Kailyn’s Favorite Things of 2016

 

I know I’m not Oprah or anything, so I can’t give away gifts or yell really loudly “YOU GET A CAR!”, but I can tell you some of my favorite products and items from 2016. Why make a list? Because I want to share these cool things with you, that’s why.

So, without further ado, my list of favorite things of 2016

 

  1. JewelScent Candles

    This is one that’s been building up awhile, and I can honestly say I am nothing short of thrilled with this company. I wrote a review on the candles earlier when I started this blog, and since then my appreciation for the company has continued to grow. The products speak for themselves, so much to the point that I actually threw my first online JewelScent party back at the beginning of November. I ended up selling $248 worth of product, and ended up with $24.80 off a total order. I also got 24 reward points to use in the vault should I decide to do that instead. Their items make wonderful gifts, and every time I give one as a gift it’s always a hit. Check out their candles, soaps, tarts, body scrubs, creams and more at www.jewelscent.com

  2. Subscription Boxes

    I can’t begin to verbalize how much I’m loving subscription boxes. I started out with Ipsy and Fab Fit Fun, and have since added Marvel Collector Corps and Graze to my subscriptions.  There is something both equally fun about not knowing what you’re getting in your box (I don’t always look ahead) and getting a little pick me up when your package arrives. Ipsy has proven to be worth the $10 alone, and I’ve tried lots of great products and received some full size, great products such as nail polish, hand cream and even brushes. Fab Fit Fun has also proved to be a great box that is well worth the money. $50 every quarter for $252 worth of full sized products? It’s truly amazing.  Marvel Collector Corps also ships out on an every few month basis and has helped provide me with some great gifting options for the Marvel fans in my life. I’ve also found the snacks I get from my weekly Graze boxes help me feel a little bit better about my snacking habits.  There’s plenty of subscription box services out there, and I’ve got a few on my list I can’t wait to try such as MerLady Box, LoveFood, and Sephora Play. Joining My Subscription Addiction, I could search and check out other cool boxes, read reviews, and it has definitely helped when choosing boxes I’d like to try.

 

  1. LuLaRoe (specifically leggings)

    I have become seriously addicted to LuLaRoe. I started with a pair of leggings last February. There was a local fundraiser at the High School where I worked, and I kept seeing the signs for this “LuLaRoe”. I did some research as I always do, and found out that they make a variety of clothes but were popular with their leggings. I also found out that they make only 5,000 items with one print, so everything is limited quantities and designs. I got the card from the consultant, because that’s how you buy it. Much like Avon or Tastefully simple, consultants sell the items through at home parties but also online in weekly “pop ups”.  I got a pair of pixel heart leggings for Valentine’s day and they are the softest leggings EVER.  One consultant led to Multi- Consultant sales, which lead to more consultants and multi sales and before I knew it I added SEVERAL consultants and sale groups and can be found combing Facebook entering giveaways and hunting cool prints and items. I own 3 pairs of leggings so far and I can’t wait to try their dresses and shirts.

 

4.Marrakesh Argan & Hemp Oil

I received Marrakesh hair oil in one of my Fab Fit Fun boxes. I had always wanted to try hair oils, most predominately Moroccan Oil- so this full-size bottle got my attention. I loved the way it smelled and it’s applicable to wet or dry hair. It definitely helps my dry ends and provides beautiful and weightless shine to my hair. I loved the product so much, that when add ons came around for the Fall Box, I added another bottle of it as well as a Marrakesh gift set (shampoo, conditioner and body butter) to my box order. I use it daily, and I love it.

  1. Rose Gold

    Rose gold itself has been around awhile, but recently has been on the fast track to becoming popular.  I can’t get enough of the hue- the pinkish bronze color has me feeling some kind of way, and I’ve become slightly obsessed. My phone is rose gold colored. I asked for the limited edition rose gold Fit Bit for Christmas. I want to highlight my hair with baylayage rose gold.  I’m googling rose gold jewelry at the jewelry store. I love rose gold colored eyeshadows and glitters. I just can’t get enough of this classy, modern hue.

