FALLing for you!

As I sit at home on a Friday night afraid to brave the 89 degree air that feels like 105.I am dreaming of FALL! It is sweaty, muggy and the mosquitos are having a field day on my skin.  Oh Fall I have missed you and can wait to Fall in love with you all over again. So I turn to Pinterest and start planning my Fall look. It is therapeutic to flip through the images of boots, sweaters and luscious camel coats. Images of scarves and booties with my soft worn in skinnies are burned into my brain. My look doesn’t change much I stick to classic, structured looks that are easy to update every season. Fall is the easiest because I love coats, boots and bags!



I have started no fewer than three pages devoted to my favorite looks of Fall on Pinterest. You can take a look here https://www.pinterest.com/tonimcdowell1/its-almost-fall-stitchfix/. Olive khaki jackets and pony hair flats are my go-to look for Fall. The flats go with my scarves, skinnies, skirts and French style striped T’s. What is your go to look for Fall?



I know…I know I have a lot of trench coats but who can resist Gap’s classic trench coat? They have updated the cut but kept it classic lines. It’s also on sale for $89.97. Yes it is also on my list. The denim shirt jacket is another look that I love and I scored this jacket from the GAP on Tuesday….the day they have 30% to 40% off!


So many looks to explore with me….check out my Pinterest page for amazing ways to update your Fall look!



Rock The ZivaLash Collection!


Want your Instagram photos to pop! Be adventurous with your look. It is fun and easy to try new products. I love the way mink lashes look if applied properly. The key is to apply them properly no one wants to look like a cartoon character or the newest Internet meme! A Natural lash look can enhance your natural beauty. The ZivaLash collection features lush mink lashes that are light as a feather and easy to apply. Shave time off your beauty routine and a glamour to your look by following these easy steps.


  • Start with clean hands
  • The best time to apply mink lashes is following full makeup application, which will avoid eye shadow particles on the lash
  • Trim the lash to frame your lids
  • Apply DUO eyelash adhesive to the outer seam of the eyelash strip.  Allow the glue to dry for a minute before applying .  Do  not overdo it…a little goes a long way
  • Place the lash along your natural lash line
  • To remove mink lashes gently pinch on the end if they don’t loosen easily use a drop of makeup remover 



  • Don’t be cheap with eyelash adhesive. There are horror stories on the ‘Net of people using hair bonding glue to apply strip lashes
  • If you use the wrong adhesive you run the risk of losing your own lashes and eye damage
  • Wear your eyelashes overnight, you risk messing up the shape. 
  • Use an eyelash adhesive that is only for eyelashes

 Lashes are just as diverse as any other fashion, makeup or hair accessory. The ZivaLash Collection has an option that is perfect for practically every personality, style and occasion so don’t be afraid to try something new! Feeling a little extra flirty? Choose a longer lash. Want to be bold and dramatic, choose one with feathers! Lashes are the perfect way to express yourself and can be a creative conversation starter. Be sure to choose the right look for the right occasion, bat your lashes and get ready to be the beauty of the beholder.




The EyeLash Chronicles

13729095_566723563510441_5301021628944187057_nThe Eyes Are The Window Of The Soul!

They frame the face and make your eyes pop! There is nothing sexier than a woman that uses her eyes to communicate. The eyes can communicate love, laughter and sorrow. Invest in your eyes and accessorize the way women did in years gone by. ZivaLash has developed a line of lashes that are full, lush and inspired by celebrity mink lashes.


Here are 5 Facts that will make you an instant fan of eyelashes….

You can instantly change your look!

When you want to look glamorous for that Girl’s Night Out or that Hot New Guy! Keep your look natural and pretty with a pair of ZivaLashes and skip the mascara! Prep your eye lids with primer and a subtle swipe of shadow and you are ready for the night!

Lashes are perfect for that finished look that every Bride, Bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride!

ZivaLashes are the go to lash for weddings….you look amazing without having to worry about your mascara running or fading for that special day! You can be emotional and dance the night away without a care!

They come in a VARIETY of materials and styles!

Don’t settle for off-brand! Lashes come in human hair, synthetic and mink. But these are your eyes that you are showcasing  GO FOR THE BEST!

That sought-after Celebrity look!

Instagram Photos! Do I need to say more? Get that I woke up like this look and be your own Kardashian! You can do it with this little gem right here! See! I love all of my divas and this is for you! A SALE yes I said it….you can get full luxurious lashes and rock it like a celebrity!


Stay in your price point but treat yourself! Madame ZivaLash is hosting a Pre-Launch Promotional offer of 25% off that will make you feel like a celebrity and keep you on your price point!



Become a fan…..stay tuned for tips, videos and promotional offers. I am ordering mine tonight!



The Box Phenomenon…Stitchfix Edition!

