The Complete Thanksgiving Feast Recipes

Check out The complete Thanksgiving Feast

by Rika Ag at

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon
The Complete Thanksgiving Feast Recipes

Thanksgiving is such a fun excuse to go all-out!  My family loves kicking back any time of the year, especially on a national holiday where it’s expected to sit around for at least 6 hours (2 football games) and eat, chat, drink and eat more!  I don’t really follow the Cowboys or Lions, but I always watch those games on Thanksgiving.  Similarly, I don’t really cook turkeys but this time every year I give it my best shot.  It’s all about feasting and it’s just not the same without the big turkey.

In recent years we’ve been having more diverse group of friends coming in to join our feast.  It’s been really fun to keep our Thanksgiving dinners traditional yet incorporate Mexican or Asian food.  We had one guest who was on a raw diet, basically all he ate was salad, but it was about 5 pounds of it (he kept saying how amazing the salad tasted, too!).  We did try one year where we made everything except the traditional thanksgiving items.  It was a feast indeed, but didn’t feel like Thanksgiving and I didn’t like that.   Another year everything went kaput as far as our plans, and one of our friends went and got a Honey Baked Ham.  Those are really pricey but it sure tasted good!

It’s fun to strut your stuff a little bit and show your friends that you can cook better than maybe they expected.  I know that I sometimes am extremely impressed with some of the guys in the group and their dishes… I never knew they had it in them.  Desserts are always hilarious at Thanksgiving because by that time everyone knows that they’ve already had enough food, but the pies, cobblers, etc. are just too good to pass up so everyone goes for the last round.

Above are some great recipes that I have found to be helpful in giving me new inspiration or at least improving dishes that I’ve already tried (and in some cases failed at).  I hope you enjoy these, let me know what you think!  Also, let me know if you have any fun traditions in your family around feasting at Thanksgiving time.

Disclosure : This is a sponsored opportunity with

Quick tutorial on smoky eye makeup…perfect for Fall!

Getting ready for Fall/Winter Seasons? It’s a great time to have fun with trying new shades, textures and overall makeup trends.  Fall is the best time to experimental with those richer, darker colors, and also the bronzy or metallic colors with smoky eyes. Or if you want to go classic, simply perfecting wine-colored lips, neutral shadows and bold liner.  Rich and deep colors look fabulous this time of year.
Let’s start with Smoky Eyes makeup look. It may come across as complicated but creating a sexy smoky eyes can be really simple with just a few steps. All you need to do is to blend and keep blending the color until you achieve the shadow effect without any harsh lines. Add some intense purple, blue, green or brown to your usual eye makeup.  Steer clear from a heavier look and keep glowing radiant skin.
Perfecting a smoky-eyes makeup look :

1. Preparation
Clean and moisturize your eyes and using your favorite eye primer. Eye primer is a great product to prevent makeup glide on and to stay crease-free. This product will also help your makeup stay longer and have a more vibrant shadow. If you don’t have an eye primer, you can use your favorite concealer on your eyelids.  If doing this you need to sweep some pressed powder to minimize eye shadow creasing.

 tarte’s brushed with destiny-bamboo brush

2.  Start applying your eye shadow
• Using a tapered blending brush, like tarte’s brushed with destiny-bamboo brush, to start applying a medium color (I like pink or a light brown) across your entire eyelid and above your eye crease
• Start building the color up by adding the darker color to the crease and focusing on the outer edge.  Don’t bring it as high as in Step 1
• Apply a dimmer color from outer corner to 2/3 of the way in toward the inner corner of the eye at an angle. Keep blending the color so that you don’t see any harsh lines
• Use the same darker eye shadow to line your bottom eyelid
• Apply a silver highlighter on to the inner corner of your eyes
• Highlight your brow-bone using the same highlighter

3. Start lining your eyes
Trace your lash line using a waterproof pencil or gel liner. If you are a beginner, I recommend you can start with a pencil liner. If you want to achieve a precise line close to the lashes, you need to use liquid eyeliner.  The pencil is great for this smoky eye look.
• Start applying from the inner edges of your lash line and move to the outer edges.  Then, lightly smudge the color using a good eyeshadow blending brush.
• If you want to add a wing: Draw a line starting from the last lash outwards. Set the length & angle to your eye liner for the sexier, sultry look.

