Easy holiday fudge recipes

Hey guys! It’s been a few days since I had an update (just busy with Thanksgiving and family stuff) but I’ve decided to do a series of posts on cooking and baking for the holidays. I love to go all out for the holiday season and make a variety of foods and desserts that are a bit more time consuming than I normally make. However, with 2 boys 3 and under, I don’t have a lot of time this year, so… I’m starting out with a couple of my easiest dessert recipes.

During the (what can seem endless) rounds of holiday gatherings, I usually end up baking or cooking something to bring the host/ess. One of my fail safe “go to”s is fudge. It’s super easy (at least the way I make it), can be customized to individual tastes, and who doesn’t like fudge? (if you don’t, I don’t know you. Just kidding. Kinda).

Below are my two favorite fudge recipes, but feel free to play around and make changes as you wish. The first recipe is dairy/soy/gluten free (but as always, YMMV, so check the ingredients list on everything first before making).

Needed items: aluminum foil, 8×8 pan and either butter or coconut oil for greasing. The other ingredients depend on recipe.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups powdered sugar

1 18 oz jar of crunchy peanut butter

1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter

If you have it, use a double boiler for this next part. I did not because, despite my really needing one, I keep forgetting to buy it, so I make do with rigging up 2 saucepans together. In medium saucepan, melt butter. While butter is melting, line 8×8 pan with foil and lightly grease the foil with either butter or coconut oil (depending on if you want it Paleo friendly or “regular”). Make sure to press the foil against the sides of the pan as best as you can, so it doesn’t make the fudge solidify into weird shapes.

Once the butter is melted, put the entire jar of peanut butter in the saucepan with the butter and keep stirring until they are totally melted together. If your saucepan is big enough, you can add in the sugar right there (once you take the butter/PB mixture off heat) or transfer the liquid into a microwave safe larger bowl and mix it there. Either way, when you add your powdered sugar, add it slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, and whisk it briskly. This helps the sugar dissolve evenly. Once it is dissolved, it will look like a peanut butter paste.

Try to resist the urge to face dive into the bowl just to taste it (what, doesn’t everyone struggle with peanut butter addiction?!) and pour the fudge into the 8×8 pan. Spread it evenly with a spatula or spreader and let it cool in the refrigerator for 3 hours (or just set it outside on your deck like I did, because I live in Michigan, which is pretty much a hop, skip, and a jump away from Arctic Circle temps sometimes). Once it’s set, pull the foil out of the pan and use a wet butter knife to cut it into squares. You’ll want to do pretty small squares because it’s rich.

It’s about the same thing with this next recipe, other than pressing the marshmallows in.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Mint Fudge (4 counting marshmallows, but hey I’m sticking with a theme here)

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Peppermint extract, to taste (roughly 1/2 tbsp. should be good, but use as much as you like)

Peppermint marshmallows

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So this recipe is even easier than the first one (I know, I know, but it seriously is). Melt the chocolate chips and condensed milk together in a microwave safe bowl, checking every 30 seconds until they are smooth and melted together. If you’re one of those fancy folks with a double boiler (see above), then use that. The rest of us will slum it with our microwaved chocolate, but it’s ok because it will still TASTE AWESOME- trust me on this.

While chocolate and milk is melting, line 8×8 pan with foil and lightly grease the foil with butter. Make sure to press the foil against the sides of the pan as best as you can, so it doesn’t make the fudge solidify into weird shapes (it bears repeating because your fudge WILL look weird if you don’t; trust me, I made the guys eat a bunch of pieces that came out looking like Picasso’s toddler art project. Don’t be like me- press the foil to the sides).

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Pour the fudge into the pan and press peppermint marshmallows lightly on to the top. Use as much as you want/whatever looks pretty/make patterns with them; it’s up to you.

Chill the pan in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours (I know it’s weird, but the chocolate fudge takes longer to solidify) or throw it outside. Once it’s set, bring it in, use a wet butter knife and rock it to cut the fudge into small pieces.

Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy!

