Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Elf Picks - brushes and blushes

I have loved Elf brand for awhile now even though there have been a few misses I have found. Everything is pretty affordable and serves its purpose as an everyday wear. My top favorites that I could not live without would have to be the St. Lucia blush and bronzer duo and the smudge and eye shadow blending brushes. 

I have a nice set of Mac brushes and I really love applying my makeup with them but I cannot bring myself to buy multiple smudge brushes at almost $20 a pop. You can do it with a Qtip or a makeup sponge you can get in a cheapie pack from the drugstore. I say this is my favorite alternative. Dirt cheap brushes. These are only $1, a measly stinkin' dollar! I'd say much better than a Qtip or sponge because you can really reuse it over and over again. I have definitely gotten my monies worth over the past several months and can see these lasting me even more. Worst case scenario I see the metal part coming off and just hot glue gunning it back together. Or just buy a new one. 

I like using this for blending my eye shadows out and find this works just as great as any other I have tried. I think I even prefer this one to my Mac brushes. Shocker, right? This one is also a buck and has lasted me a good few months as well. Elf also has a studio line of brushes that start at $3 each but I find that the ones you get for $1 are much softer. If you prefer a stiffer blender then that one from the line would suit you better. I have one and since its black I use it to blend in a darker smokey eye and the white handled regular brushes for blending neutral/light eye shadow looks. 

The next one on my list is the Elf Contouring Blusher and Bronzer in St. Lucia. I have had this color combo in my makeup kit forever. I think I discovered it 4, maybe 5 years ago and haven't looked back. It has been rotating in my daily makeup routine and is just great for everyday use. 

You may have seen this in other blogger posts saying this is a good dupe for the Nars Orgasam Blush and Laguna Bronzer. I would say a yes and a no on that myself. 

The blush here is more of a pink peach with less golden undertones than Orgasam. Both of the colors look very natural on my complexion. A dupe? I think not but that's a post for another day!

As for the bronzer I think its as good of a dupe you're ever going to get of Laguna. Its a nice deep chocolaty brown with not too much shimmer. I find that when I swatched Laguna in store it was just waaayyyyy too dark and I would need a lighter hand to operate or I could look like I have leftover chocolate bar all over my face.  I really find it does a great job for dusting along my jawline for a bit of a slimming effect without looking like I tried too hard. 

The indoor lighting lighting is pretty harsh and the best way I could get the colors to show up was on my fingers like this. 

Since these are my favorites I decided to add them to the giveaway I have here on my blog located here at this post for all US residents over 18. 

Hopefully my makeup brush "tips" helped you out. You really don't have to but expensive brushes for blending but then again I am no professional makeup artist.I will never be one either but I think most of us out in the world can say the same but the common thread that binds us is that we just love makeup. hope to see you stick around!


Boots Extracts Body Butter Review

I have some more Boots Extracts brand products but this time its the body butters that are the star of this post. I tried the body scrub and reviewed it here in this post if you want to take a peek. What drove me to buy these is that I was carving more variety in my body butter department and didn't feel like splurging on The Body Shop ones even though I really do adore those. These body butters are mini sized and were about $3-$4 at Target. They do carry full size for $10 but much preferred to sample them before committing.  I fell in love with these at first sniff and decided to take home both the Brazil nut and almond scented ones. It smells as heavenly as the big brand version but had to wait till I take them home and see how they performed. 

I already do have a favorite out of the two scents and have fallen in love with the Brazil nut and I just find myself reaching for it more often than not. Just something about how buttery and nutty it smells just reels me in. The almond scent is an old familiar scent and has always reminded me of when we lived in Las Vegas when we were younger. Going to the casinos they always seemed to have the cherry almond scented hand soap in the bathroom and has always been my favorite. It reminds me of being a kid, eating buffet and watching the craptacular water/laser/animatronic wolf show at Sam's Town while eating a big scoop of coffee ice cream. 

As for the texture it's thick but not greasy at all but I wouldn't say its as thick as The Body Shop's body butter. I find I do have to use more product to get moisturized but I don't know if that's from me being so dry from the weather. My legs have been so dry and ashy you'd think I was kick knack on grandma's shelf. 

Overall I really do like these body butters and are perfect for anyone on a budget or is travelling. I like bringing drugstore brands with me in case I loose it or it gets destroyed somehow in transit to my destination. It's also great for a product to have on hand in your purse. I think I will hoard these containers once I deplete them and try my hand at making my own body butters for fun. 

So here's the breakdown

Pros: Budget friendly, comes in full size and travel size, moisturizing, not oily

Cons: Could be more moisturizing for dry winter skin. 