4. To balance your overall look, you need to pay attention to your lashes
Great lashes intensify and add depth to the eyes. Be sure to curl your lashes before applying mascara. I would recommend a waterproof mascara for the smoky-eye look. Especially if you’re going out on a date night or to a night club. The waterproof mascara like Tarte guaranteed to stay put through rain, sweat or tears plus adds dramatic height to lashes.

5. Finishing
First apply a primer to your entire face, then use BB cream or CC cream for a dewy, glowing skin finish. Apply the powder sparingly and apply only to the oily parts of your skin- usually the t-zone or under the eye after you apply concealer.  Use Cream Blush instead of powder blush.  These cream blushes are usually highly pigmented and are great for blending. For a sexy golden brown look, bronzing your skin lightly. You can also use the same bronzer to contour your face. Don’t forget to use a check highlighter for a more radiant appearance.






It Includes : DENSIFIQUE BAIN DENSITÉ Bodifying Shampoo, MASQUE DENSITÉ, DENSIMORPHOSE Thickening Treatment Mousse

This regimen is currently on sale for $143 per set.

my hair before kerastase

Before : So dry and look very unhealthy

Formulated with Hyaluronic acid, Gluco-Peptide and Ceramide that help hair attract, retain moisture, Restore a smooth, uniform surface , strengthens the hair fiber while protecting against further hair stress.

This programme has three simple actions associated with Kérastase products. It begins with a specific treatment in the salon that you can then continue at home. Kerastase Densifique Regiment adds more volume, more shine, and more strength to revive thin, mature hair.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.18.35 PM

After application : Smoother, Shiny and Look healthier

My hair condition prior using the application : Thinning hair, dry on the end, oily on the scalp, split ends.

These products keep my hair softer and silky but not weighed down. It does keep my hair moist all day and help restore the strength, so less falls out. At first, I didn’t see any difference, but it then started to show significant results after using this product about 2 weeks ( daily) . I really enjoy using the shampoo because it leaves my hair clean but not overly dry. I can have a smooth and shiny hair even without applying the mask. The mask though, wow it is wonderful! I think it’s one of my favorite hair mask i’ve tried. the consistency of the hair mask is a bit watery, so be sure to follow the recommendation to apply from mid-length to ends and only use quarter-sized dollop of gel to wet hair. You don’t need much of this product. it works amazingly well to restore the shine and achieve the smoother hair ;)

This is my first time using the DENSIMORPHOSE Thickening Treatment Mousse and pretty surprise with the result. It’s so easy to apply on dry or towel-dried hair. You just need one or two puff of mousse to create a lot of volume in your hair. This product makes me feel sexy because my hair looks great with more volume, but without adding an actual weight on my hair. Perfect for a night out or daily use, and safe ingredients.

Price concern and cons : It is a bit pricey compared to conventional hair products at the drugstore, but I don’t think anyone would be disappointed with the quality. It does an amazing job as it claims as is a much cheaper alternative to salon treatment. One con is that it I used these products up faster than many other products. Maybe I applied too much because i was too excited.

Compare to competitor brands: You pay what you get for. I am so satisfied with the result. My hair is smooth, silky, shiny and it also helps strengthen my hair without leaving my house for a saloon treatment. In a word my experience was luxurious.

ReFresh Skin Therapy Peel Review

ReFresh Peel Review

ReFresh Peel Review

About ReFresh Peel : This exfoliator removes dead and damaged skin cells without irritation. Lactic acid also increases skin cell turnover and improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

• Formulated to increase skin’s ability to attract moisture
• Penetrates deeply to restore skin’s natural hydration barrier
• Fragrance-free and non-comodegenic
• Helps skin stay hydrated all day
• Skin is left smoother and healthier
• Reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging
• Brightens skin tone
• Smoothes and softens skin
• Alcohol free Paraben free Phthalate free
• No added artificial colors, fragrance, or preservatives
• Made in the USA

First impression : This ReFresh Skin Therapy Peel comes in a bottle and with a dropper/dispenser, and is sold for around $22 at Amazon for 1 fl oz (a pretty standard size). Paraben FREE, No added artificial colors, fragrance, or preservatives.

