Friday, April 29, 2011

The Food Post, Part 1

I'm a foodie. I not only eat food to live but I live to eat food. Good food. Good healthy food. Usually the best healthy food is made right here at home but this post is about the good healthy food we find while out and about.

Husband and I are very loyal customers. We try many different restaurants and when we find a place that we like we visit frequently... so much so that some places upon us just walking into the establishment renders our food orders automatically placed with all the substitutions and special preparation methods we request to suit our healthy eating lifestyle. It kinda makes me feel like a rock star sometimes, I'm not gonna lie! =)

So, I decided to share with you the wonderful places we go and what we like to eat. If you're in the area, I suggest you give these places a try. The menus usually range from tame food items like chicken fingers and fries to somethings more adventurous like cheddar cheese ice cream. So you're bound to find something that meets your eating style requirements.

Crazy 8 Local Chow spots:

8. The Greek Wraps (75th Ave and Bell Rd) Granted I personally have never been to the middle east but I know good food when I eat it. Authentic or not, the food is totally worth the 20 minute drive on one of the busiest streets in NW Phoenix. We usually get the Chicken Shawarma (made with chicken thighs) then switched to the Original Chicken Kabob because it's made with chicken breasts and topped with veggies, garlic sauce, and hummus.

7. Babbo Italian Eatery (Reems Rd and Bell Rd) Really good modern Italian food. Not so heavy with the creams and the cheeses but enough to get us hooked in the first place. The menu is really impressive with loads of different dishes to choose from and they offer whole wheat pasta which is what gets my husband to go back. Now, my weak point is and always has been, SWEETS. So when I find a cakey, sweet creamy, coffee infused dessert I literally go weak in the knees. Babbo's tiramisu is so simple but ridiculously delicious I couldn't fight off the temptation to eat it the last time we were there.

6. Ben's Hot Bagels (Grand Ave and Bell Rd) This is a tiny little whole in the wall bagel shop and boy it is AMAZING! We go every Sunday morning as our once a week breakfast outing and switch to Friday mornings during Lent (because I don't eat meat on Fridays). They have fresh baked bagels every morning starting at 6am. We don't do empty carbs so eating a bagel is a real treat for us. Ben's Bagels have completely impressed us with their healthier options. Our Novas are prepared with a toasted whole wheat bagel, low fat cream cheese, onions, tomato and Nova Scotia smoked salmon.  We've tried many of their other bagels and haven't been disappointed. But this Nova is why we have been going back from almost 4 years.

5. Different Pointe of View (7th St and Tapatio Cliffs Dr) This place makes my head spin just typing about it- it's THAT good. Good sounds like a severe understatement when describing this restaurant. First off, it's not just your typical restaurant. This is a five star restaurant associated with the Hilton Hotel situated atop the Squaw Peak Mountain in Northern Phoenix. They have a five star staff who not only knows food and wine but actually enjoys playing a role in making this a great experience for their customers. This is the priciest place we've ever been to, I think, ever. But it's so worth it that we've been back more than half a dozen times in the two years it's been since we've discovered it. The menu changes slightly but their signature dishes are always available.

We start off with their Kobe short ribs which is prepared with wild mushrooms and a sweet blueberry sauce and the lobster bisque. Our main courses vary since eating here doesn't cater to our health what so ever, we like to try the most extravagant meal available.

Dessert is a time for us to explore as well but since we hardly ever eat dessert to begin with, I always have to fight the urge to settle for their expertly executed creme brulee. One of our friends was daring enough to try the cheddar cheese ice cream and he didn't even offer to share because he wanted it all to himself!

Sweet corn cake with strawberries and rhubarb

Panna cotta w/ Cuba Libre Ice cream

We made the mistake of hosting a birthday party here once and I think the overall experience was diluted because of all the chaos and the initial sticker shock of the food and wine. However, we do recommend this place for an anniversary or romantic birthday dinner. 

The Terrace Room image courtesy Tapatio Cliffs Hilton

Main dining room image courtesy Tapatio Cliffs Hilton

Well here you have our first half of our favorite places to dine and an idea of what we order. Stay tuned for part two of this post!

Thanks for viewing! Feel free to leave a comment below if you've enjoyed these places or if you have any suggestions for us to try!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Just Face it and Make up!

