Makeup

Over matte liquid lips?…

Has a matte liquid lip seen the last of its days? Or is it still a popular choice? If you look at the popular products that have come out in the last few months, it’s all matte liquid lips. But to my surprise lip gloss seems to be on the rise.

Gloss has never been one of my favorite lip products. I find it sticky, tacky, patchy–all the things you don’t want a lip product to be. I am sure that at least a few of you have worn gloss on a breezy day and ended up with your hair stuck to your lips. Not a good look.

I have gone a bit more dew-y with my skin for the summer months and didn’t feel that my matte lip products were the right fit for a dewier look. So, after seeing a few reviews of the CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss I decided to give them a go. I purchased the colors 630: Give me Guava and 680: Sweet Strawberry. The copy from the CoverGirl website describes this gloss as “dripping with shine, ripe with color. Get lustrous, vibrant shine and rich true-to-tube color without all of that stickiness. Our conditioning formula moisturizes, leaving your lips feeling soft and silky and weightless.

Give me Guava (Photo credit: CoverGirl)
Sweet Strawberry (Photo credit: CoverGirl)

Both glosses are lovely. They feel very hydrating and moisturizing with no tacky feel. They go on very sheer, but the color can be built up with out feeling too sticky. They aren’t super long lasting, which, let’s be honest, no gloss is. I really like them and find myself reaching for them when I need a bit of color or shine. I find that I like them on their own, but have also used them as a topper to other lipsticks. The Give me Guava has beautiful gold/pink sparkle to it which catches the light in a gorgeous way. For a drug store, cruelty-free lip gloss (that is under $10) I would highly recommend picking up at least one shade to try!

*all products mentioned were purchased by me.

Makeup

Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation…

I know there is a lot of controversy out there regarding Wet n Wild…is it, or isn’t it, cruelty-free. Well, I bought this foundation to test out prior to all of the hoopla and I couldn’t just through it away. You know the old adage: waste not, want not.

my actual product

I have been using the Photofocus foundation for over a month now. I can honestly say that it is not my favorite. I have tried it with and without a primer, with a makeup sponge, and with a brush. It is a very watery formula, which I am not super crazy about. It has light coverage, but is build-able to about a medium coverage without looking cakey. This would be a great foundation for beginners or someone with flawless skin.

Stock photo from Ulta (shows the applicator)

For me, this just doesn’t work for a whole slew of reasons. One: the applicator. It comes with a plastic spatula to dispense the product. I find this to be messy, unhygienic, and all around ineffective. I would have much rather had a pump dispenser…especially since the formulation is so running. Which leads me to two: the running formulation. It felt like putting tinted water on my face. I like something with a more cream texture. Lastly: the longevity. I personally didn’t feel like this lasted on my face for the entire day. It would separate on my nose and leave it looking patchy. To be fair, I have the habit of touching my face…leaning my chin in my hand…so the foundation didn’t stay on my face. I even tried using a setting powder to see if this would help the separating, but it didn’t.

All-in-all, it isn’t a terrible foundation especially for the price (around $7). It comes in 20 shades, but leans heavily to the fair to medium skin tones. Like I said above, it would be great for beginners, people with flawless skin, or people who don’t want to spend a fortune on foundation. For me, it just didn’t give me the look and feel that I want.

Recipes

Our favorite pulled chicken recipe…

We received an instant pot for our wedding (thanks Marnie and Eric!) and it is one of our most used kitchen tools. If you don’t have one…stop reading and go out and get one now! We use it at least once a week–mostly for rice, but we love this pulled chicken recipe. We probably make this rice for lettuce wraps twice a month. They are delicious and super quick to make. Adapted from a recipe on domesticsuperhero.com.

Ingredients:
* 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast*
* 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
* 1/2 cup honey**
* 3 TBS rice wine vinegar
* 2 TBS minced garlic
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 tsp sesame oil
* 1 tsp onion powder
* 1 TBS sriracha hot chili sauce (or less if you don’t like spicy)
* 1 TBS cornstarch
* 4 stalks green onions, chopped (for serving)
* Lettuce leaves for wraps (or buns to make a pulled chicken sandwich)

* I have used thighs before and didn’t care for the taste.
** The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of honey, but I found that it thickens to a better consistency with a bit more honey.