If you want to reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging and can’t decide which product to use, go with lactic acid for your first peel experience, in my opinion. They are much milder than Glycolic Acide and they can be safely used 1-2 times per week. A lactic acid peel every 2-3 weeks will revitalize and brighten skin.

After using this product for about 1 month, I am pretty satisfied with the result. It doesn’t dry out my skin and has absolutely no side effects. It’s so mild and gentle on my skin. I only experiencing some mild tingling / burning on my skin on the 1st use but it disappears after the 2nd use. The consistency is a bit like water; I recommend you are always careful when opening the bottle so you don’t spill any of the product. I am a bit clumsy and almost broke the glass bottle and luckily i only broke the cap.

ReFresh Skin Therapy Peel Review

Result : I don’t see my skin peeling after using the product. The company ask customers to remove peel using cold water but I sometimes forget to and use the product until next morning, yet there’s no irritation or burning (unlike others that may give you very bad burns without prompt removal). The product is just so mild compared to other peeling products I’ve tried. My skin is glowing and looking clearer. My skin is healthier with less fine lines. I would recommend this product for beginner who wants to start peeling at home. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars to do this when you can do it at home with quality products like this. I am a not a doctor, but just from personal experience that is the case (and I’ve tried a ton of products in this industry).

I would definitely purchase this ReFresh Skin Therapy Peel again, especially at the affordable price-point.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

A Special Look at Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is Now Available!!!

Calling all you Marvel’s Avengers fans! A Special Look at Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is Now Available!!! Be sure to check out the trailer!

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Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will hit theaters everywhere on May 1st, 2015!

Genre: Action-Adventure
Rating: TBD
U.S. Release date: May 1, 2015
Running Time: TBD
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders with James Spader and
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Director: Joss Whedon
Producer: Kevin Feige
Executive Producers: Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Patricia Whitcher, Stan Lee, Jon Favreau
Written by: Joss Whedon


Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision. Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015.

Big Hero 6 – Trailer {Watch Now}

Big Hero 6 – Trailer {Watch Now}

Directed by Don Hall, Chris Williams. With Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller. Big Hero 6 is a 2014 American 3D computer-animated superhero-comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney . BIG HERO 6 opens in theaters everywhere on November 7th! Curious? Check out the trailer above!

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Disney’s FEAST – Special Look Now Available!

Disney’s FEAST – Special Look Now Available!

A special look at Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new short FEAST is now available. FEAST will open in theaters in front of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new action-packed, big-screen adventure BIG HERO 6 on November 7th.

Are you excited? Be sure to watch the trailer above

“Feast,” a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (head of animation, “Paperman”) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. The short opens on Nov. 7, 2014, in front of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Big Hero 6.” For more information, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter:

Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach #Review

Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach #Review


Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach #Review

When looking for pizza in Long Beach, you’ll find a few different options for sure, but none better than Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach. They are located on the Downtown Promenade, a walking district with great bars and restaurants that runs parallel and a block over from the main drag, Pine Avenue. We were staying at the awesome Long Beach Renaissance so it was only a 3 block walk to Michael’s. Upon arriving the staff greeted us with smiles and recommendations. They were quick to point out how their ingredients are the freshest around and how much of them were brought in daily. We had our kids with us so they advised us to try a ‘make your own pizza’, where our kids had the opportunity to roll the dough into anything they wanted. My son made a car and my daughter made star (the two shapes looked very similar, haha). As we sent those in to be baked we studied the specials menu outside and saw a GREAT selection of beers and wines that I had never heard of before. My husband normally chooses beers but thought that it would be more fun to try out the wines, which were from interesting locations like San Luis Obispo and other places up the coast. We also tried a salad di finocchi, which had delicious fennel, artichokes, fresh goat cheese, pine nuts and more. This was one of the best salads I’ve ever had, and urge you to try it if you go there. A Caesar salad is always good but please give this a try, such a pleasant surprise from a pizza restaurant! We also tried some squash blossoms as an appetizer. These were fried and a little heavy, but also quite tasty and had a great dipping sauce to accompany them.

Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach #Review
For our pizzas, we tried two different varieties (in addition to those that our kids made, which were actually pretty big). Our server recommended that since it was our first time there we try out the Margherita since it is pure and showcases the quality of their cheese, sauce and dough. We obliged and all agreed that their ingredients are a cut above. Each piece had a great balance of sweetness and savory. The cheese was out of this world, easily the best quality mozzarella I’ve had in the US. For our second pizza we mixed it up and had a pesto sauce pizza with porchetta. Yum, such great flavors and a nice contrast from our margherita. Both were great, when I go back I think I’ll order the Margherita again and try a new one off of their menu.


Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach #Review
Portions were solid and we were all full, but couldn’t turn down their dessert. We had the torta di mandorle, an almond cake with rosemary sauce. Sorry to sound like a broken record but this dessert was waaay too good for a pizza restaurant. I questioned the waiter to see if it was made there or shipped in from a dessert shop in-town. He swore that it was made there, I couldn’t believe it. If you’re a fan of marzipan, which I sure am, then you would be in heaven with this cake.
For service our server was very thorough and knowledgeable. I wish that I had caught his name and even more so one of the other servers, a lady who had bright hair and a lot of really cool tattoos. She had so much fun coming over and playing with our kids. They brought the kids over to their chalkboard and had them create more of their own art (in-addition to the pizza).

Michael’s Pizzeria Long Beach #Review
We sat outside and really liked the relaxed seating area, it was fun to people-watch the folks on the promenade. The people next to us had a fire-pit on their table which was cool, too. The inside of the restaurant is nice as it has an open space kitchen so you can watch people making your food, like a classic Italian restaurant. I ‘m not sure if it’s by design or not but this restaurant brings together classic and modern so well: old style family feel with great service, fresh ingredients that taste like they were bought that day from a local market, and great wines and beers. It also has modern menu items, takes some chances with ingredients in salads, appetizers and pizzas to give new tastes that you haven’t had before, and has a modern décor and location that will bring in the cool kids on the block.
Looking forward to getting back to Michael’s really soon…I can almost taste that thin crust, sauce and cheese in my mouth right now, but almost doesn’t cut it!

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  • Address : Downtown Promenade 562.491.2100

Colour Pop Review

Colour Pop Review


Colour Pop Review

Incredible eye shadow colors and highly pigmented from the Colour Pop Company, based in Los Angeles. You can try bold, vivid colorful makeup without breaking your bank ! Only $5 per eye shadow and free shipping with a $30 purchase. That’s a total knockout! All products are made in USA with a nice selection of shadows.

Colour Pop Review

Cruelty free
Great value for the price
Long-wearing formula
Large shade range

First impression : I ordered 6 colors and they came with a very cute little box that was showy and portable! I fell in love almost immediately. I think the company is really taking their time to please their customers and provide the best impression. I also pretty shocked on how highly pigmented these colors are. You will get the same item you see on their site. So that’s a very nice thing right?


I was also impressed with the quality of the eye shadow. It doesn’t look like a crumbly mess or one of those that will easily shatter. These eyeshadows are extremely smooth; they are powdery and a bit creamy. Based on Colour Pop suggestion, it’s better to use your finger tip and tapping on your skin. To remove excess and harsh lines, you can start blending out the colors using sythentic brush. I’ve tried the application using my finger tips and using a brush and found out that using my finger gave me the best result, showing the color pigment more evenly. As far as a brush, you will be more likely to see a fall-out and bit of messiness , you won’t get the maximum result compare to finger. So i highly suggested to follow their tips and find the most comfortable way for you to apply the eyeshadow.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 3.06.10 PM


Unfinished make up , I just apply the product to my lid and crease without blending it. Very nice color and pigmented.

