About wendy nielsen

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What I Love About The League

I knew absolutely zero about football before I met my husband.

He was a big fan of the both college football and the NFL and I quickly realized that if I wanted to hang out with this guy on the weekend that I better learn a few things about the sport. (To be fair, he took me to see plenty of chick flicks. It was a very balanced courtship.)

I was a pretty quick study. One Sunday afternoon, my dad had a game on and I yelled “PASS INTERFERENCE!” at the TV. My dad couldn’t believe what he had heard. I followed up with “What? The guy didn’t turn to look at the ball.”

Fast forward several football seasons with lots of wins and a few heartbreaking losses for our favorite teams. My husband and his brother decided to create a fantasy football league and they needed another player to round out the league. I bet they thought I’d be an easy opponent. Sure, I might have learned the ins and outs of the sport over the years but what the heck did this girl know about the players?

Well, if it wasn’t for Andy Reid pulling out Eagles running back, Brian Westbrook, I would have locked up the championship that season. We still laugh every time we see Andy Reid on TV and my husband makes sure to remind me of my words that day I was robbed of the league championship: “DAMN YOU, ANDY REID!!!”

I have since retired from playing fantasy football.

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I recently started watching a hilarious and far too realistic scripted comedy about fantasy football called The League. It’s in its last season on FX but I’ve binge watched the entire first and second seasons on Netflix.

The League is about a group of guys who play fantasy football. The quips are sharp and the dialogue is both fast paced and wildly inappropriate. What I love about The League is that it’s not all football all the time. It’s largely about the friendships between the male characters and there lay the comedy gold. Spouses play a significant role in each storyline, too. The ongoing push and pull between Kevin and Jenny is hilarious. Especially when Kevin refuses to let Jenny join (even though she is clearly a better player than he) and it seriously backfires.

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My favorite is Paul Scheer as Andre. He’s a gullible plastic surgeon who believes he should take Tim Brady (yes, Tim, not Tom) in the first round of the draft. Andre often gets the last laugh (Shiva!) but I crack up every time the guys lay into him about his Ed Hardy shirts and when he erroneously shouts “child please.”

Season two introduced Jason Mantzoukas as Rafi and he delivers the best one-liners throughout.

I’m already mourning the end of this series because it’s so funny. I’m glad to know I’ve got Netflix to catch up to the season currently airing on FX. Thank God for Netflix and thank God for The League.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. This post is not sponsored but I did receive a subscription and tablet to stream content from the ever growing Netflix library.

First Impression: HydraFacial MD

I have long struggled with my complexion.

As a teen on a quest for perfectly clear skin, I would obsessively scrub, tone and dab creams to minimize breakouts. My twenties saw too many days without sunscreen and a lot of nights without washing my makeup off. When I was pregnant with my daughter in my early 30s, I expected to glow from within but instead battled cystic acne. Now at 40 years old, I still find myself trying to manage some of these same skin issues plus dry skin and wrinkles.

A few years back, I met a wonderful facialist who encouraged me to view skin care as something that should require my full attention. I really thought I had been doing that already. No one spent more time in the mirror playing dermatologist than myself.

I recently had the opportunity to experience the HydraFacial MD treatment at CostmetiCare. Very simply, this treatment is highly effective at improving your overall skin health. It is also excellent for remedying congested pores, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, vibrancy, elasticity and firmness.

Upon arriving that morning, I consulted with medical esthetician, Lisa McCoy, about my skin concerns. I told her that the congested pores on my nose and chin were priority number one followed by the dry skin on my cheeks and forehead. Additionally, I pointed out an area on my face where I still often break out with cystic acne.

She quickly got to work with a gentle cleanser followed by the multi-step HyrdaFacial MD treatment process. She likened the procedure to a steam cleaning. She would infuse the good stuff while extracting the bad stuff.

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Let me explain: the HydraFacial MD treatment begins with a serum to remove dead skin cells and uncovering healthy skin. Then a mixture of Glycolic and Salicylic Acids are applied to soften the skin in an effort to remove impurities. Next are extractions with a painless vortex-suction used to clean out congested pores. Finally, antioxidants, peptides and Hyaluronic Acid are infused to detoxify, protect and plump up the skin.

I loved several things about the HydraFacial MD treatment at CosmetiCare.

1. There is virtually no down time for this procedure. I skipped out of the med spa and went on with my day with absolutely vibrant skin.

