guest post: the perfect [hot] dog, by the daily deelight

I’m smitten to have Sando from The Daily Deelight back over here to post again.  While she’s over here giving some fabulous suggestions on how to make deelicious hot dogs I’m over at her blog sharing my favorite day to night outfits for the Fourth.  Check them out here!

Well heeeey Baloney Bug readers! It feels great to be back for another guest post on Joan’s blog [thanks lady!]. A couple of weeks ago Joan had the idea for us to do some guest posting for the 4th. I thought it was a swell idea, so while she does her fashion thing on The Daily Deelight, I’m gonna stick to my foodie thing right here.

When it comes to the Fourth of July [or FOJ as I like to call it] I like to stick with the classics. To me grilled hot dogs [good hot dogs] are the ultimate Fourth of July food. But because I am never satisfied with keeping things the same, I like to put a little twist on the classics. This twist comes in the form of a hot dog toppings bar. Anyone can throw some mustard & ketchup on a dog. I like to create options when it comes to dressing up your dog. It’s a great idea for parties & get togethers because everyone can choose their toppings that suit them. Whenever you’re entertaining, if you can, try to make things customizable. It adds a little flare & fun. Plus it makes people feel like they have ownership over their food and it keeps you from becoming a short-order cook.

For this hot dog bar, I kept it pretty simple. The toppings include: chopped bacon, shredded cheese [I used pepper-jack], chopped onions, chili garlic cheese sauce [God Bless America], and Hormel turkey chili. I’m a sucker for a good chili-cheese dog. And lets face it, bacon is my middle name. Most of those toppings are pretty self explanatory, except for the chili garlic cheese sauce. This cheese sauce is no joke. Whenever you hear ‘cheese sauce’ I feel like you automatically think of the stuff that is borderline plastic that comes out of an industrial machine at the movie theater. No? Just me. Ok. Well, umm this cheese sauce is far from plastic. In fact it’s not half bad for ya. Granted you do use some butter & cheese, but you also use almond milk! Balances out, right? Yes, it does. Just nod your head and make this cheese sauce for your dog. It’s the patriotic thing to do. ;)

// Chili Garlic Cheese Sauce //
created by Sando @ the daily deelight 

  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 cup almond milk [regular milk works fine too]
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice [I used colby-jack]

Begin by melting butter in a small sauce pan over med-high heat. Once butter is melted, slowly start to whisk in the flour. Once all the flour is whisked in and a paste is created, start to slowly whisk in the milk. Once all three ingredients are combined, continue stirring until it begins to thicken. You can always add a little more flour to get it a little thicker. Once slightly thickened, continue stirring and slowly start adding the shredded cheese. Once cheese is combined, stir in the chili garlic sauce for the add kick. Your end result should be a ooey-gooey cheese sauce that is as good as it looks!

Have a happy & safe 4th everyone!

Remember…be thankful for our freedoms [like a chili-cheese dog] that we are blessed with everyday.

And God Bless the USA!

 

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I’m Back!!

I’m back from Spain and into the daily grind once again.  My trip flew by and all I have to show for it are some pictures and a couple bottles of wine.  And a few extra pounds from the amazing tapas I devoured at every meal.

Thanks again to the amazing guest bloggers who kept you all entertained while I was eating and drinking my way around Spain.  You ladies are amazing!!

Really Renata

Veronika’s Blushing

Go Haus Go

The Daily Deelight

Rachel’s Nest

My Hope Fulfilled

 

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guest post: my favorite {and efficient} baby products, by my hope fulfilled

I am humbled daily reading Michelle’s blog, My Hope Fulfilled.  She is such an incredible woman, mom and wife and I think we can all learn a lot from this lady.  She’s known my husband far longer than I have, and I revel in her stories about him in high school.  It’s so special to me to know that my husband knew and was friends with this incredible woman long before I ever had the honor of calling him “my husband”. 

