Pumpkin- 3 ways

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Pumkin squash

Hello

It’s that time of year everyone,; where pumpkins are abundant both in our decor and our pallets. I personally am a pretty hardcore pumpkin lover (pre PSL craze). It’s affordable, nutritious and very versitile as I will demonstrate with these three recipes.

Each of these recipes can be eaten at a different course throughout dinner if you wish and two stand alone as great appetizers for entertaining. 

PUMKIN GINGER SOUP SHOTS

This soup is totally on trend now. There isn’t a cocktail menu that doesn’t offer some version of pumkin soup, often with ginger ,but it was really my mother who I first got this recipe from as she has been making this concoction for years. Let us proceed.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1)Pumpkin- 300g/11oz/0.6lbs

2)Ginger-approximately 1/4 cup shredded (more if you want a bigger ginger punch)

3)Seasonings-I used salt and black pepper but you can use whatever you wish.

4)Belender/nutribullet/food processor 

WHAT TO DO 

1) Cut pumpkin into small pieces, leaving the skin on.

Cubed pumpkin

2) Bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan and add pumpkin and cook.

Boiling pumpkin 


3) Once cooked, remove from stove and allow to cool before removing the skin (it will be much easier now)
4) Place into blender and add ginger and seasonings along with some water (add a few tablespoons at a time ) then blend until smooth and soup like.

Pureed Pumpkin




5) Pour into shot glasses or bowls and serve!

Pumpkin ginger soup


This tastes just as you might imagine. Thick and creamy with a spicy pop from the ginger. This is a beautiful soup without ginger as well. This recipe makes 2 small (appetizer )  bowls or about 12 shots of the soup.

PUMPKIN MASH

This is a dish I’ve eaten for many years but never had a name for it so I made this up. It’s basically doing what you might do to potatoes if you were making mashed potatoes.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Pumpkin – 300g /11oz/0.6lbs

2) 1/4 cup sugar- I used coconut sugar but any brown sugar will do.

3) Seasonings- garlic powder, black pepper and salt (you can add whatever you want)

4) Blender/Food Processor /nutribullet (optional)

WHAT TO DO 

Repeat steps 1-3 for the soup.

4) Mash the pumpkin using a fork or mashing tool.

Mashed pumpkin 
5) Add sugar and seasonings and mix.

Pumpkin, sugar and seasonings
6) This step is optional of you want a very smooth uniform consistency;  place in your blender for only a few seconds to make it smoother but not liquified.
7) Plate and garnish.

Pumpkin mash
This is a nice alternative to mashed potatoes and a great way to incorporate a healthy nutrient rich food. If you want to make it healthier you can nix the sugar. It won’t be the same but it’s still good. This recipe makes 2 servings.


PUMPKIN FRITTERS

This recipe is the piece de resistance of the entire post. This sweet treat is a family favourite and anyone from my homeland of Barbados knows these very well. Pumpkin fritters are basically like egg less pumpkin pancakes or pumkin donut holes, that’s the best way I can describe them. Let us begin.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Pumpkin -300g /11oz/0.6lbs

2) 1/2 cup brown sugar

3) 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)

4) 1 cup flour

5) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

6) 1/2 tsp cinnamon -I mixed mine with ground nutmeg

7) Confectioners sugar mixed with cinnamon  (for coating)

8) Blender /nutribullet /food processor  (optional )


Ingredients 
WHAT TO DO 

1) Cube and peel pumpkin 

2) Place pumpkin, a few chunks at a time into your food processor and chop. ALTERNATELY, grate pumpkin- this is far more time consuming and labour intensive but works just the same.

3) Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Ingredients in bowl

Mixed

4) This step is optional. At this point the mixture will be lumpy which is alright but if like me you prefer it a bit smoother then add to the blender for a few seconds until it reaches you preferred consistency. 

NOTE: This worked for these measurements, but for me each time I make it, it’s differnt, I suppose it depends alot on the pumpkin itself, so if you find its too think add a bit more milk, small amounts at a time and if it’s too runny add a bit more flour.
5) Heat oil in saucepan and add approximately a tablespoon full of batter at a time- this is all dependent on the size you want. I wanted them to be small enough to eat in 2 or 3 bites. The batter should sink to the bottom of the pan immediately then easily rise up to the top of the oil, you may have to give the fritters a nudge with your fork.

6) Remove from oil and dry once golden brown in colour.

 At this point you can just eat them, especially if you’re having them with your breakfast but I decided to do a bit more so they are even more delicious .

7) Toss in mixture of confectioners sugar and cinnamon. 

8) Plate and serve.

Pumpkin fritters 
I do not have words to accurately describe how delicious a well made pumpain fritter tastes. Nothing will do them justice. They are sweet and flavourful thanks to the spices. The pumkin makes them dense and adds that distinct pumpkin flavour that nothing can quite imitate. The dusting of sugar on top makes them even tastier. And the smell is so good. These are excellent appetizers for a dinner party, a great side for brunch or just a nice sweet, semi- healthy snack.
I hope you enjoyed these recipes, thank you for reading and have an awesome day! 

Travel Tips- Visiting a Museum

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Outside museum in Costa Rica



Hello

I love museums. I think they are an excellent way to learn alot about a particular country or region or art style in a short space of time. I can’t think of any major trip I’ve taken where I didn’t visit at least one local museum. A museum is a great way to spend a morning or while away an afternoon. It’s chill, entertaining and pretty cheap compared with other tourist activities.
Here are some tips I have if you’re thinking of visiting a museum on your next trip.
1) Decide to go

Museums are one of the most budget friendly vacation activities for the following reasons: 

Many museums charge no fee or a very nominal fee asking only for a donation,  so if you only have $5 to spare that’s usually okay.

A lot of museums offer discounted fees to various persons e.g. students, teachers, senior citizens. 

Many museums offer discounted fees after a particular time e.g The Museum of Art and Design in Manhatten offers “pay what you wish” after 6pm on Thursdays.