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients except for cornstarch to the Instant Pot. (You can mix the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic, water, sesame oil, onion powder, and sriracha in a separate bowl and pour onto the chicken in the pot…I find this extra step–and extra dish–unnecessary, but do what you feel comfortable with).
  2. Seal the Instant Pot lid, select ‘Manual’ and adjust time to 10 minutes.
  3. When cooking time is up, allow 10 minutes for the IP to ‘natural release’ the pressure. After 10 mins, release remaining pressure.
  4. Carefully open pot and remove chicken.*
  5. Leaving the sauce in the pot, shred chicken with two forks
  6. Turn IP to ‘Saute’ mode and bring liquid to a boil.
  7. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbs water with the cornstarch and add mixture to sauce in IP. Let cook for a minute to thicken.
  8. Return shredded chicken to the IP and stir to coat. Turn pot off.
  9. Serve chicken in lettuce wrap (or bun) and top with green onions.

    * I have made this by leaving the chicken in the sauce and shredding it (again, just pure laziness). I haven’t noticed a difference in the end result.
Life

The state of our planet…

Since as early as I can remember, recycling has been a key component to garbage day. Taking the extra effort to separate recyclables into paper, plastic, and cans was incredibly important. We were all saving the plant, one plastic bottle at a time. As of late, even doing that isn’t good enough. All plastic is bad, even if it can be recycled because…come to find out…91% of our “recycled” plastic isn’t actually recycled. How appalling! 91%! How have we not found out about this sooner? I have also read on the interwebs (this article and this one) that USA sells (for decades) the majority of our plastic waste to other countries, China and Indonesia to name a few, and even they don’t want our ridiculous amounts of plastic anymore. Some of this waste is getting recycled into new products, but the majority is being dumped into their landfills. This can no longer be “out of sight, out of mind”. Shouldn’t the push to go plastic-free have started ages ago?

It might seem daunting to make the change to a plastic-free existence. It is INCREDIBLE how many daily items are made of plastic: toothbrush, cosmetic packaging, sandwich bags, etc. Even sneakers are destroying the planet. According to TreeHugger.com, Adidas has developed a sneaker that never needs to be thrown away. The sneaker is called the Futurecraft Loop and it can be recycled over and over into new sneakers.

I have made some smaller changes: reusable grocery bags, reusable coffee cups, metal straws, etc. and have really focused my attention on the products that I use and the packaging the come in. We stopped using plastic storage containers ages ago and only use the glass containers. I also try to buy products that don’t have plastic bottles or products that have containers that can be reused. Lush has some great products that are bottle-free. I like this, this, this, and this. Some of the other products that I have been using (or want to start using):

Life

Let’s talk fitness…

In April, I decided to finally take the leap into a new fitness program…and it has changed my life! Well, maybe that is a little dramatic, but it certainly has made a difference in my fitness journey. I have always been a gym rat. I love the gym, but I live about 25 minutes away from any of the gyms that I like going to. Just driving to and from the gym takes a huge chunk out of my day. But I did it anyway…and saw very little results.

A little about the program: It is definitely a lifestyle change for me. It has a full nutrition plan, but it isn’t a diet. The program is more about portion control…and let’s face it….I struggle hard with portion control. This takes all the guess work out of how much to eat of each category. Super easy! I also never feel like I am going to bed hungry. In actuality, I sometimes struggle to get in the recommended amounts of some of the categories because I am not hungry. I have to work on making more meals that cover all of these categories, but I am a work in progress.

The program also includes tons of streaming workout programs…like Netflix for workouts. This allows me to do a workout from home in 30 mins every day. Easy peasy. No packing a bag for gym with all of my work clothes, makeup, hair accessories, etc. I can get up in the morning, workout, and get ready at home. (UPDATE: I actually changed my workouts to early evening. I felt that I was missing out on some much needed sleep by working out in the morning.) The most important part of this program, for me at least, is the accountability factor. I check in with my workout team daily with what I am doing, how I am doing, any struggles that I am having. Making me accountable for working out and eating right has kept me honest with myself.

