Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Your Beauty Products Are Making You Poor

Why It's Making You Poorer: A few years ago, Beth Kobliner, a member of The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability and author of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties interviewed a teacher who had amassed $25,000 in credit card debt. Kobliner asked what the woman had gotten for her money. The woman paused for a moment before finally replying, "Well, a lot of makeup. A lot of lipstick." Sound crazy? We might not all be in danger of racking up that much debt, but it’s easier to spend more on makeup than we think we do: A 2008 study by the YWCA found that American women spend an average of $100 a month on cosmetics. 

How to Stop: Get your beauty fix for the entire year with this E.L.F Studio Makeup Clutch Palette. For $15, you get 32 eyeshadows, 6 lip colors, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, 1 eyebrow powder and face shimmer. It’ll be a long time before you’ll need to go makeup shopping again.

Monday, July 28, 2014

How To Avoid ATM Fees

We all try and avoid paying the $2 to $3 ATM surcharge, but when in a desperate situation (with friends in a cash-only restaurant at midnight), we will begrudgingly accept the extra fees to spare ourselves the hassle. Using the free smartphone app AllPoint—for iOS and Android devices—to scope out the nearest surcharge-free ATM machines can save you a couple dollars the next time you're in a desperate situation. The app also comes in handy when you're traveling—the AllPoint network spans across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Australia with over 55,000 surcharge-free locations.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mango-Avocado Salad

This salad is fit for a party on the patio with whatever is on the barbecue or by itself for a filling lunch. The salad can also be presented in a number of ways: the salad mixture can be mounded onto butter lettuce leaves, mixed with baby greens, or for an especially rich treat, inside an avocado half.

Serves 4

  • 4 cups Gourmet salad greens
  • 1 Mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small Avocado, peeled and sliced
  • cup Chopped tomato
  • cup Fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • teaspoon Ground coriander
  • teaspoon Salt
  • teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped dry-roasted cashews

  1. Place 1 cup salad greens on each of 4 individual plates; divide mango and avocado evenly among salads.
  2. Combine tomato and next 9 ingredients (tomato through pepper) in a bowl; stir well.
  3. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons dressing over each salad, and top each with 1-1/2 teaspoons cashews.
Get more recipes in my latest cookbook Martine Alphonse's OutdoorEntertaining

Monday, June 23, 2014

Chic new ways to wear pink

We can’t help it -- pink is (and always has been) one of our favorite colors, but we understand it can be a little on the cutesy side. With that in mind, this week on Beautiful Life, we’re looking into chic, sophisticated ways to wear our go-to hue.

Sophisticated wristlet

While we admittedly own more purses than we need, it’s still hard to pass up something cute to add to the (ever-growing) collection. Our first purchase: this stylishly structured pink rose wristlet that perfectly balances sophistication with a touch of whimsy (, $20).

Sexy shift

Trade your basic black shifts for this get-noticed pink dress (, $24.99). The sexy, v-neck dress with vibrant pink shade is perfect for adding some flirty flair to your summer look. Not only will you be the center of attention, but you’ll look great no matter what you wear it with.

Sleeveless T-shirt

You can never have too many T-shirts. Whether you’re hitting the beach or heading to the mall, the easy-wearing tee never goes out of style. We jumped at the chance to add this lightweight pale pink Sleeveless T-shirt to our summer wardrobe (, $10). We’ll be throwing it on with faded cut-offs and wearing with our favorite strappy sandals.

Flirty ruffles

There’s no rule that states flirty has to come in black. In fact, we love the idea of a sexy number in this hue. That’s why we couldn’t help but fall for this one sleeve ruffle dress in on-trend pastel pink (, $40.00). Pair with basic black, gray and even white heels.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garlic, Herbs, and Lemon Potatoes

The pans needs to be preheated before you add the potatoes to them, but you can definitely par-boil and toss them before bringing them over.

Serves 8

  • 4 1/2 pounds red or yellow new potatoes, scrubbed clean, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (see note above)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons slived chives
  • 2 teaspoons zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Adjust oven racks to lower and upper position and preheat oven to 500°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and place in oven. Place potatoes in a large saucepot and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show a slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons oil to bowl with potatoes. Season with pepper and more salt to taste then toss until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/oil paste. Spread remaining canola oil evenly over surfaces of hot foil-lined baking sheets, then divide potatoes evenly between them, using a thin spatula to arrange them cut-side down and using oven mitts or kitchen towels to maneuver the hot pans.
  3. Transfer baking sheets to the oven and roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crisp and golden brown and can be easily lifted from the foil, about 30 minutes total, swapping top the trays top for bottom and rotating them once half way through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, loosen all of the potatoes from the pan and toss. Return to oven and continue roasting until pale golden brown all over, about 15 minutes longer. Add shallots to pans and toss to coat in oil. Return to oven and roast until potatoes and shallots are deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add parsley, chives, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil to potatoes and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Get more recipes in my latest cookbook Martine Alphonse's OutdoorEntertaining

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nail art tip: How to create easy flowers

Even though a day at the spa for a manicure or pedicure can be a longed-for break from a long week, occasionally, it is more enjoyable to do your nails at home. Flower nail art may seem to be time consuming, however, with a little practice and determination, you can have a custom manicure in your most preferred colors. After mastering the basic flower, simply play around with details, colors and other designs. Below are some steps to help you do your flower nail art at home:

Step 1: Paint your nails using one solid color which is different from the flower color to make your design easy. Red on black, pink on blue or hot pink on white are all combinations that result in flowers that pop. Let the base dry up completely.

Step 2: Using a nail dotter tool or a toothpick, dab five small polish dots on your nail in a circle or star shape, using the color that you have picked for the flower petals. Let it dry up completely.

Step 3: Dab a tiny dot at the center of the circle of petals to represent the flower’s midpoint using a light or different polish color. Make the dot big enough to touch the petals or leave some space between the center dot and the petal dots.

Step 4: Allow your nails some time to dry up completely and then finish with a clear coat of polish. If need be, use either two or three thin layers to make the surface of your nails more shiny and less likely to get damaged.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday's Fashion Obsessions: Lace Crop Top

When the temperature rises, we typically stow away our black clothes (summer calls for brights, after all). Worn in a loose, airy silhouette over a bralette, this crop top looks sassy and totally wearable over a high-waisted pencil skirt or black jeans. Keeping it fresh this trendy mint shade, step into some black peep toe ankle strap heels or some flats for a more casual look and add a hot with a classic red lip.

Mint Lace Top - Alphonse Unlimited $14.90