Easy Carbonara Pasta

Mmmm bacon and eggs. Hey, sometimes you just want breakfast for dinner. And sometimes you want something a bit more sophisticated. Bacon and eggs over pasta! That is basically what Carbonara Pasta is, and it couldn’t be simpler. As soon as I figured out how quick, easy and delicious it was, it became one of my new go-to meals. It also reheats well for lunch time leftovers. This is a must-make dish!

Easy Carbonara Pasta

INGREDIENTS
1 pound dry spaghetti
4 large eggs
6-8 slices of bacon, cubed 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Freshly cracked black pepper
Sea salt

 

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. The saltier the better, it will really flavor the pasta. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
2. 
While the pasta is cooking, sauté the bacon in a pan until it is crispy and browned. Drain and set aside.
3. Whisk the eggs and the cheese together in a bowl until well-combined. Set aside.
4. Add the cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and bacon to the pan and toss for a few seconds.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture while stirring quickly. The eggs will thicken and cook, but stirring quickly will prevent scrambled eggs!
6. Season with lots of black pepper, serve the pasta up and eat it right away!

Deeeelish! Whip this up for a sophisticated breakfast for dinner recipe, or even an afternoon brunch! Enjoy!

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My Foolproof Method for Leather Care

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Some of my favorite shoes are my leather boots and booties- they complete any outfit and make me look instantly polished! I also have a few pairs of leather pumps and flats,  that I absolutely adore. Leather is a delicate materials, and I take care of of my leather shoes all the same way! Proper storage, routine maintenance and a cleaning regimen will make your leather items last for years!

When Leather Nova reached out to me for a collaboration on their suite of leather products, I jumped at the opportunity. I couldn’t wait to try out their Leather Cleaner, Leather Conditioner & Restorer, and 2-in-1 Leather Conditioner & Cleaner. I was not disappointed. The products themselves are huge, so you may never run out! They are high quality and worked like a charm. My full review is below, as well as some more info on the products, as well as the rest of my foolproof method for leather care!

Here is some more from the Leather Nova site:

Leather Nova Leather Cleaner is a new premium cleaner that deeply penetrates the leather pores to remove dirt, grime and oil. It is a safe formula that can be used on all types of leather, vinyl and plastic surfaces. Unlike other leather cleaners, it does not contain any harsh detergents or toxic ingredients that dry out the leather and actually accelerate its aging process.

Here is some more from the Leather Nova site:

Leather Nova Leather Conditioner provides safe and durable protection for all leather and vinyl surfaces by using high grade polymers which restore the leather to its original sheen. Monthly use maintains its natural suppleness and restores a rich leather fragrance. It leaves a non-greasy finish unlike other leather conditioners. 

Here is some more from the Leather Nova site:

Leather Nova Leather Conditioner & Cleaner provides effective and deep cleaning of all types of leather and vinyl surfaces. While removing dirt and stains from the leather surfaces, it also conditions and adds the vital nutrients to the leather to make it soft and supple. It includes only premium ingredients which clean, enrich, restore and protect your leather. It gives a non-greasy finish to avoid dust accumulation and prevent premature drying and cracking.

My Foolproof Method for Leather Care

Maintain:

I routinely bring my shoes to the cobbler to be reheeled or resoled, and have them professionally polish out deep scuffs and tears. 

Store:

It’s important to store leather shoes properly as well. I keep any foam or paper inserts and plastics bags that the shoes are sold with. This helps the shoes and boots to keep their shape, and stay protected in your closet.

Clean:

I took my favorite leather booties from zero to hero using Leather Nova products. I sprayed the cleaner on the included cloth and polished up my booties to a super shine. The cleaner removed any salt stains that were on my booties from the rough winter streets of Norther NJ. Any scuffs just vanished as I polished. I then added some conditioner to the included pad and buffed up my booties and sealed in the glossiness. I swear the booties look better than when I bought them. Check out the amazing results below!

Leather Nova  only uses natural and non-toxic ingredients and only manufacture in small batches so we can concentrate on quality control. These products are the real deal, reasonably priced, and available for free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime! These are a must buy!

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**Disclosure- The product featured in this review was provided to me for consideration and Powered by BrandBacker.  This in no way influenced my experience with the product- all opinions are my own, and I was not paid to write this review. If you would like to read more about my Privacy Disclosure click here. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep SnapGinger snapping!

Easy Easter Treats & Eats

Easter Sunday is fast approaching, and whether you’re doing an Easter brunch, lunch or dinner, make the festivities fun! I’ve included some of my favorite Easter recipes, desserts and crafts to make this day super special.

