Archive | March, 2017

Travel Cosmetics -How to pack

19 Mar

Whenever I travel I always try to pack a little better than I did the time before. And important group of items I carry is of course, cosmetics. From face wash to mascara, these items can get pretty bulky and cumbersome if you aren’t careful. This post lists items I typically take on a trip and how I pack for minimum space usage.


Some of the cosmetics I travel with

A major tip for packing you travel cosmetics is mini. If you can get every item in mini size that would be perfect. Most supermarkets and beauty stores sell minis of many items. For those things you can’t get a mini version of, invest in some mini travel pots and bottles.

FACE AND BODY

These are the essentials.The things you might need along the way on your trip. The things you don’t want to leave home without. Packaging these first.

○ Toothbrush and toothpaste 

○ Mouthwash

○ Deodorant (Secret)

○ Face/body wash(Cetaphil)

● Daily moisturizer(Oil of Olay Daily moisturizer)- I squirting a few days worth into a travel size container.

● Hand cream(BBW Black cherry merlot)

● Sunblock(Coppertone)

● Cleansing wipes(Wetones)

HAIR

○ Hairspray by Rave

○ Hair moisturizer by Garnier

○ Dry shampoo-I hardly ever wash my hair on short trips (I havethick, curly natural hair prone to dryness) so I don’t pack shampoo or conditioner but I do pack dr6 shampoo to keep things clean.

○ Hair gel by Tre Semme

MAKEUP

As tough as it may be, you have to use extreme discretion and only pack what you need. Think of all the makeup items you typically wear on an everyday basis to decide what to take.

● Foundation (Maybelline fit me matte and poreless in coconut)

● Eyeshadow palette (NYX Natural) – A fairly compact palette with enough shades to create multiple looks is ideal

● Blush (Milani American Rose)- A blush that will likely match your eye and lip colours.

● Lip colour (Milani Confident matte) – One that will go well with your eye colours

● Mascara (Too Faced Better than Sex)

● Brown pencil(ABH Brow definer in dark brown)

● Eye liner(Kat von D tattoo liner in Trooper)

● Setting mist(NYX matte)

● Rollerball perfume(Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb)- These are perfect for travel because they don’t spill.

○ Brushes- pack them in a flat brush holder like this or in a thin cosmetic case.

PACKING

I legit pack most of my cosmetics in a massive zip lock bag. Why? Because it holds a lot, it’s clear so it’s cool to go through airport security and if it gets messed up with spilt product you can bin it when you’re finished. 

Everything laid out



Packing things this way also save space because you can lay it flat on top of your clothing.

All packed up

Thanks for reading, happy travels and have an awesome day!

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A few Spring things

12 Mar

A few Spring things

Happy spring! So even though the Spring Equinox isn’t until March 20th,  today is the day where clocks spring forward, so technically it’s spring right. I should also add that I do not live in a temperate climate so technically these seasons aren’t experienced where I am but it doesn’t stop me from totally getting excited about this time of year.

I decided to do a post sharing some things I have been recently enjoying and plan to continue doing so into the upcoming spring season. The items aren’t spring themed, just happen to be living them right now.


MAKEUP


Sweet Peach palette by Too Faced

This palette is a re-release from Too Faced, originally being a limited edition but now added to the right permanent line and massively expanded to include highlighters, blush and lip colours. This was a surprise favourite for me because initially I was unimpressed. Quite a few beauty bloggers/vloggers expressed disappointment with the palette and I was genuinely turned off. I actually walked into Sephora to purchase an entirely different palette a few weeks ago and just glanced over at this one. I switched the colours and I was hooked. 

Packaging

The packaging is the standard Too Faced metal palette that closes magnetically. It is ombre peach coloured with raised peaches across it. This actually makes it a bit difficult to stack with other flat palettes.

Product 

This palette costs $49 US and it contains 18 shadows each 0.95g .There are 5 matte shares all in neutral colours that I think can work for any skin tone. The rest of the palette is comprised of satiny and shimmers in corals, coppers and purples as well as an olive shade and a shimmery black shade.

