Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

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I have a super quick & easy recipe for y’all today! This is one of my favorite things to throw together for dinner. It’s super easy, super quick, & it’s cheap to make. It’s a cherry tomato spaghetti sauce & it’s delicious!

Here’s what you’ll need –

Cherry tomatoes (I used a 10.5 oz package this time, but it’s really up to you on how many tomatoes you use)

3 cloves of minced garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

Basil (dried or fresh. It’s up to you. I usually use dried, because I always have it on hand.)

Spaghetti (this, again, depends on how much you want to use & how many people you’re cooking for. With the 10.5 oz of cherry tomatoes that I used, I used half a box of spaghetti noodles)

Salt & Pepper

Parmesan

That’s it!

So here’s what you need to do –

1.  Fill a pot with water & sprinkle in a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package’s directions.

2. In a large skillet, add the garlic & oil. Preheat it over medium heat & allow the oil & garlic to heat up together. Let it cook until the garlic becomes lightly golden.

3. While the garlic & oil is coming up to temp., go ahead & slice your cherry tomatoes in half.

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4. Once the garlic has browned, add your tomatoes & season with salt & pepper.

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Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they cook down & create a sauce.

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5. Your pasta should be finished cooking by this point, so drain the pasta & add it to whatever bowl you want to use. I usually just put it straight back into the pot I cooked it in.

6. Add the tomato sauce to the spaghetti, along with your basil, & mix everything together.

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7. At this point you can add as much or as little Parmesan as you want, & you’re done!

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I really hope you give this one a try & let me know what you think. It’s so simple, but so yummy!

Until next time!

XO

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Book Review – “And Then You Die” by Iris Johansen

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Hey, y’all! Today is going to be a book review on “And Then You Die” by Iris Johansen.

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I should probably start off with full disclosure, & say that this is one of my favorite books of all time lol. How I came across this book is actually a funny story. My sophomore year of high school was my first, & only, year of high school at a public school. For our midterm assignment, we were required to go to the school’s library & choose a book. I was pretty excited about this, because I knew that this library would have books that my old school would never have allowed on campus lol. The book we chose would be what we wrote about in an essay that would be a huge chunk of our grade. While roaming the library, I saw “And Then You Die” & was immediately intrigued. I grabbed it, read the back, checked it out of the library, & started reading it as soon as I got home from school that day. It was a time BEFORE “50 Shades of Grey”, so when I came across a sex scene in the book I felt pretty scandalized lol. Anyway, I obviously ended up LOVING the book & purchased it from my local bookstore after I had to return the school’s copy to their library. I just put down the book after reading it for the 7th time since my sophomore year of high school, so I knew I had to make a post about it. Here’s an overview –

Bess Grady is the main character. She is working on recovering from an extremely traumatizing event that occurred while she was out of the country for her job as a photojournalist. To help her recover & get back in the swing of things, she takes a seemingly easy assignment from her boss. The assignment is to go to Tenajo, Mexico & take photos for a travel magazine. Bess, somewhat unwillingly, allows her sister (Emily) to tag along. When the sisters reach Tenajo, however, it’s much more than Bess or Emily bargained for. A horribly devastating event in Tenajo sends Bess on a whirlwind of adventure to save her sister, & maybe even millions of other lives, with a man named Kaldak, who is a known killer. She struggles with her own inner-turmoil, the man she isn’t sure if she should trust, & even members of the government on her journey.

Okay. I must say this – Bess Grady is a bitch. She is a know-it-all, pushy, & bitchy pretty much 90% of the time. She can be annoying, but if you can handle her attitude & try to understand it, then I think you’ll enjoy this book. What I mean when I say, “try to understand it” is this – This woman’s world has been turned upside down. From the moment she sets foot in Tenajo it’s basically like her life isn’t her own. Imagine how you would feel if you walked, unknowingly, into a town where everyone was dead, & then you were constantly shoved around by men higher up on the totem pole than you as a result. I can imagine that most of us would be pretty disagreeable & pretty bitchy ourselves. So let’s try to give Bess a little slack. With the exception of her attitude, the only other not-so-positive thing I can say about this book is it’s pretty unrealistic. Like, movie-quality-unrealistic. But come on, y’all. This is a book! Like a movie, it’s suppose to help you use your imagination & take you places that reality can’t! Isn’t that one of the reasons we read? To experience things & adventures that we’d never be able to experience in real life?

Also, I really like the characters in this book. Johansen did a really nice job with them. As I said, Bess is somewhat annoying, but it’s understandable. Also, the twists & turns in this book are great. The thing that kills all of the citizens in Tenajo will most likely surprise you. I certainly didn’t see it coming, & when I read it I had to stop & say, “Daaaaaaamn” lol. Anyway, I could probably go on & on about this book. I know that it has mixed reviews, because Johansen fans weren’t too impressed with it. I guess I can understand that, but this was my first, & is the only, book I’ve read by her. I think you should give it a chance, if you haven’t already. If you’ve read it already, let me know what you thought. I’d really like to know if there are any others out there who love it as much as I do. If you didn’t like it, why not? Let me know!

