New Finds and Old Favorites

I went shopping in Omaha last weekend, and really just spent way too much money.  The Engineer was working on getting a wort hog taxidermy mount sown up…..TRUE LIFE STORY, so I took his truck and drove into the big city for some shopping.  It’s probably a big relationship step when you get to leave town and drive into Omaha with your boyfriend’s truck!!

I’ve occasionally taken the truck around town at home, and usually end up driving it to the gym on weekends because it blocks my car in the garage.  This was the first time I’ve taken it out of town, down the highway, jumped on the interstate, driven in congested traffic, and had to park it in relatively crowded parking lots.  I also had to navigate a sudden lane merging around a burning semi truck that did actually cause a couple accidents around me when cars didn’t stop quick enough!  Turns out the smoldering semi trailer was full of hot dogs.  Would have been so delicious to stop and grab a snack had I known what it was at the time!

Rest assured, I didn’t hit anything!  I really only vaguely know where I’m going in Omaha, but I know just enough to get myself to the mall and to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  First stop was Trader Joe’s to restock some of our favorite things and try out some new finds.

Our must have items from Trader Joe’s!

  • Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels…..the salted kind!
  • Pork Pot Stickers
  • Hatch Chili Mac and Cheese
  • Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Last weekend’s new finds that we’ve tried!

Image result for trader joe's iced coffee concentrateIt’s such a delicate, light coconut flavor, but it’s delicious.  I wish it came in an large bottle like the regular coffee concentrate.

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Honestly, a big flavor let down.  It sounds so good, but it’s quite bland.  Not spicy, not really smokey.  It’s very sweet and does have some good peach flavor, but I wouldn’t buy it again.  Stick to the Roasted Tomatillo and Mango salsa….you’ll be happier!

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It was too cute and funny not to buy, and The Engineer likes Corona so I thought I’d give it a shot.  He drank a few, but I’m not sure he’d request I go back to the store for more.  I bought the regular, but it also comes in light and dark.

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Mostly I bought these cute little taco spice packs because I thought they would be good for camping.  They come in pretty sturdy feeling plastic baggies and seem like they would survive being tossed in with our camping cooking gear.  We tried a pack the other night for some nachos and they aren’t bad….aren’t great but like I said they will serve a good purpose for camping ease.  The instructions say half a pack of spice per pound, I’d say just use the whole pack.  It wasn’t overwhelmingly flavored at half a pack.Image result for trader joe's dog treats

Scout-A-Roo seems to have no complaints about these.  They are most dry sausage textured than jerky, but her emergency stash of treats in her travel bag needed to be filled

Things I bought but haven’t tried yet!

  • Jarred Pizza Sauce
  • Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles

After Trader Joe’s I was off up the road a couple blocks to the Whole Foods.  Now, I had never been to a Whole Foods so I didn’t really know what to expect.  Now having gone to both I think I prefer Trader Joe’s, but only situationally.  I will say that the food court area of the Whole Foods all looked amazing, and if I had actually needed food for lunch or something to take home to make for dinner I would have been all over that area.  I did pick up a Carmelita bar from the bakery for a snack and a loaf of the Cinnamon Raisin Brioche Bread.  The Carmelita was a bit….chocolatey for my liking?!  It didn’t really taste like caramel at all which was a big disappointing, but it was still a tasty little snack.  The bread is so fluffy you might almost die!

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My actual reaction when I picked up the loaf of bread!

 

Not really as oomphy with cinnamon as I would have expected.  I bought it with intentions of freezing it and pulling it out in the future to make french toast.  I’ve since proceeded to eat most of the loaf toasted up and slathered in Kerrygold butter.  Whoops!

My best Whole Foods find was a Rebbl protein drink that I only tried because Juli at PaleOMG talks about them all the time!  I was really feeling like a health food blogger after spending most of the morning wandering around Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods getting my shopping on.  I think it’s a sign that I’m getting old and lame that buying potentially overpriced, healthy, and organic food is a major source of weekend excitement for me!

