Thursday, June 30, 2011

Makeup Review - MUFE Mat Velvet Foundation

I have been using this product for weeks and I feel that I can accurately say this is one of the best foundations I've ever used. 

Color - MUFE foundation comes in a wide variety of skin shades.  Mine is Ivory and it doesn't go on yellow based as some of the Nars / Laura Mercier foundations I've tested.  It blends naturally with my natural skin color.

Staying Power - It holds up to Carolina humidity and that is a top priority for me.  It has held up on a hot day when I was helping R move and some hot beach nights.  Now as for it being matte...yes and no.  I'd say for the most part, indoors while I'm at work I stay shine free.  If I'm going to be active or outside of course I still get shiny so I use powder and rice paper to neaten my appearance. 

Coverage - In my experience it would be a medium coverage foundation.  I've used an Estee Lauder 18 hour foundation before that was full coverage and Korres WRF which is light coverage - this is in between.  All the redness is covered and my skin tone is even.  It even covered some sunburn that I had around my hairline, no one would have ever known.

Final word - I have sensitive, combination skin and I occasionally get breakouts.  I haven't had any bumps that I can relate to this product. This product is oil free and water resistant but is easily removed with my Avalon Organics face wash or my Olay cleansing cloths.  It's also light which is nice, on hot humid days I don't want a heavy layer of makeup on my skin and this one doesn't feel like a mask.  It doesn't contain sunscreen so that is an important consideration if you don't wear a daily lotion that contains one.

Review: Smashbox Perfectly Polished Lids

So I received the Smashbox Perfectly Polished Lids for free as my 500 point bonus from Sephora.  I don't think it's being offered anymore since I've been using it for several weeks but the products are sold through the line in their full size. 

The Cream Eye Liner in Midnight Brown is great!  In fact its probably my favorite brown so far and I love the creamy texture, it really glides with no tugging.  The color is dark brown and very natural looking.

Eye Shadow Trio in Vanilla, Champagne and Brazilian Bronze.  This is a great trio, the colors work great together.  Each shadow has a creamy texture with a slight amount of shimmer.  I love the Bronze and the Vanilla so I tend to use those together.  The Champagne oxidizes a little on my lid as a slightly red color which is so sad because it really is a great neutral but it doesn't work on me.  I loved this trio so much that I've used it as my sole eyeshadow in the past several weeks.

Photo Finish Lid it's okay.  I don't love it as much as I love Two Face Shadow Insurance.  It takes a little extra effort to blend it out.

Lash DNA Mascara.  I love the formula.  The brush is HUGE with the old fashioned synthetic bristles;  it gives great definition and length.  The color is great, formula doesn't flake and it stays put all day.  The size of the brush does make it difficult to apply to the lashes though, because it is so big you have to be super diligent not to ruin the rest of your eye makeup.  I would purchase this though, but my needs are only for mascara on my upper lashes.  I don't think this would work at all for lower lashes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the Kitchen - Chicken and Avocado Soup

Delicious soup that I made using a Skinny Girl recipe - cilantro and lime make it perfect for summer! R and I loved it!

5 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cup scallions chopped - reserve some for garnish
3 ripe hass avocados, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped - reserve some for garnish
2 lime wedges
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
pinch cumin (I used about 1 tsp)
pinch cayenne (I used about 2 tsp)

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat.  Add scallions and garlic.  Saute about 2 minutes and add tomatoes.  Add chicken stock, cumin, and cayenne and bring to a boil.  Add chicken.  Simmer covered on low for about 15-20 minutes.  Ladle soup in a bowl and garnish with a wedge of lime, avocados, cilantro, and scallions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In the Kitchen: Cereal Bar Recipe

I've started making my own oatmeal bars for breakfast and I'm really loving them.  Such a versatile recipe and you can basically have a limitless number of options.  Everything is natural and wholesome and most importantly ... easy!  I based my recipe on one listed in Snack Girl's blog but here are the ones I made this week.  I have all the ingredients on hand especially since R has been on a trailmix kick so we have a variety of nuts and dried fruit available.

Makes 12
1/2 cup of nut butter (I used Maranatha Almond Butter but I'm using natural peanut butter next week)
2 bananas mashed
1/2 cup of whole nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
1 1/2 cup of dried fruits ( I used raisins and craisins)
1 cup of rolled oats (I ended up using about a 1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp of vanilla (I didn't have any so I used a tablespoon of apricot perserves for flavor)
pinch of cinnamon (I used at least a full tablespoon)
1/4 cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (I omitted this)

Preheat the oven to 350*.  I put my bananas, nuts, and dried fruit in a bowl and with a hand chopper I chopped until the bananas were mush and the nuts /fruit were coarsely chopped.  I added the oats, almond butter, cinnamon and perserves and stirred until I had a lumpy batter.  Then I divided the mixture in a lightly greased muffin pan into 12 servings.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  I actually prefer mine at room temperature and really I didn't put anything into mine that would spoil.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A room with a view...

