Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Real Deal Hot Chocolate

      Here's the deal:  I can't stand most hot chocolate.  For some reason a lot of us tend to make our hot chocolate with water (not always, but much of the time) and we wonder why it's just not creamy tasting.  Basically making it with milk makes all the difference, but I have come up with my own recipe that is simple yet packs a lot of sweeeet chocolaty goodness.

Two, well...three things I love about Dove Dark Chocolate: 1). It's really smooth and rich, not grainy in the least.  2). It's not bitter.  3). It's about $.89 cents per bar.

If you please, my own Dove dark hot chocolate recipe:

For one serving, you'll need: 
                   Small sauce-pan
                   1 cup of 2% milk (one cup per serving)  *vegan option: replace with vanilla rice milk
                   Half a bar of Dove Dark Chocolate
                   Vanilla Extract
Mix one cup of milk with half a bar of Dove dark chocolate on low heat.

Stir continuously on low heat to melt the chocolate.  It will be a bit grainy at first, but keep stirring.

After about 5 minutes of stirring the mixture will definitely start to look more "chocolaty", so don't be too concerned with adding more chocolate.  At this point you're going to add a drop of vanilla extract, (a little goes a long way!) and stir for another minute.

Pour the mixture into a glass or mug and add a dash of cinnamon!

Another thing I love about this recipe, is that you only need half a bar of this chocolate per serving, so you can easily do two servings with one bar!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Comfy Cozy Winter

By now we are on the better side of Winter (near the end, snark).  Although spring is coming up fairly soon it's still quite chilly, so I still need something that keeps me warm yet looks chic. I love the look of cozy sweaters and a simple pair of black yoga pants with boots.  I don't know what it is about the color gray, but I'm always drawn to it, and it happens to be my best neutral besides white.  If you're not into gray, then just choose a favorite neutral of your own!

I love the knit of this sweater because it's warm, but fine, so you can definitely carry this look into spring.

The sweater is a high-low style (which I am loving right now!) and it's from Forever 21. Unfortunately I couldn't find the exact sweater on the website for you, but here's a similar style.  Yoga pants are from Marshalls.  Boots are by Bare Traps and you can find them here.  They also come in a wide calf size.

Pair with a simple statement piece of jewelry. Bracelet by Michael Kors

If you're wanting to add a pop of color, try a bright scarf, which also adds to the cozy factor.  :D

What are your winter style staples to keep you warm?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cake Stand Hunting

On Saturday I went "thrifting", as I like to call it, with my mom.  I was looking for a couple crystal or glass cake stands in order to make a sort of decorative and organizational piece for all my makeup/hair stuff. I didn't end up finding exactly what I was looking for (seems to be the nature of thrift shopping sometimes), but I did find a couple awesome things while I was out.  There are some truly fantastic antique and consignment shops in Ann Arbor, you just need to know where to look.  Without further adieu here are a couple of the places my mom and I ended up at this weekend!


This place has been around for a while, (years ago I found a great vintage swimsuit here), and they specialize in estate liquidations. They also have an Ebay site you can shop. This place is small, with lots of heart. Their collection is researched and reasonably priced.

I love love love old books, and I found a very adorable copy of Little Women, Volume I.

Looked inside to see how old the book was; it was published in 1869, just a year after volume I was originally published. Yes I bought it! 

This little blue plate was only $2.00, and I figured it would make a great addition to my organizational scheme.  Love the color!

Another great place we visited was West Side Furniture Consignment Emporium.  The cool thing about this place, is they want to see all their stuff go, so if an item doesn't sell they lower the price every couple of weeks. It's a mix of antique items and (relatively) newer high quality furniture. The prices are already reasonable, so if you keep an eye out, you can snag some great deals.  If you're like me, and want to furnish your home with vintage furniture, this is the first place to check out.

In case you're wondering, they DO sell other items besides furniture.  You'll find a lot in this place.

One of the things I like about this place, other than the awesome prices, is the organization of the place.  It's clean and well kept, mixing old and newer pieces.  

I loved this old desk with it's paper compartment for letter writing.  Fantastic find, wish I needed a desk!

Well, that's it for this thrifting weekend, hopefully I can find my cake stands soon!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

All Natural Hair Mask

I love do it yourself beauty treatments.  The good ones can save you money, because most of the time the ingredients are simple (usually only 2-3 ingredients needed at most) and many of the items are already home necessities, so chances are high that you already have the stuff you need.  I had heard about the conditioning benefits of coconut oil and honey for hair and face. I read that this particular mask makes the hair very shiny. Yes, I'll take that! The recipe for the hair mask, I found online.  You only need the two ingredients; coconut oil and honey (two teaspoons of coconut oil and two teaspoons of honey), as well as a microwave to heat the two ingredients for 30 seconds.

*Make sure the bowl is microwavable, I used a small Pyrex bowl.
Be very careful when you take the bowl out of the microwave, the oil is going to be very hot.

You want the mixture to be hot, but not so hot that it's going to scald your scalp. You might need to wait a few minutes for it to cool a bit.  The recipe stated that you need to remix the oil and honey before applying, as the oil and honey will naturally separate.  I did mix, but waited a few more minutes for the mixture to cool off a bit more (it was still too hot).  After these few minutes *I should have mixed again, as the oil and honey started to separate yet again, bahh!*  I ended up getting more oil in my roots (which proved quite difficult to thoroughly rinse out) and more honey saturating the ends of my hair.  The woman who had posted the recipe I followed used apple cider vinegar to "restore the natural PH in the hair".  I skipped this step, but I might try it next time.  Overall the hair mask worked pretty well.  I rinsed the mask out, then shampooed as usual. *Make sure to really concentrate at the roots to get all the oil out*. I didn't use conditioner afterwards.

I used a detangler before combing through my hair and using the hair dryer. The results of the mask were most noticable at the ends of my hair.

I have fine hair, so I get split ends very easily.  This mask sealed a lot of my split ends (must have been the honey!) By the way, it was hard getting a good shot of my hair, how do other bloggers take pictures of their hair?

Overall I didn't think my hair wasn't noticibly more shiny after using this mask, which dissapointed me a little. But I do think the mask helped to strengthen my hair and add moisture, which is something I needed from this nasty winter weather!

*P.S. A word of warning: From what I have read, this mask can lighten your hair over time.  Especially if you're in an area with a lot of sun.  I like to use a hair spray with a UV protection ingredient.