Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Good HUES-Day: Pumpkin Beauty

Pumpkin seed oil products

Remember a few years back when putting oils on your face was a huge no-no and everything was labeled oil-free? Now products with oils, namely of the coconut and argan varieties, are popping up everywhere and have been found to be really good for both skin and hair. The latest in the oil craze is pumpkin seed oil, often known as “green-gold.” This oil, which is so perfect for the fall pumpkin season, can not only be used on salads and in other recipes (it’s recommended to not heat it) but can also be incorporated into your everyday beauty regimen. PSO is rich in vitamins A, B, E and K, and contains omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, zinc, and iron—all of which help promote hair growth and health, as well skin care benefits such as anti-aging and perfecting skin tone. You can purchase a bottle of pumpkin seed oil, or try one of these products for the pumpkin-obsessed:

This hand cream provides intense moisturization with a mixture of organic pumpkin seed oil and jojoba oil to deeply penetrate skin, helping not only to combat dryness but to fade the appearance of age spots as well.

Using both pumpkin extract and pumpkin seed oil, this scrub exfoliates dead skin cells to help condition and polish skin for a glowing complexion. Available for a great price at HSN!

I use this masque and love it—there’s a faint smell of (real!) pumpkin and it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. The pumpkin enzyme works to digest dead surface cells while antioxidant ingredients fight free radicals.

An organic face serum that helps to renew skin via cellular regeneration and is an intensive repair treatment. The pumpkin seed oil in the serum helps to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.

A skin care triple threat, this one uses Alpha Hydroxy Acid to peel, exfoliates with Pumpkin Enzymes and then polishes with Aluminum Oxide for a fresh-faced, youthful glow.

This mask mixes organic pumpkin puree with yogurt and Bentonite clay to deep clean pores and boost natural radiance—and it’s 99.6% natural.

This pumpkin spice scented body lotion uses pumpkin enzymes and pumpkin seed oil to help improve overall skin tone and skin elasticity to help reduce the signs of aging and to regenerate sun damaged skin. 

Linking up with Tuesday Pretties 

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favorite iPhone Apps

Do you ever have those times where you left your phone behind? I did this on Friday as I was heading to a friends house for a skin care party. I hadn't been to her house yet but I knew the general area. When I got close, I reached in my purse for my phone to look at the directions and address and... nothing. I forgot my phone at home! 

It's amazing how much we rely on our phones now and for so many reasons-- calls, directions, maps, cameras, and so much more. There are thousands of apps now and for almost everything! I recently received an email from Kabbage, an app that provides loans for small business owners,  asking what my favorite smartphone apps are. Here's a few of my top favorite apps:

I live outside Los Angeles and traffic can get bad. REAL bad. Waze is a great app for finding ways to cut through traffic. I also use it to find out if an accident happened on the freeway when it’s backed up and to make sure my route is clear.

Since losing Google Reader a couple years ago I have all my must-read blogs listed on Feedly. I love that I can categorize the blogs I follow and mark posts as read, very similar to GR. I also love that I can customize how I want to see posts, I prefer the magazine layout.

This is a straight-forward app that makes it easy to create shopping lists. While I’m shopping I can pull ShopShop up, and cross off items as I stick them in my cart. Whenever I randomly think of an item I need to get, I can easily add it to my shopping list and, even better, it will remember my items so I can simply click to add them to my list. So helpful!

I love cooking and the BigOven app comes in handy on a weekly basis. I mainly use it to add my meal plans for the week to the calendar portion, but you can also use it to search for recipes (they have TONS!). I love having my meal plans handy—makes grocery shopping and cooking much easier!

This has become my numero uno photo editing app and if it’s available and you don’t have it, um why?? I can easily edit my pictures (and make them look SO much better) on Afterlight and there’s so many more filters to choose from—and I can layer on filters over one another—and create cool lighting effects.

Overdrive & Kindle
I was going to stick to just 5 favorite apps but these two apps are also favorites. I check out books from the library often (hello, free!) and if they have them available to download, it’s an even better option. I can use either Overdrive or Kindle apps to read my checked out e-books on my iPad2 and I don’t have to remember to return them. Very cool.

What are some of your favorite apps?

Linking up with Monday Morning Gossip

All opinions are my own, I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recipe: Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing

Have you been to your local Trader Joe’s lately? I go about every other week and if I can make it out spending less than $20, I consider that a miracle! They have so many good items from ready-to-go salads, an array of cheeses, wine, frozen foods and more. Their latest in fall offerings, Pumpkin Cornbread Croutons, are a total HIT! These crispy, crunchy pumpkin-y morsels are absolutely delicious and slightly sweet. Add them to a kale salad with dried cranberries, over pumpkin or butternut squash soup, or in my latest obsession, pumpkin cornbread stuffing. Packed full of seasonal fall flavors, this stuffing recipe is a great side for chicken and turkey dishes, or even pork, and would be a total crowd pleaser on Thanksgiving!

·         Make it your own! Try variations using pecans or other nuts. Use apple cider instead of orange juice. Even though the pumpkin croutons are seasoned already, add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to punch up the flavor even more!

·         No Trader Joe’s? No worries! Use your favorite dried bread or cornbread croutons and follow the same recipe and ingredients, cooking diced pumpkin with the carrots and apples.

Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing
Serves about 4
2 cups Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cornbread Croutons
1 ½ cups Chicken Broth
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ cup Orange Juice
¼ cup Dried Cranberries
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Apple or Pear, chopped
1 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Lemon Zest
1 tbsp. Sage, chopped (less if using dry)
1 tbsp. Thyme, chopped (less if using dry)
1 tbsp. Parsley, chopped 
1 tbsp. Rosemary, chopped (less if using dry)
2 tsp. Chili Powder
Ground Black Pepper
Salt, to taste

Heat cooking pot on medium heat and add olive oil. Once heated, add chopped carrots and cook for a few minutes, then add your apple or pear (or go a little crazy and add both!). Cook these down for about 5 minutes and then add minced shallot, cooking for another few minutes until softened.

Next, add the garlic, lemon zest, herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary and parsley), the chili powder, ground black pepper and a cinnamon stick. Cook for about a minute to release the flavors, then add in orange juice and chicken broth. Taste and salt as needed (remember, the croutons will also have seasoning and salt so don’t go too heavy!). Turn to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Once the liquid begins to boil, remove the cinnamon stick and add the seasoned pumpkin croutons and dried cranberries; stir gently to combine. If the croutons look too dry, add in more chicken broth until you achieve desired consistency. You don’t want it to be too wet that it looks gloppy, but wet enough so that the croutons and ingredients combine.

Spoon stuffing into a casserole dish and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Serve with chicken or turkey and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Weekly Favorites: Beauty Non-Favorites

Makeup reviews

When Wednesday rolls around, I’m typically rounding up my favorites, especially when it comes to beauty products! I wanted to go in a different direction this week, the complete opposite in fact, and round up some of my recent beauty fails. These are items that I, or my friends, have tried and just could not get on board with. Maybe the items didn’t live up to the hype or the claims the products made, there was user error involved (we’ve all been there!), or maybe the products themselves were just total fails. Below are some beauty non-favorites:

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero: I’m a fan of UD’s products but their black pencil liner just doesn’t do it for me. For black pencil liners, I want them to glide on easily while creating strong black definition. Not gray, not a light, faded black, but a true deep BLACK. I also need it to last throughout the day—it was non-existent on my waterline and looked more like a gray on my lids. Sadly this one hits neither of my musts for an eye liner. They did come out with Perversion, which looks to be a deep black but I’d rather save my money and buy a liner I know will work. Sorry UD!

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara: I heard amazing things about this mascara so I bought one of the mini tubes to try it out. I wore this mascara for several days and was starting to love it: My lashes had volume and length, they stood out and looked really good… at least until the day I decided to use my oven. When I bent down to open the oven door, the heat caused a reaction with the mascara making my eyes burn, so I did what anyone would do naturally and closed them. When I went to open my eyes, I couldn’t—my top lashes were stuck to my bottom lashes. You guys, MY LASHES WERE STUCK TOGETHER. I freaked—I opened them as much as possible and made a blurry-eyed trip to the bathroom to remove the mascara. At this point, I felt like crying because I knew my lashes were going to come off with it. My mind raced: How was I going to go to work the next day without any lashes? I was going to have to wear fake lashes EVERY day and make a large investment into lash growth serums.

Luckily, I was able to easily remove the mascara and my lashes stayed intact, but I couldn’t chance it again and threw out the tube. I don't want to get THAT real again.

Speaking of They’re Real, another friend tried the They’re Real! Push-Up Liner and found it to be a disappointment. She didn’t care for the formula and found it difficult to work with, and she’s a pro at the cat eye!

Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara: Since we’re on the topic of mascaras, another one I never understood the hype over is this one. According to the beauty books it’s on every beauty editor and makeup artist’s hg list but I’ve used so many others, including others from Maybelline, that deliver much better results and have much better formulas. I don’t get it.
Dry Shampoo: A couple of my friends admitted to having tried drugstore dry shampoos—Suave Dry Shampoo Spray and Tresseme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo were named— that were total fails. Instead of absorbing oil, the dry shampoos made their hair even oilier. Not good!

Too Faced’s La Crème Lipstick in Naughty Nude: This was anything but long-lasting for my mom, who said the color only lasted about 15-20 minutes before she had to reapply. In Too Faced’s defense, I still have one of their Lip of Luxury nude lipsticks that has very decent staying power… and I adore the color!

Self-Tanners: I’ve posted several self-tanners on here in which I’ve gotten amazing results from. However there are those that haven’t made the cut. For me, Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs left my legs with an orange-y glow and was too obviously fake looking for my taste. A friend tried Neutrogena MicroMist Airbrush Sunless Tan with poor results, which left her a semi-permanent orange shade—she had to use nail polish remover to scrub it off!

Jesse’s Girl Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner: Another friend thought she had found the perfect eyeliner with an easy-to-use pen-style brush. She was easily able to create a super cute cat eye look… only to realize later that day that the super cute cat eye was mirrored onto her brow bone. FAIL!

Benefit Cosmetics ‘Hello Flawless!’ Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation in Petal: Certain beauty products may work amazing for some but for others, not quite so much. My sister purchased this foundation but found that it didn’t apply well to her skin, it still felt wet after several minutes and made it difficult for her to apply powder over it. Plus, the shade was too yellow for her skin tone, making her look sickly. She gave it to me to try and it works well for me; I have drier combination skin so the formula applied normally—it’s very light-weight and airy, but also covers very well—  and my skin naturally has yellow tones so the foundation matched perfectly. To each his own!

Have you recently tried any beauty products that were total misses? Or, did you try any of the above and loved them? Share!