Friday, April 11, 2014

Smashbox Photo Op Eye Shadow Trios, Wavelength and Electro Review


I find myself gravitating to eye shadow palettes that have neutral colors in them alot lately. Browns, taupes, golds and bronzes, I have too many to count. For that reason, I was surprised at how ecstatic I was when these landed on my doorstep. These vibrant colors have enabled me to really explore and experiment with different makeup looks then I'd normally go for. I can't wait to share some new makeup tutorials making use of them as well. 

Smashbox has had these Photo Op Eye Shadow Trios around for a while. These ones are more recent additions for the Spring and Summer time. Here's how they describe them: "Our Fab trios are all playfulness and color! Get rich bold hues in just one swipe. Each Includes three coordinated shadows- base shade, contour color and highlighter- so you'll never wonder which shadows to wear together again."

Here's what I think of them: 


Color Variety: The color choices are what has excited me most with these two palettes. I love the vibrant blues, chartreuse, yellow and coral pink! Each color does coordinate well with one another the only thing each of these trios is lacking is a highlight shade in nude, beige or ivory and a good light brown as a blending shade. These are both shades I need for any look I will create so that was a slight let down. It is easy to grab another palette but I like when everything I need is in one place.

Consistency: The texture on these is quite interesting to me. The shadow goes on nicely and blends well, but it is quite powdery and crumbly which means alot of fallout if you aren't careful and also equals quite messy packaging when the product dusts everywhere.  

Pigmentation and Finish: Almost all of the shades in these trios have a slight shimmer to them. The sparkly bits don't show up much at all when applied though which doesn't really bother me much personally. The pigmentation is definitely lacking here. They look as though they'd have fantastic color payoff but unfortunately they fall short with just one swipe. They definitely need a base underneath them like NYX's jumbo pencil in milk and then need to be built up about 2-3 times to appear as vibrant as they are in the packaging. 


Lasting power: Once again an eye shadow base of some sorts is a must with these to ensure they stay put all day. Otherwise they do seem to fade and move around a bit at the 4-5 hour mark. Using my Mac paint pot beneath these did the trick and helped them stick around for 8+ hours. 

Packaging: I really like the packaging on these. They are small and round in size so they don't take up too much room in a makeup drawer or travel bag. The lid snaps shut and the rest of it's encasing seems quite sturdy too. Everything I've come to expect from Smashbox in looks.

Price: These go for $28 for 2.76 g on the Smashbox website. This is very comparable to what Mac and other high end brands will charge for this amount of product. For 3 shadows I'd say that's not all that bad at all.  


Overall: These aren't my choice shadows in consistency and pigmentation but they do go onto the lid alright and blend evenly. They build up nicely with a cream shadow under them as well. The chartreuse color is my absolute favorite and I've gotten loads of compliments on it while wearing it. The price is decent and the packaging is superb. I'd say I like these but don't completely love them. These will still get alot of use as the weather warms up and I plan to do video tutorials shortly utilizing each shade.  


Have you tried these shadows? What did you think of them if you did? If you haven't will you?

Let me know in the comments form below, I would love to hear from you!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My April 2014 Wishlist


If there is a post to celebrate the arrival of Spring this will certainly be the one. The official calendar welcoming of Spring has long passed, but it hasn't really acted accordingly until yesterday. The sun is finally shining in through my window and I hear birds singing their songs. Soon flowers will begin to bud on the trees and all will be beautiful again. I even heard an ice cream truck today!

 With each new season comes a fresh basket of wishes as makeup brands launch exciting new lines and floral prints are showcased in every clothing shop window. I want all of it of course but I will start making my selections slowly and carefully. Maybe a little haul is on the horizon...

Here are the items that are currently on my mind for the new season:

1. First Prize Pies Cookbook By Allison Kave- Maybe not the most appropriate of cookbooks with Pesach on our doorsteps. I do love me some pie though. 

2. Lsa Posy Vase- I have the perfect spot in my home for some fresh cut flowers in a vase, all I have to do is go get some. 

3. Tanya Burr Lip Gloss- I want them all but Picnic in the Park is the one I like most. 

4. Tanya Burr Nail Polish- If I buy this one it'll be partially due to it's adorable name "Little Duck". 

5. Mimi Boutique Sahara Satchel- I've been on the hunt for a new neutral toned easy every day bag. I spotted this on the Fash Boulevard blog and I think it's the one. 

6. Indigo Expression Pillow- Love the expression, love the pillow. 

7. Vita Liberata 2-3 Week Tan Mousse- I've never heard of a self tanner that lasts on the skin this long so I am quite curious about this one. 

