Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tuesday Cleaning Tips; Laundry, Episode 1 . . . Toddler Wars . . .

Once upon a time . . .

In a house not too far away . . .

There was a spaghetti dinner . . .

OK, enough of all that;

My Chickadee?

Loves marinara sauce.

Blame her Italian heritage, or the fact that it is on so much of what we eat in this house, this child is crazy about her red, garlicky sauces.

What she isn’t so crazy about?

Napkins.

So on this particular evening, we’re having spaghetti next door with my grandparents; the Chickadee has enjoyed a scribble-on-every-page-of her-coloring-book session with her chunky crayons (the washable formula, which I swear were invented by parents who grew tired of scrubbing crayon off walls with a sandblaster because of the original formula’s stubborn nature), and is now eating her spaghetti with absolute gusto.

You Moms and Dads know where I’m headed with this.

You can feel the terror creeping up on you.

She abandons using her fork and starts eating with her fingers, something I honestly have no problem with because she gets far more food in her mouth this way.

Just as I am reaching for her with a clean napkin with which to wipe her hands, she notices me; and she does it.

Oh yes.

She splays her fingers wide and she wipes both her hands down the front of her cute little striped dress.

Her favorite, I might add.

I try not to get overly annoyed, and I’m frankly not too worried, but then as I pull her out of her seat, I see that she has scribbled all over the beige seat pad with crayon.

Against my Gigi’s wishes because she doesn’t want to “make work for me” (which is silly, but we should send that memo to the Chickadee, really) I take the seat pad home to try and get the stains out.

OK, so, confession time;

My laundry game is something else.

I have gotten years old formula and baby ca-ca stains out of hand me down onesies, dark hair-dye spots out of a white shirt (with lace detailing), and blood out of a beige pillow case (somebody in my house has seasonal nosebleeds) making these items look good as new.

Never has ANYTHING given me the kind of trouble that the spaghetti sauce stain on that little striped dress did.

But I prevailed.

Here is how.

The first thing you need is to understand the stain you’re working with and what kind of pre-treatment will be appropriate; I have 2 in my arsenal.

oxi zout

Zout is a triple enzymatic stain treatment spray that makes the claim that it will get blood, spaghetti sauce, ground in dirt and any number of assailants to clean clothing out of fabric, regardless of how long the stain has been there; it is as advertised. Everything I mentioned above; the formula, the poo, the hair-dye- Zout managed to pull all of those stains- in some cases, while I was watching. It’s an incredible find. The Oxi Laundry Stain Remover Spray is similar but tests the color fastness of fabric a little quicker than I’m comfortable with, which is why I follow the stain treatment times closely (both say 10 minutes, max) but due to Oxi Clean’s high lift tendencies, I usually use it on upholstery fabric or white clothes that need that tough love.

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There they are, guys.

There you have it.

But let’s get a closer look at that dress;

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Gorgeous, no?

So I spray them both down liberally; the dress with the Zout, the (thankfully, removable) chair pad cover with Oxi.

Feeling smug and hopeful, I set the timer for 10 minutes and I go about my business.

When the time is done, I go back to the laundry room to inspect the dress; as I pick it up, inspect the stain, something doesn’t look like it usually does with Zout treated stains.

The stain hasn’t lifted.

It looks the same as before, just wet.

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So I run it through a normal wash, along with the seat cover.

The seat cover comes out PERFECT on the first wash; the dress?

Has bright yellow splotches where the stains were.

I hang the seat cover to dry, but the dress still needs love.

If this ever happens to you, do NOT, whatever you do, run that garment through the dryer; that stain will set and guarantee be there for life or longer.

I decided it was time to double up on this and see what a second treatment, with Oxi this time, and a 30 minute soak in Oxi Clean powder dissolved in water would do.

I put a half a scoop of powder in, set the washer to a medium load and threw in the dress and a few other things that needed a soak (I usually employ the gloriousness of Oxi Clean powder when clothes have gone inexplicably dingy, it usually restores them to their former beauty with no trouble) and when it was full of water for the cycle, paused the wash and set the timer for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes is up I just un-paused the wash cycle, let it go all the way through to the end and then pulled the dress out.

Presto!

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Both items returned to their former, non-stained glory!!!!

Of course this is not the only kind of laundry battles we fight; tune in to next week’s Tuesday Cleaning Tips for Laundry; Episode 2 . . . The Baby PJ Menace . . .

We will talk about the chronically grungy nature of even freshly laundered baby and toddler pajamas, why they tend to be that way and what you can do about it to make it stop; also, learn about what I call the laundry wonder drug.

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

What Do You Do With Your Wedding ‘Do?

My wedding is a week from Saturday.

All the details are getting firmed up, people’s travel plans are in line and I am as ready hair and accessory wise as I will ever be which is excellent because-

OH MY GOD MY WEDDING IS A WEEK FROM SATURDAY!!!!

Of all the things I have pondered since my handsome intended popped the question last June, the most deliberation I have done has been over (if you can believe it) how I might decide to wear my hair that day.

Since my thoughts were that it would sort of depend on the style of dress I chose, I had a few ideas lined up that I thought would be lovely for the occasion; I’m a big fan of up-dos but because I wear my hair in some variation of either the sloppy Mom bun or the more polished bun with a booster in it a few times a week I feel like if it’s an up-do it needs to be fancy with the curls and the flowers.