My oldest son is turning 3 today! He’s currently obsessed with his Kindle and I couldn’t ask for a smarter, sassier boy. Being his mother is an honor and I’m humbled by it. The first time I looked at him, I was just in awe of his perfect little face and I still feel that way today. I felt the weight of responsibility, the terror of someone depending solely on me for everything, and this overwhelming, primal feeling of protectiveness. I never wanted to let go of him and I instantly understood the stories of mothers who did insane things for their children. I knew in that moment I would do insane things for him, too, this screaming, wriggling bundle, this little being that I was meeting for the first time but somehow already loved. He’s pushed me to be a better mother, a better woman, a better human than I could have ever been without him. He challenges me, makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me wonder, “is it too early to start drinking?” And that’s all before 7:00 am 😉

I’m proud of him in ways I never knew were possible and he will always be my first real love, my oldest. I look at him and see the future, so many of my hopes and dreams wrapped up in one tiny body . All my goals changed once he came and they are so much better and more noble than they ever were before him. I see his natural curiosity and the fire in his spirit (he’s most definitely my little spitfire!) and I don’t want the world to ever take that from him. Today I celebrate him, my sweet, feisty, independent, headstrong, loving little boy.

In honor of my little love, the poem that reminds me of him:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

#sograteful #lovethatboy #momoftwoboys #nowimcrying

kindle

This entry was posted in Family.

I think I’m in love (there’s a new lipstick in my life and it’s a keeper)

I’m in love… and it’s pretty serious. I’m in pretty deep with no signs of it cooling down any time soon. Yes my husband knows all about it and he fully supports me 😉 I think I’ve found the only pink lipstick I will ever need- I’m ready to depot all of my MAC pinks and just put them away for my makeup kit because I don’t even want to wear anything else.

I have a few staples of lipsticks in my collection for personal use (as opposed to what’s in my makeup kit, but that’s a whole ‘nother post) and I generally seem to just come back to them- I have a favorite nude, neutral red, gloss, etc. Over the years of my makeup obsession/artistry (that’s a much better term; we’ll stick with that lol) I’ve refined the process to get the lipstick to last without much effort. That’s the subject for another post (which I promise I’ll do soon), but today I have my new lipstick love  to share with you. I recently dragged my very patient husband in to Sephora to return something and swatch the new NARS Audacious lippies that I don’t own (I have one of the nudes called Raquel and it’s AMAZING) when I wandered over to the Hourglass section. I had just read a review on the Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème lipsticks from one of my favorite beauty bloggers, Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog (http://www.makeupandbeautyblog.com), and just wanted to look.

Um… I looked. And I swatched. And I used my store credit to walk out of there with a Velvet Crème lipstick in Fever. It retails for $30 at Sephora or on the Hourglass site (http://www.hourglasscosmetics.com) and is part of Hourglass Cosmetics’ newer lipstick line, designed for upscale customers. I, most assuredly, am not upscale, but I love color and I only paid $9 out of pocket for it, so I’m ok with it. I love that Hourglass lipsticks are free of Parabens and Phthalates and not tested on animals. They make awesome primers but I’ve never owned one of their lippies before and I am SO glad I own Fever.

Hourglass - Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick

This is Sephora’s stock photo but it doesn’t do the color justice. It’s an insanely bright, in your face, no holds barred fuchsia (which incidentally is my favorite color).It screams, “look at me!” It’s probably best suited to the club or New Year’s Eve but you can be like me and wear it to Meijer to pick up sugar. I won’t judge. In fact, if you’re the kind of person who thinks this color is ok to wear to the gas station, then call me- we should totally hang out sometime and road trip to the mall.

Seriously. The color is so insanely pretty that I’ve been making up excuses to wear it. It’s Monday? Bust out Fever. I need to go through the McDonald’s drive-thru to get a $1 Diet Coke?Better throw on Fever before I go. It’s creamy and comfortable to wear- I hardly notice I have it on. I have dry, flaky lips in the Fall and Winter (it sounds gross but I make my own sugar scrub and exfoliate them often, I swear) and this doesn’t cling to any of the dry patches like a matte lipstick does. It lasts about 3.5 hours total but about 3 hours of that is bright glossy color before it starts to fade to a dark pinkish stain, which is also pretty. No popsicle lips or Kool-Aid mouth. I don’t even have to put lip balm under it or use a lip liner, which is extremely rare for me. It’s a color you can throw on, know you look good, and not bother with it for a few hours. Lazy lipstick look for the win!

