Monday, October 27, 2014

Storm X-Men Make up tutorial

Storm of the X-Men is bold, brazen and beautiful. All of the things that I want to be and so it seems natural for me to want to wear a costume that epitomizes all  of her characistics. I’ve actually wanted to be Storm for years but have been unable to find a costume. This year, I decided to finally put my crafty ways to work and transform myself into my alter ego STORM! I am fully committed to the transformation and for me that means even adopting her beautiful eyes. In order to accentuate the eyes, I had to do a full on glam look. I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Today I am going to show you how I achieved this look!  If you are not familiar with Storm, she is a member of the X-Men, a mutant. Her name is Ororo Munroe, a descendant of African princesses who all have white hair, blue eyes and wield magic. She has the ability to control the weather. And her name, Ororo means beauty! So of course, I had to play up the beauty aspect of my costume. Check out my video below!

I started with products from Walmart. As a base I used my favorite foundation Revlon’s Colorstay 24 Hour in Cappuccino. Next I focused on my eyes. I used Hard Candy Eyes The Limit Eye Shadow Primer ($5.00) to keep my shadow in place. For a dramatic look, Hard Candy 12 Hour Eye Waterproof Shadow in Gladiator ($6.00) did the trick. This is a silver long wearing shadow that I placed from the corners my eyelids all the way to my browbone and extended into a taper that went slightly beyond my eyebrows. 

I also used it as an eyeliner for even more drama! Next I wanted to have a dark contrasting color so I added a black eyeshadow from the Hard Candy top ten eyeshadow collection Smoke Out $6.00 (I also used this in my Fall Beauty Look). I placed black directly on my eyelid and then tapered into a triangular shape just beyond the outer corners of my eyes. I did not do any blending but I achieved the shape I was going for by cleaning up the make up with a q-tip.  

Next, I applied Fright Night Glamor eyelashes which I absolutely love! They are found in the Halloween section at Walmart and have sparkling gems at the base. 

They look stunning and at only $2.97 are a real bargain! For my cheeks I had a rose color from my personal collection - PLÅ beauty (a portion of proceeds from this collection goes to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, I love that!). And for my lips I used See Red from the Cover Girl Queen collection ($5.94). Bold eyes and lips truly make this look pop!

I didn’t stop with my face, I also painted my nails. I painted Black on Black from the Sinful Colors collection ($1.98) on four of my nails and then painted an accent nail Hi Ho Silver from the Sally Hansen complete Salon manicure ($6.48) line. For the topcoat I used Sally Hansen’s miracle gel ($7.97) to that I could get long wear from my manicure. I suggest having a wooden manicure stick on hand to clean up any polish that may accidently get on your fingers. Simply wrap the tip in a cotton ball, dip it in nail polish remover and remove any mistakes.

I have to say that I am really proud of the final look. I had to piece together my actual costume by searching Amazon for the components (the majority of which I can use again for a different costume in the future). I cannot wait to go out as my alter ego Storm with my son on Halloween, he is going to get a huge kick out of having a Superhero for a mom!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


My entire family is lactose intolerant. This means that if we eat or drink dairy products we will certainly have some adverse effects. I’ll leave the details to your imagination but let’s just say it is probably best that after eating a plate of mac and cheese we should each find a room for some alone time! I think the last time I had a glass of milk I was 18 and my son has never had one. It became very clear when I was nursing and indulged in my favorite treat, ice cream, that it caused my son to have extreme discomfort and gas. This however doesn’t mean that we don’t drink any types of milk (and occasionally a bit of ice cream!).

Almond milk is a staple in my home and I use it in my smoothies but quite frankly, I will not drink it by itself. I just don’t like the taste. However, I’ve been introduced to a MilkSplash ($3.48) and I can add a little flavor to the almond milk when I want something besides a smoothie or want to encourage my son to drink some almond milk. To use it, I add a splash to a glass of milk. Each bottle of MIlk Splash is 24 servings.

MilkSplash is available in a variety of flavors and are available at Walmart:  Cookies N’ Cream, Sir Strawberry Swirl, Jammin’ Banana, Orange Cream Dream, and Cocoa Loco.  I like chocolate so Cocoa Loco is my favorite flavor. If you or your kids are looking to spice up milk, Milk Splash is an option.

