April 30, 2013

Tiki Torches

It’s going to be in the upper 70s today!  

I don’t know about you but I can NOT wait for summer and all the good things it brings like grilling, bonfires, beers and hookah on the patio. Brad and I recently “discovered” Zavotski Meats & Deli.  I say “discovered” because we've known about it for a while now and have said countless times “we should go there instead of House of Meats since it’s so close,” but House of Meats although a farther drive, was familiar to us.  Finally, we decided to walk over to Zavotski after the gym one day; I’m so glad we did.  This past weekend we had two of the most amazing chicken burgers, one was tomato basil and the other was blue cheese and jalapeno, no condiments needed.

Last night we used our time to make something that could only enhance our outdoor summer.  What we need is something to keep those pesky bugs away while enjoying sitting outside on the patio.  We could just go out and buy a citronella candle or some tiki torches but that’s so cliché and boring, so we decided to make our own.

I found this pin on Pinterest labeled “DIY tiki torch wine bottles that look pretty and keep the mosquitoes away.”  Perfect. 

Picture from "When Pigs Fly"

What you need:
  •  Empty and clean bottle
  • Tiki Torch wick refill
  • Tiki Torch citronella lamp oil
  • 3/8” metal washer
  • Funnel
  • (Optional) Decorative rocks

We got everything we needed (except the bottles) at Home Depot.  I’m not sure they sell small bags of decorative rock there, we picked smaller ones from a bag of leftover rocks we bought last summer, from Home Depot’s garden area.  We found the wick refill and torch fuel in the lawn and garden section and the washers with the nuts and bolts. 

We decided to use Corona bottles instead of wine bottles. I think drinking Corona screams summer, but maybe that’s from watching all those Corona commercials, I guess those advertisers earned their paycheck.  I took one of the bottles with me to Home Depot to make sure to buy washers that would were the right size; you want them big enough to sit flush on top of the bottle opening.

Making Tiki Torches:

  1. Fill the bottle with decorative rocks to your desired height, this part is optional as the rocks are for decoration only. Since we used Corona bottles instead of wine bottles we ended up having to cut the wicks so they would fit into the bottles without touching the rocks.
  2. Using your funnel, fill the bottle with Tiki Torch Oil.  We filled ours just above the bottom of the bottle neck.
  3. Fit your wick into the center of a metal washer so about 1/4" is sticking out from the top.
  4. Place the long side of the wick into the bottle, the weight of the wick and washer will hold the washer in place on the top of the bottle.  This is why we had to cut our wicks, they were sitting on the rocks instead of hanging in the bottles, causing the washer to be unable to sit flush on the bottle opening.

I was surprised at how quickly the wicks soaked up the fuel, I was able to light them almost immediately.

We kept them lit for a short time to make sure they worked and I'm happy say they worked PERFECTLY.  When kept lit for a while the bottles start to turn black, as you can see below.  This is normal, it's just soot and will wipe off with dry towel.

Thank you to my awesome helpers, Brad and Maggie!

April 25, 2013

Reviving Your Mascara

I usually post once a week but I was so excited about this that I have to share.You may already know about this little trick, and if so, why didn't you ever tell me?!?!?!

It's so annoying when my mascara begins to dry out because I know there is more in the tube but it's just become unusable.  I hate throwing it away because it seems like a waste of money to only use half the tube but again, it's become unusable.  I always try to use get use out of mine long after it's time to throw in the towel and my current tube is no exception; it still works, just not nearly as well. 

I've never been so glad that my husband wears contacts, because after adding just a few drops of his contact solution to my mascara; 

It works like new again!

April 23, 2013

Getting (my legs) Ready for Summer

I found this amazing Sugar Scrub recipe on Pinterest.  With the recipe came instructions with a claim of how to get the "softest, silkiest legs."  I try to keep up on lotioning in the winter but still, my legs get dry and flaky.  Honestly my legs become pretty unattractive over the cold months and they make me really self-conscience come shorts and skirt weather, so when I cam across this pin I jumped at the chance to try it.

Bonus! The sugar scrub recipe only has 3 ingredients, all of which I happen to have on hand.

Sugar Scrub Recipe

  • 2-1/2 Cups of Sugar (your everyday, household granulated sugar)
  • 1 Cup of Oil (I used sunflower seed oil since I bought such a large bottle for OCM but any oil you have on hand will work - i.e. Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, etc.)
  • 5 Tablespoons of Citrus Juice (the recipe calls for "freshly squeezed" but I had a bottle of lemon juice on hand so I used that, any kind of citrus juice will work)

This recipe makes A LOT of sugar scrub, so I put the leftover scrub in a plastic container and keep it stored in the bathroom closet.  Also, I found that this scrub is pretty heavy on the oil, I scooped some of it out before storing the scrub.  You really, probably only need about 3/4 Cup of oil, but as I've never made it with less oil than the recipe calls for, I can't say for sure.

Getting the "softest, silkiest legs"

I've done this twice now.