So those are all the pros. There are a few cons, though. If you have dry skin/lips like I do, there will be tiny bits of feathering after 2-3 hours unless you use a lip liner. I can deal with it without the liner, but it may bug some people who need crisp lines. After a few hours of wear plus eating or drinking I still consider that pretty good, but it’s worth mentioning. Due to its creamy formula, it slips a lot so comes off on straws, food, etc. Your lips will still retain a lot of color, though, so not really a big deal. The biggest con is the price. It’s $30, which puts it in the territory of the NARS Audacious line ($32), Guerlain($36), etc. Also, it’s a decently dupe-able color. You can get pretty close, although IMO it won’t come close to the vibrancy. To me, the closest is Too Faced’s Melted Liquified Lipstick in Melted Fuchsia ($21). The color is good, but the wear isn’t as good as Fever and you HAVE to do a lip primer and liner with Too Faced, or it’ll slide all over your mouth. Candy Yum Yum from MAC ($16) is close in terms of vibrancy and the shocking pink effect, but Candy Yum Yum is more of a yellow-based hot pink, not a blue-based fuchsia.

On me, it looks like this (this is actually about 3 hours and a Diet Coke after first applying it):
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How gorgeous is this?! You need it in your life. Even if you don’t want to spend the $ on it (trust me, I understand), do it anyway. Even better, ask for it for the holidays or put it on your wish list. It’s THAT good.

Have a happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the US! Hope it’s full of family, fun, and insanely large amounts of food. I know mine will be!

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Tutorial

Hey guys! So the site went live last night and I am SO amped for it! This is seriously my passion and something I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS, so I am so excited to share it with you all! I think at first I was a little embarrassed to admit that this is what makes me happy and what I love doing because, let’s face it, everyone and their mother has a blog right now. I’m very blessed to have a husband who’s very supportive of my dreams and wants me to be happy, so he’s been behind me 100% to get this blog up and running and make it so I can share my passions with you guys.

So in honor of my first Friday with a live website, I thought I would bring you my very first makeup tutorial! It’s a Nicki Minaj inspired Pink Friday look. I’m a little rusty at taking pics throughout  the process, so I only have one of the highlighting part and the end results, but I’m working on getting the nerves out and getting the process documented sooner. I’ve had a few requests for a Youtube channel, and I may start that soon, but I really do hate the way my voice sounds recorded, so we’ll see.

Here’s a picture from Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj  to get you guys familiar with her (if you’re not already). She’s obnoxious and silly and I love that. I have a soft spot for entertainers who push the envelope and do everything a little “more” than everyone else- a little more crazy, a little more over-the-top.

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So in honor of it being Friday, I decided to copy Nicki’s makeup look from the album cover. Below is a list of the products I used (I know it sounds like a lot but it’s not bad once you get used to it) and how I did it. I don’t wear falsies when I run out with the baby to Target, but I thought it would be fun to go over the top for the tutorial. I posted my “normal” version of the look below.

Products used:
Face
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors in Opal and Pearl
Benefit the POREfessional primer
Cover Girl Ready, Set Gorgeous in 115
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface
Bronze Veil from the Naked face Palette by Too Faced mixed with Sephora bronzer (for contour)

Eyes
Urban Decay Original Eye primer
Cargo Texas liquid eyeliner
Chocolate, Vanilla Nuts, and Espresso Bean eye shadows from the Laura Mercier Artist’s Palette 2013
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Inked in Pink
Dusk eye shadow from the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette
Rimmel Scandaleyes eyeliner in Nude
Benefit They’re Real mascara
NYX Wicked falsies in Jezebel
Duo dark adhesive eyelash glue

Lips
Cargo Reverse lip liner
NARS lipsticks in the shades Roman Holiday (at first) and Raquel (second look)

To start, put on any moisturizers/eye creams that you use and let them soak in. Put any eye primer on and once the moisturizer has soaked in, put on your face primer and your highlighter. Below I put it on unblended so you can see where I apply it before I blend it in.

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Blend in your highlighter with a small contour brush (I use a Sephora Professional Small Contour brush), then apply your foundation with a stippling brush. I do that, then add in the contour with a larger contour brush. Right now I only do a light contour since it’s winter and my skin is pretty pale. I apply my blush to the apples of my cheeks and check to see if I need to add in any more highlight or if I’m good.

I purposefully leave the under eye area alone, since there is a bit of shadow fallout and I’ll put my concealer on after I clean up any eye mistakes. So I apply my pieces of scotch tape, which if you’ve never used them, they’re a necessity. You can use Shadow shields, but they’re expensive and not necessary. Align them in a diagonal line from your eye to your eyebrow.

