Apr 27, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: The Easiest Facial Scrub EVER!

Photo courtesy of www.buzzle.com
I realized after my post last week on at-home facials I haven't provided too many facial scrub recipes. Shame on me.  That's why today's post is about creating the perfect (and ridiculously easy) facial scrub with only two ingredients: Brown sugar and olive oil.

For those that aren't fans of facial scrubs, I highly recommend learning to love them OR at least tolerate them.  Scrubbing, or exfoliating, is one of the most important steps on the pathway to clear skin.  Not only does it reduce the appearance of fine lines and remove dead skin but it also prevents pimples.  (If your skin is free of dead skin and dirt, there is nothing to fall into the pores.  Thus no new pimples!)

If I'm treating myself to brand name scrubs, they would without a doubt be 7-Day Scrub from Clinique for my face and the Scrub of Your Life by Soap & Glory for my body.  Both scrubs are non-abrasive, exfoliate well and leave my skin silky smooth afterwards.  However, since budgeting is my top priority, why not create a scrub that does exactly what these two do but costs a fraction of the price???

Photo courtesy of www.alibaba.com
Brown Sugar Facial Scrub 

1 TBSP Brown sugar
1 TSP Extra virgin olive oil (coconut oil can be used instead of olive oil but I never have any around my house)

Add sugar to a little glass bowl and add the olive oil slowly.  Mix well.  Adjust either olive oil or sugar if you prefer your scrub to be more paste-like or gritty. (I like a more paste-like consistency.)  Apply to cleansed face.  Massage into skin using a circular motion.  Let sit for about 3 minutes.  Remove with warm water and moisturize skin immediately.

Why this works?  Olive oil is one of the best things to use on your skin if you need some extra moisture.  The sugar gives you the grittiness of a scrub but is not too coarse of a grain.  This means that you can massage it into your skin with little to no discomfort.

I can't wait to make this scrub again tonight while visiting with my family.  Who knows...maybe I can get my little sis and mom to try it out with me? (hint, hint...ha)

Happy weekend ladies!

Apr 25, 2012

Losing Weight With the Carblovers Diet

I hate the word diet.

To me, a diet involves temporarily changing the way you eat to achieve a specific goal weight.  Typically (at least for me), I begin dieting and everything is grand for about two weeks and then the cravings start.  Since I love salt so much I start dreaming about things like chips, cheese and french fries until I breakdown and order a Big Mac and large fries.  After eating it in record time, I feel so guilty that I try to barely eat for the next few days to compensate.  As you can see, diets never work for me. 

So, when I encountered the Carblovers Diet, I was extremely skeptical.  I mean really?  A diet where you can eat carbs, cheese, potato chips and fruit to your hearts content and still lose weight?  This question went around and around my mind until the weight started to come off. 

I'm so happy to say that I'm down 4 pounds and feel absolutely fantastic.  The weight is still coming off, my skin looks radiant and my stomach is becoming more toned.  Imagine, these results from a plan called the Carblovers Diet.

I ordered the original Carblovers Diet book as well as the Carblovers Recipe Book to give myself some additional variety.  The recipes are filling, delicious, hearty and you still get to eat potato chips and desserts.  The plan focuses on Resistant Starches (good for you) which make you full longer and are more work to digest which means your body works harder to break them down.  This means you burn more calories when eating something that is packed full of resistant starch.   Check out some of the recipes...

Pasta Primavera - One of my favorite recipes

Pan Seared Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes
Even desserts!  Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bites
I love this plan because it's a total lifestyle change.  These recipes are things that even Allan enjoys and most of them are so easy to make.  (Allan made the Pan Seared Salmon for my birthday dinner.)  If you're looking for a way to eat healthy and lost weight while doing it, I highly recommend this plan.

Have any of you ladies tried this plan before?  What are your thoughts?


Apr 23, 2012

Clinique's Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer: A Review

Occasionally, I fall in love with a product that's been recommended to me.