XO

Book Review – “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

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Hey, y’all! This book review is going to be on “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher!

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The first time I read this book was in high school. I decided to read it again, because it’s been getting a lot of attention lately. This is one of those books that I have mixed feelings about. First, here’s an overview –

Clay Jenson is a high school student who is surprised one day to find a mysterious package on his front porch. He’s even more surprised to find that the package contains a set of tapes that, when played, allows him to hear the voice of his dead classmate once again. The classmate is a girl named Hannah Baker. Hannah committed suicide, & the tapes list thirteen people who are responsible for the events that led up to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day, & night, listening to the tapes & trying to work through his feelings. He’s shocked to learn not only a few of Hannah’s secrets, but some of the secrets kept by people he has known for years.

Okay. Now, first let me say that I liked this book. Will I read it a third time? Probably not. But here’s why I like the book – It’s amazing how the author strings together all of these life events/circumstances to one person & their actions. You’ll be reading about something that happened, & you’ll wonder where this could possibly lead, & then later on in the story you’ll see how it led to another event. It shows that sometimes you have no idea how your actions will alter another person’s day, or even their life. I think this book would be important reading material to middle school or high school students. While reading it you come to understand Hannah, & feel for her & all that she goes through.

Now, here’s what I DIDN’T like about the book – Throughout the entire book, Hannah’s story is interrupted by Clay’s thoughts. Before I even got halfway through, I was thinking, “Could you please shut up so I can hear Hannah’s story?”. Also, it would be interrupted with the most mundane sentences. For example, “He stopped the tape. He got out of the car. He took a breath.” Okay. Thank you for the play-by-play. Next, remember how I said that it makes you think about how your actions will alter a person’s day or life? On the other side of that coin, this book makes it seem like we need to walk on eggshells all day every day, because we’re responsible for other people’s actions. I don’t agree with that. We should always be decent human beings, but at the same time, we can’t always control the way people interpret our actions. Hannah takes so many things way to close to heart. I understand that these things upset her, & lead to other things that change her life, but I feel like people put up with much worse & don’t kill themselves.. all the while blaming everyone else. Also, **SPOILER ALERT** the last person on the tapes is her guidance counselor, Mr. Porter. She basically blames him for letting her walk out of his office when he knew that something was wrong, but here’s the thing…. SHE DIDN’T EVEN REALLY GIVE HIM THE CHANCE TO TRY TO HELP HER. I mean, he’s an adult at her school, what is he suppose to do? Tie her down & force her to talk to him? Force her to tell her what’s wrong? Force her to tell him she’s thinking of killing herself? I mean, there’s only so much he can do when she refuses to let him in & refuses to tell him much of anything. Yet she finds it appropriate to blame him in her tapes for not trying to stop her. That’s not fair.

With all of that being said, I have to admit that I’m pretty surprised that this book is getting all of the attention that it’s getting. Is it a decent read? Yes. Is it one of the best books ever written? No. Like I said, this would be a nice read for a middle school or high school student, but other than that…. Meh lol. I would suggest that if you find the book for cheap somewhere, or someone offers to let you borrow it, & you haven’t read it yet…. Go for it! I think it’s a nice book for everyone to read once. Why not, right? Like I said, I have mixed feelings about this book lol. Anyway, I hope this helped at least a little bit if you were thinking of reading it. Have any of you read it? If so, what did YOU think? Let me know!

Until next time!

XO

Homemade Tzatziki & Ally’s Greek Sandwich

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Hey, y’all! I’ve been away for a while, but I just HAD to get on to share this with you. I’ve recently become borderline obsessed with this sandwich. I could probably eat one EVERY day, & have no problem with it whatsoever. This post is going to include the recipe for the tzatziki sauce I use, & the way I make my baked chicken breast. Here’s what you’ll need –

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Sorry the picture is a bit blurry. Anyway, you’ll need some tzatziki sauce, lettuce of your choice, some cooked chicken breast, a thinly sliced cucumber, & the bread of your choice. Now, obviously you won’t need all of this for one sandwich. I simply prep all of the chicken & cucumber so that I can make this sandwich multiple times throughout the week. Because I’m that obsessed with it lol. For my chicken breast I keep it extremely simple. I season 2 chicken breasts with salt, ground black pepper, & Greek seasoning. Then I just popped it in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through. As for the bread, if I’ve gone to the farmer’s market, I’ll use flatbread. I haven’t, however, had a chance to go to the farmer’s market so I’ve been using honey wheat bread from our local grocery store. So here’s how you’ll put it all together –

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First, I like to toast my bread. I just pop it in the toaster on the same setting that I normally would when I want toast for breakfast. I just like for my sandwich to have a nice crunch from the bread.

