The Story of Dill & Tess. Part 3 of at least 3

Don’t forget to start at part 1! Part two is also entertaining and full of Dill and Tess Approved Beauty Buys. And now on with the show!

I used to have short hair. When I lived with Dill I rocked the Winona Ryder in Reality Bites short. (First pic) and apparently I followed Ms. Ryder’s style after that too.

I didn’t have a hairbrush for years. I didn’t have any hair. I washed it about once a week, if that. Before you totally gross out, I showered, just didn’t wash my hair. I didn’t need to. I didn’t have lots of product or fun tools or anything. I had a bottle of shampoo and some pomade. Game over. My husband, Mr. Incredible had never seen me with truly long hair. Last year he asked/dared me to grow it out. What good Irish girl turns down a harmless dare? Not this one.

Once it started getting long, I remembered why I cut it short. It is a pain in the butt. It requires work and time. Yuck. In the last year, I have found a few products and tools to make it bearable, and sometimes even look downright awesome.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

The blow drying, straightening and coloring was taking its toll on my new locks. I was trolling the internet for cute short haircuts while Mr. Incredible scanned our 387 cable channels most likely looking for the worst show ever. Instead of finding that, his teenage hormones kicked in when he found his boyhood crush gracing our oversized television screen. In all her glory, post baby and with amazing hair, whatever Alyssa Milano was selling my man was buying. We watched the Wen informercial three times in a row before I was asking him for his credit card number. It wasn’t a tough sell. The Wen kit arrived at my house in two days and I was impressed. I tried it and I was impressed. I’ve been using it for a year. I am STILL impressed.

Wen Collage

As Alyssa will tell you, it is a cleansing conditioner that won’t dry or damage your hair. My shipment also came with a Re Moist Intensive Hair Treatment. I love that. When I’m looking for really happy hair, I wet my hair and put a big gob of this in there and let it sit for 40 – 60 minutes with a hotel shower cap on. It is my favorite. If you don’t have that kind of time (I sit in front of the television, read or write a blog post) you can use it for five to ten minutes while you’re showering. It will do the trick. I have used and liked the Sweet Almond Mint and the Fig scents. The helpful representatives on the phone will tell you each scent is for some different follicle need. I don’t know if that’s true, but I have the Tea Tree scent on the way because I’ve got a touch of the dry scalp these days. Midwest winter, 1 – Irish’s hair, 0.

I have two things I don’t love about Wen. They are both minimal and silly. The developer of Wen, Chaz Dean, is freaky looking. His picture is on almost every piece of literature that comes in your shipment, even the ones printed only to tell you that they are using less paper to be eco friendly. I don’t think Chaz is really spooky looking in real life, but in his photos they always give him the fake baby blues and his wanna be scruffy beard is perfectly trimmed. Something about it just isn’t right. The other thing I dislike is to change what is in your shipment, and you can choose any variety of products you like which is great, you can’t personalize your order online. The upside of that is the reps on the phone are really good and not pushy or annoying. Go Wen or go home. It’s a game changer!

To the Rescue!

moroccan oilMy amazing hairstylist gifted me with a bottle of Moroccan Oil when she thought she ruined my hair and I was mad. None of the above was true. She did a really cool pink ombre on the lower half of my hair in the back. However, because my hair is so dark, it takes a ridiculous amount of bleaching to lift the color. Needless to say, the ends of my hair got cruddy. I got some successful conditioning treatments, but to keep up the repair I would have to have one at least once a week. Jojo the Incredible gave me a baby sized bottle of Moroccan Oil. I have had it for three months as a little goes a long way. I put it on wet and use it dry to touch up the ends on the no shampoo days. Yes, I still have them though these days they are fewer and far between. Bummer.

A Sure Thing

These. Are. The. Bomb.

These. Are. The. Bomb.

Let’s be honest. The straight iron, no matter how much you paid for it takes its toll on your hair.  I don’t know how my wondrous hairstylist makes it look so good, but the flat iron will wreck you when you use it every day for a long time. I got tired of the time, energy and Cher look so I decided to snag Mumsy McAwesome’s Conair hot rollers. Twelve cylinders of heat. Bring it. My hair took it like a charm, though putting in the twelve rollers every other day was too time consuming. Yep, here comes the Queen of Lazy! My cousin has been using Conair Instant Heat Travel Hairsetters. The five jumbo rollers covered my whole head I got the same results as I did with twelve. WHAT?  I can get twelve for the price of five?! Game on!


