Friday, January 26, 2018

Makeup Removal Solution

When I shop for food and beauty products, I always try to find items that are free of artificial ingredients or have as few as possible, but when it comes to my eyes, I am especially "choosy" about the products I use.

Several years ago, I stopped using generic eye makeup removal liquid from the drug store and started searching for a product with natural and organic ingredients. I went through a few brands (and also tried straight coconut oil) but still couldn't find something that I loved. All the products I tried left my eyes feeling "gooey" and my vision less clear.

It was then that I was introduced to makeup removal cloths. After reading tons of reviews, I ordered a set from Amazon. They arrived, I tried them for the first time, and I instantly fell in love. A little bit of warm water and a few seconds of gentle rubbing, and my makeup was completely gone!

The purpose of this post is to share a solution that has worked for me. It is not a product endorsement. There are quite a few makeup removal cloths on the market that don't seem to work well (based on the reviews they receive), so if you would like to give them a try, I recommend ELUME Makeup Removal Cloths. They are quick-drying, very affordable, and have a loop for easy hanging.

For a list of the other natural beauty products I use, follow this link to read my post from February 2016.

And in case you're wondering, the above picture shows what I look like without makeup. I figured that a photo of myself wearing full makeup and holing up a makeup removal cloth wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. (You would probably be wondering if it actually works!) Makeup can be a fun way to accentuate our features, and I would be lying if I said I don't wear it regularly, but the minute we adopt the "I won't be seen in public without it" mantra is the minute we start placing our outer beauty above our inner beauty.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Homemade BBQ Sauce #1

In Tennessee, BBQ is king. Everyone knows someone who has participated in a BBQ competition, and most folks can whip up decent BBQ. (And if they can't, their mama can.)

When out-of-state friends come to visit and ask us to take them to the best BBQ joint in town, they are always shocked when we tell them that there are over a dozen to choose from, and most have multiple locations throughout the city and surrounding towns.

While Mr. Handsome and I enjoy going out for BBQ, we also enjoy staying in for BBQ. A couple years ago, I began perfecting the art of cooking BBQ beef brisket and BBQ ribs. But what's a good BBQ meat recipe without a good BBQ sauce recipe? Useless, that's what it is.

I alternate between two BBQ sauce recipes. Here's one of them:

Homemade BBQ Sauce #1

1-1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients to a saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Sauce can be simmered until ready to use. Store cooled leftovers in the fridge. (I use a glass Trader Joe's olive oil container to store mine.)

Friday, January 19, 2018

How I Met Mr. Handsome Part 5

Here it is, folks, the final installment in the saga of how Mr. Handsome and I met. (Visit my post from October 26th to watch the previous part.) My story varies quite a bit from his, but hopefully you all have enjoyed listening to each of us tell our side. I apologize in advance for the cheesiness. That tends to happen when we tell the story of how we fell in love...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Snow Day 2.0

In the past four days, we have had two snow days here in Nashville. On Friday afternoon, we had an ice storm followed by a few inches of snow, which caused schools and businesses to close. Late last night, it started snowing again, and most folks are home from work and school today.

Mr. Handsome and I are enjoying the unexpected chance to spend time together. This morning, we grabbed a latte to share and went on a walk in the winter wonderland. It was 14F (-10C), but we bundled up and had a grand time.

The one downside of living in the South is that when winter weather does arrive, it isn't as easy to handle as it would be above the Mason-Dixon Line.

A typical winter in Nashville usually means daytime highs above freezing and overnight lows below freezing, so snow often turns into rain, which then freezes and makes driving treacherous. Cities and towns don't own enough plows and salt trucks to keep all the roads clear, so car accidents are more common. We have friends who live outside the city on winding roads that are never plowed or salted, so when snow and ice hit, they can't leave home until it melts.

The weather this winter has been far from average. In the past ten days, we have seen temperatures well above average--as high as 65F (18C)--and lows well below average--as low as 3F (-16C). With single-pane windows, our heater is working overtime. As I have done in past years, I purchased window insulator plastic to help keep the cold air out.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Horse Painting

Hope your week is off to a good start. Just wanted to share a recent oil on canvas painting that Mr. Handsome did, based on the photos we took at Cades Cove during our trip to the Smoky Mountains last fall. What do you think?

As always, if you are interested in purchasing any of the paintings you see here, just give me a holler ( We have sold paintings to multiple satisfied customers, and our prices are very affordable.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Migraine Cure

This post goes out to fellow migraine sufferers. As someone who has experienced regular migraines for her entire adult life, I feel your pain.

My migraines started 10 years ago, and although the headache itself isn't always severe enough to put me in bed for hours, my migraines are always accompanied by an aura--visual abnormalities and blind spots that last for about an hour--as well as nausea.

When I first started having migraines, I visited a neurologist and, at her suggestion, began taking a fish oil capsule and 400mg of magnesium glycinate daily. My migraines never went away, but at their worst, they only came every couple months, so I never bothered seeking further treatment.

Four months ago, however, I was hit hard. Out of nowhere, I suddenly began having migraines a couple times per week. It was terrible. I considered making a doctors appointment, but I decided to try a few things on my own first.

