Turning into a NARSissist for Cosmetics

“Beauty Obsessed. Rule Breaker. Image Maker.” NARS cosmetics has me hooked from their taglines. I experienced my first makeup and shop tour last week during an Vegas Lifestyle Influencers beauty event at NARS in the Forum Shops. You might have seen my trip on my story – Wonderful World of Bree.

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The store is small but mighty. Barely the size of a bedroom, this little shop is covered wall to wall with goodies: eyeshadows, liners, mascara, lipsticks, etc. There was even multiple pop up spots for demonstrations.

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I’ve had eyebrow envy forever and just can’t seem to get the fuller brow look down. So, as soon as I entered, I grabbed a makeup artist and started learning new tricks. Junior was my designer and he showed me a simple and quick way to get a strong brow without over doing it. Less than ten minutes later, I was looking fierce. Of course, I also had to add the NARS brow perfecter to my shopping bag.

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As I roamed around the room snacking on specialty cake pops and grooving to DJ Miss Joy, I walked right into an “On the Go” demonstration using the Climax mascara (also now in my makeup bag).

Bomb Hair Salon was also on site offering cute braids and accessories. I headed to the back room to get a bohemian braid to add to my outfit by Lindsay Harlak. It’s even got a little bling!

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After checking out just a few of their products, I’m sold. My new favorite mascara and brow perfecter are water-resistant and do not smudge. If you’ve never tried their products, head in for a demonstration. Their staff will even give you a full make over and show you just how high quality their products are.

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Maternity Photo Ideas

As I’m waiting for my son to finally make his entrance, I’ve been passing the time with fun maternity photos sessions with my best friend and sister. Both had to two completely different ideas to capture this amazing stage in life and make me feel extra elegant along the way.

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Below are the photos my best friend, Jesse J. Sutherland, staged for one set. His concept was to play with motion, silhouettes, the nursery and natural light.

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My sister also had an amazing idea to do some delicate maternity photos that included my pets and a milk bath! We’ve all seen the milk bath photos trending on Pinterest. There are so many different ways to make their unique to your pregnancy. Here’s how mine came out using light floral colors and my very own bath tub.

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Hope you got some inspiration on planning for your special moments!

Homemade Sushi (Yes you can do it too!)

I love sushi. All your can eat is one of my favorite date nights. My husband and I love to go to this tiny restaurant just off the freeway and indulge on occasion. Since being pregnant, I’ve of course avoided this premium delicacy. But my husband had one request for Valentine’s Day, homemade sushi.

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Now, I have zero Asian heritage so I went straight to Pinterest for some pregnant friendly recipes. There are actually quite a few, and off the wall ones, that came up. For my date night in, I decided on a modified Volcano Roll, imitation crab roll, and a stacked shrimp roll. (all fish is cooked for the baby’s safety)

First you start with cooked rice mixed with rice vinegar. This is what makes the rice sticky. Then you spread the rice all over a sheet of seaweed paper. Be sure to cover the edges or else corners of the seaweed will not moisten.

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Next, spread your favorite foods inside. For these roles, I used cucumber, cream cheese, avocado and crab. But your options are endless! I’ve seen fruit only options or even breaded seafood options. You can make these as unique as your taste buds.

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Then, you roll the whole thing up and slice it. I laid everything out on a bamboo cutting board covered in plastic wrap. The plastic allowed me to capture any lost pieces and keep the roll nice and circular. You can always choose to use a tradition bamboo mat.

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I topped the volcano roll with shrimp and sriracha mayo and topped with other with crab and a little soy sauce. After you’ve finished rolling and cutting, place on a tray and enjoy!

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Sensory Gift for Anyone on Your List

We’ve all seen it. The five senses gift that has been dominating Pinterest for Valentine’s Day. Personally, I think it’s perfect. You have to be a little creative, but you can make this theme work for anyone on any occasion.

