Archive for August 2015

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Spinach & Cream Cheese Puff Pastry

Monday, August 31, 2015
spankopita
Happy Monday! 

Today's post is a Puff Pastry Filled with Spinach, Cream Cheese, and Caramelized Onion. Growing up, my mother would always make these on special occasions like dinner parties & holidays. I love these pastries so much that whenever she makes them, I take a couple and wrap them in foil and hide them in the refrigerator for the next day. I did this because I always knew that these pastries get devoured that same night. Now that I know how to make these, I am very shocked at how simple they are, yet delightful and flaky and just scrumptious. These pastries are also known within the middle eastern dishes as a Boureka and also known as a Spanakopita within the Greek culture. However, a Boureka is just a flaky pastry filled with anything like cheese, ground beef, and spinach. While a Spanakopita is a pastry filled with spinach. The word Spanak means spinach. 


Here is what you will need: 

1.  8 oz. Packet of Cream cheese 
2.  Half Onion & 2 cloves of Garlic
3 .Box/Bag of frozen spinach 
4. Salt, Pepper, Crushed red pepper
5. 1 sheet of Store-bought puff pastry 

Directions: 
    
Preheat the oven 400 F

Take out the Puff Pastry from the fridge and allow to thaw 

1. Dice the onions and garlic thinly. Cook them in a little olive oil on medium to low heat for 6 min, or until they form a caramel color.

2. While the onions cook, drain the packet of frozen spinach, make sure there is no liquid remaining. 

3. In a bowl, mix the packet of cream cheese, spinach, caramelized onions, salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and you can add other dried herbs if you like. 

4. On a clean surface organize everything: Get a baking sheet and coat it with a little oil, get a small plate of whisked egg for coating and a plate of caraway seeds or sesame seeds for garnish. 

spanakopita

5. On a cutting board slowly take out your sheet of thawed puff pastry. Each box of frozen store bought puff pastry comes with two sheets. I used one sheet and made six large sized pieces, but you can make 9 smaller sized ones as well. I cut the sheet vertically two times and horizontally three times.

7. Get each square of pastry and with a roller pin slowly roll it. If your dough is sticking, just go ahead and place it in the fridge for a couple of minutes to let it form back. In the center of the dough, place a tablespoon of the spinach mixture. Take one corner and fold it to the opposite corner. Look at the picture to help you understand the shape. 

8. With a fork, make indents at the edges to help seal it and give it a nice design. 

9. With a cooking brush coat the pastry with the whisked egg and sprinkle some caraway seeds and sesame seeds (optional). Do the same process for the rest. 

10. When you are done assembling them, place the tray in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and when it gets a golden brown color, your will know it is ready. 



cheese and spinach puff pastry
cheese and spinach puff pastry
cheese and spinach puff pastry


There you have it! Super simple creamy spinach and cheese puff pastry! If you are a lover of the Starbucks spinach pastry, this one is ten times better. Make this for dinner parties or just a family gathering, they are a crowd pleaser and your guests will be impressed with your skills. ;)  

Download Recipe Card: 

recipe card: puff pastry

August Favorites

Sunday, August 30, 2015
                                 



It is the end of August, which means that summer is coming to an end *emoji sad face*, but on the bright side , fall is right around the corner. Fall  is my favorite season, I mean, come on: 

-  Pumpkin Spiced Latte ☕️                      
-  Cozy sweaters    
-  Cool, breezy weather
-  Boots( I love me some boots)               
-  Of Course, Dark Lips

I can not wait for FALL, but you know, despite favoring one season over the other, time is passing by faster and faster. Sometimes, I just want to pause the life clock to take a breather, but I can't. Therefore ladies, I hope you all had a beautiful August, and I wish everyone a happy September.  

Here is a quote that I put together by Robert Frost, it is stop on..
So, how about we all put are the best foot forward this September. Also, since I just went on and on about how I love fall, I think it is only fair that I get into my August favorites.



