Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Take It Off... Easier!

As as esthetician (and self described beauty junkie) I have tried many lines of eye make up removers and I am thankful to report that this is not an area that you need to blow your budget!!!! I'm in love with Target's Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover for $4.19 you get 5.5 ounces!  It is a dupe of Neutrogena's eye make up remover which is $5.99 for equal ounces (which I'm pretty sure is a knock off of Lancome's at $28 for 4.2 ounces- yes you read that right!)!


I can honestly say I make my eye make up remover work for it's keep- I am heavy handed in the eye make up department and require a heavy duty product! This stuff keeps my pillow case clean and my eyes healthy!

I have tried the Wal-Mart brand as well and wasn't as impressed! So go a little further and spend a few more pennies to get the Target brand- I don't think you'll be disappointed!

I also like the Up & Up cotton pads! They work just as good as the brand name ones!




<3 Rachel












Monday, February 17, 2014

Smooth It Out!


I’m generally a little late to whatever trend party society is currently throwing.  I didn’t read The Hunger Games until the second movie was almost out, I didn’t start watching The Big Bang Theory until well after Penny and Leonard got together (you know, again) and I still haven’t bought one piece of clothing that would be categorized as “hi-low.” 

The same pattern holds true for my health and fitness routines.  I see the oncoming bandwagon and usually stand to the side, waving as it whizzes on by.  Oh, there goes Zumba, and low-carb eating and anything taught by Shaun T.   Then the world tries them out and I see how it goes.  So, at this point, I’ve done my fair share of Zumba, I still try to limit my carb intake to a healthy minimum and you can read all about my Shaun T experience here. 

But there is one health craze that I have done my best to run from.  Smoothies.  Yeah, I don’t know why they make me cringe a little.  Maybe it’s the fact that it seems morally wrong to drink your spinach.  No?  That’s just me?  Hm.  Or maybe it’s that so many people talk about smoothies as meal substitutes.  I don’t know about you, but I like to eat when I eat.  The thought of simply drinking when I could be chewing, is a turn off to me.

About three weeks ago I started following along with the Tone It Up Girls and their weekly work out plans.  If you've never heard of them, they are two best friends and trainers, based in California, that run their own fitness and nutrition empire.  Basically you sign up on the website and you will receive weekly workout schedules.  The routines are shown via a YouTube video or a printable guide and are both challenging and short—just the way I like it! 

Anyway, these two ladies talk a lot about smoothies; especially as fueling up after workouts.  I have been thinking for a while about alternative breakfast ideas for weekends to keep me from getting bored with that same old thing that I tend to eat.  I’m sure I've said before what a creature of habit I am.  Once I know something works, I stick with it.  But seven days a week of Belvita soft baked breakfast biscuits and a yogurt can be a bit mind-numbing.  And when I tend to venture off my path I end up in places full of cinnamon rolls, sausage biscuits and waffles with lots of butter.  Oh and sometimes, we’ll take muffin mix…oh, wait, back to topic…

So, I finally decided to give these smoothie things a try. Something even my best friend who wanted to open a smoothie bar has yet to get me to do.  I decided to start simple.  VERY simple. 

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries

1 Heaping Handful of Baby Spinach

1 package of Tone It Up Perfect Protein Powder in Vanilla (equivalent of heaping scoop) 

Put it all in.  Blend it all up.  Drink it all down. 


Notes:
  • Have you tried Almond Milk?!  You should!  It tastes so much better than regular milk.  I could just guzzle glass after glass of it.  But be careful; you know what they say.  Too much of a good thing..is two pant sizes!
  • I am more likely to eat veggies than fruits.  However, I am not always the best at eating leafy greens like I should.  I mean, by the time you cook/season/pour enough dressing on spinach to make me interested, it’s not really “good” for you anymore.  So this was a really awesome way to get a good amount in without having to taste it.  At all.  I will say that you could SMELL it though.  Which was weird. 
  • The Perfect Protein Powder was in a trial set that I purchased from ToneItUp.com.  You get one vanilla pack, one chocolate pack and one protein bar.  It has 15g of protein per serving and is a natural, plant-based protein powder.  It’s gluten-free and they have a similar product at WalMart that’s a lot cheaper.  The Perfect Protein retails for about $35 for 10 individual packs.  Even if I only do it on weekends that is still a lot of moolah.  
    • Side note:  The protein bar was so bad that after I took a bite of it (and promptly spit it in the trash) I saved the rest of the bar so that my husband could taste it later and I could prove how bad it was.  That's bad.  

