Friday, February 28, 2014

Album Review: Dierks Bentley: Riser

Artist: Dierks Bentley
Album: Riser
Point of Purchase: iTunes
Price $9.99

Dierks is one of those artists who whenever he has a new single out, I immediately download it, same goes with his albums, and when I found out a couple years ago that he was going to be playing locally I made sure I had tickets to the show. His sound never disappoints, it's real country music (thank you for not having Autotune anywhere on any track), but he has a rock and roll heart. He seems like a real guy who fame hasn't really affected much (listen to I Hold On for a little taste of that). He seems like someone who would be just as fun to be around off stage as he is to watch on. 

The songs have a range of emotion, broken hearts, true love, and summer party songs all show up on this album, it wouldn't be Dierks if they didn't.

If you want to give the tracks a test run, they're all linked through spotify, or you can listen to the whole playlist by clicking "RISER" up top. Per my usual format, I chose some of my favorite lyrics from each song to share with you.

Dierks Bentley – Bourbon In Kentucky: There ain't enough bourbon in Kentucky to make me forget you.

Dierks Bentley – Say You DoYeah baby, I'm begging you to lead me on, Say it feels good to be back in my arms
Dierks Bentley – I Hold On: Can you hear me baby? I hold on. 
Dierks Bentley – Pretty Girls: Silver cans up in the air, they're singing along
Dierks Bentley – Here On Earth: This world keeps spinning round and round, you're lying still in the earth
Dierks Bentley – Drunk On A Plane: I've got empty mini bottles filling up both of our trays, I'm getting drunk on a plane
Dierks Bentley – Five: Ten minute drive, this old truck's gonna fly I'll be there in five. 
Dierks Bentley – Riser: I’m strong enough to hold you through the winter, mean enough to stare your demons down, the hard times put the shine into the diamond
Dierks Bentley – Sounds Of Summer: It's the dust in the air, and the freedom everywhere, Can't you hear it coming alive?
Dierks Bentley – Damn These Dreams: It's hard to look true love in the eye and leave.
Dierks Bentley – Back PorchGot a tin roof on the top just in case it rains, Got a kiddy pool off the deck for those hot as hell days
Dierks Bentley – Hurt SomebodyWell you ain't that old, but you ain't that young.
You've lived a lot, but you ain't quite done.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tell Me What You Want (what you really really want)

Spice girls jokes aside, I think that it's important to know what you want, what is reasonable, and what you're willing to give in relationships, any relationship for that matter, not just the romantic ones.  I think it's good to know where your lines in the sand are, your deal breakers and makers if you will.

I found an old journal from last year while I was cleaning house and there was a really great (patting myself on the back here) entry about what I wanted in a relationship. I've added to it since it's discovery and now I'm ready to share it with the world.

  • I'm looking for a partner in life.  I'm not looking for a boss or to take over his mother's job of raising him.
  • I want someone who can make me laugh, and understands that sometimes I just need to cry.
  • I am looking for someone who makes me feel safe and loved no matter what environment we're in.  I want to trust that we can make it through any situation that is tossed in our direction as long as we're together.
  • I need someone who is honest with me, someone who believes in us.  Someone who doesn't find monogamy unreasonable or too demanding.
  • I want someone who encourages and inspires my dreams.  Someone who values what I bring to the table, who sees me as his equal and not just entertainment.
  • I want someone to share adventures with, who isn't afraid to try new things and will be eager to broaden each other's horizons.
  • I don't want to worry about whether or not he'll be able to hold his temper, his alcohol, or other harmful personality traits.  I don't want to clean up drunken vomit or have to slowly back out of a room because I'm scared.
  • I want to feel like I belong when I'm with him and his people whether that be his family or his friends.
  • I want him to be both intelligent and educated, and to not feel intellectually intimidated by my friends, but at the same time not be a snob about it.
  • Ideally I'd like him to be able to look into my eyes and see beyond my "poker face" and know how certain situations make me uncomfortable and do his best to make it better.  I realize that will take more communication on my part.  I will have to learn to open up when something bothers me instead of insisting that it's "fine" when it's not.
This list is not saying that I want him to do all the work to accommodate me and my needs only.  I know that relationships take (some times hard) work, honesty, communication, and compromise.  I know that if I want someone to be supportive of my dreams and to vanquish my fears I have to pick up my sword and be just as willing to slay some dragons for him.  I need to occasionally take the backseat and put his needs first and help him lay his insecurities to rest.