Impression

For me, I love this palette. I can create complete looks with it alone including a completely neutral look (but why would you want to with all these awesome shades) 

Moda Makeup Brushes

Moda face brushes

By now most of us who have an interest in makeup would have heard of the Artis makeup brushes. For those who haven’t , it’s a set of flat head high end makeup brushes. These brushes made their rounds in the beauty community last year but for many of us regular folk the price was just too high. Then came the dupes.There are more than a few companies who have fashioned their version of the Artis makeup face brushes charging a pretty penny for them too. Then came Moda. This brand has been steadily making a name for itself as a brightly coloured, affordable, decent quality drugstore makeup tools line. I first knew of this brand of face brushes through Emmy Noel, one of my favourite beauty YouTubers. She gave them her stamp of approval and that was all I needed to hear. This set of four brushes goes for around $15 US at Walmart and is by far the cheapest I have seen any of these brushes yet.

Style

These are paddle head brushes compared to your typical makeup brushes with very densely packed fires. The colour is awesome resembling a cross between oil slick and mermaid skin on the handles and unicorn hair for  the bristles. Honestly I was sold on the appearance alone.
Function

The largest brush is meant for foundation (liquid or creme). The second size is meant for blush and bronzer.  The third one is for contouring and the fourth and smallest is meant for concealer. Obviously you can use the  however you like. I find myself getting the most use out of the two larger ones. I appreciate applying my foundation with something different to a sponge. I also find I use less product when I use this brush to apply. The blush brush is the perfect size for blush application.

If you are interested in this style of makeup brushes but can’t or won’t splurge on the more expensive version, definitely give these a go.

Colour Switch


Color Switch by Vera Mona

This little tin here was a true game changer for me. A colour switch allows you to reuse the same makeup brushes in the same time frame i.e while creating the same look. I was going crazy trying to create a cute look and realising I didn’t quite have enough brushes to do it with. If I used my brush cleaner, the brush got wet and wouldn’t dry out in time.

Until

I got

Color Switch

This invention is genius. It is essentially a circular chunk of very  porous, hard sponge not unlike that found in aquarium filters. You rub the brush in circles to get off product. You can use both sides and wash it when it gets particularly dirty.

Milani Lip Color Remover

In this day and age where long wear matte lipsticks are a dime a dozen,  this little tube is a saving grace. It is the colour and consistency of a petroleum jelly lip gloss. This thing really works! Just put it on and remove using a bit of tissue and the lip color comes right off.

SKIN AND BODY CARE

Elf Hydrating Bubble Mask

E.l.f mask



While other drugstore brands are busy expanding their makeup line, e.l.f has done that and is now making a foray into affordable skin care. So far I’ve seen facial cleansers, masks, day and night time moisturizers. I picked this one up because I’ve been curious about bubble masks but didn’t want to buy an expensive one only to hate it. I don’t hate this. I have feelings opposite to hate for this. 

Packaging

The packaging with this skin care line is a real winner. It is in a pale aqua cylindrical tub set into frosted translucent hard glass making it look rather luxe. The product comes through a hole in the top via a pumping motion.

Product

The mask comes out as a clear almost greasy substance with a mild you citrus scent. Upon touching moist skin it becomes white and foamy but it takes about two minutes before it truly bubbles. Bubble masks feel weird. Lol. The sensation is tingly and feels as if I poured a Sprite onto my face. After use my face felt clean but not dry which is what the product promised.


Philosophy Pink Marshmallow Buttercream shower gel

Shower gel

Philosophy makes intensely scented bath and body products. Whatever the scent is on the bottle is EXACTLY what it smells like.This can be used as shower gel, bubble bath or shampoo. It lathers well and leaves a gentle lingering scent on your skin. What I love about Philosophy products like this is that they print actual recipes on the front of the bottles to go along with the fragrance. I picked this one up from T.J Maxx and paid about $4 which is about half of the original price  (according to T.J. Maxx)


Body Shop Italian Summer Figure Body Cream


Cream

Yes, I am featuring a summer fig cream in a spring favourites post. This was another T.J.Maxx (my favourite off-price retail store) find and it was a good one. I paid $5US for mine but you can get it from The Body Shop for about $10. This cream comes in the traditional Body shop cream container and the graphics are clean and simple as with most body shop products. It smells delicious. It is rich and a little sweet with a fresh almost grassy undertone. It’s the type of scent that makes you constantly sniff your hands (or foot or whatever body part you put it on). The consistency of the cream is soft and whipped and extremely moisturizing.