 
2) Research

Choose

Museums come in all shapes and sizes. There are massive national museums, art museums, fashion museums, military museums etc. Spend a little QT with google and tailor your selection to your interests so you don’t waste time, money and energy.

Temporary Exhibits 

Many museums have exhibits that last for only a few weeks or months. They’re often interactive and very in depth. It might be worthwhile chosing a museum with a temporary exhibit you might be interested in. A few years ago I visited a temporary exhibit at Museum of Natural History in NY  (my absolute favorite in the world). It was based on using more natural foods and it was outstanding. I got to sample a lot of different foods especially honeys, there was one with elderflower and to this day I’ve never had another opportunity to taste elderflower honey, so I’m glad I went then.

Other Activities 

Most museums have a calender of events for the upcoming month and even year which include exhibits as well as other events like musical performances, films or even workshops often for small additional fees.

Display from Temporary exhibit in Gold Museum in Costa Rica


Statue in museum


3) Pack Light

This is standard travel advice.You’ll likely be on your feet for quite a few hours .Some museums will make you put your bags away allowing only phones and purses. However, if they don’t , you won’t want need to lug around all your belongings at once. So pack minimal items keeping the load down.
4)  Eat before you go

Or after you leave. The truth is that most museum restaurants or cafés are exceptionally overpriced. Now if you specifically want to eat at the museum by all means go ahead but there is a pretty good chance you’ll be paying double the amount for the same wrap or salad you could get from a cafe around the corner.
5) Caution in the Gift shop

This is a sure way to have your money sucked .Gift shops are bright and shiny and make you feel encouraged to buy. Either set a spending limit e.g no more than $30 or decide precisely what you want e.g a commemorative book and stick to it.

I hope these little tips encourage you to visit a museum on your next trip. They really are enjoyable places and you can feel your mind expanding. Happy Travels and have an awesome day!  

DIY Spa – Sugar Lip and Body Scrub

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Coffee and Lemon scrub ingredients 



Hello

Today I bring an easy affordable DIY project: sugar scrubs. Sugar is an excellent exfoliant polishing and brightening the skin. I’m doing two recipes, one is a lemon lip scrub and the other is a coffee brown sugar scrub.
LEMON DROP LIP SCRUB

With the rise of matte Lipcolours our lips can seriously suffer. This scrub uses sugar to remove dry flaky skin, the lemon is healing to the lips and the oil is moisturising. And best of all, it tastes good just incase you get some in your mouth.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Granulated (white) sugar

2) Coconut oil

3) Lemon juice

4) Container for storage

The stuff you need



WHAT TO DO 
1) Place sugar into a bowl for mixing (the amount you use depends on the size batch but you can start with 1/3 cup.)
2) Add a few drops of lemon juice, I used 1/3 of a medium sized lemon.

Add lemon juice


3) Add coconut oil a little at a time, I used 1/2 tsp at a time, and mix until consistency of wet sand.

Add coconut oil


4) Place in an airtight container for storage- I used an empty container I had from a pack of travel containers. 

Completed scrub


BROWN SUGAR COFFEE SCRUB


I was making body scrubs last December to give as gifts and I wanted to try different scents. I used crushed fruit and vanilla then I thought…coffee.  What gets you more awake than the deep rich aroma of a cup of coffee? It was a great decision. It was so good I made a batch for myself. The scent is incredibly  invigorating and great pick me up after a long day.

WHAT YOU NEED 
1) Brown sugar- I used coconut because that was the only type of brown sugar I had (you can also do this with white sugar)

2) Ground coffee- use your favorite roast

3) Coconut oil 

WHAT TO DO 
1) Place the sugar into a bowl (again, the amount you use depends on the size batch you’re making, I used 1/2 cup)

2) Add coconut oil 1/2 tsp at a time,( I ended up using about 3 tsp in all ) until it reaches the consistency of wet sand.

Adding the oil




Wet sand consistency 




3) Add coffee,( I used 1 tbsp to my 1/2 cup of sugar) and mix. At this point you may need to add a bit more oil.

Coffee added



4) Mix and place in an airtight container for storage.

Coffee scrub 
Both of these are super simple and very affordable, using items you probably have in your home. I also love that the ingredients are natural and free of toxins, dyes etc. These make great gifts, I packaged the body scrubs in small jelly mason jars last Christmas and are a great budget friendly option for your home spa needs.

Have an awesome day!

Travel Light(Packing Tips)

14 Sep


Hello

Here is another post giving some travel tips. This one focuses on what you should (and shouldn’t ) pack when setting off on an adventure.

Travel Goals…

In my mind’s eye I am an “easy-breezy” traveller. I am wearing an ethically produced maxi dress, beautiful wrap sandals holding my wide brimmed hat in one hand, my large but not oversized beautiful travel bag hooked over my other arm and my cute but not miniscule crossbody bag draped over my torso.

I would have a physical book with an engaging yet lighthearted storyline and I’d be contentedly nibbling on a healthy home made pinterest worthy snack bar while waiting on my next flight. 

I would be the envy of all other travellers. They would whisper to themselves “Look at her, she’s so casual, so worry free, traveling so light”

Sadly, I have more often than not, NOT been this type of traveler. I have been the one with two overstuffed duffle bags literally filled with useless nonsense, struggling and panting to get from one gate to another, who despite having packed everything but the kitchen sink, left the one thing I really need at home . But I am getting better, much better, so much better that I made a 10 day trip to Costa Rica last November with only one large carryon and one hand bag. YASSSS!

Packing heavy isn’t just physically and mentally taxing, it can cost you. It means maximum luggage fees, it means having to repurchase the crap you forget to pack and sometimes leaving things you’ve spent money on behind. 

So I am going to share a few “packing light” tips and I hope it helps.

MUST HAVES

1) Travel Documents 

Don’t leave home without them or you won’t get very far. Most of us need our passport to get around but don’t forget other supporting documents such as work permits, residency letter etc.

Additionally,  check well in advance about Visa requirements prior to travelling.

2) Prescription Medications

Again, just don’t leave home without them. If you are on potentially life saving medication such as insulin, thyroid meds, asthma inhalers etc please make sure you pack this stuff.

