Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm Going Dotty!

Good morning, Kitschies!  It's been a whirwind couple of days.  We've been so busy with Christmas prep and holiday parties, I haven't had time to sit down and blog!  Don't worry, though...I've still been doing my nails.  Wait.  I take that back.  For my office Christmas party, I had one coat of a holo topcoat and that was it.  That's just not right.

Earlier last week (or maybe it was the week before), I saw this cute little dotty tree on Simply Rins.  She does the best nail art and they're usually pretty fool-proof!  As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to give it a go.  And wouldn't you know it...it *was* pretty much fool-proof. :)

I started with a base of ChG Glittering Garland (2-3 coats, depending on how careful I was with application) for all but the accent nail where I used Finger Paints Paper Mache.

To create the tree, I used a couple dotting tools, some greens, a red and a yellow.

The greens: ChG Glittering Garland, ChG Starboard, Zoya Gemma.  Yellow: Let's Meet.  Red: Zoya Sooki (that's been my go-to red this holiday).  See the pinky?  Yeah.  I should've gone with 3 coats there.

If you click on this pic, you can appreciate the flecks in Garland and you can see the tree in better detail.  See?  This is a pretty fool-proof design.  It didn't take but a few minutes and it's CUTE!!

So, now that it's December 20th...are you read for Christmas?  I know I'm not!  I still have some wrapping to do and I have to make my way to the grocery store to get the makings of a sour cream fruit salad (I know it sounds gross but totally isn't - trust me) and the hubs has decided we're having his dad over for Christmas dinner so I guess we need to figure out what we're making.  *sigh*  As much as I like shopping, I abhor the grocery stores any time after 5pm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Classic Beef Stew

Happy Tuesday, Kitschies!  It was a busy day yesterday - finished the majority of my Christmas shopping (it's amazing what a difference shopping alone on a Monday morning can make), made a slow cooker dinner (not this one), got my new stove and finished all the laundry!  Now the fun of wrapping can begin.  Blech.

The weather is cooling down quite a bit (a damned lot) and that means it's time to drag out the slow cooker.  I try to use the slow cooker at least once a week during the winter.  I come home to a cooked meal and, more often than not, we have leftovers for the next day.  I was looking for something new to try and I found this recipe at Real Simple during one of my hunts.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
4 lbs bottom round, well trimmed and cut to 2-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 lb potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 lb peeled baby carrots
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.

Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the cooker. 

Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the cooker. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low heat for 7 1/2 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Add the peas and heat through.

NOTES:  I reduced this recipe, basically, by half and still had PLENTY.   I didn't measure out the carrots or the peas - just added what looked like enough.  And I didn't thaw the peas - I just adjusted the heat to high and cooked for about 30 minutes.

As with most stews, this was better the second time around.  I may or may not have added a little more wine than the recipe called for.  I remember Nate ate this, but I don't remember if Mason did (he's been *super* picky about eating lately). 

Do you have a favorite go-to slow cooker recipe for when the weather turns chilly?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Good morning, Kitschies!  It was a busy weekend here in the Harmeyer house.  I can happily say that the house is now decorated for Christmas!  Now the shopping?  That's a different story.  The docs took the day off so I'm spending some of my day "off" waiting for my new stove to be delivered (yay!) and then the rest of it will be spent cleaning around the house and shopping for Christmas.  I avoid to the mall area like the plague this time of year - especially on the weekends - but it's not so bad on a Monday morning.

In case you missed it, I did a guest post over at one of my favorite blogs, Housewife Eclectic, this weekend about Christmas traditions.  Go check it out HERE - there's some great pictures to see!

I'm a member of Polish-aholics Anonymous (big surprise, right?) on FB and every Monday they have a new challenge.  I've participated before, but this is the first time I've linked it to a blog post.  This week's theme was snow.  I could've done something out of the box, but I decided to play it safe and I'm glad I did because I really like this one.

I started with 2-3 coats of ChG Frostbite, a really bright, icy blue as a base.

Then I sponged Finger Paints Easel Come, Easel Go (silver metallic) to soften the bright blue.

The silver showed up a little too bright so I sponged a little more Frostbite over the silver.

And with SH White On, I stamped little snowflakes using BM14.  This is much prettier IRL - the silver sparkles like snow.

Speaking of snow...it's supposed to snow here again today.  We haven't gotten rid of all the snow and ice left over from the storm early last week!  I usually really like winter, but I'm already ready for spring already.  LOL

Do you have any Christmas/Winter manis in the works?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Black and Blue

Good morning, Kitschies!  We're almost through another week...and I'm officially caught up on my days.  Being off work on Monday and Tuesday really threw me off.  But now I'm all back on track.