Hello Baloney Bug Readers! I’m Michelle, from My Hope Fulfilled and I blog about adoption, crafts, and everything in between. Jon and I go way back. No, that was not a typo. I’ve known the Baloney Bug hubster since the Bush I presidency but was pleasantly delighted to meet his baked good loving, creative, and fun friend-turned-wife, Joan (have you seen her new “About” Section?).

One of my favorite things about Joan is knowing and seeing how streamlined she keeps her life. If you’re not a New Yorker, like me, then the thought of two people and a dog living comfortably in a tiny one bedroom apartment makes you shiver a little. But Joan does this well – and so stylishly! I got a little taste of Joan’s reality last year when my husband, Herb, and our one year old, Levi, moved from an 1800 square foot, five bedroom townhouse, to a 800 square foot, two bedroom apartment. Can you say purge?!

If you’ve ever stepped foot in the Target baby aisle, you know the baby paraphernalia is ridic. At the risk of starting any rumors here at The Baloney Bug, or giving any future Grandmas fuel for the baby fire, I wanted to share my favorite baby things with Joan. I think New Mommas sometimes have a hard time figuring out what’s really important, but this is what has worked for us in a small space. So, Joan, shove this list to your back burner, and reference it when the time is right. I can’t wait to see a totally trendy Baloney Bug Baby Nursery some day, and your spin on my “so called” efficient, pared down list of baby needs. Here we go.

1. Say “No” to high chairs. Booster seats are cheaper, more versatile, and take up less space. This one  is my favorite – it replaces the high chair, bumbo, and infant seat.

2. Don’t buy a swing right away, some babies don’t even like them. If you decide later you need it, go for the travel version. The seat is the same size but the foot print and necessary storage space is much smaller. This one worked great for us.

3. Get a baby monitor, but pass on the video monitor and multiple receivers. In fact, you don’t even need an expensive monitor. Sometimes, my husband and I just called each other with our phones, put them both on speaker, and muted one. We put one phone in the baby’s room, and kept the muted one with us. With free mobile to mobile minutes, it totally works in a pinch! Monitor wise, this one is rated really well and is super affordable.

4. As far as baby bedding goes – STAY AWAY FROM THE PRE-PACKAGED SETS! Bumpers are unsafe, blankets can’t be used, crib skirts and valances are easy to make yourself, and sheets are pretty cheap! Buy a fitted sheet or two, get one or two nice fuzzy blankets, and use this tutorial to make an adorable crib skirt.

5. Instead of a bulky exersaucer, we went for the Doorway Seat Jumper.  Same idea, less space, less money. Win win win.

6. We’ve tried a slew of things from a plastic three in one tub to a giant inflatable rubber ducky when it comes to baby baths, but when it comes to small spaces, I would go for this classic foam ditty. It’s really all you need.

7. Two facts – you will freak out about your baby’s potential fever, and as horrible as it is to do, a rectal thermometer works best. In our case, we use a freebie hospital digital thermometer labeled “butts only.”

8. You know how I said you don’t really need a lot of blankets (might I even suggest just having one?!)? It’s because having a sleep sack or two keeps your baby warm and safe. Life. Saver.

9. I have a love-hate relationship with the pack and play. It’s great for traveling, but not so great for transporting and storing. It fits perfectly under the crib, but hogs up precious under-the-crib storage space. Definitely not a necessity for the apartment living family. But if you get one – get one with bells and whistles like this.

10. I totally underestimated the grossness of feeding your baby food. I love these spoons because my hands can stay relatively free of mush. Now that my son is a little bigger, they are perfect for his little hands, too.

11. Two to four pacifiers. Try the brand of pacifier that is the same as whatever bottles you are using first. These worked great for us.

12. Target diapers rock. They are cheap, and if you get a Target debit card (free!), the diapers are an additional 5% off and ship free to your house.

13. And finally, my favorite things to stay away from. Read, you DO NOT need this crap: wipes warmer, changing table (use a dresser with a pad), bumbo, high chair, crib bedding set, bassinet in addition to pack and play (pick one or the other), vibrating/bouncy seat, and name brand diapers.