Unlike OTC drugs that you can stroll into any pharmacy, gas station or even book store and purchase, most pharmacists will not issue prescription, meds without a prescription. This means if you forget your stuff you will have to go pay and wait to see a doctor in order to get the prescription written.  This can take a chunk of time not to mention money out of your vacation.

3) Wallet

Just as important as the first two on this list. Even if you have your passport and your medication, if you don’t have a dollar or cent to spend, you are in proverbial duck’s guts. Be sure to pack these three things FIRST!

4) Electronic equipment 

We live in the digital age (that is what we call it right?) and our electronic devices are just as much a part of our lives now as food and water. Be sure to pack your electronics as needed. So if you don’t think you’ll need your laptop for the next 4 days, leave it or if you never use your tabet then forget it. Be sure however, to remember your camera, go pro and any other important photography equipment for your awesome trip!

5) (Mini) Cosmetics/ Makeup

Mini is the important word here. Precisely what you need is rather subjective. I might need skin moisturizer but not shower gel, someone else might need 6 hair products but no mouthwash .(I’m not judging)

The real key, is the amount. Even on a fairly long trip; >10 days you don’t use a full container of any product so you don’t need to carry it. Most  fullsized containers are well over the carryon allowance of 3 FL Oz (100mL) and it means you will have to check your luggage which for most carriers will cost you. 

So, it is worthwhile to carry mini sizes of most of your cosmetics. Most pharmacies, supermarkets etc sell these pint sized versions of your favorite cosmetics for under $3 each and for certain items like deodorant and hairspray I recommend buying them.

But in an effort to be more money conscious I recommend investing in a set of mini empty containers. You can fill them up with small amount of your full sized products instead of having to buy a mini. This is more cost effective ultimately.

As for makeup  (if you wear it) select a few items that create a number of looks for the time you’ll be travelling. You don’t need 3 eyeshadow pallets or 12 liquid lip colors for 5 days! 

6) Clothing 

Of course this is a must have. If you are going anywhere for longer than 24 hours, you’ll need a change of clothes. You’ll need underwear, actual clothing not to mention jewelry, shoes and accessories. 

This is definitely a situation of less being more. Try to coordinate your outfits in advance selecting pieces you can mix and match maximizing each one. For example in a 4 or 5 day trip I may only need two bottoms, 3 tops and a dress. Be even more minimal when it comes to accessorizing.  You can probably get away with one pair of shoes (plus the ones you travel in) , one bag and just a few jewelry pieces.

My mother will legitimaly pack 3 different pairs of shoes and about 10 bracelets to go with each outfit because she couldn’t make up her mind.( She is that traveller with 2 overweight suitcases trying to smuggle an extra carryon piece) Don’t do it!

SHOULD/COULD  HAVES

7) Emergency kit

As easy as it may be to find painkillers or bandaids when on vacation , they may be pricier as you will likely be purchasing from a souvenir shop or you may not find the brand you want. 

I usually carry along a little pouch with some emergency nessecities. Note I said LITTLE. Again it’s all about moderation. In my emergency kit I carry a few ibuprofen tablets, a couple antihistamines, a few alcohol swabs and a bandaid or two. 

I have seen a certain family member who shall remain nameless (cough* my mother* cough) pack a first aid kit so massive I swore there was an actual defibrillator in it. (There wasn’t ). Unless you are going hiking or exploring some other dangerous terrain where you need a proper first aid kit you won’t need anything so elaborate as to include abdominal gauze and actual bottles of alcohol. If you really require that stuff then you should probably be in an Emergency room.

8) Book/Magazine/Art/Craft supplies

So you love to read or do crossword or sudoku or whatever the kids are doing these days.Maybe you are a hobby artist. Going on vacation for many means having time to relax and do something they really enjoy (like reading) so by all means take your hobby items along. Just not too much.

I am guilty of this. I read quickly and I’m constantly afraid of finishing a book and having nothing else to read for the remainder of my trip. I can say without a doubt this has almost NEVER happened. Take 1 book, or one crossword or one roll of crochet thread and one needle. Not five or six. You will overload yourself and probably not use half the stuff anyway.

9) Snacks/Food

This is another thing you don’t need but it can be reasonable to travel with. Perhaps you like a very specific protein bar that you eat every morning at 10 am and you don’t think you can get it where you are going. By all means pack a few. Not ALL. Maybe you have layover and 3 flights to get to your final destination and you want to carry something to sustain you along the way, sure go ahead and pack a bag of chips and an apple.What you don’t need to do is prepare a 3 course meal and portion it out into plastic containers (I have actually seen this). Keep it light.

DON’T NEED

Towels and paper toiletries

When I was very little, we traveled with our towels. Then, on the last day had to pack a moist towel on top of our clothing. You don’t need this in your life. Most hotels and even many hostels will provide clean fresh towels and toilet paper. If they don’t,  check out and get far away, very far away.

Extras

This is the whole point of this post. You only need what you need. Always think about that when you find yourself wanting to pack something “just in case” You don’t need extra clothing, you don’t need extra snacks, you don’t need extra shoes and purses. I often find myself feeling more flustered than comfort when I am over packed and over burdened with stuff.

DON’T FORGET

These are those items we can often overlook or leave until the absolute blessed end and then forget.

Sunglasses/Shades

This is a pet peeve of mine. It happened to me so many times I’ve lost count. You step out of the airport into the sun and bam! Corneas scorched! All because you forgot to toss your sunglasses on top of your stuff. Now you have to decide whether you are going to spend a chunk of your cash on new ones, overpay at a souvenir kiosk for likely poor quality ones or spend the rest of your days with your hand over your eyes.

Umbrella

This might sound weird to some but I have never regretted traveling with an umbrella. Not once. I have a small one that easily fits in my hand bag.  This is especially important if you’re travelling someplace with a high chance of rainfall. I am that person that whenever it begins to pour I pop out my umbrella and keep moving only to find one or two persons (who I don’t know) nestled up beside me sharing my umbrella. Don’t be a nestler!