After the Wen I use Tresemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Leave-In Spray on each section of hair before I roll it up. When all five bad boys are in, I give my whole head a good dose of Suave Touchable Finish Hairspray and we are good to go. I love that I don’t have to weigh my hair down with a ton of product and I get great big bouncy curls. Thanks again, Wen!

Multitasking at its BEST!

Long hair needs to be put up. Often. At a certain length it even gets hard to sleep with it down. Hair elastics suck. They hurt. They dent your hair. They are usually too small to wear on your wrist while maintaining proper circulation. They will break your locks, lady. They stink. Emi-Jay hair elastics to the rescue! Jennifer Aniston even wears them on the red carpet. They are adorable and give to charities like Project Smile. I really enjoy the product.I don’t enjoy the price. I bought five for $15. I loved them! You could adjust the knot to fit your wrist and your hair.

Hair Tie Collage

I thought the price was a bit steep so after a little research I found I can purchase the elastic from a supplier online and make my own. Order five yards for under $3 and make 15 hair ties. The color selection is extensive and goes from boring black to outloud orange. Unlike the Emi-Jay brand, I also used a lighter to ensure they didn’t fray. If you are making a bunch, light a candle and burn the ends and pinch them to seal after you have knotted them. I like to leave a little extra on the end because it is cute and you can adjust the knot to fit your wrist and/or hair. I love giving these out at work or tie a bunch together with ribbon or a ball chain and give as gifts. Saving Money Living Life has great step by step instructions here. Functional crafting for dummies!

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The Story of Dill & Tess. Part 2 of at least 3

As I said yesterday in Part 1 of our epic saga, I met Dill and adopted the easy look. That really makes the last 12 years of my life seem uneventful. I assure you, they were not. It went a little like this: bartender, waitress, bartender/waitress, terrible boyfriend, embarrassingly public breakup, met Mr. Incredible, got married and two amazingly hilarious girls and four dogs later I’m beat. Hence, the easy look wins. It doesn’t mean you look like crap, it means you look good without spending a buttload of time on your face and hair. Mr. Incredible sees me when I wake up and says nothing. He sees me after my quick fix and says every morning “How do you do it?”. Yeah. It is kind of a joke, but I go with it. Any working mother of two with a puppy and an avid craft habit will tell you, take what you can get. Here are a few tricks of the trade.


Daywear's New Marketing Campaign

Daywear’s New Marketing Campaign

This amazingness was introduced to me by, who else, Dill. She has been using the Clinique brand and I have tried Maybelline, and of course Estee Lauder. Maybelline is great, available at Target or any drugstore and around $9. The coverage is lighter, yet covers with avoiding the Pancake Face Epidemic. Believe me, it IS an epidemic. Lauder gives you a bit more coverage and is what they did with their Daywear foundation, which back in the day was my favorite. I have yet to hear a sour word about BB cream so try them all!

Midwest White Meat

Bare Minerals Warmth

Bare Minerals Warmth

I am white with Irish and German ancestry. I live in the midwest. I am not naturally tan or even tannish. I wish I could be like Nicole Kidman and just own the pale. I can’t. I don’t know why, I should work on that. Bare Minerals Warmth is my key to success. It isn’t bronzer, it just warms up your face. That is exactly what this midwest Sally needs. And for the record, nobody ever calls me Sally. I don’t want to look like I used a bag of Doritos on my face or trying to change nationalities, I just want to warm this bad boy up. BareMinerals does just that. Also grab the Full Flawless Face Brush, it is worth the price. Keep it clean. I’m serious. Keep the brush clean. It will be your game changer.


Maybelline owns mascara!

Maybelline owns mascara!

Shopping for mascara is like shopping for a bathing suit. It is 100% trial and error. You need to get the stuff home and just play. I’m going to cut the crap and call a spade a spade. Maybelline came out with Great Lash. Great Lash is the best go to mascara ever. You can find it at gas stations. You never know when you need mascara and all you have is a 7-11 in your path. What’s not to love about Great Lash? They also humored the dramatic lash lovers, such as myself, with Lots of Lashes and the BIG option. Thank you, Maybelline. I really appreciate that you thought of me. They also have cornered my mascara market with their Volum’ Express Mega Plush and the entire Falsies line. I love you Maybelline. Way to hit it out of the park in this category. Repeatedly. You win.

Red Lips

Go Big Red!

Go Big Red!

I blame Taylor Swift for my love of red lips. I do. As the mother of two young girls who love music, I’m ok with Taylor. She wears clothes that cover most of her body. She is involved with the writing of the songs on her albums. She plays more than six instruments fluently. Once you realize that her audience is 8 – 14 year old girls, she makes sense. With that being said, I love her red lips and classic makeup look. I adopted it. I asked my Facebook friends the best shade of red and realized I wasn’t prepared to spend $25 on a lipstick. So I did what any other warm blooded midwest gal would do. I hit Target and searched the aisles. I had the names of a few classics in my back pocket, but Target was out of all of them! Are you kidding? There was a huge run on red lipstick? Really? However, in the quiet lower right corner of the L’Oreal display I found the one . . . or maybe it found me. L’Oreal Infallible #308, Target Red. It was made to sell at Target, though as you can see, also available on Amazon. It is a true red and not very orange or pink. I hear you now, “Irish, how do I get it to stay on for more than forty seconds?” Answer: Use a lip liner to line and color in your lips. Put your lipstick on top. Take your finger and dab a bit of powder or gold eyeshadow on your lips. Put another coat of lipstick. Be clear, this isn’t a tattoo. This will keep your lipstick for an ample amount of time and typically even through a Diet Coke, but not forever. I have found the best liners through trial and error. I really like Cover Girl lipperfection in #215 Passion or L’Oreal ColourRiche in Always Red. I tried the Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer and YOWZERS! That sucker hurt! It didn’t only hurt when I put it on, but twenty minutes later it still hurt. I’m a tough broad and that was not cool. I think Sonia has many great products. Her lip liner is not one.

When I started wearing the red lipstick, my regimen was BB cream, warmth, mascara and red lips. I got quite a few compliments. After seeing myself in photos, I have added a bit of eyebrow filler and a little eyeliner. When all else fails, add some brow filler. I could do an entire post on eyebrow filler. I’m sure Dill would agree.

Stay tuned! Hair and skin is yet to come!

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The Story of Dill & Tess. Part 1 of at least 3

This is part one of at least three. Read ahead for the story of a beautiful friendship and wait for it . . . beauty favorites.

 "There are no ugly women – only women who don't care or who don't believe they're attractive." - Estee Lauder

“There are no ugly women – only women who don’t care or who don’t believe they’re attractive.” – Estee Lauder

In a former life, and I have had many of them, I was an Estee Lauder Lady. It is funny to call me a LADY because I was 19 or 20 and beyond immature. The operative word in my last sentence was BEYOND.

I worked at the counter in Macy’s Mall of America. This was my third retail position at MOA and I had working in that madhouse down to a science. On Saturdays, when schools were out and on Black Friday you got dropped off and picked up if you had the late shift. When the ride in Camp Snoopy (yes, it was THAT long ago) was stuck and people were hanging upside down for five hours, you got a bottle of wine, those cute guys who worked at Britches and a front row seat to watch the rescue crews. You also knew you must get to Panda Express before 11:50 am for lunch or no orange chicken for you. If you were in Gift with Purchase and it was your assigned lunch time, you put your head down, made eye contact with nobody and ran for the hills. I even visibly carried tampons out of the Lauder bay if that’s what it took to get out. It got really bad and nobody messed with a make up lady on the rag. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Those customers would got cray cray for a free lipstick in a smelly plastic bag with a mirror so tiny it was unusable by adult women. There are many other tricks to the trade, but I’m going to keep those under wraps for now. I’m sure Dill and I can come up with a ton more.

As an Estee rep, I had the privilege to wear a navy blue tent with black tights and black shoes. I looked like a big bruise pimping ReNutriv and Spice Lip Liner. It was a great gig. Our team was awesome and we worked really hard together towards our goal of a million dollar counter. That’s a lot of eye shadow.

My favorite part of working the Lauder gig wasn’t meeting Elizabeth Hurley or Aerin Lauder, who I admire greatly. It was convincing (or conning?) the fun gal from the break room who worked in heaven knows what department to apply for the opening at our counter. She was a pushover and all in so the Dill and Tess Show began! Not only did Dill and I work together, we also shared an apartment with a homemade red velour couch and tons of crazy adventures. Side note: In my younger days and when Mumsy McAwesome is angry, I am referred to as Tess. 