Life · Makeup

Cruelty-Free…

As I sit here staring at my handsome little beagle, I can’t help to think of all of those animals that are being tested on to make the personal care products that are used by millions daily. In case you didn’t know…beagles are one of the most commonly used animals in animal testing. Why you ask? Because they are a perfect size, not too big-not too small, and they trust humans implicitly. How awful is that. Taking advantage of the loyalty and love of an animal in order to test chemicals on them. It just makes me so sad to know that animals aren’t being treated well.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect…I currently use products that are known to test on animals. I am trying to eliminate all of those companies from the products I use, but it is a quite the process. It is amazingly awful how many brands are not cruelty-free. Take band-aids for instance. Why on earth do you need to test band-aids on animals?! I have decided to make a conscious effort to determine if products are cruelty-free before I buy them or to find other retailers that focus on cruelty-free products. If you are interested on starting the journey to cruelty-free there are a few great blogs that have lists of cruelty-free brands. My two favorite cruelty-free blogs are: Phyrra and My Beauty Bunny. They both have extensive lists of cruelty-free brands and give their honest opinions about the products that they try out.

There are so many brands that are cruelty-free, both high-end and drugstore, that it is silly to not make an honest effort to be cruelty-free. Thumbs up to Cover Girl for making the switch to cruelty-free. Here are some of my favorite brands:
– The Honest Company
– Kat Von D
– Wet and Wild
– NYX (but they are owned by a company that is not)
– Tarte
– Urban Decay (owned by a company that is not)
– Colourpop
– Cover Girl (owned by a company that his not)
– Eco-Guard makes cruelty-free bandages, but I haven’t tried them yet.

Life

New year, new look…

I know this is a bit late since I have had this hairstyle for a few months now…but **shrug**.

Folks, it was time for a change. You know the saying: New year, new me! Well, it’s a new year, but it’s the same old sassy me. This time with new sassy hair.

Last Year/Before

I have wanted to rock this hairstyle for quite a while now (almost a year). I waited until after my wedding (for obvious reasons, you’re welcome Mom). It had been over 2 years since I had tried something new with my hair and it was hard not to switch it up! I first saw this hairstyle on one of my favorite YouTuber’s Mykie from Glam&Gore–if you are interested in some pretty cool fx makeup you should definitely check her stuff out.

Update: After months of rocking this hairstyle, I am still loving it. I love that I have the ability to part it different ways to get different looks. It is quite a challenge keeping up with the shaved part though. I don’t know how guys do it! I find myself making an appointment to get it shaved every few weeks or so. Despite that…I think that I will keep it like this for awhile.

Bourbon

My (current) favorite bourbons…

So this is a list that changes quite frequently depending on my mood. I have recently, in the last 3 years or so, really started to love bourbon. So much so that it is usually my go-to drink (either on the rocks or in a cocktail). My two current favorites are:

While this first one might not be a bourbon (Spoiler: it’s a whiskey), it is smooth, sweet, and a little spicy. I usually don’t care for whiskey, but this one (the entire Cask and Crew lineup if I am being honest) is amazing. I love that they are a local business.
Cask and Crew – Ginger Spiced Whiskey*
Here is how they describe it:
Nose: lively ginger and spice with hints of citrus notes
Palate: kick of real ginger and a touch of earth spice for a complex yet smooth mouth feel
Finish: gentle, with flashes of spice reappearing brightly