2. Lisa was very knowledgable about the HydraFacial MD treatment and understood the complexities of my personal skin issues. She echoed the advice I had received from years ago about treating my skin as good or as well as I would treat the rest of my body.

3. I loved the way my skin looked afterwards and I felt fantastic. I knew that I was giving my skin the attention it needed.

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I am thrilled to share that I have been selected to be part of the CosmetiCare Mom Ambassador program and I look forward to sharing my first impressions with the treatments I receive over the next few months!

CosmetiCare is located at:
1101 Bayside Drive #100 Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.537.2178 Visit on Facebook or at www.cosmeticare.com

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Too Fat for Stitch Fix?

Last week I received my 18th Stitch Fix box. At this rate, some might consider me an optimist and others might call me a glutton for punishment.

Let me back it up here. Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription service where a box of brand new clothes arrives on your doorstep. Inside is filled with pants, shorts or dresses, blouses and knit tops, sweaters or outerwear, and accessories. Their stylists put together your monthly Fix based on a profile created when you sign up. The cost of the service is $20. You keep and pay for any items you like and mail back the other pieces you don’t like. If you hate everything and send it all back, it costs you $20. If you keep anything, the $20 is applied to the purchase.

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The Stitch Fix model is fun, effortless shopping for busy women. So many of my friends love the service and rave about the convenience. There is also a lot of complaining on the internet about Stitch Fix, mostly that the price point is too high for brands that can be found at stores like Nordstrom Rack.

My thoughts? I really love when that box arrives. I am always hopeful for what’s inside. Will there be a pair of shorts that don’t make my legs look like tree stumps? How about the perfect pair of distressed denim jeans to replace my beloved ones from the Gap? Or a blouse that will finally make me look put together for mornings at school drop off but that I can also wear to record videos for Long Story Short.

I absolutely love the convenience because I really hate shopping for myself these days. I’d much rather be disappointed in my own home rather than do the walk of shame from the dressing room and field questions like “How’d those work out for you?”

I do agree that the price point on some items can be high. I’m willing to pay a premium for quality clothing, especially denim, but this gal who typically shops at Old Navy and Target chokes on a $70 knit top and $40 necklace. Not to mention, I have purchased items in that price point from Stitch Fix and have found the quality to be on par with the fast fashion from my favorite retail stores.

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What does any of this have to do with being too fat for Stitch Fix? Well, over the last 18 months my biggest complaint with the service is that the clothes do not fit. Now, of course a lot of that burden falls on me. If I lost the ten (or 20) pounds I’ve been saying I’m going to lose for the last 7 years, I might actually fit into the pieces they send me. But that aside, I’m really disappointed at the lack of variety they have for women my size.

Real talk here: I am a true size 12 and I typically wear a size large. With some brands, I wear an XL to accommodate my larger chest and long arms. I’m also tall, so I like pants that are long. I’ve fiddled with my Stitch Fix style profile several times and have given tons of feedback to my stylist about selecting brands that aren’t cut so slim or sending pieces that fit my dimensions. And each month, I receive a pair of pants that are too tight and too short and shirts that are too boxy and drapey.

I finally realized I might be too fat for Stitch Fix when I started keeping the accessories from each Fix and sending all the clothes back.

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I’ve been dealing with immense feelings of self-hate for many months now. A lot of it has to do with how I feel, how I look physically, and since turning 40, how I am aging. I’ve been trying hard to navigate these rough waters. Part of the internal dialogue is conceding to this is who I am now and the other is screaming NO! YOU ARE NOT THIS PERSON! I certainly try to make changes and then find myself slipping into old habits because I am overcommitted to everything else in life except myself.

This all of course is not any fault of Stitch Fix. Yet, I find myself annoyed at this service that can’t accommodate styling the average size of an American woman.


With that said, I’m going to wrap up today’s blog. I would love if you left me a comment about anything I’ve written here. Are you using Stitch Fix? Tell me about your experience so far and what kind of tips you might have. Where do you shop for clothes (I have another blog post brewing about that dilemma as well)? Also, if you have dealt with similar feelings of self-loathing, I would love your advice on how to break free from it.

Top Shelf Faves from Beauty Boxes

Megan and I record at least one beauty unboxing video a month. For me, many of the products quickly get pushed to the back of a drawer or buried at the bottom of my makeup bag. I love this idea to donate unopened beauty products and samples to women in need, but I open and try most of the items that come in the beauty boxes. So, sadly, they end up in the trash when I decide I’ve had enough of the clutter.

