Friday, July 11, 2014

The Bread for All Seasons-Beer Bread

There is something indescribably wonderful about the smell of fresh baked bread.  Unfortunately, traditional slow-rising breads take an incredible amount of time and effort to make at home.  I have found a recipe that I've been using for years that is always a crowd favorite, is the perfect accompaniment for both warm-weather and cold-weather meals, requires only FOUR ingredients, and, wait for it, can go from ingredient stage to in your mouth in about an hour or so.

What is the miracle quick bread?  This, my friends, is BEER BREAD.  I make it in the spring and summer to go along with light meals like salads and grilled chicken, and I make it in the winter as a side for bigger, heartier meals like stews, soups and meatloaf.  Whatever the season, it's super easy to make, and I hope all of you give it a try.

I found this recipe just by Googling, and a quick search this morning confirmed that it still comes up #1 in the search results.  You can see the recipe here, or just keep reading.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-rising flour, sifted (if using all-purpose flour, there are additional ingredients)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) can or bottle of beer, any kind that you have on hand
  • ½ cup melted butter (¼ cup will do in a pinch)


If you're using all-purpose flour, you'll also need:
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Slowly pour in the can/bottle of beer.  Try to avoid creating too much foam.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan.
  5. Pour the melted butter over the mixture.
  6. Bake for one hour, remove from pan and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
This dough is not the prettiest dough in the world.  It's not a thick, creamy batter like a cake batter.  It's quite lumpy, a bit dry, and you might not be able to incorporate all the dry ingredients into the dough.  It should look like this:


After you get it into the pan and pour the butter all over the top, it looks a bit like butter overkill.  Do not worry-this is what forms the golden, buttery crispy crust:

Finally, after an hour of making your house smell like a bakery, you'll get this:

If you'd like to see me in action, watch my video below:




If you give this a try, please let me know how it turned out!!  




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday Weekly Vlog #6


So now that I'm six into what is a permanent series on my YouTube channel, I thought I'd do an accompanying blog post to explain a bit more about my week, since it's hard to cover everything when seven days are squeezed into approximately 15 minutes.

I think it's pretty fun to document little snippets of my life.  I can't take you everywhere-what you didn't see this week were visits to my doctor and my kids' doctors, grocery shopping, etc, but you got to see the highlights.  Here's a bit more info on each day of the week:

Saturday:
What an outfit disaster!!  It wasn't until I watched the footage back in editing that I realized that I was wearing mom jeans.  Those white pants are the perfect example of everything you shouldn't look for in a pair of white pants.  I am so terribly sorry you had to see that.

Sunday:
My husband and I hit the mall to do a little anniversary shopping, and somehow we detoured into Neiman Marcus.  They were having a huge sale, and I had hoped to quickly snag a dress or two for my son's upcoming bar mitzvah weekend.  I tried on two-one didn't fit, and the other made me look...not good.  So neither came home with me.  I ended up ordering a GORGEOUS Kate Spade dress from Nordstrom for the Saturday morning service/luncheon portion of the weekend.  You can see it here.

Monday:
Every year, the Greater San Antonio Association of Builders puts on The Parade of Homes, where a bunch of home builders get together and build what are basically fantasy homes, except that actual people end up buying them.  The homes are decked out by interior designers, then opened up to the public (for a fee), where we can all dream of living in the lap of luxury.  This year, there were only five homes, and my best friend Leigh (who is an AMAZING designer and home stager) came with me to ooh and ahh over the pretty houses.  

Tuesday:
I did absolutely nothing that you would want to see on camera.  Doctor's appointments, laundry, Homeowners Association Board Meeting, etc.  BO-RING!

Wednesday:
Well, this was my busy day.  I lightened my eyebrows (watch the tutorial), managed to get mascara all over myself, and got some editing done.  If you are looking for a very user friendly photo-editing site, you must check out www.picmonkey.com.  There are a lot of free features, but if you want full access to everything, it's a $5/month fee, and well worth it if you're a blogger or YouTuber.  

Thursday:
This was the day I headed over to our club to meet with the head of the catering department to go over details for the party for my son's bar mitzvah.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the whole concept, the Saturday evening party is pretty much identical to a formal wedding reception.  Think seated dinner, open bar, DJ, dancing, favors, etc. Considering I have no daughters and will never get this much input into planning my boys' weddings, I'm going all out with this one. That afternoon I picked out the menu choices and walked the ballroom with the caterer to get an idea of the layout.  I can't wait to show you how it all comes together!

Friday:
Another low-key day in a week of low-key days...which pretty much describes my summer. I had a great time meeting other San Antonio area bloggers for coffee at one of my favorite places in the city, Local Coffee at The Historic Pearl Brewery.  The weather was hot, muggy, and occasionally rainy, but we persevered and I think I made some new friends.  It was great to exchange ideas and commiserate!