What about you – what are/were your favorite baby items?

Thanks for letting me blog-sit. Come by and see me at My Hope Fulfilled when you have a chance!

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guest post: my favorite ways to decorate for a party, by rachel’s nest

Rachel is the epitome of the do-it-all mom.  Since she’s had beautiful baby girl Audrey seven months ago (almost to the day!) she has seriously been mom on the go.  Rachel has managed to make a house a home and document it over at Rachel’s Nest all while being super mom.  What an inspiration!! 

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be guest posting here at the Baloney Bug today! I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ways to decorate for a party! I love to entertain and these are my tried and true ways to do it with style! These are all pictures from parties I’ve thrown over the past few years! I hope you’ll enjoy the tips and try some of them for your next party!
Use containers and serving pieces in unusual ways
Think outside the box. Wine glasses of all shapes and sizes make great serving dishes for chocolate truffles, or small candies. I’ve even used them to display jewelry! Vintage silver pieces make everyday condiments look elegant. Use what you have, or check out your local thrift store to find unique pieces!
Use mirrors
Mirrors are a great way to glam up your table. You can buy them without frames, in all shapes and sizes, at most craft stores. Put them underneath a vase of flowers, or line up your wine glasses on top of them! Candles look especially great on top of a mirror since the light from the flame will be reflected!
Use fabric
Skip the plastic tablecloths and go for fabric instead! Fabric will make your party look luxurious and really help tie your theme together. You can use runners, tablecloths, scarves, curtains, you name it! Look around your house to see what you can find! The blue floral “tablecloth” below is actually a shower curtain, but it worked perfectly for my Royal Wedding Party, so I threw it on my table over an antique lace tablecloth (after washing, of course)! Don’t limit the fabric to the tabletop, though! If you’ll be taking pictures of your guests, consider throwing some fabric on a curtain rod to act as a pretty backdrop for photos, too!
Use real china, napkins and silverware 
Whenever possible, I always like to use real china (real, meaning ceramic or porcelain…not necessarily your fine china!), cloth napkins and silverware. I think it makes for an elegant party, and you can also use the dishes and napkins to add to your theme or color scheme.
Use picture frames
If applicable, use picture frames to display photos of the guest of honor. It will add a personal and thoughtful touch, and surely make the guest of honor feel extra special! There are plenty of other things you can frame too…quotes, song lyrics, funny memories written out. Get creative and make it personal!
I hope you find these tips helpful! Thanks, Joan for having me stop by!

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guest post: my favorite things for summer, by the daily deelight

Sando over at The Daily Deelight is such an inspiration with her endless new recipes.  I’m a person who likes baking: where every ingredient must be measured out precisely or the whole thing is thrown off.  I’ve never really understood people who can just throw this and that into a pan and presto, chango! you’ve got the best meal ever.  Sando is one of those people where cooking just comes naturally (her husband is so lucky!!)  Go check out her deelicious recipes!

Summer is just around the corner. I can see/smell/hear it! True story, when I was a child I literally thought when someone said, “___________ is right around the corner” that if I could just get around a certain corner in downtown Frederick where I grew up (East 2nd + Market St.), “it” would be there. To say I was a gullible/literal child would be the understatement of the decade. But it does bring me to an important point about summer: it is about all the nostalgic moments for me. Summer was when I’d have my teacher-mom all to myself– everyday. It was all about girly days at the lake or by the pool, followed by fresh- deelicious meals in the evenings. Summers are still so special for my husband and I. Both being busy teachers—we savor our summers and all its sun-shiny glory. Here are a couple of my favorite summer treats, both old and new that I look forward to this summer [in 4 weeks…but who’s counting?!].

me + momma–circa 1989.