Electrical cords/Backup memory cards and batteries

It should go without saying that when you travel with electronics you carry the cords. I have never left one of mine behind but I know so many unfortunate persons who have. Then you are faced with a similar dilemma to the sunglasses situation.

CHECKLIST

To ensure I don’t forget any of these items I have a highly organised mental travel checklist that I won’t allow myself to step through the door without checking off twice. If you don’t entirely trust your mental faculties I recommend a written (paper or electronic) list to make sure you have all that you need and nothing more.

I hope you’ve found some useful tips,  travel light and have an awesome day!

Start a (Drugstore) makeup Collection

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Hello

I am a drugstore makeup convert. I should say a reconvert since the drugstore is the first place I ever bought make up. Back thend I had one blush, one eyeshadow, both fron Jane (a company that sadly no longer exists), one foundation, (the Maybelline dream mousse which surprisingly still exists) and Lipsmackers lipgloss. Then, I discovered M.A.C and the addiction began. I only glanced back at drugstore makeup brands when I wanted a funky lipstick or coloured eyeliner I would likely only wear once.

Over the past couple of years it’s been hard to ignore the fact that drugstore makeup has upped it’s game. Many have expanded their lines to include foundation,  eye shadow pallettes, even brow products. 

DRUGSTORE MAKEUP TESTIMONY 

My turning point came after months of beauty youtubers and bloggers shoving drugstore makeup in my face and I decided to take the plunge. I purchased a Loreal True Match Liquid foundation. It was good, very good. And it cost 1/3 the price of M.A.C. There were trumpets sounding and golden gates opening at that moment. I walked into the Drugstore makeup Nirvana and never looked back.It’s a great time to be alive and a great time to shop drugstore makeup.


ABOUT THIS POST

This list is meant to recommend the actual types of products you need to start a collection( foundation, blush etc). Additionally,  I will suggest some brands that I either have personal experience with, have read/heard good reviews about and that I know are widely available either in stores or worldwide. They will be divided into face, eyes and lips if you want to skip through a particular section and I have listed any prices I can.

PREP

To look your best in your makeup you want your skin to be at its best. Of course this begins with a balanced diet, minimal alcohol intake and avoidance of smoking, adequate hydration, rest and exercise. After that is skincare.

Face wash

I recommend two. A gentle cleanser for daily use and one containing an exfoliant. If you wear makeup regularly  you need the exfoliant to help remove buildup and skin dullness. HOWEVER, you don’t need to exfoliate daily ESPECIALLY if you have oily or sensitive skin, that is a recipe for disaster. I have combination and sensitive skin and I exfoliate twice a week maximum.

Moisturizer

For the daytime make sure your moisturizer includes an SPF. A moisturizer can double up as a primer, in fact most of the time I don’t use a primer in addition to my moisturiser. Try it with and without a primer to see if you really need one.

Face wash and Daily moisturizer 

Primer (optional)

Based on what I said in the last paragraph this isn’t an absolute MUST have (I know some would wholeheartedly disagree with that statement). A primer is useful in smoothing and filling your face and creating a nice base for your makeup to sit on, it also helps to prolong the wear time.

 

The NYX photo ready primer $12 US

Translucent(gel) vs regular primers

You will probably see many brands offer two main types of primer, a white one that looks like a moisturizer and a clear gel one. The consensus is that the regular primers are more moisturising but can create flashback (white cast) when you take photos.  The clear ones don’t.  You decide which one you prefer. For me, in this day and age where pictures get taken so often I prefer the photo finish. Smash box photo finish primer is considered one of the best gel primers and this one by NYX is meant to do the same. Wet n’ wild and Rimmel also carry a gel primers.


FACE

Foundation 

You need a foundation. It’s meant to even your skin tone and create a blank canvas for the rest of your makeup. There are creme and powder foundations but the best option is liquid. Liquid foundation is easier to work with and build up. 

I recommend one foundation. Many people will buy two or three to match their shade depending on the time of year. I say only buy a new one only when you realize you need it. However if you cannot get a good shade match you may have to purchase two and mix them.

Milani, Maybelline dream liquid mousse, Maybelline Fit me, Loreal True Match and Loreal True match lumi



For my recommendations I have 5 foundations coming from 3 companies.

1) Milani– This is a company that really came out from the woodwork of obscurity and is shining. I bought this after hearing Tati of GlamLifeGuru on YouTube rave on and on about it. She has good reason. It really does perfect the skin and wears well. Gives full coverage and comes with a pump.

2) Maybelline dream liquid mousse – This is the modern version to my first ever foundation and I remember why I liked it so much. Though it is liquid it is still moussey and easy to blend. It gives moderate to full coverage.The best part is the addition of a pump. It also has a wide shade range from very light to very deep.

3) Maybelline Fit me– I like this as much as I like the Loreal True Match and I like that almost as much as my M.A.C liquid foundation. It is not too thick and it goes on easily.  It blends well and gives moderate to full coverage that is buildable. The drawback is no pump.

4) Loreal True Match– There is a reason why every beauty guru recommends this. It’s good. It is lightweight, easy to blend giving moderate coverage.No pump.

5) Loreal True Match Lumi– This is a similar foundation to the True Match except it provides a more luminous finish and it comes with a pump. 

All of these foundations are 1 FL Oz (30mL) and go for between $9-$12 US


Concealer (optional)

A concealer is meant to find those spots your foundation missed and cover them. They tend to be used over areas of hyperpigmention such as under eye circles and acne scarring. I say you don’t absolutely need this if you don’t have a lot of discoloration or if your foundation gives good enough coverage.  I class colour correctors in this group as well.

Loreal True Match concealer



The Loreal True Match concealer is a liquid concealer with a brush applicator. I recommend t whatever brand you choose to get liquid with a brush or doe foot applicator, it makes it easier to use and blend than the creme or stick concealers.


Finishing Powder/ Fixing Spray

Each of these items do a similar thing but in a very different way. Fixing sprays keep make up in place and can either mattify or give a dewy finish while finishing powders set the makeup in place. Setting powders can be translucent or tinted, you may have to try a few out to decide what type you prefer.