Oops forgot to take the pic until I was done

Oops forgot to take the pic until I was done

Once that’s on, I used my base color (the Color Tattoo in Inked in Pink, which you can get at any drugstore or Ulta) and then patted on a sparkly pink color over it all over the lid. I used the shade “Dusk” from the Naked 3 palette but anything that color would work. I then took a small shader brush and applied Amber Lights by MAC in the center of the lid only, patting it on to keep the color from sheering out. I then used a crease brush to pat a chocolate brown shade mixed with a dark brown shade on the outer V. I used Chocolate Truffle and Espresso Bean from the Laura Mercier Artist’s palette from 2013, and blended it out and up into the crease with a windshield washer motion. Once that was blended, I used the shade Vanilla Nuts from that same palette and put a highlight shade under my eyebrow. I added Rimmel Scandaleyes eyeliner in Nude to my waterline to brighten it up. Then, I went under my eye with a pencil brush and added in Dusk, Amber lights, and Espresso Bean along the lower lash line, from left to right.

With the tape still on, I used it to draw a thin line of winged eyeliner along the tape edge and thickened it up on the top. You can find Youtube videos on how to do it, but winged eyeliner is just a lot of practice. I went in to the inner corner of my eyes and added Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, but any pinkish highlighter shade will work. After all that, I curled my eyelashes and put a thin line of Duo eye adhesive on to my falsies. While I waited for the eyelash glue to get tacky (usually takes 30-60 seconds), I put a thin coat of mascara on my own lashes. I then applied the falsies on, using tweezers and pressing along the lash line. I went back over the lash line with a black liquid liner again just to make sure the eyelash track wasn’t visible, then added another coat of mascara on my lashes to “seal” my lashes and the falsies together.

I lined outside my natural lip line with a reverse lip liner by Cargo and blended the harsh edges out with my finger, then threw on my favorite bright pink lipstick, Roman Holiday by NARS, and that’s it! Huge fake lashes and bright lips, just like the album cover :)

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When I went to Target later, I took off the lashes and changed the lipstick to a more manageable one, Raquel by NARS. That’s how I usually look when I just hang around the house.

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And a bonus picture of my little man who’s 11 weeks old today!

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Hope you guys have a good weekend!

Ombre Cake

It’s my oldest son’s birthday next week (cue the panic; he’ll be 3! That makes me old!) and I’ve been making “practice runs” of cake baking before the big day. Everyone does that, right?! Right?! I’m not the only one who obsesses over trying to make things perfect, I know it. It’s been a crazy year for him- we’ve moved from our apartment to a house, his little brother was born, we’re all stumbling around sleep deprived… So I wanted to make his birthday special this year. It’s the day before Thanksgiving, so we’ll be celebrating with family at Thanksgiving, but it was still important to me to make this year’s birthday fun and full of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. He’s obsessed with Thomas and he wants cupcakes and a cake. I was thinking of making an ombre cake with blues for the main cake and red velvet cupcakes with white and blue buttercream frostings for the cupcakes. That covers the red and blue for Thomas colors. Because it’s also Thanksgiving, half of the red velvet cupcakes will have cream cheese frosting and fall harvest decorations.

For my practice cake below, I used my white cake recipe (not sharing it lol; it’s my secret recipe but it’s basically buttermilk instead of milk, egg whites instead of whole eggs and clear vanilla extract) and I used Wilton gel coloring in Royal Blue for the first three layers. To get the navy blue bottom layer, I added in a tiny trace of Wilton gel color in Classic Red.

I made a regular amount of white cake batter, sorted it into 4 bowls with equal amounts of batter and added differing amounts of the gel color. It was mostly trial and error how much to use, other than a tiny bit is all that’s needed for pretty vibrant colors. I poured them into 4 prepared cake pans that are only 0.5 inch in height and filled it about 2/3 full. I baked them for 12 minutes because of being so thin, turned them out on to a wire rack to cool and popped the cakes in the freezer to cool completely

Look at all that smurfy deliciousness!

Look at all that smurfy deliciousness!

Once they were cool (about 30 min) I took them out and began frosting them with vanilla buttercream frosting, starting with the navy blue layer on the bottom. I stacked all 4 layers, then frosted the outside and smoothed it out with a frosting comb.