I have had a few stand outs graduate from clutter to top shelf. Here’s a few of my favorites (some of these links are affiliate links): Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Cleansing Facial Wipes, One Love Gardenia + Tea Body Serum (love, love, love!), Luxie Beauty Tapered Blending Eye Brush (this is second to my number one IT Cosmetics Eye Brush but I still grab for it often), NYX Butter Gloss in Strawberry Parfait, CoverGirl Super Sizer Mascara and Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer.

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Speaking of beauty boxes! The Target Beauty Box is supposed to be released online today. The rumor is this is going to be a monthly subscription. This box has quickly become my favorite box because it has products I am familiar with and can get at my local store. I’m still annoyed about a highlighting blush I fell head over heels in love with from an Ipsy bag and months later it’s still sold out on the brand’s website. It can’t be found anywhere else.

Watch our last Target Beauty Box unboxing. We’d love for you to click the red subscribe button and become our next YouTube subscriber!

Project Mc2 #SmartIsTheNewCool

My daughter likes many things but has a real interest in science. I admire her curiosity for the subject and try to encourage her to explore her passions (remind me I said that when I’m helping with her science project over the holiday break!).

When I saw Netflix was releasing a live action miniseries called Project Mc2 I knew it would be right up her alley. Project Mc2 is about four teenage girls who are recruited into a spy program called NOV8. Their assignment is to help protect a celebrity prince and find the threat that might jeopardize his space shuttle mission. They use a mix of reasoning, chemistry and hokey gadgets to help solve problems.

What I loved about Project Mc2: I really appreciate that each girl had their own individuality but were all equally smart, pretty and quirky. The characters didn’t fall into stereotypes (the smart one, the dumb blonde, the mean girl, etc.).

What I didn’t love about Project Mc2: Girl(s) save boy. It feels too easy. I would instead like to see these characters try to solve larger global issues plus tackle everyday problems kids and tweens often face at school or in life.

Thanks to Netflix for sending us some super fun science experiments and for allowing me to be part of their #StreamTeam this year! Check out my Pinterest board where I’ve pinned similar science experiments for your kids to do.

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If your kids enjoy science and adventure and fun, definitely check out Project Mc2 because #SmartIsTheNewCool.

Mt. Hood Roasted Tomatoes

Earlier this month we were in Oregon visiting family. It has become one of my favorite places to visit and we try to go at least once a year.

There is so much to see and do. This year we stayed on the coast for a few days followed by a few more days right outside of Portland. I’ll share more in the coming weeks. Megan just so happened to be in Oregon the same time we were so naturally we’ll have a vlog over on Long Story Short documenting the whole trip.

Two summers ago our annual trip included a visit to Mt. Hood. We have some close family friends who have a gorgeous home there. On their property includes a beautiful garden. My daughter and I spent an hour each day picking blackberries, zucchini and tomatoes amongst six-foot tall sunflowers.

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Our hosts made the most delicious roasted tomato “jam” – for lack of a better description – while we were there. I like tomatoes but they certainly aren’t something I always opt for. Slow roasting tomatoes totally intensifies their flavor and it was so super delicious. We ate this with crackers and a freshly sliced baguette.

I will always equate Mt. Hood with roasted tomatoes.

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To make this wonderful Mt. Hood Roasted Tomatoes recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place whole cherry tomatoes in glass dish or sheet pan.
3. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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This mostly dairy free girl has been craving goat cheese lately and this roasted tomato and goat cheese sandwich keeps popping up in my Pinterest feed. I just wish I had a tomato plant to pick.

Did You See the Bacon Soda Taste Test Video?

Happy Monday!

In case you missed it, last week over on Long Story Short with Megan and Wendy, we published a solid week of taste test videos plus a bloopers reel.

We have no idea how one random taste test video morphed into a week-long series. Honestly, we flip back and forth about continuing to make these kinds of videos but then we get emails and tweets from viewers who beg us to try the new limited edition whatever. And I simply can’t resist grabbing a bag of gross-sounding chips or bacon flavored soda. Yes, bacon flavored soda.

Last week’s videos included the Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor chips (those ones fans create and are voted on — we have a CLEAR winner), the very new and very THIN OREO cookies, the limited edition Chips Ahoy! Banana cookies (go home banana chip cookies), IKEA’s new bulk candy, and a bunch of international snacks and candy from MunchPak.com.

