Sunday, October 31, 2010

Catalog Living: Finding Humor in Design


Several months ago I came across a cute little blog that blends my love of beautiful Potterybarn type images with a hint of comic relief and a dash of creativity. If you haven't heard of Catalog Living, it's a blog written by Molly Erdman who is a Actress, Writer and Comedian. She takes the everyday Shelter magazine and posts about how she sees the images on these glossy pages. She literally calls out the humor and silliness of each image.

She uses a fictitious couple named "Gary" and "Elaine" as she narrates each scene. As she says, it's 'a look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs.'  The thing I love most about her blog is that each post is literally a single image with a short caption beneath so it's a great, addition to my daily blog reading.

Reflections Of.....


With the enormous mirror directly in front of him, Gary couldn’t help but wonder if eating made him look fat.


A Twist of Something....


Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”


Third Party Intervention...



Oooh wine! Let’s see, a couple of antique door knobs, a bird, a rooster, a…ELAINE!!!

 

Flame On....



Grace was pleased with herself, having escaped being eaten by hiding in this cluster of trees. But why was it so warm, she wondered as her smile literally melted.


Outdoor Entertaining...


Sweetheart, the Turners will be here any minute now! Did you put the plate of figs under the table?



The Cigator Says...



Gary and Elaine still aren’t sure where the kids’ slow progress in learning animal names is coming from.


Everything In Its Place...



"Hi Nancy, it’s Elaine. I’m going to be a little late for lunch. I can’t find my hat or my back-up hat."



This last one made me laugh. How many times have we seen pieces like an ottoman or a couple nightstands and a few random accessories and greenery added to create a photo spread in a magazine, I like how she narrated this unfinished space:


Hostile Hosting...


Sick of out-of-town visitors overstaying their welcome, Gary and Elaine decided to make their guest bed a little less comfortable.



Isn't this such a cute blog topic? Molly has several months worth of funny archives, do check it out! You may never look at decorating magazines the same again. ;)

Happy Weekend!



*All images and captions belong to Catalog Living.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Narrowing Down Christmas Card Selections


When it comes to holiday decorating, I'm generally not an early bird. When I first moved out on my own I'd literally set my tree up a week before Christmas. When Paul and I first got married 4 years ago, it was just a couple short months before we spent our first holiday season together. Having someone else to share in the festivities with me now, I can't wait to get my tree up a week after Thanksgiving. Being that I'm from Canada originally and Thanksgiving is in October, I don't think I'll ever be able to embrace having a tree up on Thanksgiving, but I see a lot of my neighbors do it. Somehow it's extra weird for me now, living in FL in the fall and winter, when it's still in the 80's at that time!

When it comes to Christmas Cards, I generally buy or make them the first week of December and mail them within a week's time so that everyone receives them before Christmas. This year however, I found myself perusing the holiday cards on the Pear Tree Greetings website a little earlier. This probably doesn't come as much of a surprise considering they recently sent me a sample of their Christmas Thank You cards, so it was only natural that I'd want to comb the whole site for this year's card. Even before they became my sponsor, I really loved their modern yet elegant designs which also happen to be much more affordable than other websites. I get excited to use my return address labels every time I send a card or package, they are just so pretty!



Paul and I are doing something completely different this year, we won't be hosting a Christmas Eve dinner like we did last year, however, for those of you that are entertaining this Christmas, you might be interested in Pear Tree's Christmas Party Invitations. The great thing is that they are a heavy 100lb matte card stock which really holds up in the mail and has such a professional appearance, as with all of their cards. The Eco-enthusiast side of me loves that they are also 100% post-consumer recycled too.

They have tons of new designs for 2010. I'm actually having a hard time deciding which one to order. Every year I try to do a photo card or include a photo of us or personalized letter about our year since many of our family and friends live outside of the states and country for that matter! I was thinking, maybe you could share with me which of the following is your favorite. Below you'll get a sneak peek of my shopping progress and thoughts on each card.