Here are links to some of the things I mentioned in the video:

Pretty Shiny Sparkly-fellow Texan and extraordinary blogger/YouTuber

Thanks for watching!

*Affiliate links have been used.

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Favorites





People mark the passage of time in different ways.  I note the passing of the days by listing what my favorite beauty products and other goodies are for each month.  It's a strange habit, but now that I've been at it for FOUR years now, I find that I look forward to it every month.  Here are my favorites for June 2014:

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette-if you grab ONE palette this year, get this one!  It has very wearable neutrals and colors, all warm toned, and might be the ultimate travel palette with it's mix of mattes and shimmers.  Well done, Too Faced!

Clinique High-Impact Curling Mascara-this has quickly replaced my other favorite, the Kevyn Aucoin Volume mascara, because it's half the price and even blacker and thicker.

Rimmel Exaggerate Undercover Eye Primer-I think this might be the drugstore dupe to the Nars Pro Prime.  Give it a go!

CoverGirl + Olay Face Lift Firming Effect Foundation-I said it all in the previous video, but in case I wasn't clear, I really like this stuff.  If I didn't like it, I would have passed on reviewing it.  If it isn't in stores near you already, it will officially hit in July.

CoverGirl + Olay Pressed Powder-I've been using this in a shade or two darker than my skin tone for contouring.  Why haven't I tried this sooner?!

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray-I'm fairly certain this makes my makeup last longer throughout the day, and it definitely helps control the shine.

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse-easily the most user-friendly (read: idiot-proof) tanner I've ever used.  No streaking, dried fast, natural color.

Reiss Frith Woven Leather Bracelet-I think that white and gold paired together is very elegant looking, and perfect in a summer accessory.

Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace-I think every blogger in America is walking around with this around her neck, and that's because it goes with everything.  Plus, the fringe is fun to play with if you're bored.

Gorjana Large Chloe Studs-they're more fun than the basic gold balls, yet they're classic and go with everything.  And I can wear them in the pool.

Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne-The seventh book in the series just came out this month.  If you like paranormal, mythology of all kind, and an author who doesn't take himself too seriously, then this is the series for you.  And one of the main characters is an Irish Wolfhound-sold!

Deborah Knott series by Margaret Maron-Part of me still wants to be a small-town Southern girl from a large, wacky family that solves mysteries.  If you yearn for that sometimes as well, read this series.

Well, I've shared mine, now show me yours...what were your favorites from June?





Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review-Covergirl + Olay New Products!



I've been using CoverGirl products for years, and many of their products are everyday staples in my makeup "wardrobe".  From the cult classic Shimmering Sands eyeshadow trio to the clear Professional mascara for my eyebrows to my current everyday foundation 3-in-1 Outlast, my love for CoverGirl runs deep.  So when I was recently contacted by CoverGirl to partner with them on the launch of two brand new products that they're doing in collaboration with Olay (another old favorite brand of mine), how could I say no?  I didn't!

Two days later, a big pouch of products arrived at my doorstep, courtesy of CoverGirl, and I have been having a blast playing with my new goodies.  The two products are CoverGirl + Olay FaceLift Effect foundation and CoverGirl + Olay The De-Puffer Eye Concealer.

First, let's talk about the foundation.  It comes in a heavy glass jar, which seems much more in line with a high-end foundation than something you'd pick up at the drugstore.  Olay has added ingredients to hydrate the skin, as well as to firm it up.  Those ingredients are no stranger to my skin care regime already, and include glycerin, glucosamine, and niacinamide.  Glycerin is great for keeping skin hydrated all day, while glucosamine and niacinamide help plump up the skin.  One of the claims is that over time and with repeated use, your skin will actually firm up in about two weeks.  From my perspective, I enjoy being able to have more control over how much product I use at a time, which I don't get as much from a pump.  Also, it's incredibly travel friendly-I can de-pot just what I need for a trip without having to take the whole container.

The foundation comes in four shades: Fair, Light, Light/Medium, and Medium.  I'm somewhere between Fair and Light, depending on how well I keep up with my self-tanner.  The shades are easy to mix together if you need more than one shade for just the right match.

While there are all sorts of wonderful goodies in the jar (a vitamin complex that's supposed to give the same hydrating effects as a night cream and will also firm up skin with continued use), my focus is on how it covers and how long it lasts on my skin.  I've tried applying the foundation with my hands, a brush, and a Beauty Blender, and my preference is the brush, although all methods worked just fine.  I have to say that this is a very pigmented product, and a little goes a long way.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well this covered my blemishes and evened out my skin tone. I almost didn’t need a concealer for my blemishes. This is definitely a medium to full coverage foundation.  It's not a liquid formula; I'd say it's almost whipped in texture.  The coverage was amazing, and it lasted all day, even in the high heat and humidity of a San Antonio summer.  Of course, I did powder it, but I found that I didn't need to touch it up at all over the course of the day.  

