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Skin Care Essentials

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Remember my 30 Before 30?  Well, I remember it mainly because I wasn't even CLOSE to checking everything off the list!  One of those items was to develop a skin care routine.  I might not have made the 30th Birthday deadline (self-imposed I might add) but I do have a routine now.
My mom gave me a Clarisonic a couple of years ago. I was a pretty regular user but then it just started collecting dust. Now it's back in daily rotation and I don't see it going anywhere any time soon. It prepares your skin perfectly for all of the lotions and potions.

Cotton Clouds the best cotton pads. You don't know what you're missing until you try these. Mom always bought these at our local drug store growing up (shout out to Beemon's) but now that we're not in Jackson anymore, I'm happy to know you can order them straight from the manufacturer.

Kiehl's Eye Make-up Remover is hands down the best.  It's not oily, it's not runny, you can use a cotton pad or just your fingers.  It gets off every last bit of eye make-up, which my friends know is essential for me.  It's perfect.

A few months ago, I went back in time and started using Purpose Cleansing Wash.  The very subtle smell took me straight back to middle school.  And even though that might not have been the best years of my life, this face wash is something good from that time.

Olay Complete has been my daytime moisturizer of choice for years.  I still use it every day but when I'm out in the sun more (as in, it's not busy season or winter), I also like Elta MD UV Daily that has SPF and Zinc so it provides more sun protection.  Both are lightweight moisturizers though so they're perfect year round for my pretty normal skin.

My nighttime routine is what's always been lacking.  Usually the routine was get in bed.  Yep, I was not a regular face washer at night.  But now that I can actually tell the difference in my skin's texture, I can officially say, I'm a night time face washer (most nights, that is).  My potion combination is La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Treatment Intensive, followed by Olay Professional ProX Eye Restoration Complex, and finally Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Why is it that after a day in the office, I always feel so grimy? It's not like I have a physically active job, but when I get home from work, I'm never feeling fresh which makes going straight out a little challenging.  Not that I have this problem frequently-- I can't remember the last time I went out on a Friday night, much less a week night.  But last week, we had a good reason to go out for some cocktails and toasting-- Stacy & Eric are engaged! With less than five minutes to refresh, I went to my go-tos... tease my hair, pull it up in a ponytail and pile on the bangles.

I have definitely hopped on the bangle bandwagon and I don't see myself getting off any time soon. These are a few that I've collected over time--

Gold & Lucite: Alexis Bittar, a gift from my dad to my mom but unfornately for her, she was allergic to it, score for me

Poppy & Black: J Crew, my Secret Santa gift from my sweet cousin Hallie

Gold & White: I think these might be from Forever21 years ago??

Stay tuned later this week for a round up of some bangles that I'd love to add to my collection.

Weekend Recap

Monday, February 27, 2012
We packed a lot into this weekend, yet I have very few pictures to show from it. Andy took me to the Caps hockey game on Friday, which I always love.  I'm sure he'd much rather enjoy the game with one of his guy friends who doesn't always say "icing!" because that's the only call they know (guilty). But I always love going to the games, and when the it's over, I always get a crepe outside at the little crepe stand-- perfection.

I worked on Saturday and then had the crazy idea to have a little dinner party that night. With 2 hours to prepare, there was only one option-- take out.  Thankfully there's a spot up the street that's delicious albeit it kind of random. They've got great kabobs and Mediterranean mezze. All I had to do was replate it.

Mom and Dad came over for dinner and thankfully Meredith and Mike, Stacy and Eric could join us on such late notice.  It's nice to remember that you don't always have to cook everything from scratch (or anything at all!) to have a fun dinner party.

The 1950's Housewife Appetizer

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
For some reason, this appetizer makes me think of a 1950's Housewife.  I think you'll feel the same when you see the ingredient list.  I needed something quick and easy to make and preferably with ingredients that I had on hand.  After consulting my mom, she suggested this cheesy onion dip and I was not disappointed.

Cheesy Onion Dip

1 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman's Light, much to my mother's dismay)
8 oz cheese (I used swiss, white cheddar and Parmesan but use whatever you have or enjoy.  If you don't have a food scale, go buy one!  Or just use 2 cups grated cheese)
1 onion, diced (about 1½ cups)

Combine ingredients, bake at 350 until bubbly and golden brown.  Delicious with crostini or fritos scoops!

Food Scale

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Another kitchen gadget that we all need... a kitchen scale!  Yes, it's that exciting that it deserves an exclamation point.  I received this as a bridal shower gift from two dear friends.  Some people might find it odd but I was ecstatic.

I use our scale probably everyday.  I find it the easiest way to make smoothies-- place the blender pitcher on the scale, zero it out, add an ingredient, zero, next ingredient, zero, etc.  No messing up lots of measuring utensils but I still get my proportions right.  For some reason, I cannot eyeball it when it comes to making smoothies.  I either end up with enough to feed the entire building, or not enough for the two of us.