 

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My little protein pick me up was so good!  Thick and creamy, but not chalky like some protein shakes.  Little bit of coffee, little bit of protein, little bit of coconut milk which i love with my coffee…..perfect little snack to get my through my power shopping adventures!  The only major bummer is that I can’t find these at home.  Several of the HyVees in town carry Rebbl products, but I can’t find the protein drinks.  Ugh…..major buzzkiller.

If like me, you don’t live in a place big enough for a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods….but big enough for a Costco…I’ve got a tasty little find for you!

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Seriously….proceed to your nearest Costco and buy as many as your deep freeze can hold!  My only criticism is that it is a little heavy on the roasted veggies.  Great that they don’t skimp you, but I’m a roasted veggie eating machine and I could see how it could be a bit overwhelming for some people.  The Engineer and I added some frozen pepperoni before baking, because who doesn’t love a pepperoni pizza?!  If you don’t love pepperoni on your pizza we probably can’t be friends.

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#judgingyou

The pizza bakes up really nice and the crust gets nice and crispy.  If you didn’t tell someone it wasn’t a regular pizza crust I honestly don’t think they would notice.  If I had kids, this seems like an excellent way to get more veggies into them without them even knowing.  Milton brand makes several other pizza “flavors” but roasted veggie is all my Costco had stocked.  The Engineer said, “It’s not the best pizza I’ve ever had…”.  Well….it’s a frozen pizza…..none of them are ever going to be the best pizza you’ve ever had!  But, it does make a good freezer item to have on hand for rushed nights when you want pizza and you need it quick!  Would 100% buy again!!

Hopefully my little shopping adventure has given you some ideas of staples and fun new things to stock your pantry with.  I always think it’s fun to go and try out new versions of the foods we eat everyday.  You won’t find your favorite new beer or salsa if you don’t try something new.  Plus side, even less than amazeballs beer and salsa are still better than no beers and no salsa!

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Something New and Different

It has been awhile since I posted anything beauty related.  Mostly, I just use the same things over and over again so I rarely have anything fun and new to write about.  Well today we are going to change all that!  I’ve discovered a few new things that I feel like spreading the word about!!

Sunless tanners…..we’ve all tried them, we all know they stink, and mostly they tend to turn us orange.  It always seems like a good idea until you have to stand in your bathroom, mostly naked, for what seems like 4 hours waiting to dry.  Your clothes and sheets still turn brown, and you wake up looking like a zebra striped Willy Wonka extra!  And…..not to get political up in here, but I think there is probably plenty of bipartisan support for adjusting the tanning blend of our Commander in Chief.

Cheeto dust….while delicious….just isn’t a good look for anyone!

The Eternal Fake Tanning Goal

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The Perpetual Fake Tanning Results

 

What if I told you I’ve found a couple mild sunless tanners that don’t smell, don’t turn you orange, and are almost impossible to streak and mess up?!?!  You probably think I’m telling you a bold faced lie, but trust me…..I’ve got you covered!!  I have two recommendations, both easy, and both quite subtle.  I have fair skin that tans easily in the sun, however I’m pretty prone to turning orange from sunless tanners.  Over the years I’ve had plenty of samples and trial sizes of tanners, some very high end, and most have turned me a bit Cheeto.  A good test is usually wearing them around Momma MisHappenings…..she never lets a Cheeto moment go unacknowledged.  Both these recommendations have passed the Momma test…..so prepare to look sun kissed and gorgeous!!  I’ll post the links to the products down below so they are easy for you to find if you decide you’d like to try them out!