Easter Caramel Popcorn

Easter Bunny Butt Pancakes

Better Than Easter… Carrot Cake Poke Cake

Easter M&M’s in a candy dispenser or pretty bowl

Easter Cheese and Fruit Tray

Boozy Citrus Punch

Creamed Kale and Eggs

My own Epic Easter Basket!!

I hope you have a very Happy Easter!

How to Build a Truly Epic Easter Basket

I love creating Easter basket for the kids in my life, and filling them up with toys, books and other goodies. I love making special treats for the adults at our Easter gathering, but, after creating my EPIC gift bag last year, I got to thinking: don’t kids of all ages deserve their very own Easter basket?! Follow my tips below to build your truly EPIC grown-up Easter Basket.

Since most Easter baskets have special treats and sweets, why not get a little sophisticated with your basket and include some beautiful pastel macarons? Other options would be chocolate dipped pretzels, or fancy caramel apples, coated in white chocolate. Sticking to light colors will help to bring your basket together.

You can also include a grown-up toy, which is usually something techie, or social. This Instant Camera comes in an array of pastel hues and checks off both of those boxes! How much fun would this be to receive!

You know how I love to get crafty, and a practical craft can be so useful! Make your own enchanted forest jars from items on hand, and your giftee will certainly find a use for them.

Another useful and fun addition to your gift basket would be these chic pink mason jars. They can be used for storage, but also as drinking cups. Pair them with mint paper straws and give your giftee something to toast to!

Keeping comfort in mind is a must, so why not include a great spring treat: comfy pastel pjs! You could even include a light slipper or flip flop for padding around the house in.

I hope you found these tips and tricks useful, and you stick around for more Easter fun here on SnapGinger!

Put all of your items in a neutral tote bag or basket from somewhere like Home Goods. This way the tote or basket can be reused around the house! Use some Easter Grass and add in a few plastic eggs to keep the traditional Easter Basket feel!

If you’re wondering how to put all of these delightful gifts together, check out my original EPIC gift bag post for how to pack and present your goodies!

5 Best Tips for Staying Organized

Spring is a time for a fresh start: a feeling of overall rebirth in in the air, Spring cleaning is in full force, and we’re all digging out from the Winter. Why not take this opportunity to get yourself organized?! Whether you have a few items that you feel are out of place, or you need a total overhaul of your system, my 5 steps can help!

ONE

Make lists.. of anything and everything! Tasks to complete, restaurants you’d like to try, places to visit on a vacation, RSVPs for an upcoming event, the list goes on. List out all.the.things.

TWO

Use reminders.. whether on your phone or PC, in your calendar app, or in a notebook. You can use technology to remind you of appointments, upcoming events, addresses for where you need to be and when, etc. Or go analog and write these things down in a handy datebook or notebook!

THREE

Enlist help.. from your family, friends and co-workers. If I need to get organized in a hurry, I make sure my honey understands the goal and I ask for his help. A fresh set of eyes can really make a difference when it seems like everything is a jumble!

FOUR

Have a place for everything.. you know the rest. But stick to it, put everything back where it belongs! I do this on a daily basis, either before I leave the house for work or when I get home. Sometimes I take care of straightening up before heading to bed. If I am using something only for a short period of time, I make sure to return it to it’s place when I’m done. As long as you set aside a few minutes a day to put things away, you won’t run into a situation where everything is all over the place! 

FIVE

Purge and keep yourself current.. Don’t let piles of old bills or mail pile up. Sort it and throw out what is junk and file what is important. The same applies to the clothes in your closet! Weed through the dog toys, food in the pantry, the fridge and even old DVDs and books. Donate what you can and throw out the remainders.

How do you stay organized?

Look the Part- Be a Better Bridesmaid

Welcome back to the next installment of my Be a Better Bridesmaid Series! Today I’m laying out the lowdown on getting the look! As a Bridesmaid, you’re an important part of the wedding day, and you need to look the part. You will likely have to purchase a dress, shoes, accessories, and get yourself dolled up. The Bride will want you looking your best in photos, and you’ll want to let your best self shine!

I’ve laid out some items to add to your Bridesmaid budget, happy shopping!

Be a Better Bridesmaid Look Budget:

The Dress

Your bride likely has a color scheme in mind, and its your job to coach her, but always keep her wishes top priority. For example, if she has her heart set on baby blue, but the coloring is all wrong for all of the bridesmaids, present some silver or pale gray options to the bride. These can be accented with blue jewels and even a funky blue shoe! 