Here are the five I have it narrowed down to:

1. This card called Christmas Tales was included in a Christmas card sampler I received and I instantly likd it because it tells a story. While we don't have kids yet, I thought some fun couple photos of us from various events and travels would be a fun story to tell without having to write a letter this year. The front of the card allows for a large photo and a tag that could read {THE DAVIS'}



2. I love the image in this card called delivering dove and that it reads: 'Blessed Christmas Season'. For spiritual reasons, I'd love my card of choice to contain a short message about the reason for the season or at least say Merry Christmas. By personalizing it, I should be able to just add some text inside or on the outside of the other cards or just pen it in myself with my personal message. However, no photo opp here so I'd have to slip a pic inside.



3. Because we live in a tropical climate and we also like to travel to them too, I thought this Tropical Visions card would be a neat way to showcase some photos of us here in Florida  and still tell a story of our year.



4. Since I loved this birch tree image so much from my thank you card sample, I thought this wooded silent night card would be elegant yet simple. It reminds me a bit of my hometown and the snowy Christmas' I once got to enjoy, so there's a bit of nostalgia there.




5. I also loved this pincone and evergreen image from my thank you card sample post too, so Evergreen Treasures is another consideration. Plus, it tells a story with three large photo areas which is awesome. Because it's folded accordian style, the pictures on the inside and outside are always on display which is neat.





6. I like a Christmas collage if it's done right as this one is. Every year to date we've sent out a card with just a single photo, which is why I'm trying to switch it up this year and thought a collage might be an option. The color palette is pretty, the square shape is modern and the color is less typical than red and green but I do need to bear in mind that there is extra postage for square cards.

Decisions, decisions. I think it's safe to say at this point that I like soft blue. LOL. It's a bit unexpected but pairs nicely with so many other festive colors.

There were SO many others that I considered, some much more colorful but at the end of the day each card I send is usually a bit traditional with a bit of a modern twist and the designs are elegant vs. silly/funny/colorful. Hmm. maybe I'll have to do something silly next year and switch it up again. Some friends of ours had the cutest card last year-She was water skiing on the lake behind their house and he was wakeboarding beside her and they wore santa hats! I know I'll never send out a card which involves me in my swimsuit but theirs really suited their personalities and was quite unexpected.

Which one above is your favorite? What unique things have you done with your photos, letters or cards for Christmas?

BTW, If you haven't entered the Pear Tree Giveaway for a set of ANY thank you cards that they offer, you have a couple more days, it ends tomorrow night! Enter HERE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What to Wear: Classy Halloween Costumes



As Oct.31st draws near shortly, many will be rushing around to find the perfect details for their costume. Others are still trying to figure out what character they want to emulate for an evening. I don't know about you, but I'm so over the regular-character-turned-trashy costumes that a lot of women tend to wear. I've often felt that this one day is an excuse for some women to dress overtly sexy, wear very tight clothing and reveal more than anyone needs to see in an attempt to attract the attention of men and strut their stuff.  I'm sure their rebuttal would be that it's 'just a costume' and only for a night but how we dress says a lot about our character-whether it's a day in the life of someone else via costume or a day at the office.




Classy women don't dress scantily clad in costume or in real life.  They don't feel the need to wear an ultra push up bra to put their 'goods' on display or wear super short mini skirts or shorts that barely cover their goods, instead revealing far too much. We've seen this time and time again with the sexy nurse, maid or sailor costume, but it's taken a turn for the worse as women try to vamp up every costume now. You can see this in everything from bumblebees to Little Red Riding Hood, it seems nothing is exempt. This is especially true if you're looking for a store-bought costume as you'll find most are geared towards young women and apparently costume manufacturers think all women want to dress in this manner.

For those that are still struggling to come up with a great costume that lets you be yourself and allows your creative mind to shine,  instead of your womanly assets, here are a few that I think you might like.




SOLO COSTUMES:

1. Audrey Hepburn-Audrey was not only beautiful but fun. She is best known for her role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, her attire is classic and elegant which makes a great costume. Here's the perfect dress to get you started that you can wear long after the party is over, this dress is a favorite of mine.