The Husband Factor:

Steven was a real trooper and tried a smoothie, too.  I made his with the chocolate Perfect Protein Powder.  Let’s just say it didn't go over so well.  His face really said it all and the drain got to drink that one.  I tried it right before it got the heave-ho and I could barely get it down. 

Steven made a bagel and was happy. 

The End Result:

I’m kind of a smoothie convert at this point.  I actually loved my smoothie and it kept me full until lunch--shocker!  I made one the next day (minus the protein powder because I was out) that even the husband liked.  It was just a nice little treat to go with the salad I ate for lunch.  Kind of like a reward that I didn't feel so guilty about.  Not like the Nutella brownie I gobbled up later.  But we’ll just pretend that didn't happen.

So, now I’m on a mission.  I need healthy recipes to try.  What smoothies have you made and loved—or loathed?  Please, no bananas if you can help it.  Why do they all have bananas in them?  Bonus points if they turn green, but don't taste like it.  ;)  

Rachel has been smoothing things out at her house, too. As we find things we like, we'll post them on the blog.  I just found a recipe for one that supposedly tastes like coffee ice cream.  Um, don't mind if I do...

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Perpetually Un-Crafty


If I tell you a secret, do you promise you’ll still  like me anyway?  Ok, here goes.  Deep breath…I am not crafty.  Ok, so that's not really a big deal.  Lots of people aren't crafty.  But here's the kicker.  Even though I kind of act like I want to be, I don’t actually think I do.  Or at least not enough to really put the effort in.  There it is.  Out in the open.  I’m the one mom of a toddler out there who, in her heart of hearts, just really doesn’t care much for art projects on weekends or turning bottles into anything other than noisemakers at the bottom of the trash can.  I don't even love to finger paint with my 2 year old.  Nope.

I’m a bit envious of the women out there that are making card stock banners for birthday parties and cupcakes that look like their children’s favorite characters.  And don’t even get me started on all of you that can sew!  You women amaze me.  Homemade blankets, clothes for dolls, burp clothes and countless other things that make up a  wanna-be DIYer’s daydreams.  But it’s just not me. Or at least, I’m not willing to put the time in to make it me.

I made a cardstock banner once.  For my sister’s Bridal Shower.  I sat down the night before (because that’s when all us non-crafters sit down to do things like this) and pulled out all the decorative paper I had and started trying to choose the colors and patterns that would go together.  About 15 minutes into that task, the fun started to fade.  And I hadn’t even begun to cut, write the letters or stamp the frilly designs on anything.

Next I had to start cutting the paper to make the stackable sheets.  I swear I measured right.  I know for a fact I was counting those little lines like I was supposed to.  But dang it if that stupid paper came out in different sizes! It was at this point that I started muttering, “I hate this crap” under my breath.  Or right out loud.  Whatever.    

About an hour into a project that would take a regular person 30 minutes, there were so many scraps on the floor that it looked like  NYC just after the ball drops on New Years.  I think I had thrown that piece-of-junk cutter at least three times while yelling, “see!  This is why I don’t do this kind of stuff!  This is why other people do this crap!”  And I can tell you that I did not use the words “stuff” or “crap.”  But, you know, I’m keeping it PG for you.  Eventually, about two letters in to a five letter word, I looked at my husband (who had been sitting on the couch not hiding his laughter well) and said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” 

But I did.  And the end result was good.  So good, in fact, that when I told me sister I made it her response was, “You made this?!”  See, she knows.  THIS is not my deal.  I do not make things. I took her shock as the highest form of flattery.   And if she ever throws that thing away I just might cry. 

I blame this want of craftiness on Pinterest.  It’s hard not to get caught up in all the awesomeness that it throws at me daily.  Pin upon pin of party, holiday, home d├ęcor and kid’s project ideas that make me wish I had a house complete with a craft nook (I made myself, of course) for all the crafting I will do.  But really, all it would have is a computer on it and maybe a file with a nice printed label that says “future projects.”    It may or may not be empty.  Computer ink it pricey, after all.