NYX Translucent Finishing Powder, NYX setting spray in matte



The gold standard finishing powder (according to the beauty gurus) is Laura Mercier and the NYX is supposed to be a decent alternative. Wet n Wild and Rimmel also carry finishing powders. 

The NYX fixing spray is amazing. Many people prefer this over higher end brands including M.A.C prep and prime fix +. It comes in both matte and dewy finishes.



Blush

Blush should make your cheeks look slightly flushed, rosy even. I find if my face looks as if something is missing and I put on a little blush the problem is solved. You only need one blush. In fact for about four years I only used one single blush. When you find a nice shade that goes well with your skin tone, stick with it. Alternately you can purchase a blush palette. Blush palettes usually have four or six shades that can be suitable for any look.

Milani blush in Awakening rose



Elf blush palette 


Milani – Milani makes good blushes, they do regular as well as baked blushes in a wide variety of colours that can match any skin tone. This one is a peach colour which I personally believe compliments most skin tones.

E.l.f palette– E.l.f makes decent quality blushes like most of their products and they also offer a wide variety of options. This quad for example has varying shades of pink that can match many skin tones and create different looks.


Bronzer (optional)

Bronzer is meant to make your skin look sunkissed, like you were partying all summer in Ibiza. I never wore bronzer until I saw YouTube beauty guru Jackie Aina put some on , and she looked so lit from within I decided to try some and I was not disappointed. Apply your bronzer along your cheek bones and feel free to dust it over your collar bones. If you aren’t sure you’re ready skip the bronzer for now.

Bronzer palette by E.l.f



Elf bronzer quad has multiple shade options from gold to copper tones. Goes for around $6US. Milani carries beautiful bronzers as does wet n wild.


Contour and Highlight (optional)

I think by now the entire world is aware of the magic of contouring and highlighting the face. Contouring (made mainstream popular by Kim K) is using a darker powder or cream stick over certain parts of the face (cheeks, side of nose, forehead ) to sculpt the face making it look more angled. Highlighting uses a lighter powder often with some shimmer to draw attention to the parts of the face which naturally pick up light making you look illuminated. Recently highlighting has become so popular that there are pallettes with just highlighter. I only do the contour highlight bit on days I really want to go all out, this is not an everyday look for me. If you want to keep it basic for now you can leave these out.

E.l.f illuminating (highlighting) palette $6 US



E.l.f contour and highlight palette $6US



E.l.f -Delivers again. They have quads for highlighter and highlight/contour pallets in varying options to suit your skin tone. BH Cosmetics also makes affordable good quality highlights/contour pallettes as does NYX.



EYES

Eyelid primer (optiinal)

This has a similar function to face primer. It allows the eyeshadow to stick to the lid better, reduces  creasing and allows some shadows to be seen better. It is especially useful for persons with oily eyelids. 

E.l.f eyelid primer

Elf primer– This came with an eyeshadow palette and that’s the only reason I own it. NYX eyeshadow  base(in the tube) is reported by many as the closest drugstore eyeprimer to the incredibly popular Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion.
Eyeshadow 

Deciding what eyeshadow to buy can be somewhat perplexing. Do you buy singles or a palette? Do you buy a smokey palette or a nude one? Shimmer or matte? There is no real answer to this as it is extremely subjective but whatever you do buy, your selection  should have these three things: 

1) A lid colour

2) A brow highlight 

3) A crease  colour

After this it’s all extra. I personally recommend getting a palette with neutral colours to start with then incorporate  extra colours you want. I know there are a group of people against the neutral eyeshadow movement but I think it necessary to have something to form a basic everyday look.

NYX Natural palette 


NYX Natural palette: The mid tone 5th shade is a great allover lid and transition shade, the 2nd shade is excellent for highlighting the brow bone and the 6th shade is a great dark shade that can be used in the crease to add depth or smoke out the eye.


Wet n wild palettes in “Bare Necessities” on the left and “”Nude Awakening” on the right.



These palettes contain more colours. They include good lid, brow and crease shades as well as an array of accent colours. There are both mattes and shimmers in these palettes ( more shimmers than mattes) These have decent pigmentation, blend okay but have A LOT of fallout. They cost about $6 US each.

Bare Necessities palette – You can create some neutral looks for both day and night as well as some smokey looks.

Nude Awakening –has some great neutral as well as nude/pink shades.

E.l.f 32 shade palette 


E.l.f palette – This is a 32 shade palette for those who want more options. This palette has a mix of matte and shimmer shades. It has plenty of neutral colours for everyday looks and then pops of colour to diversify your look. E.l.f makes a lot of similar palettes there with differing colour variations to suit you everyone. The colours have decent pigmentation and also go on great when wet, they blend well and have moderate fallout. This palette goes for about $12 US.
BH Cosmetics and Coastal Scents make a lot of palettes varying from travel friendly six shade palettes to 88 shades for very good prices and quality.
Single shadows

Maybe you can’t find a palette you love or maybe you have your base palette and you want to add a few extra colours but you don’t want an entirely new palette. Single eyeshadows may be a good option. Buying more than two or three single shades will likely add up to more than one of these affordable palettes but if there is one specific colour you’re after then go ahead.

Milani eyeshadow singles



Milani-When it comes to quality drugstore eyeshadow singles I recommend Milani. These shadows have good pigmentation, blend beautifully and have minimal to no falllout. They also come in a lot of colours and go for about $3 or $4 each. Another brand I highly recommend is Maybelline eye studio color tattoo shadow. These have been around for some time and continue to be because they are excellent.  They are creamy, fantastically pigmented, easy to blend and are long wearing. They cost around  $6US each.
Eyeliner

The winged eye is a super trend and the best type of liner to achieve this is a liquid liner. Liquid liners are also the easiest to use so if you are new to eyeliner this is a good place to start. However there are two other main types of eyeliner: gel liner and eye pencil (I put kohl in this catagory) The gel liner is excellent for a solid thick line that stays put. Pencils give good solid lines and are best for lining the water line of the lower lid. 