The foundation doesn't have SPF, so you won't get flashback from photography, but if you're wearing it out and about, it's a good idea to wear sunscreen underneath.  It doesn't set quickly, so you have some time to blend it out and really work it into the skin.  I would definitely recommend really working it into the skin.  I don't know if it's the skin care ingredients that are in the foundation, but it will sit on top of your skin if you don't.  I've been putting it on first, then going on to do my eye makeup, and then finishing up the rest of my face.  Once it's set, however, it's good for all day.  It dries to a satin finish, and even though it has the same hydrating effects as a night cream, I didn't find it to be greasy or get shiny.  I think it would work for all skin types except for extremely oily.




Now let's talk about the under-eye concealer, The De-Puffer.  I have to admit I've always been partial to drugstore under-eye concealers, and this one is no exception.  The De-Puffer is different from other concealers for a few reasons.  The first is that it has Olay Rejuvenating Serum with cucumber extract in the formula.  I noticed that it gives the product a more gel-like consistency than other products I've used, which didn't settle into my fine lines.  All SIX shades have a peachy, warm-tone to them, which definitely helps to counteract any dark circles I have.  But my favorite part about this concealer is the delivery method.  The tube has a metal tip that stays cold to the touch when you use it to apply the concealer under your eyes.  I'm a sucker for gadgets, and I LOVE that metal tip, not just first thing in the morning, but also toward the end of the day for a little pick me up when my eyes are getting tired.

As far as application goes, I apply my foundation first, let it set, then I use the shade Fair under my eyes.  I apply it directly from the tube to get the benefit of the cooling metal tip, which definitely helps with the slight amount of puffiness I have in the mornings.  I personally prefer to blend it in with a dense brush, and once it's blended in, it does set and dry quite nicely.  I'm going to pick up another one in Fair so I can keep it in my purse if I need a little cooling effect under my eyes in this hot Texas weather.



Both of these products have quickly replaced my other everyday foundation and concealer.  I love how they apply, the coverage, and how long it lasts on my face.  I think this is the perfect combo for summer skin.  The official launch for the products is July 1st, but I have seen both products in a special display at my CVS.  The foundation retails for around $16 and the concealer for about $12, depending on each retailer.  

To watch me apply the foundation and concealer on my very tired face, please watch the video below:



*This post was sponsored by CoverGirl.  All opinions, as usual, are completely my own.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shop My Instagram Pics! #LIKETKIT


Long before I made videos or had a blog, I was a stalker of those who did make videos.  I'm sure we all fit into that category-you know, you'd see an outfit in a video or on Instagram, or even a well-done smoky eye, and wonder...where'd she get that?  What products did she use?  Once I started making videos of my own, the number one question has always been, "Where do I get (insert product name here)?"  So for the past few years, I've tried to always list every product I use or wear in a video, and in the last year or so, I've also provided links as to where to get them.

Now there's a relatively new FREE subscription service that works with Instagram.  Once you've registered, it will send you an email straight to your inbox that gives you links to the products featured in images that you've "liked".

Here's how to use it:

  • REGISTER-this is a one time, easy to do thing.  It's easiest to do from your phone, but you can also register on your computer (I did).  Go to www.liketoknow.it and sign in using your Instagram profile.  No, that is not a typo, the web address really ends with ".it"
  • LIKE-You can "like" all the pictures you usually do, but if you see one that has #liketkit or liketk.it or @liketkit, then you know that you'll get an email with all the products listed in your inbox.
  • SHOP-Once you get the email, you can click on the links provided to you to purchase the items if you'd like.  You can also go to your profile page on www.liketoknow.it, where you can look over all the images that you've "liked".
There's also a great video on their site that shows you how it works (in case you're visual like me): http://liketoknow.it/#hiw_video

I've been using this service as a subscriber since it debuted a few months ago, and I love that I can go back and look at "liked" images.  It helps me keep track of the things on my "wish list" for fashion and home decor, and now I don't have to scroll through comments to see if someone's mentioned where they got a particular item.

I'm going to try using this as a publisher to do more Face of the Day and Outfit of the Day posts on Instagram, since I've been getting a lot of requests for those.  But don't worry-I'll ALWAYS list all the details in my Instagram posts for you as well!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Mini Target Haul

Today I went on a slightly unplanned trip to Target to grab a few summer items.  We've had a very cool spring in South Texas, but in the last few weeks, we've gone straight into 90+ degree heat and it was time to spruce up the wardrobe.  If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen the below picture of me trying to show you an OOTD.  This was actually taken in the Target dressing room.  As you can see, my photography skills need some work.  So I hope you'll bear with me as I use photos from the Target website to show you what I bought, instead of pictures of me wearing the clothes.

