October 30, 2015

Perfect Clean Eating Pumpkin Muffins


My dear neighbor and good friend just gave me this beautiful jar of homemade apple purée. It's literally just Fuji apples, puréed into the smoothest, silkiest dream of a "sauce". Other than spooning it directly into my face, I decided I wanted to find a healthy (preferably clean) recipe for pumpkin muffins so that I would have another vessel to slather it on and inhale. I stumbled on this recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen which is adapted from a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. I made just a couple modifications to make the recipe 100% clean...and may I just say...the muffins are PERFECT. I'll never need to look for another pumpkin muffin recipe because I've found it!! No refined sugar, no refined flour, no dairy! It does call for eggs, so if you are egg free, you may want to look into making a "chia egg". Although I have not used a chia egg in this recipe so I cannot guarantee the results. I used Farmer's Market Foods organic canned pumpkin which my local grocery store carries, but you can use good old Libby's OR if you want to up the flavor quotient about a billion percent, use fresh pumpkin purée. It's super easy to roast whole sugar pumpkins if you have a little extra time. I, however, have a toddler and a 16 week old baby, so making these damn muffins from scratch is as "Martha-esque" as it's going to get for right now. 


Now, in the spirit of keeping things a bit on the light side, I didn't make any frosting for these. Remember I was slappin' on that Fuji applesauce?! But if you wanted to make these downright sinful, I suggest a yummy cream cheese frosting. There are all sorts of clean recipes if you hop onto Google, but his is the one I typically use if I have to have cream cheese frosting when I'm also trying to be mindful of my sugar and fat intake: 

Clean Eating Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened (I like the Trader Joe's Organic Light Whipped Cream Cheese)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup local fair trade honey

Clean Eating Pumpkin Muffins
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur brand)
  • 1 1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar (I used Simply Balanced brand from Target)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil (I use Nutiva and buy from Costco)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place 12 paper liners into each well of your standard size muffin baking pan.
  2. Measure out the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Do not over mix, just stir until everything is incorporated into the batter.
  5. It is helpful to use a large scoop (like an ice cream scoop) to evenly distribute the batter into each well. They will be nearly full. This will help give your muffins a nice puffy dome.
  6. Bake your muffins for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Enjoy!
October 11, 2015

New! Wet n Wild Fergie Velvet Matte Lip Pencils Review


Oy. Where do I start. I was SOOOO excited when I saw these at Walgreens the other night! I thought to myself....could these possibly be little cheapo dupes for my beloved NARS Velvet Mattes?! (For the record, my favorite NARS Velvet Matte shade is "Red Square".) Obviously they weren't going to be as amazing quality and pigment-wise, but I thought they might be an affordable alternative to the NARS version if anyone was curious about trying out the velvet matte lip trend. The crazy thing is, wet n wild has some of the most incredible matte lipsticks I have ever found at the drugstore. They're called MegaLast Lipsticks. Great pigment, long wearing, truly matte finish, not too drying (hey, it's cheap lipstick, what can we really expect here?!) They are so so so good and there are a TON of colors! My faves are Cherry Bomb, Spiked with Rum, Purty Persimmon, In the Flesh, and 24 Carrot Gold. For under $3 a pop, you can swoop up as many as your heart desires. Here's a shade chart for the wet n wild Mega Last Lip Colors in case you're interested.

Okay, I got a bit off topic since we're not talking about their fantastic matte lipsticks. We're talking about their new matte lip pencils. Here's where the daydream turns into a nightmare. THEY ARE NOT DUPES for NARS. These poor, sad little excuses for matte lip pencils are just disappointing. Not only is the pigment nonexistent, but they aren't even a true matte finish! They are more of a satin finish. I had to apply about 397 coats to get the color to appear, and then I had to blot with tissue to get them to appear matte...and then it took about 40% of the pigment with it. Ugh. If you're looking for a pretty good drugstore velvet matte lip pencil, go with the Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm sticks. So much better than these little pieces of shit. I'll show you swatches of the 4 I bought below. Hang onto your seats, ladies and germs. Things are about to get u-g-l-y.