Photo Credit: Cask and Crew

The second bourbon (yes, it is actually a bourbon) that I have been loving lately is:
1792*
What they say about it:
“Sophisticated and complex. A distinctly different bourbon created with precise craftsmanship. Made from our signature “high rye” recipe and the marriage of select barrels carefully chosen by our Master Distiller. 1792 Bourbon has an expressive and elegant flavor profile. Unmistakable spice mingles with sweet caramel and vanilla to crate a bourbon that is incomparably brash and bold, yet smooth and balanced. Elevating whiskey to exceptional new heights, 1792 Bourbon is celebrated by connoisseurs worldwide.”
What I say:
I’m not going to lie….I totally bought this bourbon the first time because of the neat bottle. I am a sucker for bottles/labels. I was so pleasantly surprised by the great flavor of this bourbon. I typically buy the small batch version of this bourbon, but they do have other “limited edition expressions” which I have never tried. This bourbon is so smooth that it is easy to drink straight or on the rocks. Though I am sure it would be great in a bourbon cocktail of some sort.

Photo Credit: 1792

*Purchased by me

Recipes

Favorite keto bread recipe…

Lately I have been on the hunt for a delicious (and quick) keto bread recipe. I don’t often have tons of time to make an entire loaf of keto bread so I was looking for a recipe that would give me enough bread for a meal. I found Carrie’s (from Eating on a Dime) “The Best 90 Second Bread Recipe“.

Photo from Eating on a Dime

This is a great recipe! Fast, easy, and delicious. I did make a few tweaks to cater to what I regularly keep in my pantry. Here is the recipe that I have come up with:

Ingredients
* 1 tablespoon coconut flour
* 1 egg
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon MCT oil

* Note: Coconut flour has a very distinct taste. Depending on what you are using the bread for, you can (or may want) add savory or sweet seasoning (i.e., garlic powder, Italian seasonings, cinnamon, sugar)

Directions
1. Mix egg and oil in a microwave safe bowl. I use one of these.
2. Add in try ingredients and whisk until combined.
3. Place in the microwave for 75 seconds. (This time may very by microwave and preference)
4. Remove from microwave and let cool.
5. Slice in half.
You can stop at this step or toast in the toaster or on the stove top. I have used this bread to make grilled cheese and egg sandwiches, but the possibilities are endless.

Life

Feeling Overwhelmed…

The wrapper of my Dove dark chocolate really spoke to me yesterday. It says “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” – Shirley K. Maryland.

Lately, I have been overwhelmed to the EXTREME. Ask anyone and they will tell you that I am excellent at multitasking and taking on a lot of responsibility at one time. For instance, starting grad school while planning my wedding and working full time. I even aced my midterm, which was due two days after our wedding. Granted I was only taking one class last semester. This semester has just been, for a lack of a better word, overwhelming. Two classes, work, buying a house, selling a house, and planning our honeymoon…CRAZY!

I am trying to remind myself, daily, to take it one day at a time. That, yes I can do it, but that I don’t need to do it all at once. The buzz phrase these days is self care. And it is so true and so important. Taking time to take care of myself and stepping away from the stress to regroup has really helped. The other night I went home after work and the hubby was out of the house. So instead of cooking and homework (what I normally do every day), I chose to do a face mask, paint my nails, have a glass of wine, and binge on Netflix. It was seriously needed. Just that little bit of a reset has turned my week around.

De-stressing practices that works for me:

  • Deep breathing – I wouldn’t go so far as to say meditation…because, let’s face it, I can’t take sitting still not thinking about anything for long periods of time. Just a few long, slow, intentional breaths. In ballet classes ages ago we used to lay down and imagine waves gently crashing over our bodies and taking away tension/stress/sore muscles. I still do this with my deep breaths: In goes the air, out goes the stress.
  • Anything that has to do with face masks and skin care. Taking the time to apply, sit, remove a face mask, apply a serum and moisturizer and give myself a good face message in the process is my idea of heaven.
  • Read a good (non-fiction) book – Escaping into another fictional world or someone fictional character’s drama is such a treat after staring at chemistry books all day.
  • Netflix – just like reading a good book, getting lost in a good show or movie can help me de-stress like none other.
  • And if worse comes to worst (or worse…the interwebs can’t actually agree on the proper way to say this…and yes, I did Google it), I clean. Organizing and cleaning make me feel in control of something and when the house is clean all seems right in the world…for at least a minute or two.