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Next I take one spoonful of tzatziki & spread it out on one of the slices of bread. How much you use will be completely up to you. Now here’s the recipe I use for the tzatziki –

You’ll need –

1 cup of plain thick Greek yogurt

1/2 of a big cucumber, or a whole small cucumber

2 minced garlic cloves

1/4 cup of mint leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

Here’s what you’ll do –

1. Cut off the ends of the cucumber & slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the watery seeds with a small spoon, then grate the remaining cucumber.

2. Sprinkle the salt on the grated cucumber, & then let it sit for 5 minutes.

3. Finely chop the mint leaves & place in a small bowl. Add the oil & vinegar. Mix well.

4. Pour the cucumber into a sieve & squeeze the water out using the back of a spoon.

5. Put the yogurt into a bowl & add the cucumber & garlic. Mix well.

6. Add the mint leaf mixture & mix well.

7. Cover & leave in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.

Now onto the next step of making your sandwich!

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Add your cucumbers. Again, add as many or as few as you want!

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Put on your chicken breast. I, personally, don’t put too much chicken on mine. This is only because I season my chicken breast to the point of it being very flavorful, & I don’t want it to be overpowering.

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Next, add your choice of lettuce. I, personally, think that romaine lettuce tastes the best on this particular sandwich.

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& there you have it! SOOOO simple, but SO delicious! I hope you try it out & let me know what you think!

XO

30 Things to do Before I’m 30

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Hey, y’all! I turned 23 years old this past April, & while this might not seem like a big deal to some people.. It somewhat bothered me that there are so many things I haven’t done yet! I decided to make a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. I thought it’d be fun to share them with you & tell you a little bit about them! Here we go –

1. Fall asleep & wake up another country –

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Now, this might sound kind of creepy lol. What I mean is, I want to fall asleep on a plane, while flying over the states, & then wake up while landing in another country. I think it’d be an amazing feeling.

2. Learn Italian –

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I know, I know. I should be more interested in learning how to speak Greek, being that I’m Greek, but honestly…. There is just something about the Italian language that gives me butterflies. It’s such a beautiful language, & has to do with my next item.

3. Go to Italy –

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One of my top ambitions in life is to go to Italy. Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Sicily, you name it. I want to go there. I dream of Italy. It might be borderline unhealthy, but I’m pretty much obsessed with Italy. I look at pictures of it all the time, & talk about it all the time. I mean, the food, the language, the gorgeous people, the architecture, the art, the history. Geez.

4. Go to Greece –

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I’m sure you saw this one coming, being that my family moved to the states from Greece, & I’ve never been. I’m also in love with Greece for the same reasons I’m in love with Italy. Also, I still have some family living in Crete. I would love to go there to meet them, get to know them, & have them show me around. I would love to be able to learn more about my heritage from my actual family members. What could be more wonderful than that?

5. Go snorkeling –

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Ben & I are going to Mexico with some friends in October, & this is on our list of things to do. I just can’t imagine how amazing it’ll be to be able to see all of the underwater life up close & personal. Magical!

6. Swim with dolphins –

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Okay. I’ve been a sucker for dolphins since I was a kid & saw the movie Flipper. They’re so beautiful! This is also on our list of things to do in Mexico, & I can’t wait!

7. Go on a hot air balloon ride –

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This one is going to be somewhat of a challenge for me. I’m pretty scared of heights, but to able to go up in a beautiful balloon & see beautiful scenery from up high… Let’s be serious. I have to do it!

8. Plant a tree –

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I know this might seem pretty random to most of you, but I just feel like it’d be awesome. Not only would I feel like I’m doing my small part in helping our environment, but I also think it’d be really cool to watch it grow as time goes on. This one will most likely wait until Ben & I buy our next house. We’ll be staying there for the rest of our lives, God willing, so we’ll be able to watch it grow over time!

9. Attend more performance (ballets, plays, concerts, etc.) –

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I absolutely LOVE these. They give me butterflies, goosebumps, & usually cause my eyes to tear up. There just something so beautiful about watching a person perform & be passionate about something. I’ve been to a few, but I really want to go to more of them!

10. Take an unplanned trip with Ben –

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Ben, as some of you may know, is my husband. He’s gone a lot for his work. I always dream of him coming home from work, telling me to pack a bag, & us running off somewhere for the weekend or something. I think it’d be so fun!

11. Graduate from college –

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I’ve been in college for quite a while now. Especially with having to take a few semesters off for personal reasons. I don’t care how much hard work I have to do, I will walk across that stage & receive my diploma. & I’m obviously hoping to do so before I’m 30 lol

12. Ride a motorcycle –

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I know this might seem random, but Ben has had a motorcycle since we first started dating, & I’ve never had the nerve to ride it with him! It makes me so nervous, but I’ve heard it’s an amazing time!

