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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Light Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Since I've been talking about products so much in the last several posts, I decided to mix it up today and share a recipe I found recently. As you can see, it's a recipe for light chocolate chip cookies. There's hardly anything better than a classic chocolate chip cookie, but my boyfriend wanted us to try and find a recipe that called for egg whites so that's what we did! We also substituted the white sugar for Truvia to make them even "lighter" than the recipe called for. If you want to see the original recipe you can see it here on allrecipes.com.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cream the butter with the brown and white sugars. Stir in the vanilla, egg white, and water. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minutes on baking sheets before  transferring to wire racks to cool completely. 

The cookies generally take about 12 minutes for me and they come out perfectly. They are very soft, cake-like and spongey cookies and I have been loving warming them up and dunking them in a cold glass of milk- yum!

Before I started making these I'm pretty sure I had never made homemade chocolate chip cookies before! I will definitely continue to do it this way because I'm very impressed with this recipe and I don't feel quite as bad eating them ;)

If you guys make these, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Hydration Series Post 5: Hand and Body Hydration

Today I'm going to be wrapping up my Winter Hydration Series and talk about a couple of topics I have yet to cover which are moisturizers for your hands and body. I have a few products to tell you guys about so let's get started!
Hand and Body Hydration

First off, hydration for your hands. It's been pretty cold and snowy where I live and even though I wear gloves when I'm outside, my hands have been taking a beating. My favorite hand cream is the Mary Kay Satin Hands Fragrance-Free hand cream. The name "Satin Hands" fits this product perfectly because the cream has a really light texture and when you rub it into your skin, the product disappears and all that's left is silky hands. Obviously moisturizers sink into your skin and disappear but this one feels different because it's so light, it's like it just melts in and instantly soothes dry hands. I love that it's fragrance-free because I keep this in my nightstand and apply it every night before bed and I would not be able to sleep if it had a strong perfumey scent.

As far as body lotions go, I have two fairly inexpensive options that I really enjoy. The first one I'm going to talk about is the St Ives Naturally Indulgent Body Lotion in Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract. There is an entire range of this product targeted for different things and containing different scents, which I think is great because there's a lot of variety. I absolutely love that you get such a large container (21 fl oz | 621 mL) for under $5 and it's formulated without parabens and phthalates, is not tested on animals and does not contain animal ingredients. This particular scent that I have is a really pretty scent, if that makes sense and it's not overwhelming at all. The actual product has a slightly thicker texture than the hand cream I talked about previously and even the next product I'm going to talk about but is no where near the texture of say, a body butter. A little bit of this product will go a long way; I've had my bottle for a couple of years now and I still have probably half of it left. I'm really impressed with this body lotion because it does feel indulgent as the name says, it leaves my skin feeling very moisturized and you can't beat it for the price.

The last product I wanted to talk about is the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin. This lotion is slightly more expensive than the St. Ives, it costs around $12 for 12 fl oz (355 mL). This bottle says that this product is "Fragrance-free, lightweight, non-irritating," all of which I agree with. What I love most about it is the lightweight texture, like the hand cream. A lot of times when I think "thin" I also think "greasy" but this product is not greasy at all, it just melts into your skin and calms down irritated skin immediately. It's even a lotion that is accepted by the National Eczema Association, if that helps further prove it's merit for you.

So that wraps up my Winter Skin Hydration Series! I hope you guys have enjoyed my product recommendations and I hope they've been helpful!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Hydration Series Post 4: Hair Hydration

Hair Hydration
Images courtesy of Google.
I don't know about you guys, but my hair is dry year-round. I use heat tools on my hair all the time and I try to give it a break when I can but sometimes it needs a little help. There are many different products you can use to give your hair some extra moisture like leave-in-conditioning sprays (I love Aussie's) or deep conditioners (Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle and L'Oreal's new Damage Erasing Balm are both great) but I wanted to go a different route. Oils are so popular right now and the Macadamia Natural Oil brand in general so I'm going to share my thoughts on two of their products: the Healing Oil Treatment and the Nourishing Leave-In Cream.

The Healing Oil Treatment is good for all hair types but works specifically well with dry, damaged hair. Macadamia says the product is instantly absorbed and it infuses your hair with nutrients and moisture for frizz-free, shiny, healthy looking hair. Also, they say if you use it while your hair is wet, it reduces drying time up to 40-50%! My hair is definitely dry and damaged and what I like to do is after I've finished styling it, I'll put the smallest amount on my fingers and run them through my hair to make everything smooth, tame fly-aways and make it look like my hair looks really nice and it was effortless (which we all know it wasn't...).

