Archive | February, 2013

Influenster Sweetheart VoxBox Review

25 Feb

I received my Sweetheart VoxBox from Influenster this weekend! I love coming home to these boxes and having no idea what’s inside. They always contain useful products, that I’ve been wanting to try anyway.

Influenster Sweetheart VoxBox 2013Influenster Sweetheart VoxBox 2013

 

 

Olay Fresh Effects (Va-Va-Vivid!) Powered Contour Cleansing System: $12.99
The vibrating facial cleansing brush (came with a battery) is pretty great. A lot of times these gadgets just become too much work, but I did like this one. It’s small (shown below) and fits the contours of your face/t-zone. It didn’t splash water or cleanser all over the place, quite the opposite.

Olay Fresh Effects (Shine, Shine Go Away!) Shine Minimizing Cleanser: $6.99
I don’t have oily skin, but I gave this stuff a shot anyhow. It’s a nice cleanser, and mixed with the cleansing brush, my face felt super clean, soft and refreshed. I can’t comment whether it helps with shine, but it sure cleaned my face and wiped away the makeup and dirt. 

Influenster Sweetheart VoxBox 2013

 

Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response: $7.99 – $9.99
I strictly use Secret Clinical Strength (original, waterproof, sport) it works so much better than anything else I’ve tried. I can’t stand the Degree Clinical Strength, the smell is just atrocious. So I stick with my beloved Secret Clinical, so I was really happy to find this in my voxbox. Definitely recommend this stuff.

Skinnygirl Daily On-The-Go Bar $9.99/5 bars
I try to skip on the “health bars” because most are just loaded with sugars and are not healthy. I ate this Skinny Girl Blueberry Greek Yogurt flavor for breakfast on my way to work, it was pretty tasty. Obviously, this isn’t going to taste like a bowl of delicious pasta, but it really did curb my hunger for awhile. It’s 180 calories, high in fiber and natural. Overall, I’m always pretty wary about bars like this, but these do seem on the better end of the spectrum, without sacrificing all the taste.

Not Your Mother’s She’s a Tease Volumizing Hair Spray: $6.00
This hair spray is infused with natural apple blossom and bamboo. I really liked this, I’ve tried a lot of hair sprays, I always have L’oreal Elnett and Paul Mitchell ‘Hold me Tight’ on hand, but at $14/bottle, I try not to use them all the time. Once I finish my TreSemme (which I really like for quick touch ups or back-combing) I’ll definitely purchase this. It smells good and works nicely, without the crunchy hold. 

 

Overall, this was a great VoxBox from Influenster, and I’m glad I was chosen to try the products out. They will all be fully used, and likely each purchased again. A few of the brands I’ve been eyeing and this was the best way to try them out.

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Omega J8004 Juicer Review

22 Feb

Guys! I caved and bought a juicer. A friggen $380 juicer, but it was 40% off at Macy’s, so I went for it. The way I look at it. If I’m going to buy a juicer, I want to get a good one that will last me for awhile (this guy has a 15 year warranty) which is also how I went about getting the Ninja 1500 Mega Kitchen Blender.

So I went with the Omega J8004 Masticating Juicer, I honestly didn’t do an overload of reserach before purchasing this one (usually I spend far too long looking at reviews and stuff online) but with the sale going on. I wanted to make sure I got one before they ran out.
Omega J8004 Juicer review

 

Omega J8004 Juicer reviewOmega J8004 Juicer reviewOmega J8004 Juicer review
I
 wasn’t positive when the juicer would get to my doorstep, but I was overzealous and went produce shopping yesterday (it shipped super fast, I ordered it on Monday and it came on Thursday) so the second it was dropped off. I ripped into it and busted out the fresh produce.

I used:

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 apple
  • two handfuls of spinach
  • 3 kale leaves
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 orange
  • 1lime

My battery was really low when I took the following pictures, so my flash wouldn’t turn on.