Palm Beach, FL

1. San Pellegrino Aranciata is one of those tasty, refreshing beverages that just makes you feel like you’re on some fancy European beach somewhere. It’s zesty + light and is just the essence of a summer drink to me. 2. Did someone say Crab Chips? Sign me up! This Maryland girl does not shy away from anything Old Bay seasoned…especially not potato chips. Old Bay is the MD seasoning; it’s our claim to fame. And I’m proud of it! These are best-enjoyed poolside with a tasty [adult] beverage to wash down the robust-fiery flavor. 3. Strawberries don’t get much more beautiful than this folks. Wanna know why?? They’re local. And that only happens in the summertime. There’s something about locally grown produce that warms my heart and makes it taste that much better. Serve these up over ice cream, with biscuits and whipped cream, or blended into a lovely strawberry sauce like this one I made to go over Nutella Wontons.

4. Dry Shampoo. This is a new one for me. Not sure what rock I’ve been living under to miss this great invention/ beauty secret, but none-the-less I’m just now discovering and loving this stuff. It will be perfect for summer days when you are showering 2-3 times a day between working out, pool time, and going out at night. This offers a great alternative to root-boosting volume and oil absorption. 5. New Products!! Something about summer just means a trip to CVS or Target’s cosmetic aisle to try the latest and greatest new thing. My latest and greatest thing for summer [products wise] is Bethenny’s Skinnygirl cosmetics. I recently got her Body Shimmer and Plumping Lip Gloss {in Ruby Red} and I already addicted to both. The Body Shimmer is made out of olive oil and jojoba oil so it smells incredible {not like fake+bake} and it adds just a hint of color and shimmer to your bod. Yes, please! And the lip gloss is just lovely ladies {and gents}. It adds a little ummph to your pucker and isn’t like molasses making anything + everything it comes in contact with stick to it.  6. Summer is when the magazines pull out the big guns. They have the best recipes, shopping guides, and advice columns of the entire year. Not to mention, all the fabulous gotta-have-of-the-moment fashions for the season. Magazines and sunshine are two things that bring a huge smile to my face anytime, but especially in the summertime.

What are your favorite things for summer?

I’d love to hear from ya over @ the daily deelight.

And remember don’t hate on teachers for having summers off…

you could’ve been a teacher too ;)

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guest post: my favorite etsy shops, by go haus go

Emily at Go Haus Go was one of the top four in the Apartment Therapy “Small Cool” contest, which is where I was originally introduced to her blog.  She has some killer decorating skills and is newly engaged.  I can’t wait to see how she translates her decorating skills into wedding planning.  Congrats again, Emily!

Thanks so much Joan for having me here today! My name is Emily and I run a little blog called Go Haus Go. I blog about my home and the things I love. Today’s post is all about my favorite things. I have too many to count so for today, I have my favorite Etsy shops for you. Etsy can get overwhelming, so I tend to stick to the ones I know and have used. Here are my favorites!

For Kids

COTTON MONSTER

Emily Snuffer
Felt monsters in all shapes and sizes

INDIE BAMBINOS

Emily Snuffer
Wooden toys and brain games

GIDDY UP AND GROW

Emily Snuffer
Handmade accessories for photos

For a Housewarming

WOOD BOB

Emily Snuffer
A cheese board in the shape of their state

POOL PONY

Emily Snuffer
Mid-century modern inspired prints

DECOY LAB

Emily Snuffer
Die cut coasters and things

SEIZE THE NIGHT

Emily Snuffer

Hand-stamped bobbles, like these house key chains!

For Dog Lovers

BOW WOW BEDS

Emily Snuffer
Biggie and Suge have one of these, and they love it.

LASER PETS

Emily Snuffer

Personalized dog collars in modern fabrics

For House Wares

URBAN CAMP

Emily Snuffer
Pillows and throws made from Pendleton blankets

A LIVING SPACE

Emily Snuffer
A little bit of everything vintage!

For Parties

GLITTER DAISY

Emily Snuffer
Great source for paper straws and baggies

POM+LOVE

Emily Snuffer

All shapes and sizes of tissue paper party goods

For Personal Pretties

WHITE OWL

Emily Snuffer
A fellow dollhouser makes these fantastic things

THREE BIRD NEST

Emily Snuffer

Boho head wraps in every shape and fabric

Phew! Like trying to drink through a fire hose, eh? Hope you enjoy and makes your next Etsy search a little less overwhelming.