If you like your tanner with a side of moisturizer, I would recommend the St. Tropez’s In Shower Gradual Tanner.  It applies and lathers just like body wash onto your wet skin, so it’s very easy to get it all rubbed in and even.  It has a touch of moisturizer that seems to last quite long on my skin, smells delicate and fresh, and only takes 3-5 mins of time!  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  I bought mine in the Medium strength and have used it off and on since the early fall.  It doesn’t develop into a very strong color, so if you’re looking for something very subtle this would be a good choice.  It provides just enough color to keep the ultra white wintertime skin at bay.  It looks very natural on me, and I’m not sure anyone would guess that I’ve been applying it.  It definitely will not give you tropical beach vacation skin, but it’s easy streak free color that only takes a couple minutes.  It also seemed to really extend the life of my summer tan into the fall, but I do find it to be quite moisturizing so that’s probably why.

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If you like your sunless tanner with a bit more color oomph, and even less smell…..may I present Tarte Cosmetic’s Little Mist Sunshine.  I purchased this little beauty a couple weeks ago for vacation prep, and I can easily say it’s maybe my favorite tanning product of all time!  The Engineer and I are going to Florida in a couple weeks to watch some spring training games, and I wanted to look less like I’m coming off the frozen tundra.  This little misting bottle has really done the trick!  It’s so easy….just spray and buff.  On my skin tone, I find that application 2 days in a row provides just the right amount of bronze color.  Then I just sorta ride that color out….usually it seems to last about a week before I feel the need to reapply.  It doesn’t come of patchy or chunky, so you can use it as frequently or seldomly as you’d like.  The tanner itself is clear and sprays on just like water.  The best part is there is absolutely no smell, so you can apply it anytime you want.  I’ve worn it to work and no one even knew!  Its mild enough that even though it’s clear you don’t have to worry about missing spots or getting streaky.  The bottle comes with a nice plushy mitt, so its easy to just buff and go.  There’s no need to avoid your elbows and knees like some tanners.  As far as the hands and feet go, I just buff over them with whatever product is left on the mitt after I do each leg and arm.  It’s enough to add some color to the areas, but not enough to give you the extra orangeiness that can sometimes happen with other tanners.  Also, the formula dries very quickly once it’s buffed in, so once you’re done applying you can get dressed right away.  Goodbye awkward bathroom drying time dance!

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If you want to get a discount on either of these sunless tanners, or anything else your inner online shopping glamazon requires….you should defiantly check out Ebates!  I’m probably late to the Ebates game, but it’s really changed the way I online shop.  My Office Manager brought it to my attention before Christmas and I’ve already received checks worth about $50 just from shopping online like I normally would.

All you need is to set up an account and then you just shop like normal!  If you install the Ebates Shopping Assistant in your web browser, it will alert you every time you’re on a site that has an Ebates reward.  Otherwise, just access your website of choice through the Ebates website directly.  You’d be surprised how many online merchants you frequently shop use Ebates, and the offer percentages change all the time.  I’ll post a sign up link at the end of the blog.  It will give both you and me a little extra cash Ebates cash bump, but honestly even if you don’t want to use my link you should all go and sign up!

 

One of the better things to come into The Engineer’s life is my discovery of nail polish removing clips!  Again, I’m probably super late to the party, but better late than never I suppose!  No longer does he have to help me wrap my fingers in cotton balls and tin foil……I can do it all by myself now!

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I bought a set for my fingers and my toes, and I love both.  Plus it’s nice that they are reusable.  Wrapping your own fingers requires a bit more tin foil than when you have a helper, and it’s just nice to not produce any extra garbage if you don’t have to.  I ordered mine for super cheap off a weird…..probably foreign…..website, and they took about a month to arrive.  I can’t really recommend the website as it was weird and sketchy, but I’ll find a comparable product link and post that below too……so you too can soak off your manis and pedis with the little baby squid looking clips!

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Soaking toes are happy toes…polish change coming right up!