Here are my top 5 wedding day ‘do ideas!!!!

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I love this- oooooh my goodness I love it! The slightly undone messiness in the back, the more bouffant-y top, I feel like this would look so perfect with a hippie style bohemian dress or a sexy strapless number. It’s SO pretty- even with how angry the model looks. Maybe the photographer said “kiss the camera with your eyes” and she heard “kill”.  Not sure. She’s fierce, though; I’m just not sure if it’s the right kind of fierce.

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This is so lovely and demure; it’s the kind of wedding (or prom, maybe?) style that would look awesome with a vintage, lacy looking dress or even something in a long sleeved number or in a blush color. It’s timeless. Plus, the model doesn’t look like she wants to go on a 5 state killing spree.

rapunzel wedding hair

This is gorgeous if your locks are long enough (although with that kind of volume I suspect she has a boost with some extensions or a hair piece or something- it’s just suspiciously perfect) and it has a definite princess look to it that would work on a range of people who want their fairy-tale wedding. Beautiful.

cute-hairstyles-for-weddings-for-long-hair

So far, out of all of them, this has been my favorite that I’ve found- I love the half up style (because, you know, I want both up and down) and I also love any excuse to stick sparkling nick knacks in one’s hair. It goes nicely with a more modest style of gown, as pictured, or with something like mine (which is a gauzy hippie style maxi dress).

Wedding-Day-Bridal-Medium-Hairstyles-22

When you’re talking about bridal hairstyles, it just doesn’t get any more classic and versatile than an impeccably turned out ballerina bun; it takes some beautiful skin and some rockin’ confidence to wear this kind of look but it is beautiful and is not something that years later will embarrass you when you show off the pictures. Plus, it would look so perfect with any style of wedding dress you choose for your big day.

Honorable mention;

very-short-wedding-hairstyles

The most pixie perfect wedding picture I have seen, maybe ever; if I was still sporting the pixie, I would want to steal every element of this chick’s bridal look, including her cool necklace and absolutely gorgeous bouquet. LOVE.

After my wedding I will definitely post pics of me all done up bridal style, which is a nice counterpart to posts where I tell you how to not look like a zombie when you haven’t slept in a month of Sundays.

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

Is It . . . Could it Be? It Feels Like . . . Yep. That’s Winter. It’s Winter.

It’s the most clandestine relationship you can have when you’re in hair recovery.

You know you shouldn’t do it- your stylist has told you to avoid it at all costs because your hair is fragile, so you tryyyyyy, but dude . . .

It’s winter.

And it’s cold.

Really, really cold.

So the days you do wash your hair, you do the unthinkable; you whip out your hairdryer and blow your ‘do out, high and dry.

You’re comfy and dry and warm.

You’ll deal with the hair masque you need to make your hair shiny again later.

Except . . . well, your dryer smells weird . . . and . . . was it your imagination, or did it seem like the air was blowing hotter than it used to?

The answer to that question is, yes, all of the above is probably true; so what would make this happen?

The reason behind this phenomena is when your hair dryer gets to be a year or so old, dust and hair and all kinds of effluvia of living clogs up that mesh filter on the back-end of the dryer, making it stink, overheat and thus more likely to singe your hair and take more time to work.

It’s not a lost cause, however; I have had the same hairdryer for the past 3 years and have a simple method for keeping that screen on your hairdryer clean so your appliance will continue to work at it’s optimum capability.

You need three things in order to do this successfully;

colgate-wisp

A Colgate wisp.

smith-blue-green-washcloth

A damp washcloth.

paper towel

A few squares of dry paper towel.

OK so make sure that your hairdryer isn’t plugged in, first and foremost (it sounds silly, but I assume nothing in regards to common sense) and then take the mesh housing off the back of your hairdryer.

That looks like this;

blow-dryer-back-housing_1

You’ll know if it’s dirty; it won’t look at all like that anymore. It will be all shades of clogged with everything you can imagine, so once you have it apart from the main body of your hairdryer, take the wisp and start gently brushing the dust and hair out of the holes of the filter. This won’t be easy- some of it will stick to that filter like it belongs there; in fact, you won’t be able to get it back to looking completely brand new but we’re not aiming for perfection, improvement will do just fine.

Now take the wet washcloth and begin wiping down where you’ve brushed with the wisp; the dust and hair will start to roll down the filter; make sure you wipe the mesh down thoroughly.

Once you’ve done that, take that dry paper towel and start plucking the gathered dust and dirt; most of it will come right off; when you can see clearly through the mesh housing again you’re where you want to be.

Reassemble the dryer, plug it in and give it a try; you should notice an immediate difference in the heat and amount of air output and no more frying dust smell!

Go forth and blow dry your locks (responsibly, of course)!

Let me know if this cleaning hack was useful in the comments below or on the Chick and Chickadee FB page.

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

Are You Ready for Some Football?!?!?! And Some Snack Food?!

Super Bowl weekend is fast approaching, y’all!

Or as I like to call it this year, the weekend of my wedding; to all the football fans in my life- YOU’RE WELCOME.

