Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh. Hello.

Guys, you know I love you, right?  I appreciate your following and constant support.  I really do.

Things have been busy but really, I haven't been inspired to write anything lately.  Maybe it's the weather, or lots of travel, or long hours at the office.  It's a funk.  You will be happy to know that I've been looking through lots of recipes and trying to find some inspiration on Pinterest and other blogs.  So hopefully March will be a better blogging month. 

Until then, I leave you will a few links I've been loving lately.

This would be so pretty to make in the Spring or give as a gift.

Ever wonder what to do with all those chia seeds?  Make this or this.

10 reasons to live with a cat...or any pet really.

One of my daily blog reads went to the same place I coveted while in London. 

Looking for an alternative to your gluten-free or cauliflower pizza crust?  Try this one.

Going to try a protein-packed version of this childhood favorite.

We're going to see these guys tomorrow night at the House of Blues!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Two movies to watch.

The snow has struck again and I'm working from the comfort of my own couch in my pajamas.  If you're just as lucky to be home today but don't have to do any work, here are a couple movie recommendations for you.  Jack and I recently watched these two movies.  We both agreed that the first was great and I already declared that I would watch it again.  The second movie I enjoyed more than he did but he's still glad he watched it.

About Time is about two twenty-somethings, Tim (played by Domhnall Gleeson) and Mary (played by Rachel McAdams), who meet and fall in love.  Tim's father (played by Bill Nighy) informs Tim on his twenty-first birthday that he can travel back in time.  Tim uses this to his advantage to win Mary over.  However, Tim learns later on that going back in time to change something can affect the future.

About Time is from the same creator of Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral.  Having loved all three of those movies, I had to watch.  There are some funny moments but there are also some pretty sad moments which actually made me sob.  I would watch this movie again in a heartbeat though.

Enough Said is about two middle-aged divorcees, Albert (played by the late James Gandolfini) and Eva (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who begin dating and find that they have a lot in common, including daughters who will soon be leaving for their first year of college.  Eva, who works as a masseuse, meets a new client at a party, the same one where she meets Albert, and befriends this client.  Later on, Eva learns that this client was previously married to Albert and lets all of the client's complaints about Albert affect their new relationship. 

During the movie I said to Jack, I love how this movie is about what really happens in life, it's just like the movie Friends with Money.  He looked up the movie and what do you know, Enough Said is written by the same woman that wrote Friends with Money.

Definitely check out both movies.  And if your boyfriend or husband also enjoys romantic comedies, then these are perfect for a date-night in.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Valentine cupcake cookies.

Yesterday, as I was packing up from work to move my car for the snow emergency*, I was thinking how I should stop by the convenience store and pick up supplies for baking.  If I was going to be snowed in the next day, then I could stay up all night baking and decorating something.  And let's face it, I've needed a baking post for a while.  I decided to finally put my cupcake cookie cutter to use and make Valentine cupcake cookies.  I'm not sure these will last until the holiday but I can always make them again, right?

Perhaps it is time to invest in a good camera. 

For the recipes, I used this recipe for the sugar cookies and this recipe for the royal icing.

* What was originally predicted to be a foot of snow storm, ended up being a 4 inches of snow and cleared by midnight storm.  Oh well, I could bake all night long any time!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My January Birchbox.

Last week I received my very first Bircbhox (courtesy of Laura & Kevin).  I read posts all the time about how ladies love the products they receive and get giddy waiting for the signature box to come in the mail.  I, too, got all giddy.  And then mine arrived wrapped in plastic and a USPS envelope.  WTF? 

I'm not sure what happened during delivery but thankfully, all the products inside the box were still unopened and in perfect condition.  The outside of the box, however, was all covered in goo.  I didn't even save the box to take a picture.  Maybe next month.

After dealing with the packaging, my excitement came back.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Birchbox, it's a monthly beauty subscription.  Every month, for as long as you choose, they send you samples of beauty products that are tailored to your needs and style.  If you like a product, you can order the full size through their website.  Birchbox offers breauty, grooming and lifestyle products for both women and men.  And just like Laura & Kevin did, you can give Birchbox as a gift.

The first thing to be devoured tested was the Ghirardelli Mint Cookie bar (not pictured).  The slight cookie crunch was perfect with the mint.  And just like Thin Mints, this bar is even better after sitting in the freezer for a little bit.

Laga & Co. Lil' Lip -- After the chocolate bar, this was the next product I tried.  I decided to rock this on Friday.  The color, Ring of Fire, is a little too orangey for my complexion.  I think if it had more pink, I would wear it more.  As far as the product itself, it was easy to apply and stayed on until I had my morning tea and waters.  I found that it dried out my lips a little bit and had to use lip balm on top of it.  I brought the pencil with me to work but didn't reapply throughout the day.  I think if I had a color I liked more, I would really like this lip pencil and would likely reapply it constantly. 

Juicy Couture - Viva La Juicy -- I tried this perfume sample out this morning.  I've actually been looking for a new perfume the past couple months.  Not really actively looking but more thinking about it.  So this sample came at the perfect time.  I was surprised by the delicate scent as I was expecting it to be very overpowering.  It's a soft floral and fruity scent which I happen to like over more musky scents.  I'll give this one a couple more tries and if it continues to grow on me, it might just be my first purchase from Birchbox.

ybf beauty Perfect Face Primer -- I haven't really thought about using a primer.  Currently I am using bb cream as my base, so I didn't think I needed a primer.  But it dawned on me that maybe this would be a good thing to try on my eyelids since my eye shadow and liner seem to run into the creases of my eyes by the afternoon.  So I tried this on Friday as well.  Unfortunately, I think my skin is just too oily...or this is not the right primer for me...or I'm using the wrong eye shadow and liner.  Whatever it is, I'm glad that I got to try this primer out without having to buy the full size and then realize it doesn't work for me.

Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish -- Glitter nail polish scares me.  I tried it last Christmas and just put a little bit on the ends of my ring finger nails.  It was very pretty when used as an accent.  But then after the holidays passed, I got sick of looking at it.  It took FOREVER to take it off.  I even tried letting the polish remover soaked cotton ball sit on my nail for 20 minutes.  I ended up peeling the nail polish off, which I know is terrible and ultimately has led to my current weak and peeling nails.  I do, however, like the idea of a color changing nail polish.  Perhaps I'll give it a try down the road but right now I'm sticking to my Essie Millionails and Grow Stronger Base Coat

I'm looking forward to getting my February Birchbox now.  Do any of you subscribe to Birchbox?  What are some of your favorite products you've tried out?

Monday, January 13, 2014

My favorite things -- January edition.

Happy Monday!

For this month's edition of my favorite things, I thought I would share with you my favorite beauty products.  These are only some of the products that I use in my daily routine but they have been staples.  Since the first time I tried them I have been hooked.  Lately, I've been experimenting a lot more which I am loving.  And thanks to Sephora's beauty insider points and Birchbox, I'm able to sample before buying.

1 -- Nivea Extended Moisture.  My skin has been dying for moisture this winter.  I find myself applying body lotion two 2-3 times a day and hand lotion countless number of times.  I like Nivea products for this reason.  They are thicker and creamier, so they tend to last longer.  I like to use the Extended Moisture in the colder months and then I switch to the Smooth Sensation in the warmer months.

2 -- Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil.  In my beauty regimen?  Yes!  Coconut serves so many different purposes.  I like to use it as a deep conditioner for my hair.  I warm up about a tablespoon in between my hands and run it through my hair when it's dry.  I let the coconut oil work it's magic for 10 up to 30 minutes.  Then I hop into the shower and wash and condition my hair as normal.  It leaves my hair feeling silky and it styles much easier.  I also use coconut oil to moisture the really dry parts of my body, like my elbows, knees and feet.  And I heard that coconut oil works well as a makeup remover but I have yet to try it that way. 

3 -- Tresemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray.  This heat protection spray works well when I'm blow drying, curling or straightening my hair.  I spritz it all over towel-dried hair and then style as normal.  It leaves my hair smooth and shiny until the next wash.  Be warned though, too much of this product can make hair feel and look a little greasy. 

4 -- Clarisonic Mia Skincare Cleansing Brush.  My mom purchased this for me a while back and at first I was hesitant to use it.  I didn't want to over exfoliate my skin.  But the Clarisonic Mia is very gentle on my sensitive skin and leaves it feeling clean and fresh.  I like to apply my facial cleanser (currently ProActiv +), work it in a little bit and then use the Clarisonic Mia all over.  The best part is it shuts off after the perfect amount of exfoliation.

5 -- Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment.  This one is a very recent discovery.  Right before Christmas, I was looking for the perfect gift for Jack's mom.  A coworker suggested hand cream from Kiehl's and ventured into the store to peak around.  I found the hand cream, which I've read rave reviews about, and continued to look around for myself.  A sales associate approached me just as I was reaching for the Creamy Eye Treatment.  She asked if I was shopping for someone else and I said yes but immediately was like, NO!  I was not get Jack's mother eye cream, that would be horrible.  But I did get for myself and it's amazing.  After I wash my face at night, I apply the eye treatment to my eye lids and under my eyes and then moisturize the rest of my face with my usual night cream.  I've noticed that my eyes look more refreshed in the morning and haven't dried out in the cold weather.

6 -- Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream.  Since college, I have been a Bare Minerals girl but this past summer, I felt that it was just too heavy for my skin in the warm weather.  I decided to try something lighter.  And with tanner skin in the summer, I didn't need as much coverage as I normally would.  I decided to try out a BB cream which not only covers imperfections but also smooths and hydrates.  It's one stop shopping, skincare and makeup all in one.  I still use it in the colder months, I just put it on after I moisturize.

7 -- Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten.  I've recently realized the importance of coutouring and highlighting with makeup.  It makes a world of difference.  Stila eyeshadow in Kitten is my go-to highlighter for the inner corners of my eyes and underneath my eyebrows.  It brightens up the eyes without looking like white chalk.  Sometimes I even use it as my base before doing a subtle or extreme smokey eye.

8 -- Rosebud Salve.  This stuff is a miracle in a tub!  I use it for everything from a lip moisturizer, to cuticle moisturizer to cracks in my skin.  It even soothes burns or rashes.  I have one in my purse, gym bag and at the office.  If you were to ask me if there is one item that you should always have on hand, it would be this.

9 -- Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio.  I never used to be a lipstick girl until recently.  Maybe it's something that comes with age or confidence but I decided to start experimenting with lip color, particularly red, and I'm loving it.  Nars pure matte lipstick is great.  The color is rich and lasts for a long time.  I rarely need to touch it up, just add a little lip moisturizer on top every so often.  I like the color Vesuvio, it's a bright poppy red which looks good on a range of complexions. 

I'm really looking forward to getting my first Birchbox soon.  I'm sure I'll be sharing all of my goodies with you :)

So tell me, what are your go-to beauty products?  Any suggestions of products I should try?

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