And as you can see above, I use it all the time to portion food.  Who would ever think that's all the nuts you get in one serving?  Well, it is.  The numbers don't lie.

It also comes in handy when making pasta... another thing I can't eyeball and I refuse to buy the unitasker kitchen devise that measures your angel hair pasta based on different size circles.  I mean, what if you want penne??

So go forth and buy a food scale... I love my OXO model (and no, OXO does not know I'm writing this... just saying it because I genuinely love it.)

Living Room Love

Monday, February 20, 2012
My design taste is definitely evolving but sometimes I feel like I'm stuck because I don't know what I like!  I definitely know what I don't like but if I had to pull together a living room right now, I'd be paralyzed by indecision.  Thankfully, that's not a problem I have right now.

Here are some images that inspire me but see what I mean... light, white and airy, or layered and full of bold colors.


An Unabashedly Romantic Home by Windsor Smith // House Beautiful // Photo by Victoria Pearson // link

Photographer: Simon Upton // Designer: Sig Bergamin // Featured in: A Pattern-Packed Pied-à-Terre // Elle Decor Issue: December 2010 // link

Louise Brooks' Home // Architecture: Louise Brooks of Brooks and Falotico // Interior design: Lynn Morgan // Photos: Tria Giovan // New England Home's Connecticut Summer 2011 // link

Jenn Lamarre's Charlotte Ranch // Featured in Charlotte Home + Garden // Photo by Chris Edwards // link

Noe Valley Flat by Redmond Aldrich // link

Ashley Goforth Design // link

New Week, New Look

Sunday, February 19, 2012
At the risk of giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome, I spent most of Sunday at the computer spiffing up the blog!  For those of you that read this via email or a reader, it went from this:

to this:

I've been wanting to change up the blog look for a while but other blog design projects took priority.  Since creating this blog, I've done three other designs for friends and have learned so much.  Then I got jealous... their blogs look so much better than mine!  So I decided that since I had the day to myself, I could spend it at the computer giving T&V a little facelift.  Is this the end of it?  Oooooooohhh no!!  There are definitely lots of tweaks I want to do but I was happy enough with my progress to go ahead and make it live.  Please let me know if something's acting quirky... I'm definitely still learning as I go!

Getting into a Groove

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Well, nothing like a week of unplanned silence?  A dear friend said "I see your blog as a busy season barometer and when you're not posting, I'm worried that you're drowning."  I was so touched by her concern!  The thing is, this busy season has been quite manageable thus far.  I'm bracing for it to hit, but in the meantime, trying to focus on getting my work done, spending time with Andy (who has in the past become a tax-season-widower) and having some mindless downtime.

I'm like a baby-- I crave routine.  I feel like I'm getting into the busy season groove and finding my routine, so hopefully regular blogging will come next.  Andy's out of town this weekend, so I plan to spend Sunday on the sofa, in my jammies, eating crackers and cheese for every meal and catching up on the blog which makes me so happy.  Hopefully come Monday, I'll be ready to tackle the work week, to post regularly and of course, I'll be very happy to have Andy home.

In the meantime, here are some snap shots of our Supper Club Valentine's Day celebration last week.. girls dinner with homemade pasta (yum!) and ice your own cookies!

Random Bacon Post

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
For me, bacon is a food group (along with cheese and butter, of course).  Because of that, we always have bacon in the apartment. It's an essential ingredient in some of my go-to quick dinners-- breakfast for dinner and spaghetti carbonara.  But even we can't finish a package of bacon before it's past its prime, so it usually ends up in the freezer. Then I get annoyed when all I want is a few slices of bacon, but it's one solid mass (oh the serious problems I face). So imagine my excitement when I read this tip in Cooks Illustrated... before you freeze bacon, roll each slice separately with parchment paper, then you easily unroll it when you're ready, take what you want and put the rest back in the freezer.

Genius (yet so simple).

Working for the Weekend

Monday, February 6, 2012
Well, it's tax season, so I'm definitely working for the weekend (hence the radio silence last week).  The good news is that I've actually had weekends thus far! We definitely took advantage of this past weekend-- birthday celebration for Adriana on Saturday night and Super Bowl festivities at Ryan's on Sunday.

For Adriana's 30th, her family planned a cocktail party at the Wine Bar at J&G Steakhouse in the W Hotel.  I'm so glad to know about that venue.  It's cozy, secluded from the hustle and bustle of the W Hotel and has a great view of the Washington Monument.

No pictures of Sunday Super Bowl.  I spent my time devouring the food and watching the 3 little boys climb all over the sofa. A good distraction as I really can't watch an entire football game without some distraction!