2. Jackie O. -Always classy and elegant, you can't go wrong with this costume and you likely already have a dress in your closet to get you started! If not, here's a great dress option that you'll love to add to your wardrobe.

4. Miss America (complete with sash)-For every woman that's ever dreamed of that coveted title, now's your chance to bust out that bridesmaid's dress you'll never wear again for the 'evening gown' competition.

5. Princess at a Masquerade Ball-Intriguing, mysterious but still feminine and modest. Here's an affordable mask you might like.

6. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz-A sweet, innocent but playful costume. This could turn into a group or family costume if others choose to dress up in the accompanying characters such as the tin man or the scarecrow, an an opportunity to bring  your pup out for the evening as 'Toto'. These gorgeous red heels are the perfect finishing touch!

7. Hippie-Have fun reliving a time in your youth or experience it for the first time! Opt for a streamlined look with a great pair of bell bottoms or flares and a boho top as the retro 70's vibe has definitely made a comeback! It will be easy to put this look together and then work these into your own wardrobe afterwards. Here's an affordable pair in light wash.

8. Cleopatra- All around great option for any age. Here's the Cleopatra costume shown above.

9.  Old Hollywood/Flapper Girl-You can still be playful but refined with this costume. The fringed skirt or dress is key. Black skirt options here and here. There are so many dress options that are inspired by this era, here are some great ones: 1 | 2 | 3 (my favorite!)

10. Princess Leia (Star Wars)-A great option for going solo, as a couple or as a family with other characters.

11. Martha Stewart- If you're a DIY-er, avid entertainer, you love to cook/bake or are crafter at heart, this is a great option. A crisp white button-down shirt is a must!

12. Oprah (with or without Steadman)- She is classy, entertaining, engaging and who wouldn't want to live in her shoes for a day?

13. Mary Poppins- This costume can mostly be assembled with what you have on hand-long coat, umbrella, hat, oversized handbag, etc. If this was a favorite movie as a kid-why not?

14. Nun- This is a great idea for a solo costume or going out as a group with other women.

15. Kate Middleton- She is effortless in her style, modest and a real life Princess. If you're a mother to an infant, pushing a vintage baby pram would be the perfect accessory. She is know for wearing royal and navy blue shift dresses often. Here are a couple that epitomize her style (here and here)  *Update: I had to add this one since she married Prince William after I originally wrote this post.


A friend recently told me that someone she knows is going out as the house (complete with tied balloons)  from the Disney Pixar movie "UP". How cute and unique is that?!


Below are some pre-made classy costumes for women, if you do not have the time or inclination to gather all the necessary pieces for your costume. Click on any image and be taken to the direct item:












COUPLES' COSTUMES:

These can be a lot of fun at parties. There are so many great ideas for couples.

If you wanted a laugh or to push the envelope a little bit among adults, this outlet & plug costume (also found here) does have some sexual innuendo (although I admittedly didn't realize it at first) but doesn't require you to reveal any skin at all.

Similarly you could arrive as a salt & pepper shaker set, bacon and eggs shown above (also here and here) OR fork + spoon. You get the idea....
 
The possibilities are endless for couples' costumes. There are so many movie, book and TV-inspired pairs to emulate for the night.  Here are a few classic ideas:


1. Fred & Wilma Flintstone

2. Popeye & Olive Oyle

3. Bonnie & Clyde

4. Batman & Batgirl

5. Lois & Clark of Superman

6. Romeo & Juliet

7. Beauty & The Beast

8. Don Draper & Joan Holloway of Madmen

9. Noah & Allie of The Notebook

10. President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama-The first lady always looks regal and well put together. She is best known for her fit & flare A-line dresses (like this one OR this onehere's an affordable dress I just bought) which flatter her figure whether she's wearing high end designer or J.Crew.


Below, you'll find some cute ready made costumes for couples, click any link to get the details at from the direct site.










By creating a DIY costume vs. purchasing a ready made version from a store you can also better control the overall look, customization and cost, and it will up the originality factor.