Here is a slice so you can see the gradient effect. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

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I’ll be sure and post pics of the finished product on his birthday :)

Gwen Stefani Holiday Collection for OPI

I love keeping up on my nails when I can and I love Gwen Stefani (I’ve had a soft spot for her since her No Doubt days), so when I heard she was collaborating with OPI again for a Holiday collection, I decided to swing into Ulta and pick up a couple polishes. A lot of the colors are dupe-able so I decided to pick up the metallic silver since I don’t currently have one. I also grabbed one of the overcoats.

Here is the color chart from the OPI website (http://opi.com/color/collections/gwen-stefani-holiday) :

The colors I bought are Unfrost My Heart (silver) and I’ll Tinsel You In (overcoat). They look like this on OPI’s site: hrf14_g_unfrostmyheart_bottle hrf15_g_illtinselyouin_bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pricing varies. Typically they’re $9.50 each but Ulta usually has a “$3.50 off $10” coupon that you can use or specials like Buy 2 Get 1 free. I picked up these two on a special 2 for $16 plus used a coupon, so it brought them to about $6.50 each incl. tax.

Before I get into performance I’ll preface this review by saying I rarely buy drugstore nail polish. With 2 boys under 3 right now, I only get to do my nails once a week, maybe twice on a rare week, so I need to make them last. I do a lot of housework/baking/cooking/work with my hands and drugstore polish seems to chip on me within a couple days, even with base, ridge filler, and top coat. My brands (in order of preference) are Butter London (only some colors, though, I’ll get into why later), OPI, and then Zoya. I rarely wear anything else, unless I’m doing nail art or only want a certain color on for an event (who am I kidding? Nevermind, I rarely go anywhere fancy anymore- I’m always too tired).

OPI has a patented brush (their ProWide wider brush) that I actually find is a pain to use. I have small nails/nail beds and I like the thinner little brush that Butter London has to get on the sides of my nail. Most people seem to like the wider brushes, though, so I’m weird. The formula itself is the reason I continue to use OPI. Other than their glitters, their shimmers and creams apply easily- some colors even give opaque coverage in one coat although I always use two coats. On days I don’t use a base coat or ridge filler, I still don’t have any visible ridge lines under the polish and don’t usually get staining when I take it off, even with darker colors. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about my beloved Butter London polishes; their darker colors always stain my nails unless I use a base coat. 

And it lasts… holy cow does it last on me. I start getting tip wear in about 3 days, which is totally normal for me. I haven’t tried a polish where I don’t get that, but with OPI it still looks awesome on most of my nails for a solid 7 days until I get larger chips and have to take it off. I do use a top coat (either Seche Vita or Poshe, depending on the polish underneath), but I don’t refresh the topcoat every other day like you’re supposed to. I don’t have time for that and I doubt most people do, either. I put it on at time of polish application and that’s it until it comes off in about a week.

The colors I picked are GORGEOUS-the silver looks like foil on the nail and looked pretty even after one coat. The picture below is after one coat.

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The overcoat is a mixture of white bar glitter, white square glitter, and large and small black dot glitter. As with most overcoats like that, a straight swipe onto each nail won’t give you much glitter other than the bar glitter, so you have to put a drop on each nail and manipulate the glitter around the nail with the brush. That’s typical for this type, though, and it all smoothes out with a top coat. The pictures below are after two coats Unfrost My Heart and a coat of I’ll Tinsel You In , plus Poshe topcoat.

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I love it! I’ve had it on for 3 days now and only have tip wear on one of my nails- the others look pristine still, and I’ve gone hard the last few days baking, cooking, and cleaning. The polishes have held up amazingly well. I’m considering going back and picking up two more from the holiday collection, probably Rollin in Cashmere (the gold metallic) and one of the red cremes.

I definitely recommend these two colors :)

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights

Lately I’ve had to rely on my highlighters and concealers more than usual to try and look a bit more awake than normal. Having a not-quite-3 month old will do that to you 😉 I still use my Bobbi Brown Concealer and Corrector (which are still my Holy Grail concealer items) but have been layering on the highlighters too. On my trip to Ulta to get the Gwen Stefani nail polish, I picked up a new highlighting set from Becca Cosmetics. I’ve been wanting to try their Shimmering Skin Perfector liquid in Pearl for a couple years now, since it’s been all over the internet and Lisa Eldridge recommended Pearl on Youtube. I’m just cheap and haven’t wanted to shell out a ton of $$$ for a highlighter (even though I use it almost daily), so I’ve been making do with my Benefit Watts Up sample and waiting for the new Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights set.