I consider Milk Splash a special treat, we won’t use it daily but on occasion it can add some fun flavor to our milk.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Free housecleaning services for women with cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month and I’d like to share with you a service that is available for women 19 and over who are currently being treated for this and any other cancer. I know that as a healthy woman most days my least favorite thing to do is housecleaning, I can’t even imagine it being on the priority list of women undergoing treatment for cancer. This is why I am so happy to learn about the Cleaning for a Reason non-profit organization. Since 2006, Cleaning for a Reason provided the gift of a clean home to over 14,000 women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. The services are provided by 1,100 maid services in the United States and Canada that volunteer their time and effort to clean the homes.  Each company takes 2 patients at a time and cleans their home once a month for four consecutive months.

I am so impressed by this much needed service. I know countless women who have battled or are currently battling cancer and would love to have their home cleaned. If you know a woman who could benefit she can apply HERE (you can apply for someone else but will need to provide information from a treating physician).

This year Walmart and Swiffer have partnered with Cleaning for a Reason and each woman who has their house cleaned during the month of October will receive a Swiffer and Walmart care package. The package includes Olay Regenerist Microsculpting cream, Crest Pro Health Clinical Gum Protection toothpaste, Oral B Pro Health Clinical Pro Flex toothbrush, Swiffer Duster 360, Pantene Beautiful Lengths shampoo and conditioner and Bounty paper towels. In addition, to raise awareness about the program and encourage more maid services to partner with Cleaning for a Reason, Walmart and Swiffer have special pallets in store with pink swiffer products.

This is an exceptional program and will provide much needed help for women who need it the most!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Crafts DIY {Video} #wmtmoms

Halloween is so much fun. I can’t remember much about it from my childhood except for baking pumpkin seeds and trying to get as much candy as possible. The funny thing is I was never much of a candy person so it really was a competition among friends to see who had the most the end of the night. I’d choose a few pieces of my favorite candy and put the rest in the closet and wasn’t even tempted to eat it. As an adult, Halloween has been fun because I get to share the joy with my son. We both dress up and have a ball trick or treating with friends, eating good food and having an overall good time. This year, in addition to playing dress up (I’ll be sure to share pictures or our costumes, I’ve put together something special for myself this year) I decided to decorate our home because my son gets a big kick out of it. And quite frankly, I had a good time putting my crafty skills to work! Check out my video below for the complete look and I’ll explain how I made everything too.

I started by scouring Pinterest for ideas and with products supplied by Walmart I went to town! The first project I tackled was hanging decorations for my breakfast counter. It is a really simple craft that can add pop to any kitchen. You may have already have the supplies you need which makes it even better. 

I used ribbon($1.97), tape, and black cardstock ($3.97), for my stencils I just used colored card stock for contrast but black works too. I used three iconic Halloween images - a skull, owl and bat for my shapes. You can use whatever suits your fancy and make it really simple by printing clip art or other images you find on the internet.  I free handed my shapes, I found drawing and compiling everything therapeutic. I traced and cut out the shapes, taped them to the ribbon and hanged them from my ceiling, easy!

Next I made mummy pumpkins, another easy craft! I purchased a 3 pack of mini pumpkins for $2.87, gauze for $5.36 and used craft wiggly eyes that I already had from Walmart.  I wrapped each pumpkin in gauze, glued on fun eyes and added mouths with a Sharpie. I like to keep things simple and fun!

For my final craft my son and I made a web for my table centerpiece. For this you need school glue ($2.48), silver glitter ($2.99) and wax paper or parchment paper.  Using the glue make an asterisk, and then draw the web by playing connect the dots. My son had a ball adding the glitter to my masterpiece! 

We let it dry for two days and then I carefully removed my web.

For additional decorations, I purchased cobwebs ($1.97), mini skulls($1.27 each), and spiders ($2.27). I draped the webs all over the kitchen and encapsulated the skulls in the webs and hang them from my light fixture and one of my cabinets. I love my final results and my son is over the moon excited. He has already requested that next year I make things “scary” with blood and gore. My son is clearly my child, I can’t wait until we can visit the Haunted Houses and Zombie Apocalypse experience together! Yes, I am a big kid at heart!   

