Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...

Let's face it ladies. It takes more than soap and water to keep us looking young and vibrant, especially if you have kids! And here you thought this was going to be about a mirror and some decorating advice.

I've had several people ask me what I use on my face for cleaning or make-up so I thought I'd post some of my favorite things. About two years ago (ironically coinciding with Charlie's birth) I felt like I started looking older and more haggard. Now of course I'm getting older but 35 was hardly the age I should feel like I was looking old. So I started experimenting. About 6 years ago, my friend Jaime bought me a starter kit for Bare Minerals for my wedding. Love it. I am a huge fan of their powder foundation, concealer and bronzer. I don't use the bronzer in the kit but I do use another one they carry. I also like some of their funkier eye shadows that sometimes come in kits but don't generally use the rest of their products. 

So if you are looking for a great make-up that really improves the look of your skin yet still looks natural (plus it's easy to apply) then Bare Minerals is it. I tried all the other options including Bobbi Brown but Bare Minerals was the best.

Now as you know if you have kids, you don't have tons of time to get ready in the morning, especially if you are trying to get to work or to an appointment. So my routine is super fast - seriously I'm talking 3-5 minutes max. I use a few brushes but I apply my blush and eye shadow with my fingers! So here's the run down...

  • Bare Minerals for foundation/powder, concealer and bronzer (to define cheeks) and I use their brushes that came in the starter kit to apply them. I recently switched to their pressed powder foundation and it covers better and more evenly but be sure to color match. It's not the same shades as the loose powder. 
  • Philosophy's Hope in a Tube- use just a dab under my concealer under the eyes to help it sit well and go on smoother
  • Stila's cream blush - huge fan of cream blush as I think it looks fresher and also is super easy to apply with your fingers. Just dab a little on the apple of your cheeks.
  • Lorac's dual mascara - on one end it's a conditioner/primer and the other is the mascara. I find it helps my sad little eye lashes look fuller and also stay healthier
  • Maybeline or any other generic eyeliner (or sometimes I use eye shadow as liner)
  • My favorite eye shadow is an Ulta brand that I usually apply with just my fingers. I don't tend to spend much on eye shadows
  • Lipstick and Lip Gloss are Bobbi Brown. I occasionally will use Mac but 99% of the time it's BB. I won't really even buy other kinds anymore because it's just even comparable. (if in Columbia, it's found at the Belk at Columbiana Mall)
Simple, easy, not a huge fuss. Of course I have other things I use if we're going out and I want to spend more time on it but generally, I go with basics. 

Optional items are Bare Minerals Prime Time that helps the powder go on smoother and stay on longer. I've also heard good things about their new under eye concealer but I haven't tried it yet. 

As for my skin care, I've recently adapted a new routine. I must wash my face at night and I must use a wrinkle fighting skin care treatment. If you don't use one or you don't wash your face and moisturize at night (no matter your age) - START! It will make a difference. 

I just bought a starter kit by Philosophy (found at Ulta) that is Miracle Worker for anti-aging.  They have a lot of other options but this one seemed to fit the best for me. I've used it for a few weeks and can already tell a difference in my skin and under my eyes where I tend to have dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness. Here's the steps:
  1. Wash: generic towelettes similar to Oil of Olay (not the pre-wet ones) to remove make-up. I find mine at the grocery store.
  2. Philosophy's Miracle Worker (retinoid pads): these are anti aging retinoid pads that come with a serum you pour over them when you first open. I cut them in half so they last longer. Once your face is clean you simply wipe this across your entire face.
  3. Philosophy's Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Concentrate: simple little serum you apply to your face
  4. Philosophy's Eye Hope: used under the eye to fight dark circles, puffiness and lines. A half pump of the bottle is all you need each night.
  5. Philosophy's Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Moisturizer: this is a great moisturizer that leaves the skin soft and supple
Now I will warn you that none of this is cheap. The starter kit was much less expensive which is why I started there, but it doesn't come with the Eye Hope. Keep in mind it does last for a very long time (the small bottle of Eye Hope lasts 9-12 months so it makes the $50 price tag hurt a little less). 

So there you have it, my favorite items in my make-up basket and the new skin care products I just discovered. And I have come to realize that some of the wrinkles under my eyes are not going to go away no matter what I use. Those are from age, genetics and sun damage. But at least I can fight new ones! 

I hope that helps all of you who are searching for new brands or something to work for your skin. 

Does anyone else recommend any really good products? Like any particular skin care line? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Carb heaven is almost here!

Well at least that's what Daniel, the hubby, likes to call Thanksgiving. Once again we'll be staying here for Thanksgiving versus traveling. When we started having kids we chose Thanksgiving as the holiday we'd stay home so we could rest, plus Daniel usually has to work on Black Friday. Apparently people like to work off some of the glutton the day after.

Now I grew up eating Thanksgiving with at least 18-25 people (all family mostly) and we had TONS of food to choose from. I have to say I struggled this year with "Should I fix a full meal? Should I fix a contemporary meal? Should we do something else?" Finally enough people pulled me out of my slump and told me to fix a normal meal on a smaller scale. So at the request of dear old hubby, who chose our fine menu, here's what we're having:
  • Turkey
  • Stuffing/Dressing
  • Gravy
  • Green Beans
  • Mashed Potato Casserole
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie with homemade whipped cream

He was very specific when he gave me the "Please can we have" list, as you can tell by the homemade whipped cream request. Tomorrow I'll go ahead and make the casseroles so they can cook the next day while the turkey is in the oven and I won't have to prepare them all on the same day. I need to test what will fit and not fit in our oven so I can decide if I actually need to pre-cook anything to just be reheated in the microwave if I'm in a pinch. I'm not 100% sure that all the casseroles and the turkey will fit in my little oven. Oh how I dream of a bigger kitchen some day (with double ovens).

But without further ado, here's a yummy recipe for homemade macaroni and cheese. I've tried many but this one is the absolute best!

Macaroni and Cheese
(found on

  • 8 oz macaroni
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream or half & half
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • bread crumbs (optional)
  1. Cook and drain macaroni according to package instructions and set aside
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter then add the flour, salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended
  3. Pour milk and cream in gradually, stirring constantly
  4. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly)
  5. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes (stirring constantly)
  6. Add cheese and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts (stirring occasionally)
  7. Turn off heat and add macaroni. Toss well with cheese sauce until coated.
  8. Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle with bread crumbs OR top with a little shredded cheese
  10. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until top is golden brown
Bon Appetit!