Dill and I lost contact when I moved out of the cities. The internet was yet to be and I can be downright lazy. After we were both married, had children and found Jesus we got back in touch. God bless Facebook. We spent the next few years texting, chatting on Facebook, visiting for the Royal Wedding and for no reason at all and of course, constantly sharing the beauty products we love. I went from crazy full makeup at the counter to easy peasy lemon squeezy fresh face girlfriend. That didn’t stop me from loving all the products. Read about some of the Tess and Dill Approved makeup here. Hang tight for hair and skincare! Get excited for my take on the best hair, skin care and make up brands and shades. I’m stoked to share them!

NOTE: The Dill and Tess Show happened well before digital photos and we are both still digging for a glance into our 1998 selves. Brace yourself. This is gonna be good!

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My Top Winter Meals

I’m not a good cook. That’s not a very inspiring first sentence for a post about your family’s next favorite dinner, is it? I should preface this comment. I really try to cook. I try to follow directions. I like to make good food that my husband will eat. However, more often than not, dinner and I don’t get along. I think the current score is Dinner: 16 Jessi:4.5.  I’m proud of that 4.5. Really proud. So proud that I am telling you my favorite recipes so that you, who I’m sure is ridiculously fluent in the kitchen and can whip out dinner like it is nothing, will see these four recipes as easy no brainers. More power to you!

What does it take for a meal make it to this prestigious blog post? That is a great question. Here are my criteria:

  1. Easy easy easy easy easy. Did I mention it needs to be easy? I am not a whiz in the kitchen and any success I do have is celebrated as if I won Hell’s Kitchen.
  2. Fast. I am a working mom and when I get home I want to throw something together. I don’t want to be in the kitchen forever. You will see the all in one dish thing is one of my favorites. That midwest upbringing will get you every time.
  3. The ingredients are normally on my shopping list or in my cabinet. If it has an ingredient that I don’t pick up on a regular basis, it won’t happen unless I make a real effort and plan ahead. That’s not happening. I race through Target and get my 15 staples and get the heck out of there.
  4. My picky husband will eat it. Mr. Incredible’s palate is delicate. He doesn’t eat mayonnaise. It took me twelve years to get him to graduate to medium cheddar from mild. He got lucky that I married him.
  5. It reheats well. I take my lunch to work and Mr. Incredible works from home. We use lunch to get rid of leftovers. I never enjoyed leftover night as a kid. Somehow eating the leftovers for lunch is completely different. I don’t get it either.
  6. It makes so-so ingredients taste excellent. You know, the one you find yourself buying  each and every time because it is so much cheaper and you keep forgetting that by itself it is worth nothing. You will notice I have saved Market Pantry Buttermilk Biscuits’ butt a few times. You’re welcome, Target.

Click on the titles to get the recipes, and enjoy! Tell me which ones you like the best and any modifications you made.

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

This is my winter go to recipe. I have given it to MANY over the years. I’m unsure where I saw it originally, though I would guess something easy like Campbell’s or Kraft’s Food and Family. Thank you PolishTheStars for the picture.

Easiest Chicken Parmesan 

Chicken Parmesan I found this on Pinterest and love love love how there is no frying and no soggy chicken. Secret ingredient? Croutons. Chef John’s video is the bomb. I usually cut the recipe in half, as my children don’t eat meat (I have no idea, don’t even ask) and still have enough to take for lunch the next day.

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

3 Cheese Pasta Bake

Campbell’s recipes are my favorites because I can usually get them right the first time. This mac and cheese is so easy, I was amazed how tasty it turned out. If you are making this for the whole brood, you will want to double the recipe and throw it in a 9×13. And go for the fun noodles, too. Life is short. Enjoy your noodles.

Parmesan Pull-Aparts

Parmesan Pull Apart Bread

This is the .5. Since it is a side dish, I thought it only deserved a half point. Mr. Incredible LOVES his bread and salivates over this recipe. Take those second rate Market Pantry Biscuits in the tube and make them FABULOUS! Holly over at Life As A Lofthouse posted this after some adaptations from an allrecipes entry. I applaud her ingenuity.

Bubble Pizza 

Bubble Pizza

Thank you Pillsbury for this total crowd pleaser. Each member of your crew can make their own favorites without you feeling like a short order cook. Grab oven safe bowls and let everyone make their own. If you are making this for a family of four, use three tubes of Market Pantry Buttermilk Biscuits, an entire jar of spaghetti sauce and one 16 ounce bag of shredded cheese.

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A Project I Can’t Wait To Try UPDATE!