There are moms out there that are great at all of this.  Which is a giant feat in itself because just being a woman is an existence with many hats.  When you throw in the fact that many of us are moms, the number of hats goes up.  So, can you please tell me how these ladies have the time (or desire) to do all they do?

I mean, just check out their kids’ birthday parties.  They are not the birthday parties of our youths.  These things take some serious planning, prep-work and diligent crafting.  Most of them have party favors now.  And we’re not talking your run-of-the-mill goody bag.  These moms are going all out and making adorable treats and gifts for the pint-size party hopper.  They are coming up with awesome themes and they are carrying them out from the moment you step in until the second you leave.  Their cakes look like works of art and you probably feel like you’ve walked into a living, breathing version of Pinterest. 

For the record, Jack’s cake came from Walmart and we put a big, plastic picture of Mickey on the front door.  He was happy with it.  So was I, seeing as I didn’t have to make a banner.  But I didn’t do it that way to prove a point or take a stand.  I did it that way because the night before people were supposed to come I said, “Oh man, I better get something to make it look like we’re having a party!”  See, I don’t have the gene.  I know I pinned things for a party.  But that’s as far as it went.  Sometimes it’s not just the thought that counts.  You have to actually do something with those thoughts.  Or else they’re just nice ideas.  And they don’t really count for squat.     

Ultimately, I’m just really thankful that my child is in a really good school that does fun stuff with him all the time and helps him learn.  And I’m thankful for crafty friends and a sister than can make anything.  Until I find my crafty gene (if I ever decide to really look for it) I think I will just keep sending my pins to them.    

And to all you crafty moms that walk through life, craft flag flying high; a tip of my hat to you.  All my hats.  Rock on, with your crafty-selves!  (Now, can you make something for me?  I’ve got a set of three Frappuccino bottles that I’ve been saving since last fall that still need to be painted for a Christmas craft. Takers?)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

e.l.f. Essential Shimmering Facial Whip


I know that I’m not the usual Makeup Guru for Caffeine & Concealer.  But I felt like I had to take over that little portion of the blog for at least one post so I could rave about the little tube of awesomeness I picked up this past Saturday. 

While strolling through Target to “get a few things” I purchased these few things. 
Yeah.  That, right there, is what Target does to you.  Sucks you in, and before you know it, you’re buying all new makeup while perfectly good makeup awaits you at home.

The good news?  This whole stash cost me less than $20.  That’s because it was all e.l.f makeup.  If you’re not familiar with elf (we’ll leave the punctuation out for the time being) products here’s the website.  Basically, it looks pricey, really isn't, and actually works well. 

I've used the Flawless Finish Foundation (It smells good.  Yeah, really.), Translucent Matifying Powder, various eye shadows, brushes and (now this is the whole reason I’m writing any of this) the Essential Shimmering Facial Whip. 

Yep, let’s say that again.  I got the Essential Shimmering Facial Whip.  Crazy, long name.  Crazy, good stuff.   It’s this pink-tinted cream that you can put pretty much anywhere you want (It’s suggested for cheeks, eyes and lips).  I've been using it as a cream blush, replacing my usual powder blush.  The overall affect is actually more natural. 

It adds a very pretty iridescent shimmer to your skin that is just right.  When things promise to be “shimmery,” I get a little scared that they will come off a little 80’s Rock N’ Roll Barbie.  You know her.  She’s got bright purplish streaks on her face.  No one wants that.  Correction—no one should want that.  At least not for daily wear.  What you do on your nights out?  Well, that all up to you, my friend. 

Oh, and did I mention that this little bit of happy is only $1?  That’s it.  A dollar.  You can probably find that much in change wondering the No Man’s Land that is the bottom of your purse and the area between the seats in your car.  So go grab some.  Put on as little or as much as you like.  Wear it alone for a little pick-me-up or with a full face of makeup to finish off your look.   

In fact, go ahead and pick up two.   

Note:  This product does come in various colors but my Target only had one--Lilac Petal.  So that’s what I’m using right now.  It’s subtle yet still noticeable.  I think I would be able to go one or two shades darker and still be able to use it as a blush.  Check out the elf website to see what color you think would fit you best.    

- Jessica