9/19/17

Save ACA - Act NOW against the Graham-Cassidy Bill!




Stop what you're doing and take a minute - this is important. Congress is now threatening the Affordable Care Act yet AGAIN with their new disastrous plan - which would take away health care from millions of Americans. The Graham-Cassidy bill is a death sentence that only helps the rich. We cannot allow this bill to pass.

Please take a moment of your day and call to make your voice heard against this life-threatening bill. Stand up for your fellow Americans. Those with pre-existing conditions. Children. Veterans. Don't like phone calls? I know. Me neither. But I did it and you can too.

You can also text RESIST to 504-09 to send a FAX to your representatives in Congress. It's easy and free!!

Share this with your friends and family - we need to make noise!!

Thank you to those who continue to stand up for all Americans and who fight day after day. <3

9/17/17

Let's Try It: Whole Foods Market




I live in Western New York. Wegmans territory. People take their love for Wegmans pretty seriously, and I can say that I have for most of my life, been a part of that crowd. Don't get me wrong, I still like Wegmans but I personally feel that as they have expanded into other regions of the country, the quality and selection at my local stores has gone a bit downhill. When Trader Joe's entered the region I was excited to try out a store I had heard of for years. Then, we heard we were getting a Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Market is a store I've heard of for years and years, but to which I have never been. I've thought of stopping at one when in New York or traveling up into Canada but I never did. I've always been a bit envious of those that have Whole Foods in their area. From what I heard their commitment to fresh and clean food is unmatched. Well, after what feels like ten years but was really only a few, Whole Foods is finally open in my area (it's still an hour drive away though)! Of course I had to make the trip and check out what all the fuss was about.

Whole Foods opened this past Friday, and I thought of going on opening day or Saturday but I just didn't want to deal with the crowds. I'm really not a fan of them. But after getting some school work taken care of, I felt like venturing out today (Sunday).

The store was definitely still busy but I wonder how much of that was typical Sunday traffic since I don't really go to any grocery stores on a Sunday if I can help it.




The first thing I noticed was how nice and organized their produce section was. It's a neurotic person's dream! Pyramids and rows of (almost) any produce you could want all lined up for the picking. Wegmans has always had a great produce section, but I can say that Whole Foods does it better. I was however hoping to find some Rapini but I didn't. I loved that the organic apples were the same price as the conventional ones and that they had plenty of my favorite kind of apple: Honeycrisp! The mangoes were a GREAT price and HUGE!!! I don't get mangoes often but I just couldn't resist.

I've got a lovely bunch of mangoes...


Something I was really excited to check out was their beauty section. Everything they sell is CRUELTY FREE!! It was an amazing experience to be able to browse the shelves and know that I could pick up any thing I wanted and not have to worry whether or not the products were tested on animals. I've honestly never been able to do that before and it was so nice!


I wanted this illume cider woods candle soooo badly but I had to stop myself. It smelled amazing though!!






Their middle isles were a bit smaller than what I'm used to, but they have an abundance of new and different products to try out. It was a bit overwhelming, but in a good way. If I hadn't just gone grocery shopping, I would have likely explored these isles a bit more.

I browsed their prepared foods section and it all looked divine. Wegmans used to have a good hot foods bar but I stopped eating there as the quality unfortunately has decreased. The set up at Whole Foods though, really blew me away. Next time I'm in this area, I will have to make a point to stop for lunch here. I did however, grab a slice of their pizza to bring home and try. I got the Rapini and Pancetta (ironically, I did find the rapini... just not in the way I was looking for it!).


Friggin' fresh pasta!!




I also grabbed a loaf of bread. It was REALLY hard to pick because they all looked amazing! I opted for the cranberry pecan. :) I love that the ingredients in their bread are simple and BS free!

It's also a really beautiful store. The bocce court is a bit weird imo, but I love the wood and grey combo they went with for the store, and everything is organized really nicely. :) 

I know everyone says that Whole Foods is super expensive, but I can't really speak to that too much. I did feel that some items were a bit pricey, but for what I got I don't know that I did too bad. I couldn't see doing my full grocery shop here though - but I will definitely return. Aside from the turmeric latte I got that was pretty horrible (I just needed to try it!), I have no complaints. Glad I finally got to scratch my Whole Foods itch and I'm happy that they realized Buffalo was a place on the map! Now if only IKEA would do the same!! ;) A girl can dream....