  2. ModCloth Clothing

    While I’m not as crazy for ModCloth clothing as I am for LuLaRoe, I have become enchanted with ModCloth. Their clothes are pretty pricey, which is why I have only bought during their Stylish Surprise, when they are cleaning out their inventory and your mystery items are a fraction of the price. Both of my Stylish Surprises have been great, and I’ll probably continue to do that sale. Other than that, I have bought 2 pairs of shoes from the website and loved them both. I have also joined an online resale group on Facebook called “Modcloth B/S/T” which people sell their brand new, like new or excellent used condition clothes for a fraction of the price. I’ve bought at least 3 dresses off the BST that were sold from ModCloth, brand new with tags-and the prices I paid are well worth it. $25 including shipping for a dress that costs $180? Brand new with tags? Yes PLEASE. I comb the sale groups looking for really great deals on brand new with tag dresses almost daily.

 

  1. The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neil Shusterman

    This year I saw an influx of books. I started reading after Christmas last year and made myself a reading challenge. I started reading a lot more, and while I read some adult fiction, I really fell into the Young Adult Literature. I read a few books on my break during Summer Work, as I work in a middle school the selections are all pretty much YA. I started the Percy Jackson series which I think is great, and the Skinjacker Trilogy which I think is one of my all-time favorite series now. While the first book was ok enough to keep my attention, the second and third book were spectacular. I was enthralled with the series and obsessively ready it every waking hour I could to finish the story. At the conclusion of the 3rd book, I literally CRIED.  The series is dark, twisted and hauntingly beautiful and hard to believe it is a young adult novel at times with some of the themes incorporated.  This is the book that resonated with me this year, and stood out above the rest.

  2. Theraflu Drink Packets

    This one might sound odd as a favorite thing of 2016, but it deserves its spot. I got pretty sick recently in October, with a very very sore throat. I didn’t want to keep spraying chloraseptic, and I wasn’t coughing so cough meds were out and I was well above halls or lozenges. Worried about getting Strep Throat, I needed something to take care of my irritated throat and knock it the hell out. I intended on getting Nyquil at the store for that night, and came across Theraflu hot drink packets to sooth sore throat. They were packets that contained pain reliever and fever reducer, as well as Lipton tea powder. I got Apple Cinnamon flavored. The packet is to be mixed with warm water and you need to drink it in the course of 15 minutes. Not only did it soothe my throat almost immediately, it knocked my cold clear out of me. The next day I felt better, and followed up with a packet just to be safe. The tea itself was pleasant and flavorful and not a nuisance to take like some meds. Theraflu makes its other medications in the drink packet as well, so I may be adding those to my medicine cabinet too.

  3. Stranger Things

    I can honestly say I am obsessed with this show. It came out in July, but I wasn’t ready yet. I watched it in September when we were cat sitting.  At Dragon Con, Stranger Things cosplays were EVERYWHERE, but I had no idea that was what they were. When I finally caved in to the hype, it was a little tricky to get into. the first 10 minutes of the first episode were kind of boring, but I continued to watch with the kitty cat in my lap.  By the end of the first episode I was hooked.  I binged all 8 episodes in one day, as it seemed to be the only thing that kept Precious in my lap all day. Precious is a rambunctious kitten and very active, so I was loving that she didn’t seem to mind sitting in my lap and watching the show with me. It made it that much cooler of an experience. (For those who don’t know I am pretty allergic to cats but totally enamored with them. Watching 2 kittens for a week was somewhat miserable to my allergies, but I loved every sneeze. They were totally worth it.)  I think what I really enjoyed about the show was it’s 80’s feel. It was made to feel like a Spielberg/ Stephen King horror flick set in the 8o’s and it feels like such. The music, the styles, and the environment and characters feels pretty genuine to me. I loved the main characters, the group of kids. These kids were lightning in a bottle. I especially loved Eleven, and could not get enough of her story arc.

Favorite Memories From This Year:

  1. Conventions!!!!

    I funded and attended 5 conventions this year with several new cosplays. Each convention was fun and great in its own right, but I think my #1 convention memory this year would be meeting Jared Padalecki from Supernatural, and being hugged by him. It was totally unexpected, but totally awesome.  Also, meeting Brett Dalton at Dragon Con, and Philo Barnhart (one of the key animators from The Little Mermaid) at Replay FX are going down as awesome convention memories.