13. Go on a real camping trip –

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I’m one of those girls that says, “let’s go camping!”, but what I really mean is – “I want to rent a cabin for the weekend.”…. I would like to go camping in a tent one day. I think it’d be really fun to get a group of friends together & try to “rough it” lol

14. Climb something –

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I just want to climb something. It doesn’t need to be Mt. Everest or anything. I just want to go on a nice hike. I think it’d be an amazing accomplishment to spend half of the day climbing/hiking up to a higher point to see a spectacular view.

15. Celebrate something somewhere else –

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Whether it be a holiday, a birthday, or an anniversary, I think it’d be really fun to spend it somewhere other than home. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be out of the country. It could just be another state, or even another city!

16. Re-learn how to play the piano –

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When I was little my parents paid for me to take piano lessons. I played for a couple of years, & then like most other young people I decided I wanted to do something else. I regret that now that I’m older. I can’t remember how to play at all, because it was so long ago. I’d really love to re-learn how to play.

17. Go to a drive-in movie –

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I’m somewhat of a hopeless romantic. I would love to go to a drive-in movie with Ben. The closest drive-in movie is still quite a few hours away, but we might be able to figure out a way to make it work!

18. Take a self-defense class –

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I think it’s very important for a woman to be able to defend herself. Especially in the world we live in today. It’s so dangerous out there! Not only would I like to be able to better defend myself, but I’m sure those classes would be a wonderful workout!

19. Have a garden with plants that actually grow –

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I’m finally at the age where I think I have the patience to do something like that. Since writing this list, I’ve started on it. We’ve completely re-done our flower beds, & I have a few plants growing in the backyard as well. We have tomatoes, strawberries, basil, & sunflowers in the backyard. I tend to them almost every day, & everything is doing great so far! So I guess that’s one I can check off the list!

20. Be a Vegetarian for a month –

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I know, I know, this might seem silly to some of you, but it’s not to me. I really wish I could be a Vegetarian for a few reasons, which I won’t get into right now because this isn’t that kind of post lol, but I just don’t think it’s possible for me. I do, however, want to try it for at least one month. I think it’d be a good experience for me.

21. Learn some basic sewing skills –

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Is it just me, or does no one know how to sew anymore? I know that I, personally, have to bring garments that need sewing to my mom. I’ve just never learned how to do it! I’d love to be able to learn so that I can sew things for my husband, or possible future children.

22. Take some cooking classes –

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I LOVE to cook. It’s one of my passions. I don’t, however, have that much experience with it. Don’t get me wrong, I have quite a few dishes that are great, but I want to learn how to make different types of food from different cultures. If I ever get to go to Greece or Italy, I fully intend on taking at least one cooking class while in both countries!

23. Adopt an animal from a rescue/shelter –

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This one is so important to me. I am pretty involved with a local rescue. I’ve been a foster mom for a couple of their dogs, but I haven’t been able to actually adopt any of them. Ben & I made a deal that we will rescue the next animal we decide to get, whether it be a dog or a cat.

24. Go tiki tubing (again) –

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I took a trip with a group of friends several years ago, & it was a blast! I can’t wait to get another group together & go again.

25. Go wine tasting at a winery –

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There are wine tastings in town all the time, but I want to go to an actual winery for one. Especially if that winery is in Italy lol 😉

26. Participate in a run/walk for a good cause –

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There are all sorts of runs/walks for charity these days, which is awesome. I’ve signed up for 4 of them, & woke up sick EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. So I was never able to actually attend the walk. I wasn’t too worried, since I’d already paid for them so I knew the charity got the money anyway, but it’d still be nice to actually be able to participate!

27. Go to Disney World (again) –

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My parents brought me to Disney World when I was 15, & it was one of the best experiences of my life. If any of you have been to Disney World, then you know what I mean. There’s just something magical about that place! I want to go with a group of friends this time. & being that I’m a die-hard Disney princess fan, I can’t wait to go again & be able to act like the little kid that we all are at heart!

28. Research family history –

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It’s very important to me to know more about my family. Being a history major, history fascinates me. Especially history involved my heritage! (the picture is of my family in Greece. My grandfather is the little boy on the donkey.)

29. Enjoy the sunrise & sunset with Ben (in the same day) –

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I am SO not a morning person, so the sunset is a much easier one for me, but I would really like to be able to watch the sunrise with Ben, spend the day together, & then watch the sunset together! Maybe while we’re in Mexico?

30. Have/adopt a baby –

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This one is last for a reason. At this particular moment in time, Ben & I have absolutely no idea when we want to start having kids. We’re also not sure if we want to have our own kids, if we want to adopt, or if we want to find a way to do both. There are just so many questions still unanswered about this topic, but we both agree that we want to start our family before I turn 30. So hopefully we’ll be more decisive when the time comes! lol

Well, that’s it! I hope you all enjoyed this post! Do you have a list of things that you want to complete by a certain time? If so, share it with me! I’d love to hear about it. Also, have any of you done any of these things? If so, any thoughts, advice, or comments about any of it?