What is the best costume idea you've ever come up with for yourself, as a couple? What are your thoughts on how provocatively women dress while in costume?


Let's Socialize!



Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Thank You Giveaway!


It's time for another giveaway! It comes in the form of a thank you (as in greeting cards) a set of 16 to be exact. I wanted to give a shout out to YOU, my readers and give a warm THANK YOU for continuing to visit my blog and actively leave comments/ask questions. I appreciate your kindness, love and support. Pear Tree Greetings is graciously offering up yet another fun prize to one of my loyal readers, and it's something I know that you can ALL use. Pear tree recently sent me a surprise sample pack of 6 different styles of thank you cards to use during the holiday season. Mine are personalized with the words "thank you" but you can order them to include your name instead. Here are some of them so you can take a peek.








{I love them all but this one is my favorite of the bunch}



As you know, thank you cards are a must in my house. I use them when I'm invited to a party, event, weekend away or to send a thoughtful someone a note to thank them for a gift or their kindness. I keep a variety of cards available and Pear Tree has such a great selection for every occasion. Right now I'm loving their Christmas thank you cards, which will be perfect for all the holiday parties you're invited to this year or a great way to pop a note in the mail after receiving a lovely gift. They also have everything from baby shower thank you cards and Thanksgiving invitations to moving announcements and more. Their designs are gorgeous, modern and the quality is top notch!

Here are the details below to enter for your chance to win your very own set of ANY of thank you cards from their collection.

**THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

1. To enter, let me know that you're a public follower. Leave a comment letting me know the most memorable thank you card you've received OR if you can't quite remember that far back, you can visit Pear Tree Greetings then come back to let me know which 'category' of thank you card you'd choose if you won.

*Be sure to leave your e-mail address if you do not have a blog, leave a comment fore each entry point you fulfill.

2. For a second entry: Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway or mention it via your facebook page. (link to this post url and provide your Twitter/FB name in comment)

3. For a third entry: Blog about this giveaway OR add my blog button to your sidebar (code found in sidebar).
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Saturday, October.30th 11pm EST.

NUMBER OF WINNERS: One

PRIZE: One set of 16 Thank You cards including shipping.

RULES: The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on 11/01
OPEN TO: U.S. addresses ONLY for this giveaway. ~sorry. :(

If you're interested in browsing or shopping the Pear Tree website now, Classy & Fabulous readers can click HERE for the list of current promotions and discounts. Thank you to Pear Tree for being so awesome!

Good Luck!



*images via Pear Tree website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Classy Fall Jewelry by Luxuria!


I am so excited ladies! A few weeks ago my lovely sponsor Vanessa of Luxuria Jewellery asked me if I'd like to review one of her rings. My answer was yes, please! The hardest part was selecting a piece out of her fabulous collection, Since I love purple and fall is already in full swing, I knew I would get use out of a beautiful amethyst ring. I happen to love single stone solitaire rings, cocktail rings and bands that can be worn with anything.
Luxuria is an online jewelry boutique taking inspiration from Riveria-inspired, Mediterranean-designers. All designers are hand-picked to ensure the pieces follow the theme of their boutique. Vanessa started this company in an effort to provide affordable glamour to her friends and clients.


Today, the UPS guy showed up with my ring and I was so excited. I quickly unwrapped the envelope to find this perfect little package:



Vanessa really pays attention the little details even down to the wrapping, everything is so professional. The text on the bag is actually black, my camera flash watered it down.

Once I untied the bows I pulled out the ring and tried it on, just like Cinderella's slipper, it is the perfect fit. It is a channel style band with two rows of sparkly white stones that wrap all the way around both top and bottom (about 80 in total) along with a large band of baguette style amethyst stones ( 20 in total) that also wrap around the entire ring which is rhodium plated to give it its shine. Although it isn't a super skinny band, it is not too wide for your finger at all. It is a substantial band with a lot of presence and is very comfortable to wear.



The stones really sparkle in the sunlight and indoor lighting. The beautiful amethyst stones will co-ordinate with so much of my wardrobe.

