Mornings With Liz

Hello beauties! Yesterday was a long day that used up most of my energy, whence why I didn’t write anything to share with you. Today, is my recovery day so to speak. I slept like a baby last night and literally just woke up. I’ve determined that mornings should be done differently in this country. The waking up at the crack of dawn, barely choking down a bowl of cereal, and mad dash to work isn’t a healthy way to live each day. I propose a new kind of morning!

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Does this kind of a morning not look infinitely better than the kind you and I are used to? I’m all for #hustle as long as we can still enjoy our lives. It’s mind boggling to me that we have to live our personal lives around a 9-5 schedule. Why is that? Based on what I’ve noticed in my job search, more and more companies are realizing that this kind of work life isn’t conducive with how people live today. Many companies are starting to value flex hours (employees pick the times they work). As long as work is getting done, I think it’s a great idea!

The 9-5 schedule used to work for Americans. As years have gone by though, we are getting increasingly busy and have more on our plates than ever before. If you have kids, you know how true this is! Shuffling them from school to practices and to friend’s houses is just exhausting. Combine that with having to work around a strict schedule of business hours and you’ll be feeling defeated.

Our mornings should be beautiful. A good breakfast, hot coffee, the day’s paper, a nice workout, and happier drive to work with less road rage would be so lovely, don’t you think?

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Jamberry Nails Review

jamberry_nails_reviewI’m a total nail polish hoarder! I love the stuff and literally change my nail color twice a week. I’m really loving the deep winter colors right now, but I’m slowly transition to light, spring colors. Since I just can’t get enough nail stuff, I thought I’d try something different. I’d heard quite a lot about these new-fangled nail things called Jamberry so I figured I’d give them a shot. My mom ordered me a set of cheetah print nails to try. In my opinion, it was a waste of money and here’s why.

First and foremost, Jamberry nails are expensive. I think my mom paid $15 for the set. Granted, they are pretty! However, at that price I just assume pay a little extra and get someone to do my nails for me at the salon. The price wasn’t the worst part though; the process was! To stick these things on you have to size them to each individual nail, place the print on your nail, take a hair dryer, hold it near your nail, and allow the heat to melt the glue on the print to your nail while pressing down on it so it will stick. Then, you must file down the excess print to the exact size of your nail. This is a long process to repeat for each nail!

After I finally finished my nails, I went to bed for some well-deserved sleep. I woke up in the morning, went along with my usual routine, looked down at my nails, and what do I see? The prints beginning to peel away from my nails. Perfect. Ultimately, these stick-on nails lasted about a week at best. I was not impressed at all.

I wouldn’t buy Jamberry nails again. I think the idea is very clever but the product has to be easier to use and needs to last longer. For now, I’ll stick to my Essie and O.P.I obsession.

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Comfort Food for Cold Nights

Happy Saturday beauties! My “Saturday” started yesterday when everything was closed due to the 6 inches of snow we got the day before. I spent the morning shoveling snow off of my driveway so we’d be able to get out and go places again! The second I saw the slightest glimpse of asphalt I smiled a sigh of relief. A few hours later, I was on my way to the store to pick up the comfort food I was going to make for dinner. After a long day outside in the cold, you need things like this!

I found this recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network the other day and have been excited to make it since then. Its a heavy dish; perfect for cold nights!

For full instructions, visit the link above! Ina explains everything much better than I could!

Ingredients
-Kosher salt
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
-4 ounces prosciutto, cut crosswise in 1/2-inch-thick matchsticks
-1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 large)
-1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
-4 ounces Italian Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
-1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
-8 to 10 ounces tagliatelle or fettucine, such as Cipriani
-2 cups frozen peas, defrosted (8 ounces)
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
-1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

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This dish is called Straw and Hay with Gorgonzola and it’s pretty darn good. I’m not much of a cook and even I could make it. However, I would suggest a few changes to it. The recipe calls for prosciutto to be lightly cooked in a sauce pan in 2 tablespoons of butter. Prosciutto is a rather salty cut of meat (and expensive). I recommend substituting it with either turkey bacon or even thinly sliced, pre-baked chicken. Ina also adds quite a bit of salt into the pasta sauce. If you’re using prosciutto, then only use a half teaspoon of salt when you’re making the sauce.

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Doesn’t that look amazing? At this point, I’ve added the onions (I only used half of what the recipe suggests), the cream, the Gorgonzola, spices, and the pasta. I’m supposed to add in frozen peas for the beautiful green color but I really detest those little green spheres. I didn’t end up adding anything green to this dish. Next time, I’ll try some spinach with it.

*Tip before serving: Strain some of the butter out of the sauce pan to minimize the greasiness. It gets to be too much when you’re eating it.

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Ta da! Here’s the finished product! It tasted marvelous and I’m certainly adding it to my growing list of recipes I can make. I served it with garlic bread but next time I’d do something with less garlic involved. Or none at all. Maybe some walnuts, pecans, and water crackers would be nice to even out the flavors? Add some wine or sparkling cider and you’ll have a delectable meal for a chilly night!

