The most amazing poppy seed bread!

Today I thought I would take a shot at sharing a recipe here on the blog.  I am a carb lover!  I could easily be a Frenchwoman who lives on a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese.  Nothing is more comforting to me than a warm loaf of bread.

Poppy seed intro pic

This recipe is a family favorite.  I wish I could reference the original cook, but we have been making this for so many years I don’t even know where it came from.

My favorite thing about this bread is the glaze on top… it just adds a scrumptious touch!  My biggest suggestion for this recipe is to make sure you have the proper flavorings for the bread and glaze.  I can’t imagine that it would be as good with substitutions.

mixing poppy seed bread

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do and if you make it, please comment below and tell me what you think!  Happy Monday!

Poppy Seed Bread

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond flavoring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter flavoring

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and milk.  Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well, then add the poppy seeds and flavorings and mix again.  Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

After you remove the bread from the oven, prepare the glaze.  In a small saucepan, combine:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each of the above three flavorings

Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.  Pour over the warm loaves while they are still in the pans.  Allow the loaves to rest in the pans for about 20 minutes, then remove and enjoy!

Fresh poppy seed loves

poppy seed close up

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CND Shellac Nail Kit

I had the good fortune to borrow a CND Shellac nail kit from my sister-in-law so I could give it a try.  The kit included the UV lamp, nail removal wraps, top and base coats and a bunch of colors!  It was like Christmas for me when my husband brought it home.  He actually took a picture of me as I was so excited… he kept telling me I looked like a kid with a new toy!  I have had gels done before but never shellac, and was trilled to give this a shot since I have heard such great things about CND!
 CND Kit
The kit included simple directions and the lamp was super easy to use, with preset buttons to program the time so you do not have to use a separate timer.  I applied a layer of base coat and quickly cured it for 10 seconds.  I then applied 2 layers of the shellac color (I used the color Rose Bud) and cured it for 2 minutes after each layer.  I then did the same with the top coat (two minutes).  The kit included a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol that you rub over your nail immediately after you finish with the top coat.  The alcohol removes the sticky layer covering the nail and presto!  Nails complete!  It was incredibly easy and the application only took a few more minutes than traditional polish.  Plus it was actually a huge time saver, because there was no waiting for your polish to dry!
 shellac polish Rose Bud
The application of the polish was good.  It was not too thick, but was thick enough to give an opaque layer of polish.  I hate sheer polishes!   I had great coverage in two coats.  My only complaint with application was that I found the actual bottles of polishes a bit small ( 0.25 oz) especially considering the price tag of $14 – $18 per bottle.
The company claims for their shellac polish to have 14 day wear… I was able to wear mine for eight days.  The pictures below show the polish on day eight before I removed it.  I was careful with my application and wrapped to tips of my nails to try to prevent chipping.  On me the polish just seemed to peel off.
 Shellac chipping 2
Shellac chipping 1
I give this product a mixed review.  I loved the smooth finish, easy application and zero dry time.  The downside is, I only got a day or two more wear than my regular polish.  The lamp, base and top coat and polish could retail for over $207.00 if purchased individually (I am pricing from Amazon), so for me it was definitely not worth the investment.  I would simply do a regular manicure at home.  However, I am not ruling out the CND brand.  I have heard great things about their Vinylux polishes and I can’t wait to try them!
Have any of you used Shellac?  What are your favorite colors/brands?   Let me know in the comments below!
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My love of eye creams and my favorite moisturizer

I’ll be honest, I never used to wear eye creams.  Even though I believe that we should all start skincare young, I just never made it a priority and never saw a noticeable difference when I used them.  That is, until about a year ago.  I partially blame this on a busy life and lack of sleep but also, dare I say it, on age.  Almost all skin types become dryer as we age and even with oil prone skin I felt like my under eye area was beginning to show some dryness when I applied my makeup.

three eye creams

So I started trying different creams, some I purchased and some were samples, and I found a few favorites.  So which one am I using now?  Well, three actually.  Three may seem a little excessive, but I find that I like different creams for different needs.  Heck, if you switch between three at the same time instead of one they’ll last longer right?

I have a deluxe size sample of the Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar and love using it for my cream in the morning.  It is lightweight, super moisturizing and absorbs very quickly.  A fast absorbing cream is essential for me on busy mornings.  This is a 3ml size sample and contains quite a lot… I have been using it since January and still have plenty left!

philosophy eye cream

For evenings, I have started using Mary Kay’s Timewise Repair Volu-Firm Eye Renewal Cream.  I feel that, of the bunch, this packs the most punch as far as benefits, but since it is a richer consistency I save it for bedtime so I can let it absorb all night.  It also has a cooling metal applicator that feels great after long days.  My hubby has even been know to request a little of “the stuff with the metal tip”!  I think it is often assumed that purchasing Mary Kay is difficult and that you must personally know a local representative, but their website has convenient ordering that will contact a rep and place your order for you if you do not.

mk eye cream

Lastly, I have the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream.  This is the most revitalizing cream with a noticeable tingling sensation due to the addition of caffeine and ginseng.  I use this if I am hot, uncomfortable or feel like I need a little lift.

origins eye cream

As a little extra mention, I love this Oil-Free Hydrating Gel from Mary Kay!  It is another quick absorbing product that packs a lot of moisture and I use it every morning.  This will be especially nice as we head into the warmer months!

mk moisturizer

Which are your go-to eye creams?  Any recommendations for some budget buys that are worth a try?

Happy Monday!


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High Five For Friday + Springtime is Here

Happy Friday everyone!