Have any of you tried these body butters and liked or disliked them? Are you slowly becoming a Boots brand fan like me? Know of any great tried and tested DIY body butter tutorials? Let me know what you think in the comments below. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boots Extracts Vanilla Body Scrub

I have been in possession of the Boots Extracts Vanilla Body Scrub for about a week now. I really love this beauty line, I really do. Everything I have tried so far has been of good quality and affordable and this is no exception. I had been lusting over this for awhile and decided it was time to try it and for only $10 it wasn't too bad of hit to my wallet.  

Vanilla is one of my favorite scents and is just so classic. There are different variations of the scent and I would describe the scent of this particular vanilla as a warm buttery scent but still kind of light and airy and not too overpowering. This body scrub almost reminds me of the warm vanilla sugar scent from Bath and Bodyworks. 

The tub is plastic which means it does get slippery in the shower and I honestly wish all body scrub came in a tube because there are tons of clumsy people out there like me. Maybe we can sign a petition or something to get the ball rolling? 

The scrub is very buttery with not too much grit to it. It's more of a gentle body scrub that can be used daily. I like that it feels like a body butter and in general it is super moisturizing. My skin felt super smooth and clean and I felt no residue was left behind. I guess I am really used to using oil based scrubs so I expected a heavy feeling on my skin afterwards but this didn't have that effect. 

Overall I really like this scrub and deserves a repurchase sometime in my near future. It is available at Target for $10 or you can try to win it in my giveaway I am hosting as a thank you to my readers. I will add it to my original post later tonight when I have time. There is still plenty of time to enter and don't forget to tell your friends about it! 

What Boots products have you tried and loved? Let me know in the comments below! 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Easy like Sunday Morning - Yogurt, strawberry and granola topped waffles

Doesn't that look good?????

Mmmmmm...there's nothing like making your own Sunday brunch at home. And nothing says brunch like a big heaping helping of strawberries on top of homemade Belgian waffles. The topping i made was inspired by the Strawberry Granola Pancakes at Gus's BBQ in Pasadena. I almost got them but decided on the chicken and waffles instead because who doesn't love chicken and waffles???

Be sure to slice them thinly so they create more of their own juices. 

I ended up doing a tablespoon or two of sugar, a drizzle of local honey and lemon zest since I didn't have any oranges around the house. Normally I would do orange zest and half of an oranges juice. 

Then I added a shot of St.Germaine elderflower liqueur. This stuff is my favorite. It really helps being out the floral notes of the honey. 

And so does a drizzle of vanilla extract. Please only use and buy the real stuff and not that immitation crap. Hands down it's the biggest favor you can do yourself. 

Belgian waffle recipes call for the eggs to be separated and the whites to be whisked until stiff. I order to get the whites nice and stiff the whites need to be at room temperature. I leave them in shot glasses on the counter while I prep the strawberries and batter. The Belgian waffle recipe I used wasn't what I liked in a waffle, I prefer mine a little crisper and no matter how long I left them in I couldn't crisp them up without the risk of them burning. If you like softer waffles you might like the one I used. 

I always doubley, tripley, quardrupely check which leavening agent my recipe needs no matter how sure I am I read it right the first time. I have made it with the wrong one and I am no spring chicken when it comes to baking. even the best of us get it wrong. This recipe needed baking powder. I got it right. I love those small victories in life. 

As I said before, make sure your egg whites are beaten STIFF. that peak over there stood up and did not fall at all. thats the way it should be. If yours fall you need to keep on going until you get it to this consistency. If you add it while its still runny the batter will stay runny. The beaten eggs add that light fluffy texture and also some OOPMH

FOLD the batter over the small amount of egg to the mix. Don't just dump it all in. adding it in slowly and carefully helps keep the structure of the fluffy egg. What ever you do don't violently stir the batter and hope for the best. If you're just going to beat the crap out of the batter you might as well just open a box of premade batter. Seriously though, be gentle and give it some tender love. 

After you're done mixing it all together, follow the instructions on your waffle maker and get crackin'! This was my very first time making waffles so it took me 2 strangely made waffles to get it all right. So yes, if you're a decent home chef you can easily make waffles at home with some practice. 

For toppings I wanted something that resembled healthy so I mixed a little bit of honey with some Greek yogurt to cut the sour taste a bit. I think this by itself is a great snack or breakfast item on its own. But for today I used it as a healthier alternative to whipped topping.