What I love about amethyst set in silver is that while it's great for fall it's not too dark to wear in the summer or the rest of the year. Let me tell you, I plan on getting a lot of mileage out of this one!


Here is my ring shown via Luxuria-available in two widths, you can order silver or gold.

The ring was shipped very quickly to me from Spain where Luxuria is located and arrived in excellent condition. Upon opening my package she surprised me with a $25 gift certificate for me to use towards a future Luxuria purchase. I am really blown away by Vanessa's generosity and am feeling very spoiled. 

*Please note that I do not accept monetary compensation for any product reviews and all are based on my personal experience and honest opinion.

I've had my eye on these amethyst earrings and I love how these unique rings were set too with a 'rough cut' but polished appearance. The glamorous cocktail ring at the top of this post is a stunning work of art also, so it won't be hard to find something to spend that gift certificate on!


The best part of Luxuria Jewellery is the price! All of Vanessa's pieces are so affordable and the designs are timeless and elegant, so you'll have them forever. I can see the care that is put into each piece and Vanessa really offers some unique pieces that are perfect for every classy woman. Think of the great gifts her pieces would make for all of the women in your life. Luxuria also offers cuff links for men too.

With Christmas coming up, I hope you'll all take advantage of  the discount that is exclusively available to my Classy and Fabulous readers. By using the code: 'CLASSYWOMAN15', you can choose 15% off of any item OR free shipping from Spain to your doorstep. Simply list which discount you'd like on the order form in the comments box.

Take a peek below at some of my favorite pieces from her collection or click to shop at LUXURIA:


I adore these classic pave-style hoop earrings! Matching rings on the left.



This olive green and amber necklace is gorgeous with matching olive earrings.

I like the unique design of this highly polished silver bangle-it looks like liquid silver.

I'm just so impressed with this luxurious, glamorous and elegant collection. I feel honored that she chose to be one of my sponsors and am just thrilled with my new ring and her kindness. Thank You Vanessa! :) You can also visit her blog called Decadence for Divas to see what else she is up to.

Which piece is your favorite? Also, if you'd like me to review a product or service that you offer, my contact information can be found in the sidebar. If you have been looking for affordable ad space and would like to become a sponsor, I have 3 spaces that will become available as of Nov.1st. The promo rate of just $5 is ending soon, so hurry to take advantage of it! You have until Oct.31st to order and can pre-order several months at that rate.



*images 1,2,5,6,7,8,9 all from Luxuria Jewellery website. Images 3, 4 are my own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Manners Monday: Respecting Other People's Time



Do you have that one friend that is always late no matter where and when you meet them? While many in this world value money, there is something to be said about the importance of time. Given enough of it, we can accomplish great things, it can also be taken away from us by those who lack manners and do not grasp the concept of keeping their word, and respecting the time of others.

By showing up on time you keep both your day and the other person's whom you committed to, running smoothly. Whether it is a doctor's appointment or a dinner date, it is essential to be prompt. You cannot be a classy woman and chronically show up 15-20 minutes late for everything, running through life with your hair on fire!

The past few weeks of Manners Monday have been dedicated to communication. By showing up on time you reveal to others and non-verbally communicate the fact that you value them and their time. Unfortunately the opposite is also true-arrive late and you'll confirm to others that you do not value and respect them or their time. This may sound harsh but it's the truth. What's amazing to me is the many people that will drive over the speed limit and break all the rules to get to a hair appointment on time but those very same people are okay with letting their friends wait on them as they arrive 15 minutes late for brunch. We know that in general, people tend to treat strangers better than they treat their own family sometimes, but there should not be two sets of standards. Respect is respect, anyway you look at it.



I have a couple of these people in my life-one is a very close family member and the other is an acquaintance. The family member is somewhat lonely and tends to disrespect my time in a different way- she tends to keep me hanging on the phone just as I'm trying to get off. I've had to say, "I love you and I've really enjoyed our talk, but I have to get going, I'm meeting a client, etc." Every time it's the same thing, I've come to expect it. I have to make phone calls to her when I have a lot of free time and she gets disappointed that I don't call her often even though I've explained why in a polite way a few times now. There are some people that may never 'get it', they are generally a bit more self absorbed and in my experience generally think the world is all about them, their experiences and their problems. They are the people that I tend to limit my time with, especially when I'm busy.