I have never been a huge football person; I like football movies, but I don’t totally understand the rules of the game so it is hard for me to keep up with what’s happening.

Therefore, I am usually the person who either finds something else to do on game days or is reading (or watching a movie in another room) while the game is on.

The funny thing is, I LOVE game day food.

The chips and dip, the wings, sometimes the beer- it makes it fun for me, and gives me something to munch on while I watch something I’m a little more interested in.

I’ve been on an entertaining bent lately; wanting to find new elements to add to a growing repertoire of appetizer ideas and finger foods- there are some that I’ve tried and a few that I hope to test drive when the time is right.

So whether you’re right in there cheering on your favorite team or you and other disinterested parties want to hang out in the kitchen to drink beer or wine and gossip while snacking on something gorgeous, there are a few additions to the standard game day fare that might work nicely.

Here are the things I’ve already tried and what I’m hoping to get around to soon;

sam's pastry apps sam's brie appetizers

Who knew that Walmart made their own fancy schmancy appetizers?! Not this girl until recently, but when I did I had to give them a twirl through my family to see which ones were hits. They are all good- the resounding favorite is the brie and cream cheese with red bell pepper jelly. That’s right- I said BRIE. So delicious and inexpensive.

Warm-Castelvetrano-Olives3

Anybody who knows me can tell you about my relationship with olives of all kinds- it’s deep and it’s real. About a year ago while making a recipe from Ree Drummond’s blog (who doesn’t just love Pioneer Woman’s straightforward recipes?) she mentioned how much she loves castelvetrano olives. Intrigued because I had never heard of them, let alone tried them, I sought them out at the local Walmart and gave them a try; they are unlike any olives I have ever had before. Clean flavor, a little bit fruity, bright. So good. On Pinterest while tooling for appetizer ideas, someone had posted about eating warmed castelvetranos at a restaurant and raved about how it simply boosted their already incredible flavor and texture. That night before dinner I pitted about a cup of them with a cherry pitter, threw them into a saute pan with a little hot olive oil and set them out to be noshed on while I finished cooking. The claims were correct- delicious. Even my 2 year old Chickadee loved them; and as a bonus, they couldn’t be easier to throw together and look beautiful.

cottage-cheese-dip

What app and finger food spread would be complete without a versatile dip that comes together quickly and is a little cool and different than a standard French onion dip? (Which is great in it’s own right, don’t get me wrong.) My cottage cheese dip is simple, containing only an 8oz carton of 2% small curd cottage cheese, an 8oz container of whipped cream cheese (not the brick kind, it should say “whipped” on the packaging), a 1/2 cup fat free mayo then red wine vinegar and celery salt to taste. Let the cream cheese soften to room temperature, mix every thing (with a spoon, not a mixer or a blender- this will make the dip too loose and it will never firm up while chilling) add the red wine vinegar and celery salt until it tastes good to you, then pop in the fridge and let it chill for 3 or 4 hours (I usually make this the day before). It is fantastic as a veggie dip, and I also love with other healthy fare too- like Doritos. 🙂

These are just a few easy things one can throw into the mix on game days with no complaint from anybody- especially not about those brie and red pepper jelly things in pastry.

So fetch.

On the horizon I have a few apps that I’m going to be trying out to see how they work for us;

bacon wrapped dates

Look at those beauties. One of the most talked about appetizers on Pinterest was bacon wrapped dates with Marcona almonds (in fact, Marcona almonds were mentioned so often that they have become an obsession for me- when the time is right I may order them online and give them a spin). Apparently, the dates fluff up in the oven and all the elements come together to form a sweet, savory, crunchy appetizer that, when finished with a squeeze of lime to lend some tartness, is a big-time crowd pleaser for any occasion; Thanksgiving, Christmas and you bet your booties, Super Bowl Sunday (or maybe, a Wednesday when you want to feel fancy and have an extra half hour on your hands).

DIY_BRUSCHETTA_BAR-copy Garlic-Tomato-Bruschetta2-1-of-1

My biggest wish when I throw together anything in the form of appetizer or dinner is that it will be as pretty as it is tasty; so when I saw the idea of a DIY bruschetta bar, I was hooked by the concept. Pretty, low maintenance AND delicious? Oh yes, please. Working in Italian restaurants for a good portion of my time as a server, I have encountered a lot of bruschetta (pronounced brew-sket-tah, not brooo-sheh-TUH) good, bad and unimpressive- the best ones have been simple and fresh, usually with an unexpected touch, like a balsamic reduction drizzled over a more earthy cheese, such as Gorgonzola. This bar, featured on What’s Gaby Cooking?, is a perfect party tray to lay out for guests that pummels the standard raw veggie tray.