  2. Weird Al Yankovic Concert

    This year Weird Al came to town, and Jeff was thrilled. He’s been a fan for a long time, but was worried that the concert fell on our 5-year wedding anniversary that I would be against going. On the contrary, I was all for going- knowing how much this would mean to my husband. It was hands down one of the best shows I’ve seen in recent years. Full of comedy skits as well as songs, incredible costumes and performances, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was.

  3. Mother’s Day Brunch

    This year I invited the mothers in my life to a special brunch held at a banquet hall by my house. My Grandmothers, and future step-mom were in attendance. I got them all gifts (JewelScent, of course!) and could pay for both my grandmother’s. It made me feel very blessed to be able to do so, and share something special with them, and we all had a wonderful time. I would like to try to do the brunch again this year and include some other mothers in my life this year as well.

Honestly, I think that about sums up the year for me. 2016 was kind of a bum year for me, it certainly wasn’t one of my better years, but there were some great times, and fun things.

Bring on 2017!

 

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Kailyn’s Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Original Recipe Here

I don’t know about you but I love Buffalo chicken anything.  Wings, dip, you name it.  I also love cooking chicken in the slow cooker and baking it in the oven.  I am always paranoid when I cook chicken in a skillet that it won’t be done, and thus I rely on my trusty kitchen thermometer to tell me if it’s done or not. ( I was always taught the safe zone is between 120 degrees and 140 degrees, more towards the 140 ed.) That’s why I love my slow cooker. Put chicken in on high with some liquid for 6 hours, boom.

Because food is such a  big deal to me and my hobby as well, I menu plan and we have set “theme” nights.  Tuesday is always Taco Tuesday, and I’m working out making Friday Fishy Friday.  Jeff, my husband LOVES Mexican and could probably eat something Mexican every day. Thus, that is why we have tacos mostly always in rotation.

I cooked my 2-3 chicken breasts for the tacos on high in the slow cooker for 6 hours with 1/4 cup of chicken stock and 1/2 c of Frank’s Red Hot.  The last 2 hours I switched it to low.
I have been cooking my chicken for tacos this way for a couple weeks, it’s super easy when I come home from work, I just pull the chicken from the crock pot, and shred it in a bowl.


The original recipe also called for blue cheese, which I LOVE, by my picky husband does not. He does however love Ranch, so I adapted the recipe and replaced the blue cheese crumbles with shredded cheddar cheese, and  replaced the dressing with this Healthy Ranch Dressing that uses 1 cup plain non fat Greek Yogurt, a Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet and 1/4 cup skim milk.  We like a strong  ranch, so I added extra garlic, dill and pepper.


Also the only vegetables the original recipe calls for is carrots and avocado and tomato.
I ended up making my own fresh Pico De Gallo, which I just tossed together some red onion, 1 vine ripened tomato, and half a seedless cucumber together with some minced garlic, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and some fiesta seasoning I got from Tastefully Simple.
I served the carrots alongside some diced red bell pepper, black olives, fresh cilantro and freshly diced avocados that I poured lime juice over.  I served them with whole wheat tortillas.
They took a little time to assemble, but boy were these babies good.

 

What I like about this dish, is how versatile it is. You can use whatever wing sauce you want, and whatever toppings you want. I like vegetables, so this was a great way to get our serving of vegetables, and with the ranch being only 22 calories a serving, you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying it. I always have Jeff grade my meals with A,B,C, or F. This tells me how much he liked the meal and if it’s something worth making again.  He graded this meal with a A, so it will be put into the Taco Tuesday rotation. Try it at home, and let me know what you think!

 

Kailyn’s Kitchen Confidential

I love food. That  sentence is an understatement. I LOVE FOOD.  For as much as I love food, you’d think I’d be well over my tiny frame of 5’2 and a size 8. I can’t stand “working out”, and really unless I have a partner, I will refuse to. Instead, I just try to watch what I eat.  That’s not to say I don’t scarf down a dozen wings at Buffalo Wild Wings or eat a whole large pizza by myself; I just try to do those things in moderation or once in a blue moon.  I  Food Associate as well, so naturally I can tell you practically every place I have been and what I ate there. It’s a blessing and a curse.  Food to me is not just about dietary need, but its also an experience. The ambiance of where your at, the appearance of food on the plate, the smell that wafts up into your nasal cavities and the feeling you get before and after your taste buds savor the flavor of your meal.