My husband and I have known each other for 10 years and unique Valentine’s gifts get harder and harder. This year, I put my creativeness to the test and gave him a sensory Valentine’s gift. His gift included a record (hear), a photo cube (see), chocolate (taste), Poo-pourri (a little smelling gag gift) and a bath bomb (touch – yeah, he’s a bath guy).

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Let me know what you put in your gift bag when you give this idea a try!

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Gender Reveal Photo Ideas

Oh BOY was this holiday season a surprise. My husband and I found out our little bundle of joy is a bouncing baby boy! Alejandro Clemente (a.k.a. AC) will soon be revealing himself to the world in just a few short months. In honor of this beautiful miracle, we had to plan some amazing reveal photos.

For this shoot, I ordered blue smoke bombs from Gender Reveal Co. and headed to Red Rock Canyon to light them up. Each tube lasts about 80 seconds and created a picture perfect background. We also brought some confetti and balloons to experiment with on a few other photos. All photos were taken by the talented Jesse Sutherland. (Follow his IG here.)

Red Rock was such a great choice for photos. We set-up in Calico Basin which is free to the public! We had plenty of space to spread out and take photos on the boardwalk, near a trail or just in an open area.

First we started with the balloons. The wind was pretty crazy so battling the elements and trying to make balloons behave was a challenge. Nevertheless, Jesse captured an amazing photo.

Jesse came prepared with some launching blue streamers and fun confetti.

At one point the confetti actually blew back in my face. I wouldn’t recommend this piece on a breezy day.

My all time favorite photos of the shoot were the smoke bomb images. Once again, wind wasn’t exactly on our side so some poses didn’t work. But I the ones we did get are frame worthy.

Any moms out there do some creative gender reveals?

Easy Puerto Rican Rice

This year, I’ve been getting more adventurous with my recipes. I’ve tried to incorporate some new Mexican inspired dishes, especially since that’s my pregnancy craving, and now I’m moving on to Puerto Rican dishes.

I love traditional Puerto Rican rice but have never dared to make it myself. I’ve helped my sister-in-law or jumped for joy at a restaurant that actually carries it. This Christmas holiday, I got brave and realized making my favorite rice was actually less scary than I expected. So here’s the recipe to try in your home!

Prep Time: 20 Min.

Cook Time: 40 Min.

Ingredients:

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  • 3 cups medium or long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large tablespoons sofrito
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 can gandules (pigeon peas), partially drained
  • 2 tablespoons alcaparrado
  • 1 packet Sazón with Achiote
  • 1/2 packet ham flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon adobo
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups hot water

Get cookin! 

1. First, rinse rice with water and set aside. We’ll add this into our pot later.

2. In a large pot (about 6 quarts), heat oil and mix in sofrito until it’s soft. Pour in tomato sauce and simmer on low for 2 minutes. Stir in additional ingredients: gandules, alcaparrado, all spices and 4 cups of water. Stir and taste. You may need to adjust some of the seasonings to add more flavor. You want the broth to be heavily seasoned and a little salty.

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3. Bring broth to a boil, add rice and stir. Make sure the rice is covered by 1 inch of          water. (Add in a bit more water if needed.) Reduce heat to low and let the rice absorb the broth. Stir occasionally.

4. Mound rice towards center of pot, top with foil and cover. Drop heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Stir by folding rice from the bottom up. Cook for another 20 minutes and check to make sure rice is tender. Depending on your stove and pot, you may need to cook a little longer.

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Serve hot and enjoy!

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Party

 

 

As I mentioned in my previous post on Christmas Traditions, The Grinch is my all-time favorite Christmas movie. Every year, I watch it, more than once, and repeat line after line. This year, my sister turned the Grinch love up a notch and threw a kid friendly party! Here’s how it’s done.

First you start with decorating ornaments. When kids are little, it’s easy to play with finger paints and handprints. Get as crafty as you want and try to keep it red and green. Don’t forget to have the kids sign their names and put the year.