I love the boxes! @Stitchfix, @Ipsy and @EssenceBox have been my go to fashion and beauty boxes for the last six months. It’s the little things….not having to go to the mall and Christmas times three every month. The key to box success is in the profile. Your profile has to really reflect who you are and how you want to look. A good friend Natalie DiFrancesco…@whineandwhimsy gave me the lowdown….make a Pinterest page tailored to your style. Pin everything you like and attach the link to your profile and change it up every season. I make a new page for every Fix. Take a look at my June 2016 Birthday Stitchfix page…pinterest.com/…ll1/my-stitchfix-june-2016.IT’S FABULOUS!  trust making this page makes all the difference. Well today I received my June Fix right before my birthday and these are the items I received. Compare them to my page and you can see how well my personal stylist did!

I also love the styling cards that come with every fix! If you are unsure how to wear an item these come in really handy and I refer back to them oftenstitch-fix-march-2015-cards1….it makes your outfit unique every time you wear it. If you are ready to jump on the Stitch Fix trend here is a referral link to help you get started.





A Stitchfix outfit is not complete unless you have the latest make up to complete your look! Avoiding a trip to the mall and getting great items every month is another great plus of the 2015-2016 Box Phenomenon….imgresyou can get make up and skin care sent in a box too! @Ipsy allowed me to try new make up and skin care every month all wrapped up in a shiny pink package and tucked into a unique clutch made to fit in to your purse, backpack or handbag. Jewel tone nail polish, luscious lipsticks and smoky eyeshadows in larger than sample sizes made me excited about trying the newest trends. Imagine getting new makeup to play with every month and for ten dollars it was a great bargain.




And last but not least my @EssenceBox  



Handpicked make up, skin and hair care samples tailored to the African American woman’s unique needs. I love wearing my hair natural and @EssenceBox allowed me to try new brands that made my 4C kinky curls pop! My March 2016 Essence Box had a great sample of Uncle Funky’s Curl Magic and Argan Edge Control Gel. That is all I need to perfect my weekend wash-n-go hairstyle. I went right out and bought the largest bottle of Curl Magic at my local Target!











My Stitchfix Fix

04_06_MOM16_Mothers-Day-Brunch_04W3_v1_SQ-592x592.jpgThe demands of work, grad school and home life finally caught up with me and I realized that shopping in my closet was no longer an option. I was in desperate need of a wardrobe makeover. I don’t have the time nor interest in heading to the local shopping mall and I was at a loss as to what to do. The season would change soon and I hate being that girl that complains of having nothing to wear. Stitchfix to the rescue! I noticed one of my girlfriends was always perfectly, causally and prettily dressed. I’d complimented her on the perfect cut of her jeans and the really cute blouse she was wearing. Her response, “I got it from Stitchfix!” She explained how stitchfix works and how to optimize the items I’d receive each month and I signed up without hesitation.

A quick google search opened a whole new shopping world for me. A world where I sat at home and let some shop for me. I set up a style profile so my stylist would know exactly what looks I wanted for the Spring/Summer season. My height, sizes, weight, color preferences and items I needed to round out my current wardrobe were all added to the profile. My friend Natalie suggested I fill out a Pinterest page that would give the stylist a visual idea of wanted in my ‘fix’. I wanted looks for work-to-happy hour so I chose outfits that would work for every occasions. While I waited for my first ‘fix’ I read the blogs of the stylists and satisfied customers. The site has fashion tips, stylist’s blogs and a gallery of past looks. I love that and added some of those looks to my Pinterest page.


02_03_SPR16_Spring-Dresses_02W4_v7_0017-592x592.jpgMy ‘fix’ finally arrived and I was tickled pink!  It felt like Christmas in April. From the buttery yellow Miz Mooz oxfords to the Kentucky Derby-esque white eyelet dress I was happy with the entire selection. The happiness helped me get the 25% buy everything discount making the entire experience affordable. Oh yes it was affordable because I was able to set a price ceiling on the items that the stylist chose so no uncomfortable surprises. These were all items I would have chosen for myself if I could stay focused in a mall. My second fix contained a peach romper, a striped blazer, a light blue leather clutch and  a flowered tank to wear with the sexy jeans that were tucked in the very bottom of the box. All of the items fit well and were perfect for my budget!

If you are interested here are the links to my Stitchfix referral code and my Pinterest page so you can check it our for yourself! Happy Shopping!


