Friday, November 27, 2015

Gelish MINI Red Matters holiday 2015 collection {review + giveaway}

'Tis the season...for gorgeous red nails!

The lovely people at Gelish MINI sent me their latest gel polish collection, and I'm over here swooning over these 6 luscious hues. Red Matters is their 2015 holiday collection, and it contains 4 existing Gelish MINI colors and 2 new, exclusive shades. These fun, festive, red-hot soak off gel polish colors are sure to keep you dressed to the nines for all of your holiday occasions.

The Red Matters collection all applied quite nicely to the nail and provided even coverage with no issues. All pictures in this post show two coats of color. Let's check out these gorgeous shades!

Good Gossip is a fun, bright, glittery red with flecks of gold glitter.

Man of the Moment (new color) is a rosy red creme with no shimmer.

Queen of Hearts is a deep, rich red with a frosty finish.

Hot Rod Red is a classic bright red cream with no shimmer. 

I'm So Hot (new color) is a deep burgundy with a lush shimmer. 

Life Of The Party is a Trends glitter topper with a sheer red base and multi-sized chunks of red glitter. This topper adds a fun pop of glitter over any existing Gelish MINI color, or could be worn alone. 

I love this collection so much! It's so bright, cheery, and,! The Gelish MINI Red Matters holiday 2015 collection can be found online and in stores now at Sally Beauty Supply for a limited time and retail for $12.99 each (don't forget to sign up for their beauty card & save $$ on every purchase though! It's so worth the extra $5 and the card is good for 1 year). You can also find them online on Amazon

But because I'm feeling the holiday spirit right now, one lucky Lulu & Sweet Pea reader will win 3 bottles of polish from the Gelish MINI Red Matters collection! Simply enter on the Rafflecopter widget below. Please refer to the terms and conditions.

Please refer to the terms and conditions.
Open to US residents only.
Must be 18 to enter.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.
Only the first entry is mandatory.
Never tried gel nails? I've got a ton of tutorials for you! My DIY Gel Nails post is a great place to start. I walk you through the entire process, step by step, and I include a lot of pictures and I'm a stickler for detail. It's a long one...but I promise: read the tutorial from start to finish and you'll end up with an amazing gel manicure. Once you've got that down you can move on to some of my other tutorials and you'll soon be a pro.

This post contains affiliate links. I was given these products free of charge from Gelish MINI for reviewing purposes. All opinions are, as always, my own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Simply perfect pasta salad {+ a Mezzetta holiday giveaway!}

I can't believe the holiday season is already upon us!

When I think of the holidays, I think of the three F's: family, friends, and food. In my family, both the one I was born into and the one I married into, and even in my close circle of friends, every get-together is really just an excuse to make yummy food. I mean, really, there's nothing better than spending time around the holidays with family and friends whilst stuffing your face, am I right?

 What's a holiday without the finger foods, snacks, and olive trays?

Growing up, I spent hours in the kitchen watching my mom cook for us, especially this time of year. She was always in the kitchen when it came to holidays, parties, barbecues, and potlucks, and she had her signature dishes for every occasion. Everyone could count on my mom to bring salads, famous casseroles, and delicious desserts, and I picked up a few of these special recipes from her while on my way to adulthood. Mom's pasta salad is one of my all time favorite crowd-pleasers because it's easy and everyone loves it. Plus, you can make it simple and super kid-friendly, or you can go all out and jazz it up for a more refined palette. I tend to land somewhere in the middle most times I make it, and my kids love it. I'll be making this deliciousness this holiday season:


1 package of tri-colored rotini pasta
1 small carton of grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup Mezzetta olives (any variety- I'm using the Blue Cheese Stuffed ones)
1 14oz can artichoke hearts- cut into small chunks
1 small pkg salami or pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Italian dressing, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook pasta according to packaged instructions- I prefer my pasta al dente for this. While it's boiling, cut the tomatoes and Mezzetta olives in half. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop them up into bite size chunks. Quarter the salami or pepperoni, and shred your cheese. Set aside chopped ingredients.

When the pasta is done, drain it, and rinse it well under very cold water. Make sure the pasta is completely cold! Drain well, and dump into a large bowl. Add the chopped ingredients and some dressing, and stir it gently. Taste the salad to see if you need more dressing- I tend to use a lot (like 1/2 a bottle) so use your own judgement.

Add the cheese (I didn't use any this time, since I was using the blue cheese stuffed olives) and salt and pepper to taste, tossing lightly again. Chill in the fridge or serve immediately!

