Monday, December 29, 2014

BEAUTY: December Favorites

How is it Christmas is already over??

We had a nice quiet Christmas as the hubs and I both had to go back to work the following day.

I wandered into Sephora awhile back, not really looking for anything in particular so the sales guy asked what product I don't have a lot of.

I thought about it for a second and realized something. 

I don't have a full-sized lip gloss.

Seriously. I hoard eyeshadow but every single lip product I had was a sample.

He tried out Smashbox's lip lacquer in Flamingo which I initially thought was way to much- I gravitate toward nude lips and bold eyes so the hot pink scared me off initially. He told me to look in the mirror a couple minutes later and when I did it was like a whole product! It was still hot pink but the brightness factor cooled down a lot. I've actually started going a little quieter on the eyes so I can wear this color. And hey, that's less time in front of the mirror in the morning! 

I had a sample of Buxom's lip polish and fell in love the first time I used it. The colors are fabulous and it provided a 
cooling/plumping effect. I could stockpile these babies! Sophia looks great on my olive toned skin.

I heard about First Aid Beauty from Kate over at the Small Things Blog and discovered their face cleanser. I use it every night in the shower with a konjac sponge. Even though I take my makeup off beforehand, you I can still see makeup on the sponge that's how deep this cleanser gets, but it's still gentle enough for everyday use. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

FOOD: "Inside the Test Kitchen" Review

The first meal I ever "made" the hubs was a frozen burrito. I stuck it in the oven at the same time I turned it on and "cooked" it for the recommended amount of time. Of course during most of that time the oven was still preheating so when he cut into the was still frozen.

I've gotten much better at cooking since then (I now refuse to even buy frozen burritos - I make my own!) but I'm still very much a student. I can follow recipes with the best of them but when it comes to the why behind the directions, there's a lot I don't know. 

Which is why I was so excited to pick up a copy of Tyler Florence's "Inside the Test Kitchen" at the library. It does a great job at explaining the science of what happens in the kitchen so you're not only able to ace the enclosed recipes, but apply the same principles to recipes of your own.

Some of the provided recipes do require tools I don't even have but the majority are ones most home chefs can easily do. The directions are really easy to understand and some of the tips will blow your mind. I almost felt like whipping out a pen and pad of paper to take notes!

Bottom line: I'm probably going to end up buying this book, it's that good.

Monday, December 22, 2014

HOME: Decorating the Living Room for Christmas

Mine (similar), Tino's, Jason's

I have a confession to make. I'm starting to OD on Christmas songs.  Don't get me wrong, I still jam out to Nsync and Mariah with the rest of them. 


I started listening to my Christmas playlist the day after Thanksgiving while decorating the house-our first Christmas as homeowners! 

I may have gone  little bit crazy. But it's allowed right?

I have decided I'm going to start collecting nutcrackers. Wait until you see the one I put in the loft. 

The last two years I have made a garland for all the Christmas cards we receive. Just punch a hole in the corner of a card and string it on a ribbon, knotting it around the hole so the cards don't slide back and forth. 

And I just love poinsettias. Although apparently they don't survive very well outside in the middle of winter. Trust me on this one.

Our tree looked pretty sad there for a little while. It doesn't look anywhere near as lonely now! Though I do still have my eyes open for a nice tree topper. I want something more modern looking than an angel or a star...but I'm not quite sure what that leaves. But I'm willing to wait until I find something I love.

BEAUTY: December Maven Box

I love the holidays. I mean who doesn’t? 

Anything peppermint mocha, red velvet, and sparkly.


The hubs does an oh-so-flattering imitation of me, “Ooh shiny!” (Think the dog from the movie Up! with “squirrel!”). But it’s true. Everything this time of year is shiny-Christmas lights, wrapping paper, candy. 

And nail polish. Gold? Check. Silver? Check. Shimmery red? Check.

Needless to say, I was super excited when Julep released their December “The Countdown” collection. I chose the “Bombshell” box which included colors Paula (Persian blue with gold microshimmer) and Soleil (lustrous rose gold chrome) as well as the new Orbital Eye shadow, which I chose in Airglow (champagne with rose gold pearlescence). 