The main piece of clothing I had in mind was some sort of light weight dress, either maxi- or mid-length.  I am not brave enough to wear shorts, so I live in dresses and skirts in the summer.  I love wearing casual, cotton pieces in high heat, because they're easy to wear AND easy to throw in the washing machine.  When I saw this dress, it just jumped out at me.  It's a beautiful color, and the black trim around the arms and neckline make it a little more than just a plain old dress.  I can wear it with flat black sandals to wear while running errands, or throw on heels and some big accessories and wear it for a night out.


This next piece was completely inspired by a new friend of mine, an Austin blogger by the name of Shanna from Because Shanna Said So.  We roomed together at a conference in Dallas and she showed up looking the epitome of casual chic in a mesh white top with a black tank underneath, paired with jeans and adorable shoes.  I have been searching for a top like that ever since, and when I saw this one, but sleeveless (hello, it's almost 100 degrees here), I grabbed it!  I plan on wearing this with a black tank underneath and rolled up jeans for summer, or paired with skinny jeans and a cardigan or blazer on top for cooler months.  




I've been told a time or two that I need a little more color in my wardrobe.  I'm a big fan of grey, brown and black.  I guess the first twenty-four years of my life living under the grey skies of Chicago have left a permanent impression on my clothing choices.  I love the ease of throwing on a t-shirt with a skirt or chinos, but it seems like all I have are black and grey shirts.  So when I saw these v-neck t-shirts (which are my all-time preferred neckline) and felt how soft they were, I grabbed two of the more colorful ones.  I tend to go a size up in t-shirts, because I like to have room for the girls and I don't want the shirt too tight around my mid-section.  Plus, let's face it-when it's hot, just about any kind of constriction is just not comfortable.




Summer time here in San Antonio means spending as much time in or near a pool as possible, and that meant I needed a new bathing suit.  My days of wearing a bikini are long gone, as much because my teenage boys would rather die than see me wearing one and because my bikini body is hiding under a few extra pounds.  So even though I've thrown away my old bikinis (boy were those TINY!), I still insist on wearing a two piece.  Every woman can commiserate over the memory of struggling out of a wet one piece bathing suit to go to the restroom.  God bless whoever came up with the idea of a tankini!!  Lately I've been gravitating toward a strapless option for a top, because even though I cover myself with sunscreen, I still get a wee bit tan.  This option is great for avoiding strap tan lines.  And even though I got rid of my bikini tops, I still prefer string bikini bottoms.  These are the key to avoiding muffin top!!  I love that I can adjust the fit across my hips to be just right!  I love the combination of bright neon coral with navy.  It makes even my pasty white skin look a bit more alive.  The picture below doesn't do it justice, but in person the true colors are a bright coral with deep navy.





I'm very pleased with my purchases and can't wait to wear them.  What items do you have on a wish list for summer?  Find any other must-haves at Target?  Let me know in the comments below!


* Affiliate links used.  This is not a sponsored post; all items were purchased myself.










Monday, June 16, 2014

Big Haul, New Blog, and Big Sale!

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, then you may have already noticed that I have a new blog design.  If not, welcome to my new blog!!  I didn't make any major changes, but I did try to clean it up a bit, make it a bit more user-friendly and easy to navigate, and just generally made it prettier.  If you're a blogger and want to re-design your site, or, even better, get it started from scratch the right way, then I highly recommend using the woman that I used to design my blog.  You can find her at www.kellychristinestudio.com and I hope you enjoy working with her as much as I did!

I really like doing haul videos, because it gives me a chance to show you all the random stuff that I've accumulated, without having to review it.  It also allows you to give me some feedback and tips on the products if you've already used them yourself. so it's a win-win for everybody!

The best part about the world of YouTube and blogging is the people that I get to "meet", or at least interact with through the magical world of email and text.  One of those remarkable people that I've recently been able to chat with offline is Colleen Rothschild, who is really an admirable woman, in every respect.  She also happens to be the creator of Colleen Rothschild Beauty, which is the brand of skincare that has completely changed my face for the better.  I'm a devout user of many of her products, and I'm excited to be able to pass along a coupon code that's good for 20% off your total purchase.  The code is GOLDGIRL20 and it's only good through June 23rd, so don't wait too long to get your skin care products!  If you need some suggestions, check out my post on My Most Used Products.  I've listed a bunch of my favorites there.  I'm personally going to grab another pot of Complete Eye Cream and the Extreme Recovery Cream, because my skin gets really dehydrated going from cold air-conditioning inside to over 90 degree heat outside!

I'm so glad that you made it a point to come read my blog, and in case you haven't watched the video that inspired this post, please watch it below!







 

design + development by kelly christine studio