Watch the playlist of videos

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Top 5 Favorite YouTube Channels

If you would have asked me two years ago what I watched on YouTube I would have told you that I didn’t watch YouTube at all. Why would I want to watch cute cat videos or kids playing video games? It wasn’t until I wrote this post about makeup that I learned about haul videos and beauty tutorials.

Megan and I just published our 100th video last week over on Long Story Short and we love what we do. We have our fingers crossed for exciting things in the coming year.

People are always asking what I watch so here are my favorite YouTube channels.

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Tati from Glam Life Guru
If you want to learn anything about makeup, this is your channel. Tati uploads videos Monday – Friday with tips and tutorials, hauls and product reviews for both drugstore and luxury makeup brands.

Essie Button & Essie Button Vlogs
Estee Lalonde has two channels that she regularly publishes on. Essie Button is beauty tutorials, hauls and favorites. Her vlog channel is more about life in London with her boyfriend and dog.

LeighAnnSays & LeighAnnVlogs
Another beauty and makeup YouTuber. Are you seeing a trend here? Her vlog channel is fairly new and it chronicles what she does on the weekend. She’s young but I think she’s really funny.

MamaKatTV
Love her weekly Pinterest drink videos. Love more when her friend Marci sits in on a taste test. Plus, she’s just really good people and supportive of our channel.

Claire Marshall from Hey Claire
Incredible editing, incredible content. Claire create beauty and fashion videos but shares so much more than that. This video about her mom was heartbreaking.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you watch any of these YouTubers and what you think. You should know that there is much more on YouTube than beauty videos but these are my current favorites.

I Went to VidCon and All I Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt

Megan and I attended VidCon 2015 last week in Anaheim, CA. It was a no-brainer that we should go since the conference exists for YouTube creators and fans. Plus, we are local so we could both attend without committing to major travel.

But, I went to VidCon and all I got was a t-shirt.

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It pains me to write that I didn’t really enjoy the conference because there were definitely moments of fun and laughter and making new friends. But, our intent in going was to learn. VidCon added a new creator track this year and its purpose was to be educational. However, every session we attended turned into a Q&A with a panel of successful YouTubers that satisfied the fans but fell flat for those of us really wanting concrete tips or advice.

Watch our VidCon 2015 Vlog

We ended up attending very few sessions overall.

The highlights were meeting up with our friend Jessi from SHUGGILIPPO.  I throughly enjoyed our hallway chat on day two where she shared advice and her experiences. I also really enjoyed that she got us into a pretty swanky party where we day drank and shared the same air as John Green and Grace Helbig.

I loved meeting Deva from My Life Suckers and Hollie from Baby Gizmo. Both were lovely, transparent and engaging. Megan and I also made a collab video and lunched with Marianne and Julia from HGTV Handmade.

Watch our Green Tea KitKat Taste Test with Marianne & Julia

Will Megan and I attend VidCon 2016? Never say never but for now I’ll just enjoy my new sleep shirt.

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Tig Notaro Documentary on Netflix

I had stumbled across a fantastic documentary just days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was like divine intervention. Something had willed me to sit on my couch that morning and mindlessly scroll deep into the channel guide. The documentary followed a young woman through surgery and treatment and it totally and completely altered my perception of what I had anticipated for myself. I was and am still so thankful for that documentary because it left me hopeful.

I felt the same way after recently watching Tig on Netflix.

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Tig Notaro is a comedian. She has a very distinct style and voice that I like very much. I had first learned of who she was last summer after it was announced she would speak at a blogging conference I had planned to attend. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend her keynote at the conference but by then had learned about her story and the groundbreaking stand-up set she performed in 2012 where she opened with telling the audience she had cancer.

“Good evening. Hello. I have cancer.” Tig Notaro

I settled in earlier this month to see what the Tig documentary had to offer.

I laughed at her unique way she tells a story. I cried for her loss. I felt empathetic for her struggles and understood her desires. My heart broke all over that documentary and I learned that her story is so much more than having had breast cancer. Tig is about love, loss, fear and hope.

I highly recommend Tig for both my friends who have experienced cancer and for those who have simply been thrown a curve ball in their lives.

Tig is available exclusively on Netflix.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and gladly share my honest thoughts and opinions on their service each month. Netflix has provided me with a free subscription and device to stream their incredible content.