9/15/17

Aint Nobody Got Time: Super Quick & Easy Chili




The semester is in full swing, and there are days where I really don't have the time (or the energy) to cook up a full blown meal. But, it's pretty much fall and that means that I want ALL OF THE COMFORT FOODS. Give them to me!! One of the things that I always want to make during this time of year is chili. Usually, when I make chili, it's a full blown thing in the crock pot and I make tons of it and it simmers all day making the house smell amazeballs. However, I honestly didn't have the time for that today... and as a little bonus obstacle, the house is currently in the process of being remodeled and I literally couldn't get to the crock pot, so I decided to shoot for a more abridged version that would still satisfy my fall cravings but not consume my entire day.

Chili can be a super easy meal to make. It's not that it takes all day to make it, but there certainly is some prep and honestly, sometimes cooking takes more of my energy than I'd like to admit to so making this version is a nice compromise. You still get all those awesome chili flavors, but in a smaller quantity and with much less work.

I love how well chili keeps as a leftover. It seems to get better with age a lot of the time. You can make some corn bread on the side, top it with sour cream or cheddar cheese, or do my current favorite: top with Fritos (yep, super classy).  This particular recipe was also incredibly frugal to make thanks to Aldi where I was able to pick up everything I needed at a fraction of what it would cost me elsewhere. I talked about Aldi in my August favorites, and trust me the love is still going strong!

 - Quick & Easy Chili -


You will need: 

2lbs ground beef
1 large vidalia onion
3 bell peppers
1 15.5 oz can of mild chili beans in chili sauce*
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 1.25oz packet chili original seasoning*
3 15.50z cans light kidney beans
1 15oz can dark red kidney beans
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
About 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Parsley - 1 tbs
Chili Powder - 2 tsp/to taste
Granulated garlic 2 tsp/to taste

*these were Aldi items I haven't seen elsewhere

To make: 

1. Star by prepping your peppers and onions by chopping them up and setting them aside in a bowl.
2. Brown the beef, drain and set aside.
3. In a dutch oven (or similar pot - mine is from Target because Le Creuset is a bit too rich for my blood!) add some oil and start to saute your peppers and onions over a medium/high heat - about 10/15 minutes.
4. Once the onions are translucent and the peppers are tender, go ahead and add the beef to your pot. Stir to combine.
5. Then add all of your canned items, as well as the chili seasoning, Worcestershire and spices, and stir to combine.
6. Lover the heat to about medium/low and let simmer for at least an hour - more if you've got the time. Stirring occasionally.

That's literally it! You can simmer your chili for hours if you've got the time, but if you don't, even 45 minutes is enough to allow this chili to come together. It's not an ornate culinary creation, but it's quick, comforting and most important - delicious.  Note: it was so good that there's no pretty photo of it actually in a bowl. But I wanted to share this recipe for you to try, AND for me to remember how I did it!




9/13/17

Let's Try It: Sonic




Okay, so Sonic is nothing new and has been in my particular area for at least a year now? Probably more - I honestly lose track of time. But when they first opened, I didn't try it because hype + hella busy just kept me away. Then I heard some iffy reviews, and honestly I kept forgetting about them. They're in an area I don't always frequent so I just never got around to giving them a shot. Fast forward to today when I was in the area *trying* to run some errands (and failing). I was cranky, tired and HOT (It's supposed to be Fall not near 80°). So I decided since they were nearby, to finally try them out.

I love trying new places. New foods. New products. New anything really. I'm also full of it. Opinions that is! ;) So I thought I'd start up a new series here on the blog called Let's Try It. Simple. No Frills - just my honest opinions on this and that. Really it's a way for me to neurotically categorize this type of post so it isn't sitting here without a home. Forgive me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So back to the grub. I pulled up to on of their food stalls and instantly was overwhelmed because they have a super huge menu - a lot of which I honestly couldn't read (yes, with my glasses on). I ended up getting their popcorn chicken with tots and lemonade. I knew I wanted tots - I really, really, love potatoes in all their glorious forms.