My parents weren’t the best cooks (sorry Mom and Dad!) but they had their specialities. My mother didn’t LIKE to cook, and my Dad’s menu was limited to practically seafood and breakfast food.  My Dad was and still is an expert fisherman, and because of this I have some pretty fond memories of eating seafood. My grandmother ( or as I call her Nee Nee) liked to cook, and cooked ALOT, my grandfather (or as I called him PaPa) used to work as a seafood buyer for Shop N Save, and we would have large family dinners every Sunday, and at holidays.  We used to have a big seafood feast twice a year, with fish, crab legs, lobster tails, shrimp, bowls of butter, filet- you name it.  I can remember being 9 years old, on vacation with my parents in Vancouver visiting relatives and staying on a legit deserted island which only had 1 house and was surrounded by the ocean. During the day my dad went out on the boat and caught fresh dungeoness crab, and fresh cod and salmon. They brought their catch back, and we ate it all, fried cod, barbecued salmon,  dungeoness crab legs in butter and baked potatoes and corn on the cob, prepared just hours after coming back from the sea. You can’t get fresher than that.
I sometimes think that it is this reason I love food so much- because it is the warm fuzzy feeling of love as well as full bellies. It reminds me of family, and happiness, and most of all love.  It takes me back to those moments, that I’ll forever remember.

If it hadn’t been for Rachel Ray, and a lifetime of working in kitchens, I probably wouldn’t even know how to cook.  I have stated before, I have ADHD, and my attention span can vary pretty distinctly. I prefer to cook something that can be done quickly, I’m not about to buy a live lobster and cook it or  make a perfectly seasoned soufflé.  Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals were a game changer for me, and taught me how to cook. The rest of my cooking experience comes from working in kitchens.  I worked at Red Lobster when I was in my early twenties, and then I worked in the kitchen of a nursing home for 7 years.  This is where I attribute a lot of my experience. In our nursing home, when I started, everything was made from scratch, and we had some great cooks. As a server, not only did I serve the food, but I helped prepare it, and learned firsthand how to make gravy from scratch, dishes like Beef Bourginon, seafood crepes, fluffy scrambled eggs, poke cake,  tartar sauce from scratch, etc.

Naturally I have a pretty adventurous palette. I am especially fond of seafood, and sauce.  To me everything needs a good sauce.  I will eat pretty much anything or try anything except for bugs, squid/octopus,  or anything with  habanero. I eat everything from sushi to pasta to prosciutto to kale.  My tastes are also a bit refined and I have a tendency to like things that no one else does, or things that are pricey. As much as I like certain things, there are certain foods I will not touch: peanut butter, chocolate, ice cream, white cotija or queso cheese.  My husband is the opposite- he loves all the aforementioned, and pretty much anything that is sugary or spicy.

My husband Jeff fluctuates with his weight quite a bit,  focusing on the number.  He is naturally quite skinny, but  when he starts to gain a little bit of weight, or goes over his preferred number, he tries to cut down on things.  Usually I tell him he doesn’t need to, but it makes him feel better to try to be healthier and I can understand that.  I have battled with my weight since I was a teenager- I was a size 2 up until I was about 19 years old. I was on medication that kept my appetite surpressed as a side effect, and looking at those old picures, I was very skin and bones. I came off the medicine years later and through bad eating habits ( because I ate anything I wanted for years and never gained weight) I blew up to 147 lbs, and then slimmed back down. I have gained and lost and gained and lost like most women, but I find I am much happier without a scale in my life. As long as my clothes fit and I feel healthy that is all I need. Although, that doesn’t mean I can’t take better care of us by cooking and eating better.  Recently I have put us both on a healthier eating goal, since I think it quite unfair to chow down on a cheeseburger while he eats a salad. I could be a little healthier myself.

I have decided to start another  spotlight,  called Kailyn’s Kitchen Confidential. Here I’ll showcase my meals I have made, some original, some from other places, so that you can try  them too. Not all the recipes will be healthy, but they are all winners in my little microcosm.  Because I take a lot of recipes and put my own spin on them, each recipe will have a small story with it on where it came from, and my spin on it.

Please enjoy the new showcase of Kailyn’s Kitchen Confidential.