Thanks again, Joan!

xo, emily @ go haus go

 

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guest post: my favorite ways to get glowing for summer, by veronika’s blushing

A big thanks to Veronika for today’s guest post.  She has impeccable taste and is such an inspiration.  You can see her tips and tricks over at Veronika’s Blushing.

Hi! My name is Veronika from Veronika’s Blushing and ladies, I have a confession to make: I’m a spray-tan-a-holic.  No, I don’t verge on oompa-loompa (or Snookie!), but I love having tan skin as much as I love the color pink—but I’m not willing to risk getting skin cancer or wrinkles to get it.

You see, I’m a reformed tanning salon gal and I’ve spent the better half of the last decade testing products to achieve sun-kissed glow without the risk and damage. Whether you’re a novice or just looking for something new to try, here are my tried-and-true products to achieve a glow that would make even J.Lo do a double-take:

Go for the pro:
When you have a special occasion like a wedding or vacation, going pro is the way to go.  Find a local spray tan salon by checking yelp.com or asking a friend.  A professional will be able to airbrush your body and give you a more customized spray tanning experience—the best ones can even contour your body with the airbrush to make you look even more toned!  Most places charge between $25-$60, definitely worth it if you want to look sun-kissed for a special occasion. Another option is to get a spray tan applied in a VersaSpa machine. It’s basically a booth that sprays you down like a person would, but it’s not quite as customized—still, the results are great and I’ve used VersaSpa many times and have been very happy with the results.

Self-tanners can be a disaster when you try to use them yourself.  Even after years of experience, I sometimes end up with orange blobs around my ankles and feet. It’s a running joke in my circle of friends. Having said that, I’ve also tried a ton of different brands and have some insight into which ones give the best results.

Going Gradual:
I recommend starting with a gradual self-tanner like Nivea’s and then building up to trying full-on self-tanning formula.  Gradual self-tanners don’t require the same precision as regular self-tanners—the active skin-tinting ingredient, DHA, is diluted in the moisturizing formula and with daily use, you can expect to get 1-3 shades darker in a week.  They aren’t my favorite because you have to use them daily, but they are a good way to get started and best for those timid about tinting their skin. You’ll get used to application techniques without the risk of the dreaded orange streaks and blobs.

Get Your Glow On:
As far a full-on self-tanners go,  I personally prefer airbrush formulas because I feel they are more “user friendly” and go on really sheer so mistakes are less likely to happen.  My favorites are Neutrogena’s airbrush self-tanner and VersaSpa’s take-home airbrush self-tanning formula, which is the same product that is used in the machines, but in a can that you can use at home for ultimate convenience.

I always spray tan myself in my glass shower and then just rinse the shower off after I’m finished applying it. Use light, even strokes all over your body. I start at my legs and work my way up.  I usually do 2-3 coats when I use a spray formula.

I’ve also used and continue to use self-tanning creams. Like I said, they are a bit trickier to work with, but they do give great color payoff.  One of the best ones I’ve found is L’Oreal Sublime Bronze tanning gel.  It smells awful but it does give incredible color payoff. Just be very careful with this one because it tends to leave orange blobs in certain areas if you aren’t blending it out and really applying it lightly. Another option is Hawaiian Tropic’s self-tanning mousse. It has a more pleasant smell and spreads really easily.

Face-it:
When it comes to your face, you may find you want to invest in a self-tanner that’s different than the one you use on your body.  Even when I get an airbrush tan professionally applied, I wash just my face off before bed and apply Clarins SPF 6 tanning milk on my face.  This is the best facial self-tanner I have found so far because it gives smooth, even color and is moisturizing.

Speaking of your face, a surefire way to get a glow without ever hitting the bottle (of self-tanner, that is) is to use a bronzer on your cheeks, nose and forehead.  I love NARS Laguna and Bobbi Brown bronzer in “golden light.”  Use a large, fluffy powder brush and apply it to your cheekbones to contour and also to the sides of your nose and your hairline.  It gives instant color without being too obvious.