1. Mossimo Supply Co. Womans Sandal- White

I first came across this type of style sandal by Birkenstocks, but I was not ready to throw a whopping $100 for them. So when I found a similar pair at Target, discounted from $30 to $10, I had to purchase them. To my surprise, I did not think I would get much use out of the sandals because they are a bit bulky. However, they are very comfortable, like walking on pillows comfortable. They have been my go-to shoes this past month and will be for the next. I've worn them with maxi dresses, distressed jeans, and sweatpants. They pretty much pair well with many casual outfits. So if you can get your hands on a pair, go get one. They are really comfortable. 


I read a lot of great reviews on the Nest Candles, which is why I decided to try their fragrance. The scent is very fresh and earthy, but the one downside is that the scent fades pretty quickly. I would not wear this perfume to a party or a dinner out. It is a scent that is great to spray in a room or just during the day because it has a very clean and comforting smell. I purchased this for $12.99 ( I got it on sale).



 Neon/Bright colors were my go-to, and I loved wearing those colors on my toenails. When I wear the white sandals, the colors stand out and looks very summery. 


This past year, Rimmel's cosmetics, in general, have made quite an impression on me. For a brand so affordable (all their products are under $10.00), I tried some fantastic quality makeup from them.  Their Eye Shadow Paints are incredible, I did a review on them here.The more products I try, the more I want to explore other products. I picked the primer two week ago, and every day since,  I have been reaching for it. I did not expect much from the primer, but since I had great luck with the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 hour Foundation, I thought why not, let me give it a try. So glad that I did, the consistency is like a lotion but has a tacky feel, which allows the foundation to stick to it. The best thing about the primer is how light-weight and comfortable it feels on the skin. If you are looking for a primer that will increase the wear of your foundation, highly recommend checking this Rimmel primer one out. It is under $10; you can not go wrong with that. 


I always loved the look of distressed jeans, and it is a style that goes on trend and off. Eight years ago; I remember everyone wearing Abercrombie & Fitch flare distressed jeans. But then, it slowly went out of trend, and skinny jeans took its place. Now, it is back and sold everywhere. The pair I have is from American Eagle, and I like that it is light washed. I love pairing it with a plaid shirt and those white sandals: A great casual but cute weekend outfit. 



My next favorite is an an amazing skincare product that I talked about in my "New Skincare Products Review" post here. Amazing and effective, I am going to leave it at that. 


During the summer,  I am simple with my lips. I love wearing just a balm, and my favorite is the Elizabeth Arden Eight hour protectant and occasionally a tinted balm. But this past month, I found this amazing coral lip combination. Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Lodhi, it is a vibrant coral shade. The formula of the Nars pencils is phenomenal. They are super long wearing, and they deliver a high-intensity color payoff. Over the lip pencil, I apply a Laura Mercier Lip Gloss in Nectar, which is a pink-orange shade and that combination has been my go-to favorite in the month of August. The Laura Merceir lip gloss is the most flattering everyday color, but for me, it is the formula that I adore even more. The price tag fits the quality for sure, fantastic lip gloss, and I will be purchasing the full-size tube. 


August Favorites: White Sandals+Nails+Skin Care+ jeans+Lips

August Favorites: White Sandals+Nails+Nars Lip Pencil+ Jeans+Rimmel

I can go on and on all about my favorites from the month of August, but I thought seven is more than enough. Thank you so much for reading and now, I want to know what your favorites are?  Please share in the comments below, I would love to know! 

Again, Happy September! :)


30 miles a week Runner: What I eat in a Day

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Happy Thursday!

Today's post is a "What I eat in Day". I have stumbled upon many videos and posts on this topic and really enjoy seeing what others eat in a day. 

So I thought I would share what types of meals I would eat. I do run at least 5 miles 5 days a week. Therefore, I make it a "mission" to try and incorporate protein, veggies and fruits as much as  I can in my diet, so that I am fueled properly for my next run. I have posts on the subject of running: 

2. SUMMER RUNNING



If you are busy and making homemade meals is not possible, check out Caviar, which delivers food from your favorite restaurants right to your door. I partnered up with them, to let you know that new customers will get their first order delivery for free. Also, for a limited time,  Caviar is offering $15 off $50 for the first 100 new customers, so hurry and order for the first time from Caviar today.

