Review: Sally Hanson French Manicure

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a week since my last post and I apologize–things got a bit hectic but are back on an even keel.  Last week I went to the beach for the day with my mom and grandmother and was planning to take pictures with my new schnazzy camera but alas that didn’t happen, next time.

I did have a chance to try out a new product.  I’ve been loving Sally Hansen Salon Effects for a few years now and use them regularly.  I always get compliments when I wear them and I appreciate that they are more like nail polish strips than fake nails.  I also love the look of a French Manicure.  So I was super excited when I found a French Manicure version: Salon Effects French Manicure.  So of course I bought it and last week I tried them on for size.

Nail Polish RemoverGot to start with remover and I actually liked these remover pads that were only ninety nine cents, great deal for 32 pads and yummy strawberry smell!  It also only took one pad to get of all the polish on my nails which is always an accomplishment because I feel like I have to always douse acetone on a cotton ball five times before I can get all the polish off my nails!



Salon Effects French Manicure   Nails with nothing

So I thought the nails were beautiful looking and not super complicated to put on.  Basically you put on the white strip, lined up with the top of your nail and then the clear/pink part lines up with your cuticle.


Post manicure   Post manicure Post Manicure



Sadly the nails didn’t last very long.  They were already peeling by the next day.  I think I might have just been a little too rough on them because generally speaking I feel like the Sally Hansen nail strips are good products.

Pompeian Olive Oil BBQ & a New Camera!

Bzz Agent Pompeian Olive Oil

So I mentioned last week that I got this sweet bottle of olive oil through Bzz Agent.  I also got a new camera!!  I am super excited about both.

After some research and consulting with a family friend who is into photography, I chose the Canon T3i Rebel with the 18-125 lens.  So far I haven’t taken it off automatic but I’ll get there soon!


Here’s a shot of the new camera:

New Camera


My plan is to keep playing around and take some awesome pictures and also probably sign up for a class to learn even more skills.

In the meantime, I decided to use the new camera to take some pictures of my mad grilling skills, jk-I’ve never really grilled before and I’ve certainly never used my parents fancy grill BUT there’s a first time for everything and I’m happy to report that the house and grill are still functioning (well except for the fact that the folks burned up some eggplant last night and almost started a fire but can’t blame me, I wasn’t home!)

So first the caramelizing of the onions.  I don’t know about you but my favorite thing on hamburgers is fancy ingredients and what is more fancy than caramelized onions?  I know most people think it’s a huge pain in the butt and takes forever to caramelize them but they are so good and really it only took me about half an hour.

I broke out my new bottle of olive oil and chopped up an onion and set it on the stove.  I kept the heat at medium, after the olive oil soaked up, I added a bit of water, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar and then as the pieces browned, I stirred them a bit.

Caramelized Onion

The process from start to finish.  Pretty easy!  In the meantime, I fired up the grill and I’ll be honest, I cheated a little and bought pre-formed patties from my favorite grocery store in Portland, New Seasons.  I could write a whole post on why I love New Seasons but I’ll save that for another time.

Grill Time

Yum!  At the end I added the onions, tomato, lettuce, a tad of mayo and bbq sauce to my burger on a sourdough bun.  So good!  I also made some corn on the grill but was hungry and didn’t let it stay on long enough so it was a bit crunchier than it should have been but still delicious!  And I have to say, even just using the new camera on automatic still creates much better shots than the iPhone.  That’s not to say I won’t still use my iPhone because it’s convenient and always with me but I am planning to do more with the fancy camera!


Foodie Friday: Making Lemonade

For fourth of July, my mother had a huge bag of lemons and thoughts of making lemonade.  So she handed me the bag and said, Rachel, why don’t we make some lemonade?

I pulled up my handy friend Google and searched for some easy lemonade recipes.  Thankfully my mom has a great juicer so it was easy to get the lemons squeezed.  The first time I made it (July 4th) we made it simple:

1 cup lemon juice

Simple Syrup (1 cup sugar (we used splenda) and 1 cup water boiled together until it was blended)

4 cups cold water.

Making Lemonade   Making Lemonade


The simple syrup was actually a lot easier to make than I thought it was going to be and I am going to try and make some simple syrup to keep in the fridge to drink with iced tea this summer.

Making Lemonade       Making Lemonade


Friday night we decided to get a little fancy and add strawberries to the mixture.