I also had some low fat and low sugar granola at the standby. Bear Naked Fit makes a good one that only has like 3 grams of sugar which is amazing because most contain as much as a can of coke. 

First comes yogurt...

...then comes granola...

...then comes strawberries...

...then some more yogurt to make it look pretty. I almost didn't eat it because I thought it was too pretty. 

And how can you not have brunch without a champagne cocktail??? I just added some of the strawberries I made to the bottom of a glass and topped with some of my favorite bubbly. If it starts overflowing with foam take a butter knife to the top and slice the foam that is over flowing. I made a mess trying to figure out how to do it. 

Cheers lovelies!!! this had to be one of my favorite brunch meals I have made at home in awhile. I really can't wait to try some different waffle recipes and topping combos. 

We ended up on the couch being lazy after eating just watching Ice dancing and some curling. I'm still trying to figure that sport out. I don't think I ever will but that's fine by me. 

We fell asleep and took a nap and afterwards we went to my favorite cafe in Little Tokyo, Cafe Demitasse and we got the special coffee and dessert pairing. it was a shot of espresso, a spoonful of peanut butter topped with a little bit of coffee grounds, cinnamon graham crackers and chocolate with toasted marshmallows.  I felt it needed some steamed milk on the side to help wash it all down. It felt like someone's hipster granny made me coffee and dessert. Afterwards we ended up exploring Little Tokyo some more, went to a wine bar and ended the night with some relaxing massages. Now that's what I call an easy going Sunday. Hopefully your weekend was a nice relaxing one as well. 

And let me know of your favorite waffle recipes, please. I'm desperate!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Beauty Find - Peripera My Color Lips

For some reason or another I really love finding these random stores that carry asain beauty brands. In fact my favorite moisturizer of all time came from a little store I stumbled upon in Little Tokyo. They will have some really good products at many different price points that are pretty unique in packaging and content. So when I stumbled upon a store with the front piled with asain brand cleansers and makeup at the mall I darted right in. 

I originally went to cleansers and toners and worked my way to the makeup section. Eventually I stumbled upon the Peripera brand because all the packaging was just so cute. Then these lipsticks really jumped out at me. It was just pink galore. I normally don't swoon over such girly packaging but for some reason these spoke to me. 

As you can see from the characters it's a Korean brand but I haven't been able to dig up much info on it at all. Just  a couple online sellers that didn't look too legit.  Bummer. I'll keep looking and digging though. 

So I can't read most of what's on the package but I can appreciate the pink metallic box in all it's sturdy glory.

I sent my bf a picture of my beauty find and he said it looked more like a feminine care product. I can see it now that he mentioned it. But I'll ignore that remark until some more people ask if it's a tampon or not. Ignorance is bliss I tell you. 

The bottom of the lipstick has the brand name printed on a cookie shaped pedestal. I just like how the branding isn't all over the place because I don't like feeling like I'm a walking billboard. 

This color rose pink is just lovely and even has a faint scent of roses to it. I like that it doesn't smell too strongly of roses only because I find it can feel like a "grandma" scent. 

I have other lipsticks this color and would say this is my go to color when trying out new brands. I feel picking something that at least looks flattering will make me like it a bit more. 

But what really got me to like this was that it's not super in your face glossy. Out of all the colors I swatched my eye kept being drawn to this shade no matter what. It just had that special quality that attracts me to lipsticks. I can't describe the feeling. Maybe it's a feeling of love at first sight but on a much smaller scale? When you know, you know. 

At $17 plus tax the price stung a little but then again I've bought some Mac lipsticks before so I shouldn't whine too much. Plus I haven't splurged on lipstick in awhile. I would say the staying power was nice for something not advertised as long lasting. It faded pretty evenly within a few hours and I don't even use a lip liner and apply straight from the tube as well. Most of my drugstore lipsticks don't even last that long on me so I feel my splurge was justified. 

I think the best points of this lipstick are: 
-the texture 
-staying power
-lightly scented 
-color looks  very "natural lip color but better" on me 
-feels very girly

The bad points is have to list are: 
-it's a little pricy 
-the tube is bulky
-the range features mostly pink colors, I'd personally like to see something plummy looking as an option
-not available everywhere and access to it seems very hard. 

Overall I really do love this lipstick and I'd repurchase this color in a heartbeat. I'm just super thankful I live in an area full of transplants from all parts of Asia so little stores can feature these beauty items here in the U.S. without me having to make a questionable online order. Overall I think the pink everything is just awesome for Valentines Day tomorrow and you can be sure I'll be wearing it all day. What do you think of this color? Does the case remind you of a tampon or is my BF being a jerk?