I added on the nail decals, Nell (blushing holographic full-coverage glitter-looks great combined with Soleil!), and Silk Effect top coat.

I LOVE the nail colors this month. I have used ALL of them at least once. While I don’t normally think blue for the holidays, the touch of microshimmer really makes it look festive.

And we all know about my rose gold obsession. Looove Soleil and Nell, especially worn together.

Now let’s talk about the eye shadow. I was hesitant at first because I am well-stocked in the eye shadow department. However due to it fitting in the rose gold family, I was willing to give it a shot.

I love Julep. I hate this eye shadow.

It is SHIMMERY. Not even Shimmery with capital S-in full caps. I’m only 25 but I feel waaay too old to wear this eye shadow-it looks like I’m going out to the club! And while the glitter is prominent, I feel like the color payoff is not-at least on my olive skin tone, it looks just like an overly-glittered version of my skin. I like shimmery eye shadow, but this one is just not for me.  It went in the trash.

The silk top coat I do like-while I feel like it doesn’t have the lasting power of their Freedom Polymer Top Coat or Oxygen Top Coat; it gives your nail color a cool effect.

Overall-LOVE the nail polish, HATE the eye shadow.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

FOOD: Mexican Pozole

I'm currently obsessed with the TV show Cristela. Other than the fact it is the FIRST prime time TV show featuring a Latino family, I love it because it's FUNNY. 

It's also completely relatable. Making tamales all night around the kitchen table? Yes. Worshipping Selena? Yes.

Anyway it has me completely reverting to my definition of comfort food. Chicken noodle soup? Nah, I want pozole. 

The flavors of this soup are incredible. Tomato, chili powder, lime juice. It was easy and quick enough to make after work and it's perfect for dreary Washington winters. I made it with these muffins and the hubs immediately requested I make both again ASAP. 

Mexican Pozole 

  • Canola oil 
  • 1 lb. pork loin, cubed
  • 1c. chopped onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 c. chicken broth 
  • 14.5 oz. enchilada sauce (I love this)
  • 1 4.5 oz. can chopped green chiles 
  • 1 TBSP chili powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 1 15.5 oz. can hominy
  • Juice of a fresh lime, to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish 

Heat oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and cubed pork and cook until onion is clear. Stir in broth, enchilada sauce, chiles, and spices.  Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add hominy. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and top with cilantro. 

Adapted from The Spice Kit Recipes

Sunday, December 7, 2014

BEAUTY: GlossyBox Review

Normally I subscribe to the age-old adage, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

That being said, this is a consumer review blog.

I was SO excited to learn about GlossyBox. Similar to Birchbox which I have subscribed to in the past, it is slightly more expensive but the products tend to be higher end and they even throw in a full sized product now and then. 

If only I had encountered other reviews before I plunked down $60 for a three month subscription. 

This post was written directly with you guys in mind in the hope of preventing you from wasting your hard earned money. 

I ordered and paid for my subscription on November 13. I received an automatic email shortly afterwards verifying my purchase. 

That is the last I have heard. It has been close to a month. 

So what is a beauty product hoarder to do? I reached out to customer service on their Facebook page as well as sent multiple emails to their customer service department (phone lines were closed.)

A few hours later I received a comment on my Facebook post requesting I send them a private message via Facebook with my order information so they can investigate. 

Ok, great. Maybe with it being the holiday season this was a fluke so I proceeded as requested. 

Three days later and I have yet to receive a response. To recap, it has been a month, they have $60 of mine, I have nothing to show for it despite my best efforts. It's clear they only commented on my Facebook post to make it look like they were rectifying the situation to the public. (I have since come across TONS of other negative reviews revolving around the same issue on their Facebook page.)

I have cancelled my subscription and am in the process of filing a dispute with my credit card company to try to get my money back. 

FINAL VERDICT: Don't waste your money, this is a scam.