Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Fashion: Styling Emerald Green

You most likely already know that my favorite color is green. Come on! For almost 19 years of my life my last name was Green, that is until I got married and took on my husbands last name. But lets get real here I really do just love that color! I love all of the shades and forms of green too- light greens, mints, aqua, turquoise, teal, really dark olive greens and then there is emerald. Emerald makes me think of elegance and liveliness. Obviously I was very excited when it was named the color of this year of 2013 which means we will be seeing a lot of it this Spring & Summer season too. There are so many fun ways to implement this color into our lives from our home decor, to our makeup looks, kitchen accessories and of course our closets! And if you are a bit more bashful with the clothes you wear then you don't have to go all out with a full on green dress, instead incorporate emerald accessories that you feel comfortable with. Your style should show your personality and to do so you must be content with the clothes you wear.  However, pushing the boundaries and getting out of your comfort zone can sometimes be a good thing too so just know how far you want to take it. I don't think I would have imagined myself frocking the color green just a year ago but I own a dress, shirt and necklace so far that are completely emerald. I have to say I really have warmed up to it and  now love how it looks! Today I am going to share with you a few of the ways I would style this gorgeous color:

1) 


2)


3)


4)


Will you be rocking some emerald this Spring and Summer? How do you like to style this color? Let me know and also share some of your favorite emerald finds in the comments form below! I love to hear from you all!

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Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Cooking: My Top 10 Recipes

Summer is fast approaching and so I think it's time to get inspired for the warm weather cooking. Considering that we are at June's doorstep it only seems appropriate that I share some of my top quick and easy recipes for the Summer.  Who wants to be stuck in the hot kitchen when we can be out with family and friends enjoying the new season?! Here are 10 of my favorites for the warm weather, each of the highlighted links will take you to the recipes and information on each dish:  



This sweet drink will be a great refresher for a hot summer afternoon treat.



A low calorie salad is just what you need for the season where we all want to look our very best. 



Peaches are one of my most favored sweet summer fruit. This easy desert will be great to throw together all Summer long.  



Entertaining will  be a breeze. This one will impress your guests in it's looks and taste both! 



Keep the kitchen cool with a quick stove top recipe and guacamole is delicious all year long!


6) Breaded Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing:

Cheese platters are a great choice for summer parties. Along those same lines is this goat cheese salad which will no doubt be a real crowd pleaser. 



This is one my oldest and most cooked recipes. The best part about it is that it can be cooked up in minutes so it'll be great for any last minute meal plans. 



Tropical fruit just screams summer to me. This fun twist will keep it interesting!



Grilling is the seasons most favored form of cooking. The vegetarians won't be left out this time with a delicious mushroom burger.



This is a classic that will work wonderfully any time. As it's a real favorite around my home it  just can not be left out!

I hope these recipes will be super useful to you in your menu planning for the Summer months ahead!  

What do you like to cook come Summer? Please share in the comments form below, I'd absolutely love to know!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Skin Care Product Review: Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15



What Aveeno says about their moisturizer: "Clinically proven to visibly reduce redness, soothe irritated or sensitive skin with naturally calming feverfew"

I have been using this moisturizer for what seems like ages but probably closer to like 3 years. Obviously I've gone through plenty of bottles since first trying it. The reason I even picked it up to begin with was because of my issue with hyper pigmentation/redness in my cheeks. My skin was never irritated or super sensitive but it was constantly red in the cheek area and I had a really difficult time covering that up when it came to applying makeup. Even when I used a really full coverage foundation, that redness always managed to peek through. I'm not complaining since I know there can be far worse problems in regards to skin but it was definitely something I struggled with for a while. I also just want to add in that I have a combination skin type with some dry patches in the winter time and an oily t-zone in the summer time.


Aveeno is known for their very gentle products which are also really nice for sensitive skins so that's why I gave this product a go in the first place. Just a little while after beginning to incorporate this item into my daily routine I noticed a pretty dramatic difference and my cheeks seemed alot less angry and red. I would say 80% had even completely vanished with the use of the cream. I still do have some redness but when I use this in the morning I can see how it soothes and calms it and I often notice my cheeks go from bright red to light pink in just a few minutes which is very nice. At this point if I use this a couple of times a week I am pretty much covered in that department and so it has become a crucial part of my skin care routine as I mentioned in my skin care routine post a little while back here. I mostly use this in the mornings as my day time moisturizes and although I do like to try other moisturizers here and there this is one I know I can count on any time.


