September 27, 2012

High Five for Friday

High Five for Friday

1. By time you read this I'll already be in Illinois. A friend of mine is getting married this weekend, so I'm flying home and then driving up to Michigan to do hair and attend the wedding. Oh and that sweet little nugget pictured below is joining me.

2. I've thought about full fringe intermitently. The urge struck two nights ago as I was trimming my hair. I posted this photo to Instgram. Many of you encouraged, many of you discouraged, ultimately I decided to wait. I get mistaken for the younger sister when Lauren and I are out in public so I'm thinking bangs may not help the situation. OR they may make me look really cool and hip. Who knows. Pretty much if I had Zooey DeChanel's hair I'de be fine. 

3. Picked up this amazingly comfortable and warm sweater for a measly $24.00 at Marshalls. The brand is "red" and I can't find a website for them, otherwise I would share the details! 

4. I recieved this sample in a little package given out at Sephora. I love it. It's fruity and not overpowering. Very girly without being confused for grandma perfume (you know what I mean?)

5. Getting some good quality mom time. And dad! And brother! this weekend. Looking very forward to it. I also can't wait for my husband to be finished with grad school so he can join me on these trips. Only two more years.


Happy weekend to you!  

Link up your High Five for Friday here

Kate's Meat Lasagna

When I first told people I would make lasagna the responses were like:

"Oh man! That's so labor intensive!"

"Wow, that takes a while, doesn't it?"

And I was always surprised becuase this is on of the simplest, and mindless, meals I make. And it fills our fridge with leftovers!

We like meaty lasanga at our house, but feel free to just do cheese or even add some veggies!

1. Saute ground beef and iltalian sausage in a pinch of salt and a 1 teaspoon of garlic until brown.

2. While the meat is being browned, mix all the cheeses in a plastic bag.

3. Grab your "No-Boil" noodles--this takes about 25 minutes off the total prep time! You use these noodles straight out of the box and they soften while they are cooking.

4. Find a 9x13 pan, or an intense 1,000 lb Emeril Lasagna Pan that you registered for when you got married. 

5. Mix the drained and browned meat in with the sauce in a seperate bowl, and cut the end off of your plastic bag full of the cheese mixture.

6. Start with a layer of noodles, scoop several scoopfulls of the meat sauce on top, then finish this layer with cheese, a sprinkle of salt, and some torn up basil. 

7. Repeat until you have reached the top, and pile on the mozzarella!

8. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes covered, and 15 minutes uncovered. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving! 

The Recipe

8 ounces ground beef round
8 ounces italian sausage links, removed from casings and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 cups marinara sauce
8 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup (2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
1 package "no-boil" lasagna noodles
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Combine the ground beef and sausage in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Season with the kosher salt. Cook until meat it lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. Add the marinara sauce to the meat and stir to combine. Set aside.
Mix the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese in a plastic bag. Set aside.

Arrange a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (3 sheets) at the base.Cover the noodles with the meat sauce. Add some of the cheese mixture by "piping" evenly over the meat sauce, then scatter a few the torn basil leaves on top. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat in layers until you fill the dish. 

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 


September 26, 2012

Poppy and Grey

**the photo is mismarked. The cardigan is from J.Crew, not the factory.

Cardigan: J.Crew
Pants: Gap

I'm glad I cleaned out my jewelry armoire recently because I stumbled across this little gem that I made last year. 

Also, you should know that I own this cardigan in 3 colors. I confessed my addiction of buying the same clothes in different colors at the conference last weekend, and now it's time I confess here on the blog. Turns out, my sister does the same thing.

What can I say? When you love it you love it! And this "sweater"--it's really more t-shirt material--it perfection. 

That's all.

September 25, 2012

Grey, Lace and Purple

lace top: Madewell
grey vest: Banana Republic (old), similar
jeans: Loft Modern Flare (the closest I've found to my favorite J.Crew jeans!)
ankle boots: Target
necklace: c/o VeryJane

I love how many different ways I can wear this lace top from Madewell (here, here). I also found some jeans that are pretty darn close to my favorite J.Crew jeans. You should go check them out if you are in the market for a new pair!

The beautiful plum and purple necklace I'm wearing was sent to me c/o VeryJane. It also comes with matching earrings!
Would you like to win one for yourself? VeryJane is giving away TWO matching necklace and earrings sets identical to the one I'm wearing.
Enter using the giveaway tool below.

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September 24, 2012

Becoming Conference

The Becoming Conference has come and gone.

It feels like I've been anticipating it for years and now thats it's over, I'm surprised at how much brain space I have again.

I have a new respect for professional speakers and also pastors that preach more than 2 sermons back to back. It's seriously hard word. 