NYX gel liner, Rimmel eye pencil and NYX eye marker



NYX gel liner– This goes on smoothly and gives good deep colour. It has been compared to the Bobby Brown gel liner which I can attest is the bees knees. Wet n wild also sells a good quality gel eyeliner. This costs $9
Rimmel eye pencil– When it comes to eye pencils there are many in the drugstore and they are mostly good. However Rimmel’s pencil stands out. It is very dark, very soft and smooth and glides on beautifully. This is as good as my M.A.C eye pencil. You do have to sharpen it often so it can go down rather quickly. NYX, Jordana and Wet n Wild all make good qulaity eye pencils. This is around $3-$4US
NYX liquid eye marker– This works okay. It is a bit bothersome to get a solid line, you have to go over it a few times but it stays on pretty well. ($9)I have to say I am yet to find a top notch drugstore eye marker but I have been told (via the beauty gurus) that Jessie’s Girl (around $7US)  and Wet n Wild make the best. ($5-$7 US)
Mascara

Mascara is one of my favorite makeup items. IMO it makes you go from “bleh” to “BOOM”. When it comes to mascara (and I have used many mascaras) the drugstore brands almost always come out on top. Mascara purchasing can get overwhelming. There is black then ultra black, there is lash lenthening then lash separating,  it can be a lot. I have devised 3 easy steps:
1) Colour-For everyday wear I recommend either dark brown or black. Ultra black gives a very dramatic look while lighter and more colourful shades aren’t that wearable everyday. 

2) Volume-Decide if you want more volume, this is useful if you have very fine lashes. If your lashes are thick and luscious you don’t need this. 

3) Length-Decide if you want lenthening or not. Again this is useful if your lashes are very fine and short but not so much if you have decent length eyelashes. 
After that just pick one. If you love it then stick to it and repurchase. If not you try another.

Rimmel Scandal eyes mascaras



Rimmel is my no.1 recommendation for mascara. Their products deliver all the promises they make on the package. The colour is good, they all naturally add length and separate the lashes evenly. They also have excellent staying power. These go for around $6US each.
False lashes (optional)

False lashes add even more drama than mascara. A lot of people wear them daily. I don’t. I find they take too long to put on,  they get uncomfortable halfway through the day and they add up in terms of cost. That being said I will pop on a pair for a special occasion. If you aren’t sure then skip these and only purchase when you have a specific reason to wear them. I recommend buying the complete strip rather than the individuals if you are a novice. 

E.l.f natural lashes


E.l.f makes some of the most affordable lashes at under $3US per pair. Other popular drugstore brands are Ardelle and Kiss lashes. 

BROWS

Brows have really come a long way since the super thin over tweezed look of the 1990s. People now fill in their brows to make them fuller. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still be manicured to get a good shape but the brow movement means there is now a slew of products available for the brows. There are brow contour kits, stencils and the like. I recommend less gimmicky products such as a brow pencil or a brow pomade.

NYX brow pencil 


NYX brow pencil – It has an angled pencil which is very similar to the Anastacia of Beverly Hills brow definer pencil. NYX also has one that has a more rounded pencil that resembles the ABH brow wiz. 
NYX and Rimmel also carry good quality brow pomade.
LIPS

Liquid

Lip colour has also recently undergone a revolution with the liquid matte lip being the order of the day. However there are still a lot of great regular lipsticks hanging around. I recommend trying a liquid to matte lip colour for that retro matte look as well as a regular lip colour. The colours you choose are highly subjective but I do recommend trying a nude or a brownish colour as well as a mauve or pink colour and then a darker colour either a berry or plum.

Revlon liquid matte colours


Revlon liquid matte lip colour– These go on well and dry down almost completely,  they aren’t too drying and will last about 4 hours before you need to reapply so you should walk with it. These go for about $8

NYX matte lip cream


NYX liquid suede lip colours



NYX Lip lingerie 
NYX Lipcolours  – When it comes to drugstore liquid lip colour, NYX is hands down the winner. The matte creme as you might expect are a bit more moisturising and comes in many colours. The lip suede is their newest liquid lip line and has a range of darker reds and browns that are somewhat drying, very matte and longwearing. The lip lingerie line contains a lot of nudes and neutrals , is extremely drying and long wearing.
Lipstick

There are a lot of drugstore lipsticks to chose from. Many companies are expanding their lines to include more modern colours such as nudes and deeper reds.

Milani lipsticks



Milani- Like most of their other products , Milani makes great lipsticks. They smell faintly of watermelon, they are moisturising and smoothing and there is a wide array of both classic and more trendy colours. Other good drugstore lipsticks come from Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel and Cover Girl.
Lip Pencil

Lip pencils are used to line the lips, something especially important when wearing liquid lip colour. Your lip pencil need not be the exact colour of your lipstick but rather close so it can blend well. I recommend a colour to match with each group of colours e.g a brown to be used with all your browns and a purple to go with all of your plums.

NYX lip pencils 



NYX Lip pencils- As with eye pencils there are A LOT of good lip pencils at the drug store. NYX is one of the best but other good ones include Jordana and Wet n Wild.
BRUSHES

You can’t hope to do a bomb makeup look without some tools. There are alot of brushes out there and it can be confusing.  I remained confused for many years as it’s highly debatable what you need. This list states the brushes I think you need to form a core collection in order to create most looks.
Sponge 

We have ALL heard of the Original Beauty Blender and all its magical wonder. I get it, it works. However I just cannot bring myself to pay $30 for sponge. Fortunately there are loads of similar products now on the market. These types of sponges are good for blending and creating a more even airbrushed look, very similar to a stippling brush, so if you are tight on money I say choose one not both. 

Real Techniques blending sponge 
Real Techniques Blendin Sponge– This has been dubbed the best (or only )dupe for the Original Beauty Blender. I have never used a beauty blender but I have used this sponge and I recommend it.  It gets to about 1/3 greater it’s size when wet, it is soft and it works well. These sponges are approximately  $5 each. 