Juicing with the Omega J8004 Juicer

This is what it spit out. It did it so effortlessly, I put whole limes in and it just tore it apart and separated the leftover chunky stuff.

There was a minimum of foam, and it was super quiet and easy to clean. I give it an ‘A’

 

Omega J8004 Juicer reviewOmega J8004 Juicer reviewHomemade green juice in a mason jarJuicing with the Omega J8004 Juicer in Mason Jars

I can’t wait to make Almond Milk!

What is your favorite thing/recipe to make in your juicer?

 

Wet N Wild “Silent Treatment” + Maybelline Color Tattoo – FOTD

21 Feb WnW Silent Treatment FOTD

I’ve been a big fan of the Wet N’ Wild palettes since I discovered they are both cheap and highly pigmented. I’m sure many of you also relate WnW products to the cheap makeup you got as a tween, like lip smackers, and wouldn’t think of it as a great addition to your nice makeup collection, but it is.

This was my first attempt actually using the Maybelline Color Tattoo pan as a base color & I paired it with the Wet N Wild Silent Treatment Trio Palette

WnW Silent Treatment FOTD + Maybelline Tough as Taupe

Eyes: MAC Paint Pot: Painterly ( I love this as a starting base for the eyelids, it’s the perfect color for my skin tone, it can also be worn alone for a basic, natural look)

Maybelline Color Tattoo: Tough as Taupe
WnW Silent Treatment palette (bottom grey color) and middle dark color in crease
Loreal Lineur Liquid Intense Black Liquid Eyeliner
Revlon Luxurious Color Smoky Crayon (waterline)
Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara
Benefit Eye Bright (nice highlight color
Maybelline MasterShape by eyestudio in blonde (brows)

Wet N Wild Silent Treatment

Face: Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Foundation in Nude
Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (finally got it, it’s a perfect luminous color)
Milani Bronzer Duo

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe FOTD

WnW Silent Treatment FOTD + Maybelline Color TattooWnW Silent Treatment FOTD

I’ve been a big fan of my Candies boots from Kohl’s this winter. I scored them for about $20 (regular $100) on Black Friday.
Jacket – Forever 21
Tank – Target
Jeans that fit a 6 foot person – Vanity
Earring I lost this night – The Limited

kohls candies boots

Pictures later in the night after I started to get sloppy (cut me some slack, I get to go out and drink lots, like once every three months)
FOTD makeup tutorialWnW Silent Treatment FOTD

Lastly, I’ve been wanting to try this cereal, Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch. I’m not a big fan of cereal, but this caught my interest. It’s pretty awesome. I haven’t actually sad down and ate it with milk, but it’s a great snack to just munch on. yum.

Honey Bunches of Oats Greek

Mango-Pineapple Kale Green Smoothie & Noodles & Co Pesto Cavatappi Copycat Recipe

14 Feb

Now this is a pretty, green smoothie…

Mango-Pineapple Kale Green Smoothie

It’s always so sad when your smoothie ends up that ugly brown color, even if it’s delicious, it still makes me a little sad.

Lately I’ve just been winging my smoothies, but here is a rough estimate, you can’t really go wrong. 

Mango-Pineapple Kale Smoothie

  • 2 cups of frozen mango
  • 1 cup on frozen pineapple
  • 3 big scoops of Fage greek yogurt
  • 4 good size kale leaves ( stems removed )
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp flaxseed

verdict: delicious and nutritious. 

Have I mentioned I love my Ninja 1500 Mega Kitchen System? It whips everything up so nicely and makes awesome smoothies. I admit, I haven’t tried the dough maker or anything else for that matter, besides basil pesto (recipe below). I do REALLY want a juicer, though.

Today was Valentine’s Day, but also my mom’s birthday. After Christmas I went to Michael’s and got a bunch of pretty, wired ribbon (the craft stores put the majority of their holiday ribbon 75% off after Christmas, awesome deal, and truthfully, half of it isn’t even strictly holiday.)