I’ll talk to y’all later!

Xoxo

 

Lush Haul & Review!

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This is going to be another Lush haul & review! I have fallen in love with Lush since my first purchase from them. If you’re interested in what my first purchase consisted of, & what I thought of everything, I’ve already written a blog about it so you can go check that out. As y’all know, we don’t have a Lush store where I live. There’s one in New Orleans, which is about 3 or 4 hours away, & one in Baton Rouge, which is 2 hours away. So I just order online.

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For this purchase, I did exactly what I did for my first purchase. I read the reviews on the website, the description of the products, & chose them according to what they said. I purchased All That Jas, Rose Jam, Fluffy Egg, & another Butterball.

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The first one that I used was the Fluffy Egg. It’s one of their special Easter bath bombs. First off, it smells wonderful. It’s a very sweet smell. I would say that it smells like a really strong candy. In fact, it made my bathroom smell wonderful for the rest of the day. Also, it turned your water a gorgeous hot pink. Who doesn’t want to bathe in hot pink water? Nobody. It’s so fun! I was a little concerned at first, because I was worried that it might stain the tub. It didn’t stain at all! I wouldn’t say that it didn’t anything particularly fascinating to my skin, but I didn’t stay in the tub all that long. I had some errands to run so I only stayed in for about 10 minutes. I would repurchase this one just for the smell & pretty water. Next is the Butterball –

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I’m not going to say too much about this one, because I already wrote about it in the last post I did about Lush. I will say that this is going to become a ritual for me. I’m going to purchase one every time I make a Lush purchase, because they’re just perfect. It smells so wonderful & makes my skin feel wonderful! Next I tried the All That Jasmine –

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I wish I would’ve gotten a better picture of it before I used it, because it had a sweet little flower on the top of it & it was so pretty! It, of course, smelled great. I’m starting to wonder if anything at Lush smells bad lol. It smelled great & turned my water a gorgeous green color. I will say that it wasn’t my favorite smell, but that’s just my personal preference. It made me skin feel really nice. It didn’t leave any residue whatsoever in the bathtub, which is always nice. The smell, however, didn’t linger for hours in the bathroom like some of the other products I’ve used from Lush. It pretty much went away when I drained the tub. I still enjoyed it. If you enjoy jasmine, then I 100% suggest you give this a try! & last, but not least, is the Rose Jam Bubbleroon.

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I think this one is adorable. It’s shaped like a macaroon, & it smells fantastic. I didn’t get as many bubbles out of this one as my last bubblebar, but I still got plenty. It makes the water smell great, but I didn’t notice it lingering on my skin once I got out of the tub. Also, parts of it just refused to dissolve. I’m not sure if I did a poor job of crumbling it up under the faucet, or if it just does that, but it wasn’t too bothersome. I wouldn’t say I noticed it made my skin particularly soft or anything. I think this is one of those bubblebars that you purchase just for the smell, some bubbles, & pretty baby-pink water. I probably wouldn’t purchase this one again just for the simple fact that I’ve liked other products I’ve purchased from Lush better than I liked this one.

I hope you enjoyed this post & I hope you give some of these a try! I also hope this post was helpful enough to help you decide on some products you want to try out. I probably don’t have to say this, but I will – I paid with all of this with my own money. Lush Cosmetics in no way influenced this post. Thank you all for reading!

Xoxo

Review – The Crossfire series by Sylvia day

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Hey, y’all! This review is going to be on The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day.

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There are three books in this series so far. They are Bared to You, Reflected in You, & Entwined with You. In case you didn’t already know, this series is 100% for a mature audience. I brought Bared to You with me to the nail salon, when I first started reading it, so that I could read it while I got a pedicure. I found out after the first chapter that it might not have been the best decision lol. I was blushing, & I adjusted the book so that no one could see what I was reading. It’s certainly intense, & pretty darn graphic. Normally, I hate to compare books when they have different authors, but I’m going to compare these to the Fifty Shades series for a second. I will say that one of the things I liked about this series is that the “love-making” scenes aren’t all that repetitive. One of the problems that I had with the Fifty Shades series is that I got so bored with those scenes after a while, to the point to where I would just start skipping pages until they were over. This series was different. Also, the Fifty Shades series had a certain level of drama in it, & while the Crossfire series does too, the drama is completely different. The Crossfire series has personal, psychological drama, while the Fifty Shades series has more movie-type drama and psychology drama. I feel like the Crossfire series is much more realistic. I could see it actually happening. The Fifty Shades series, not so much lol It’s a little far-fetched. Just to throw this out there – I did enjoy the Fifty Shades series. Anyway, back to the review. Here’s a short overview –