The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights set is a new, special edition set for Holiday 2014. It has 3 tubes of liquid highlighter in the shades Pearl, Opal, and Champagne Gold (each containing 0.5 g/0.17 fl.oz) and retails for $25. Along with their liquid Perfectors, they also have pressed powder versions of the Skin Perfector that retail for $41 each that you can find at Sephora, Ulta, or on the company website (http://www.beccacosmetics.com). The liquid Perfectors come in pump containers that hold 50 mL/1.7 Fl. Oz and are also $41.

The set has doe foot applicators, which I’m on the fence about- the pump applicators tend to dispense too much product and the doe foot applicators allow you to dot on the cheekbones easier, but you have to blend quickly or the little spots of highlight dry and you end up having a polka dot highlight (not hot!)

For size reference, here are the Perfectors in the kit sized according to my hand, and I have small hands. They’re tiny and not actually a good deal- you get a total of 0.507 fl oz of product in the tubes which is about $14 worth, but you pay $25. I was willing to do it to test out all 3 colors but it’s still something to keep in mind. On the left is the sample of the Becca Bronzing Skin Perfector that I also got.

In order, the Bronzing Perfector, Pearl, Champagne Gold, and Opal. Also oIMG_1633IMG_1634n white background for true color reference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For reference, I’m an NC20 in MAC, so pretty light. The Bronzing is on the left, Pearl, Champagne Gold, and Opal. The Bronzer is a warm orange-based bronzer, Pearl is white with tiny silver particles, Champagne Gold is a very yellow-toned gold, and Opal is a pinkish-yellow.

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The Opal is WAYYYYY too pink and dark on me, the Champagne Gold is tolerable if I blend really well (and it’s obvious when you don’t- I’ll post a pic of that below), and the Pearl is amazing. In the pic below I have Pearl down the bridge of my nose, chin, eyebrows, and forehead. It gives a gorgeous glowy shine without looking like a greaseball and actually makes it look like I slept! On my upper cheekbones I have the Champagne Gold, blended well on my left side/your right in the pic and not blended as well on my right side/your left in the first pic. See the splotch of yellow when I turn my head? Not hot.

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It’s pretty but definitely too yellow for me, which is odd, because I have neutral/yellow undertones. I don’t even have the Opal on, because yeah… it’s bad. Same with the Bronzing Perfector- I’ll either gift it to my mom (who has darker/olive skin) or throw it out eventually. Great texture, but WAYYYYY too warm as a contour and I prefer powder bronzers.

I’ve had the set for 3 days now and my initial impressions are still the same- Opal is pretty much useless, although I may be able to make it work as an inner eye highlight or on the eye lid and I won’t use Champagne Gold much, except for a tiny bit on my upper cheekbones. Pearl I’ve used every day, I love it, and I most definitely will be purchasing a big pump of it when I run out. It’s amazing and I seriously think it would be worth the $41 price tag for a full size (although I tend to use giftcards to help bring the price down). It makes me look SO much better and is definitely worth taking a few minutes to put on in the morning. I’m completely in love with the Pearl and it actually lives up to all of the hype!

Brush cleaning

Anyone who’s a makeup addict faces a problem- the PITA process that is known as cleaning your brushes. I have literally 20-30 brushes that I use (not all at once, obviously) and I am notoriously lazy about cleaning them daily. Usually you’re supposed to clean your brushes after every new color or every other day. I don’t. I have duplicates of a lot of my eye and face brushes that I use for different purposes- I have a crease brush for dark colors and one for light ones, a blush brush for pinks and one for peaches, etc. It cuts down on how often I have to clean them, but I still should be cleaning them at least every 4-5 days or so. Confession time: I don’t. I spray them with water from a spray bottle and wipe them with a paper towel daily, but actual cleaning? Nope, not happening. The entire process takes me about an hour and sometimes I just don’t have the energy for it.

The other day I broke down and decided it was time to do a mass cleaning. Because I’d waited so long to clean, I didn’t even do my makeup that morning like normal because I had almost no brushes clean (and no, I don’t use my fingers. Ew!) I thought I would document the process because I know it’s pretty funny and hey, you may as well have a laugh at my expense, right?!