The first time I did it exactly like the post describes.  Unfortunately, the instruction she gives involve sitting in a bathtub full of filth, dead skin, oil and sugar.  It's pretty disgusting...no, actually it's EXTREMELY DISGUSTING.  After using this method, my legs were left feeling amazing but I wasn't sure if it was because the sugar scrub method actually worked, or if it was because my legs were left feeling oily.  They felt oily even AFTER I showered.

The second time I tried something slightly different
  • I showered as I normally do and when I was finished I shaved my legs (tip of the day:  I recently started using conditioner to shave my legs instead of shaving cream, it leaves them feeling really soft.)
  • After shaving, I scrubbed my legs down with sugar scrub and rinsed them off.
  • Then I shaved my legs again (yes AGAIN.)  This time you are not shaving off hair, but dead skin cells.  You will need to rinse your razor a lot.
  • Next I scrubbed my legs down with sugar scrub again (and rinsed.)
  • Once I got out of the shower I dried off and lotioned my legs.

This time my legs were left feeling incredibly soft and smooth without the oily residue.  Even my husband noticed a difference!

I will caution you, your legs are going to be extremely soft, so I suggest not using a brand new razor.  Also, be careful not to press to hard when shaving. I took a nice size chunk of skin out of my knee and have a scar to prove it.

April 16, 2013

Revolution Grille

I was in some need of some serious best friend time with, who else, my best friend! So, I text Whitney and we decided to get dinner.  Deciding to get dinner is the easy part, and then comes what seems like the most difficult question anyone could ever ask, “Where do you want to go?”

We have all had this conversation:

     “Where do you want to go?”
     “I don’t care, where do you want to go?”
     “I don’t care either, what are you in the mood for?”
     “I don’t know, what sounds good to you?”

And the conversation goes on and on like that until you end up at Applebee’s because it has the most generic food choices at a reasonable price, even though you know you are going to leave dinner unsatisfied and regretting you’re decision not to suggest the place you really wanted to go.

Whitney, however, came prepared this time “ I've been wanting to try Revolution Grille.” I had never heard of Revolution Grille but I've been enjoying trying new things, plus avoiding the “where do you want to go” conversation was a serious bonus, so of course I said yes. 

Revolution Grille is located in the Hobby Lobby plaza on Monroe Street, which isn't a spot I expect to find such a nice restaurant.  It’s small, but not cramped, with a high-class, yet casual feel.  We arrived at the restaurant around 6:45 p.m. on a Saturday and when we told the hostess we didn't have reservations, she politely informed us that the only available seating was at the bar or the chef’s bar, so we took a seat at the bar. 

I don’t know why, but I always feel like I’m in a really swanky place when I ask for a menu and they hand me and iPad.  I've only been to one other restaurant with an iPad menu, The Chop House in Ann Arbor, which Whitney told me, is owned by the same company.  I must say, I love the iPad menu, every food item has a picture and wine pairings, plus it’s really easy to use (not that a paper menu isn't.)

Whitney and I started our night with a pitcher of sangria; it comes out steaming with dry ice, which is a nice novelty, the steam poured out a small hole in the center of the pitcher lid. The bartender was awesome (I never caught her name), even though the pitcher of sangria was sitting in front of us, she consistently filled our glasses.  Neither of us ever had to pour sangria once, she even freshened the ice in my glass without being asked.

Intrigued by the soup of the day, Whitney and I ordered a bowl of Matzo Ball Soup.  Neither of us had ever had, or even heard of it, but it was good.  I would describe it as a ball of dough, almost like a dumpling, in a bowl of warm chicken stock and chives.  I would eat it again.

Then came the main course, there are so many choices, the menu is so original, it’s not hard to tell that the proprietor of Revolution Grille is also the Chef, an actual Chef.  Whitney and I bounced from one thing to another, trying to make a decision.

I finally settled on the Chicken Schnitzel a la Holstein

Chicken Schnitzel a la Holstein
asparagus / prosciutto / fried egg / red onion / lemon beurre black
I’m normally not a huge fan of fried food but instead of being no chicken and all fried batter, this chicken had the lightest fried coating.  The trick to eating this is to make you sure to get a little bit of everything.  My first bite was just the chicken and sauce, leaving me a little disappointed, it was kind of bland.  It was Whitney who suggested breaking the egg yolk and eating everything together, it made all the difference.  Even if you can’t get everything, be sure to get the chicken with the prosciutto, the saltiness of the prosciutto really brought out the other flavors.

Whitney ordered the Braised Beef Short Rib
Braised Beef Short Rib
wild mushrooms / purple mash / wild mushroom jus / pea tendrils
If I had to pick, I would say Whitney was the winner of our “food showdown.”  The meat was so tender it literally fell apart.  The only disappointment here was that we were expecting purple mashed potatoes.  Seriously, the picture on the iPad showed the “purple mash,” as actually being purple.