Here are the 4 I purchased. These were the shades I thought I would wear the most out of the 9-shade options. A warm orange, a deep berry, a good neutral pink and a brick shade perfect for Fall. They look so promising, right??

Here are the shade names of the 4 I nabbed.


I mean....in what world do these qualify as matte?! Look at the sheen! And look at the swatches in comparison to the packaging colors! They couldn't be further from accurate! It's not that the shades are terrible, they're not. But they are not at all indicative of what's on the outside packaging. Not only that, but when I opened 2 of the 4, they were BROKEN! The colored pencil part came flying out at me when I removed the cap! And it's not even like I was pulling the cap off like a savage! If wet n wild did a better job at getting the outside packaging colors to reflect what is really inside, AND if they marketed these accurately as what they really are, which is a satin-finish, almost sheer lip crayon, then I might be writing a totally different review.

So, to sum things up: if you want an affordable matte lip pencil, go with the Revlon ones (make sure you're not grabbing the glossy ones, they have glossy finish and matte finish available). Unfortunately there aren't a ton of shades, but you should be able to find at least one in their range that fits the bill. Other wise, if you have the pennies to get the real deal, pick up the NARS version. They are worth the money in my very humble opinion. Sometimes you just have to 'treat yo self'!




October 9, 2015

Weleda Skin Care


I am in love with a lot of things, product-wise. But for every amazing product out there, there are 5 that I've tried and hated. Until recently, I was in the camp of "skincare not being effective unless it was loaded with chemicals". Chemicals = results was always my train of thought. Well....no more! Don't get me wrong, I am a BIG FAN of things like glycolic and alpha hydroxy acids, but I see those more as natural alternatives to lasers and botox when used before things start getting too cray. I am an advocate for taking care of your skin BEFORE the damage sets in. Yes, some things are inevitable...I'm looking at YOU, Father Time! But things like sun damage, not removing your makeup before bed (one of my top 3 pet peeves right up there with baby-talking and PDA), staying out too late and drinking your meals, smoking, and things of the like WILL take a toll on your skin. Maybe not right now, but trust me, you'll remember my words when you're staring back at a leather-like reflection in your bathroom mirror. It's a miracle I made it out of my early twenties with decent skin, because I'm not going to lie, I was an offender of multiple aforementioned skincare crimes. Remind me to write genetics a thank-you card later.

But I digress. Back to the products. Recently I started using a few notable products from the Weleda line. I remembered seeing this line when I was researching baby bath products for my first son (once the second kid came, we just started using whatever was closest #secondchildproblems). I really liked what this company is about. Sustainable products, Biodynamic farming methods, developing Fair Trade partnerships, creating meaningful products that are gentle yet effective. I think the older I get, the more attention I put into what's going on my skin. If I can get results without pumping myself full of chemicals, well then, sign me up.

Here's what I've been loving lately.


Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Oil. I've always known that almond oil is gentle and hypoallergenic, but I didn't know until recently that regular use of the oil can protect your skin from oxidative stress and UV radiation damage! I've been cleansing my skin as usual, then after I pat dry, I've been rubbing a few drops of this into my face and neck. It absorbs so quickly and doesn't leave that greasy feel we so often associate with oils. I'm convinced this Weleda almond oil is responsible for clearing up the 3 dry, red, rough patches that have been plaguing me lately that I haven't been able to get rid of. If you have hyper sensitive skin, try this either on its own or right before your moisturizer!



I'm allllllways game to try new night creams. This Iris Hydrating Night Cream is so lovely! The scent is very mild calendula, which is like a much less obnoxious lavender (even though I love lavender). This moisturizer calms minor inflammation and calms irritation. Perfect for my touchy skin. I kid you not, when I wake up after using this, my skin is almost glowing! 


Skin Food!!! OMG. This is going to be one of those products I start telling all my girlfriends and family members about. Apparently it has a cult following and I can see why. I've been using it as a hand, elbow, knee moisturizer and it has completely destroyed all my rough patches. I am constantly crawling around on my knees with my sons playing trucks, changing diapers, acting like zoo animals, etc. So my knees and knuckles have started developing these scaly, rough patches that will not leave!! Hashtag: boy mom life. Skin Food, after only 3 or four uses, has totally gotten rid of them. This stuff has a thick layer of oil over it when you take the cap off the first time (don't worry, it's only there for the initial use) and it has some "slip" to it, meaning it's not one of those moisturizers that sinks in right away, but I love that. I just wouldn't apply it then go race car driving....your hands are going to be slick for about 5 minutes. Everyone in my family is getting a tube of this in their Christmas gifts this year. Even the guys. Especially the guys. Giddy up!

Weleda can be found at Target and Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Drugstore.com and Whole Foods. 

There are a TON of products in this line. So as soon as I find any others that blow my skirt up, I'll let y'all know! 
October 5, 2015

{Product Review} Close Up Instant Wrinkle Reducer & Treatment


What better time than right off the bat to tell you that when I first received Christie Brinkley's Close Up Instant Wrinkle Reducer, I was using it wrong. Hehehe. I was like "huh...this stuff isn't bad....but it's not great either..."

And THEN I decided to play around with it a bit and it made alllllllll the difference. What I was doing before was using this as a wrinkle treatment, kind of like an eye treatment. I noticed immediately that it did tighten and smooth the area, but it didn't feel like it was treating my skin like a serum or moisturizer would. I also applied it to my forehead between my brows and slightly "patted in" above that area. 

Here's where I had my "aha!" moment: when I woke up the next morning after applying this to my clean face, my skin was taut but not tight (that's a good thing) and it was totally matte where it's usually super oily. I couldn't believe it! I though to myself, if this product can keep my skin matte and smooth overnight, when my skin is usually sloughing off old skin, getting greasy and generally just "doin' it's thang", then it would work beautifully as a makeup primer/mattifier! And guess what....I was right! This stuff totally rocks when applied as a primer before you apply your foundation! Whenever I have tried mattifying primers, they usually ball up on my skin (you know those tiny little "rolls" of product that appear when you're trying to smooth your foundation on) this did nothing of the sort. After cleansing my face and applying moisturizer as I normally do, I applied it on and around my nose, around my eye area, on my smile lines, and my inner cheek area where my pores are really enlarged. The really cool thing about this product is that it doesn't break down with moisturizer like a lot of wrinkle treatments do. You can apply it under or over your moisturizer. I then applied my foundation using a dampened Beauty Blender sponge. The results were so pretty! I like that I can't feel this on my skin like I can with a standard primer. It's incredibly lightweight. I think of it more as an instant fix to pores and wrinkles (which DUH is kind of in the description, I just had my own preconceived ideas of what this stuff does). Here's what I should have read before using it:

Benefits:
  • Immediate sensation of tighter and smoother-looking skin.
  • Potent formula maximizes anti-wrinkle effects.
  • Smooth under-eye bags and puffiness.
  • Tightens skin on contact and takes years off appearance.
  • Lasts for hours and can be reapplied throughout the day.
  • Will wash off easily with water and no make-up remover required.
  • Breakthrough discovery that tightens skin on contact to take years off appearance. 
Here's a nice before/after shot of my pasty, pale hand using natural sunlight. I used my hand for a couple reasons: 1) it's a larger surface area than my under eye area so you can see the detail better and 2) I don't have severe wrinkles under my eyes (yet) and my hands are dry, crackly, and full of divots and follicles in need of smoothing. This was literally 30 seconds after applying the Close Up Instant Wrinkle Reducer so you can see how quickly this smooths and perfects the skin. Pay close attention to that skin up by the knuckles and fingers!


Here's the downside: it's spendy. One small tube is $80. Yes, a little bit goes a long way. Truly. But I wouldn't use this every single day as my primer. I'll be saving it for special occasions when I know I'll be being photographed a lot or for my tutorials when I need my skin to look really flawless. This would be a great little luxury item to keep in your beauty arsenal when you want to look 100% FLAWLESS for a special event. I see myself using this on every single bride I do makeup for. It really is an instant perfector!
 
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