The details:

Packaging: The packaging is nothing special and not crazy high quality but I wouldn't expect too much more from the drugstore. I do like that it keeps thing sanitary with that great pump attachment which dispenses just the right amount. 

Price: I think $13 is a bit on the expensive side for a drugstore moisturizer especially for the fact that it's only 4 oz. But that detail wouldn't stop me from purchasing it because it's that good. At the same time I do think it's good value for what you are getting as it lasts a while. I've had this one for a few months and it's still going strong since it's really potent and I just need about a half a pump for each application.

Texture: The texture is quite medium so not too thick but not too thin that it's runny either. It's also non greasy which is an important detail to me.



What it does for my skin:  It makes my skin feel really soft and like I said before it reduces that redness in my cheeks. It contains feverfew which is a natural ingredient in the same family as chamomile that is supposed to be super calming and I feel like that's just what it is. It doesn't leave behind any residue, instead my skin seems to absorb the product within seconds. Also I like that it has SPF 15 which protects my skin from sun damage every day. I think they may have a formulation that has SPF 30 at this point and I would go for that one next time. The more protection I have with this very fair skin of mine, the better!

Scent: I quite like the scent. It's not one of those heavily perfumed ones that makes you gag. It just has that really clean kind of smell if that makes sense at all. I don't think it's the kind of scent that would really annoy anyone but if you don't like scented products you may not like this one.

How it interacts with my makeup: It's light enough that it works well under makeup and acts as a primer too helping my makeup glide right on. It is also nourishing enough that my skin does still look pretty decent under a full coverage foundation which can sometimes cause my skin to flake and get dehydrated. 


Overall:

I think it would work really well for all skin types. I like something that is a little lighter but works well at hydrating the skin and I have found that to be the case with this one. I am happy to have found something that reduces the redness/ruddiness in my cheeks and I would highly recommend this to anyone going through that same thing or that is just looking for a good daily moisturizer. I cannot think of one bad thing to say about it and I know that as long as this product is available I will re-purchase it so that I always have one in my collection. 


Do you have a specific moisturizer used daily? Let me know what it is the comments form below- I love to get recommendations from you!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mays Kitchen of The Month


May is coming to a close. It's crazy how fast the months fly by me. This month has been totally crazy for me and I didn't get to post as much as I would have liked but I am just moving on and hoping for an easier month to come. I came across this kitchen and knew immediately that it had to be "nominated" as this months featured kitchen. This is a kitchen that was designed in Montana as part of a getaway home. The designers were going for a rustic and unique look and I have to say they achieved just that. And now let me tell you what details really impressed me: A) I really like all of the unique nook that encases the stove. B) The red details on the stove handles and floor rug which add a pop of interesting detail with color. C) The tall country style ceiling. D) The otherwise neutral color theme of browns and greys


I honestly cannot think of a single thing I do not like here. There was obviously alot of thought put in for each and every detail. If you love this kitchen like I do then you need to see what the rest of this rustic getaway home looks like.  Click here to check that out!


Do you want to get that rustic look without completely designing a new kitchen? Add some interesting rustic accessories to your kitchen and it'll be almost just as good. Here are my picks:


What do you think of think of this months kitchen? Which of these accessories would you add to you kitchen for that added rustic feel? Let me know in the comments form below I absolutely adore hearing from readers!

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Beauty Tip of The Week: Getting A Bronzed Glowy Look Just in Time for Summer Months Ahead


As the end of the May month nears I begin thinking of Summer with it's long nights and warm days. The scene of light flowy dresses and tanned glowy cheeks is what comes to mind. What comes to your mind when you think of the warm months ahead? 

Today I want to share some of my tips and product recommendations for getting that bronzed summer glow without exposing our skin to the harmful rays of the sun:

1) Choose a suntan lotion with SPF 15-45! I know that this sounds alot like the opposite of getting any color but lets not forgot how detrimental the suns rays can be for our sensitive skin. So slather that stuff on and opt for some faux glow! Read about my sun protection tips and the bad personal experience I had that made me a true sun protection believer here. A great one to try is the Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion $16.

2) Use a self tanner- I'm surely not the first to talk about self tanners and I know I won't be the last because they really are that good for faking a gorgeous tan. There are several tutorials on how to use them all over the web from blogs to youtube so you'll have nothing to worry about when it comes to getting the application just right. I personally opt for gradual tanners since I have such pale skin. My favorite is the Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer for Medium to Tan Skin Tones. One I have yet to try but have heard rave reviews on is the St. Tropez Self Tanner Mousse which is supposed to deliver long lasting color along with an easy application and lightweight feel which is just what I like in a self tanner. I look forward to putting that to the test that is for certain!