bluefish-pate_2000x1500-02

I have been on a bent lately reading the novels of Elin Hilderbrand; a Nantucket resident, she writes glorious, layered novels that draw you in and hold you. Sigh. Love that woman’s writing. Anyhow, one of the common characteristics in her novels is there is always a woman who is a natural entertainer in her stories- in one, a woman named Grace is renowned on island for her smoked bluefish pate. As it happens, this appetizer, upon doing a little research, is hugely popular on the Island of Nantucket and on the Cape; it seems simple enough in execution- the one trick might be finding the bluefish itself here in Arkansas. Digging deeper, I found that acceptable substitutes for bluefish are salmon and striped bass, both of which will likely be easier to find where I am. I’ll put my own stamp on this awesome sounding starter soon. 😉

epic-fall-cheese-board-02 spring cheese board

Cheese boards. Ooooooh, cheese boards. I actually had never been acquainted with the concept of an appetizer board filled with hard and soft cheeses, fruit, savory elements like prosciutto and olives, stone ground mustard and sweet relishes or chutneys until recently but I feel like I’ve been missing out. If the 2 examples above (from Pioneer Woman on the left and What’s Gaby Cooking? on the right) are any indication, the possibilities are just endless. And gorgeous. Who doesn’t love beautiful, tasty food combinations laid out in a rustic way that will impress easily and make guests and family feel special and pampered?

That’s enough ambition to get me started!

How about you?

Let me know what your entertaining go-tos are in the comments below or on the Chick and Chickadee Facebook page!

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

 

Wednesday Recipe Corner; Roasted Turnip “Fries” with Garlic

Everyone has some kind of food fixation.

It’s true.

For some people, it’s sweets; they love anything sugary, fruity or made with cake flour.

Others?

Pizza.

For some people it’s straight up junk or on the other end of the spectrum, they only like the fancy stuff.

While I can get into all those things sometimes, my biggest food fixation is vegetables; in fact, if I only have so much budget to work with you’re more likely to see a cart full of grains and veggies being wheeled out of the store by me than less veggies and more meat.

There’s just something about their versatility and how delicious they can be when made properly.

Yum!

One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them; roasting root vegetables in particular can take the sharpest tasting veggies in the vegetable kingdom and mellow them out, bring out their sweetness and change your whole perspective on them.

I’ve been known to roast carrots, radishes, parsnips the list just goes on and on so when my grandmother walked over to our house with a bag of turnips she wanted to share with us I couldn’t have been more excited; dinner is served!

What better way to take the sting out of the fact that you’re serving chicken nuggets for dinner;

“No, no, no you didn’t hear me; I said WITH roasted TURNIP FRIES!!!!”

Anyway, roasting root vegetables couldn’t be more simple, and in fact, the prep to get them in the oven is the most time consuming part of the process- once you get those thangs cooking they take care of business on their own.

Without further adieu, I give you Roasted Turnip Fries with Garlic;

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Look at that little, filthy bag of heaven.

Clearly our first step is a good rinse and scrub.

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Then a soak in warm water.

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Then another rinse.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

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And get to peeling. 🙂

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I cut them into wedges- that was difficult to photograph and my photography helper had left at that point.

Now prep your garlic.

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I use my knife to crack the garlic and the skins slide right off.

Then I toss the cloves into the bowl with my turnip wedges.

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Add a little extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, then spread as evenly as possible on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil (I spray the foil with a little cooking spray to keep the turnips from sticking.

Pop in the oven and chillax with your bad self- the directions I found online suggested they bake for about 45 minutes, but I ended up baking mine for about an hour to get their fullest flavor.

All ovens are different, though, so start checking yours at the suggested mark and test them.

When they’re sweet and tender they’re ready to rumble.

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Ta-da!

They won’t brown up like potatoes, but man are they yummy- they are delicious by themselves or with any main dish you like.

I did, as mentioned above, serve them with chicken nuggets.

Nobody minded.

😉

Give these a try when you want a healthier alternative to potatoes and let me know what you think!!!!

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

Organization Motivation; Tuesday Cleaning Tips and Hacks

Happy Tuesday everybody!!!!

With the holidays just behind us, so recent that we’re still paying for them (in so many ways- financially, physically, etc.) everyone is getting over their fatigue and trying to turn over a new leaf.

And then there’s the clutter; presents are amazing, however, they also bring new objects into our dwellings that we then have to keep up after which is, of course, a challenge.

With most people back to work right away, well . . .

Much of the clutter is still sitting there, waiting to be dealt with right?

I have a really informal “cleaning schedule” that I try to stick to, however, 2 things usually happen that influence how I keep my house clean;

  1. I intend to do things on specific days so that I’m not overwhelmed and exhausted by running to get it all done in one day, but of course, things come up (I get motivated cleaning one room and it turns into a marathon of getting the whole house done in one shot, or my 2 year old dumps out a whole bottle of lavender shampoo on the bathroom floor while I’m cleaning the mirror and BOOM I’m cleaning the whole room from top to bottom because why not and . . .

2. My daughter won’t let me put her down for whatever reason so an entire day goes by where I am able to do the daily things she’s used to seeing, but not anything beyond that which evolves into and endless cycle with reason #1.

If I could only get that schedule on paper and into something more concrete, I kept thinking, life might be a touch more simple, especially when my routine oriented daughter grows used to it.

Right?

So I was looking for a few things when I went searching for a template to flesh out the cleaning schedule in my head;

  • I didn’t want it to be an excel sheet- too formal and too small (I have awful eyesight- my glasses? Not just a cute prop).
  • I wanted it to be lined and organized by day because I’m lazy when it comes to designing that kind of thing.
  • It had to be pretty. What? I’m a girl- I like pretty things; if it can be pretty and practical then I’m totally winning. WHAT.