My skin care routine has been a never ending process to find the best products that suit my skin. Products that work really well during one season wreaks havoc on my skin during the next. I've tried a good handful of drug store brands and for awhile they've suited my needs, but not anymore. Since living in Arizona is kind of a challenge when it comes to skin care and make-up, you know, with the dryness in general but the excessive heat (which eventually produces sweat) I wanted to share with you what I've found to be successful in these conditions.

I went to a skin care event hosted by Ulta a couple years back and I was introduced to a line called Exuviance. Since then I've been addicted to the facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer and face masques. I consider my skin to be a combination of sensitive and dry. This line offers a nice sud less facial cleanser that is so gentle that even when I forget to moisturize at night (which isn't often) my skin doesn't dry out. Anyway, below are the products that I use and where you can pick them up for yourself.

You can purchase these products at Ulta or directly from Neo Strata online.

I was in the market for bronzer and after much research and consideration these are the wonders that I've found! Tinted Self-Tanning lotion by L'Oreal dries super quick and produces a really nice deep tan. The lotion also doubles as a bronzer so it is packed with super fine shimmer powder which I really like! I build the tan by first exfoliating and moisturizing for three days. On day three I apply the lotion after my shower and repeat for two more days. The tan gets really deep and not at all orange, even my very pale blonde haired blue eyed husband uses it without streaks or oompa loompa-ish tones. I also like Jergens Natural Glow gradual sunless tanner for both body and face. As far as make-up type bronzers are concerned I have only tried Hard Candy's So Baked bronzer in Hula Hula. It's ridiculously perfect! It can be used dry which is the method I prefer, and produces a real natural looking sun kissed glow. The packaging also suggests that the product can be applied wet for a more concentrated effect.

All these products were purchased at Walmart

The following products are what you could find in my make-up bag for my everyday face.
     -I start with a clean and moisturized face then apply concealer where needed. This is Studio Gear's Hidden Agenda Concealer in medium.
     -Using my full coverage kabuki brush from Bare Escentuals I apply a light dusting of the Matte Foundation. I use two colors: Golden Medium (seen on left) during winter months and Golden Tan (on right) during the summer.
     -LA Splash has a great eye shadow primer that I use all the way up to my brows.
     -Revlon Brow Fantasy is fantastic for shaping, filling, and setting brows. They offer blonde and brunette shades.
     -I have a giant collection of eye shadows that I've collected over the year, I find myself using Ulta brand shadows frequently in Sin City and In the Buff (also Star Dust which might be discontinued since I can't find it online anymore). NYX has great colors that are really vibrant and non creasing. The pallets shown are in Honeycomb and Baby Pink/Cotton Candy/Spring Flower.
     -I finish up the eyes with a swipe of L'Oreal Felt tip liquid liner in Carbon Black and two coats of Mabelline's waterproof Great lash mascara in Very Black.
     -My cheeks are the last part I work on. I buff on Covergirl's Soft Sable (seen on left) during winter months and Natural Twinkle (on right) during the summer.

Lips are usually nude and glossy.

All these products can be found at Ulta or at your local drug store

Whew! What a GIANT post! Loads of info and I hope you found something useful here. If you have any questions or suggestions for similiar products, leave a comment below!

Talk soon Loveys!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let's start off nude.

Hello and welcome to my blog!! This is the first ever post on my first ever blog site and I couldn't be any more excited about it! I have always been interested in the idea of a blog but I just never had the time to sit down and just do it. But NOW is the time! So here we go!

This will be used as a catch all for things that make me happy. Whether it'd be clothes, make-up, travel, food, music, you name it- if it makes me happy I will share it with you!!!

This Spring I've been so enchanted with all things NUDE. Nude dresses, nude shoes, nude lips oh my!! This is the dress I picked up for my airport outfit the day that Husband came home from his deployment. Along with it is my newest obession, Vera Wang's blush pink platform stilletos. With these gorgeous stilts I boost my measly 5'3'' frame straight up to almost eye level with Husband's chin. He's 6'1''. And finally today after loads of research and endless amounts of online color matching quizzes I purchased these nude-ish lip colors by NYX. They're absolutely PERFECT!
Dress can be found at JC Penny; shoes can be found at Kohl's; cosmetics purchased from Ulta

Anyway, that's all I have for you today. Check back again soon for more goodies!

Toodles Loveys!