I am experienced enough to know that at this stage in the game no one comes into a relationship without some scars on their hearts and minds.  People have an uncanny ability to heal and move on, but we do so with more caution than when we started out.  Sometimes that means we are extra careful in how we treat others, sometimes it means that we hold people at a distance until trust is gained.  Often times its a combination of the two with a few other unique coping mechanisms thrown in to keep things interesting.

I'm not the girl who stares out her office window waiting for flower delivery on Valentine's Day.  A dozen red roses doesn't prove that someone loves you, it proves that they have money to burn and know how to call a florist.  Cut flowers wither and die in stagnant water and end up dropping sad petals all over your desk within a few days.  Real love is every day, and while romantic gestures are nice (and appreciated) they don't guarantee love.  The boyfriend who always bought me thoughtful gifts every time he went out of town did so because he felt guilty because he was schtooping some other broad in Southern California while to told me his was visiting his parents.  The sweetest and most thoughtful birthday present I ever received from a lover came from someone who responded to an "I love you" with a "you're confused."  I'd rather have someone show their love by being honest, caring, and someone I can count on than celebrate a silly holiday once a year.

Tell me you love me every day, prove it with your actions, and I'll do the same for you.  Make me laugh, hold me when I cry, please be patient when I'm crazy, understand that when I give my heart to you that it wasn't given lightly or without thought.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Things

Oprah does it, Ellen does it, Julie Andrews sang an iconic song about it, and now it's my turn to tell you about my favorite things.  I don't have the financial resources to do a give away, but I thought it might be fun to do a reoccuring post about my favorite things.  This one's topic will be beauty products.
These are my every day and special occasion items. Stuff I technically could live without, but I really don't want to.

Not all the items are featured in the group shot, so I took photos of each individual thing, and then will tell you why I love it.

 Item 1, Eyeshadow Palette by Sephora in Moonshadow Baked.  All ten of the colors are super sparkly neutrals that look fabulous with any outfit and depending on how heavy handed you are with your make up brush, they can take you from office appropriate to smoldering temptress in no time. 

 Item 2, Perfume, Falling in Love by Philosophy.  This scent like being young and carefree in the summer... or cotton candy if you want a more literal definition.  I love the whole product line in this scent (bar soap, body wash, lotion, body butter, etc) but the perfume is definitely my favorite.

 Item 3, Moisturizer, Dramatically Different + by Clinique. I was going through a rough patch with my face, I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I had been using the same moisturizer for more than 10 years and all of a sudden my skin felt raw and sensitive, it was scaly, and I was breaking out like a teenager. My mom recommended that I try using Clinique and she bought me a bottle. Let me tell you something sister, this stuff is miracle cream. Within 48 hours my skin felt normal again, it wasn't raw or scaly. I've been using it for a few months now, and it's awesome. I can't remember a time where my face has felt healthier.

 Item 4, Nail Polish Remover, Express Nail Polish Remover by Nails Inc. This stuff is fast and awesome, it works like an acetone based remover without it (except with glitter polish, get out your heavy stuff for that). It has a sponge inside and you just soak or spin it around and the polish comes off like magic.

Item 5, Primer, Perfect Prep Primer by Mally, it might sound like a tongue twister, but it keeps your face in place even after dancing the night away.

 Items 6 & 7, Luscious Red Lips, Barcelona by Buxom (lip stick) and Sangria by Sephora (lip liner). My favorite lip color is red for day or evening wear. Some times I feel like my lips walk into the room before I do, and I'm okay with that. These two compliment each other nicely and are both long wear shades so you don't have to worry about leaving your lipstick on your coffee cup or a loved one's face. 