So I went in search of exactly those elements and it wasn’t long before I stumbled on this blog from Classy Clutter and found exactly what I was looking for.

They had the template laid out plain, lined and filled in with their own cleaning schedule so I saved and printed off both; I had it in my head that I would try doing things the way they had them laid out but it won’t work for me.

Plus, one of those chicks has a craft room in their house- an entire room. I may need to tweak the schedule to suit my household but I want to live with anybody who has an entire room devoted to arts and crafts in their house.

Life goals, y’all.

Life goals.

OK, so I’m going to give this bad boy a try for the next week and I will post my results and thoughts.

I hope everybody is having a good week so far!

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

It’s Monday Morning- Time to Get In a Lather!!!!

Monday mornings are rough, y’all- and their meanness isn’t subtle.

Everybody knows.

Even when your job is as a full-time Mom and homemaker, they can be a challenge; my toddler has a hard time with Monday mornings.

Her Daddy is home all weekend so she has to adjust come Monday morning to him being at work and since he is probably her most favorite person on the planet, it’s an adjustment that sometimes includes a lot of tears and clinging to Mama until she feels better (this can take until lunch time, or like last week, until Saturday).

This morning I was going to talk about cleaning schedules (I have a fledgling one that I loosely follow), but I decided as I’m sitting here reading RIP posts for David Bowie on Facebook that we need a little fun on this sad morning.

SO, let’s talk about hair-care routines instead; what we use to keep our gorgeous tresses in good shape and looking super fly and not horrifically fly-away is a very personal matter. With all the infinite possibilities of product combinations almost everybody has a different way of getting the job done and we LOVE to share our secrets with each other.

Whether it’s a product we love or a blow-drying technique that is low-tech and gives lots of volume (I have one of those in my arsenal, I will share in another post) we love to share our tricks and favored products with each other.

It’s a good way to bond and to get turned on to new products we may not have heard about!

So here is what I use to keep my hair clean (or clean looking) and obedient;

coconut milk shampoo and conditioner

  1. Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner; OK, so I admit it- I am a reformed hair care bad girl. I would dye, re-dye and over dye my hair at home for  YEARS because my oily hair could seemingly take the abuse. Then it started to fall out (or not grow in) in small patches all over my head. I stopped the insanity, went on an amla treatment and henna in place of dye regimen that lasted about 6 months. I just recently matched box dye to my roots (I want to look beautiful too, y’all, but I simply can’t afford a $60 dollar in salon single process color at the moment), which I will detail when I get into the non-washing portion of this post. This drugstore powerhouse above soothed my very itchy scalp (a side effect that as I let my hair and scalp rest thankfully went away); formulated with egg-white proteins and coconut oil, this got me through the worst of the damage I did to my hair. It conditions without turning my whole head into a grease slick and it smells delicious- retailing at $3.99 each they couldn’t be more affordable.

suave detangler

2. My bad hair behavior didn’t just start in the last few years- oh, no. It started when I was 12 and dumped a whole bottle of Sun-In over my naturally dark (level 3, if you’re a hairstylist which is DARK for those who aren’t) hair and baked in the sun for an afternoon on the deck of my house. The results were less blonde and more orange (you can only imagine, right?) My aunt was a hairstylist and a year or so later (imagine those roots) she dyed my hair back close to it’s natural state and told me to spray my hair liberally with Infusium leave in conditioner (anybody else remember that stuff?!) anytime I washed it- it made my hair not snag and break as much as it was prior to my using it (I also, full disclosure, am not a huge hair brushing person. I’m just not. Don’t judge me.) Now I borrow my toddler’s after bath detangler- pictured is the apple which is the most common one I find in Walmart, but the Chickadee and I prefer the berry one when we can find it.John-Frieda-Color-Glosses-Thumb

3. This is not an every day thing, but once a week or so I use the John Frieda color gloss for dark hair (it says something like espresso tones on it, I think). It makes my hair shiny and purty even when it’s been a minute since I colored it- even when I had been using the light brown henna from henna color-lab, it toned down the red and browned my color out even if it didn’t give the stunning results it gives over my darker color. It’s not a permanent treatment, so there’s no commitment- and check out the array of colors they offer, pictured above. There is literally something for everybody.

That’s pretty much it for my wash and go portion of my hair care- I am by no means an expert, nor is my hair in any kind of perfect condition. These are just my trusty friends I use to keep my hair as conditioned as possible with the least amount of weight (I have fine hair and lots of it).

I have a few things in my cabinet that I turn to for various reasons; usually it’s an attempt to give my hair a little bit of lift, and occasionally to get it to curl (and stay curled, which is a huge issue with my stick straight strands).

bumbleandbumble_surfspray_900x900

Bumble and bumble surf spray is something I use a little of even when I’m not going to blow dry my whole head; I always blow dry my bangs, and use a spritz of this to add some control- if I don’t, my bangs will split up the middle to go with my natural part. This spray is costly, retailing for $27 dollars a bottle, but you really don’t need a lot to get the job done, so a bottle can last a long time. Just for reference, I bought my bottle in August of 2015 for my birthday- and it’s just under half full now.