Shopping in my CLoset

Fall…it’s that time of year when all of the fall clothes come out of the back of closet and out of my storage. I add a few items here or there but my days of hanging out in a mall wandering aimlessly and spending money on things I will never wear are over. Strategic Shopping is where its at. For this I love Pinterest. I get all of my outfit ideas from Pinterest. I type in what item I have in my closet for example, the Boyfriend Jean, I type it into the search and hundreds of outfit ideas pop up. I scan a few and dive into my crazy closet and put an outfit together. If a special item is trending like the blanket scarf, my newest obsession by the way, then I go out and buy one or two of that item only. Boutique shopping is my favorite and I am in love with Poppy and Stella in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. They always have the on trend items I am searching for…another amazing boutique here in Baltimore is Cloud Nine. Cloud Nine Clothing is amazing and my first fashion love in Baltimore.  So try the closet shopping and put an end to impulse shopping! 75 Fall Outfits to Wear Now

As I sit here  and pin (Yes…click on the hyperlink to see the outfits ideas) different Fall outfits for you guys to see how easy it is to shop in your closet I come across a great outfit idea that I just happen to have in my closet within easy reach. I can’t wait to wear this outfit tomorrow! I have the elements of this outfit down to the jewelry and tan handbag…lol…work to Happy Hour easy peazy!





“Fluctuat nec mergitur”

The title of this blog post is the official city motto of Paris. It means She is tossed by the waves but does not sink. That says a lot to me about the strength of the French people. Although, it is heartbreaking to read the stories of survival, courage and sadness that have come from the Paris terror attacks the French have been under siege before and will get through this too. Please keep them in your thoughts.


November 17, 2015

I am sitting here reading the stories of those that died in Paris and I cry for the lives that were cut short….Here are some of their stories.


Go Army!

Veteran’s Day!

Our Nation's Flag

Our Nation’s Flag


I am a Veteran, and a Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. Regardless of personal political views. It is an honor to serve one’s country, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.

This passage becomes the status for so many of us on the 11th of November. Men and women that volunteered to serve and protect the United States of America. I am proud to call them brothers and sisters in arms. I am proud to have served!


The Rock House Negril

This is a late post but I am really missing the beauty of @rockhousenegril. Negril is one of the most magical places on earth and@rockhousehotel is the best places I’ve ever been JD’s down. The staff is welcoming and warm and the food superb! The cottages and villas were perfect and they handled a big group with no problems at all. I can’t wait to go back and visit!

2015-09-18 15.33.51 2015-09-18 15.41.50 IMG_6124 2015-09-17 18.45.54

The wonderful hibiscus flowers that I wore in my hair.

The wonderful hibiscus flowers that I wore in my hair.

2015-09-17 18.06.53


Toni’s Pampered Pumpkin

So, this is how I am going to spend my Saturday afternoon. I am giving a Pampered Chef party. I love the idea of cooking wonderful, comfort food in the Fall and decided this is one way to kick start the season. Thanksgiving will be here in just a few weeks and I am going to start planning that menu now!

Come out if you are in the area and let’s have some fun! If you can’t make it and want to make a purchase here is the link to follow. http://www.pamperedchef.biz/kellyvail and click on “find a show” in the upper right corner then type in Toni McDowell as host, click on connect to show and the shopping cart icon and shop away!

I will post pics of this event Saturday afternoon! Here are a few Pampered Chef recipes to tempt you!


Pumpkin-Maple Cream Trifle


  •  Maple Walnuts (optional, see Cook’s Tip)
  • 1 box (14.4 oz/400 g) whole graham crackers (5 x 2 in./13 x 5 cm)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) plus 3 tbsp (45 mL) pure maple syrup (do not use maple-flavored pancake syrup), divided
  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz/102 g) cheesecake or vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) (1 3/4 cups/425 mL)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Cinnamon Plus® Spice Blend
  • 1 container (12 oz/1 L) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  •  Additional Cinnamon Plus® Spice Blend Plus


  1. Prepare Maple Walnuts, if desired; set aside. Coarsely break graham crackers into Stainless (6-qt./6-L) Mixing Bowl. Place 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the maple syrup in Small Batter Bowl; microwave on HIGH 60-90 seconds or until hot. Pour hot syrup over crackers; toss to coat and set aside.
  2. For pumpkin filling, combine pudding mix and milk in Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl; whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Add pumpkin and spice blend to pudding mixture; whisk well. Fold 2 cups (500 mL) of the whipped topping into pudding mixture; set aside.
  3. For maple cream, combine remaining 3 tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup and remaining whipped topping in Stainless (2-qt./2-L) Mixing Bowl; fold gently. Attach open star tip to Easy Accent® Decorator; fill with 2/3 cup (150 mL) of the maple cream and set aside for garnish.
  4. To assemble trifle, place one-third of the graham cracker mixture over bottom of Trifle Bowl. Top with half of the pumpkin filling, spreading to edges. Top with another third of the graham cracker mixture. Top with remaining maple cream, spreading to edges. Top with remaining graham cracker mixture and pumpkin filling. Cover; refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with Maple Walnuts, if desired, and pipe with reserved maple cream. Sprinkle with additional spice blend, if desired.


