange or use a lemon or lime for cooking, throw the peel in the garbage disposal and run for a couple minutes. It's a quick and easy way to banish the stink while cleaning things out a bit. Since we have a lime tree right in the backyard I just throw in an entire half when things start to get smelly. It's really loud, but works like a charm!




3. Distilled white vinegar for mineral deposits. We have hard water, and no matter how good I am about keeping the bathrooms clean, eventually a mineral crust starts to coat the drain plugs in the sinks and ugly rings forms at the water lines of the toilets. I had zero luck solving this problem with bathroom cleansers, slightly better luck with CLR but the results I had with distilled white vinegar beat everything! For sinks, simply close the drain plug and pour in enough vinegar to cover your problem area. For toilets, use a plunger to push out enough water to expose the mineral ring. Line the ring with toilet toilet paper and saturate with white vinegar. Leave both the sink and toilet overnight and in the morning you should be able to easily rinse away the grime.


4. Pet hair hack. We have two dogs -and a cat that sometimes wanders in- so pet hair can get to be a problem. For narrow spots that the vacuum can't quite reach (like under the edges of the couch in our living room) a rubber-edged squeegee works great! To quickly remove hair from couches and chairs you can also use a rubber glove or a microfiber cloth.


You bought this for me, right?


5. Baby wipes for seriously everything. If you have a little one at home you probably already know how awesomely multi-purpose baby wipes can be. They're great for wiping down dirty hands, faces and feet. I've used them to scrub (washable) marker from our microfiber couch, wooden entertainment center and from the big indoor-outdoor rug in our family room (clearly our little artist is a bit too adventurous at times.) They also remove crayon from walls and glass and in my experience work as well -or better- than Shout wipes or Tide sticks to get stains out of whatever you're wearing before they set. I plan to have these awesome things around far past the end of potty training. 


Do you already use any of these hacks? Next on my list to try are Rain-X for the glass shower door, and vinegar/lemon to clean the microwave. If you have any others I should know about I'd love to hear!


A Fresh Start
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