Review-Batiste-Dry-Shampoo-Dark-Deep-Brown-2

As mentioned above, my hair and scalp have been going through a recovery period; as such, I have been advised to push my hair washing as far apart as possible. This was hard for me, guys; I have hair that is oily at the scalp and thirsty at the ends- mix that with the dark brown color and it can look pretty greasy and unkempt if I’m not careful. That’s why dry shampoo formulated for dark hair was such a find- the plain varieties I had tried in the past left my hair looking like a powdered wig even when I tried to remedy that with hairspray and dabbing at it with water. This product is amazing because it blends right into the color of my hair and as a surprising side effect, helps me push my color a little longer as it blends the silver strands around my hairline right in. This also smells really good- a lot like Very Sexy Noir from Victoria’s Secret.

not your mothers whip it up review

When I plan to blow dry my hair thoroughly and attempt to throw a curl into it, this is my guy; I just use a little bit and only put it into my hair from mid-shaft down to the ends. It’s light, not sticky and smells like vanilla frosting. Effective, delish and only $5.99- you can’t beat it!

bumble and bumble thickening hairspray

This is always my finishing touch- Bumble and bumble thickening hair spray. This high hold spray will keep your hair in whatever fashion you like, literally, all day. It is hard to brush out, however, so dampen your fingers with a little water and try to get some flex into your strands before you attempt a brush through. I like it, but am going to try Elnett hair spray by L’Oreal when it runs out- remarkably, the price points are quite similar with Bumble and bumble at $15 a bottle and Elnett at $12.99, but purportedly Elnett has great hold as well and boasts the added element of being extremely easy to brush through when you want to change your style- without washing.

schwarzkopf keratin color

This is a new find for me; I was drawn in by the wording- “younger looking hair in minutes”. Now, I don’t know if my tresses look any younger, but I will say that this product covered my gray extremely effectively and matched my new growth pretty much to the letter- the gray coverage even included my temples which are solid silver and stubborn. (Before anybody says “why don’t you grow out your gray, gray is in!” understand that my wedding is in less than a month. Even if I was ready to embrace the gray, now isn’t the time.) My rough, dry ends were left very silky and the color mellowed nicely over a week or so; here’s my caveat to this advice- find your color and don’t go too dark if you know you want summer highlights, unless you want to lump the cost of a color correction or can handle some hard truth from your stylist. I only went this dark, I repeat, only because it matched my hair and I have no intention of lightening my hair ever again.

There you have it!!!!

This is what you can find in my shower and cabinet; what are your hair care must haves?

Share in the comments or on the Chick and Chickadee Facebook page!!!!

Until next time, all!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

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What Do You Netflix When You Netflix While Watching Netflix?

I admit it; I’m addicted.

I always say I can stop whenever I want to, but it always becomes that I’ll stop after just one more. . .

Then another. . .

And next thing I know, I wake up on the couch with the remote control on my chest, my mouth dry from all the microwave popcorn, my neck at a weird angle so I can see the TV better . . . in the middle of an episode I haven’t seen, probably in a crucial part or with that horrible “continue watching” alert on the screen.

Continue watching what?

What was I watching?

And what year is it?

We all do it; the Netflix binge watch.

You only mean to watch one episode of Jessica Jones- you know you should pace yourself because only one season is up but it’s so good, right?

I know, muh friends.

I do the same all the time at night- man and toddler asleep, what to do, what to do? Sure, I could read and I often do, but escapism in the form of a bottomless vat of episodes and movies is just too alluring when I’m tired and don’t want to think.

There is a lot already there to see and a lot coming this year, so here are the things I’m watching and looking forward to this year on Netflix;

  1. Jessica Jones; it really is compelling, y’all. And without giving too much away, Kilgrave just plain scares the crapola out of me.

Jessica Jones Netflix

2. The New Girl; judge if you must, but it’s hilarious. The innocence of even the characters who think they’re worldly is totally adorable, there is a decent subplot between 2 minor characters that is developing into a cliffhanger and hello, Jessica Day always looks amazing! Season 4 just arrived the other day and I can’t stop watching.

new girl pic

3. America’s Test Kitchen; anybody who knows me in real life knows my obsession with ATK and all things Christopher Kimball. There’s just something about a banjo playing, bow-tie wearing, former Dead Head Vermonter hosting a cooking show that I love; and it goes even deeper than that. He and the cooks in the Test Kitchen break down the science of why some cooking methods don’t work and what to do instead, always with foolproof results. There is only one season loaded, but much like their perfect meatloaf recipe I am savoring slooooowly.

Christopher Kimball

4. Making a Murderer; OK, I know everybody is watching, talking about and debating this Netflix original but there is a good reason why. It is, all at once, compelling, infuriating and scary; you’re not really sure if this man did the second crime he is incarcerated for but if he’s innocent and you empathize and imagine one of your own relatives, or yourself, in his place Steven Avery’s story is a hellish nightmare- the same is true when you empathize with the victim and her family. The whole show is something voyeuristic that is giving people all kinds of feels- and that we’re all really glad to be watching from the safety of our homes.

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5. That 70s Show; Yeah. I still love it- how can you not? It’s hilarious, the music is  fab and I love looking at all the nuances of Mrs. Foreman’s kitchen; c’mon, man- she had box cheese graters for light fixtures!!!! It is still entertaining even (gulp) 18 years after the first episode aired, and all the characters remain fairly timeless. ESPECIALLY Mr. Foreman. You know what I mean, dumbass?

