Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ipsy glam bag - July beach beauty

Yay! My Ipsy Glam bag arrived and even though this post is late, better now than never. 
As you can see, the bag this month is a fun day glow pink and see through

 Here is all the goodies laid out for all to see, only one brand is unknown to me and feature some pretty good sized items for me to play with. When I first opened it I was most excited about the lip crayon as I am totally obsessed with them. I always have loved me some Sexy Hair products and I am in love with beach sprays lately.

 I had a chance to look at the BH cosmetics booth at Generation Beauty and loved their shadows. I opted out of the colorful pallets because I fell in love with the mostly matte neutral pallet. 

The sample included one color from each of  the three California pallets and all colors I myself enjoy. 

Swatchy swatchy! The color payoff was pretty good and I applied on the back of my hand with my finger because I just washed ALL of my brushes and that took forever. If you have tons of brushes to wash, I feel your pain. 

I'm a little iffy about this tiny tube of  sunscreen but not because of the ingredient list but because how small it is for me. I used to think that moisturizing was the devil but now I have changed my ways and even moisturize before I use my sunscreen. for me i think it would be one in a half uses and you can never tell how a skin care product will affect your skins health after one day of use. unless it makes me break out then i very well know its a no go for my skin.  

Ah, someone else might be happy to get this sample but not me. I find no matter what I do the Benetint accentuates the cracks on my lips and doesn't have lasting power at all. please tell me what I am doing wrong? I desperately wanted to love this when I got it a few months back in my Birchbox but it failed to live up to what it claims.  

 Beach spray, I will try this next poolside trip or maybe make myself go to the beach and use this. or on a weekend. ive been feeling more in a ponytail mood anyways. 
Maybe a hair do how to will be in my future when I use this???

 I really wanted to love this, I really honestly did. I thought it was going to be more fushia and I love fushia 
colors on my lips. 

But its seemed more bubblegum colored in my swatch

 and showed up as bubblegum on my lips which I really hate. I hate the pastel lip colors and am more of a nautural, pink, berry or bright colored lip gal. I would love red but I have never had perfect skin to pull it off.  (sorry for the no-makeup and bad pores >.<)

Overall I am on the fence about this months bag. The thing I thought I would love I hated and got an item I know I hate. but the eye shadows make up for it and so does the bag. 

Let me know what you got in your bag and if you love yours or not!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garnier 3 minute Undo Dryness Reversal Treatment Triple Nutritrion

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Lately I've been on a deep conditioning and hot oil treatment kick. I just really am determined to have soft, shiny and healthy hair. Healthy, shiny hair is the epitome of youth. I believe that your hair can age you, when people first see you, they notice your face and hair because they share the same zip code. You may have no blemishes, wrinkles or dry patches on your face and have really dry brittle hair. BOOM! There you go looking like you're 40 instead of 35.

With this firm belief in the power of beautiful shiny hair I came across this Garnier product hoping to cure me of my dry and split ends issue. It's not that bad a of a problem, but my hair is getting tangled more often than usual and a few stray split ends here and there but I do need something to hold me until I can get to my hairdresser for a trim. The culprits of the hot mess on my head are using permanent dye, blow drying and flat ironing. I have combated the problems with good results and will do a separate blog post on how I  have reduced my hairs dryness at a later date, so keep an eye out for it!

My new routine has made such a difference all I really need to do to prolong my trim trip is an in shower deep conditioner on the ends of my hair every week. I have found that Tresseme's platinum strength deep conditioner has been a life saver but for the sake of saying that it is one of the better deep conditioners I had to try a couple others. I saw it while I was getting a backup for when my holy grail deep conditioner runs out, instead I found the Garnier and knowing from experience that I have loved their products in the past I decided to give it a whirl.

The bottle states it has Shea, olive and avocado oils which are supposed to be very moisturizing and good for dry, damaged hair. What I didn't see, which is my own fault is that it contains apricot seeds to also nourish and help with moisturize the hair. STOP! Say what?!!  You're telling me that the same apricot seeds that scrub my face moisturize? No freaking way! But hey, I already bought it so I was going to go through with it. As I applied to my ends I felt it it was a little on the heavier side, I just chalked it up to being moisturizing then let it sit for no more than 3 minutes. As I was washing it out I felt that the little seeds were hard to get out and would never apply it anywhere close to my roots for that reason. I really hated the sand in my hair feeling and thought it was totally unnecessary. i let my hair naturally dry as it is still summertime and using a blow drier will ruin what work I have been putting into getting my hair into mint condition. I felt that throughout the day my hair felt heavy and weighed down and made me feel like I wanted to wash it again with a clarifying shampoo.

Overall the selling points were disappointing as the ingredients were there but were maybe of a cheap quality and maybe too much filler. I would rather stick to my hot oil concoction I make as a weekly DIY and my normally used deep conditioner. Maybe it would work better on a different hair type as mine is fine, I have a lot of it and is naturally straight. I also dye my hair at home with a non ammonia formula hair dye to perk up the color a little when the sun starts fading it too much maybe once every 3 months but used to dye with a permanent dye at home almost every two months a red color so there might be some damage from that poking through. so maybe someone with less damage done would be happier with this.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Attention all Los Angeles/South Los Angeles thrifters!