Next, warm up with Grinch green hot chocolate. Melt white chocolate chips and green candy melts in a pot. Add some vanilla extract and a few drops of green food dye to the mix. Serve and top with whipped cream, M&M’s and red sprinkles.

Wonderful World of BreeGrab your drinks and cozy up on the couch to watch the Grinch. Feel free to sing and sip along. I suggest the shorter cartoon version if you’re hosting toddlers or younger.

You can even throw in a Grinch story time around the tree!

Enjoy!

Wonderful World of Bree

Pregnancy Announcement Photo Ideas

Deciding on what photo to take to announce my mini me was exhausting. I’d searching Pinterest and chose my favorite. Here’s what I originally was going for inspired by Karissa Abbott.

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Photo from @karissakayabbott

But when I get to my surprise photo session, everything went out the window. My husband and I were helping out my best friend with some new photography lighting tricks. He had not idea yet that we were expecting. The session involved props so we of course brought an ultrasound.

During my husbands turn behind the camera, he busted out our proud photo and my best friend captured an amazing image.

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Photo by jessejsuth.com

In the midst of all the excitement, we decided to do our announcement photos then and there. My best friend has been a huge part of my life and always been there for me and my husbands big moments. Dating, engagement, wedding and now baby. So here are the amazing photos we announced with.

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Photo by jessejsuth.com

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Photo by jessejsuth.com

 

Remember not to over think it. Just let the surprise happen and the photos will show it.

 

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Amazon – My Favorite Baby Registry

After finding out the amazing news in my life, the list of to-do’s came flooding in. Creating a registry was one of them. I’d used places like Target for my wedding registry and received a gift card and coupons. But I was looking for something a little more personalized. Then, I discovered Amazon’s Baby Registry.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 3.11.51 PMLike any other registry, Amazon creates a categorized list to make things easier for you. I selected everything from diapers, to travel gear to lotions and maternity clothes. The best part is, Amazon offers goodie bags and free diapers for parents!

All I had to do to receive my complimentary baby bundle with tons of samples was fill out most of my registry, make sure my Amazon Prime was setup and purchase a $10 item from the list. Viola! Take a look at all these awesome items!

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As a new Mom, I’m sure I’m going to experiment with many different brands until I come across the right one. This little bundle gave me a taste of everything. The coolest part is, none of the bundles are the same. Amazon chooses top items and placed them in each box at random.

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Other options that came with this registry were of course discounts on items not purchased but also free diapers! Once you hit a certain number of purchases, Amazon will send you free diapers for a year. Who would say no to that!

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 3.11.18 PMI’m still registering at Target too just because I know not everyone is comfortable ordering online. But the onsie options on Amazon are endless.

What other registries have you used?

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595 Craft and Kitchen – Newest Pub to hit Spring Valley

Known for their craft beer, owners Chris Holding and Van-Alan Nguyen opened 595 Craft and Kitchen just two short months ago. Seated on the corner of Rainbow and Tropicana, this diamond in the rough is a pleasant find.

Upon walking into the restaurant, I was transported to a warm summer night near the beach. Wooden panels lined the walls and a California reminiscent garage door fit into the opposing exit. On the right, a long bar sat facing a paint chalked blackboard with endless drink choices.

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Photo Courtesy: 595 Craft and Kitchen

Although 595 is making a name for itself in craft brewing, its food menu is just as powerful. During my visit, I experienced their popular appetizers – crispy chicken skins and fried deviled eggs. Whoever argued that fried food and pints don’t match was seriously mistaken.

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After a filling course of delectable bites, the world-famous Ice Box Buttermilk Cheesecake was brought out. 595 spares no expense on their food presentation.IMG_6427

Filled inside a small glass jar, the extremely sweet dessert was almost too pretty to eat. From the strawberries to the lemon twist, it was difficult to know where to begin.

595 captures a unique style between nightly hangout and casual date night. Each item was brought out on a baking tray and laid out perfectly. Serving dishes were no exception.

Open 7 days a week, the restaurant and bar can cater to whatever you’re craving. Check out the full menu here.