I don't typically use the Oil Treatment when my hair is wet so I can't say if I think it reduces drying time, although I will say that I never did notice it the couple of times I did that back in the day. What I really love about this product is that sometimes my second day hair can look a little messy and stringy, but I take a little of the oil and run it through and it makes it look rejuvenated and fresh. Because you will only need a tiny amount when you apply it, if you've never tried this before I would recommend you go with the 1 fl.oz. size to try it out. I've had mine for over a year and I have a good amount left. I think next time I purchase this product, though, I will go for the one that's a spray because I really don't like pouring the product into my hands, so that's something to consider as well.

First thing about the Nourishing Leave-In Cream is that is smells so good! I can't really explain the smell except that to me, it's not too strong and it's pleasant. This product is a conditioning texture cream that is infused with oils to moisturize, tame and add softness and shine to your hair. Part of the reason I love applying it so much is because I love the smell, but I notice a big difference in the texture of my hair when I use it; my hair is really soft and smooth and my ends feel hydrated, not dry and brittle.

From what I've tried, I think Macadamia Natural Oil has a great line of products. I am more impressed with some than others, and even though they are more expensive than your typical drugstore products, these two particular products are ones that you won't need to use everyday and even small sizes will last you a long time so I really recommend you try them out!

Healing Oil Treatment: Link!
Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner: Link!

Let me know your thoughts on this brand, these products or how you hydrate your hair! :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winter Hydration Series Post 3: Origins GinZing Face & Eye Moisturizers

To continue my Winter Skin Series I'm going to be talking about face and eye moisturization! The products I've been using are the Origins GinZing Energy-boosting moisturizer and the Refreshing Eye Cream and Brightener.

 As you can see, the face moisturizer is just your typical white cream. What I love about it, though, is that it has a really light texture and blends into your skin so smoothly. Origins says: "This lightweight, oil-free, skin energy drink, fortified with legendary skin-boosters like Panax Ginseng and Coffee Bean, jumpstarts hydration levels. Lackluster-looking skin is rapidly refreshed and revitalized to create a healthy, vibrant glow." I really couldn't say it better; it really does feel like an energy drink for your skin and it smells like oranges, which really does add a little boost to your morning routine. My skin has been really dry this season and this does sink into my skin well and feels moisturized.

 The downside of the face moisturizer is that there is no SPF. I've been using it as my morning moisturizer until I use up my nighttime moisturizer, but I'm going to start using it solely at night soon. Since it does have the "energy boosting" factor, it seems like a better morning product, but I still really enjoy it!

The Eye Cream is supposed to visibly diminish dark circles, bags and puffiness around the eyes. This product contains Panax Ginseng and Magnolia Extract, which are supposed to "instantly make tired eyes look alive."As you can see, it has a pinky/pearly color to it and when it's blended out it provides a really nice glow.

Alone, I don't find it to be moisturizing enough, so I always moisturize the area beforehand, but I love the glow it gives under the eyes. It definitely does make you look awake and bright-eyed, but you will still need to use a concealer to completely cover dark circles. This product is great for providing a "glow from within" look when you're tired and there is no glow coming from anywhere! :)

Overall, I have been loving these products and I would completely recommend both of them. Another great thing about them is that they are formulated without parabens, mineral oil and many other unhealthy ingredients.
These aren't the first Origins products that I've used and I'm always so impressed with them. Have you guys tried these or any other products by Origins?

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge Post 2: Skincare Routine

The 2nd Blogger Challenge fit in pretty well with my Hydration Series I'm doing! I'm going to tell you guys the steps I go through for my skin in the mornings and at night and give you a peek at a couple of products I'm going to be featuring soon!

Every morning I start off with the Clearasil Oil Free Daily Gel Wash. It has 2% salicylic acid and it isn't life changing or anything, but I like it because it gets my face really clean.

As far as moisturizer, I've been using the Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer, but when my nighttime moisturizer is empty I'll be going back to my Trader Joe's Moisturizer that I talked about in my last post. I just really wanted to start using the Origins one when I got it for Christmas so I used it in the morning and it'll become my nighttime moisturizer here in a few days because it doesn't have any SPF. Read my last post for my thoughts on the Trader Joe's Moisturizer and stay tuned for my review of the Origins GinZing!