I had read online that migraine sufferers are often deficient in vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Since B2 supplements are relatively cheap, I bought a bottle and began taking 200mg twice daily. Within a couple weeks, my migraines had completely stopped, and I haven't had one since. For what it's worth, I also take a women's multivitamin and a vitamin D3 capsule each day.

For those of you who suffer from migraines or know someone who does, I would love to hear if you have any remedies to share.

*These suggestions are based on my own experiences and should not be considered medical advice.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


A while ago, one of my readers asked if I play any instruments. As many of you know, Mr. Handsome is very musical. I have shared videos of him playing guitar and banjo (his main instruments) as well as violin. He never ceases to amaze me with his musical ability, and I love listening to him. (Below is a video of Mr. Handsome playing "Amazing Grace" on a 300-year-old violin.)

Over Christmas, we were visiting someone who had a piano. Mr. Handsome took classical piano as a child, but it had been at least eight or ten years since he had played a single note. Well, he sat down and performed, from memory, a beautiful rendition of "Jesus Paid It All." He isn't great at reading music, but he has an excellent ear.

Now as far as my musical ability goes, I grew up taking violin lessons. I started in fourth grade and continued into my first year of high school, but when my family ran into financial struggles, I decided that the strain I would be placing on my parents by continuing music lessons was not worth it. I continued to pick up my instrument from time to time and play for fun. One of my college roommates was also a violinist (as were several of the three dozen girls I lived with), and the two of us enjoyed playing duets during our study breaks.

When Mr. Handsome and I got married, I attempted to learn the mandolin, which has the same strings as the violin. It's a fun instrument, but I quickly realized that there were just too many other things vying for my attention to justify investing the amount of time necessary to learn a new instrument.

As a side note, I also took singing lessons for a year during college

Do you play an instrument? Or perhaps you're a singer?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Final Photos from Cades Cove

Last month, I shared photos from our trip to Cades Cove, a historic settlement nestled in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. I also posted pictures of the vibrant fall colors that we came across on our trip. Below is the last batch of snapshots from our journey through Cades Cove.

In one particular part of Cades Cove, we came across some especially unique buildings. The first was a barn with a space in the middle. The idea was that two workers could pull a wagon in and easily throw hay up into the lofts.

The second was a cantilever barn, which has an overhang on one side for animals and equipment storage.

Nearby was a grist mill (a mill used to grind grain) that was built around 1870 by John Cable.

Then there was the Gregg-Cable House (circa 1879), the first frame house built in the Cove. At that time, the sawmill was brand new, which was a big deal for the residents of Cades Cove, who had not previously had access to lumber.

By this point, we were most of the way through Cades Cove. On our way out, we made two last stops. The first was the Dan Lawson Place, built in 1856. The house has a rare feature for Cades Cove--a brick chimney, constructed using bricks that were made on-site as the house was being built.

At that time, it was not uncommon for families to have multiple outbuildings, such as a smokehouse, a woodshed, a granary (for storing grain), a corn crib (for storing corn), and, of course, a barn.

Our last stop was the Tipton Place, built in the early 1870s. The owner was a colonel in the Mexican-American War, and the original inhabitants were his daughters, who were teachers in Cades Cove.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Recipe: Ice Cream Cake with Oreo Crust

A few weeks ago, I told you about Mr. Handsome's birthday celebration and promised that I would share the recipe for the ice cream cake that I made him. Now I know it's the dead of winter for many of us, but my personal opinion is that ice cream can be enjoyed at any time of year--especially if it's in cake form.

Ice Cream Cake with Oreo Crust

15 Oreo cookies (I used chocolate-stuffed)
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2-1.5 quart cartons of ice cream (two different flavors)*
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup and extra cookie crumbles for  top of cake
Pie plate

*If you use a pie plate as I did, you will likely have some ice cream left over.

Place Oreo cookies in a Ziploc bag, and crush with a rolling pin. In a bowl, combine cookie crumbles and melted butter. Stir, and then press into the bottom of a pie plate using a spatula.

Place pie plate in freezer for 1 hour. Then, press one flavor of ice cream into the pan. Be sure to leave room for the second flavor. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips over the top, and press them into the ice cream with a spatula. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Press second flavor of ice cream into the pan, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Drizzle chocolate syrup over the top of the cake, and sprinkle with extra cookie crumbles.

Freeze 30 minutes (or longer), and serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

'Extraordinary' DVD Giveaway

Extraordinary DVD

As a way of wishing all my readers a happy new year, I'm kicking off 2018 with a giveaway. I'm raffling off two copies of the movie Extraordinary, starring Kirk Cameron, Leland Klassen, Karen Abercrombie, and Shari Rigby (I met Shari Rigby in 2016--click here to watch my interview).

Based on a true marriage journey, Extraordinary tells the story of ultra-marathon runner and college professor David Horton, his wife, Nancy, and their attempt to finish their marriage race well. Although proud of his incredible athletic accomplishments and the impact he has on his students, David’s family continuously pays a high price for his years of competitive running. Following David's open-heart surgery and irreparable knee damage, Nancy is ready for her husband to hang up his racing shoes for good and focus his boundless energy on their family. Feeling called by God to “inspire people one last time,” Dave sets off for a 2,900-mile race across America.

Extraordinary will be available on Universal Pictures Home Entertainment DVD and digital on January 16th. Follow the prompts on the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway