Monday, August 11, 2014

What's Cooking Good Looking? Loaded Waffle Fry Casserole

A few words about this casserole:

Chicken. Bacon. Ranch. Cheese. Waffle fries.

Yeah...have you hooked now, don't I?!? :)

I had a hankering for loaded fries the other I decided to turn them into a meal. For the record, given that this is probably not the healthiest meal ever, I DID serve it with a side of broccoli. AND if you want to sneak some veggies in here, peppers, red onions, tomatoes etc would all be great additions to this casserole.

And so I present Loaded Waffle Fry Caserole, baby!

You will need:
1 bag of Alexia seasoned waffle cut fries (from the freezer section)
1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Approx. 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used Kraft three cheese blend with the Philadelphia cream melts really well!)
Bacon crumbles (for the purpose of saving time, I cheated here and used pre-made Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits. Diced and cooked bacon or turkey bacon would be great here too)
Your favorite ranch dressing
Veggies of your choice, if you choose
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425. Spray a casserole dish or pan with non-stick spray and spread the waffle fries in the bottom of the pan. Spread chicken cubes over top of the fries, and veggies if you're using them. Top with cheese, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour ranch dressing over top (I used about 3/4 of the bottle). The top everything with bacon crumbles.

Pop your casserole in the oven for 35-40 minutes (longer if you prefer crispier fries, just watch that nothing on top burns).

Done! That easy and yes, that delicious. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beauty and The Bare Minerals

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid in any way to write this post. My blog is not famous enough...yet...for that, and besides, I'm into writing honest reviews. Not WOO-HOO-this-product-rocks-because-they're-paying-me-to-say-so reviews. This is just a product I happen to be slightly obsessed with and feel the need to shout it's awesomeness from the rooftop of my blog. Anywhoo...carry on :)

I'm taking a break from mommy things to talk me things today. Namely makeup. Because I love it :)

A few months ago I started noticing that the makeup I had been using for years was seriously aggravating my already super acne-prone skin. I know the pregnancy hormones weren't helping at all, but I was finding that every time I'd wear makeup, I'd start a new breakout. At 27, having skin like a 17 year old blows. Hell, having skin like a 17 year old when you are a 17 year old blows. But 27 the breakouts were just getting ridiculous.

I've tried everything over the years, from different face washes, creams, acne pads, moisturizers, a Clarisonic (which, for the record I still use and it rocks my socks). I've given up on the dermatologist because the medicated creams they put me on do nothing but make my skin raw and irritated (not worth it, at this point in my life) and I've already done two, yes two, courses of Accutane. Oh, and did I mention that as a teen, I developed a nasty allergy to benzoyl peroxide (which is the active ingredient in a ridiculous amount of acne products like Proactive...probably because it works...if you can use it)? Yeah. Not so fun.

But anyway.

I started noticing that on the days I'd skip the makeup, my skin wouldn't be SO aggravated. If I wore it, I had at least three new zits somewhere on my face by the end of the day. What the crap?!? Something had to give.

I decided on a whim to give new makeup a try. I had been using a Clinique foundation for YEARS because previously it was the only foundation that didn't make things worse. But apparently that began to change with pregnancy and age. I happened to have a Macy's giftcard from my birthday so I grabbed it, headed to the mall...and spotted a makeup artist with the most flawless skin I had ever seen. Approaching his counter, I discovered he worked for Bare Minerals...and was wearing the product himself.

I let him give me his schpeal, all the while admiring his perfect complexion. While I was sitting there two other women came to the counter to purchase products and raved that everything he was saying about the products was true...clearer skin, a better complexion, a pretty natural look without being heavy on your face. I was sold. Perhaps like a sucker, but if this stuff worked...I'd be a happy sucker! I purchased their starter kit which comes with a mini bottle of their primer, their Flawless Face brush, their original and matte foundations in my chosen shade, Warmth (basically their version of bronzer) and Mineral Veil. I headed home, washed my face clean, and applied the makeup.

By the end of the day, I didn't have a single new pimple on my face. Already a major win in my book.

I wanted to give it a few weeks before making a real decision on whether or not I really liked the products though, hence why it's now August as I write this and I started with the stuff at the end of May. I'm gonna tell's been a great few weeks.

Not kidding, not even a tiny little bit, my skin has NEVER been clearer. Ever. Not since my preteen years. And I'm totally crediting the switch in makeup.

Want a little extra proof? I stuck with using the full routine of primer, foundation, Warmth and Mineral was working great and still is. But just to experiment, I tried using a less expensive primer from Revlon. BIG MISTAKE. Within hours, a breakout had started. Went back to the Bare Minerals primer and BAM...all better :) Literally, the quality of my skin as improved since using the product. I'm floored by it.

Take a look....

Me, a few weeks prior to starting Bare Minerals, sans makeup...eek.

Today, no makeup, roughly 10 weeks after starting Bare Minerals when I do wear makeup

HUGE difference!

And honestly? The look and feel of Bare Minerals on my skin is fantastic. It's seriously just an all around, quality product. I'm a huge fan, and I don't plan on looking back :)

Oh, and if you're wondering what else is on my face at the moment? Nars blush in Luster, eye shadow from Urban Decay's Naked3 palette, Loreal Volumnious mascara in Carbon Black, CoverGirl Lipslicks in Daring and Loreal Color Riche eyeliner in black/brown.