At night I remove all of my makeup and in the shower I use the Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser for Sensitive Skin with my Clarisonic. I like that it's a gentle formula so it just cleanses your skin and it does a really good job at it.

I completely forgot to include it in the picture, probably because I'm lazy about it, but when I get out of the shower I put Witch Hazel on a cotton pad and use it as a toner on my face. I like that it's natural and it's great for healing which means it's great for breakouts.

To moisturize at night I've been using the Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer, which I reviewed here. It's pretty thick and it does moisturize well, but I haven't noticed anything in the way of radiance.

Since I started using the Clarisonic my skin has broken out in some areas and I've been using my holy grail Proactiv Refining Mask that contains sulfur for spot treatment. This stuff is like magic and I love it!

I've been moisturizing a lot more this winter because my skin has dried out so much more than it ever has! I've been pretty impressed with these products because they have been cleansing and moisturizing really well!

Have you guys used any of these products? What are your favorites in your skincare routine?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter Hydration Series Post 2: Olay vs. Trader Joe's Moisturizers

Olay vs. Trader Joe's Moisturizers
Images courtesy of Google.

Have you guys seen the "Epic Rap Battles of History" on YouTube? Some of them are pretty hilarious and when I was planning this post I couldn't help myself, hehe ;)

This is the second post in my Winter Skin Hydration Series and as you can see, it's a comparison of the Olay Complete Facial Moisturizer and the Trader Joe's Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion.

Several months ago, I was in Trader Joe's buying Pumpkin Spice (it's the cheapest place I could find it believe it or not!) and I found this moisturizer on the same aisle (again, believe it or not, haha). I thought it looked really similar and had the same claims to the Olay Complete Moisturizer that I've used for years so I brought it home to try it out.

From a packaging standpoint, they are the same size, although you can buy the Olay in larger than 4 oz, but the bottles are about the same size and shape. I do prefer the Trader Joe's because you don't have to unscrew the entire cap to squeeze out the product, it has the top that when you press down on one side it pops the top making it quick and easy. The actual products look the exact same as well, just a plain white moisturizer.

They both have UVA/UVB protection and an SPF of 15.
Both are fragrance free (besides the smell of the sunscreen) and PABA free and claim to be non comedogenic.
Trader Joe's is enriched with Vitamins A, C & E. Olay has Vitamin E and Aloe.
Trader Joe's is Cruelty Free and the Olay bottle says nothing about that. (Olay is made by P & G if you want to research their practices for yourself.)

I always found that the Olay took several minutes to fully sink in enough to where I could start applying my makeup and the Trader Joe's takes much less time. I also haven't had a problem with breakouts using either product. The Trader Joe's Moisturizer costed me $3.99 and although it is on sale at several places online right now, the Olay Moisturizer will cost you at least $6.00 and I would regularly pay around $8.00.

Overall, they both moisturize my face really well. They sink in nicely and don't feel sticky or tacky at all. I like that Olay has a long reputation for being a good product, but I think I'll stick to my Trader Joe's Moisturizer for a while. It has all of the same benefits as the Olay and I prefer the packaging and the price.

Have you guys tried either of these? Let me know what you think of them if you have!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Hydration Series Post 1: Lip Hydration

Today I wanted to kick off a Winter Skin Hydration Series because it has been such a cold winter so far! I generally have pretty oily skin, but honestly, even before winter started, my skin has been SO dry. I thought I'd do a series of products that I use to hydrate my face, hands, hair, etc, so the next 5ish posts will be on this topic!

The first thing I want to talk about is lips. My lips are chronically dry. A couple of summers ago my lips were cracking and bleeding out of no where. I have no idea what caused it but they have never been the same since. The lip balms that I typically used were Carmex and Burt's Bees but suddenly nothing was soothing my incredibly sore lips. I had to stop wearing lipstick and lipgloss because everything was just emphasizing the dry patches and cracks and that's not pretty! I didn't know what to do about it but I had to figure out something because my lips were in such bad condition. 

So what did I do? I turned to the Internet, of course! I read a lot of stories from other people with the same problems as me and so many people suggested something I had never heard of: Lanolin.

Photo courtesy of Google.

This is what I buy now and what I completely rely on. It's called Lansinoh HPA Lanolin and it is a little awkward because this specific product is marketed towards nursing mothers but you gotta do what you gotta do! I read that it's safe for you to use on your lips because you will inevitably ingest some of it and even the box says it's safe for babies if their moms use it. If you've never heard of it before, or you have and don't know much about it like I didn't, lanolin is a wax that comes from animals with wool, typically sheep. There are many uses for lanolin, in the skin care/cosmetic world as well as many other areas. If you have a little extra, you can rub it into your elbows, cuticles, etc and it'll work in those areas just as well. What I like about it is that it's completely natural, unlike most of what we use, so it's not full of a bunch of crazy chemicals you can't pronounce. The product itself is just a thick, clear balm and has no scent- very basic.

 This is the absolute only thing that would moisturize my lips that summer and even still, I don't use any other lip product to moisturize my lips as often as I use this. Every once in a while I'll use the Sweet Mint eos lip balm, and that's pretty nice and I would recommend it, but I haven't found any product that is as moisturizing as this. I buy this product usually from Walmart, but you could probably also find it at most drugstores. It's under $10 and the tube will last you for months!

Other lips products that I know of with lanolin as an ingredient are Lanolips and the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, neither of which I've tried but I've heard great things about both.

If you are experiencing dry, sore lips, I would highly recommend you try lanolin or a product that contains it because it literally saved my lips. Let me know if you guys have tried any of these products or what you use to moisturize your lips!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Vintage Glamour Girl

Something you guys probably don't know about me, unless you know me personally, is how important it is to me to use ethically sourced diamonds. When I was in school I did several essays, a short informational film and a speech about the immorality of using conflict diamonds so when Brilliant Earth, a company that specializes in ethically sourced diamonds and engagement rings, reached out to me and asked me to participate in their weekly Personality Style Challenge I knew I had to say yes. It also didn't hurt that I LOVE looking at pages and pages of beautiful rings...;)

Vintage Glamour Girl

Milly dress, $1,045 / Rihanna For River Island black sandals / L K Bennett clutch, $255 / Glitter jewelry / Engagement wedding ring / NARS Cosmetics red lipstick

I chose to combine two personality types and make a new one which I called a "Vintage Glamour Girl" because these are the two that I'm most drawn to! When I saw the dress I knew it had to be a part of this. To me, it's a more modern take on a flapper dress and I loved how the earrings are long and flirty and mimicked the wispy aspect of the bottom of the dress. I love heels with the thin strap across the top so when I saw these and saw that they were velvet I knew they were in! The ring and the clutch were no-brainers; they are glitzy and sparkly, perfect for a glamour girl! And to finish off the look, how perfect and perfectly named is this NARS lipstick in the Cinematic collection called, "Future Red?"

Let me know which piece is your favorite from this outfit! 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seeing Spots: My Recent Polka Dot Obsession

Seeing Spots

Has anybody else become obsessed with polka dots like I have? They're everywhere right now! It's such a fun print, but simple at the same time, and that's exactly what I like. My two favorites are the polka dot tights, which I don't own but really want a pair of and, well, anything that has metallic polka dots because there's nothing wrong with a little extra shine! Also, you guys have probably seen that Sugar Paper has a line at Target right now, which is where that seriously adorable calendar is from....when I saw the endcap with the line I was in awe. Is that sad? ;)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Multi-Purpose Eyeliner Trick

I would have to say that out of my entire makeup routine, applying eyeliner is my least favorite thing on the list. I guess it's because I haven't "mastered" it yet, but I just find it so fussy and getting it right sometimes takes me a short while. As a result, some days I decide to skip eyeliner.

I have a couple of problems, though (of course I do or else this wouldn't be a post!) My first problem is that I like the definition that eyeliner gives me. When I skip eyeliner, most of the time I feel incomplete and like I don't look quite right. And my second problem is that my eyes turn down slightly on the ends. I find that when I don't apply liner at all, it accentuates the shape and I want to draw someone else's eyes up, not down. I wish I had eyes that turn up, like a cat shape, but they just don't so we're moving on! 

It is for these reasons (time, definition and shape) that I call this a multi-purpose eyeliner trick.

Are you ready for it? All I do, instead of skipping eyeliner altogether, is draw a little flick or wing on the outside of my eyes. It isn't exactly revolutionary, but it makes a difference. This a) doesn't take as long as lining the entire eye, b) gives you a hint of definition so you don't feel as though you look sick and c) if you have eyes that turn down like mine, it gives them a little lift so that when people scan across your eyes and get to the ends, their eyes are drawn up by the flick instead of down by your eye's natural shape.

I didn't do a before and after, but hopefully you guys can see the natural shape of my eyes and what this trick causes your eyes to do when you look at mine.

Even if you don't have an eye shape like mine, I think this is so useful because it's quick and it provides a little bit of interest to the eyes without putting in a lot of effort.

I hope this was helpful! Let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge Post 1

Post #1 of the 2014 Blogger Challenge is New Years Inspiration and asks us to share a quote or a picture that inspires us. I was very excited when I read the first challenge because the transition into a new year has never meant as much to me as it means this year. As I said in a previous post, I did have a good 2013 and had several great things happen like my trip to Ireland over spring break and my college graduation. I don't want to sound like I'm whining because I'm very grateful to be in the situation I'm in and have people around me that are so supportive but a lot of 2013 was full of post-college job search disappointments. If you're currently looking for a full time job, you'll probably understand, and that's why I want to be honest with you guys, because we can help inspire each other. Even if you're not in a similar situation, I hope these quotes inspire you this year to meet whatever goals you've set for yourself!

Image Courtesy of Google
I'm not positive, but I believe I got this from someone else's Blogger Challenge post and it really struck me. As you can probably guess from my intro, the right opportunity hasn't knocked for me yet so I'm building a door and considering other options until the time comes. Creating this blog was part of me building a door for myself.  It's a place where I can do what I want, when I want and the way I want to and no one can tell me it's wrong. I've really enjoyed having a little "escape" from other things in life and be able to talk about fun things with people that share the same interests. I have another fun project that I've been considering and planning for so hopefully it'll actually happen and I'll be able to share it with you guys!

Image Courtesy of Google
The second inspirational quote I want to share is very simple. I know that no matter how much sadness, disappointment or heartache we may feel, the only way from here is up and there is always something amazing on the horizon.

I don't generally write very personal posts so it makes me feel a little self-conscious, I'm not gonna lie, but hopefully it's inspired you guys and I hope you've had a great start to the new year!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Foundation Review

Hopefully you guys don't mind the Christmas decor in the background of this photo, I took it at the end of December and am just now putting it up! Anywho, I was in need of a new foundation and I generally just go for drugstore foundations because I feel like I use them up too fast to buy expensive ones. I was dreading having to pick one out, though, because there has just been nothing that I've wanted to try and usually when that happens I go to my backup choice which is Revlon Colorstay. However, last time I bought Colorstay I didn't like it because it made my skin look super dry and cakey and I had never experienced that with that foundation before.

All that being said, when I went shopping I knew I was going to have to roll my sleeves up and prepare to hunt around for my new bottle of foundation.

What I ended up deciding on was the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Radiant Firming Makeup. I got mine in shade 150, which I'll talk about later. Right away, I can tell you guys that I loved this foundation. I had a feeling that getting an anti-aging formula would make my skin look healthy and glowy, and that's what I wanted after not being pleased with the last foundation I tried (Maybelline Fit Me). I was completely right, it looks so radiant on the skin, just like the bottle says and it has such a great finish that looks like skin. 

As far as firming goes, I can't say that I noticed that, although I'm probably not the best candidate for that aspect of it seeing as I'm only 23. I did find, though, that it lasted really well throughout the day, which is important to me because I have oily skin.

Unfortunately, I don't have this foundation anymore, and I'll tell you why. I do my makeup in front of a window, so I have natural light coming in, but one day I looked at myself in the mirror in my car and I noticed that this foundation was way too dark for my skin. I got the shade 150 Classic Ivory in this foundation because it was the lightest one offered in the store. When I looked it up online on the Maybelline website I found that they do make it in an even lighter shade, 120 Creamy Ivory, however I have yet to find that in a store. And it's not even that they're sold out in stores, there is never even a slot for this shade.

When I went to return it, my intentions were to get the same foundation in the light shade, but as I explained before I can't find that shade so I ended up having to go with something else.  I was pretty disappointed that I fell in love with this product and I can't use it anymore because it had holy grail potential! This was my first time trying a foundation with an anti-aging formula and I think I'll be trying another one in the near future because of the results with this one. If you aren't fair like I am, I would highly suggest you try out this foundation because overall, I was super impressed! 

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