6.21.2016

The Best Self-Tanners for Summer

best_self_tanners

I am so pale. There is no denying that fact. I burn to a crisp outside so I have to use SPF 70. This equals no tan for me. 

Instead I sunless tan. Yes, there are some stigmas around this--it's orange, it's streaky, you look like an Oompa Loompa, you look like you have leprosy--blah blah blah. It doesn't have to be that way. There are some really great self and sunless tanners out there. 

Check out my post on spray tanning here.

However, for those who don't want to spray tan, I have also tried every self-tanner in the book. Some are horrible and do give you those horrible side effects mentioned above, but some are really great. I also don't like to spend a ton of money on tanners. Here are my favorite:

Pros: This comes with plastic gloves and a terry cloth glove for even distribution and application. Plus you don't get any on your hands. You can see the color as it's applied so you won't miss any spots. This tanner is SO even and natural it's insane.

Cons: After a few applications the glove gets a little gunky. Also, it takes awhile to dry and it stains your sheets if you go to bed too early afterward. You have to be careful to make sure your hands match as well, because they are in gloves.

Pros: This has little to no smell and absolutely no streaking. One towel can be used for about half your body. The tan is totally even and natural looking. This is probably my favorite tanning product ever.

Cons: They come in a pack of 10, but you need two to cover your whole body, so you run out pretty quickly. Also, this is a little more expensive than some of the others, so it could become an expensive habit very quickly.

Pros: Jergens is great for gradual, subtle tanning.  You can use this like lotion after your shower and don't have to worry about it coming in too dark. Plus it's super cheap! 

Cons: If you're really pale, after applying too many nights in a row, you might look a little unnatural. Best to alternate nights.

Mary Kay Subtle Tanning Lotion
Pros:
You can use this on your face and it's great for building a gradual tan. Plus it has a hint of sparkle which I don't hate at all! 

Cons: You usually have to buy from a Mary Kay salesperson and sometimes they are hard to find. 

BodiCare Summer Bronze Sunless Tanning Mist
Pros:  This is an AMAZING product. Usually, that little straw inside bottles can't reach the bottom if you flip it upside down. However, this product has 360 mist, so you can spray your front, your back, and all your sides.

Cons: Can only find at tanning salons, not online. I go to Solar Dimensions, but when I Googled it came up on lots of other salon's pages too. 

Pros: You can see it when you apply, but it dries clear so there are no streaks or spots! This product is at Bath and Body works so you can pick up a scented candle while you're there. 

Cons: It's only out during the summer so you can't get addicted and use it as a year-round tanner...womp womp.

What are your favorite self-tanning products?

6.20.2016

Life Hacks for a Clean Kitchen + Creamy Lemon Caprese Chicken

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubDishCloth #CollectiveBias




I'm a messy cooker. It's true. My kitchen is always a disaster after I cook. The counters are sticky, the sink kind of stinks, my pots and pans are always covered in gunk. It's awful. I could be one of those people who cleans as they go, but I'm not. I tend to destroy the kitchen and then clean it after I'm done eating. I advise against this because all those terrible things I just said--gunky food, bad smelling sink, sticky counters--only get worse with time.

Luckily, there are a few life hacks to keep your kitchen clean and smelling fresh even if you are a hurricane like me.

Let's start with the messiest, most delicious recipe to get the kitchen really dirty. My favorite--Creamy Lemon Caprese Chicken. Fair warning: this is not super healthy. However, it is super delicious!



You will need:
2 Chicken breasts cut in half longways.
1 package of grape tomatoes cut in half
Four slices of Mozzarella
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
Basil
2 Garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2-3 Tbsps lemon juice

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in oil. (Approximately 6 minutes per side.)

3. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a warming station (microwave, oven, etc).

4. In the pan, combine balsamic and 1 clove garlic. add grape tomatoes and season with salt. Let simmer 5-7 minutes.

5. In a separate skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil, 1 clove garlic, and melt butter.

6. Stir in 1/2 cup milk and bring to a boil.

7. Add parmesan cheese and allow it to simmer for a minute or two until thicker. Add cornstarch to achieve desired thickness.

8. Pour in lemon juice and allow another minute of simmering to combine all ingredients. Stir frequently.

9. Remove chicken from warming station and place chicken breasts into tomato/balsamic mixture.

10. Place a slice of mozzarella on each chicken breast and place lid on the skillet. Allow cheese to melt.

11. Remove lid and pour lemon cream sauce over chicken. Spoon sauce and tomatoes onto the chicken breasts.

12, Enjoy!

Sounds delicious right?! It is, but now you are left with a total disaster of a kitchen. Pots and pans with cheese and balsamic stuck to them, sticky counters, grated parmesan cheese everywhere. It's a mess!

Luckily there are some life hacks to get your kitchen clean and keep it that way!

Clean your pots and pans. I use a new product called Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths at Target. They scrub but do not scratch and super convenient to find at your local Target. They are located on the sink supplies and sponges aisle. They come in 2 packs in gray, mint, coral and navy for $4.99. Since we know most women go to Target at least three times a week, pick some up next time you're there or save now with this Cartwheel offer from 6/19-6/25.

These magic cloths take the grime and grease off of any pot or pan. They're a must-have for messy people like me, Hurricane Helen.

Give your kitchen a lemony-fresh scent. Help disinfect your counters by rubbing them down with a lemon wedge. Your kitchen will smell amazing afterward.

Make an orange candle. Oranges are flammable. Who knew?! Simply slice an orange in half, but don't cut the stem. Remove the flesh (again not the stem.) Pour a little oil in the orange half and light the stem. Ta-da! With your lemony counters and orange candle, your whole kitchen will have an awesome citrus scent perfect for summer!