Mornings 
I am not much of a breakfast person. Give me coffee and I am good to go. But lately, I have been consistent at incorporating some type of meal in the morning. My favorite has been:

1. Whole Grain Waffles
- With all natural peanut butter
- Fruits, chia seeds, coconut shreds and nuts.

2. Plate of fruits

3. Whole wheat toast: 
    -  Smashed avocado
    - Fresh thinly sliced mozzarella
    - Spinach
    - Sunny Side up egg with spinach cooked + Dried herbs
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Lunch

When I am not in school,  for instance, on the weekend I love making salads or panini's filled with veggies. 


1. Waffle with Peanut Butter & Fruits 

2.  Rye Toast with 
     -Labena, which is a middle eastern cheese spread but healthier or  Greek yogurt. 
     - Slices of tomatoes 
     - Drizzle of some olive oil + dried herbs 

3. Veggie Panini 
    - Baked Veggies: Carrots, Onions, Broccoli, Zucchini + Eggplant. Seasoned with garlic powder, pepper, dried herbs and olive oil. 
   - Toast 
   - Peper Jack cheese and put it in the panini 

4. Smoothie
 - I love making juices and smoothies. So this particular day I made a mint (a lot of it), kale, lemon juice, iced smoothie. YUM! It is so good and refreshing. 

4. Avocado on Toast 
   - Love having avocado with toast topped ith olive oil, herbs & crushed red peppers. 

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Dinner
1. Vegetable Soup with Asian flavors 

 A large bowl of hearty Vegetable soup with Asian flavors paired with whole grain bread for dipping. I coated the bread with olive oil, garlic + herbs. So delicious, filling and good for you! Let me know if you want me to share a recipe for this soup. 

 There your have it! Let me know what you eat in a day, fruits? Veggies ? or do you like hamburgers & fries? I want to know! 
P.S. I love French Fries lol 

Coupons for Caviar:

Coupon For Love with Food 

Coupon for Candy Club 

Coupons for Julep Beauty Box 



August Birthstone Welcome Box

New Skin Care Products Review

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Wednesday! 

Today's post is a review of some new skincare products that I have been testing out. A quick background about my skin. I have normal to acne prone skin type and my skin concern is discoloration/ hyperpigmentation that was left post acne. Also, I have found a life changing skin care regime that has cured my acne, and I will have a post soon talking all about that. If you are looking for some new skin care products than keep on reading.

Cleansers

1. Pacifica Natural Skin Care: Kale Detox Deep Cleansing Face Wash.

Pacifica is a natural skin care line,therefor, this cleanser does not contain sulfate. Sulfate is an ingredient that is mostly used in shampoos and face cleaners and their purpose is to foam and emulsify greasy like substances, i.e cash wash + shampoos.  Although it does not contain that ingredient, it still delivers foam, which I like.

Likes: I like that it is a gel consistency, foams well, smells like kale + herbs ( in a good and fresh earthy way) and does not strip my skin of its natural oils. The products that cater to oil & acne prone skin types tend to always to leave my skin feeling tight and uncomfortable.

I have been using this for about one month, morning and night. It cleans my face well and leaves it feeling fresh. The ingredients are fantastic, it contains super greens like kale, seaweed, and blue sea kale along with coconut water and clay. At night, I Like to take at least 60 seconds and work the product into my skin because it contains amazing antioxidants.

I purchased this from Ulta for $8, and I highly recommend checking this cleanser out.

P.S Do not use this to remove eye makeup, it will sting and irritate them badly!



2. Ren Clean Skin Care: May Blossom T- Zone Control Cleansing Gel

This cleanser is catered to normal & acne prone skin types. It's a gel consistency, does not leave your skin feeling tight, and has a minty fresh scent. I have had this product over 3 months and I used it on and off. Over all, it is pretty good cleanser. But, if I had to choose between the Pacifica or the Ren, go for the Pacifica. Ren is a luxury skin care line, and the face wash is priced over $20 and I did not see anything special using this face wash. If you are looking for a fantastic product from Ren, check out the Glycol Latic Radiance Renewal Mask. It is an amazing mask!