  1. 24  servings of about 1/2 cup (125 mL)

Nutrients per serving:

Calories 180, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate 27 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 160 mg, Fiber 2 g

U.S. Diabetic exchanges per serving:

1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 fat (2 carb)

Cook’s Tips:

Soaking the graham crackers with hot maple syrup will soften the crackers to a cake-like consistency.

To make Maple Walnuts, combine 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter and 3 tbsp (45 mL) pure maple syrup in (10-in./24-cm) Sauté Pan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Add 1 cup (250 mL) walnut halves and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes or until walnuts are evenly browned. Spread walnuts in a single layer on parchment paper; cool completely.
Pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for the Cinnamon Plus® Spice Blend.
Roasted Herb Turkey_ Pampered Chef

Roasted Herb Turkey_ Pampered Chef

Rosemary-Herb Roasted Turkey


  • 1   thawed, frozen or fresh turkey, 12-18 pounds
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 2-3   fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Rosemary Rub


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove neck and giblets from body and neck cavities; cook and reserve for use in stuffing or gravy, if desired. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Lift wing tips up toward neck, then tuck under back of turkey. Place lemon, onion and thyme inside body cavity. Tie ends of legs together with cotton string. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in Roasting Pan.
  2. Brush skin with oil using Chef’s Silicone Basting Brush. Sprinkle with rub. Roast turkey 3-4 hours or until Pocket Thermometer registers 180°F in thickest part of thigh and juices run clear. (To prevent overcooking, loosely cover breast with aluminum foil when turkey is about two-thirds done. Check for doneness about 30 minutes before turkey is expected to be done.)
  3. Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Using Meat Lifters, carefully remove turkey from Roasting Pan to Reversible Bamboo Carving Board. Cut string from legs and discard. Carve turkey using Carving Set.


  1. Varies depending on size of turkey  servings of 4 ounces

Nutrients per serving:

Calories 240, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 95 mg, Carbohydrate 0 g, Protein 32 g, Sodium 75 mg, Fiber 0 g

U.S. Diabetic exchanges per serving:

4 meat (0 carb)

Update November 9, 2015

The Pampered Pumpkin Chef party was a blast! We had a great time trying new recipes and looking over all of the EXCLUSIVE Holiday products. I wanted to add two of the recipes that we tried so you can enjoy a little pampering too!


Microwave Chocolate Lava Cake

  • Combine oil, eggs and water that is specified on back of devil’s food cake mix, according to directions.
  • Drop balls of chocolate frosting using STAINLESS STEEL SCOOP on top of wet batter.
  • Put DEEP COVERED BAKER into microwave for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy with optional ice cream on top!
Hot & Cheesy Bruschetta Dip
8 oz (250 g) part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 oz (250 g) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1/4 cup (50 mL) light mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) Herbs de Provence Seasoning Mix
3 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 egg, beaten
1 frozen puff pastry sheet (from 17.3-oz/397-g pkg), thawed (see Cook’s Tip)
Toasted Baguette Slices (see Cook’s Tip), assorted vegetables or crackers


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Grate mozzarella using Microplane® Adjustable Coarse Grater.
  2. Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, seasoning mix, garlic pressed with Garlic Press and pepper in Classic Batter Bowl; stir in mozzarella.
  3. Pump half of the tomatoes in Manual Food Processor 7–10 times or until coarsely chopped; add them to cheese mixture. Repeat with remaining tomatoes and stir them gently into cheese mixture.
  4. Scrape cheese mixture into Round Covered Baker and microwave it, uncovered, on HIGH 1–2 minutes or just until cheese starts to melt; stir halfway through cooking.
  5. Unfold pastry onto lightly floured Large Grooved Cutting Board and lightly roll seams using Baker’s Roller®.
  6. Place lid of baker over pastry. Using Pizza Cutter, cut around the lid to form a circle. Using Creative Cutters, cut out and reserve two shapes from center of pastry circle.
  7. Place pastry circle over dip, lightly brush it with some of the egg and top it with cutouts; lightly brush cutouts with egg. (Discard the rest of the egg.)
  8. Bake, uncovered, 16–18 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove baker from oven. Serve dip with Toasted Baguette Slices, assorted vegetables or crackers.

Yield: 24

Nutrients per serving: (about 3 tbsp/45 mL dip): Calories 100, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 2.5 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Sodium 130 mg, Carbohydrate 5 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 4 g

Cook’s Tips: Puff pastry is easiest to work with when it’s cold. Thaw it in the refrigerator, and keep it chilled until you’re ready to use it.

Soft cheeses like mozzarella are easiest to shred when they’re very cold. Freeze it for 15 minutes before shredding.

To make Toasted Baguette Slices, preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place 24 thin slices of French bread on Large Round Stone with Handles. Lightly brush or spray the bread slices with olive oil. Bake 8–10 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned.

© 2012 The Pampered Chef used under license.