And what better way to celebrate being back on track than to share a really pretty polish with you?  I thought you might like that.

This beauty is Zoya Kotori.  I describe this as a blackened blue/teal shimmer.  It. is. stunning.  Kotori starts of a little thin with the first coat, but once you get 3 on there, there is total color payoff.

It's glowy and sparkly.  In the sunlight, Kotori catches the best glints of blue and teal.  LOVE this one!

And with a change of angle you can see how Kotori lights up - becomes less blackened blue/teal to just bright blue gorgeousness.  This was one of the very first Zoyas I got - I've worn it before but I've never shared it with y'all.

I wore Kotori alone for a day and then that evening, went home and did some simple nail art with Orly Luxe and black and white striping polishes.  It turned out very...nautical.  LOL

So, what do you think of Kotori?  If you have her, do you love her?  If you could only pick ONE Zoya to have forever and ever, which one would it be?  I know...that's a hard one!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Loves Me a Glitter Sammich

Happy Wednesday, Kitschies!  I was catching up on my blogs this evening and I came across a pink Wednesday post and it made me realize that it was, in fact, Wednesday.  I've been MIA the last few days because we had our first official Winter storm blow through New Mexico between Sunday and Monday.  As a result, the schools were closed (which is good because the roads were not in good shape) and I stayed home with the boys.  Then we heard that the schools were going to be closed on Tuesday.  OK...the roads are still a little icy, so I guess I can agree with that.  So, I stayed home with Nate and the hubs took Mason to daycare.  I ventured out of the house and the snow and the roads weren't that bad - especially once I got down in to the valley.  And *then* I got a text from a co-worker telling me that the schools were going to be closed again on Wednesday because of "hazardous road conditions on secondary roads".  Seriously?!  WTH?!  Luckily, my MIL agreed to take Nate so I could go to work (for the first time in 4 days, which I'm not *really* complaining about).  The roads were fine this morning - a 2-hour delay would've been fine.  ANYway...Nate had fun with his grandma and he got to go to Explora with his cousins and I got back to work.  It has been a long and short week all at the same time.

Speaking of pink Wednesday posts, it was THIS post by Ice Queen's Nail Parlour that made me realize it was Wednesday.  And it reminded me that I have a similar mani to share! 

I'm not gonna lie.  I have *no* idea when I did this mani.  I can tell you it was in the Summer, but beyond that...no clue.  What I *can* tell you is this is OPI Do You Think I'm Tex-y, a really pretty raspberry jelly.  And sammiched in there is Milani Gems.

This was my first glitter sammich mani and I'm impressed that it turned out the exact way I'd hoped.  That doesn't happen very often.

I can't remember *when* I did this one, but I *do* remember getting compliments on this mani.  I remember "this is your prettiest one yet" being thrown around a time or two.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you probably already know I'm not the biggest fan of chunky glitter, but when it's in a glitter sammich or mattified (like I did HERE), I like it a little more.  In fact, I liked this so much, I ran out and grabbed Revlon Royal.  I had been looking for an excuse to pick that one up for some time and I finally found the excuse I needed! 

Now a question for you, my lovely readers.  What is your favorite jelly polish?

Have a great day!  See you again on the other side.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

He Picked It

Good morning, Kitschies!  How is it possibly the first day of December?!  Only 31 more days left in 2011 - and I still have so much to do.  And don't even mention Christmas shopping.  I haven't even started...and I need to.  Badly.

So, instead of thinking about the "C" word, let's look at some pretties, shall we?

Every now and again, I get to a point where I can't think of anything to do with my nails.  That's when I enlist the help of others.  This time...I asked the hubs.  He said I should do something with purple, yellow and green.  Not really my first thought when it comes to combining colors, but that's what happens when you ask somebody else for input.  I went to my Helmer and dug around a bit.  This is what I came out with.

This is Orly Velvet Rope - it's a really pretty deep purple...and beyond that, a description escapes me.  It's not quite a shimmer and it's definitely not a frost.  It kind of has a glow-y quality to it, but not enough to call it shimmer.

Velvet Rope also has some glitter particles in it, silver, if I remember correctly.  It looked pretty in the bottle but it just ended up looking like little bumps once it was on my nails.

By now, y'all know how I feel about a bumpy finish!  While I liked the end result of the nail art, I didn't care for the purple itself.  I used acrylic paint to make the flowers.  And, amazingly, I was able to do that design on ALL my nails!  LOL

Pretty, pretty purple.  Velvet is a very accurate description of this color.  It's a very rich looking deep purple that has a glowy quality to it.

What do you do when you run out of ideas?  Who do you go to for input?  Do you search Google?  Do you pull from the space around you?