Foodie Fridays: My Birthday, Salt and Straw, Kugel!

I turned 31 last week, eek!  I’m trying to start my 31st birthday on a healthy kick. . . I am doing the C25K app with my mom three times a week and yoga an hour every day–feeling great!  I’m also trying to eliminate non-natural ingredients out of my beauty products and food-I’ll write more about that in a future post.

In the meantime, my birthday was a great time!  It was the first time in several years that I haven’t been working on my birthday–the life of a camp professional involves summer working :).  I started the day at my favorite massage place: Coldwater Creek Spa and had a 90 minute massage with scalp addition–heaven!  I had a $20 coupon for my birthday and they took that off the total of the treatment which was awesome!  Then I walked around the outdoor mall and went to The Loft where I had $15 to spend from a birthday coupon.  I found a cute shirt on the sales rack but it rang up full price.  The lady knew that I had found it on the clearance section so gave it to me for $15 which meant it was a free to me shirt!

Then I brought flowers to my mom, after all, she’s the one who did the hard work!  The biffle sent me flowers and balloons–non helium because I can’t stand those!

Birthday Balloons

The tradition in our house is either we pick a place to go eat or my mother will make dinner.  I decided since it had been years I wanted my mom to make me dinner.  So she made my favorite childhood dinner-one that I had for many birthdays: Marinated grilled salmon, sweet noodle kugel and salad with creamy french dressing (homemade).  Because the kugel is so amazing I am going to share the recipe at the end of the post.

Birthday DinnerSweet amazing food!

Then we went to Salt and Straw.  This is similar to Ample Creamery which I went to with the bestie in April or May.  We happened to get there right before the line was out the door and around the corner so we only waited about twenty minutes.  Well worth it!  Salt and Straw Ice Cream

I tried a bunch of them and they were great!  I tried the Pear and Blue Cheese and thought it was really good but wasn’t sure about a whole cup of it.  I ended up getting the Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and the Sea Salt Caramel.  I was not disappointed!

Salt and Straw


I loved the mugs!  The decor was very industrial which works for the neighborhood it was in.  I went with my mom, brother, grandmother and my Portland grandmother (not officially a grandmother but she has been since I was a year old!)


My Portland grandma is on the top and my brother, mom and grandmother on the bottom.  She’s looking good for 90!

Now. . . kugel.  This recipe first came about at my Bat Mitzvah-the caterer made it for Saturday lunch and it has been a family favorite ever since.

Maxine’s Kugel


4 eggs

8 ounces sour cream (I usually use non-fat)

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1 quart non-fat milk

6-7 ounces dry noodles

1/2 cup cornflakes

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Directions:  In 9×13 pan, place 6-7 ounces dry noodles.  Pour mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, sour cream and margarine and stir.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Mix cornflakes, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over kugel and bake one more hour.

That’s it!  Super easy and super tasty!  It works great with a bagel and lox brunch or as a side dish with fish, etc.



July Birchbox

I know, I know, it’s August and I’m just now getting up my Birch Box up from July.  Let’s say I had a great birthday last week and continued the celebration :).

Sadly this was the last month that my mom was getting the Birch Box, I had given her a three month subscription for her birthday and mother’s day but she’s decided not to continue on.  Also, she got hers several days before I got mine so we had two separate openings.

Her box arrived first:

July Birch Box  July Birch Box


This month’s theme was Suits which I didn’t quite get but ok.

July Birch Box  July Birch Box

Cute hair clips!  Cute mom!  She also got a perfume sample which she liked the smell of.

July Birch Box

My birch box arrived later in the week.

I was excited that it didn’t include perfume samples because I don’t love those.  I also loved the fact that I got the same hair clips as my  mom–super cute and super useful!

July Birch Box  July Birch Box


Love the hair clips, not sure about the curl keeper.  I tried it and it didn’t seem to do much for my curls.

July Birch Box  July Birch Box


I haven’t had a chance to use the bright trio and I’m not a fan of CC creams so not sure what I’m going to do about that.

July Birch Box


I haven’t tried this yet.

So honestly, I started getting Ipsy bag (I’ll post about my first one soon) and I liked the items much better and for the same price, I might stop Birch Box for a bit.  I’m also trying out Brit + Co which is crafting stuff.  So I might change it up.

I purchase these every month.  If you are interested in Birch Box, please use my link so I can earn points!  Birch Box link 🙂


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.

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!!!

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!

Influenster Box-Palmolive Dish Soap

So how many people actually like doing dishes?  I’m going to venture to guess not many.  One of the worst things about living in New York (besides the tiny kitchens and shared bathrooms!) was the fact that we didn’t have a dishwasher.  I’ll be honest, this made me less inclined to cook.  There are definitely dishes I will put into the dishwasher and dishes that I will was by hand (pots, knives, anything wooden, etc) but nothing is worse than making a huge meal and then have to go back and wash all the dishes.  So I’m quite glad to be back in the land of personal bathrooms and dishwashers!

But right before I left New York, influenster was kind enough to send me two full sized Palmolive soft touch dish soap.  I felt super lucky because I know a lot of people had broken bottles full of dish soap and mine was intact.  I received a coconut one and a pretty pink vitamin E.

I gave the coconut to my biffle and kept the pink one to bring back to Oregon with me.  Both my mom and I have been using the vitamin E for about three weeks now and really love it.  It’s getting our orange juicer clean every morning (yes, one of the amazing benefits of living at home with my mother is a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice every morning!  I also love the smell and the cute pink color ain’t so bad either.

Palmolive and the Biffle


The biffle, posing outside our fabulous brownstone, also enjoyed it.  She loved the fresh coconut smell and was thrilled to have received a full bottle of dish soap right when she had run out of it.

She took a coupon and we gave some to her mother who just moved to a new place and definitely needed dish soap!

I will definitely be purchasing Palmolive dish soap again and appreciate the opportunity that influenster and Palmolive gave me to write my first review!



I received this item as a gift from Palmolive but all opinions are my own.