$50-$200

Alterations

Save a bundle by looking for something “off-the-rack” which might not need any alterations at all. There are so many gorgeous options at places like Nordstrom, Saks Off 5th and CUSP by Neiman Marcus. If your bride is “married” to the idea of a traditional bridesmaids dress, an easy way to save is to have your alterations done by your local tailor instead of where you purchase the dress.

$25-$100

Shoes

Ideally, the bride will work with what you’ve got, and be cool with you up-cycling a pair of gorgeous (and broken in) shoes that you already own. This will save you money and save you pain. Just make sure the shoes you’re thinking of are in good condition. Don’t try to scam the bride by sending her a photo of the shoes online, and then show up the day of the wedding with yours looking like you wore them through a hurricane! When picking up a new pair, try discount retailers like DSW and Amazon, and make sure to wear them around your house a few times prior to the big day to break them in!

$0-$100

Jewelry, Accessories

Likely the bride will give you something in this category as a gift. Jewelry like bracelets, necklaces and earrings, or purses like small clutches or wristlets make great bridesmaid gifts. If you’re in charge of your own accessory destiny, be sure to pick something that coordinates with your dress, and doesn’t stand out too much. A bright red statement necklace might look hot with your black bridesmaid dress on other occasions, but overshadowing the other maids, or even the bride, isn’t the idea here! Subtle elegance should be your goal.

$0-$50

Hair and Makeup

The bride selected you to be a bridesmaid because you play an important part in her life, and you should look the part the day of the wedding. The bride will likely be getting her hair and makeup done, but might not require that you do also. If she does, that’s cool, just make sure to budget accordingly. If she does not, don’t take this as an opportunity to slack off entirely. Take your budget into your hands and decide what you can spend. If you have a local stylist that you love going to, make an appointment. You can go a more cost-effective route and try a blow-out bar and get your hair blown out professionally. They even style! If you have a friend who knows a thing or two about makeup application, see if they’re available- this might only cost you a bottle of wine!

$15-150

TOTAL: $90-$600

I hope this helps you to create a starting budget for the wedding day look! This does not account for any contributions you will make to the Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Party, travel and accomodations and other Bridal odds and ends that add up. Stay tuned for more posts on these topics in my Be a Better Bridesmaid Series!

Check out my Guide to Hairstyles for Different Dresses for some inspiration for your look!

Tropical Peach Chia Smoothie

Who is ready for warm tropical weather?! {raises hand} I am a winter lover, because of snowboarding, but I am over it. I want to wear a thin spring jacket, cute tees and some denim shorts. While that sorta thing isn’t in my near future, I can drink a tropical drink now to feel a like I’m somewhere warmer! This Tropical Peach Chia Smoothie, is just the drink, and it’s both good for you and delicious. Enjoy!

For more info on the health benefits of Chia Seeds, check out this smoothie post!

Tropical Peach Chia Smoothie

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Frozen Peaches
1/4 cup Frozen Apples
1/4 cup Frozen Bananas
1/2 cup Frozen Pineapple
2 tbsp Chia Seeds

DIRECTIONS
1. Add all ingredients to your blender. Starting with the slowest setting, begin to blend. Work your way slowly up to the highest setting (my blender has 3).
2. Blend for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Enjoy!

*SnapTip:
You can sub in fresh fruit if you have it, just make sure to add 1/2 cup of ice to maintain the smoothie consistency!

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Gardening 101: Planting Seeds

Are you looking to grow your own garden at home this year? Your Home & Garden Center will sell plants that have already gotten a head start. So one option is to pick those up later in the Spring season and plant them right in the ground. Another option is to pick up seeds and start your own plants at home! Now is the perfect time to get a head start on your own amazing fresh organic produce! I’ve outlined the steps for you here, in the first installment of Gardening 101 here on SnapGinger!

Planting Seeds

Buy the seeds and the planter: Seeds can be picked up at your local Home & Garden Center, or on Amazon. Planters can be found at the store as well, or on Amazon too! Love Amazon!

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Optional, but recommended: Buy a planting heating pad and indoor light. We didn’t use the heating pad last year and it’s made such a difference this year! The seedlings are outgrowing the planter!

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Use good soil: Mix it with water to moisten prior to adding it to the planter.

Plant the seeds: Use a small gardening shovel to plant your seeds in the soil. Keep a detailed record of what seeds you’re planting where. Unlike buying plants that are labeled, you won’t know what you are transfering in the garden.

Record their progress: Do this throughout the growing period, which varies by plant, but is listed on the seed packets.