3. Estee Lauder: Take It Away Makeup Remover Lotion

I did not like this product at all. I love Estee Lauder as a brand they have great makeup and skin care products. But this particular makeup remover was a disaster. Mine is a deluxe sample that came as a gift with purchase. The consistency is a lotion, and that could be why it was not effective at removing my makeup. I use the Radha Beauty Coconut oil, and nothing compares to that. It is the best makeup remover of all time. I will stand by that claim, I wear waterproof mascara and that oil removes all of it and at the same time, nourishes my lashes and skin. Skip the Estee Lauder and check out Radha Beauty, I got mine from Amazon, and it is my holy grail product. I use it as a body moisturizer, makeup remover and hair mask.  Amazing multipurpose coconut oil. I did a review of their incredible eye cream, here.

4. Nip + Fab: Overnight Wrinkle Fix 

Where to begin? P.S There will be another in-depth post on this serum/treatment when I finish the product. I picked this up from Tj Max, for only $5, I got lucky because this retails for $15. Nip + Fab is a UK brand, and you an purchase it in the US at Target and Ulta. I am beyond impressed with this gel treatment. I use it every night, and I am on my third week. The second day I used this, I saw instant results.  I remember looking in the mirror and noticing how even the texture of my skin looked. The ingredients in the treatment are very effective. One particular ingredient that I love is Retinol. This ingredient functions to speed cell turnover in the skin, which helps to reduce hyper pigmentation and the texture of the skin.

The three effective ingredients are :

1. Retinol: I am a fan of Retinol because it reduces the appearance of fine lines and discoloration.
2. Hyaluronic Acid: Smoothes the skin and restores moisture.
3. Rosehip oil: Replenishes the skin

I highly recommend checking out this product. A tip that I do when it comes to shopping for skin care is to shop for ingredients, not brand or claims, by doing this, you will come across great products that deliver quality and effective results.

Okay, there you have it, some likes and dislikes of new skin care products I have tired.

Let me know if you have tried any of these products, or you're interested in checking some of them out.



Thanks for reading! xo A

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August Birthstone Welcome Box

Take this Beauty Quiz to unlock a Personalized Beauty Box - FREE to New Maven Subscribers

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

   Happy Tuesday! 

I am really excited about today's post. It is for all you beauty junkies out there; I have a great deal for you guys. Take this fun beauty quiz and Julep will curate a FREE four-piece beauty box for you based on your beauty style profile when you join Julep Maven! Or you can choose from the two free boxes below.

    Curated Welcome Box Offer

Julep is a beauty subscription box that delivers full-size products right to your door. The great thing about this subscription is that you can cancel anytime, and they are the only company that delivers customizable full-size products.



Here is 2 of my favorite first free boxes you can choose from:

1: White Hot Neutrals Free Welcome Box 

If you love neutrals, you will love this box. What is so great about the polishes is  that have a breakthrough oxygen technology, which lets your nails breath and grow healthy.


AlainaWhite Hot Neutrals Welcome Box






2: Korean Skin Care Free Welcome Box 

In this box you will get three fantastic products for free. I have the exfoliating Konjac cleansing sponge and it is amazing.  Also, you get a full size cleanser and a beautiful nail polish.











You want a customized free box, take this Quiz . Your first free customized beauty box will feature Poppy, a Vibrant azalea pink shimmer polish plus three additional full-sized surprise beauty products (some of Julep’s featured items include Plush Pout lip crayons, gel eye liners, and Luxe on your Lips gloss). You’ll get this limited-time curated Welcome Box valued at $50+ (just pay $2.99 shipping) when you sign up for a Julep subscription.

I highly recommend taking up this opportunity, since it is limited time (the customized one), which is why I wanted to share this with you guys.  Two years ago; I received my first free box, and I loved it. But now you get makeup and skincare products added added as well, and the value is over $50 for free. Also,  if you do not want to continue after you get your free box, you can cancel anytime.

If you want to continue with the subscription after you get your first free one, then keep on reading to know more.


Thanks for reading!
  Let me know which free box your interested in getting? 
I really like the skin care box :) 

xo A




August Birthstone Welcome Box







Crispy Herb Three-Cheese Jalapeño Poppers

Monday, August 24, 2015
Happy Monday! 