3) Bronze and Highlight with Makeup products- You can start with a luminizing base if you like which will just take that glow a bit further. For a light coverage look the Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer is one I like alot. Once you have perfected and neutralized the skin as needed you will want to add back some color and definition and you can do so with a bronzer and highlighter. My most used bronzer of the moment is Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder- it gives me the perfect sculpted bronze look and doesn't look caked on or orange. Using a large fluffy powder brush focus on the points where the sun naturally hits like the hollows of the cheeks, over the nose, top of the forehead and underneath the jawbone. Working in circular motions will give the most even and natural finish and keep it from looking too sculpted. Lastly, lightly apply a highlighting product like The Balm Mary Lou Manizer to the high points of your face including your cheekbones, temple, bridge of the nose, just above the upper lip and on the brow bone. This step will complete your glowy skin look.

What are your favorite products for getting that perfect summer glow? Do you have any tricks for achieving the look? Let me know in the comments form below! It's always good to hear from you!

Hope this beauty tip will be useful to you in your beauty routine as Summer nears. 
Have a very nice Memorial Day and a great start to the new week!
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reduced Calorie Recipe: Pasta Salad


This is my favorite salad of all time. Today I am sharing the healthier version though as I am still on my diet. It's going pretty well really and I'm happy that the Shavuos holiday didn't effect my weight too much. I am still going strong and that feels fantastic! I love pasta and there is noway I would ever be without it, diet or no diet. That does involve a lot of carbs though so it's not really the healthiest choice. I was so thrilled when I found this brown rice pasta at my grocery. I was kind of worried at first about the difference in taste- as you know I am no fan of whole grains..I just don't really like how they taste. I was even happier when I cooked it up and it was absolutely delicious. It didn't even taste all that different in comparison to regular white pasta and I have been buying it ever since. The calories are half of what white pasta adds up to and it tastes just as good so how can you go wrong with that?  If you too love pasta and feel you just can't be without then this is the way to go. The only real change is the cooking time. As this is made of rice it takes quicker to cook so it's important to keep that in mind. Overcooking can cause some serious mushiness and that isn't good anytime! I'm glad that I can still enjoy one of my favorite salads without the calorie guilt!

I thought I'd share the recipe with you today. Whether you are on a diet or not I think this is a great dish to accompany any meal! It makes the perfect side dish for the Shabbos meals or just as a lunch on a regular day. The best part is that there isn't any major preparation to be done and it can be ready in under 10 minutes. I prepared this for a side dish for our Shabbos meal a few weeks back. I usually share the calorie amounts for my low calorie recipe posts but I honestly don't remember the exact number. I do know that it was at least reduced to half from the calories my original recipe contained. If I do manage to calculate it properly I will definitely add it in here at some point.


Pasta Salad:

Ingredients:

1 lb. Package Brown Rice Rotini
1 Large Red Pepper
1 Large Yellow Peppper
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 Large Red Onion
1/2 Cup Black Olive Rings
1/8 Cup Safflower Oil
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
2 Teaspoons White Sugar (or sugar substitute) 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method: 

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. I like to add a drip of oil at this point as well to keep the pasta pieces from sticking to each other or to the pot as they cook up. Once the water has come to a boil add the pasta and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes or follow the package directions for the amount to get it cooked the way you like it. Stir constantly as it cooks.

2. While the pasta is cooking up begin chopping up your veggies. I'm not very precise in how I chop them up but I try for small-medium squares for the peppers and slivers for the red onion. 

3. Combine the safflower oil, white vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until they are completely combined. 

4. Once the pasta is ready to your liking, remove it from the pot and pour it into a strainer to remove any cooking water. If you like your dressing to be a bit thicker you can reserve 1/8 cup of the cooking liquid and add it to your sauce at this point. That will add some extra texture and flavor. Move the pasta to a large serving bowl. 

5. Once the pasta has cooled off a bit drop in your veggies and add your dressing. Mix the salad to bring it all together and serve cold or warm. 