FRAGRANCE

Elizabeth and James Nirvana rollerballs 

Rollerballs



Elizabeth and James is a line owned by the prolific business savvy Olsen twins: Mary-Kate and Ashley.  The names come from two of their younger siblings and the Nirvana fragrances have become more and more popular. 

I previously used the Nirvana White as a fragrance sampler set I got from Sephora about a year ago. Since then I’ve been hooked. The Nirvana line now has four fragrances: E&J Nirvana White, E&J Nirvana Black, E&J Nirvana Rose and E&J Nirvana Bourbon.

These fragrances have something for everyone occasion. The White has a clean fresh daytime scent. Black is darker and more musky and great for evening to night. Rose is light and romantic and almost powdery, fantastic for day wear or a date night. Bourbon is my favorite. It does somewhat embody the essence of Bourbon. It has depth and a bit of sweetness. I prefer this for nighttime but it can work in the day as well.

 I purchased this set of four rollerballs from Sephora for $28 which is a bit of a bargain for rollerballs these days. I am into buying sample or travel sizes of items because it allows me to test something before committing to a full size as well as giving an opportunity to try many things at once.


BBW Tomato Vine Candle

Candle

This candle smells diVINE!  (get it?) Bath and body Works continues to grow their candle line exploring more sophisticated scents. This is one of those and what a great job they did. This candle smells earthy, green and a little bit tart. It is very fragrant and throws fairly well. This works well being burnt in the mid morning to early afternoon as well as a fragrant backdrop for an after dinner glass of wine.

Those are my spring favourites. Maybe something I featured is a favourite of yours or maybe you’ll want to test out some for yourself. Have an awesome day!

Mediterranean Soiree 

8 Mar

This past weekend I hosted an intimate gathering in honour of my mother and sister’s upcoming birthdays as I won’t be seeing them on their respective special days.

I decided to go with a Mediterranean theme for the menu taking cues from Italian, French and Greek cuisines. 

As a rule, whenever I entertain I lays try not to bite off more than I can chew. Preparing for an event no matter how small or relaxed can become extremely stressful if you try to make everything yourself. So I chose the “semi-homemade” route, making simple recipes and using some ready made fare.

The menu served 10 persons and was as follows

Bruschetta

Mushroom crostini

Olive bar

Cheese and meat board

Chicken souvlaki (kebabs) with Tzatziki sauce

Assorted artisan mini pastries (premade)


Creme cheese croissants (premade)

Biscotti  (premade)

I will share how I prepared the items for this get together. 



BRUSCHETTA 

Bruschetta is a popular antipasto found in many Italian eateries and with good reason. It consists of slices of toasted bread coated in oil and topped with a variety of things including meats, cheeses and perhaps best known…tomato.

I made tomato bruschetta using a sliced baguette.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 slices)

1/2 of a baguette  

Butter or olive oil

One large ripe tomato 

Spices- I used Italian spices and a pinch of salt


WHAT TO DO

Tomato

1)Dice tomato

2)Add salt and spices with a drizzle of olive oil

3)Stir to mix and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow flavour to mature.

Tomato mixture 

Bread 

4)Slice baguette into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices

5)Lay flat on a baking sheet

6)Coat with butter/oil.

7)Bake until golden or desired crispness 

Bread coated in melted butter




Top bread with tomato mixture just prior to serving to avoid bread becoming soggy.

Bruschetta 


MUSHROOM CROSTINI 

If you were to ask me the true difference between crostini and bruschetta I’m not sure I could answer clearly. Both have Italian origins, both involve slices of grilled bread and both are often topped with similar items. That being said, I’m totally comfortable with calling bread topped with tomato bruschetta,  but topped with mushrooms not so much. So I’m calling it crostini.