Overall, the conference was really fun. A lot of that had to do with my two awesome roommates, Stu (my sis lauren, her nickname is stu and. . .well. . .I think it's time I start referring to her as Stu here on my blog since it's what I call her in real life. Maybe I'll post about why sometime soon but it's really not an interesting story) and my friend Carrie (aka Care-Bear, Merry-Carrie, Carrie-Gray-yace, Mary-Phon, Beatrice, or just Bea)

**sounds like I need to write a post about nicknames, huh?**

Anyway, Stu and Care-Bear were with me and they were the perfect companions. We had a great time together the whole weekend and they helped me out when Saturday morning struck. 

Friday night was a brief fashion show and the opening keynote. Since Stu, Carrie and I did not have time to eat, we left the keynote early and drove in to Asheville to grab dinner.

Hello world of hippies!

There must of been some kind of festival going on because there were people e-v-e-r-ywhere. Or maybe that's just a regular friday night in Asheville. Who knows. We wanted to try a restaurant that was recommended to us from a blog reader of From My Grey Desk, but the line was out the door. We ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings and it was delish.

We returned to Ridgecrest and set up my room. I practiced a bit with my mic, and my sister learned of her new found love of speaking into a microphone. Carrie practically busted up my wardrobe as we were assembling it so I learned to never assemble furniture with her again! :)

Then it was time to rest. Finally.

Saturday morning I got up early and headed out for breakfast. I met one of the conference founders in my room to hook up my computer to the projector system, and then I had about 2 hours to prepare and run through my talk before my session began.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, the online schedule I received days before the conference and the actual printed schedule handed out the night before were different. It was a simple typo that could happen to anyone (and actually really sounds like something I would do unknowingly), but it threw me into a panic. 

I was not ready to speak in 20 minutes. Oh.My.Gosh.

So I called Stu and Carrie, they had slept in a bit and gone for breakfast, and told them that I was actually speaking during the first session which began in 15 minutes. They were in the middle of getting ready, so I told them to just do their thing and come to my room before the second session so we could all grab lunch.

I had wanted them there during my first session to make sure atleast two people were laughing at my jokes. But now I had to rely on my audience and hope that I was actually funny. Turns out, the audience laughed --either with me or at my, but regardless. . .they laughed! :) 

I'm literally holding back tears at this point thinking,"I AM NOT READY!!!!!". Panic ensues and women start walking into my room.

I escape to the bathroom with a plastered smile on my face, enter the stall and give myself a pep talk.

"Kate. You are speaking now. Get it together. You will be fine. Oh and stop looking like you want to cry."

I prayed for peace and for my face to look calm and composed even though I was shaking and sweating.

I walked back into my room and began my talk. 

By the grace of God alone, I got through it (although I was so comfortable I got a little chatty and didn't quite finish up my entire talk) and had a lot of fun.

The women in that first session were so warm and happy, they put me at ease immediately. And right before I started, the sweetest woman came up to me and said she was excited to be there and was looking forward to my session. And it was exactly what I needed to hear. I seriously wanted to hug her and tell her thank you so much, but I knew I would cry so I choose her for the live hair tutorial instead. 

After that first session was over I was ready for a break and to regain my composure. Except women started walking in for the second session--as per the agenda online. 

So I'm realizing, and trying to be subtle since women were coming in and sitting down, that I'm also speaking during the second session. 

And the third and fourth.  whew. That's a lot.

In a way that released some stress since I now knew what the plan was during the rest of the day, and I was able to get through each talk successfully! 

At the end of the conference, I was so impressed by how many lovely and kind women were there, and so encouraged (SO encouraged) by their enthusiasm during my session.  I was exhausted, but so fulfilled.

On the ride home, I could feel tiredness wash over me for the first time all day, and was thankful that God sustained me to get through, and enjoy, each and every session.

So if you came to the conference, and came to one of my sessions, thank you. I loved it and hope you did too. 

This is how I spent yesterday:

Resting and reflecting on what a great time I had at the Becoming Conference.

*if you came and have any photos I would love to see them. Tweet them at me or tag my in them : K8_smallthings 

September 21, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's Friday. 

Normally that would just be a statement alluding to the start of the weekend.

In today's case, it means that tomorrow, just a mere 24 hours from now, I'll be speaking at the Becoming Conference

I woke up this morning and it felt like Christmas. . . .if Christmas meant you had to stand in front of hundreds of women and talk about hair, makeup, and shopping. So yeah, kind of my ideal Christmas!

In other news, here are my top 5 things of the week!

1. The Bible study I'm involved in at my church started again last tuesday and I didn't quite realize how much I missed it until it started again. We're studying 2 Timothy and using a Cas Monaco study guide as well. OH and did I mention Cas Monaco is leading it? How often do you get to be lead by the author of the study?  It's been great. I enjoy the community and being surrounded with such wonderful women. 