The neat thing about this referral was the referrer: my mom.  I'm sure that most of you know by know that my mom works for Clinique but despite her working for this cosmetic/skin care company, it's never really been my favorite product line.  (I can hear the cursing through the computer screen as I type this.)  Having said that, I faithfully use Clinique's powder makeup and adore it but when it comes to skincare, I usually go in a different direction.

However, I received Clinique's Turnaround Concentrate as a gift from my mom a few weeks ago and am absolutely impressed by the results.  I've been using this twice a day, every day, for the past three weeks and my skin not only looks radiant BUT my acne scarring and redness has actually dissipated.  It's completely mind blowing.

Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer

Super lightweight
Makes skin smooth
Buff's skin texture
Goes on like a primer
Unclogs pores
Helps reduce fine lines
Creates radiant looking skin
Size of the bottle

I literally have no negative points about this product!  After using the serum for about three weeks, I actually feel comfortable without wearing makeup.  (Check out me with no makeup on...AND I just washed my face in this pic.)

If you've been having skin issues like I have AND are looking for a product that will clear your skin, buff your skin's texture and be a primer, I HIGHLY recommend this product.  Plus, it's only about $43 USD.  A steal when it actually does what it's supposed to.

Have any of you ladies tried this before?  What are your thoughts?


Apr 20, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: The Perfect At-Home Facial

There is absolutely nothing more relaxing, nor better for your skin, than a facial.  However, a really good facial can put a major dent in your wallet.  (Unless you're going to Bali where the facials are about $11 CAD...but enough rubbing it in.)

Instead of going and spending a wackload of money on a fabulously relaxing time, why not create your own spa, at home?  If you think about what a facial entails, you'll need to recreate 6 processes at home: cleanse, exfoliate, steam, mask and moisture.

Step 1: The Cleanser
Clean skin is the most important step as you must remove all the dirt, makeup and grime from your face prior to moving on to any other step.  As you start exfoliating OR steaming, your pores open up and if you haven't removed your makeup it can get clogged in you open pores.
For some amazing cleanser recipes, click HERE or HERE

Step 2: The Exfoliation
Exfoliation is my most favorite step because I love the way my skin feels afterwards.  Exfoliating removes dead skin, prevents pimples, tightens skin and opens the pores.
For a great exfoliator recipe, click HERE

Step 3: The Steam
Steaming opens up your pores so all the impurities rise to the surface of the skin.  This step prevents you getting additional pimples as well as do away with your current pimples and blackheads.  Boil a big pot of water and, once boiled, turn off the element and stick your head above the pot with a towel over your head.  (PLEASE BE CAREFUL when doing this step.)  Try to do this for about 5 minutes.

Step 4: The Mask
After your pores have opened, nothing will feel better than slapping a nice cool face mask on your skin.  This step closes your pores and also releases the impurities from your skin so that when you remove the mask, the yucky pore clogging grime will rinse away.
For some fabulous mask recipes, click HERE and HERE  

Step 5: The Moisturizer
Always pick a really heavy duty moisturizer when finished with a facial.  (Unless your skin is oily.)  Remember, moisturizing keeps your skin looking younger.  Trust me, it does!

As nice as going to a spa is, it's sometimes just as nice to pamper yourself at home.  Try this out ladies and remember, RELAX!  Happy weekend...

Apr 19, 2012

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry If I Want To..

Yes, my friends, today I am 30.

Wow, just typing that makes me slightly uneasy.  I don't know why this number freaks me out but it just does.  It's almost like this milestone crept up so quickly that I haven't had time to adjust.  I apologize for wallowing, and I know I shouldn't since this year is going to be one of my most exciting and amazing ones EVER, but I'm very sad to have left my 20s behind.

On that note, I should say that I have the best friends EVER who've already made this milestone birthday so memorable.  Thanks again to you guys for being so fab.  I just had to share all the wonderful goodies they gave me!!