My final fun and new product is a double pack of sports bras from Costco.  They are the Puma Seamless Strappy Back Bras, and I’m maybe a little obsessed.  So obsessed in fact that I bought 2 packs….yes 4 bras total!  You simply can’t beat a 2 pack of bras for $15!  Plus, for the price they are pretty decent and supportive.  I’ve paid more for bras that had a whole lot less to offer in the support department.  I bought mine in a large and they fit well.  Granted, I wouldn’t go out and run a marathon in one of these, but they do get me and my girls through “light cardio” days at the gym…..aka mostly just lifting but if I have to do some intervals of mountain climbers, jumping jacks, or squat jumps I’ll probably survive.  Plus, they are just comfy for lounging around the house in.  I couldn’t find a link for anything similar on the Puma website.  They have some bras that look similar but nothing at the $7.50 price point.  I’ll toss the Costco link below, but you need to be a member….or know a member…..to order online I believe.

puma

Well, we’ve come to the end of any new and exciting information I have to offer you.  Honestly, don’t feel pressured to sign up, try out, or buy anything I shared today.  That isn’t the point.  These are all just new things I’ve bought in the last few weeks and months that have really impressed me and I wanted to pass some of that along.  When you find a good bra or something that makes you life easier, sometimes you just want to spread the love around!

Trying Some New Things

You may remember a few weeks ago when I was ranting about feeling like a chubby panda.  Well, I decided to take a positive step towards at least feeling like I’m getting myself back on track, and I bought some protein powder.  Technically speaking, I bought some collagen peptides, but at it’s core, collagen is a protein.  It’s a protein source many people ignore now, because we don’t need to cook and eat every part of an animal anymore.  Modern society has allowed us to pick and choose what we want to eat, but modern choices aren’t necessary what our bodies need or want to function well.  It makes me feel “fitter”, but that might only be because I know lots of cross fitters and fitness bloggers use this particular brand.

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I’m not really living a strict Whole 30 life, I still like a sprinkling of cheese on a taco or an occasional drink, however overall I’m being much more mindful of what I’m putting into my system and the effects my diet has on the way I feel and look.  I do think it’s made a big impact, and if chugging some greens and adding collagen into my coffee helps me be more mindful of everything else, then so be it.

Throwing a scoop of the collagen into my morning coffee, whether it’s hot or cold, with a splash of unsweetened coconut milk has become my daily breakfast.  I might supplement it with some fruit, but I find that the added protein is enough most days.  It’s flavorless, so I’ve tried to convince The Engineer to add some to his Moscow mules….he’s not having it.  I’ve also blended it into smoothies with flax seed, greek yogurt, and whatever frozen fruit has been laying around.  Really, I think you could add it to anything.  I did learn that even though it dissolves in cold solutions, it needs to be stirred quickly.  One morning I threw a scoop with some ice into my travel mug and had the Ninja “Brew Over Ice”.  Since I wasn’t there to stir it, it did start to form a sort of jello-y blob that took quite a bit of vicious stirring to break up.

The Beauty Greens have taken some getting used to, but now I find that I don’t mind them really at all.  First things first, don’t let the “Coconut Vanilla” flavor make you think they are going to taste like anything….because they don’t.  They honestly taste like a bunch of green veggies that have been steamed and pureed with no spices.  Just….greenness….  I don’t recommend smelling them, they smell a bit like pond water.  I promise that they taste much better than they smell, but the smell leaves serious things to be desired.  I usually drink these with lunch every other day.  It’s just become part of my routine.  I’m not sure that they are doing much for me, but it’s not like more veggies and vitamins ever hurt anyone.

I’ve only taken the vitamin pills a few times.  I wasn’t really after more vitamin pills, but it was cheaper to get the bundle pack.  Plus, it’s not like having vitamins around hurts anyone.  I did take them one morning, but like most vitamins do, they sort of made my tummy upset.  I think if I took them at night I would be fine, but I’d also have to remember to take them.

Like I said, I’m not sure that any of these products are helping me slim down.  Granted, protein has been shown to be an important part of weight loss, so that might be helping some.  Mostly, just having a set routine and knowing I’m taking these products has kept me more responsible and thoughtful about what I eat the rest of the day.  Starting off my day with collagen coffee seems silly if I’m just gonna pound down ice cream, snacks, and a burger later in the day.  Not that I always say no to these things, but I’m just getting myself back to a level that feels good and sustainable to me.  Bodies are a constant work in progress, so I’m not sure that the work is ever really done, but I definitely feel like I’m headed down the right path again.