That 70s Show

Things that are on their way to our beloved Netflix time suck;

Fuller House. I am not ashamed to admit that I loved Full House as a kid, and it was a huge thrill when I introduced it to my very small daughter and she was entertained by it too (as any parent with a toddler can commiserate, sometimes you have to be excited when your child loves anything that isn’t animated). When I found out that Netflix was making a reboot called Fuller House, I was super excited!!! Apparently, it debuts next month some time, and even happier than that, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen won’t be on it (what could they do with a character that was a tiny child last time we saw them that wouldn’t resonate poorly with the audience now? It would be tough. Plus, don’t put one of those adult Kewpie Dolls onscreen saying “you got it, dude!” Just. DON’T.) I couldn’t find one stock photo of the cast of the reboot so here is a nostalgic throwback made by somebody who is obviously as excited as I am.

Full House

Gilmore Girls. That’s right, our junk food swilling, mile a minute talking girls from Star’s Hollow will be returning (along with much of the cast, with the exception of the late great Edward Herrmann, who passed away not terribly long ago from brain cancer) for something like a 6 or 7 episode run on Netflix sometime soon-ish (I couldn’t find a firm release date anywhere online). Evidently, the series creators who parted ways with the show in Season 6 during a dispute with the network, will be penning the reboot to wrap the story up in a similar way to how they had planned it all those years ago. They left right in time for the shark jumping addition to the cast of characters, annoying April Nardini (Luke Danes’s long-lost daughter that her jerk mother never told him about, and who was so annoying that the young actress who played the character apparently hated her as much as all of us did); I’ll be excited for Daniel and Amy Sherman Palladino to make the April fiasco up to us now, even if they didn’t create it to begin with, but I fear the show dynamic won’t be the same without both of Lorelai’s bickering parents there to scene steal- here’s hoping that Emily Gilmore is still as sassy as ever, even after losing her soulmate. RIP Grandpa Gilmore.

gilmore_girls2 Gilmore-Girls-Reboot-Leaked-Set-Pictures

And that’s it, my lovelies!

Feel free to share your “you can’t miss this” watches below or in the comments on Chick and Chickadee’s Facebook page.

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and Her Chickadee

 

 

 

Wednesday Morning Recipe Corner; Convenient Chocolate Cherry Cake

So, we’ve all been there; we’re invited to a gathering that turns out to be a bring your own dish gala, or there’s a potluck at work and we either forgot it was happening until the day before or we are just ill-prepared and tend to put things off (these last 2 are totally me).

Everyone is really into making baked goods from scratch, myself included, because if you’re stocked up with baking essentials in your pantry making a cake or a batch of true homemade cookies couldn’t be easier to pull off.

Sometimes however, due to time constraints, we turn to box mixes and tubs of pre-mixed cookie dough to get the job done and that is also OK; follow my alterations to box directions on these posts and nobody will ever care if you used a box cake or brownie mix.

Plus, not showing up empty handed is what really counts, even if you wind up taking home leftovers of what you make.

So no worries!

You can throw together something delicious that is super simple and tastes fancy with a quick trip to the baking aisle of your supermarket and a few tweaks from the package directions on the cake mix- just don’t be bashful when people want this so easy recipe for themselves!

I call this gloriousness Convenient Chocolate Cherry Cake;

What you need;

Chocolate Cherry Ingredients

In the former incarnations of this cake that my Gigi (my amazing Grandmother) and I made we used cherry pie filling which, although tasty in it’s own right, was always way too sweet- so sweet, in fact, that we never put any kind of frosting on it.

So I did a little thinking on the subject and a little online research, and it turned out that another home cook who had encountered the same problem tried sour cherry preserves and canned whole red tart cherries, both with fantastic results- apparently the tartness of the cherries counterbalanced the sweetness of the cake and became exactly what she was looking for.

I went with the sour cherries because it was what was available at my local Walmart.

So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven to 350, prep your cake pan with a little cooking spray (you will need a 13×9 pan to make this cake, which is the size of a standard rectangular cake pan) and let’s make this happen, Cap’n!

The package instructions of the cake mix called for 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs- in order to make this taste a little richer here are my alterations to the mix-ins;

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Let’s go in order; for the 1 cup of water, I swap out an equal amount of milk, so 1 cup of milk.

I never use vegetable oil for anything, not even baking, so I subbed out olive oil (after it bakes you seriously cannot taste the difference) and doubled the amount they called for, so 1 cup of olive oil.

Lastly, the recipe called for 3 eggs, so I upped the ante and added 1 extra, so 4 eggs.

THAT, plus vigilance to be sure that you don’t over-bake, is what makes this cake taste like you spent all kinds of time and effort on it.

Never be afraid to alter the mix in directions- it is merely a rough guideline and not gospel- it will still turn out fine if you use these tweaks.

Actually, it will turn out better!

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Next drain off (but don’t rinse, ain’t nobody got time for that) your cherries and mix those in as well;

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Pour into your prepped pan, and pop that gorgeous gal in the oven!