This past weekend was my birthday party.  (Yes, I threw a party!)  We all went bowling and then for dinner and drinks and it was super fun.  Amidst crazy bowling, trophies and cupcakes, my pals gave me some of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received before...

First gift was from my pal, Candice, who found this fabulous stacking tea set WHICH is perfect since I'm such an avid tea drinker.  She also got this really cool pop-up birthday card that says 30, in case I forgot how old I am.

Margaret and Albert found this adorable pink box and stuffed it with all my favorite sour candies and some excellent bracelets for our trip to Bali.  I was actually a bit nervous about wearing (and bringing) jewelry there so these make it easy to wear on the flight and will still spice up any outfit.

My mom, of course, loves to grab me my skin care products and actually visited me this past weekend so I could open them with her here.  I got my favorite moisturizer, Clarins Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Correction Cream and the magical Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer Serum.  (More on this one ladies.  It really works wonders.)

Carmen and Nathan picked out a bunch of great travel gear for our honeymoon to Bali.  I got an inflatable pillow (perfect for our LONG layovers and flights), an eye mask and an identity protecting passport cover.

Bronwen knew I'd been eyeing this beautiful tea for one tea pot and mug from Davids Tea so she, of course, picked it up along with my favorite macarons, which I've already eaten.  (Yes, I'm a piggie...ha)  I am obsessed with this tea for one set because it's CORAL!!

With some of my birthday money I picked out this rockin' neon tangerine hoodie.  Thanks Margaret for wearing it on Saturday and for telling me where you got it.  Yes, we're going to be twins...ha

Smashbox Shades Of Fame Eye Palette and Brush (limited edition)

Smashbox Shades of Fame Reflection High Shine Lip Gloss Set (limited edition)

Sephora Color of the Year Duo: Desert Flower and Coral
With the help of a gift card from Ryan and Heather and some left over birthday money, I went to Sephora and got these three items.  I wanted the Smashbox palette so badly as soon as I saw it and bought both the blush and lip glosses specifically for my trip to Bali.  Since I won't be bringing too much else, I want to ensure I can create a lot of looks with limited items.  These colors are perfect.

I also received a Davids Tea gift card from my pal Eva, but I've yet to spend it....hmmm, what to get?

As sad as turning another year older is, it makes it all the easier (and more fun) when you have friends like I do around to celebrate with.  Now, after work today, Allan is making me dinner and giving me his gift.  So, the celebrating isn't even over yet.

Have a great day and happy birthday to my birthday twins out there!!

Apr 17, 2012

The Top 5 Budget Foundations

Since my skin has decided to be a major pain-in-the-you-know-what lately, I've been seeking comfort in foundation.  (I will say that my skin is ALMOST flawless again thanks to an amazing new serum BUT more on that later.) 

My problem with foundation is that most of them are either A) too heavy; B) too oily; C) too dark or D) too yellow.  So, when I find foundations that ACTUALLY match my pastey skin tone and look great, I knew I had to share...Without further adieu, the top 5 budget foundations.

1.  L'Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Compact Makeup

Photo courtesy of www.coupons4makeup.com
I am beyond obsessed with cream-to-powder makeup and adore this one because it matches my skintone perfectly.  Plus, it's not oily, stays on my skin all day and I never have to touch it up.  Quick note about this product though, apply it with your fingertips.  I was using a sponge at first and felt that my skin looked too made up.  Now that I use my fingertips, I use less product and can still control where I need the most coverage.

2.  Revlon Photoready Airbrush Mousse Makeup

Photo courtesy of www.revlon.com
This is the perfect travel makeup because you don't need a ton of other products to create perfect looking skin: This one product does it all!  I squeeze a nickel size amount onto the top of my hand and apply with a clean makeup sponge.  Once on, I dab on some highlighter and green concealer and I'm good to go.  I love this product because it's easy to apply, a little goes a long way and my skin feels extremely smooth when I have it on.