Face Brushes

For the face you need something to help apply foundation, blush/bronzer, highlight and contour and then buff it all out.

Stippling brush,  buffing brush, foundation brush, angled brush, kabuki brush



Stippling brush– This blends foundation out evenly. Can be used in place of a blending sponge.

Large fluffy face brush (buffing brush)- This is good for blending out your finished look or addding finishing powder.

Pointed brush– This is good for applying liquid foundation particularly in angled areas such as under the eyes. Also useful for spreading on liquid concealer, for applying under eye powder and using edgeways to apply highlight or contour to the nose.

Angled Brush– And angled brush is best for applying anything along the cheeks namely highlight, bronzer and even blush(although a slightly thicker angled brush is better for blush)

Kabuki (this one is by e.l.f) – A kabuki is basically a densely packed flat topped fluffy face brush great for applying finishing powders and blending. The plus side is that most oF them are fairly small like this one and are great to travel with. (There are long handled kabuki brushes and if you have this you may not need the fluffy face brush )


Eye brushes
Lid shadow brush– A brush with fairly densely packed fibres allows you to pick up a good amount of product and pack it onto the lid well.

Fluffy brush– This is good for blending out the crease colour and I use it to blend my shadow in general.

Flat angled brush-This is excellent for the brow, the angle allows you to create hair like strokes if you are using a pomade or brow powder. 

Lining brush-This is good for applying your gel liner if you want a thin line.

Flat domed brush– This is useful for applying thin line of shadow especially on the lower lid line, good for smudging.

Flat thin brush (not shown)- For applying a bolder gel line look. 

Elf flat brush



E.l.F flat brush-This shape is excellent for applying shadow to the brow bone and can also be used to put shadow into the crease.

You will see that most of these brushes are by Real Techniques.  This company is absolutely slaying the affordable makeup tool game. The products are versitile but with great variety, aesthetically pleasing and well priced. The quality is good, there is little to no shedding, soft and easy to clean. If you are starting a makeup collection this is a great place to begin. 

Two other drugstore brands with highly recommended brushes is Sonia Kashuk and Cala ( the ones with the wooden handles) E.l.f has a massive array of brushes which for me personally are either hit or miss. That being said they have one of the lowest price points so for those on the tightest of budgets this is a great brand to start with.



Brush cleaning

To get the most out of your tools you need to keep them clean. There are instant spray brush cleaners for everyday quick fix and then you can do a proper deep clean approximately once a week.

E.l.f and NYX instant brush cleaners 



E.l.f and NYX instant brush cleaners– The best brush cleaner I ever used was the Sephora brand brush cleaner, one spray and the brush is clean. These both work okay but require multiple sprays. I suspect that considering the amount you need to get your brush clean that they may not be much cheaper than the Sephora or M.A.C ones.

Real Techniques brush cleaning palette 


Brush cleaning palettes are becoming more popular. They come in many shapes and sizes. Their primary role is to provide an abrasive surface to enable a deeper better cleaning of your brush. My opinion is these are somewhat useful especially if you have alot of product build up but they are not life changing. You can clean your brushes using water, soap and a towel.
Real Techniques brush cleaning palette – This had great reviews because it has varying sizes of abrasive nodules to clean different sized and shaped brushes. It works okay for me.I costs $14 US.


Makeup Removal

Makeup is removal is often aided by makeup remover either in wipe form or liquid/oil form. These substances help dissolve the makeup making it easier for you to wash your face. Wipes are useful because they can cover much of the face easily but the choice between liquid and wipes is personal (I use wipes)

 Equate makeup wipes


Equate is Walmart’s store brand wipes and they work perfectly fine for me. I’ve used quite a few brands of wipes and I don’t find the more expensive brands to have any benifit. Some good drugstore brands include Cala and Yes.


Sample size (higher end products)

This is a great way to get something a little fancier for a little less. Many department and cosmetic stores sell mini or sample size versions of their products often promoted as travel friendly. The product itself is not necessarily cheaper and in some cases it may cost more per unit but what you pay for a mini palette is often one third of what you’d fork over for fullsize. This is a good way to try out a more expensive brand before taking the plunge and spending a lot of money or this may be the way you chose to use higher end products.

Kat von D sample sized eyeliner in black and wolf (grey), Tarte 6 shadow mini eyeshadow palette, ABH mini eyebrow pencil and brow gel.


Thank you for reading. If you made it this far you are truly dedicated. I hope this information can help someone looking to start a new makeup collection who maybe on a tight budget and I hope you have an awesome day!

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites 

7 Sep

Cauliflower Buffalo bites 

Hello 

This is a  recipe I have craved for months, maybe years… cauliflower Buffalo “wings ” a.k.a bites. I first saw these on pinterest in passing and thought ” Oh not bad “. Then one of my favorite YouTubers got hooked on them. She practically orders them in every video she posts. That got me really craving them. I finally decided to give them a go. 

I did 2 versions : A super healthy version that also happens to be vegan and a pseudo healthy version that involves flour, egg and oil. 

I just want to point out that using one large head of cauliflower made enough bites for a small party 6-10 and the only other main ingredient you need that may not already be in your kitchen is the Buffalo sauce. This makes this a very reasonable appetizer / snack to prepare cost wise. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1 )  A large head of cauliflower. 

2) Buffalo sauce ( you could easily swap this out for any other sauce e.g. sweet and sour ) 

3) 1 cup of flour. 

4) 1 medium sized egg. 

5) 1 cup of water. 

6) 6-8 ice cubes. 

7) Olive oil 

8) Seasonings 

The main ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

First separate the cauliflower into florets then further separate them into bite sized pieces and rinse. I then divided the batch into half to make the 2 different versions. 

Divide into florets 

Separate into smaller pieces 


SUPER HEALTHY VERSION

So to break this down and be perfectly honest this healthier version is basically roasted cauliflower with buffalo sauce. This version is not as delectable as the alternate version but it certainly tastes good and it’s healthy. So this is the version you make when you plan to eat this as your lunch or snack for the week and you make the other version when you’re having guests. 