The main character is Eva Tramell. She recently graduated from college, & has just moved to New York to start her dream job. She brings her best friend, Cary, along for the ride. He’s sexy, sweet, & bisexual. Eva’s stepfather is an extremely wealthy man, & it’s because of him that Eva & Cary live in a fabulous apartment in Manhattan. As a child, Eva suffered a terrible trauma, & as a result her mother is extremely overprotective. The day before her first day of work, Eva decides to see how long it will take to get to work from her new apartment. While she’s there, fate steps in & she meets a man that immediately sets her alarm bells off. His name is Gideon Cross. Eva later learns that Gideon is the extremely wealthy man who owns Crossfire Industries. Gideon seems to be bewitches by Eva, & begins pursuing her relentlessly. Eva is scared to start something with Gideon, because she can sense that he won’t be good for her. Eventually, Eva decides that she wants Gideon in her life. Their relationship sends Eva on a journey that is sometimes physically & emotionally exhausting. As their relationship progresses, she finds that Gideon has experienced trauma of his own, & together they have to work to push past their problems so that they can stay together.

I have to say that I LOVE Sylvia Day’s writing style. I love the way that she gets you to really care about her characters. I have to say also, that I love Eva. She’s smart, funny, & isn’t afraid to be herself. Also, it’s so nice to read about a woman who isn’t afraid to admit that she likes sex. She likes sex just as much as Gideon, & together they have some pretty intense encounters. The only negative thing I can say about this series is that sometimes Eva drove me crazy. She does things that made me want to yell, “WHY?!”. There are things that Gideon says to her, & does to her, that made me want to punch him in the throat, & slap her for letting him get away with it. I, personally, would never allow a man to speak to me the way he sometimes speaks to Eva. I had to realize, however, that this series is about two emotionally damaged people. While I may think that some of their behavior is insane, I’m not a product of abuse so I can’t really judge their relationship. I feel like the fact that I get so upset & emotional over some of the situations just shows how excellent Sylvia Day is at pulling you into her story. Also, Eva expresses repeatedly how hot Gideon is. After a while I was just like, “Okay. He’s hot. I get it.”… That’s just small things that bothered me. All in all, I really did enjoy this series, & I do recommend it to anyone who enjoys books like these. Just to warn you, the last book leaves you somewhat hanging, & it’s because Sylvia Day will be writing more for the series. I’m not sure when they’ll be coming out, but she’s made it clear that they will be. So, again, I loved this series & I recommend it! What did you think of this series? If you haven’t read it yet, you should check it out & let me know what you think!

Xoxo

Review – My First *Vegan Cuts* Snack Box

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Hey, y’all!

This review is going to be on my first box of snacks from Vegan Cuts. If you don’t know what Vegan Cuts is, I’ll give you a little overview. Vegan Cuts is coordinated by a vegan couple. Their website says that they “see Veganism as a way to live a life of abundance while making choices that show compassion towards all living creatures.” Their team finds the best vegan clothing, shoes, accessories, body care products, & everyday items. They add these items to their marketplace, and/or they send them to you in either their monthly Snack Box or their monthly Beauty Box. I plan on trying out both boxes, but I decided to start out with the snack box. Here’s a little bit about the snack box – It’s free shipping in the U.S., each box includes 7-10 vegan products, ranging from sweet treats to savory snacks, & typically over 80% of the products included are gluten free. I have to be honest. I’m technically not a vegan. I’m simply trying to eat healthier & find cruelty free alternatives to what I would normally eat. That being said, here’s what I think so far –

The box got here exceptionally fast. It got here within 2 days of shipping. This is how the box comes –

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When you open the box, the first thing you see is the information card. This card has all of the products that are in the box listed with a short explanation. I, personally, didn’t look at the card at first. I wanted to be surprised with what was in the box.

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This is everything that came in my box. I, personally, have never heard of any of these products, or their brands, before. However, I’m extremely intrigued by each & every one of them. I especially like the fact that I can’t find any of this stuff locally. It means that I have a chance to try things that I would’ve never had the chance to try out otherwise. There were, of course, some things that I wasn’t too sure about. I’ll explain more about that when they come up below. First you should know is that I’m a pretty picky eater. So, just because I may not like something doesn’t mean that you necessarily won’t like it. I’m just picky lol. I’m not sure what I’ll like & what I won’t like, because I’m writing about these as I eat them, instead of waiting until I’ve tried everything to write about them. That way it’s fresh on my mind so I can write about the products better for y’all! The first thing I decided to try were the lentil chips –

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Obviously I reached for these first because they’re made by Mediterranean Snacks lol. I’ve never heard of this brand, but (being that I’m Greek) anything that has the word “Mediterranean” on it draws my interest. I really did enjoy these. They smell fabulous & taste great. I plan on purchasing more of these baked chips. I probably won’t purchase anymore of the rosemary ones. I enjoy using rosemary when I cook, but I’m not really that into the flavor to have snacks flavored that way. I enjoyed these, but I think I’m going to try out different flavors. Next I’ll talk about the straw they sent –