What is your favorite salad to eat when you are dieting? Let me know in the comments form below...I love to hear from you!
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Makeup Product Review: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyestudio Eyeshadow: Pomegranate Punk



What Maybelline says about these cream shadows: "Dare to wear our longest lasting shadow, our ink technology creates super saturated color. Cream gel smooths on for vibrant color that does not fade" 

When this cream shadow line first hit the shelves about a year ago I was very skeptical on purchasing any for myself. I had tried so many cream shadows that had simply been disappointing. I have since discovered the Smashbox Cream Shadows which I have raved about plenty. As these caused quite the storm in the beauty community soon after being brought out and I knew I had to buy one. The first shade I purchased was Bold Gold and although I was impressed with it, I wasn't so crazy about the color. I recently picked this color up though and I am absolutely crazy about it. So much so that I included it in this past months beauty favorites video and post and I did an entire eye makeup tutorial video and post based around it which went up this week too. I can now safely say that cream shadows are pretty much the best thing that have happened to my makeup collection in a long time! I also want to add that these are very beginner friendly and easy to use so if you are just getting into makeup or have a hard time with eye shadow placement I would say this is a very good place to start. I was never a fan of shadows with any redness to them as they make my eyes seem tired or sick but this burgundy/cranberry red shade is one I find I can pull off. In some lighting I find that it looks more brown or pink and in others reddish or purple even so that's quite interesting too.


Item Specifics & What I Think of It:

Color Variety: the permanent collection consists of 10 different shades from neutrals to neons and from time to time the company has released limited edition collections with metallics and such.

Price: These cream shadows are extremely inexpensive and websites like Ulta or drugstores like Rite Aid often offer buy one get one 50% off promos so you really can't go wrong with that.

Quality & Lasting Power: The staying power is insane and it's not often I'd agree to the 24 hour claims on a product but I can vouch for this one lasting that long. It holds up in all conditions- weather, tears etc. I wouldn't be surprised if it would last through a swim too. The color is vivid and pigmented with just a bit of product used and it can be built up even more if preferred  At the same time I didn't have a hard time removing it with my Maybelline clean express makeup remover once I wanted to but I would recommend using an eye makeup remover like that one that is slightly oil based which will work best.

The Packaging: I think the packaging is very nice with it's large glass pot which is surprisingly quite light. It's sleek looking with it's black screw on top which stays on tight and keeps the product from drying out. With that transparency and big bold words on the lid you can quickly identify the one you want to use. As always with a product in a pot that gets dipped into constantly there is that issue of keeping things sanitary and bacteria free so that is a slight downside for me with these. That said I have learnt to be extremely careful in that aspect.  
             
The Consistency: the formulation of the product is just alright for me, I've found that it's alot less creamy in comparison to my other cream shadows but it does go on smoothly enough and once it sets it doesn't fade or crease at all.

Amount of Product: I do think they could have given a little more then 3.98 Grams of product for this one in fact if I'm not mistaken the Smashbox ones and the Mac Paintpots both have 5 Grams. I will also note that it will take me ages to get through one of these since so little is needed for each application. I've used it plenty and have yet to make a real dent.


Overall:

These really are fabulous shadows to try if you like cream formulations. I think they are great for beginners as well as those that tend to their makeup quickly or on the go. You could literally smear this across you lids smack on some mascara and be out the door if you wanted. And as for how long they last, it's not often I come across a product that really does like this one. All in all a really lovely product. I will definitely be picking up some more colors in the very near future!

Application Tips: This product can be applied all over the lid with a flat shader brush or fingers for a gorgeous pop of color. Blend quickly as they set fast. These can be used as a liner and they can also be used along with powder shadows to intensify the look as I did in my makeup tutorial here.


Pros: 
Although the color selection isn't massive I think there is one to suit everyone and they all seem really pretty.
Simple to Apply- great for beginners or quick applications. 
Extremely Long Lasting - with 3 layers applied I have had 24 hours of wear. 
No primer is needed. In fact it works great as a base for other shadows. It can also be worn alone.
Unbeatable price.
The packaging is sleek and appealing. 

Cons:

Not sanitary. Removing product with a clean brush or spatula would be your best bet. 
No ingredients list anywhere on the packaging. It would be useful to be able to see what exactly I'm putting on my eyelids.
It sets very fast so they need to be applied precisely and hastily.
Could have added a bit more product at just 3.98 grams.
Even though it goes on pretty smoothly, it's not really creamy enough for blending easily. 



Swatch/On My Eyes (To see how I got this eye look click here.)

These go for about $6.99 on average at most stores. They can be purchased from Ulta.com, Drugstore.com, Local Drugstores- Duane Reade, Rite Aid and anywhere else that drugstore products are sold pretty much. 