I have an acquaintace that I would say was more of a friend at one time, however after multiple times of leaving our ladies group hanging and canceling a dinner at the last minute as well as showing up 30 minutes late for get togethers, I started to feel as if she didn't respect mine or anyone else's time. One time she had arranged a dinner with a group of us that she hadn't seen in a while and was the only one not to attend, cancelling after I had called to ask if she was running late. We still loosely keep in touch but we'll never be close for the simple reason that I refuse to give up my time to someone who so clearly does not respect it or me.

Some people don't realize how their self-centered "me" attitude can alienate others from them resulting in broken down friendships and the inability to even attract someone worthwhile as a mate. They always seem to have a million exuses such as "I wasn't feeling well", which is understandable, that is part of life but when it's a regular excuse, it can get old fast. Others say they were "caught in traffic", the kids kept them or their 'spouse' slowed them down (which I know does happen! I started telling dear hubby that we had to leave 30 mins prior to when we actually needed to leave and fixed that problem fast at our house). However, by always giving yourself more time (20 minutes is usually adequate) and not scheduling too many things too closely together you will likely never be late for work or anything else again..

Promising to show up to volunteer, be present at an an event, or meet others and then back out at the last minute is extremely rude, especially when others are counting on you. None of us are perfect, I'm certainly not- I've had my moments where I've lost track of time and shown up 10 minutes late to something that I really wanted to be early for. By making a phone call you can at least inform the other person of what to expect, even if it's 5 minutes that you'll be late, it is a courtesy to the other person so they know what is happening.

Maybe it means setting your alarm a little earlier in the morning or giving yourself that 20 minute buffer. Maybe it's time to take a few things off of the to-do list so you can make all of your appointments on time. Either way, not only will other people feel respected but you will feel better about yourself too. I don't know anyone who feels good about letting someone else down which is essentially what is happening when time is trampled on.

For casual functions I generally tend to show up 5 minutes early to the actual time of the event. For formal functions like an interview, wedding or meeting a design client I'm always really early-sometimes I park around the corner from a client's home and read or check phone messages until five minutes prior when I'll loop around and park near their home, because I know how it feels when people show up at my door too early. ;)

How about YOU? Are you usually super early, chronically late or right on time?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Your Greatest Beauty Asset


We women spend a great deal of time primping ourselves to look good. I don't know a single woman that isn't trying to reverse the aging process in one way or another.

You could be the most well dressed, most fit and physically beautiful woman from the outside but if you are missing than inner sparkle that shines though, then you are missing the point of true beauty. The world wants to see your SMILE. It lets others know you are happy, that you choose to be content with who you are, where you are at in life and brightens the day and often the lives of others.

It's such a simple thing-it doesn't cost a penny, we don't have to search for it or try it on to see if it fits-a smile is the perfect accessory for every outfit. Don't let the stresses of  the day and your frustrations and worry cause you to hide your best asset. A smile can add a pep to your step and will cause others around you to wonder what you're so happy about. It really is contagious!

My hubby is good at getting me back on track when I'm in a funk. Sometimes when I have one of those days where everything seems to be falling apart, I forget to smile as I try to piece everything back together. At those times Paul will usually tell me he misses my smile and it's enough to make me smile and it's a good reminder not to take everything so seriously.

It's alright to be true to what is happening in your life if you're enduring a sad time or going through something difficult. Just don't live in that place. Sometimes we don't feel like smiling or don't feel like there is a lot to smile about, but that's just the time when we need to give it a little extra effort. Fake it until you make it, as they say!