So I gathered all my dirty brushes together and lined them up on paper towels (yes, I know, this is a lot of brushes. I’m not going to let it get this bad again, I swear)

IMG_1658 You can see the Sonia Kashuk cleaner I use, too. I love it which is why I pay $7/bottle for it instead of making my own cleaner with olive oil and dish soap. That is pretty straightforward and there are some good videos on Youtube on how to do it, but I cut corners sometimes so that I have time to do other things, like feed my kids or bake cakes :) It all works out.  Plus her cleaner is pretty bomb and smells like Lavender.

So you run a bit of warm water through the bristles of each brush (warm, not hot- hot can disintegrate the glue holding the ferrule to the bristles),spray the cleaner, rub it in, and run warm water again through the bristles until the water runs clear. Then set that brush down and clean the next one.

The biggest trick to getting clean brushes that last a long time is in the drying process. You never want to dry brushes with the bristles pointing up. The water can run into the ferrule and ruin it easily. You can lay them on their sides to dry (not the best option, but it’s better than nothing) or dry them with the bristles pointing down. The easiest way to do that is take chip clips and a coat hanger. You hang the chip clips from the hanger and clip the brushes into the clips, then hang the hanger up in the bathroom for a couple hours or until your brushes are dry, like this

IMG_1659I know it looks weird but it’s allowed me to keep even cheap ELF brushes clean and useful for a couple years. I would love some MAC brushes, since they’re awesome, but I’m not paying $30/brush. I just can’t. Even Sigma brushes (another great option, BTW) aren’t cheap and I have two kids in diapers right now. Ain’t happenin’.  One day I will amass an even better collection but for now I have a lot of Real Techniques brushes (which are actually pretty great if you take care of them and Ulta always runs BOGO 50% off + coupon), some ELF (hey their $1 crease and blending brushes are actually decent), and the brushes that came with my Urban Decay palettes.

So that’s it, until the next time I have to do a mass cleaning…

DIY Watercolor Mug

When I was looking on Youtube the other day for new crafting ideas, I stumbled on a video for making DIY watercolor mugs and it seriously is the easiest thing ever. I decided to practice with a cheap $1 mug from Walmart that I’ve had for awhile, just in case it ended up being a train wreck. And it turned out awesome! I think this would be a great idea for holiday gifts for people or just experimenting for someone’s birthday. I also want to try it with a gold metallic polish and maybe some glitter polish.

Here is the video I used:

 

And here is how my mug turned out:

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It was pretty simple and I used three colors of polish- a purple, a royal blue, and a turquoise. Some things I learned: don’t make the water too hot or too cold- it causes the nail polish to ball up and get gummy. It needs to be room temperature/slightly warm and there needs to be enough water in the container to completely cover up to whatever area you are trying to dye. You also have to work really, really fast- you may not even need the toothpick if you work fast enough.

It’s safe to drink out of once it dries (which took about 2 hours for me) but do not put it in the dishwasher at all (even the top rack). The high temperatures will destroy the coloring. I currently have it sitting on my craft desk holding my pens/scissors, but I did test it by drinking coffee out of it and it handled just fine, even with the coffee being hot.

If you try it, let me know how it works for you. Happy crafting!

Arm Knitting Scarves (or yet another hobby I’ve picked up and am now totally obsessing over)

So… I am pretty crafty. I love scrapbooking, sewing, making greeting cards, tie dying, painting, drawing, etc. I cannot knit for the life of me. Crocheting is kinda sketch. I just end up being all thumbs, dropping stitches constantly, and getting so mad I give up and go watch Gilmore Girls episodes on Netflix while cussing at my yarn. It’s weird, because my mom is a crochet ninja and I own approximately eleventy billion (hey it’s a number!) scarves because I love the knit look, but I just am incapable of doing it myself.

Until, that is, I discovered arm knitting. I’ve been told Pinterest is full of it (although truth be told I usually avoid Pinterest if I can, because I want to make ALL THE CRAFTS and it’s a giant time suck) and it’s the “in thing” and now I know why. I can actually do it! I can make things! It takes me about 30 minutes for a scarf or cowl ( ignore that I look like death warmed over- I’m being brave and posting a “No makeup, my 2 month old kept me up all night so I look terrible, just focus on the pretty scarf” pic).

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I’ve proceeded to make um…9 or 10 scarves and cowls now. It’s pretty bad. I also have enough yarn left to make boot cuffs and maybe a pillow *sigh* I need an intervention.

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If you want to attempt your own, this is pretty much the best instructional video I’ve found (but I warned you, it’s addictive!)