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Spring Pottery Barn Collection

Snow is on the ground outside my window again and I’m housebound. Again. As much as I delight in this fluffy stuff while I’m on the ski slopes, I don’t enjoy it when I’m at home in Maryland and trying to get things done. During my recent trip to Charleston, I indulged in a few lovely spring things to remind me that the end is near. I hopped on over to Pottery Barn (see what I did there?) and took in a few pretty things.

Although I have no big house of my own to decorate or even an apartment to style, I still daydream about the home decor endeavors I will eventually take on when I marry my rich, handsome husband (speaking of which, where are you, bro!?). There’s nothing wrong with that, right? We can all dream!

Pottery Barn Style

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Is there nothing more beautiful than hydrangeas in the spring? I could just look at them all day. I’m hoping to run to the market quite often this spring to pick up a bouquet that can sit on my table. Flowers bring a home to life!

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Another love I have is animal print! I won’t wear fur but I certainly like faux fur blankets and pillows. Spring can still be chilly so I like to keep around the cozy luxuries of the winter. Honestly though, when is animal print not in style? Always appropriate!

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I also adore crisp white bedding with distinct spring/summer colored accessories. Throw pillows and blankets really make a bedroom inviting. When I retreat to my room, I want to feel relaxed and content. Coordinating colors does just that for me.

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Do you see a trend here? I love animal print! Believe it or not, these are candles in jars covered with cheetah faux fur. You can score them for about $35. Still cheaper than Dyptique so count your blessings!

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Something I’m trying this spring is to mix cool and warm colors like this. The dark fur on the throws and the off-white throw with the gray tufted couch is really beautiful! Understated elegance at it’s finest.

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Last but not least, I’m in love with the way this dresser is set up. There’s a lot of interesting things going on here. The candelabras are several sizes, the glasses around them are very robust, and the tray to the left enhances that sense of height that the other objects give.

Tell me about your Pottery Barn love in a comment below!

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Tips for Spring Break at Disney World

magic_kingdom_castleLet me start out by saying this: I love Disney. As a seasoned guest of Walt Disney World and a former employee, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with new visitors to make their trips less stressful. I haven’t wrote much about my time in the Disney College Program, but I feel like spring breakers could benefit from my knowledge of this crazy, magical place! I interned at Disney World back in winter/spring 2013 and was there long enough to watch the huge crowds trickle in week after week to celebrate spring break. I was “stationed” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so most of my information is based on my knowledge of this park.

Walt Disney World Travel Tips

  1. Get to the parks early. It’s that simple. Be first in line when the parks open and run to the attraction you most want to see. After that, head over to the next biggest attraction you want to see. Within that first hour I can almost guarantee you’ll be able to hit all the major things on your list with minimal wait time.
  2. Parades are your friend. If you don’t want to see the park’s signature parade, then this is a great time to hop on rides and see a few shows. People flock to the parades and the wait time for attractions goes down, just be sure to be on the side of the park you need to be on because when a parade goes through they shut entire areas down to walking traffic.
  3. Get the pesky brochures. At the entrance of every park you will find an array of pamphlets and brochures outlining everything there is to know about the park you’re in. I suggest grabbing a map, character meet and greet guide, and a show time guide to minimize the amount of time you spend wandering around trying to find something.
  4. Understand how character meetings work. As a former character attendant (glorified body guard and time disney_character_attendant keeper), I can tell you from experience that the characters have incredibly strict schedules. I can also tell you that with certain characters especially in Hollywood Studios, they run on a 25 minute on, 5 minute off schedule. This schedule runs about 8 or more hours a day. The character has 25 minutes to meet his fans and is then given a 5 minute warning from his handler that he needs to finish up with his meet and greet. Then, the character gets a 5 minute break before returning to his line of waiting guests. Also, character will likely not be out during parade times. Why? Because most of them are in the parade!
  5. Have a schedule. Before heading to each park, make a list of what you want to see and do the most. Schedule out what time you want to arrive at the park and when you want to leave. My advice? Get to the park when it opens and stay until lunch time when everyone is getting tired. Return to your hotel and relax by the pool and take a nap. Around 4 or 5, head back into the parks to enjoy the evening festivities (fireworks every night in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot). Trust me, this saves a lot of stress and fatigue.
  6. Take advantage of the “Extra Magic Hours”. This particularly applies to the crazy college kids who are used to being up until midnight or later. Every night one park will either open an hour early or stay open 2 hours late. Find out which park is staying open late and enjoy those hours. Typically, the smaller children have fallen asleep and are headed back to the hotel and you can finally enjoy those little kid attractions you’ve been dying to get on (think Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom).
  7. Pack for Florida weather. Florida is unpredictable in the spring. As an attendant, at any given time I had with me a water bottle, rain poncho, sunscreen, and lip balm. You never knew what was going to happen. Take a drawstring backpack with you (not the time to sport your new Kate Spade tote) and throw in some all-weather gear. You’ll thank me for this.
  8. Do not have melt downs. Do you know how many times I’ve seen people absolutely lose it over something because of stress? This is a vacation. Take everything with a grain of salt and just enjoy the day. The funny thing about Disney World is that you don’t typically walk away remembering every single ride you went on or show you saw, you only remember who you were with and the laughter you shared. If you don’t make it to see a show, who cares? Find something new to enjoy. I promise you that your vacation will not be near as wonderful if you get caught up in the details.

If you have anything to share, please feel free to comment below!

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