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There isn’t really much to say about this, but I really like it. If you look at the straw closely, you can see “Vegan Cuts” & a pretty design on the straw. I had wanted to get a picture of it for you, but you wouldn’t have been able to see the design. I’m actually a really big straw person, as strange as that may sound lol. I love drinking out of straws, & we actually buy plastic straws pretty regularly. This is a great alternative to constantly throwing away straws. The only thing is I wish it was a bit longer. I drink a lot of water, & this straw is too short for my “designated water cup” lol. In fact, I could only drink out of a can with it, which kind of sucks because I try not to drink sodas too often. I am, however, really glad they put this in the box! I like it. Next I’ll talk a little bit about the BNTO by cuppow.

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This is pretty cool. Apparently, you can use it to make packing a lunch easier. You can fill up a mason jar with salad/yogurt/whatever, & then fill this with the dressing/granola/whatever, & insert it into the jar & then cover it with the lid. I think it’s a really neat idea. I probably won’t get any use out of this, because 1. I don’t have any mason jars, 2. I don’t ever need to pack a lunch. My mom, however, has been saying that she wants to eat healthier & bring her lunch to work. So I’m going to give this one to her so that she can use it! The next thing that I tried was the cereal –

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It’s vegan (obviously), gluten free, has no soy, no dairy, no additives, no preservatives, & no refined sugar & it’s delicious. I wasn’t really sure about it, especially because my husband smelt it & made a face before I started eating it lol. When I took the first bite, I liked the flavor, but the texture was weird. After a few bites, however, I didn’t mind the texture at all. I really enjoyed this. It’s so yummy. I ate this for breakfast, which says something right there. I’m not a big breakfast eater, & even when I do eat breakfast, sometimes certain things will make me sick to my stomach. This was easy on my stomach & filled me up. I’m definitely going to look into buying more of this. If you’re interested, their website is vigilant-eats.com!

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I was really looking forward to trying this out. I’m always looking for nice bars to just grab & go. This one was super different from anything I’ve ever tried before. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever tasted, but it was certainly good. The taste was very unique. I’m not even really sure how to explain it. The only complain I have about it is that I’m guessing it melted in the box on the way over here, because it was somewhat stuck to the wrapper when I opened it. That’s not really a fair complaint towards the product, because it happened during shipping, so I would say that I don’t have any real complaints about this product. It was yummy, it was super filling, & I enjoyed it.

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Now, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with this lol. After deciding that “seed butter” might taste nice on toast, that’s what I put it on. I could’ve done it wrong, maybe it has a specific purpose, but regardless…. it tasted good. It’s really hard to explain what it tasted like, but it was obviously really nutty. It wasn’t my favorite product, and I wouldn’t purchase it on it’s own, but it was pretty good.

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I thought these were really neat. I’ve never heard of this brand. Now, I’m actually not a tea drinker. I know that not drinking tea can sometimes be considered blasphemy, especially down here in the south. The only time I ever drink tea is when I have a sore throat, & even then I don’t enjoy it. My husband, however, is a tea drinker so I gave these to him. He really liked them so it was a win. We wouldn’t purchase these, just because we don’t use teabags, we have a Keurig & use the cups for it. If you enjoy tea, & use teabags, then my husband says you should give these a try!

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I also got these chickpeas. There isn’t really too much to say about them, other than that if you like chickpeas… You’ll like these! Yummy!

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Next is the oat works smoothie. If you like peach or mango, you’ll love this. It’s so fruity & refreshing. Also, it’s SUPER filling. I drank it for breakfast this morning, & I wasn’t hungry for hours. Which is a big deal for me lol I’m almost always hungry, which is probably one of the reasons I have to go to the gym several times a week lol. Next, I’m just going to show you a picture of the protein powder they sent –

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I don’t have anything to say about this, because I don’t drink protein shakes. This is another thing that I’m going to give to someone. My best friend is obsessed with protein shakes, so I’m going to give this to her to try out.

So, here’s my thoughts on the Vegan Cuts box as a whole – I really liked it, & I think it’s 100% worth the money. Of course I was a little disappointed that I didn’t want, or couldn’t use, some of the things I received , but that’s just personal preference at work. Everything that I tried, I enjoyed. I’m going to keep my subscription with them to continue trying new things. I love that it’s a surprise every month. I hope you found this post helpful! If you decide to give them a try, let me know! & let me know what you think of the products you receive! Also, they not only do this snack box. They also have beauty box filled with cruelty free beauty products. So check it out & let me know what you think!

Xoxo

Book Review – The Dr. Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell

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Hey, y’all!