The Beibs.jpg

I am not a Justin Beiber fan. Probably because I’m 35 years old and I have two daughters under ten. Because of this, there are random issues of teenage magazines around the house. Think Bop. Tiger Beat. I was paging through one today, while looking for an one inch picture of Taylor Swift to make into a Christmas present. I came across this picture if the Beibs.

I love the idea of taking a sweatshirt and making it into this cool zipper deal. I would omit the zips on the sleeves. The hoodies are on sale at Joann right now. Well, lets be honest. What ISN’T on sale at Joann ever?! I think it would be cool to make the pocket one sided instead of kangaroo. I may give this a shot. I’m stoked.


IMcS Sweatshirt Overhaul.jpg

So my husband and kids were out of town. I had only been to Joann three times in two days. What’s one more? For $10 I picked up an XL hoodie and a dual separating zipper and got to work.

I apologize for no tutorial, but I will give you the lowdown. Next time I make one I will take step by step pictures.

1. Wash the sweatshirt. It sounds like a pain, though it will shrink and shift. You want it to do that before you start alterations.

2. Turn the sweatshirt inside out and put that baby on. Pin the sweatshirt down the arms and the sides so it fits the way you want it to. Take it off very carefully.

3. Sew the path of the pins and cut off any extra fabric. I used a stretch stitch. On this particular sweatshirt I cut a LOT of fabric off. If you have a serger, I recommend using that. It was late and I knew Mumsy McAwesome would be less than thrilled if I came over to use hers at that time of night.

4. Try the sweatshirt on again and be sure that it is the cut you want. You are able to go back and make any changes at this point. I would do it before you go on to Zipperville.

5. ZIPPER TIME! First lay the zipper on your garment about where you want it. I wanted to be sure the zipper went to the side of the kangaroo pocket and sewed it shut. Because this was a dual separating zipper, it was also important that the bottom stayed in tact. I fully expected to cut some of the zipper, with a dual separating, it seemed easier that I would cut at the top. When you know the  approximate path of your zipper, draw it on the  sweatshirt with a fabric pencil. Cut this line.

6. I hear so many people are scared of zippers. Don’t be. They aren’t that hard. I will be posting a zipper tutorial soon. I Googled it and nobody has directions for the way I do it. After watching a few of those videos, I see why people are freaked over them.

Caro's Zipper Picture

Here’s the quick and dirty: Sew right sides together. Seriously. Keep it simple for yourself. It looks just as good. I learned how to do it last Christmas when I made 19 of these bags. This photo from Caro’s tutorial shows the basic idea. This tutorial rocks. Make one or seven.


7. Make any alterations to the zipper. If you need to cut off the top of your zip, be sure to sew across it a few times so you don’t lose your pull. I said pull, not cool. That is a whole different blog post!

8. You. Are. Done. Try it on! Do you love it? I may embellish mine with a repurposed tee, change the drawcord. Get REAL crazy. Or I may just leave this one plain. I am going to scour the internet for different colored zippers. My local haunt didn’t have a color selection.

Have fun! Post pics of your creations! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Next time I fashion one of these babies, I will post a tutorial…and a Cheating Zipper Tutorial. Looks like I have got my work cut out for me!

Craft on!


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It’s Time for Sweaters & Comfort Food!

It’s that time of year again in the midwest. COMFORT FOOD!  This is my favorite and the best part is that it is easily made in a Crock Pot with NO precooking!

Thanks to for the photo!

Jessi’s Favorite Chicken & Dumplings

3 – 4 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp Butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Half onion chopped
2 Tubes Buttermilk Biscuits


  • Combine chicken, soup, butter, salt, pepper, onion to Crock Pot.  Cover with water.
  • Put on low and let cook for 5 -6 hours.
  • 45 minutes – 1 hour before you’re ready to eat, rip biscuits into fours and stir into the chicken mixture that has been making your house smell like magic all day
  • Enjoy like it is your job. This is my go to comfort food.
Posted in Comfort Food, Crock Pot Madness | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Font Art!

Phew! What a summer! We were busy! I did manage to do a few pieces for new babies and a wedding.

These were fun to make! I love any excuse to search the font sites and Pinterest for fun new fonts. Nora was my first girlie piece. I loved being able to use PINK!


I WISH I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THIS FIVE YEARS AGO! This is really a fun wedding gift to commemorate the big day. Without knowing the colors Jake and Ashley had in their home, I went with the neutrals. It proved to be a bit of a challenge for me!

I have new ideas and over 35 new fonts to play with. Life is good…well as long as you aren’t using Comic Sans and Papyrus.

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