8. Joseph Joseph Adjustable Sphagetti Measure- I think this is awesome, since I never know how much pasta to cook when I'm having company. 

9. Selphy CP910 White Wireless Printer- A printer you can use to turn your instagram photos into stickers? Yes please!

10. Prada Oversized Baroque Round Sunglasses- I don't even know how these would look on me but they are such a great fashion statement piece!

11. Oh Joy! Scalloped Bowl- I love the colors and the scalloped design. I think it'd be perfect to serve a salad in at an outdoor summer bbq. 

12. Asos Skater Skirt in Neon Jacquard- The material on this is so pretty and I can see this worn dressed up or dressed down. It's beautiful. 

What's on your wishlist this month? Let me know in the comments form, I would love to hear from you!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Taste of Pesach Cookbook Review

*A Taste of Pesach Cookbook

I've admitted to being the worst food blogger in regards to cracking open a cookbook in the past. It's absolutely ridiculous that they sit on my book shelf and collect dust. I've recently received two new ones which will hopefully get a little more use then the rest have. This one surely will. Being that it's my first year ever cooking a complete Pesach on my own, the blog is sort of lacking in the Pesach recipe department. To make up for it, I will offer you my review of this cookbook. It is full of Passover friendly recipes that you and your families are sure to love! 

The Details:

How it Looks: The outer appearance is definitely appealing with it's dramatic black cover and white lettering. Most cookbooks offer a picture of a standout dish from the book on their cover. This one is unique with the utensils full of food being shown instead. The bright pops of color given off from those foods are what make it so alluring on first sight, in my opinion. 

What's Inside: Upon opening this book you will find over 150 excellent recipes most of which are accompanied by vibrant full page images of the specific dish itself. Clear and easy instructions are included too. You will find everything from Fish to Meat and fabulous Desserts. Who said Pesach was all potatoes, eggs and matzo?


Extras: 

Little notes with additional instructions for plating and variation options etc. are written along side many of the recipes for those creative cooks who want to add a little pizazz to their dishes! Also included is a two page menu ideas section which has options for dishes categorized as "traditional" or "prepare in advance" for easy holiday meal planning.  

What I love: 

1) The easy to read layout 2) The additional notes added with each recipe creating a more personal feel 3) So many cookbooks I've read lately have been lacking big time in regards to fish, this one on the other hand covers it nicely. 

What I Don't Love:

There is just one thing I can comment one here. I noticed that most of the sauce recipes were pretty basic so if your looking to be inspired in that department, it may fall short. Almost every one includes brown sugar and ketchup.

Some of the recipes I most look forward to preparing:

1) Asparagus Soup with Veal Mini Meatballs
2) Chilean Sea Bass
3) Unstuffed Cabbage
4) Classic Poached Pears


Overall:

I think this recipe book was well thought out. The cover is eye catching and the contents are just as pleasing. Although I was not thrilled with the sauces, the fish section sure makes up for it. The Duck A L'orange and Tiramisu are dishes from the book I've sampled over the weekend and they were both truly excellent. If you are seeking a new Pesach cookbook to use this holiday, I would certainly recommend this one. Step into your local Judaica store and have a flip through it to see if it's something you'd be interested in owning. I don't think it will disappoint.

*This item was sent to me by Artscroll for my consideration, all opinions stated here are solely my own. 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Milk Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Macaroons Recipe


When I think back to Pesach/Passover as an adolescent, many memories come to mind. 14 hour roads trips from Indiana (where I grew up) are recollections not easily forgotten. Suffering with severe motion sickness means I get carsick easily. The thought of peeled oranges, white squares of chocolate and macaroons from those tall paper wrapped tins being passed to me in the backseat still make me shudder. It's probably the coconut in the macaroons that doesn't agree with me. Add it the growing list of foods I dislike, along with bananas and peanut butter. 

Nonetheless, as a food blogger I feel it is my duty to attempt cooking adventures that involve all sort of foods, even those that are under the category of "gag worthy" to me. Have I mentioned my love for the oh so popular macaroni and cheese? I could eat it for dinner every night. That wouldn't make a very interesting food blog though, would it? Very often I surprise myself and actually love that very thing I've baked with said ingredient I so passionately detest. This was one of those situations! Most of the makeup of these cookies is coconut. Don't leave yet, even if it's not your favorite. I too thought these would get eaten by everyone but me, turns out I may have had 1 or two....ok like 5. While cruising through a Food Network magazine recently, I came across this idea and was so excited to play around with it and make it my own. If you make just one desert this holiday it should be this one, they were soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, just sweet enough and tasted hardly of coconut...to me. 