Looking for more Halloween Party ideas? Check out what other Walmart Mom's are making: Halloween Party Floral Table Centerpiece
Candy Corn Dusted Cupcakes and Low-Calorie Witches Brew
Easy No Carve Washi Tape Pumpkins
Halloween Party Ideas - Easy Halloween Dirt Cake
Kids' Halloween Snack Mix Recipe
Halloween Graveyard Bean Dip
Easy & Fun Halloween Party Ideas
Monster Chocolatey Trifle
Caramel Apples for Halloween
Halloween DIY: Frankenstein Front Door & Painted Frankie Pumpkin Halloween Tree

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Roasted apple and butternut squash soup

The recent cool mornings are making me re-evaluate summer as my favorite season, fall is quickly gaining momentum and I am loving it. In addition to cooler weather and beautiful foliage, fall also brings apple season. Apples happen to be one of my favorite fruits to cook with, in the past I’ve featured apple crisp and my first apple pie on the blog. Walmart is featuring all different types of apples now and I have my choice of varieties ranging from lady, to honey crisp (love them) and of course granny smith and delicious. 

I decided to try a new recipe with apples and found the perfect one - roasted apple and winter squash soup. Nothing makes me happier than a nice warm bowl of soup on a cool day. It makes a great meal and the recipe I chose is non-dairy so I don’t have to worry about my lactose intolerance. The thing I really like about this soup is that it only has a few vegetables. The most labor intensive aspect is the peeling and chopping with took about an hour.

A few simple ingredients make one incredible soup! 

For this recipe I decided to use two types of apples, lady and granny smith. They are great for baking and I thought they’d  be great in a savory yet sweet soup. I paired the apples with butternut squash (you can make this recipe with choice of squash) it is my favorite and pretty easy to peel which is a consideration for me when cooking.  I also like acorn squash but they generally are harder to peel and you need more than one. I personally didn’t want the headache!

To peel the squash I cut it into quarters, cleaned out the seeds and then peeled it. I used an oxo peeler and it was simple to do, just like peeling an apple! I then cut it into 1 inch pieces. I then cut the apples, peeled the garlic, cut the onion into fourths,  minced the fresh rosemary and gathered the thyme. 

Pause. I absolutely LOVE rosemary and thyme. These herbs remind of the holidays, I always use them to season turkey and this year I will be eating my Thanksgiving for the very first time! Although I cook turkey almost annually, I have never tasted my bird because I stopped eating poultry as a teenager before I started cooking. But this year, I am looking forward to tasting my turkey. Okay, back to the recipe.

I placed all of the fruit and veggies in a bowl, topped with olive oil and added the fresh herbs, allspice and salt. Next, I baked everything on parchment paper at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
I removed it from the oven and placed it directly in my blender with unsalted vegetable broth and pureed. I don’t have a food processor but the blender worked just fine. I think my next purchase will be an immersion blender because I’ll be able to puree my soups right in the pan.

I placed the soup in a large pan and warmed it up just a little, it is thick which I personally like but if  you want a thinner soup you can add more broth or water. Now the most important part, how does it taste? Absolutely DELICIOUS! Unlike my usual recipe making, this time I pretty much totally followed the recipe. However, I did add an extra half apple because my squash was over the 3 pounds that was called for in the recipe. This soup caused a taste explosion in my mouth. The herbs, vegetables, squash and of course the apples came together perfectly! This is one soup I will be making over and over again. I might even make it for Thanksgiving.

Roasted apple and winter squash soup

3 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch piece
2 medium sweet-tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 cups unsalted vegetable broth
1 medium sweet-tart apple
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, combine the squash, apples, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, rosemary, thyme, and allspice. Spread the vegetables/fruit on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast, turning once, until tender, about 40 minutes.
Puree the roasted vegetables/fruit with the vegetable broth. If using an immersion blender, this may be done in a large pot. If using a food processor, this may be done in batches, transferring the puree to a large pot as you go along.
Place the pot over medium heat and simmer until warmed through. If a thinner consistency is desired, add water or more broth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
To serve, garnish with thinly sliced or diced apples. (Sliced apples may be pan-fried in a little butter or olive oil until golden.)

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