Thursday, December 26, 2013

Leaving cookies out for Santa....

Christmas time = Christmas cookies.  Nothing gets me in the mood for baking like the holiday season does. It fills the house up with a tantalizing scent of butter and sugar, and as we all know, food brings the family together. 

Even while trying to eat clean, I took a liiitle break and took a few more liberties than normal.  Those that know me well know I almost never use butter, sugar, or flour in my baking.  This week I used all three.  What a shocker, right?  In addition to the traditional shortbread cookies that are oh so classic for Christmas, I decided to feed my addiction of peanut butter by making peanut butter cookies. 

I messed around with a few different recipes, and am extremely happy with how they came out.  They were dad AND brother approved.  It's a pretty basic peanut butter cookie recipe and absolutely loved it.  

I tried snapping some pictures while baking and afterwards, but the lighting was pretty dismal wherever I went.  I did my best though..

A warm plate of cookies for Santa!

Click after the jump to see what I did!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December Empties

The end of December (and the end of the year) has completely snuck up on me with the craziness of finals and the holidays.  I haven't even had much time to browse around my favorite blogs...yet somehow I've managed to do some serious online shopping.  While another fashion post is in the midst, today I bring to you a satisfying post to write.  

Empties.  I always love writing and reading these because it's a fantastic way to show what products I have liked to actually completely finish using, as well as proof that I am actually using the products I own!  With as much makeup as all us beauty junkies have, using up products is a testament to a good stash rotation ;)

Since I took these photos about a week ago, I had a batch of products that were *almost* done, but I added them in anyway because I didn't want to hold on to them for much longer.

Missing from this picture: another bottle of my Clinique Acne Solutions Toner!  I use this stuff up every few months.

For my skincare and body products, I am actually surprised I managed to use up to bottles of body lotion within 4 months of my previous empties post.  I love the Pacifica body butters, and will definitely be purchasing them again in the future!  I also finally used up the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, that I wish I still had since it  is still the most effective product for taking off all my makeup with one step.  I'm lazy to order online, especially since more beauty brands are coming out with cleansing oils, but I may be tempted to order this again if I don't find an adequate replacement!  The Suave Everlasting Sunshine Body Wash was pretty good if nothing too special for me.  I loved the fresh floral smell of this the most, but it didn't linger or moisturize my skin to well.  Lastly, I am so so so happy I finished the tiny sample of the Kenzo Flower Perfume.  I know some people love this, but I could not stomach this smell at all.  It's a powdery floral scent, but it is WAY too powdery for me to the point that it was nauseating.  I barely even used this before it actually spilled in one of my bags....making my entire bag smell like this.  Not. Good. :(

I finished up a good amount of makeup products, and as you'll see below, there will be even more in just a few weeks! (days at this point..)  I have 3 lip balms to cross off the list, starting with the Revive side of the Blistex lipbalm duo.  I did not like this nearly as much as the Restore side (which I used up awhile back) since I did not feel that it was nearly as moisturizing, but it isn't the worst balm I've ever tried.  I also used up the Jack Black Grapefruit SPF25 lip balm.  I completely fell into the hype of this and understood why everyone is singing its praises.  I absolutely love this, and will be buying this again when I go through some of my other balms!  And finally, after losing it and then refinding it again this year, I was finally able to finish the Neutrogena Naturals Lip balm.  I don't hear many people talking about this balm, but actually found that it was insanely moisturizing for me.  I used it more at night since it doesn't have SPF, so I will also be buying this in addition to the Jack Black lip balms.

The two little samples on the right side are the now discontinued Smashbox Tinted Moisturizer and the Tarte Recreate Silicone Free Primer.  The tinted moisturizer wasn't anything too was sheer and light, but didn't have any effects that I noticed.  Similarly, while the Tarte primer kept my makeup kept my makeup lasting a littttle bit longer, I didn't find that it did much to help my pores.  I'm glad these are finally out of the way, though!

 The makeup products I finished this time around were a long time coming.  I definitely enjoyed the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, which seemed never-ending (in a good way!).  It was great for concealing my dark circles, and even acted double duty to help conceal my blemishes.  Again, I have some other concealers to go through, but I will consider buying this in the future.  The Covergirl Lash Exact Waterproof mascara is a good everyay, defining mascara, but I personally like a little bit of drama to my lashes.  It was good for days that I just needed to throw on mascara since it never clumped, but I still prefer my Maybelline Falsies.  Next, I finished up a mini size of the Stila All-Over Luminizer in Kitten.  It was great for traveling and adding a beautiful glow to my skin, since I prefer liquid highlighters to powder highlighters.  I bought this in a trio with the Bronze and Rose Gold shade awhile back, and look forward to using those as well!  In a valiant effort to use up my eyeliners, I finally (finally!) used up the L'oreal Extra Intense Liquid Eye Pencil in Black.  Now, this was never-ending.  It was a great eyeliner in terms of its intensity and creaminess, but it just seemed like I had this forever. I actually prefer the Milani Liquid Eyeliner Pencil since it is even darker than the L'oreal version.  Lastly, I am just about done with the Milani Radiant Bronzer. I'm not even sure if they sell this anymore, but this was a great bronzer for its matte, but not flat finish and a bronzey glow that warmed up my face well.

Finally, here are some products that are just about finished, but aren't quite there yet.  I imagine that by the end of the month (yikes...4 days!), they will be done.

Starting from the left, I have the Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Warm Golden..which I have had for an embarrassingly long time.  Let's just say that although I love this foundation to death, I'm glad I'm finally finishing this bottle.  Next, the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm has lasted me just about a year, doing its faithful duty of shedding off all my makeup at the end of the day.  Although the Shu Uemura oil was more effective, the fact that the Clinique one was a balm made it much more convenient for all the traveling I did this past year. Since its also easier to acquire, I'm more likely to repurchase this. Now I have a lipstick (?!?!) and even a blush (?!?!...cream, but still).  The Maybelline Moisture Extreme Nude Blush lipstick has been long discontinued, and I was so devastated that I stopped using it for about a year.  Now that I think I have enough dupes (not exact, but close..), I had the heart to pull this out again.  I'm just about near the end of it, and although I'm sad to see it go, I'm glad to clear out this lipstick and use my newer ones.  And the unicorn of all makeup empties.  How often do I use up blushes?  Never.  But since I use pretty much the same cream blush everyday under my powder blushes, they go a lot quicker.  This Topshop Cream Blush in Nutmeg was the perfect everyday soft pink cream blush.  It was pigmented, glided on well, and lasted for a decently long time.  I know this shade doesn't exist anymore, but I will be checking out their other shades whenever I get the chance!

I'm certainly happy with the amount of makeup products I finished, but hopefully I will have even more next time to clear out some of my older products!