Clean your cabinets. Combine baking soda and vegetable oil. Use a toothbrush and scrub the gunk off your cabinets that probably got up there while you were cooking.

Clean out your oven. Place 1/2 cup of ammonia in your oven overnight. In the morning, wipe all the crusties away.

Wipe clean. Wipe down your sink and counters with a Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloth (the same cloth you used to clean your pots and pans) and you're good to go! You can clean your whole kitchen with one tough little cloth! These cloths are washable, reusable and sturdy so they can clean your kitchen again! Look how awesome they clean this pan! This took me about one minute and it didn't scratch!

Freshen up your disposal. Now that your kitchen is squeaky clean, you can help keep it that way. Your disposal will be full of garlic which does NOT smell good after a few days. Throw a few ice cubes down the drain and turn it on. Your stinky smell will be gone in no time.

Check out other great recipes and cleaning tutorials here!

What are your favorite kitchen life-hacks?

6.15.2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday: 5 Tools You Need for Wedding Planning


Thanks for all your great advice last week when I was being a Bridezilla. I hate to admit that it didn't end there. I needed a weekend with mom to get my life in control. I would have no idea what to do without my mom. She is the most amazing person I know and THE BEST mother of the bride ever. She should really start a business and rent her Mother of the Bride services to other brides. She's that good.

However, since my mom doesn't get paid to be my therapist and can't take my calls and texts every waking minute of every day, there are other tools that I can't live without during the wedding.


1. The Knot: Hello? How did people plan weddings before The Knot? I have the Ultimate Wedding Planning book, the app, the website is on my bookmarks bar. I live to check things off their checklist. They have an article to answer any question you could ever dream up.

2. Wedding Paper Divas: WPD is also a great website with planning tools. They have an interactive wedding color guide, a wedding song playlist with over 900 songs, and a comprehensive wedding planning guide.

3. Countdown App: I like countdowns and timelines. The Knot will give you a day count when you log-on, but I like to have the countdown app on my phone to adjust to months, days, years, etc. This app has a sliding bar to adjust to the timeline you wish.


4. Registry Manager Apps: Stephen and I are registered at Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Crate and Barrel. I keep these apps on my phone in case I need to monitor our registry on the go. I get a notification that something is no longer available, and can take it off. If I'm out and about and see something I want to add, I can do it there. The latter happens a lot at Braves games. I'm pretty sure I added ten new tailgating toys last time we were at a game.

5. HitchSwitch: I haven't used this tool yet, but I hear it's amazing. This one doesn't really affect planning the actual wedding, but it's still something you need to plan. I will absolutely be ordering this after the wedding. It's a company that helps you change your name! If I'm being totally honest, this is the part I'm dreading the most. I don't want to wait in the lines or figure out where to go first and how many copies of your marriage license you need. They send you a kit, you fill out a few forms, send it back and they take care of the rest.

What tools were beneficial to you when planning your wedding?

6.14.2016

Be Kind

I didn't have the words yesterday. I still don't.

We live in a world that makes it hard to get up in the morning. In one week, we were flooded with news of Brock Turner's despicable crime AND the horrible act of hatred in Orlando. I've cringed at the victim's letter to Brock Turner. I've sobbed over the texts that Eddie Justice sent to his mom in his final moments. It's not fair. It's not, and it's hard to stay positive in a world like this. A world where, quite frankly, sometimes I'm afraid to walk out my front door.

In the midst of all this hatred, anger, arguing, internet trolling, and plain old nastiness, I encourage you to be kind. It's not hard to be a human being. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the "Golden Rule." 

Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Simple as that. 

My favorite quote in the whole world comes from "ER." Do y'all remember that show? Dr. Green is saying goodbye to his daughter Rachel in Hawaii and his final advice to her is this, "Be generous. Be generous with your time, with your love, with your life."

That's how I try to live. Today, I encourage you to do something kind. It doesn't have to be big. Pay for the person's coffee behind you in line at Starbucks. Offer to help a co-worker on that project that is stressing them out. Slip a note of encouragement into someone's mailbox in your neighborhood. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Spread some love any way you can. 

You won't change the world, but you might change someone's world. 

To the victims and their families - I'm sorry we haven't done better...

*Comments turned off. Go spread some love!

6.08.2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday: On Being a Bridezilla


My name is Helen and I am a quiet Bridezilla. I really want to be calm and enjoy this process, and for the most part, I do, but I have had several moments of Zilla that I am a little ashamed of. 

Mostly I'm a Zilla in my head. I don't want to make anyone angry so I don't show it to people too often, but gosh, sometimes I think I might actually explode. 

I am a planner. I like deadlines. I like to know exactly what is going on. When someone suggests something last minute (which in my head was last month), or doesn't get back to me, or I don't know what's going on, I lose it a little bit. And by a little, I mean a LOT. Again, only to myself. I don't want a vendor to not work with me because I'm a pain in the butt.

If my mom and I could plan this whole wedding, we would be great. Unfortunately, we can not do all the things that vendors can do. My opinion is not the only one that matters. I have to compromise, which I am not good at when it comes to the wedding.

I think about the wedding all day every day. I just want it to be perfect and I OBSESS over the details that bother me. I get really angry when someone who has nothing to do with the wedding expresses an unwanted opinion or suggests a change. There are people I know I can't be around right now because I might yell at them for making a joke or asking a stupid question. I feel like the wedding is my child, and if someone gives me an unsolicited opinion about my child, I might punch them.

It's bad. I need help. 

Any advice from other quiet Bridezillas?