R and I went on a field trip to a local nursery to spruce up the patio a couple of weekends ago.  It's been so blah since I moved in and I wanted to make it a little more welcoming.

 I used a voucher from a local store that I received for my birthday to get the garden flag free! 

 My cute flower beds!

 Mom bought these cushions for my birthday this year and at first I wasn't sure about them but they've grown on me.  I love the red with the dark wicker.

 My flower bed and a view of the seashell wreath I made a few weeks ago.

This is the front of my apartment.  I love that it looks so summery and inviting.  Now I have no excuses to have a drink outside and in a couple of monthes my satellite contract will expire so I can move that eyesore dish from spoiling my view.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In the Kitchen: Artichoke and Tuna Pasta

So my friend kDm graciously sent me her SELF magazine from a couple of months ago in the mail so I could check it out. I was trying to decide what magazine I was going to order from the fundraiser at my niece's school and could not choose between two of them. I loved some of the recipes! Here is one that I selected for dinner this week:
1/2 lb linguine (I used whole wheat angel hair); reserve some cooking liquid
1 package of frozen artichoke hearts (I used canned ones, rinsed and drained)
1 can of black olives sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes halved
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 large can of solid white tuna packed in water
Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add artichokes, garlic, and olives, cook through about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in white wine and pasta water and reduce a little, about 5 minutes. Toss with pasta, salt and pepper, lemon juice, tuna, and rosemary.
I dressed the pasta with a little more lemon juice and a shake of parmesan before serving as a preference.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Product review: new blush and eyeliner

I think I made my position on the Urban Decay 24/7 liner in bourbon known in my Sephora Purchases post. But I'll review it anyway. This liner goes on smooth in a deep bronze color. There is some sparkle so contact lenses wearers beware! I have had issues with the sparkles getting in my eyes. It lasts a good 8-9 hours - I don't have to touch up until evening time with is great but thats with all urban decay liners. The color is rich and glides on so there is no tugging or need to bear a lot of weight on the pencil. The best part is, the color doesn't oxidize as badly as most brown shades do on my eyelids. Now....for me personally, it doesn't work. It's a great product but I don't necessarily love it with my eye color. I've tried many brown shades through the years but usually only black or brown black eyeliners work on me. This shade with my light eyes kind of makes them a little red. I'm probably going to keep it but I haven't made up my mind yet.
I bought this blush sight unseen based on reviews from the website. Not super smart in hindsight but I knew I could return it if it didn't work. Lucky for me I love it! It gives the illusion of a tan but not in the way a bronzer does; it's just a really pretty slightly peachy neutral that works on light skin. It can be layered for darker skintones but a really light hand and a fluffy brush are necessary for skin as pale as mine. I'm very satisified with this purchase and I have made it my go to daytime blush.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Seashell Wreath

Saturday I spent two hours making this summer wreath for my front door. I had a giant pickle jar full of shells that I've collected through the years and I wanted to find a use for them. This is a easy project that turns out quite nice I think if you are looking to get rid of a pickle jar full of shells in your home!
You'll need:
A styrofoam hoop found in the wreath section
Ribbon, muslin, or any other type of fabric to wrap around the hoop (I used approx 28 ft)
Hot glue gun
Shells - I bought a few pretty ones and a couple of starfish
Wrap the ribbon or fabric around the styrofoam wreath and either hot glue the ends together or use a straight pin. Use hot glue to start attaching the shells to the wreath. I found it was a lot easier to glue a large shell on first and then fill in with small shells afterwards. Mix up sizes, shapes, and colors for interest and make sure you can't see any ribbon after the shells are on. Once the wreath is covered on the front, inside rim and outside rim - glue on your pretty shells so they are in the front. After the whole project had dried I looped a yellow ribbon over the wreath and made a bow so I could hang it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weekend Getaway...

This past holiday weekend I spent some time on Oak Island with R's family. It's an annual trip for them and I was delighted when he asked me to tag along. Friday we arrived and immediately went down to enjoy to the shore to enjoy the rest of the evening in the sun. Saturday there was a big cookout and a lot of beach time. Sunday R and I explored Oak Island and Southport where we found a great little resturant on the waterfront and enjoyed a game of mini golf. I managed not to burn until the last day and I've been in a bit of pain for the past couple of days. This is R and I the night of the cookout. Oh and that tasty beverage I'm holding is my new favorite summer drink...a Sam Adams Blackberry Ale.
Here's what I packed for my trip:
Two sundresses, shorts, a tank and three bathing suits. I also brought a beach dress and shorts with a t shirt for coverups that aren't shown. I didn't want to overpack...R assured me it would be a laid back weekend and it was. Usually I stress out packing for a trip and this was a breeze.