I’m also a huge fan of the packaging paper (also found it at Michael’s in an actual wrapping paper form) because it’s so simple and you can decorate it and put the focus on the ribbons and accessories.

Wrapping with packaging paper and wired ribbonGift Wrapping Presents with Packaging Paper

I’d made basil pesto one time previously, and i made it really chunky and garlicy, not so good. So I gave it another shot…

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese

threw it all in my Ninja food processor…

Basil Pesto in the Ninja 1500 Mega Kitchen Blender

and stored it in a mason jar until I prepared dinner the next day…
Homemade Basil Pesto

So, this is what I decided to make with the basil pesto, which was also a complete shot in the dark, but I was very impressed.

The main goal of this meal was a copycat of the Noodles and Co Pesto Cavatappi, but with my own take on it. I didn’t have the swirly noodles, so I went with whole wheat Barilla penne..

Noodles & Co Pesto Cavatappi Copycat Recipe

  • 3/4 box noodles (the actual recipe calls for cavatappi noodles, hence the name)
  • 1 cup of sun dried tomatos
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cream (I used Fage Greek Yogurt)
  • 7 oz. pesto (recipe above, or you can buy your own)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • shredded parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta al dente as directed on box.
2. While pasta is cooking, saute the garlic and mushrooms in a tablespoon of EVOO. 
3. Add the wine to the garlic and mushrooms and reduce for 2 minutes. Then add the cream to the mushrooms and reduce for another 1-2 minutes. Add the pesto and stir well.
4. Drain pasta and add to the pesto mixture. Stir, Stir, Stir, and let is sit for a few to continue soaking up the liquids
5. Serve and add any additional parmesan cheese

Noodles & Co Pesto Cavatappi Copycat Recipe

Next time I may try adding tofu or getting fancy. I made awesome vegetarian lasagna roll-ups last night, but was so excited to eat them I completely forgot to document.

DIY: custom craft beer gift basket for valentines day + Cardstore.com

13 Feb

I wanted to give my valentine something thoughtful for the occasion, after some consideration I decided on a type of gift basket. I knew I was going to fill the basket with the traditional chocolate candies, beef jerky, some 5 hour energy which he’s always stealing from me, Mio (which he ran out of recently) and lotto.

DIY gift basket with craft beer

This things listed above were all more of a filler, so I chose to hand select craft and local beers for him to try out. The kind you can’t just order up at most bars. I personally love craft beer, and he’s a bit more simple, so this was a perfect opportunity for him to expand his taste. He likes cider and lighter fruit based beers, so I went with that and a nice large bottle of La Fin Du Monde (not pictured)

DIY gift basket with craft beer

I found the crate at Michaels, I love it, I want to buy 10 of them, paint, and hang them on my wall to hold decorations.

The card is from www.Cardstore.com, I order a lot of cards from there and I’m always really happy with them. The photo quality is good enough for me, they are extremely reasonably priced, and you can even get them delivered straight to the recipient with an addressed envelope, return address, and stamp included in the low price of less than a stamp for everything! They have so many holiday and random card designs, and I love a lot of the designs (as a graphic design major.)

Overall, I’m really happy with his gift set. I taped on little felt hearts to some of the bottles and watched a tutorial to create that red bow. I used some old boxes to prop up the smaller stuff.
And most of all, he loved it, it’s a great thoughtful gift.

DIY gift basket with craft beer and cardstore.com

Did you make any DIY gift/crafts for you Valentine? please do share!

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea

13 Feb

 I have trouble sleeping, and I’m usually on a pretty bad sleep schedule, like going to bed a 6, sometimes 8am. Admittedly, the technology can’t help, I can spend hours and hours looking up reviews or delicious recipes, and finding myself wanting to cook at 5 in the morning. Have you ever had to force yourself to bed because it’s too late and you shouldn’t eat, but your starving? I’m sure we’ve all been there. 