It wasn't until the end of our evening that I saw on the chalkboard, to the right of the bar, that they carry Revolution Beer, from Revolution Brewing in Chicago, had I found this out earlier in the evening I would have definitely ordered one.  If you ever find yourself in Chicago looking for a good place to get some grub and beer I highly recommend Revolution Brewing. As we are not in Chicago, you should grab a Revolution beer from Revolution Grille (however, apparently the two restaurants are unrelated.)

On a completely unrelated note, What is with river rocks in the restroom sink?  This is now the second restaurant I've been in that has rocks in the restroom sink.  It's not that it doesn't look nice, but all it really does is confuse me.  Am the only one?

Let's just say, I’m really glad Whitney suggested Revolution Grille and not just because we avoided the "where do you want to go" conversation.  

I would definitely go back, but next time I’ll play it safe and make reservations.  

April 8, 2013

Dressing for the Office

It’s Spring! 

Know how I know? 

It’s not because the weather is warmer or the days are longer; it’s not because the ground hog saw or didn't see his shadow; not even because the calendar told me so or because the flowers are coming up. In our house, we know it’s spring when the Detroit Tigers step out onto the field for the first time; when the smell of freshly cut grass, kicked up dirt, beer and hot dogs fills our noses; when Justin Verlander takes the mound and throws the first fastball of the year. We know it’s spring when Rod and Mario’s absurd commentary streams from our TV set. Yes my friends, baseball is back and spring is upon us.

Can you feel it?

My husband, Brad, and I were so excited to go to Opening Day in Detroit for the first time ever this past Friday. The energy of opening day is amazing, it's so much different then a regular season game. It's hard to explain.

Tiger's Opening Day - April 5, 2013

Unfortunately, I can't take a vacation day every time the Tigers play, even so, I love to support my team and although (in my opinion) I looked incredibly cute on opening day I can't exactly show up to my office in my Tigers tee and baseball hat, so I've come up with a few office appropriate outfits to wear on game day.

I wore the outfit on the left last Monday, when the Tigers opened at the Twins. I received a ton of compliments on this dress. I bought both the dress and cardigan at Old Navy. I've yet to wear the outfit on the right, but no worries as baseball season is unnecessarily long so I'll have plenty of time to get it in. I bought the blue dress last fall, but I just recently bought the orange belt from Target. 

I also bought this navy scarf, at Target, but I plan on returning it. I've seen a lot of girls pull off the scarf but I just think it looks weird on me. Maybe I'm not doing it right.

Any pointers ladies? 

Instead of the scarf I'm in the market for a navy belt, and possibly some navy shoes. I also love that this orange dress will double as a Tennessee Volunteers dress come football season. 

The blue dress was actually bought last fall with football in mind.  I wanted something to wear to work on Fridays for Michigan, I especially love the yellow shoes! I was excited to wear the  outfit below to work today in support of Michigan basketball.  For those of you that don't know, Michigan plays Louisville tonight for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Go Blue!

Would you wear any of these outfits? How do / would you support your team in an office setting?

April 2, 2013

Easter Treats

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter this past Sunday and I hope the Easter Bunny was kind to you and your little ones.  I must be getting old because the Easter Bunny no longer brings me a basket or hides colored eggs, although someone gave me a great idea when she told me they hide and find bottles of beer!  Sign me up for that Easter Hunt.

My nieces and nephews had fun finding eggs at my parents.  My mom put on a wonderful family gathering again this holiday, as she usually does. We have a pretty big family so we do potluck style dinners on holidays although I'm not sure why, as my mom always buys and makes way more food than she needs too.  Regardless, we do potlucks and I've been getting pretty crafty with what I take. I'm really proud of the Race Car Bunnies I made for dessert this Easter.

Aren't they ADORABLE?!

They were really easy to make too and I'm going to show you how.

Here is everything you are going to need:
  • Small pretzel twists
  • Plain M&Ms
  • White frosting
  • Bunny Peeps
  • Twinkies (unfortunately there are no Twinkies right now, so I used Kroger knock-off Twinkies)
  • Marshmallows

Start by cutting a 2 inch space out of the "Twinkie,"  eat this part (yes you have to because good Twinkie shouldn't go to waste.)  Don't cut all the way through, you want it to still be attached at the bottom.  Also you should make this cut closer to one end of the Twinkie, the longer end will be the front of your race car.
Next you will stick (almost) everything together with frosting.  

For two wheels, cut a regular sized marshmallow in half (two marshmallows per car), I found the easiest way to do this was with scissors.  The scissors tend to get sticky, so you will need to wash them often. 

Okay, so I don't have any pictures of the next steps because I didn't find a good way to do it until halfway through making these.  I originally tried to "glue" the M&M hubcaps on the wheels with frosting like I did with all the other parts, but the M&M's kept falling off.  After failing with this technique I tried sticking the M&M's to the sticky side of the freshly cut marshmallow and found that it stuck amazing well on it's own.  After you cut the marshmallow just push the M&M onto the sticky side with some force, then frost the opposite side of the marshmallow and stick to the Twinkie.
 Tell me what you think!  Would you make these for your next Easter get together?