Making Lemonade  Making Lemonade


We muddled some of the strawberries with the simple syrup and then cut the rest to float in the lemonade.  It was super delicious.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the pitcher but now that I know how easy it is to make, I will definitely be making this often this summer and I’d love to try it with different things.

Two things I would like to try with the lemonade: put some lavender in with the simple syrup as it cooks for lavender infused lemonade; and grow some spearmint and muddle that for the amazing Israeli drink, limonana.  Yum!  I can’t wait!

Making Lemonade     Making Lemonade

On My Bookshelf: Collateral by Ellen Hopkins


Collateral Have you ever started a book and struggled?  Not because you didn’t like it but because it was just too much?

I don’t have this happen often but it is happening now with this book.  I am reading Collateral on my nook by Ellen Hopkins.  At first I was confused because it’s written in free-form poetry and I wasn’t expecting that.  I thought that it was the prologue and then the rest of the book would be a regular fiction novel.  After about chapter three (it’s a 600 page book) I looked on Good Reads and realized that this is Hopkins method of writing.  So no big deal, I adjusted my thought process and continued reading.


Well I am now on about page 250 and I just had to put the book down last night.  I have no real connection to American soldiers–I know very few people who have been to Iraq or who are even military or military families.  This story is about a non-military girl who falls in love with a Marine and their relationship.  I know based on the blurbs that she starts up with a non-military person at some point in the book but so far, she’s just met that other person.

I’m not sure what it is that’s hitting me about this book.  My only real background with military is the fact that in Israel, where I lived for four years, everyone is required to serve.  I received an exemption from the military based on the fact that I was injured in a bombing but everyone I know who lives there still did serve and I know that some of them have been through some horrific things during their time.

Perhaps my struggle with this book is how close to terrorism it is.  Although there is no terrorist attack happening in the book, we do hear about Cole, the boyfriend’s, experiences in Iraq.

I’m not sure what it is about this book but it is having a profound effect on me and even though I really want to plow through and finish reading it because it is so well written, I’m having to take a breather from it.

Has that happened to you?  What books have caused you to need some space away?

Winner freebies!

A couple of cool packages came this week!  The first from Bzzz Agent:

Bzz Agent Pompeian Olive Oil         I got a bottle of Pompeian Olive Oil free to try!  It may be the Italian in me but I LOVE Olive Oil and use it to cook with more than I use butter, margarine or any other oils.  I love the taste and the simplicity and am looking forward to cooking with this one or just using it to dip some good bread into!

Also, a few weeks back I won a giveaway hosted by Jessica at Frikken Duckie (LOVE the name!!!!!) to Lotus Blossom Design.  There were so many gorgeous pieces to choose from and it literally took me three weeks to finally decide what to get!  I love what I ordered and how pretty it was when it came:

A Lotus Blossom Design

How pretty is everything packaged!  And the thank you card was such a sweet touch!

So the first necklace I chose was actually inspired by Frikken Duckie and I FELL IN LOVE with it!

Frikken Duckie Necklace It actually goes really well with a pair of earrings I got from Lace Affair in December so I wore them together out karaoking with friends Friday night and love how they looked together.
The second necklace was equally as gorgeous but now I can’t find the name of the necklace nor do I see it on their website but here is a picture of it:

Lotus Blossom Design

I love it!  I actually loved it so much I gave it to my mom to wear on Friday!  So we were both wearing the necklaces I got on Friday!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve done pretty well with the giveaways.  I also won a giveaway from Sara Elizabeth from Pearls & Curls.  Have you seen those awesome Vino2Go cups from Product Farm?  I have and I’ve been wanting one since the first one I saw because I love wine!  I won one from Sara Elizabeth and it arrived yesterday!  Of course I had to break it open right away:

Vino2Go  Vino2Go Vino2Go

And break out the wine:

Vino2Go  Vino2Go

And relax in the amazing weather we’ve been having:


Yup, living the nice life!

Some big changes coming up: I bought a fancy camera!  No more (soon) iphone pictures dominating my blog!  It should arrive tomorrow so I’ll post about that.  Also, I am changing my blog name and rebranding!  I’ve decided now that I’m posting regularly and getting into the blogging world, I should have a blog name that people can pronounce so be on the lookout for that release!

I’m also going to my first blog event on Saturday!  I cannot wait to tell you all about that!!!

Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap


I was so excited to be a part of my second swap!  It was just as fun as the first!  I was paired with Dawn from Born to Fly.

The rules were to send three books.