This book review is going to be on the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. It’s also going to be a little different than the reviews I’ve already done, simply because there are so many of them. As far as I know, there are 21 Dr. Kay Scarpetta books. I’m still working my way up to the most recently released book, Dust. I’ve read up to the 14th book, Predator. Even though I obviously haven’t read all of the books yet, I feel like I’ve read enough of them to be able to write this review. A good thing about these books is that you don’t necessarily have to read them in any particular order. If you planned on reading them all, it would be easier on you to read them in order so that you can stay up to date on Dr. Scarpetta’s life & not get confused. However, if you only want to read a couple, you can just grab whichever ones sound most interesting to you. For example, I read the 4th book in the series first, & then I decided to start reading the series in the order that it was written. I have to warn you that you will probably want to read them all once you’ve read one. Cornwell takes researching for her books very seriously. She’s an inspiration. If Scarpetta does something in the book, chances are Cornwell has done it. For example, when Scarpetta went scuba diving in one of the novels, it was described in such amazing detail that I wondered how she could have known so much about it. Sure enough, Cornwell had gone scuba diving so that she could write about it to the best of her ability. Cornwell is so dedicated to her work that you can’t help but to admire her. A word of caution – These books are not for the faint-hearted or those of you who get queasy easily. Anyway, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from the Scarpetta novels –

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is best known as the brilliant Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia at Richmond. She is also known as one of the top forensic pathologist in the country. Her cases pull her into several white-knuckling, dangerous situations.  Along the way, we are also introduced to the FBI profiler Benton Wesley, Kay’s niece (who happens to be a genius) Lucy Farinelli, and the never-boring homicide detective Pete Marino.

With this mix of characters, Cornwell manages to completely enthrall you with her nail-biting stories. If you like murder/mystery novels, you NEED to read these. I have since become a huge Patricia Cornwell fan, & I just can’t get enough of her. Her writing style is fantastic, her descriptiveness is wonderful, & the tone of all of her Scarpetta novels are amazing. I fully intend to read her other books after I’m finished with all of the Scarpetta novels. Dr. Kay Scarpetta has become one of my favorite fictional characters. I like to joke with my husband that we’re friends. Every time we watch anything like Unsolved Mysteries, I always make a comment about how Dr. Scarpetta would’ve solved it already. Even though I haven’t finished all of the Scarpetta novels that have been released yet, I really just wanted to spread the word about them. I feel like they’re so great & I wanted y’all to know about them, if you didn’t already, so that you could check them out! Again, these books are wonderful & I 100% recommend them. I have nothing negative to say about them. I truly believe you’ll enjoy them as much as I did/do!

Xoxo

Product Review – L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Towelettes

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Hey, y’all! I decided to write this review, because I really like this product. It’s the L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Towelettes.

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I have never self-tanned before. When I was in high school I would go to the tanning bed almost every day, but I started realizing how horrible is was for my skin. So I just somewhat gave up on being tan. I’m not sure if it’s my Greek roots or something else, but I simply can’t get a tan from being outside. It seems like no matter how long I’m outside, I just don’t get any color. When my wedding rolled around, I decided to get a spray tan for my bridal portraits & then again for the actual day of the wedding. It was alright, but I didn’t really enjoy standing in front of someone, who was basically stranger, while she sprayed me down. Also, it smelt awful, & made me feel disgustingly sticky for hours. It just wasn’t my thing. So, I decided to try out some self-tanner. I had no idea which kind to use, & I was super nervous about it. I’m pretty white, so I wasn’t sure how my skin would react to self-tanner. I’ve seen several of my friends turn themselves orange on accident, have streaks all over, or have their hands look really strange lol. Anyway, I was at Target the other day & I saw these on the shelf & was intrigued. I went ahead & purchased them because they were on sale.

As I said above, I really like these. I exfoliated like crazy, shaved, & moisturized before I used them. One of the great things about them is that the tan can be built up. For example, I didn’t really want a super dark tan. I just wanted a little bit of color so I used only one wipe & I wiped my skin down really lightly. It made my skin probably a shade & a half darker, but if I decide I want to get darker all I have to do is wipe myself down again. At this point my tan has lasted a little over two days. Another great thing about them is that they still worked great on my super sensitive skin. I even used the towelette on my face, & I didn’t break out at all, which is a really big deal for me. The only complaint I have is the smell. Now, on the box that I purchased it says that it has a new scent. Well, I don’t like it. It smells like the spray tans I got for the wedding, & I’m not a fan of it. In the product’s defense, it’s really not that strong at all, & it went away after the first day.

I definitely suggest these to anyone who wants to self-tan, especially if you have sensitive skin. They give a completely non-orange, non-streaky, gorgeous tan. They’re inexpensive, & can be found at Ulta & Target. You might be able to find them at other stores, but that’s where I know you can get them for sure. I hope this helped any of you who were thinking about trying out a new self-tanner! I’ll talk to y’all later!

Xoxo