I've been thrifting since I was a wee youngin' going with my mom for affordable clothes. For me it's a completely normal thing to do. I didn't need hipsters or a song to make me think "Hey, that oversized blazer looks cool.". We grew up poor, my dad was out of work and on food stamps poor. Barely able to afford rent poor.

So for me going to salvation army, goodwill and indie thrift stores was a completely normal thing. It's already a good deal finding almost new skirts and shirts for $4-$6 and $10 blazers. That's a pretty damn good deal already if you ask me. what I've stumbled upon by accident though is wickedly amazeballs. A $2 all clothing sale. You heard me right. $2 skirts, shirts, dresses, pants, jackets, coats, leather jackets, shorts. For TWO DOLLARS. They had the same sale sometime last month. I went crazy and went past my $30 limit by two measly dollars but it was well spent on a shirt for the boyfriend. This time I was under my budget of $20.

I wasn't even aware of the sale until I stopped in during my lunch hour yesterday. I was on a mission to acquire more stripped shirts and button ups and overheard they were having the sale again. So I scoured the racks hoping to eyeball some items that I hoped to still be there but wouldn't be too disappointed if I couldn't relocate them but bought items I would regret that day.

Came back, found my items plus some that were freshly put out and a couple more silly shirts for le boyfriend. Overall a good day for popping tags.

If you still want to get your hands on some great items on the cheap the sale continues tomorrow with stores opening up at 9am. The sale is only for south Los Angeles area goodwills but is a good enough deal to trek a good 15 miles for.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Subscription box I am not subscribed to - popsugar must have

I really really love my subscription boxes. It's like Christmas but for grown ups every month. It's like real Christmas in a way, the day comes where lo and behold we find a box addressed to you in the mail. You knew this day was coming and have been eagerly anticipating it all month. You tear open the package, almost tearing off a nail in the process. You take that first initial small peek then you gawk at what you got.

Just like Christmas you may have gotten that one thing you've been wanting or maybe you got the equivalent of getting socks and a tacky sweater. The better the boxes seem to be the more you believe that it's an awesome thing you're getting. If you're getting not so great items you'll never use in your life you stop believing in Santa and you immediately unsubscribe.

So far I have only unsubscribed to one box and that one being birchbox. It was my first, and thankfully it wasn't my last subscription I tried out. I've since moved on to Glossybox, Ipsy and Julep. I have been pretty excited about all of the products they've sent and have been well worth the money to me. One I have not set my hands on but have been meaning to is the Popsugar Must Have Box. It's $35 a month and is more of a lifestyle type mystery box. Every time I see the reveal I kick myself for not getting it.

This month I'm kicking myself because I really wanted those perfect ice cube trays for my cocktails, nail polish, necklace, tea and delectable snacks.
Who can forget last months beauty blender, hat and cocktail mixers were freaking awesome things they sent. And I'm dying over the corkatoo wine corker they gave awhile back too. I'm still freakishly obsessed!

But it's $35 bucks...what if I'm disappointed? What if I get stuff I really don't want? That's a lot of money to spend on things I could be disappointed about. I can easily send myself to target and buy some lipgloss and a sundress for that much money. I could stock up on st Ives apricot scrub. I could buy an anti aging eye cream. Or I can put in in savings for a rainy day. But every month I kick myself because I'm missing out on all this awesome stuff.

What do you think? Do you subscribe to Popsugar and do you like it? Did you stop believing in the Popsugar Santa? Tell me about it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grilled artichokes - first timer experience

Growing up I was that weird kid who loved eating their vegetables. I had a love affair with my broccoli and brussels sprouts. My mom recalls me just biting in a raw onion like it was just an apple and enjoying it which delighted my mom because she can then show my aunt who despises them. The only thing I wouldn't eat is cauliflower because it just looked so bland and just why the hell is it white? As kids my mom had always tried to introduce us to new things and one strange looking veggie all of us could agree on was artichoke.

I remember her prepping and steaming them for us and teaching us to scrape off the "meat" on the leaves with our teeth. Mom liked dipping hers in mayo with fresh chopped garlic. I liked it with a side of lemon butter since I have always thought mayo was disgusting. But the artichokes themselves were filling and tasted wonderful. It was work but getting to the hearts was my absolute favorite part and still is to this day.

As I have grown older and discovered pub food, I was delighted to find grilled artichokes amongst the sliders and pretzels. It brought me back to being a kid and watching cartoons with my yummy artichokes. While others swooned over their adult versions of mac and cheese with truffles or lobster, I swooned over grilled artichokes served with a garlic aioli or Siracha ranch.

So I found myself some recipes and scanned through them, picked the best from each and I'm offering you what I learned from my first time experience.