1.  A Book You Love

2.  A Book You Haven’t Read

3.  A Book Your Partner Wants

Here’s a look at the books I received:

Books 'n' Bloggers Swap


Books 'n' Bloggers Swap   Books 'n' Bloggers Swap

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.  This was the book that Dawn wanted to read but hasn’t yet.

From the back:

Becky Bloomwood has what most young women only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the seasons’s must-haves.  The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it–not any of it.  Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all.  Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes?  Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique? But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank–letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read–and they’re getting ever harder to ignore.  She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money.  But none of her efforts succeeds.  Her only consolation is to buy her self something. . . just a little something. . . Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life–and the lives of those around her–forever.

I’ve been a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella for a long long time and this was a great one!

Books 'n' Bloggers Swap  Books 'n' Bloggers Swap

A book I’ve (Dawn’s) read: The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy.

From the Back:

On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful, young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot.  The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia-and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history.

Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends and rivals in love with the same woman.  But both are obsessed with the Dahlia–driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death.  Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl’s twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches–into a region of total madness.

I have heard of this book/movie but haven’t read it so I’m super excited to read this, probably next month by the pool in Vegas!

Books 'n' Bloggers Swap

A book on my wish list: The Little Bride by Anna Solomon.

From the back:

When sixteen-year-old Minna Losk journeys from Odessa to America as a mail-order bride, she dreams of a young, wealthy husband; a handsome town house; and freedom from physical labor and pogroms.  But her husband, Max, turns out to be twice her age, rigidly Orthodox, and living in a one-room sod hut in South Dakota with his two teenage sons.  The country is desolate, the work treacherous.  Most troubling, Minna finds herself increasingly attracted to her older stepson.  As a brutal winter closes in, the family’s limits are tested, and Minna, drawing on strengths she barely knows she has, is forced to confront her despair, as well as her desire.

I’m not sure where I first read about this book but it sounded fascinating and I’m super excited to read this one.

Thanks, Dawn, for the awesome books!  I’m super excited to have some good summer reading ahead!  To see what I sent Dawn, take a look over on her blog, Born to Fly!


June Birchbox

So it may be the first of July but I still haven’t posted my June Birchbox stuff.  Well this time not only are you going to get to see mine, you’re going to see what my mother got as well!

I gave my mother a three month subscription for her birthday/mother’s day and I was here for the second of the boxes.  It was a lot of fun to open them together and also be ablet o trade some stuff.  So without further ado:

June Birchbox      June Birchbox

So much fun to see two pink boxes instead of one!

June Birchbox    June Birchbox


The top one is my mom’s and the bottom one is mine.

Now for the products:


June Birchbox This was in my mom’s box and it’s a matchbox full of mini filers.  Since she totally used and destroyed the last one I got from Birchbox, we split this box.  I love them.  I love the fun colored polka dots and the teeny size of them.  I keep mine next to my bed and anytime I’m feeling the urge to file, I just grab one!


June BirchboxAlso mom, not sure if she’s had a chance to use them.






June Birchbox Rein in Spain.  I took this because she got a similar reddish polish in her box last month.  I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.




June Birchbox Also in mom’s box, but I had this last month and loved the cucumbery smell and it kept me from getting burned.






June BirchboxAlso in mom’s box, also something I got last month.  I totally might steal this when I finish mine.  It’s an Australian lipgloss and the color is perfection and just a great punch of moisturizer. Love love love!




June BirchboxSo Birchbox was rebranded this month and the theme was wandering.  I loved these postcards that came and think they would look cute framed in an office or bathroom.  Super cute, don’t want to mail them!




June BirchboxThis was in my box, I love a good mask and haven’t had chance to try it yet but am looking forward to it.




June BirchboxAlso in my box.  I liked the subtle mint smell and the moisture but the color was a bit bright for me.  I might give this to my mom.  She can rock the brighter colors better than I can.



June BirchboxI do love Origins products- I’m using that brand for my under eye cream right now.  I traded this with my mom for one of her things.




June BirchboxLondon Calling.  I like the minty color.  My first attempt at putting this on was unsuccessful but I do like the color so I will try again.





June BirchboxGood scent but overall bored with all the perfume samples so I gave this to my mom.




So, I think between the two of us it was a good haul.  I look forward to our shared boxes next month!

I subscribe and pay to this monthly service and have been loving it for the last year.  If you are interested in getting in on the fun, click on this link and pass some points onto me!