 Items 8 & 9: Ready by Bare Minerals and the Bare Minerals Precision Face brush. This particular Ready (pressed powder) is a bronzer, but I love so many of them that it could be a post in itself. I've been using Bare Minerals for at least 6 years now, and my biggest complaint from years past is how messy the loose powders are. They fixed that problem with the Ready line and now I use the foundation (medium beige), the bronzer (high dive and skinny dip), blushes (the tease, and the secret's out), and their mineral veil. This make up doesn't clog your pores like other foundations can, and it feels light even when you're wearing a lot of it. I've covered nasty sunburns with the foundations and have evened out skin tone with a flick of my brush and always have a flawless natural look.  

 Items 10-13, Wen. I admit it, I was skeptical, I wasn't even super fond of it in the beginning, but I'm a convert. I only use the cleansing conditioner (shampoo) a couple times a week, but when I do, my hair smells fabulous for hours and it's soft and as long as I remember to rinse it REALLY WELL it looks great (if you leave any residue behind you get that 90s grunge look, and not in a good way). The tea tree treatment feels great and is good for dry itchy scalps, the spray is good to refresh your hair and your face, and the almond serum is a fantastic tool to tame flyaways and to gloss up your strands.

 Items 14 & 15, Pureology Shampoo and Conditioner, this is my every day stuff, it smells fantastic and works great as relaxing aromatherapy treatment at the same time. It's sulfate free, it's hydrating (I have dry scalp), and my hair has been the healthiest it's ever been since I started using it. 

 Items 16 & 17, Dramatic Eyes, Skinny Liquid Eyeliner by Eyeko and Size Queen by Too Faced. I love Love LOVE this liquid eyeliner, it has the ease of a pencil but the drama of a liquid, it's waterproof so even if you have seasonal allergies or catch a showing of The Notebook your eyeliner will not run, I can't say the same for this mascara, but if you can keep your tears under control you can have super long fabulous eyelashes that defy nature without having to know how to apply falsies.

 Item 18, Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes by Burt's Bees. This stuff is awesome. It cleans off all your make up, it leaves your skin feeling soft and it doesn't dry it out like some cleansers can. 

 Item 19, THE BEST TOOTHPASTE EVER, seriously, Optic White by Colgate makes my mouth so happy. It keeps my chompers white, my breath fresh, and my smile wide. 

 Item 20, Dry Shampoo by Oscar Blandi, this dry shampoo is great for those days when my Wen hair care products are a little overbearing or I don't have time to wash my hair. It smells great, it gives my hair bounce when it's lackluster, and can save the day in a pinch. My suggestion is to put it on the tips of my fingers and then work into my scalp and then the body of my hair instead of pouring it directly on, that way I don't have to worry about using too much and going from oily to flaky in one deft move...small amounts worked in different locations helps prevent hair fails.

 Item 21, Top Coat, Seche Vite. I can't say enough about this, I recommend it to all my friends who are nail polish obsessed. It's fast drying so you aren't out of commission for very long, it's high gloss so your nails look fresh for days after your manicure, and it seems to protect against chips unlike any other product like it. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

P in a V Day Playlist

Please tell me you've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall...

Anyway, Valentine's day is right around the corner and I thought this year I'd make a playlist that was more "Grooves to Getting it On" than last year's "Love Stinks" theme.

Hopefully you have a memorable February 14th, keep the candy stores, florists, and card makers in business.

Personally, I like to listen to my playlists on shuffle, so there isn't a real order or story to tell by the way the songs are listed below or you can follow the playlist on Spotify here

Billy Joel – You May Be Right
Bush – Comedown
blink-182 – I Miss You
Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
Afrojack - David Guetta – I Just Wanna F. - feat. Timbaland & Dev
Tyler Hilton – Missing You
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
John Mellencamp – Hurts So Good
Billy Currington – Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right
Blackstreet – No Diggity
Whitesnake – Is This Love
Sheryl Crow – Sign Your Name
Bell Biv DeVoe – Poison
The Cure – Just Like Heaven
George Michael – Roxanne
Dierks Bentley – I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes
David Guetta – Titanium - feat. Sia
Sinead O'Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
Boyz II Men – I'll Make Love To You
INXS – Need You Tonight

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream inspired this cupcake recipe (with the help of some Duncan Hines cake mix).  I made it a few years ago for a super bowl party and even though they were a hit, I haven't made them since.