Until next time :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just Call Me The Buddha Belly

28 weeks. 28 freaking weeks. Where the hell did you come from?

The third trimester has creeped up quickly. Holy cow. Though I am well aware that the next 12ish weeks will be the longest of this entire pregnancy. And at some point I will likely look and feel like that pregnant cat meme floating around on the know...this one

(Photo credit: Pinterest)

Poor kitty.

Today I had my 28 week appointment. It was a productive appointment with lots of great conversation with my amazing midwives. The one I saw today is my favorite :) She super loves her VBAC patients and makes me feel so confident and excited every time I see her. I had to face reality today though: I am a prior c-section momma and with that there are risks. I've done ridiculous amounts of research, I'm confident in my ability to VBAC and I'm excited for birth...but I know all too well that things happen, and I know that I need to prepare for that.

When Conner was born, the thought of needing an emergency c-section never crossed my mind. It was never an option. Surely it wasn't going to happen to me...But it did. And it was devastating. And the thought of needing to go through that again scares me. So I am making a point of having a plan for the just-in-case.

So my midwife and I discussed what would happen if I needed another C-section. And I love her even more now.

If it needs to happen, and baby doesn't need to be taken to the NICU like Conner did, I won't lose out on skin-on-skin time. I won't miss those good "just born pheremones" or the chance to nurse my baby right away. Our base hospital is all for doing those things, right on the operating table, with the help of a nurse and the support of my entire birthing team.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as we discussed these things. And then my midwife reminded me "you're a great VBAC candidate. You're going to rock it out anyway".

 (Photo credit: Pinterest)

She's the best.

So here I am, officially in the seventh month of my pregnancy. I am measuring a few weeks ahead, likely because baby is probably spread out and comfy and finishing a growth spurt. Everything is is healthy though...I just look like I have a big Buddha belly :) I am feeling pretty good, minus very achy feet, but I am not ready to be done enjoying the little kicks in my I am making a point to enjoy the end of this pregnancy before I have a new tiny little in my arms!


Oh, and I'm still enjoying milkshakes :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Real Mom's Guide...Jamie's Postpartum Survival Kit

I'm closing out the week with a guest post by Jamie from But never fear! There are lots more installments of A Real Mom's Guide coming up soon! Stay tuned, and enjoy :)

So you've done it! You can look down now and see your feet, trust me I know it's been a while since you've seen them. I'm pretty sure that by now you may have already realized that your "bundle of joy" doesn't like to be held or fed the way the blogs said. And you've become more comfortable adapting to what comes naturally rather than what the baby whisperers say. Having a new baby at home learning and growing, first inside of you for what seems like an eternity then alongside you from day one, changes us..

The changes we experience are as much alike as they are different but one thing is certain, a happy mommy develops a naturally happy baby. During my recovery process I learned that simplifying my daily routine was the perfect way to get through the many, many (many) tasks that you have to conduct in a pain free, swift and safe manner for mommy and baby. On my second day in the hospital after having a midnight C-section, my mom came into my hospital room, which now shined a pale pink hue from the layers it`s a girl everything , which was a total surprise because I didn't want to know the sex. The gift that held up the pile became one of my best friends along with a comfortable recliner, a bottle caddy, and an LCD display screen baby monitor.

My postpartum survival kit was just that-a means to survival!An easy to assemble, collapsible, rolling....yes ROLLING bassinet came I handy for transporting my daughter in a quick manner without having to lift her. My C-Section was smooth- minor soar -ness but this handy dandy thing did it all! I could roll the bassinet anywhere throughout our home, even upstairs. Moreover, two large baskets accompanied the rolling wonder which came in handy for the essentials that you always need nearby. There are extra precautions that need o be taken after having a C-section. Lifting more than a few pounds can be difficult for some. Having a comfortable recliner made feeding and naps a comfortable process for myself and my daughter and it kept the extra weight away from the new, sensitive incision. Having the bassinet nearby with the bottle caddy, baskets for diapers and balms etc. made for an easy transition for my baby girl and me. My last yet most important survival tool was my LCD display baby monitor. For obvious reasons having a newborn unearths emotional concerns and worries for your baby. Being able to see her at all times truly put me at ease and it also provided a way for me to watch her learn and explore independently. These things are everywhere Kmart, Walmart, Babies R Us etc.  

Here are a few possibilities:

If I could do it all again, I would utilize a journal to document the small things that change us the most. Remember ~ continue to nurture yourself first. Your baby loves and needs you at your best.

Check out more possibilities here:

Jaime "Alea Jay" Jacobs is a mommy to one six year old diva named Jayla. They currently live together in South Florida. Jaime is the Founding Editor of , Curl News Correspondent at HoneyBeNatural Magazine & President of South Florida community group Girls Curls of Coarse . Join us on social media!
Facebook: Flawless N Brown
Instagram:@flawlessnbrowndotcom/ @aleajay
Twitter: @beflawlessblog / @nappyhead3dyo