In more fun, and less “diet-y” news….I got my nails done last weekend!  Technically, I got them done for a wedding…..The Engineer wanted to send me for some fancy pampering while he was doing Best Man things for a wedding.  I’ve been having some trouble with getting my regular gel polish nails to stay bonded correctly.  It has it’s pros and cons…..pros being I no longer have to spend anytime soaking off my polish, it just peels right off.  Cons….when I want/need it to stay looking nice it almost never does.  To try and remedy this, I tried a new acrylic/gel system called Slickpour.  You’ve maybe seen the videos of people dipping their nails into colored powders.  It’s the same concept, only at my local salon, they pour the powder onto the nails.

I tried to find a good picture or gif of the process, but I couldn’t really.  I didn’t want to just post the stock videos of the process as that seemed just sorta boring.  Basically it’s a laying process of colored powered and activator polishes.  I did a very light blue, so it needed three coats to cover well, although that apparently isn’t the norm.  My salon topped the whole process with the gel polish top coat, but that isn’t a requirement, it’s just how they do it there.  They are supposed to last 3-4 weeks and wear more like an acrylic set of nails than just a polish.  Once you’re done with them, you’re supposed to just be able to file off the shine and then wrap and soak them off just like regular gel polish.  So far so good I guess, although I did have the corner of one of my longer nails crack yesterday.  However, I was able to file everything down and even it all out and there doesn’t seem to be any lasting bad effects.  They aren’t lifting, and my nails feel much stronger than they normally would at their current length.  I’m only a week in, but so far I like them.  I like them enough that I might even consider buying the products so I can do them at home.  I’m not much for paying people to do what I learn and do myself.  I’ll keep you posted though I’m sure!

Old Stores and New Favorites

Being gone from home lately has given me the chance to shop at some fun places we don’t have at home.  Lush, which I can order online but that’s less fun because you can’t smell through your computer, and Trader Joe’s are a couple of my favorite shopping destinations when I go to “the big city”.

Since I went to a actual Lush store twice the other week…..maybe we will start there!  My primary motivation at Lush the first time down in Omaha was getting a fun variety of bath time things for Lil B’s birthday present.  It was a super fast power shopping trip because we were on the way to The Engineer’s PE celebration dinner with his family.  Actually, his sister just dropped me off and circled the parking lot…..ain’t nobody have time to find parking at Village Point!  However, they had just released a new body wash scent, and I was super excited to try it.  Mostly because my favorite scent, Lord of Misrule, is a seasonal scent and smells more like fall and winter than it does spring and summer.  Enter…..Plum Rain!

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It’s fruity, but in a dark, adult sorta way.  That probably doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t smell like childish tutti fruity gum.  Not that there is in anyway anything wrong with that tutti fruity Fruit Stripe gum.  Actually, there is something wrong…..it’s nearly impossible to find anymore, and the flavor doesn’t last as long as I want……however I’m getting side tracked.  I find that this fragrance, compared to other Lush body washes I’ve tried, lasts much longer.  I don’t ever remember smelling Lord of Misrule or The Olive Branch on myself post shower, but Plum Rain has a nice light amount of scent that seems to cling to me.  I think this scent has been available for some time in the UK, so I’m glad I can finally get my hands on it.  I think Plum Rain and Lord of Misrule, fingers crossed they bring it back again, will be my all the time go to scents.

The second trip to Lush was more of a casual shopping stop.  A coworker and I were in Minneapolis for a conference, we just got there a little early so we could shop!  She has two little girls who love the Lush bubble bars, so we stopped in so she could restock.  While wandering around the store I found a new body scrub and figured I’d give it a try.