In terms of service, I have no complaints. The food came quickly and I was off on my way in less than five minutes. 

I'm happy that they offer a bunch of different non pop (soda if you rather) options since I don't drink the stuff. I often feel stuck with water or coffee when I get food, so that was a nice change. The lemonade was pretty good too - I'm super sensitive to things that are too sweet but this wasn't too bad. I will say that while I like the crushed ice, they lose MAJOR points for using Styrofoam cups. Boo!

The bag was a lil greasy, but the food was HOT.


The food came with a little mint!

The tots and popcorn chicken both came in little cups which I liked because it made it easy to eat while I ran the rest of my errands. I really liked the tots - which are sort of a dupe for Burger King breakfast hash browns which I only ever get maybe once a year but love.  The chicken was also surprisingly good. Nice and crispy, not too seasoned, and white meat.

Honestly I have no complaints for the food and I think they might even be cheaper than a lot of other fast food places around. My meal was about $7 which I didn't think was too bad for the amount I got. If they had a location near me I'd probably go just for the lemonade & tots to be honest! My only real gripe was that they used Styrofoam cups since that is so bad for the environment. Other than that, Sonic gets two thumbs up from me.


9/12/17

The best lip gloss ever: Anastasia Beverly Hills



Even though I sometimes go weeks without even touching my makeup, and there's plenty of times where I don't have the energy to even try and put anything on, I still love trying out new makeup and hoarding it essentially. ;)

I think the thing I'm drawn to most is eye shadow even though I wear it probably the least. I don't own many lip colors as I suffer from chronically chapped lips and have as long as I can remember. The whole matte lip thing is the worst as far as I'm concerned - I can't wear them (though, it doesn't stop me from buying one every now and then...) because they simply accentuate how bad my lips are. Things with sheen are best if I actually want to wear some color because they're often more moisturizing and they seem to disguise any texture in my lips a bit. Still, I can count on one hand the number of lip products I own that aren't lip balms (that I have a TON of - I'll try anything hoping it is the miracle I've been looking for). I'm jealous of everyone who can wear all these fabulous lip products and shades!!!

I was having a walk through Sephora recently - admittedly for the first time in months, and I came across the display of lip glosses from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I like shiny things so it immediately drew me in and what really got my attention was this shade that looks, upon first glance, like a white lip gloss. Hmmm......





In the right light, this lip gloss appears white but any sudden moves will make you realize that it's much more than that! It's full of mirco-glitter in a rainbow of shades that gives it this wonderful iridescent sheen. It's not glitter like back in high school, this is more of a subtle sparkle that is much more up my alley now! I swatched the tester on my hand and immediately fell in love. I knew this baby had to come home with me!



 I did my best to give you a true swatch but photos just don't do this gloss justice!

I love the colors in this gloss, but I also love the formula. It feels moisturizing and a bit thicker - it's not runny like some glosses, but despite the thicker consistency, it's not too sticky. *smacks lips* It's barely sticky at all actually! It also smells AMAZING! It's got a yummy vanilla scent - but as someone who has a hard time with scents sometimes (hello, migraines), it's not too much to piss of my head. It also has decent staying power. Generally, glosses don't last long at all, but this one stuck around even after drinking my morning coffee. Impressive!



The color is called Moon Jelly, which just seems like the perfect name for this. It's got a nice thicker texture and the iridescence gives it a sort of spacey glow. It doesn't look like you've slapped glitter on your lips but instead makes your lips just pop. I feel like it just brightens up my whole face. I've worn it with a full face of makeup, with some simple mascara, and on it's own. It's super versatile and oh so pretty. There's a subtle sparkle which you'll have to just trust me on - that was really hard to capture in photos!

It was $16 at Sephora, so not the cheapest, but for a nice gloss that is of course, CRUELTY FREE, it is a winner in my book!! Though, if you've got any dupes to suggest, please let me know!! It's also actually the first product from Anastasia that I've tried. I know they're a brand that plenty of people rave about, I guess I just like to do things at my own pace. ;) They're on my radar now though!