Prep Steps:

When you self-tan at home, prep is just as important as product application. Here are my best tips:

  • Exfoliate and shave the night before you plan to self-tan
  • Self-tan at night, right before bed and sleep with the self-tanner on so it can process overnight
  • Get some inexpensive dark sheets to sleep in so you don’t get self-tanner on your light sheets
  • Ask someone to help you apply the self-tanner to your back, if possible
  • Let the self-tanner dry before putting on clothes (even if it’s before bed, it’s good to wait 5 minutes or so)
  • Start from your legs, working upward, to avoid streaks from having to bend down if you start from the top
  • Apply a heavy moisturizer to your knees, elbows and rough areas before self-tanning as self-tanner will cling to these areas and cause them to be darker than they should
  • Stand on an old cloth or towel when you spray tan so that the bottoms of your feet are protected
  • Use a shower cap to protect your hair from being sprayed


How do you get glowing in the summer?  Please share your best tips and product recommendations below!

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guest post: my favorite closet staple {worn 3 ways}, by really renata

I’m so excited to have Really Renata kick off this week of Favorites.  She’s just about the cutest thing ever and I’m honored to have her posting here!

It’s no secret that I may hoard blazers & jackets. I have 25 of them hanging in my closet
right now.

And that’s not counting the ones I have in my seasonal clothes bin. I clearly have a problem… But it’s not a problem I’m ashamed of because blazers are super versatile and easy to wear! So I’m going to take one of my favorite blazers and style it for 3 different occasions: work, a lunch date/errand running, and a girls’ night out.

I bought this magenta blazer at Forever21 a couple of months ago for about $29.

You can find some similar options around the same price range here, here (in light pink) and here (in red).

My obsession with blazers started once I switched out of the classroom into corporate and I started presenting in front of large groups of people. My boss thinks I look young and wanted people to take me seriously, lol, so she suggested I wear jackets. At first it kind of irked me because I thought blazers were expensive and hard for me to find in a good size. Clearly, I have become good at finding affordable blazers in my size. And lots of times if it’s not a petite, I’ll roll the sleeves up.

I do have to dress more conservatively than I used to when I was teaching so this bright blazer & some leopard print pumps are a great way to add personality to a buttoned up outfit.

Blazer – F21, Chambray shirt – Old Navy, Skirt – Ann Taylor, Shoes – Nine West, Glasses – Dior, Watch – Coach

Since I work remotely, I’m lucky enough to have the flexibility from time to time to run errands during the day or grab lunch with some friends. Throwing a blazer on makes any outfit more structured and dressed up without being stuffy. And it’s a great way to layer in between seasons.

Blazer, Crocheted Tank, Jeans, Bracelets, & Earrings – F21, Shoes – Nine West

I’m obsessed with these glittery smoking slippers! I love anyyyttthiinngg that sparkles. You can find them here at Zappos.

Ok, so when I bought these Jessica Simpson sequin shorts, I told myself I would never wear them without opaque tights underneath (styled twice here). They are so much fun that it would be a shame not to wear them in the spring & summer, it’s just that they are really short! I remember when I first started going out and my mom would tell me, “If you’re going to show leg, be more conservative up top, and vice versa!” By adding bright lips, the blazer, and a not so low-cut tank underneath, the outfit works for a girls’ night out on the town!

Blazer – F21, Tank – Old Navy, Shorts – Jessica Simpson, Pumps – Moda Spana, Earrings & Necklace – Henry Bendel

While I don’t think being able to style a blazer three different ways for three different occasions warrants having 25 of them hanging in my closet (actually, I think that makes a case for NOT needing that many!), you can see how easy it is to integrate one into your wardrobe. If you’re not sure you’re ready to try a trendy bright color, you can’t go wrong with a black boyfriends blazer. You can find tons of affordable and well made options in stores like Forever21, Target, and Loft. Just buy one at a time ;)

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