1 ) Season with your choice of seasonings. I chose black pepper, paprika and a bit of curry powder. 

Sprinkled with black pepper 

Paprika and curry 
2) Pour buffalo sauce to your liking ( I used approximately 2 tbsp ). Be sure to cover all the bits. 

Buffalo sauce added 

3 ) Place in oven and roast until the edges are crispy ( this took my oven approximately 20 minutes at 300 ° F ) 

4) Remove from oven once appropriately cooked and add a bit more buffalo sauce to coat the bites. 

All done 


PSEUDO HEALTHY VERSION 

So I didn’t actually get this recipe from anywhere, I kind of winged it so I can’t say for sure how others do it but I’ll tell you what I did. Basically I made cauliflower tempura referring specifically to the way I made the batter . 

Tempura batter is light, fluffy and crunchy all at the same time and it can be used on any type of vegetable and most seafood and meat. 
1) Pour 1 cup of water into a bowl then add the ice. The aim is to get ice cold water. 

Ice cold water 

2 ) Add the egg to the water then mix. 

Egg added 

3 ) Pour in the flour and mix to a runny ( not watery ) consistency. 

Mixture 

4 ) Start to place the cauliflower bites into the batter, I transferred mine to a shallow dish first to allow for a better fit. 

Batter in shallow dish 

Bites placed into batter. 
5) Pour the oil into a saucepan and let it heat up. Then add the coated cauliflower a few at a time. 

Frying the bites 
6 ) Let them fry until golden ( tempura batter seldom turns brown ) and remove from heat. 

Fried crispy and golden 
7 ) Coat the bites with buffalo sauce to your liking. 

Serve alone or with a blue cheese sauce. 

These were both easy to make. The entire process took about 1 hour (and that includes the time I took to take photos ) so removing that I would say 35-45 minutes. I recommend frying the bites just 1-2 hours before serving as they can soften and wilt a bit. However, if this isn’t an option you can store it in a very airtight container. Only add the sauce just before serving. 
I hope you try these recipes and enjoy them and I hope you have an awesome day. 

Buffalo bites both ways.

(No- bake) Ice cream cake 

4 Sep

Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream 

Hello

Today I bring a spin on the ice cream cake that involves well…no cake. This is a great treat to make as a regular cake alternative for your ice-cream loving friends.

Instead of cake , this recipe uses a cookie crumb crust similar to a cheesecake. I have also included a decor DIY I think is fitting for any ice cream party.
ICE CREAM CAKE

I made two small cakes and some mini ones. The process is identical the difference is the container used. You can also make a larger cake or use a loaf pan.
WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Ice cream– I bought a box of neopolitan ice cream that way I got 3 flavours out of one  purchase but use whatever you have/want.

2) Cookies/Buscuits– I used custard creams as the vanilla and strawberry base and oreos for the chocolate base.

Custard creams and oreo cookies

Butter 
3) Cake tin(s) I used two 4 inch diameter spring form tins and a mini muffin tin for the smaller ones.

Cake tins

PROTIP : The key here is the spring form tin. I have attempted ice cream cakes in the past that didn’t work out because I simply couldn’t get them put the tin. Remember you are freezing the ice cream, it will not easily slip out of a regular tin. For the smaller ones it was easier to remove because liners were used. I haven’t tried it but I suspect this could work with a silicone container. 

4) Blender/Food Processor – To crumble the cookies. You can alternately do it manually. 
WHAT TO DO 

1) Remove filling from your biscuits  (if they have )

Golden custard and oreo cookies sans cream
2) Blend cookies  -In food processor / blender/nutribullet  to create crumbs. If you don’t have one of these devices then place the cookies in a plastic bag, get a heavy utensil  (mallet, bowl, leg of ham…) and pound the daylights out of it, use that elbow grease. This is a more labour intensive method but it works just fine. 

Cookie crumbles 
3) In a heated skillet melt a small amount of butter at a time alternatjng with adding cookie crumbs.  You want to create a concoction the texture of moist sand.

Creating crumb and butter mixtures
4) Press cookie-butter mixture into lined pans or cupcake liners and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up.

Compress mixture
5) Once the crust is firm add softened ice cream on top and smooth over. Atthis point you can make any additions you want like broken up cookie bits, fruit, jelly candies. ..you get the idea.

Process of adding ice-cream to base.
6) Freeze for at least 6 hours but overnight if you can. I want to recommend covering your cakes with plastic wrap as this may help reduce the frostbite mine ultimately suffered. 

7) Decorate -I broke up some cookies and placed them onto the top of the cakes but you can add sprinkles, frosting whatever you want! 
DOILY/DOILIE BANNER

I made a banner using dyed doilies as I thought this would go along with the ice cream vibe. I made a similar one a few years back for my mother’s birthday party. Doiles are very inexpensive and can be used in all kinds of crafty activities and I think they suit events such as ice cream and tea parties. 
WHAT YOU NEED 

1) White doilies (I used 6 out of a package of 40)

2) Food dye– you can also use natural dyes such as berries or tea.

3) String

4) Glue

5) Bowls– to soak the doilies in. The number you use corresponds with the number of colurs you use, unless you’re like me and you only have one bowl, then this process takes MUCH longer!

Materials needed
WHAT TO DO 

1) Place water into bowl and add dye. The more dye and less water you add (i.e the more concentrated the solution) the more brightly coloured your doily will turn out.

Water and dyes placed
2) Place doilies in and let soak. -I left mine for about one hour, long enough to soak up as much colour as possible but not so long as to become over saturated and disintegrate. 

Doilie soaking
3) CAREFULLY  remove from water, separate and lay flat to dry. Until they dry they remain quite delicate. 

Dyed and dried doilies
4) Fold dried doilies over string and glue. I folded mine 1/3 over because I liked it better that way, but you can fold it in half or even cut them to make more.

Folded and glued doilies  (back view)
Hang and enjoy! 

Dolie banner
Combine your decor and finished ice cream cakes for a whimsical ice cream party. This is great for birthdays,  a cute dessert option for any gathering. 

Have an awesome day! 

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