As I mentioned above, you can get creative with this recipe and change it up to your liking. Sometimes I use Mezzetta's black olives and turkey pepperoni in it if I'm going to a barbecue, while other times I'll use higher quality salami and tangy kalamata olives with feta cheese in it. Either way, I've never come home with leftovers!

Mezzetta's Holiday Memory Sweepstakes 

Make sure to enter the Mezzetta Holiday Memory Sweepstakes right now on their website for a chance to win this cool grand prize- an instant print digital camera to capture your own holiday memories! Or be 1 of 10 runners up to win an Ultimate Olive Lover's gift basket!

• Grand Prize (1) - Instant Print Digital Camera plus a Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket including Mezzetta Olives, Olive Spoon, Cutting Board, Olive Bowl, Cocktail Napkins and Recipe Card.

• Runner Up Prizes (10) - Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket including Mezzetta Olives, Olive Spoon, Cutting Board, Olive Bowl, Cocktail Napkins and Recipe Card. 

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? Mezzetta has tons here. Check them out for some inspiration! Also, grab a coupon here for Mezzetta olives this holiday season.

What's your favorite holiday dish?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Easy tips for helping a sick friend or loved one

It's officially that time of year. You know, when it seems like everyone you know has a cold or a flu just about every other week. My household is a revolving door for germs and illnesses right now, and just as one of us gets over it, another bug seems to take over and get us all sick again. The mom in me wants to take care of everyone. When I hear someone is sick or not feeling well, my first instinct is to ask what I can do to help or if there's anything they need, even though most people will refuse the offer and suffer in silence.

But what if we didn't let the tough it out on their own? There's always something you can do to help a sick friend or relative. Even if it's just a simple, small gesture, like bringing them a box of Kleenex or some cough drops. Just that one little gesture could brighten someones day this holiday season, especially if they are feeling crummy.

Here's a few easy ways to help a sick loved one:

Bring them a care package. Does your friend have the sniffles? Make sure they are well stocked on Kleenex, medicine, cough drops, vitamins, juice, etc. Kleenex are a must in this household! While soft and strong, the Kleenex Lotion facial tissues with aloe vera and vitamin E are the perfect way to soothe a sore, stuffy, runny nose. The 3-ply construction is thick enough to handle the toughest colds and are super absorbent.

Bring them some soup. Whether it's homemade or from a can, nothing beats a hot bowl of soup when you're feeling under the weather. Crackers and hot tea with honey (great for sore throats) pair perfectly with it too.
Help out around the house. Nothing is worse than being sick and having your house look like a tornado hit it at the same time. While your friend or relative is down for the count, offer to clean up the kitchen- wash some dishes, wipe off counter tops, sweep/vacuum the floor, and throw in a load of laundry while you're at it. 
Help care for their children. If your friend/relative is a parent, ask them if you can help out with the kids, and don't let them say no. Offer to babysit, or take the kids out for a few hours so mom/dad can get some uninterrupted rest. I know my children tend to get insanely restless and bored when I'm sick on the couch, and I'm always silently praying that someone would offer to take them away, even just for a few hours! 
Bring them some entertainment. Let's face it- being sick can be downright miserable, and also very boring. Swing by a Redbox and pick out a funny movie for them, or bring over your favorite book you think they might enjoy, or even a few fun magazines. 
Check in on them. Make sure your friend knows you care. Call or text them (without disturbing them or being annoying) and make sure they know you are there to help! If they don't want to be bothered, even a quick text saying "Hope you're feeling better. I left you a little care package wtih some Kleenex on your porch!" is a great way to lend a hand without being too invasive or bothersome. 

See? Easy-peasy. These aren't huge gestures, but rather simple acts of kindness you can do to help out a sick loved one. Don't just offer- make sure you do them. I know plenty of times where I've been in a situation where I craved someones help but was too afraid to take them up on their offer of assistance. Don't let the moment pass you by when you get the chance to lend a hand!

Make sure you're prepared this cold and flu season with Kleenex's exclusive holiday collection at Sam's Club. The Kleenex Winter Pack includes 3 of their festive winter design Perfect Fit canisters and 8 boxes of Kleenex Lotion facial tissues. I love the cute little designs on the Perfect Fit canisters- I've already got one sitting right next to my computer work station, just in case! Plus, they are so festive. Sam's Club is the perfect place to stock up on everything your house needs. Not a member? Just go here to find out how to become a Sam's Club member.

Here's your chance- how will you show gestures of care this holiday season? 


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