Anyway, I’ve discovered Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime line of teas. And generally nothing helps calm me down, but this stuff sincerely works. I’m not positive if it’s a mental thing or not, but I’m not questioning it. These teas are gluten free, naturally caffeine free, and include only natural ingredients like all natural herbs and flavors, and no artificial colors or preservatives. 

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea Review

The first one I got was the Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea which:

  • promotes relaxation
  • with calming valerian
  • simple ingredients: spearmint, west indian lemongrass, hawthorn and orange blossoms

According to the Celestial Seasoning website, “Nothing promotes physical and mental well being like a restful evening. So if you’re wondering how to sleep better or just looking for something to help you unwind, try a cup of Sleepytime Extra®. This relaxing and delicious herbal tea starts with the time-honored blend of chamomile, spearmint and other soothing herbs found in our beloved Sleepytime herbal tea. We then add valerian, trusted as a natural sleep aid since the days of the Greeks and Romans because of its mild sedative properties. The result is a tea with the trusted calming effect and great taste of Sleepytime, plus just a little “extra” to help you rest.

I like this one best, it has a simple taste and really does relax me at the end of the day, especially over a good book.

Sleepytime Herbal Tea

  • chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn and rosebuds

Also from the Celestial Seasoning website, “Sleepytime’s comforting aroma and perfectly balanced flavor are achieved by blending soothing herbal ingredients from around the world – including floral Egyptian chamomile, cool spearmint from the Pacific Northwest, and lively Guatemalan lemongrass. This global synergy is only fitting, since all over the world, generations of tea lovers have wound down their day with Sleepytime.”

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea Review

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea Review

I love watching the tea bag sink into the hot water, releasing all of the vibrant colors. 
I’m really lazy when it comes to preparing tea, and I’ve never actually made it the “right” way, I just throw a mug of water in the microwave for 2 minutes (making it a perfect temp to drink immediately, I hate having to wait to drink it or suffer the consequences of a burnt tongue) then throw in the tea bag.

Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea Review

 I like this little piece of interesting information.. 
“like catnip, valerian makes cats frisky – exactly the opposite of its effect on humans”

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea Review

And I just discovered they make a decaf lemon jasmine green tea sleepytime, sign me up!

Do you have a favorite sleepytime tea, or tea in general? 

Well, I’m enjoying this tea now, so I should be getting very, very sleeeeeeepy…….

Chocolate Covered Strawberries for V-day

12 Feb

I’m no baker, but I’ve taken a big enjoyment in being in the kitchen and learning to cook lately. I literally knew nothing about cooking a year ago, and I mean nothing. I started from ground zero, I used to eat fast food three times a day or grab something out of the freezer and throw it in the microwave.

So today I attempted chocolate covered strawberries. Having too much time on my hands, I initially was going to order Edible Arrangements or something of the sort for my Valentine, but decided, “let’s give this a shot…”

Chocolate / Vanilla Covered Strawberries:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Tutorial

I wasn’t sure if these “Candy Melts” were just more of a marketing ploy, and basically the same and just buying chocolates, but I decided to try one of each. I will totally go with the Candy Melts next time, they hardened up way faster than the chocolate chips, and were just a lot easier to work with.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Tutorial

Microwave the chips for 1 minute, then stir every 30 seconds. nom nom. Vanilla Covered Strawberries Tutorial

Dip the strawberries into the chocolate, simple as that…
The stems on my strawberries kept breaking off and that proved to be quite a hassle, but I worked through it 😉

Vanilla/Chocolate Covered Strawberries Tutorial

I added some shredded coconut, sprinkles, or a drizzle of the opposite chocolate, keeping with the pink/v-day theme:Chocolate Covered Strawberries TutorialChocolate Covered Strawberries TutorialChocolate Covered Strawberries TutorialChocolate Covered Strawberries Tutorial

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Tutorial

Chocolate Covered Strawberries TutorialImage

These were a lot of fun to make and much easier than expected, plus he loved them.