Friday, July 29, 2016

Love It, Like It, or Lose It v.3

I'm still working my way through some skincare products from previous reviews, so this week I mainly focused on makeup and hair.  And... I found something I think I seriously love (but seriously loathe the price tag.)
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray - Bigger, better, full-on glamorous hair. This invisible dry hair spray builds in incredible volume and sexy texture. Patented polymers absorb oil at the roots, leaving you with just-styled hair for days (and nights). Shake. Spray where you want volume and style.

Thoughts:  This spray did a great job of giving my freshly washed hair some grip so I could do something with it!  (Confession:  I hate washing my hair. Doing so pretty much guarantees a bad hair day – it slips out whatever I try to do, “baby” hairs stand on end all over my head, and my bangs refuse to side sweep.)  I still had some out of control “baby” hairs and general floofiness, but I managed to keep a bun in place and my bangs were pretty well behaved.  My new goal in life is to find something at least as good as this and less than $44 a pop!

Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampooboosts roots and adds volume to hair, reinvigorating the scalp and adding texture to dull, lifeless locks. It's formulated to leave hair balanced and restored without any stiffness or stickiness.

Thoughts:  Definitely one of the better dry shampoos I’ve tried.  Does have a strong scent (though not as overpowering as some).  Does a great job of reviving flat hair and absorbing oil, and doesn’t leave boatloads of hard to brush out white powder behind.

Besame Lipstick Matches in “Red Velvet” - Packaged in a vintage matchbook they are perfect for travel and sharing. Whether you are discovering Besame for the first time or are a long time customer you will enjoy the simplicity and convenience of our lipstick matchbooks.

Thoughts:  I’m not sure this particular shade is right for me, but that’s why I purchased these!  I’m always jealous when I see another woman rocking a red lip and have become determined to find “my” red.  The color applies smoothly, doesn’t feel drying, and wears well.

RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Face, Neck, and Chest Cream SPF 30 - A complete anti-aging treatment from the chest up. This innovative, multi-benefit compound targets the 5 signs of aging that cause skin to lose its youthful look:  Discoloration, sagging, dryness, dull skin tone and wrinkles.

Thoughts:  Not a whole to say due to the size of the tube because obviously I’m not going to see any results that quickly.  I can say it spreads nicely and absorbs quickly. I also did not get sunburned while out and about.  It gets great reviews online so I may add this to my "to buy" list as soon as my "no-buy and use what you have for crying out loud" punishment commitment is over.

ModelCo More Brows “Light to Medium” - a quick-dry gel formula that contains hair-like particles to create the appearance of fuller, more even eyebrows in one application.

Thoughts:  I’ve used (and loved) a similar product from Benefit and I’d say this is on par (and a few bucks cheaper!)  Looks very natural, buildable, and doesn’t flake all day. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Blood Orange Cake

The first recipe that I tested from Rachael Ray's latest book, Everyone Is Italian On Sunday, ended up being a cake instead of a pasta dish as I originally planned. The list of pasta recipes that I intend to try are approximately a mile long, but since I love to bake, cake won out.

Here is the Blood Orange Cake in all of its fresh out of the oven glory.

 Rachael’s recipe as written in the book calls for the zest and juice of 2 large blood oranges (Seville or navel oranges mentioned as substitutes).  Blood oranges are not easy to find in my area, but I wanted to try and stay true to the blood orange flavor, so I opted to use dehydrated blood orange peel in place of freshly grated zest.  I then used the juice of 2 large fresh squeezed navel oranges.  (If you're using dehydrated peel and don't want to use fresh squeezed juice, (or don't have oranges handy,) you can simply use 1c of orange juice.)

You can really smell the orange while baking and it made my kitchen smell delicious! It is not an overtly sweet cake, so definitely serve it with some sweetened whipped cream. This is a great “mid-day with a cup of coffee or tea” light dessert or snack.

Blood Orange Cake 
4 large eggs, separated                                          
2T blood orange peel                                            
2c flour                                                                 
1/4c sliced almonds, finely ground                       
2T baking powder                                                 
1/4t salt
1stick unsalted butter, softened
1c sugar
2T blood orange peel (or zest of 2 oranges)
Juice of 2 large oranges (approx. 1 cup)
1/4c milk

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9” round cake pan.

If using dehydrated orange peel, rehydrate by adding 6T of water and setting aside.

With an electric or stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, with an electric or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the orange zest and juice.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and mix on low until combined.  Fold in the egg whites.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack.

(Recipe adapted from Everyone Is Italian On Sunday)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

July Allure Beauty Box

My July Allure Beauty Box arrived just the other day!  I subscribe to a few different Beauty Boxes and this one has always been my favorite.  I love the mini mag that comes with the products and the honest, (and often funny) reviews they write up on the products included too.
I’m pretty excited about the GlamGlow Super Mud because this is a staple of mine.  I don’t break out much anymore but when I do this is the product I turn to.