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I always set my timer for the bottom end of the suggested baking times and start checking the level of “doneness” (I know it’s not a word, I’m taking poetic license; I might even make up my own language, but that’s for another post); when a toothpick or cooking thermometer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean you’re in business.

Mine cooked for 35 minutes.

Next is the “frosting”; for this you need a 5.9oz package of Jell-O chocolate pudding and a thawed container of Cool Whip.

Do not mix this until your cake is cool, this is simple and no fuss, and will take 2 seconds to whip up but it must be refrigerated unlike standard frosting.

First mix the pudding with 2 cups of milk (the package calls for 3, but only use 2) and chill for 5 minutes in your refrigerator to let it set up.

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I will look dark and thick (and delicious!) just like the picture.

Next, mix in the whole container of Cool Whip;

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Grab your cooled cake;

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And voila!

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This cake is light, flavorful and not too sweet; the cherries are bright tasting and hold up well during baking instead of breaking down to mush.

Remember to refrigerate any leftovers because of the topping- the pudding and Cool Whip mixture isn’t shelf stable, and nobody wants to get sick eating something so awesome!

I brought this to New Year’s Day dinner with my family, and everyone loved it; we all went back for seconds and there was very little leftovers.

Make this when you need something crowd-pleasing to take to a potluck, a party, family dinner or just because!!!!

(Frosting recipe adapted from my friend Sam Turner’s Vanilla Pudding Frosting, thanks Sam!)

Until next time, lovelies!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

Little Dust Bunny Foo-Foo, Hopping Through My Living Room

Winter has finally arrived in our little corner of the world; compared to those in more Northern locales winter in Arkansas can be fairly mild (by mild I mean dealing with cold and the occasional slick roads instead of piles and piles of snow).

I read yesterday that it’s something like 78 days until Spring, so it will be over before we know it.

In the meantime, winter has it’s own merits; roaring fires in your fireplace, fuzzy socks, hot chocolate or cider, and reasons to randomly snuggle up under a blanket while binge-watching Netflix.

In this Chick’s opinion, all the above makes winter my favorite season, even trumping fall, which is absolutely gorgeous for scenery of course.

But there is one thing about winter that makes it an inconvenient season, an element that can make keeping your dwelling tidy and sharp-looking an exercise in futility . . .

Seriously, Winter; what is with all the dust?

Winter is the worst time for dust- it feels like an uphill battle to keep your floors clean and orderly (even more-so than usual for me, who is constantly sweeping up behind a toddler and two dogs, one of whom sheds like OMG). You can think you’re doing alright and then you look around during the sunniest part of the day and realize it’s coating everything in your house; your floors.

Your windowsills.

Your baseboards.

You.

Didn’t you JUST dust like a week ago?

So why does it look like it’s never happened before?

No fear; this happens to everybody, and you don’t have to abandon all hope or become a slave to your can of Pledge.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I am happy to share that will help you combat the dust and spruce up your humble abode in no time at all.

  1. Go in a specific order. I always dust my surfaces (end tables, furniture, what have you) first and allow the dust and debris to fall where it may; this is no big deal since my grand finale is always a sweep and mop. I use Pledge since they make the promise that they control dust and allergens right on the can- is this true? I don’t know. But as is the case with most cleaning products I use, it seems to work and it smells good.

pledge

2. The baseboards and windowsills are next, and they always seem to be the problem children; when I’ve tried spraying them with furniture polish or cleaner and wiping them down I seem to spend 3 times as long pushing dust (and hair, yuck) around which feels like it isn’t worth my time. Then I read a life-hack post about cleaning that made an awesome suggestion so bizarre that I just HAD to try it; wiping windowsills and baseboards down, dry, with dryer sheets.  No kidding. The anti-static element apparently attracts the dust and debris to the sheet and leaves behind enough of it’s anti-static mojo to repel dirt and dust; this will also help stretch time between cleanings. I get all excited and giddy and run to give it a shot- and it WORKS, yo. It gets all of that crap off the places you want it off of in like 3 seconds; no more fruitlessly pushing the goods around in a pool of cleaner. Plus, they smell good- pick your poison.

snuggle dryer sheets

3. And this is the home stretch; time to sweep (and mop, if necessary). Of course there is no replacement for the thorough nature of wielding a broom for getting all that collects (or is tracked in) off our floors. But in the winter, you almost have to have a little more help getting all those hopping (and swirling in the forced air heat) dust bunnies up; again, we’re all busy so time is of the essence, right? My heftiest weapon to keep winter outside where it belongs (and off my pretty floors) is my Swiffer Sweeper. Not the fancy Swiffer Wet Jet, but just the plain dry sheets you tack on to the low-techy techy Swiffer Sweeper stick. It also attracts dust and hair similarly to the dryer sheet trick, helps you get in corners, and makes getting the dust off the stairs a cinch as it’s so lightweight. It can help stretch time between mopping, saving time and effort, but still keeping our houses as gorgeous as we are.

Swiffer_Sweeper

And really, that’s it!

All of that can be knocked out in less than 15 minutes; it keeps Winter outside where it belongs (and off the inside of our homes) and gives you more time to enjoy the beauty of the season (if you are able to see it through your lust for Spring).

Until next time, all!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee