Monday, July 11, 2016

Clothing Review: The Cassie skirt by LuLaRoe

So I confessed to you guys after DOUBLE PLAY came out that I have two loves: clothes and books. This is well known about me. Once, at a party, while playing a version of the newlywed game, my husband was asked if I had $100 what would I spend it on. He thought on it for a moment and said he knew of two things and was just gonna guess one. He said clothes (which is what I'd written! Ha!), but he'd been thinking of books too, which is what I'd told the girls earlier I didn't know which he'd say.

In short, it's time for some clothes reviews here. So why would I start with LuLaRoe? One, because I love and adore their stuff. It's comfy, like yoga pants-tee shirt-all-day-in-your-pajamas comfy, and yet can yet still be dressed up so that you're rocking life AND you feel like you just stayed in your yoga pants. (Do I have you hooked yet? If not...this might be the wrong blog for you. ;) )

Second, my SIL has just become a consultant (and I have two good friends who sell as well). This said SIL made sure everyone within hearing distance of her knew about my books when they came out, but she didn't just do it because she loved me and wanted to support me, but because she liked my books too. And I'm returning the favor, but not just because I love her and want to support her, but because I love the product she's selling. So they'll be a few clothing reviews now and again mixed in with my book reviews. And, we may have to get my mom (Robyn) to post some too, since she's just getting into LLR, and it's always good to have a second persons take on the clothes.

(Since this is a longish review, if you'd rather just hop on over to Ashleigh's Facebook Boutique, click on this link and explore the clothes yourself:

So. The Cassie.

The Cassie is a pencil skirt. It's the first LLR product I purchased. I was invited to a party well over a year ago and went really just because it was a friend and I like to be social. I actually didn't plan on buying anything. I had heard about LLR, but wasn't really interested. I browsed the racks she had set up in the basement--the shirts looked boxy, I didn't need any maxi skirts, and I didn't actually dig any of the patterns. Then I came across a pink jersey pencil skirt with flowers embossed on it and I fell in love. I tried it on and that was the day I became addicted to LLR.

The Pros of the Cassie? It's a pencil skirt that feels like yoga pants. I've never been one to just wear skirts, but I wear my Cassies all the flippin' time--just around the house even. I repeat: They are SO comfy. Here are three different looks with that first Cassie I bought:

Left: All snazzed up. Comfy or whatever, tuck a nice blouse into this puppy and you're dressed to the nines and still feeling great. (Except for maybe if you add heels. ;) )
Center: I love pairing it with a loose, flowy v-neck or tee shirt. It's great to slip on a pair of flip flops and chill at the beach. (Which yes, I have totally done. That comfy. Do you believe me yet.)
Right: And just tuck that v-neck or t-shirt in and you have a great, something in between.

Here's another Cassie I have. It's a size smaller than this one (LLR is known for being able to rock many different sizes in a style for different types of looks. For instance, I could probably wear a size up for a looser pencil skirt look.)

For this set of photos, I used the same two pieces to create some different styles. A black Irma (worn a size smaller than my usual buy for a closer fit) and a striped cassie--it's a little bit different material than the one above. It's a tee shirt jersey, same was the Irma I'm wearing.
Left: Casual with the Irma tucked in. I've added heels to this exact outfit and looked pretty nice for church. Or slip on your flip flops or nicer sandals and you have a more casual look.
Center: The same Irma tucked in and the skirt pulled up to my high waist. (That's the skinniest part for me so it's a pretty flattering look on me. Experiment with where your best waist is for when you tuck in.)
Right: The top of this Cassie is perfect for rolling like yoga pants, so I've done that for a slightly shorter skirt, then I tied the Irma up. Again, depending on your accessories, I think this is easily a casual or dressed up look.

And my newest Cassie, which I'm SO in love with. It's an ADORABLE floral and chevron pattern. I've been looking for a nice floral pencil skirt for a while. I've seen lots of cute, cute, cute outfits on pinterest that have them. This one was spot on perfect for me and I knew it the second Ashleigh sent me a picture of it.

In both these pics I'm pressed down, but I think you get the gist of dressing up this skirt, right??
So on the left is what I did when I got home fro church yesterday. I'd worn this skirt with a cardigan and a Downeast cap sleeve in mint. I threw on this comfy color run t-shirt and hung out the rest of the day.
On the right, if you saw my earlier LLR posts on Instagram, you might have heard that in the last package Ash sent me, I accidentally coordinated all the clothes! Ha. HOW CUTE is this Randy with my pencil skirt? Give me some flip flops and let's hang out for the day. I love it.

The Cons.

Um, literally with the Cassie I have no downsides. I just don't. (I do have some thing with some of the other clothes, so if you're one of those trolls who needs negativity, stay tuned. ;) )

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Crunchy Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Last weekend, the husband and I took our kiddos on a fairly strenuous hike and outright failed to notice the time we were leaving and how it would egregiously overlap with lunchtime, and then some... I had brought along some of your basic granola bars as a snack, you know, as mother's do when they don't realize they should be feeding their child an actual meal. When we got back to the car and everyone was starving and we were still an hour away from civilization, the husband came through because he is a boy scout and that's what they do. (In fact, he's and Eagle Scout. High five, dude!) He had some Cliff bars in his backpack from his recent hunting trip, which he dolled out along with some jerky. Seriously, this guy is amazing. The Cliff bars were crunchy peanut butter of some kind, anyway, some flavor I'd never tasted, and maybe I was just starving or they were that delicious, but they were delicious.

So, of course I decided I needed to figure out how to make them at home. There are definitely some DIY copycat recipes on Pinterest that are probably more authentic tasting than this one, but I wanted to do it with ingredients I mostly have on hand. That meant some experimenting. Here's what I came up with. And want to know why there's no picture? Because for some really strange reason, the vanilla protein powder I used made mine green...weird. They still taste great though, so there's that. ;)

1/2 cup of peanuts, split.
1/2 cup of rolled oats, split
1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder (The brand I use is Rainbow Light, I think?)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
3 TB of honey

In a food processor or blender (I use my BlendTec, which I ADORE), grind 1/4 c. of the peanuts--but do not let them turn into a paste, just flour-like. Do the same with 1/4 c. of the rolled oats.

With the rest of the peanuts, use something chop them into small bits. Set aside the rest of the oats.

In the food processor, combine the ground oats, peanuts, and the protein powder and mix until just combined. Add the honey and vanilla extract. Process until it forms a cohesive dough. You may need to add up to a tablespoon of water. You want the dough to come out a little sticky so you can add the remaining peanuts and oats.

Once combined, scrape into a small bowl. Add the rest of the peanuts and oats and stir them in until combined. Scoop out the bites and roll into teaspoon-sized bites. (I used the small Pampered Chef scoop, if you have one.)


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quick Rolls

Not to brag, but some people like my rolls. They're quick, not *as* light and fluffy as the kind you let rise twice, etc, but a great quick version. Originally I got the recipe off of Facebook--and I can't find the original post now, sorry!--but I've adapted it a lot for my needs. First I'm going to show my Whole Wheat version. (Originally the recipe was a homemade hamburger bun recipe & it's so GREAT for that too. Just flatten out the rolls more and let rest 10 minutes before putting in the oven rather than letting rise.)

Recipe makes one sheet size pan of rolls. (Sorry, I never count...)

Quick Rolls

1/4 cup active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
2/3 cup melted butter*
1/2 cup honey (or slightly less--play around until you get the right amount for you)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
6 1/2 to 7 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add butter and honey; let stand for 5 minutes. 

Add the egg, salt and no more than 7 cups flour to form a soft dough. (It may be sticky. DON'T put in too much flour. Rolls will end up heavy and tough.) I use a KitchenAid mixer to kneed my dough for between 3 1/2 to 5 minutes (usually right at four). I've found the KitchenAid kneading to work best since the dough can remain sticky and you don't need to add in the extra flour. 

Using some extra flour, shape into balls. (I usually sprinkle some over the top of the dough as I'm shaping them, using as little as I can.)

Cover and let raise for 30 minutes. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

To make an all-white flour version, substitute all purpose white flour for the whole wheat. You can still use honey, or use 1/2 cup of white sugar.

*The original recipe calls for vegetable oil, which I've been trying to cut out of my baking and use more butter. Melting the butter has turned out to be a big deal for the rolls turning you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013