This recipe is almost identical to the bruschetta one except for the preparation of the topping so I’ll focus on that.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 pieces)

12 OZ of fresh mushrooms -feel free to use canned ones 

1/4 cup of finely diced onion 

2 tbsp of brown sugar- I used coconut sugar 

2 tbsp butter

1/2 of a baguette 

Ingredients 



WHAT TO DO 

Mushrooms

1)Heat butter, sugar and onions in a skillet until onions sweat (become soft and translucent) 

2)Add mushrooms and Sautee until browned.

Onions,butter and sugar mixture 


Mushrooms being sautéed 


Bread

See 4-6 for bruschetta 

3)Top bread with mushrooms just before serving

Mushroom crostini 


CHICKEN SOUVLAKI/KEBABS 

Kebabs are always a favourite of mine for parties. Who doesn’t enjoy eating bites of food off a stick? Something about it is just so much fun. Lol.

The inspiration for this came from a blog post by Closet Cooking who created this recipe after tasting something similar while on vacation in Greece. The chicken is flavour education with the tart lemon and spices and topped with tzatziki. Tzatziki is a Mediterranean yogurt based dip infused with herbs and spices. It is served with meat or used with pita bread or vegetables as a dip. You can make it yourself but it is also widely available in most supermarkets  (I bought mine).

WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 15)

1/2 lb Chicken breast/thighs boneless

1 large lemon

Minced garlic or garlic powder 

Tzatziki

WHAT TO DO 

1)Cube chicken and coat with juice of lemon, garlic and any other seasonings and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2) Skewer chicken Bake until cooked

3)Drizzle with Tzatziki-I also served some on the side.

Chicken souvlaki 


OLIVE BAR

This one was easy-peasy. I saw an amazing olive bar at Whole foods and knew I had to recreate it even if on a micro scale. I bought a container of mixed olives and worked with that.

WHAT YOU NEED

Various olives- You can use as many types as your heart desires

Containers- to display the olives

WHAT TO DO

Distribute the olives in their various containers along with spoons and display. I used a wooden cutting board.

Olive bar 



CHEESE AND MEAT BOARD

I have to say, that out of all the dishes on this menu, this is the one I was most excited about. Cheese and meat boards or antipasti boards are becoming a bigger and bigger trend in the foodie world making appearances on lots of restaurant menus. But these amazing appetizer boards are well established in Mediterranean cuisine. 
WHAT YOU NEED

Cheeses- At least two types but as many as you wish. I used Asiago, Gouda and sweet onion Swiss cheese by Laughing Cow.

Meats- At least two types or skip it if you want a strict cheese board. I used sliced turkey and turkey salami

Extras- I used purple or red grapes, almonds and some crackers

Board- This can be your cutting board, a marble board, slate board, metal board etc. Whatever you have. I used a rectangular board and most that I’ve seen do the same but this can work on a circular or oblong board as well.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO

1)Arrange your cheeses and meats on the board. I tried to create something visually pleasing by placing the cheeses at differing heights and placing the meats in between.

2)Place your extras to fill in the empty spaces

Cheese and meat board


PREMADE items

To round out this Mediterranean inspired fest I purchased some items to cut down on prep time and stress.

Pastries 

I bought a box of frozen mini pastries which came in four flavours: spinach and cheese, red bell peppers and cheese, sweet onion and cheese and mushroom and cheese…there was a lot of cheese.

Assorted savory pastries 

Dessert

All the dessert was premade. Desserts are satisfying to make but boy will they eat up your time. I purchased some Biscotti, a tasty Italian treat often eaten along with coffee. I also bought some French Creme cheese pastries which I warmed in the oven and served.

Biscotti 

Cream cheese pastries


A few more shots of the finished table

The evening was great, spent with family and friends. There was good conversation and tasty food. As I say I always recommend doing some things yourself and getting help with others when entertaining,  it makes everything a bit easier.

I hope my Mediterranean inspired Soiree gives you some ideas for your next event. Have an awesome day and Happy International Womens Day to all!

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