First, most recipes, if not all of them, tell you to cut the artichoke first and scrape out the unnecessary insides and then steam them. I know some might think it would be easier to slice into these things after it was steamed and I think it would be true. BUT...have you ever tried cutting into something and scraping out the insides while it was hot? I wouldn't attempt it. The best way to cut them open is from the stem to tip, then I advise to put them in water with squeezed lemons to prevent browning. I myself rubbed lemon over the cut part but found it still got a little brown.

After cutting them open, steam them to get them cooked through. It makes sense because it would take forever to just grill them straight from the cutting board.

While they're steaming get a small pot and melt down a little butter and some olive oil. Equal parts is best and then throw in some dried spices. I myself used dried onion and garlic powder both of those unsalted, some dried thyme, that generic bottle that says "Italian seasonings" and a little cayenne and pepper for a kick. Then I cooked it on low so I wouldn't burn the oil and butter and to help bloom the Flavors of the dried seasonings. Without letting the seasonings get warm and marry with the butter mix you won't get as much flavor.

Once you're done steaming the artichokes, place on cookie sheet and spoon the herbed butter over the front and back. Makes sure it gets in between the leaves so the Flavors get trapped. This step is crucial because this adds so much flavor you really don't need a dipping sauce at all. When you're done, place on a hot grill over medium heat and grill until you get those yummy char marks. Once you see it get toasty, remove from grill, let them cool off a little then enjoy!

I will defiantly be doing this again and will document for future reference! It was more work than usual but I enjoyed the challenge and I think the extra work is worth the extra effort.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Roasted Garlic Aioli

I'd like to interrupt these beauty reviews to bring you a post about....FOOD! Yes, you heard me right, there's no need to rub your eyes. I said I like dabbling and food definitely is one of the things I love dabbling in!

For the record, I'd like to say I'm not one who is big on recipes. I don't think I have ever followed a recipe word for word since I was young, maybe 12? And I think it was for rice. But I do follow formulas like for instance to make a white sauce you need 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of cornstartch, add salt and pepper to your taste and voila! You got a great base to make maybe a cheese sauce for your macaroni and cheese. With that base I treat it like a blank canvas for creating something even better. Think about it, underneath a Da Vinci is a blank piece of paper. Though my cooking may not be up to par with Da Vinci paintings or with any iron chef I still have my own point of view. I am not great but I have great ideas and like any chef I get the greatest pleasure from sharing the things I make. So with this in mind, I hope you find my take on garlic aioli an okay one.

First I did some research because before this I had never made an aioli or mayo of any sort in my entire life. Maybe it was my fear of failure that had stopped me or my fear of salmonella. Or both. Either way, I have become more open minded and have created a better outlook for myself. If I can't make it, then I at least learned something about myself.

I came upon a recipe from the food network and decided on the tips left behind in the reviews to modify it for my own use. But here's what you'll need

-Blender, food processor or emulsion (stick) blender. From what I gathered the emulsion blender is the best way to make it and after making it I'll believe it! Cleaning out the blender of every last drop was a pain. With the emulsion blender you can make it in a nice large bowl and easily get every drop.

-1 whole large pasteurized egg

-garlic, I roasted mine before on the grill with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme

-juice from half a lemon

-salt and pepper to taste

-for extra flavor I added some smoked paprika to the mix. I love the smokey depth it brings to the sauce.

- last but not least a half cup (4 oz) of olive oil. But reading some tips it's recommended to use half olive oil half vegetable oil. The vegetable oil is supposed to add a lighter texture to it.

For this recipe I used a blender so I'll give you what knowledge I gained by using this method. It is recommended to use a completely dry machine, any water could cause it to not stick together. Water is supposed to be your worst enemy.

To the blender add all ingredients EXCEPT the oil. I kept my oil in a glass measuring cup for an easy pour. Now I recommend putting the top on, but with the middle popped off so you may pour the oil into the mixture. Pour slowly and a little at a time. Do not just dump it in and hope for the best. This is where any patience you may have pays off. If you're a person who has very little patience (guilty as charged!) save what little you have for making your aioli. Keep pouring a little at a time until it is all inside your blender. You'll notice the mixture has gotten thick, if it's too thick add a little more lemon juice to your aioli and blend it some more. I had no more lemon because I made myself a cocktail with the last lemon I had so I substituted a little white vinegar and it was fine.

If you notice it has not thickened or has even separated, a quick fix I found via googling was to add an egg yolk to it, keep blending and it should come together. I prepared myself for this reality but was pleased I didn't have to use this newfound knowledge.

Now what to do with this beautiful creamy sauce? Well, you can dip some fries in it, serve it with a grilled steak, use instead of mayo on your sandwiches. What will I do with it? I'll be grilling up some artichokes tonight and dipping the delicious thing in it. If I remember to record it step by step I'll make a post on that tonight or tomorrow night.

Keep in mind the shelf life for this is 2 days so don't make too much at one time unless you're sure you'll eat it all.

So now that I gave you my experience with making aioli hopefully you gained some insight which will make you brave enough to try to do it on your own. Happy eating everyone!