Have you tried these yet? What do you think of them? If you like them like I do, what are your favorite shades?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nails of The Day: Essie Where's My Chauffeur? Nail Polish


I haven't posted a nail of the day in ages! I do believe I say that almost every nail post though. The truth is that it's just been a really bad month for my nails. Here's what I think has been happening: I wore a glitter polish on my nails for a couple of weeks prior to this little incident. Glitters take some real scrubbing to remove which means they last well but are a real pain in the neck later on. It seems that my nails either did not like the glitter or did not fancy all that rubbing and scrubbing and they began to chip and crack on me left and right. 



This one may be due to the sudden change of weather but suddenly my cuticles got super dry and achy too. With all of that my nails just didn't want to grow more then an inch which is frustrating for someone like me who loves to wear pretty nail polishes all the time. After that all I have been applying bio oil to my cuticles to try and get them in better shape but they still have a far way to come as you can see ( my apologies! I know its so gross) and as for my nails they have now grown an inch or two and that in itself is huge for me. 




I do believe it is perfect timing to share my latest nail polish obsession with you! Isn't that robins egg blue just a beauty? I love that the color is completely opaque in just two coats and although it chips within 2-3 days it is easy to touch up. It sets to a semi matte finish so it has just the right amount of shine too.

The one thing that annoyed me with this polish was that the first time I wore it my nails were stained with the color after just a week. I re-applied it last week and removed it today, I was happy to see that it didn't stain my nails this time. I did find that odd though and wonder what it was that caused the color stains to begin with as I have never had that happen to me before. Got a tip for removing those sorts of stains? Leave it in the comments form..I would love to get some recommendations!




 In any case it is one of my favorite polishes for the Spring and Summertime as I mentioned in my most recent favorites video and post. I think this is definitely going to be a regular for me in the months ahead! Essie released a color called In The Cab-ana recently as a part of their resort 2013 collection and I have to say it is so similar to this one. That one may have a bit more green to it but I don't think I will be purchasing it quite yet since I already have this one. 



Do you have any nail polishes you are enjoying for this Spring season? Let me know which ones they are! I'd love to know!


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Step By Step Eye Makeup Tutorial: Cranberry with Smokey Accents


I hope that all of you who celebrated the Shavuos holiday last week had a wonderful one! Mine was very nice indeed and kept me very busy in the kitchen. Although my thoughts were on my blog I just didn't have a second to type a single word. Now that everything has calmed down a bit I am really glad to be back.

Ever since spotting this cranberry pink colored cream shadow called Pomegranate Punk from Maybelline at the drugstore I have been absolutely adoring it and thinking up several exciting looks to create using it. ( a full product review is coming later this week) So of course I couldn't wait to get it home and start playing with it. I came up with this really pretty look which I have been wearing on nights out. In fact this is the eye makeup I had on for the holiday. So when it came time to film this weeks YouTube video I obviously wanted to share a quick tutorial to achieve it with ease.




Products & Brushes Used: 
(Some are linked to reviews I've done previously, click on the name to be rerouted to that post)

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24 Hour Cream Eyeshadow 30 Pomegranate Punk
Mac 217 Blending Brush
Urban Decay Naked Pallette Shades "Creep" and "Virgin"
Ecotools Eyeliner/Eyebrow Brush


 I myself really love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. I have honestly learnt so many techniques and fine details from seeing them. Getting to view makeup products in action really helps differentiate between products that will perform well for me personally and those that aren't worth my time and money so that holds great value as well. Some channels that I have been subscribed to for ages and continue to watch videos from until today are: Pixiwoo, Lisa Eldridge, Nikkie Tutorials, Lauren Beauty and Essie Button. I highly recommend checking their channels out yourself as you will be totally astounded with their amazing creativity. Those women sure are talented!  

And finally, here is the video tutorial for this look if you are interested in seeing exactly how I achieved this look step by step. I'm not sure if I've mentioned before but you can expect to see a video from me on my channel every Sunday. I cover all sorts of topics from cooking to beauty and fashion and anything else I discuss here on the blog so make sure to subscribe if you'd like to see those!   

         

What do you think of the look? Can you see yourself wearing one like this? Leave me a comment below this post letting me know..I love to hear from you! Also if you recreate this look or get inspired to put together something similar then please send me a pic by email or through my twitter or instagram-gigikkitch, I'd love to see that!

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