I added pistachios to the top of these macaroons when I baked them before Pesach but any sort of nuts or dried fruit can be used inside and outside. Don't like cranberries? Add chocolate chips or any other item of choice. There are so many great variations to be done here, so play around with the recipe as you please. 


Milk Chocolate Dipped Cranberry  Macaroons:

Yields: About 25 Medium Macaroons

Ingredients:

3 Egg Whites
1 Tsp. of Cinnamon Extract
1/2 Cup Sugar
5 Oz. Unsweetened Shredded Coconut 
1/2 Cup Craisins 
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/3 Cup *Osem Israeli Cake Meal or Matzoh Meal

4 Oz. Milk Chocolate or Non Dairy Semi Sweet Chocolate for Dipping
Chopped Nuts or Dried Fruit

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Whisk the egg whites together until slightly frothy. Stir the cinnamon extract in with the egg whites and then add the sugar and mix in as well. Add the shredded coconut, craisins, salt and cake meal.  

3. Once it has all come together to form a thick batter of sorts, start scooping out 2 tablespoonfuls at a time onto a prepared greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Once measured, roll into balls and form into macaroon shape. Make sure they are set apart by two inches or so, otherwise they may bake together and become one. 

4. Put them in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are golden brown on all sides. 

5. Once removed from the oven, allow them to cool for about 15 minutes before attempting to lift them and add their toppings. 

6. Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave for about a minute or so. Then stir the chocolate to see that it has come to a thicker melted liquid.

7. Carefully dip each macaroon into the chocolate so that the top is covered in a nice layer. Sprinkle each one with pieces of chopped nuts and let them set for another 15 minutes before serving.  

Enjoy!

*Thank you Osem for sending me some really great products to cook and bake with. Want to see more of what Osem has to offer that is also Kosher For Passover? Head over to their Facebook page where they are also currently holding an awesome recipe contest!  

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C BB Cream SPF 20 Review



It seems as though Spring has finally sprung.  I'm definitely getting into the Spring spirit. Not having to walk outside with boots on is utterly fabulous! Cleaning and organizing is on the mind now. Lighter layers are too. Outer wear gets thinner and so can the products we put on our face. And the cycle begins again. Away with the foundations, out come the tinted moisturizers and bb creams. Speaking of, I actually have one to tell you about. 

A while back I tried and reviewed a BB cream from the Lumene line and did not like it very much due to it's thick qualities which meant it was too difficult to blend. It was also a bit orange and dark to match my fair skin. I'm not sure if this is that same product that has been reformulated or repackaged but nonetheless, I am really quite fond of it. When warmer seasons arrive, I like to keep my makeup light and fresh with the help of products that look natural and are easy to apply. This is all that and more. It's light on the skin but super effective in coverage. 

What Lumene says about it: "Light, moisturizing and conditioning cream helps to even out the skins natural tone and correct small imperfections."  


What I think of it:

 Coverage: Medium. BB creams often have a light coverage like that of a tinted moisturizer or a really heavy one like that of a full coverage foundation. This one is the perfect imbetween. It covers imperfections but still feels light on the skin. It can be built up for more coverage as well. 

Finish: I wouldn't say this has a matte or dewey finish but it definitely looks just like skin once it sets in.

Consistency: Slighter thicker then that of a tinted moisturizer this product blends into the skin flawlessly. It's not so thick that my bronzer goes all patchey over top of it either. 

Lasting power- Not more then 6 hours. It doesn't have the same wear as a long lasting foundation would, but it doesn't wear off strangely either, it fades slowly as it reaches it's 6th hour on the skin. 

Variations: I was disappointed to find that only two shades are available in this range. That's a real shame as there is definitely not one to suit everyone. This shade isn't my perfect match either, but when it is sheered out over my skin it does work fine. 

Scent: It has a slight citrus scent to it, but nothing overly bothersome in my opinion. 

Packaging: Bright and sleek. It comes in a tube that is easy to dispense product from without overdoing it. 

Price: $9.99. In comparison to some of the other BB creams like it, this is a good price. It will last a while too. 

Overall: I really like how this bb cream looks on my skin and I have been using it every day since I got it. It lasts me through a work day so I can't complain in that aspect. The SPF 20 is an added bonus for the warmer months and it does live up to most of it's claims. I do wish there were more shades made available so that more people could try it as well and I think that may be the only downside to it. 


Have you tried this BB cream? If you have, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments form below! If you want to have a look at some of the Lumene beauty products, you can visit their website. I did see them stocked at Walgreens as well, the last time I was there. 

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