Water the plants regularly: Do not let the plants get dry! They need water and sunlight to grow and get strong!

Mind the packet: Each packet will contain info specific to that particular plant, so make sure to follow any special instructions listed. Each plant will need to be transferred to the garden at different times, so you will want to read the packets carefully to know when to move what!

In my next post I will cover how to grow the plants in your garden, so stay tuned for more Gardening 101 here on SnapGinger!

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How to Have a (soft) Manly Beard

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This year my honey decided he was going to grow a beard for a few months in Winter and Spring. I was up for the change with a few stipulations: his hair needs to be cut often to keep it looking great, and his beard must be neat. He rose to the challenge and has maintained an awesome looking beard! We can hold Smooth Viking for half of that! They sent over some of their beard care products for my honey to use, and they have kept his beard in order!

How nice does that beard look?! All of the products come in these cool burlap bags, which I thought was a nice touch. Men don’t 100% care about those things, but I did notice that other beard care items my honey has purchased include the bags, so there must be something to them! If nothing, it’s handle travel transportation! Here’s some more about the products, and what my honey thought of them after using them for a few weeks! 

– About the Smooth Viking Beard Oil –

Soften Your Beard: Protect yourself against beard dandruff and keep your beard hair neat, smooth, soft and tangle free with our Beard Oil. And if you’re tired of having an itchy beard, our Beard Oil also helps to nourish the skin to aid in stopping the itching commonly associated with beard growth.

This product definitely help to cut down on itch and make my honey’s beard softer. This means I was able to kiss him more! 😉

– About the Smooth Viking Beard Balm –

Style Your Beard: Our Beard Balm provides superior hold and shaping that can tame even the most beastly beards. Our special formula of Mango Butter, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Argan Oil, and Castor Oil, will help hold in moisture and make hair follicles appear thicker for an improved appearance and texture.

Keeping your beard in check can be difficult without some sort of balm and comb combination. Regular trimming can also keep your man’s beard in check! This wasn’t my honey’s favorite beard balm, but it was great for the price. And it ships for free with Amazon Prime, double bonus!

– About the Smooth Viking  Beard Conditioner –

Soften Your Beard: Let’s face it, no one enjoys dry brittle beard. Soften those parched strands with our all-new Beard Conditioner, which helps repair dry beard hair by nourishing it with hydrating ingredients – such as Shea Butter, Mango Butter, and Argan Oil – to keep it growing healthy, strong, and super soft.

My honey enjoyed using the beard conditioner much more, especially in the dry of winter! He even recommended it to a friend who had a parched looking beard! I really liked the way it smelled too!

You can pick up any of these products using my Amazon links below. Know someone who has a beard? The Smooth Viking line has a fun look and comes in cool packaging, so any or all of them would make a great gift for the man in your life!

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**Disclosure- The product featured in this review was provided to me for consideration and Powered by BrandBacker.  This in no way influenced my experience with the product- all opinions are my own, and I was not paid to write this review. If you would like to read more about my Privacy Disclosure click here. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep SnapGinger snapping!

Infinite Wisdom for Women’s History Month

This is post two in a series inspired by Across Women’s Lives. I am participating in the #WomensLives campaign, run through BlogHer, and I am again inspired by one of the feature articles!

The post is titled “Ten ways women think outside the box,” and is a celebration of women’s wisdom in honor of Women’s History Month. The month itself celebrates “the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society,” while the article hones in on wisdom and life lessons that the authors has collected over time. A few of these lessons struck me as invaluable.

The lesson that health is more than medicine is incredibly important to remember in our daily lives. Sometimes we put too much on ourselves and suffer because of stress. And sometimes we forget just how fortunate we are to have a warm bed, good food and clothes on our back. The takeaway is that health “[is] about whether we can live a whole life.”

Another lesson the on the chosen family is especially poignant to me. I am an only child and have chosen my sisters (aka my friends) to be by my side in good times and in bad. Over the years I have grown less close with some friends, and closer with others, always making sure that both of our best interests are at heart. The takeaway is that your chosen family can be a source of power, and can lift you up and keep you grounded.

The last lesson that resonated with me is the crooked room scenario. A scientific study is referenced, in which some people could justify a titled room to themselves as normal. If you’re the only one who thinks the room is crooked, does that make you the crazy one? NO. I think that makes you the smart one. The takeaway is that we should always strive to get the most correct information on any topic and realize when we’re being tilted.

I hope you enjoyed this post about #womenslives! Happy Women’s History Month!

#womenslives

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