3.  Maybelline Fit Me Foundation 

Photo courtesy of www.coolspotters.com
Okay, this product has saved me in times of crisis, let me tell you.  I've mixed it with moisturizers to get a quick tint and I've blended it with highlighter to create an amazing glow.  I have to say, the best thing about this product is that it has a built-in base and highlighter to make your skin glow and look completely polished.  It's on the expensive side of budget BUT worth it if you use it everyday.

4.  Clinique Perfectly Real Compact Makeup 

Photo courtesy of www.shopping.com
Though I use this powder everyday, I have given it a 4 rating.  It matches me perfectly when I have a bit of sun but when I'm at my most pale (winter time) and since they recently reformulated it, it seems to be slightly darker.  Either way, the powder is perfect for oily skin and provides enough coverage to take you from the office to an evening out without touching up.

5.  Mark Powder Buff Natural Skin Foundation

Photo courtesy of www.shopping.com
I love this product and the price ($14) is amazing.  Apply with a big foundation brush and you're good to go.  I use this when I want to wear less makeup (only powder and concealer) and my skin still looks flawless.  The only downside to this product is that it's not available in stores and must be ordered through an Avon/Mark rep.  But, that aside, try it out and you'll love it.

Writing this post reminds me I need to pick up some foundation...ha.  Have any of you ladies tried these products?  What are your thoughts?

Apr 11, 2012

OPI Axxium Gel Manicure in Cajun Shrimp

Just around the corner from our condo a gorgeous nail salon/spa has just opened its doors.  In fact, they opened about two weeks ago and I've already been there twice for manicures.  I LOVE that they're so close and so inexpensive: A full manicure, plus fantastic arm and hand massage, is only $20.

Before our trip to Pender Island this past weekend, I went for a manicure Thursday afternoon and selected this awesome fluorescent pink tone.  However, when I woke up the next morning, two of my nails were chipped!  (I should mention that polish NEVER stays on my nails despite my best efforts.)  So, Monday morning I went back to the salon and decided to try Axxium Gel.  (At a cost of only $10 more).  I've heard many good things about it and was especially happy that the color is supposed to last much longer than regular polish.

The manicure was fairly standard up to the point of lacquering the nails.  At this point, Cindy (the nail tech) pulled out this very large, bulky, fluorescent bulb nail drier and began the process of coating my nails.  Each finger was done individually of course, with my hands being placed in the drier after each nail was coated.  Once the final layer was applied, I sat with my hands under the hot fan for 10 minutes and then, the polish was set.  As soon as I got up to pay, I hit my nail on my wallet (pretty standard with me) and was shocked to see that my nail was still in tact.  Cindy explained that the polish will stay on until I return to them to have it removed or changed, so I'm eager to see how long it will really last.  Great color though right?

Photo courtesy of www.nailderoyale.com
Have any of you ladies tried the gel manicures before?  What are your thoughts?

Apr 9, 2012

Our Weekend on Pender Island: In Pictures

This past Easter weekend was brilliant.

Allan and I jumped ship (so to speak) and held our friend's cottage captive for three days.  Honestly, it was such a fabulously relaxing time.  The days passed with us taking advantage of the nice weather by hot tubbing, BBQing, hiking, eating and watching movies.  Check out our awesome weekend...

Allan while driving us to the ferry terminal


Here we are at Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.  On our way to Pender Island

Me on the ferry.  (Thanks Allan for the extremely artistic picture...ha)

Ferry picture #2

Deer in the front yard of our cottage.
I'm guessing this is why the cottage is named Deer Haven

The cutest little cottage ever!

Sitting room in the cottage

Kitchen/dining room/family room in the cottage

How weekend magic happens...

Walking in the sun

Ocean view 

Farmer's Market time

Looking for whales while at Hope Bay

Hope Bay General Store

Looking for bears while hiking 

Smiles and winks from Allan and me on our way to Sunday brunch

Poet's Cove Resort where the amazing brunch occurred
Hope you all had a relaxing weekend too.  What did you get up to?

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