Today's post is a recipe on the best tasting Jalapeño Poppers. I know, first sentence of the post and I am already making heavy claims. But seriously, this Herb Cheese Jalapeño Poppers recipe is easy, delicious, crispy and perfect as an appetizer for a dinner party or just to snack on.  This recipe is inspired by the traditoinal Jalapeño Poppers but a deconstructed version, more like Herb Cheese poppers fried deliciousness. 


If you want to know how to make homemade jalapeño poppers, than keep on reading. 


First, I love spicy foods, but of course I love it in moderation. I have tried many times to make the traditional jalapeño poppers stuffed with cheesy goodness, however, never could fully enjoy the idea of biting into a jalapeno. So today's recipe is kind of like deconstructed version of your traditional jalapeno poppers. They are so good, and I promise you they are everything you want: crispy, cheesy, and a delivers a kick of jalapeno spiciness. You can make these into smaller or larger portions. Also, check Pinterest for more inspirations on ways to make different types of jalapeño pepper poppers. 

Here is what you will need to make this: 

-  1 packet of cream cheese 
-  1/2 cup of cheddar cheese 
-  3/4 cup of pepper jack cheese 
-  Milk 
-  Flour 
-  Herb Breadcrumb 
-  Vegetable oil, Corn oil, or Canola Oil 

Frist Step: 

Mix the creme cheese, cheddar cheese, and pepper jacket cheese together. Also, I added dried herbs: Basil, Mint, and Parsley into the cheese mixture. Which is what give it 

Next step: 

Slice 3 jalapenos thinly. If you want make the portions smaller, I suggest finely chopping the jalapeno into tiny squares, instead of slices. By doing this, it will make it easier to cover the jalapeno with cheese later. 

Third Step: 

With a tablespoon, scoop the cheese mixture and place in the palm of your hand and with the back of your the thumb, make an indent in the cheese. Take 1-2 slices of jalapenos and place it in the indent that we made. Take another scoop of cheese and cover the jalapeno and roll in the palm of your hands to make a smooth ball. Repeat this step until the mixture is finished. You should be able to make at least 10-12. 

Fourth Step: 

Put milk, flour, and bread crumbs  ( I added herbs and seasoning in the bread crumbs) in three separate bowls. 

Place a cheese ball in the milk and then the flour. Then put it back in the milk and then in the bread crumbs.I did this step twice for each cheese ball to ensure that the cheese does not seep out during the drying process. Also, coating it twice gives it a crispy coating. 

In a large pan, add some canola oil, corn oil or any oil you prefer to fry the jalapeno poppers. Let it fry or 2 minutes or until it gets golden brown. 





Place the fried jalapeño herb cheese poppers on a plate that is covered in napkins to help soak up the excess oil. Let it cool before eating and Enjoy! 

Please try this and let me know what you think of these delicious fried jalapeño poppers. Next time, I am going to try and add crab meat and cream cheese and coat them with bread crumbs. I really like the double breadcrumb coating because they give it a super crispy and satisfying crunch that compliments the cheesey soft interior.  





Xo A
      

Watch Collection ft. Michael Kors + Fossil + Anne Klein

Friday, August 21, 2015
Happy Friday! 


Today's post, I am sharing with you guys my watch collection.  When it comes to arm accessories, I am very simple. I like the look of dainty jewelry and adding a statement watch. Of course, it depends on the occasion. But for everyday arm candy, these three watches are my all time favorite. 


I got this from my father for my College Graduation ( he has impeccable taste). I reach for this watch for night outings and special occasions. It is beautiful, and the pictures do not do it justice because it is huge statement watch. I love it. Right now, Neiman Marcus has this watch for almost 40%off. 


This watch is great for casual outfits, and I love pairing it with a maxi dress or a skirt. Also, I have had this watch for 2 years, and it still looks new. 


Best watch. When I first purchased this watch,  I wore it every day for a whole year, and I can not believe I have had this for  3 years, and it is still in great condition. I love the leather strap, and you can pair it with a casual or fancier outfit. The style of the watch is simple, sleek and sophisticated. 






There you have it, my watch collection. Let me know in the  comments below what your favorite brand watch is. 

Thanks for reading! 

xo A