The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer I already know I don’t like so this will be going directly in the “Give Away/Donate” box.  It’s one of those “Holy Grail” or “Cult Status” products that I have tried to love but just don’t understand how other people do.  It did zero for me as a primer (no blurring, no extended foundation wear, etc…) and even caused a couple of whiteheads.

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair I am cautiously optimistic about!  It’s supposed to moisturize, reduce signs of aging, and brighten and even skin tone.  It gets great reviews online so fingers crossed it delivers!

I have a massive addiction to lipstick.  While I need another one like I need a hole in the head, I’m welcoming the Clinique Chubby Stick in “07 Super Strawberry” with open arms.  Based on swatches I looked up, it looks like it’ll be a subtle, sheer pink that will be super appropriate for a Preschool teacher and back to school next month!

At $85 for ½ an ounce, I’m kind of hoping I don’t like La Mer The Moisturinzing Soft Cream.  This is a apparently a newer version of the cult favorite moisturizer and it gets rave reviews across many age ranges.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Love It, Like It, or Lose It

In an effort to clear out the stash of skincare and makeup products that I can’t seem to stop accumulating, (GWP and Subscription Box addict here!) I decided to make a rule for myself: I will test out at least 5 new products every week and then either keep it/finish it up, gift it to a friend, or take it to a local women’s shelter with my next donation.

This past week I tested the following:

Rituals Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel - The claim:  Gel that transforms into a rich foam.  Contains Indian Rose and Sweet Almond Oil.

Thoughts: That’s a lot of lather!  “Rich foam” indeed!  Highly scented and lingers on the skin for more than 20 minutes  post shower.  (Yes, I was walking around the house sniffing my arm.)  It’s not so strong it would interfere with additional fragrance however.  This is a keeper.

Cotz Flawless Complexion SPF 50 - The claim:  Sheer, lightweight sun protection.  Preservative, chemical, and oil free.  Suitable for acne prone skin.

Thoughts: I was dubious about the “lightweight” claims on this but ended up being pleasantly surprised.  Not the thick, goopy, white paste I’ve come to expect from non-chemical sunscreens, and especially those with a high SPF.  This looks and feels almost like a tinted moisturizer.  Looked great underneath my foundation and my skin was matte even after nearly 10 hours of wear. Love!

Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift - The Claim:  Increase firmness, cell turnover, and collagen production.  Decrease dark spots and other imperfections.

Thoughts:  Obviously I’m not going to see any anti-aging results in just a week.  BUT… I had zero irritation and no breakouts.  Used with argan oil I didn’t see an increase in dryness either.  This one earns a “love” rating for the time being.
Clarins Gentle Eye Makeup Remover - The Claim:  Gently remove light to medium eye makeup.  Safe for sensitive eyes.

Thoughts:  The formula itself is non-irritating.  What IS irritating is that I’m counting 5,6,+ swipes with a cotton ball and still seeing makeup on my eyes (and it’s not waterproof makeup either).  There are definitely better eye makeup removers out there.

BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation 01 - The Claim:  Skin tone correcting foundation and brightening serum in one. “Ultra thin silky texture” and “no makeup look and feel”.

Thoughts:  Color was a great match for my skin tone.  I was surprised at the thick texture and medium/full coverage…  Maybe I have an old bottle? This was definitely not “Ultra thin with a no makeup look.” Since I typically don’t need this much coverage, (other than some redness on my chin) this isn’t one I’ll be reaching for often.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Aaron "Cleaned" His Room

I asked my 6 year-old to pick up his toys so I wasn't stepping on something every time I went into his room.  I specifically said that the larger toys, which don't fit in the basket or on his shelf, need to go back in the toy box in the playroom.  Approximately 5 minutes later he came out and announced, "I cleaned!" 
When I walked into his room he proudly pointed out, "I cleared you a path so you can put my clothes in my dresser!  Isn't that good?"

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What I'm Reading

I haven't even gotten all the way through this book and I already have a list of 23 recipes that I intend to test out.  Everyone Is Italian On Sunday by Rachael Ray is a wealth of recipes you'd expect (pasta, pizza, and more pasta) but also has tons of great soups, meat, veggie, and dessert recipes along with some stories behind the recipes, and tips on making the recipe a success.

Here are a just a couple of the recipes I intend to make -

The only critique I have for this book is that there is a lack of pictures.  I prefer cookbooks to have pictures for every recipe, or at least the majority of recipes, (especially if they are unusual or not something everyone knows what it looks like, say... Chicken Noodle Soup.)  This one has only one picture for approximately every 10 recipes.  The pictures that are included though are mouthwatering.  Pesto or Apple Torte anyone?