This post is part of two link parties called High Five For Friday and Five on Friday.

1.  The weather this week has been amazing!  Winter finally seems to be over and the hubby and I have been walking almost every night.  Sunday we caught a picture of this amazing sunset!


2. This weather has me ready of summer and I have been all about the flowers!  Nate brought me these lilies last week and they still look amazing.

lilliesAlso, I HAD to make a trip to Hobby Lobby and got these burlap hydrangeas and vase for half price!

floral arrangement

3. Officially made my 7th and 8th posts here on the blog this week (see below) and still trying to better my photography.

Homemade Chia Drinks

Homemade Chia Drinks


4. Nate came home with this AMAZING cheese from Costco and we have been eating it all week.  Probably the best cheese I have ever had… just sayin’.


5. And last but not least, the very first televised Cardinals spring training game was Thursday!!!!   Regular season will be starting soon!  Can. Not. Wait. Go Cards!

Thanks for checking out this extra post, it was a fun way for me to end the week. Be sure to check out some of the other blogs in Katie’s link party, and have a great weekend!


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The mattress shopping fiasco….

My handsome husband and I have been married for five months.  We spent the first four months in a constant struggle with mattresses.  When we married, I moved into his home and we decided to replace his queen sized mattress with a king.  Mattress shopping is incredibly intimidating and gimmick filled.  Since we really had no idea where to begin we started reading online reviews and eventually relied heavily on test results from Consumer Reports… HUGE MISTAKE!

Mattress & Bedding

I am loving my new antique mirror and hanging lamp. The lamp belonged to my husbands grandma. Also, I really need some throw pillows… it’s driving me nuts!

One of the higher rated and reasonably priced innerspring mattresses was the Newfield Cushion Firm from Costco.  My husband and I happen to be Costco members… Nate in particular is in love with “the magic of Costco” as he calls it.  We made a trip to our nearest warehouse and were able to lay on the mattress.  It seemed very comfy, so confident in Costco’s no hassle liberal return policy we took it home.  We enjoyed the comfort of the Newfield, but after only a month it appeared…..the dreaded sag!  Return trip #1!

Back to square one and evermore in doubt we decided to try a memory foam mattress the Serafina Pearl Gel, another top rated mattress offered at Costco.   In desperation we decided to order this online without trying it, solely based on the recommendations of Consumer Reports. We hated it!!!  I do believe that the Serafina is a quality, well made mattress… suitable for deceased Egyptian mummies or the living who barely move when they sleep.  This just seems to be the nature of memory foam.  You sink so far into the foam… it cradles you so much you can’t roll over.  My husband and I both toss and turn so much when we sleep that this mattress was miserable!  We still have recurring chiropractic visits. Return trip #2.

Blacklisted from Costco, frustrated, and sleep deprived we were at a loss.  We were scared to purchase a non-returnable mattress so we knew we had to try something different.  We went to countless stores and laid on every bed we could find. After some deliberation we finally decided to go with a dual sided Sleep Number that would give each of us the customizable comfort we desired…. also all Sleep Numbers are made in the USA!  We chose the Sleep Number C4 model for its simplicity and comfort. We were able to test it in the store and loved it, and as it was one of the models on sale at the time we decided to go for it over the “fancier” models.  Sleep Number does allow returns within the first 100 nights.

We placed our order right away and decided to go for the option of assembling the bed ourselves.  The store advised against it, but we figured it couldn’t be that hard (we were right).  Anybody could handle this… don’t pay the extra charge!

The night we assembled the bed, I had a terrible cold. My husband insisted on taking a picture. Yay.

The night we assembled the bed, I had a terrible cold. My husband insisted on taking a picture. Yay.

We opted out of buying a frame from Sleep Number.  This is a great way to save a few hundred dollars, just make sure your frame has a flat, hard surface.  We used our existing box spring and covered it edge to edge with plywood. Oila!  A flat top foundation!  The bed arrived in two (fairly small) boxes, and according to the directions we allowed it to air out for a few hours before assembly to reduce the factory smell.

One air chamber filled. One empty. Pardon the box of tissues, it was a sick day. :(

One air chamber filled. One empty.
Pardon the box of tissues, it was a sick day. 🙁

When you look at this mattress unassembled on your floor, you stare in shock that a few pieces of foam and plastic can cost so much money!   Do not despair yet.  I kept telling myself that if it was comfortable it would be worth it.  The bed came with a mattress shell with a quilted cover, two layers of foam, two air chambers (one for each side of the bed) and a pump with remote.  We simply attached the pump to the air chambers, layered the mattress together like a sandwich inside the shell (following the directions, of course) and zipped everything up.

Almost done!

Almost done!

This marked the day that we finally made it to the end of our mattress journey… almost.  We liked the C4 and were sleeping well, but it not quite have the softness that we remembered from the showroom.  We called the company to ask about this and they generously sent us two more layers of foam worth almost $800!  We loved the Pressure Relieving Comfort Foam Layer!

The End.  This mattress is perfection and we now lovingly refer to it as “The Cloud”.  With the previous mattress, our bed had become a place we dreaded to go because of the discomfort.  Now it is a pleasure to nestle in our bed and go to sleep in pure comfort each night.  If you’re curious, my sleep number is 60 and Nate’s is about 85.

I hope the helps you if you are considering a mattress purchase, for us it was such a huge decision.  We are no longer teased by our families for our mattress curse!  Bottom line… mattresses are completely personal.  Go with what feels good to you and do not be swayed by ads, recommendations or sales.  If you have additional questions please leave a comment for me, I would be happy to answer!  Happy shopping!

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