 

I’ve tried the Ocean Salt scrub before, and just thought a change would be nice.  However, I’m not in love with the Rub Rub Rub scent.  I got a little bit of scent overload in the store, but thought that I would like this.  Once I got home, it’s a little too flowery for my liking.  I mean, it’s not bad, just not something I’d choose again.  I defiantly find the Ocean Salt scent to be more refreshing and neutral.  However, I do like that Rub Rub Rub has some bubble to it.  Scrub and body wash in one is a hard combo to beat.  Honestly, if they offered it in another scent I would be all about trying it.

Big city shopping trip number two was Trader Joe’s.  I feel like people who have Trader Joe’s near them don’t appreciate them the way they should….they are amazeballs!  The only down side is that I’m always traveling when I’m at one, so I can’t really explore the frozen or fresh sections of the store.  All that untapped potential!!

Since I have to mostly purchase dry goods…..I stick mostly to snackies.

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So in looking for a picture of my peanut butter pretzels I discovered I just grabbed the wrong color bag.  THE RED BAG IS UNSALTED!  Not that unsalted, peanut butter pretzels are the worst thing, but they certainly aren’t the best thing either.  They will definitely leave you feeling like they are missing something…..SALT…..but are a good snack to have around anyway.  I don’t love peanut butter, and these aren’t over powering…..although next time I will for sure be grabbing the BLUE BAG!

Since The Engineer was home watching the tiny, furry, terrorist, I thought he could use a couple yummy presents.  Since he pretty much eats what I eat, it wasn’t too hard coming up with some must have items.

 

I had previously grabbed a BBQ sauce here in town that’s a little too on the hot side for The Engineer.  We haven’t tried the Kentucky bourbon sauce yet, but reading over the ingredients doesn’t lead one to believe that it will be super hot.  We made some chicken, pepper, and pineapple hobo grill pouches a couple weeks ago and it should go well with that when we make them again.  The ginger beer was a fairly obvious choice.  However, in googling ways to reign in our budgets I was curious about the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale.  Turns out one is brewed and one is not, but all my research seemed to say that if you weren’t buying sorta artisanal, hipster, still cloudy in the bottle ginger beer…..it probably isn’t all that different from ginger ale.  All that is to say that I bought some ginger ale to make mules with….and he hated it.  So, since the Trader Joe’s bottles said “brewed” and it looked a little cloudy I figured it was worth trying.  I haven’t tried it, but The Engineer did.  I’m not sure that he was wowed enough by it for us to stock pile it, but it was probably a nice change from the diet stuff I usually keep in the house.

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Since I was going to be spending long days sitting at a conference with limited and generally crappy coffee, I grabbed a couple of these little guys to get me through the morning.  Plus side, they are small cans so they tucked right into my wristlet.  Down side, they are small…and a small coffee is never super ideal.  Some coffee is always better than no coffee though!

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My last Trader Joe’s purchase was a couple RX bars.  Basically, they are a quick and easy meal or snack bar, but they are are free from any extra junk.  My coworker likes them, and started eating them because most of the flavors are Whole 30 compliant.  So, I decided to give a couple a shot.  It’s always good to have a quick and easy grab and go something laying around the house.  I tried the Coconut Chocolate and the Chocolate Sea Salt.  I was anticipating that the Chocolate Sea Salt would be my least favorite, but I was wrong.  I’m generally not a huge fan of chocolate, but those I would definitely purchase again.  I’m on the fence about the coconut.  It wasn’t good…..but it also wasn’t bad.  The main win about buying these at Trader Joe’s is that they are WAY CHEAPER than I can purchase them here in town.  I believe that the bars were $1.60ish a piece at Joe’s……here at my local grocery store they are ALMOST $4!!!.  Get your crap together Hyvee!!!!

I also picked up a couple staples……the english toffee and the roasted tomatillo and mango salsa…..so good!  I grab them every time I go.  Hopefully, now that I’m headed down to the Omaha area more often with The Engineer, I’ll be able to hit up Lush and Trader Joe’s more often and keep trying some fun new things.  Life is too short to not try new things!