2. Got a last minute gel mani with my sister on wednesday! Hello Jacques! Actually, the color is "you don't know jacques" but I feel like I do since it's always on my nails. She got "Honk if you love OPI" and it's lovely.

3. I tried on these beautiful boots at The Loft on Monday. Fell hard for them. Nearly fell over when I looked at the price. What?! $178.00! WHAT? Loft? Loft. You are not Macy's. What is happening. <----my internal dialogue. Also my dialogue with my sister about these crazy boots. #waitingformajorsaleorcoupon 

4. I'm anxiously anxiously awaiting my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. Tell me you have been to her shop. If you haven't, go. Please. I want 1 of everything. 

5. It's brisk (in the morning and late at night) here now. I love it. It's such a sweet relief from the blazing hot summer. 

How was your week? Top 5 things? Link up with the cutie Lauren From My Grey Desk! I can call her a cutie because she's my sister. And she's kinda cute. 

WEI To Go Beauty

Recently, Birchbox sent me this new (to me) cleanser and tinted moisturizer kit to try out. You may have gotten it in your September Birchbox, if you are a subscriber, by now but if you haven't and you are looking for a new cleanser, definitely try this out!

I liked the gel formula. It reminds me of Purity by Philosophy, my regular cleanser, in that it's gentle and doesn't leave your skin squeaky clean. By cleansing at night, it helps condition your skin while you sleep! And the "Ideal Finish" tint is just that, ideal. It isn't too much color and it goes on like a dream. It dissolves into your skin rather than sitting on top!

If you are are interested in trying this, check out it out here

September 20, 2012

The Perfect Palette by Stila

I'm a sucker for a palette of eyeshadows. Although I've learned enough about myself that I know I always resort back to using brown's and grey's. I'm not interested in wearing color on my eyes other then the occasional navy blue eye liner.

But a palette of eyeshadows. . .it speaks to me. I want to go home and try them all on at once. I can't explain it. I could look at every palette in Sephora and just drool over them. And the only "palette" type-thing that I have is my Mac duo. . .and that wouldn't even be considered a palette.

So, I've written about my Mac eyeshadows that I love before (here and here). And you know I always love to find a good deal on high quality products, so here is the deal of the century.

This palette, by Stila, is only a measly $16.00. That's only $2.00 more than ONE Mac eyeshadow.

Don't get my wrong, I love Mac. A lot.

PLUS a lipstick/cheek color.
(I feel like the only phrase that fits at this moment is "winning!!!!")

So I ripped the plastic off of it as soon as I bought it and tried it on immediately. The colors are really similar to my current eyeshadows and I love that since I'll probably just buy this palette from now on. 

Here's how I used it on my eyes:

*my lip color is Berry Sorbet by Laura Mercier--handed down from my mom whose friends' husband worked for the company. Can't find it on website, wondering if it was just a sample? (similar here)

I picked up this palette at Ulta, but I'm sure they have it at Sephora as well. If you are in the market for some beautiful cream and brown eyeshadow this fall, definitely check out this palette. There are others, as well, that have beautiful colors--but this was my favorite!

**I know it may sound like a sponsored post but I assure you Stila has no clue who I am. I bought this palette myself and these opinions are my own! 

September 19, 2012

Beauty 101: Nail Prep!

*use cotton balls, instead of tissue, saturated with nail polish remover to remove polish. 

Now you are ready for polish! In case you haven't come across this helpful diagram on pinterest, it's a great tool for applying nail polish:

(source) (if you know the actual source of this diagram, will you tweet it to me?)

So once your nails are prepped and ready, try some creative ways to wear polish:

*don't mind the crooked line on my pointer finger **or my dry hands

By day old nails I mean don't do this on the same day that you polish them.

Some other fun nail polish techniques can be found here

I love to wear deeper and darker colors in the fall and winter. Some of my favorites are Essie's Mink Muffs, OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, and OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark

To transition your nail colors from summer to fall, just look for darker shades of what you already wore.

 What are some of your favorite fall/winter polishes?

September 18, 2012

What do you do with teal shoes? AND a Threads Giveaway

I picked up these teal(teal?blue?) shoes at Target a few weeks ago because I loved them.

But now I don't really know what I'll wear with them. They are a little bit more subtle with jeans, but I also thought they would be a great addition to this grey dress I have! 

Dress: Gap
Scarf: Target (summer)
Shoes: Target
Watch: Target
Hairstyle: Messy Bun

That cute gold + clear bracelet is from Threads

They also have other cute styles like these:

Threads is a cause driven business that helps at risk youth.They are paid fair wages for the bracelets they make, and in turn are able to pay their way through college.

It's a great organization that Ashley, of The Shine Project, started. You can shop HERE and visit on Facebook HERE

If you want to shop NOW you can get 10% off the new fall line with code SmallThingsFall

Enter to win a $50.00 credit to Threads below!

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