Who in your life always looks beautiful, not because of their outer appearance, but because of their contagious smile? For me it's my hubby. I chose the photo of Tenley Molzahn above from The Bachelor, Bachelor Pad as she always has such a positive outlook on life and is such a warm person. While she is a beautiful woman in terms of her outer appearance, for me it's her huge smile that I find so endearing and gives her a real sparkle. She is a true classy woman.

Have a beautiful weekend ladies!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My New Kitchen Gadget!



Lately, I've been testing out some new recipes, whipping up some original smoothie concoctions and now I have a fun new kitchen appliance to assist me as I prepare them here at casa Davis. Weeks ago CSN Stores offered me the choice of doing another giveaway with them or reviewing a product. Since I always go the giveaway route, I thought I'd do something a little different this time.  Since they were giving me $60 to spend, I thought it would be the perfect time to get a large capacity food processor.

Up until now I've had a tiny one which is great for making hummus, dips and very small batches but I wanted something that did more than just puree. I chose carefully and ended up selecting the Hamilton Beach 10 cup Chef Prep food processor. It got great reviews and was the right price and I couldn't be more thrilled with it. I was so excited when it arrived but then got really busy and it sat for a while in my kitchen cabinet. I've been meaning to make my own almond butter and knew it would be a great first test for my new gadget too.

Here she is out of the box, washed and ready to make something yummy:




I started with some raw almonds, I didn't even measure, just dumped some into the container. I didn't want to risk a big batch though in case it didn't turn out. So, I pulsed the nuts for about 3 minutes until they become more buttery, added a pinch of sea salt, 1/2 tsp of olive oil and then I was feeling a little adventurous so I added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg along with a teaspoon of raw honey too. I pulsed for another minute and it was perfect.
Here is the result-Homemade Almond Butter in less than 5 minutes!




This processor will make my life so much easier, like the picture on the box shows, I've experimented and discovered that yes, you can feed a whole block of cheese into it and it will shred it perfectly in seconds. How handy is that?! No more grating by hand and washing the cheese grater afterwards. It also does really thin discs of veggies which look so pretty in salads. It has a fun crinkle cut feature too which I thought was neat. Remember, I was using a tiny, basic food chopper, so this is a HUGE step up! Before that when I was living in Canada, I chopped everything by hand and used a regular and hand blender when needed to puree what I needed, I wasn't one for collecting small kitchen appliances back then but I will not miss the tears that come from chopping onions.
Not only has it become my new BFF in the kitchen for preparing food but it's also really easy to clean too, which is important to me. In less than 2 minutes it was all thoroughly cleaned, but it is also dishwasher safe on the top rack if I ever want to go that route.

It locks into place easily and like a juicer, it has a food pusher with a measuring cup which makes it easy to pour right into the processor while in the off mode or while in motion, which is what I did with the olive oil. I love the 6 little suction cup feet on the bottom that help keep it stuck to my counter while it's working its magic at high speed.  It has 3 main buttons, pulse manually or lyou can eave it on speed 1 or 2 and then just walk away. I did that actually while the almond butter worked it's way from whole nuts to buttery goodness.

Most of all I love how powerful the motor is and how easy it is to use. It doesn't have a million buttons or setting or anything complicated. Upon arrival I just set it up without needing to look at the instructions. I also liked the color-black and chrome which looks good while it's on my counter but the type A in me keeps it tucked away when it's not being used because I value counter space.

All in all, I'm really satisfied with it and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable and high quality food processor. It shipped to me quickly too. Thank You CSN Stores for my favorite new kitchen appliance!! Sorry blender, there's a new kid in town. ;)

If you've never tried almond butter before, store bought or homemade, I highly recommend it. It's much healthier than peanuts and it's a great option for those with peanut allergies. Of course you could make walnut butter, pecan butter, peanut butter or whatever you have on hand-believe me I'll be trying many more! I like to scoop mine up with apple slices-YUM. Sometimes I mix it in with greek yogurt too for a creamier version, here's the recipe for that perfect snack which I posted last year.

Do you own a food processor? What is your favorite use for it? Do you make baby food or sauces, I'd love to know and feel free to share your favorite recipes with me, so I can try them too!

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