Great formula and the colors stay all day ! I dont even need to reapply with or without eye shadow primer. Overall, I am so satisfied with product, price, quality and customer service. .I won’t even compare this product line with drugstore make up. As I have never found anything even close to compare with this product there, and these are actually cheaper that drugstore products.

Those colors are perfect for a daily make up look or night out ;) Please keep in-mind that these colors are very glittery. I am hoping that Colour Pop will produce more matte shades in the future because their quality is bar-none.

Avalon Bay 12S Thermo Electric Wine Cooler #Review

 Avalon Bay 12S Thermo Electric Wine Cooler

I deeply cherish my wine and the many great times we have shared together. It has been by my side for many of my happiest nights, and just like a true friend it has been there for me on a few nights when I’ve been down and out, too. So I wanted to take my relationship with wine to the next level, yes, I wanted to get a wine cooler to keep my precious wines at a temperature that would make them even more delightful. I am no expert but I think my palate and knowledge about wine has steadily increased over the last 5 years. I don’t read Wine Spectator, but do refer to its rating scale before making a purchase (if that helps give an idea of my wine knowledge). Of the wines I consume I’d say about 60% are reds and 40% whites, and I enjoy both thoroughly. I didn’t have any background knowledge on wine coolers so I checked a few sites online, some geared towards wine experts and some of the standard sites that sell everything. It jumped out to me that the brand Avalon Bay had almost all extremely positive reviews across all of the sites. Naturally I reached out to them to test out their product and they were all for it. Below is my review of their product.

I received an Avalon Bay 12S Thermo Electric Wine Cooler to test out. The 12 in the title represents the number of bottles it will hold, there are also 18 and 27 bottle versions. For us the 12 was perfect as it is small enough to put in our kitchen while only taking up minimal space. It could fit in a small home bar or man cave without any issues, and it’s a great way to display your bottles too (ours were previously just stacked up on the counter). From pics online the bigger models from Avalon Bay still looked sleek and compact, so we may upgrade if our collection and wine thirst grows. It’s not just the size that makes this product look great. The LED lights and interior backlighting is so slick, I feel like I’m looking at a product made by Audi. In just the 2 months that we’ve had the product to test it out just about every person that’s come into our kitchen has commented on the good looking wine cooler (or “wine fridge” as some of our friends call it). It’s actually a nice conversation starter and has resulted in us opening a bottle on more than one occasion. At first I was looking for where we’d want to hide the wine cooler, but now it’s actually something we show off.

Here are some specs and observations:
- Our cooler from Avalon Bay doesn’t make much noise at all, just the quietest purr where you may not even realize it’s on.

- Champaign bottles are tough to fit, but that’s not really a big deal to us (kind of swore that stuff off after too many post-wedding headaches!).

- We love the push button thermostat, it’s so easy to adjust the temperature up or down. The controls are simple and the temperatures seem to hit the mark within a degree or two.

- Like I said I am no expert but I can tell that these are built to last. With other brands you’ll read of flawed products that break, have poor motors, are too big and look bulky or too small so they can’t hold certain wine bottles. Not the case here.

- Avalon Bay has a great price-tag for their wine coolers and we really couldn’t be happier with the functionality and modern design. My Audi reference above was on many fronts for Avalon Bay as we felt like we purchased a luxury product, yet the cost of the item is far under those that don’t have nearly the ratings or rave reviews. I’m now fully on-board.

On a side-note the holidays are right around the corner and I am really thinking that this would make for a great gift for a few different people. My husband’s mentor is a huge wine-lover, as are his parents. This is the type of gift that will leave a great impression and be fully functional. That’s a hard mark to hit for gifts… I shy away from giving gift cards (functional but not memorable) and have had realized that the fun and cute gifts I get people (memorable but not functional) seem to disappear into thin air (or the trash!) after about 6 months. This is the type of gift that hits that sweet spot. The big question is whether my in-laws deserve such a nice gift! I kid, I kid… well, kind of J. Cheers everyone.

Be sure to follow Avalon Bay on Facebook