The occasion for these tasty treats is my best friend's baby shower this weekend, and I've been salivating since I decided these would be the cupcake for the event.


  • 1 Box Duncan Hines Banana Cake Mix
  • 1 Package Banana flavored Instant Pudding
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Walnuts
  • 3/4 
  • Chocolate Chips (I prefer milk chocolate, but if you're planning on being true to the B&J's flavor, dark or semi sweet chips are more accurate)
  • Vanilla or Butter-cream Frosting
  • Banana Chips (for decoration)

  • Preheat oven 350 degrees for a metal pan, 325 for a dark or coated pan, grease sides with shortening or oil spray, or use baking cups for cupcakes
  • blend cake mix, instant pudding, chocolate chips, walnuts (so that the nuts and chips are coated in the dry mix, they won't sink as much while baking if this is done first).
  • add milk, eggs, and melted butter until all ingredients are well mixed, about 2 minutes.
  • pour batter into pan/baking cups
  • bake 15-18 minutes
  • cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes
  • cool completely before frosting.
  • melt some chocolate chips and then dip the banana chips in melted chocolate, set aside on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until chocolate sets

Friday, February 7, 2014

Butter-Cream Frosting

Store-bought frosting is quick and easy if you don't have time to make your own, but if you do, you won't regret it, this frosting is delicious, I've used it on cakes, cupcakes, cut out cookies... you name it... if it is something to be frosted, this one will not disappoint. 

  • 1/3 cup soft butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring of choice

  • Blend butter and sugar
  • Stir in vanilla and milk
  • Beat until frosting is smooth and spreadable

Trade Secrets:
Brown or Black Icing?
For brown icing melt unsweetened chocolate and mix into white icing
For black icing, add black gel coloring to brown icing, you’ll use less black coloring and the frosting will taste like chocolate

Dark Red Icing?
Make the icing a day ahead of time, the dark pink will darken over time and turn red if you give it 24 hours, also can use maraschino cherry juice as a liquid, will turn the icing pink and you can use less red food coloring.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dream State Escalate: 44

Ever have one of those dreams where you wake up so mad at the person who co-starred with you, that you want to call them up and scream at them or send them a sternly worded email? I had one of those last night.

Last night/early this morning I had a dream where my brother and I were house-sitting for my parents while they were out of town. I was taking care of their injured (he's fine in real life) dog, and I don't know what my brother was doing there.

Anyway... he decided to have a massive party with lots of, shall we say "loose" women (not to slut shame or anything, but these bitches were haggard). I told them all to get the fuck out of my house... they would not. I told my brother he couldn't have parties at the house, and hanging out with all those skanks was disrespectful to his girlfriend that he lived with. He said she had been hanging out with other guys, so it was only fair. I told him "hey, if you want to date other women, that's your business... but you need to break up with her, move out, and THEN you can start banging hoes...BUT YOU DON'T GET TO DO IT HERE." He didn't respond favorably, and instead invited MORE people, dangerous people over.

I caught them trying to steal my parents and my belongings... I finally locked myself and the dog in one of the guest bedrooms, but they kept trying to fight their way in. One even threw an grenade (my dreams are very imaginative) at us... I threw it back, and slammed the door closed, when it exploded, it destroyed the ceiling, the tile, and some of the walls in the hallway, but the door and my room stayed intact. (weird). I went outside and told all the girls that my brother had a girlfriend and he was just playing them, and they were like "what a jerk... oh well" and still wouldn't leave. I called the cops and they told me it was not their problem.

Finally I woke up.... seething.