Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit Review




Here we are again talking about a product that has a whole lot of hype surrounding it ever since it first released. I recently talked about Two Faced Better then Sex Mascara and explained that I rarely purchase products during that hype period. So is this one worth the hype? 


My first ever contour kit style product was the Smashbox one which they then discontinued and then brought back, I have no idea why they would ever stop selling that amazingness in the first place, but I digress. Every time I try a new bronzer or contouring product, I now have something to compare to. 

Now before I get into my review I want to take a poll of sorts on my reviewing style. Please do weigh in, every opinion means so much to me!

So here's the dillema-

When I began beauty blogging I went into every detail of the product from scent to how it looks when photographed, even offering tips for application. I felt like that was a good way to really explain why I like a product or why it really didn't work for me and I've been doing that up until recently. Lately though I've begun making my reviews more concise and to the point and it's just easier for me to get them out to you as quick as possible this way while still explaining some basics. I don't want to be leaving out any important points, but please do help me in deciding which is the better option when reviewing beauty products. These reviews are for my readers and those looking into purchasing new beauty products so I really would like them to be optimized to that benefit! Leave a comment down below letting me know what you think, I really do want to hear from you!


 Now let's talk about this contour kit, 
The consistency and blend-ability of these powders are really the best thing this product has going for it in my opinion. Also the lasting power which is really incredible even in the heat and humidity. I easily get a full days wear on these and then some. The packaging is simple and user friendly, but very easy to dirty up in material (and I don't even store it with other makeup). I do like the fact that these can be removed and changed up with other powder product pans in her line to customize to individual needs. Although these look very similar in shade to the Smashbox ones right off the bat, they come off looking completely different on my skin. Less so in person then in photographs (they can be pulled off in person), which is most important to me since I am on camera alot. The two shades I use are the middle ones both on top and bottom. I use the top one to set my under eye concealer and the bottom to contour a bit but mostly bronze up my face because none of the shades really are ashy and dark brown enough to contour on my complexion, oddly enough. I've also found that the "banana" shade everyone so highly recommends can go very strange on camera unless I use a very light hand and a precise brush to apply. The highlight shades do absolutely nothing for me at all and hardly show up for me in comparison to my favorites- The Balm "Mary Lou Manizer" and Becca "Moonstone".  I was super excited to get my hands on this because of all of the amazing reviews and swatches but for some reason it just doesn't translate all that well on me. So all in all, I'm a little disappointed to say the least. I've loved every Anastasia product I've tried so far and this one just is not worth the $40 I forked over for it. 


Have you given any of this contour kit a try? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven't do you want to?

Let me know in the comments form, along with any other opinions you may have, I love hearing from readers!

Thanks so much for stopping in! 

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Gigi. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Fashion: Cobalt Blue and Bright Pink Outfit of the Day



I find it interesting to look back on my old outfit posts and videos and see how much my style has evolved and yet stayed so much the same in many ways. It is clear that I love my basics, rarely shy away from playing with color and keep it casual most of the time (the heels only really come out for special occasions and I go for skirts and tops over dresses on most days). I also always add new pieces to my wardrobe each season but still hold onto items I know I can go back to time and time again. 


 I've been promising to share a fishtail braid/ mermaid braid hair tutorial since last year when I pretty much wore one in daily. I hope I get around to recording that some time really soon because it is such an easy, fun way to keep cool and still have styled hair on a daily basis. 


Several of the items that make up this look are actually from last year. I wore alot of cap sleeves last year. This year I've chosen to skip layering as much and go for basic t-shirts and such in this heat. Regardless, I always like to share when I put an actual outfit together for some time away from the home base.  


All of the items in this look are pretty budget friendly which seems to be my style theme lately. Here's the breakdown:

Blue cap sleeve top, statement gold and hot pink chain necklace and hot pink leapord print shoes- Forever 21, from past seasons

3/4 sleeve white shell- Kiki Riki, double header.

White denim skirt- also Kiki Riki, purchased at Elzee

Aviator Sunglasses and Earrings- Target


Thanks for stopping in!

Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

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XX.
 Gigi.   

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Honeyed Cashew Cilantro Pesto Gnocchi Recipe+ Video


With little time in the evenings to cook up dinners that require long preparation, I turn to dishes like this one which take less then 20 minutes to throw together from start to finish. The great thing is that it tastes like a lot more effort went into it and there's enough sauce to refrigerate some and use it at the end of the week. This recipe post comes along with a video where I walk through the step by step process of the preparation, so watch that here, or read till the end, where it will be inserted as usual. 


I wasn't a huge fan of pesto sauces until I realized what it was that bothered me about them. It was the basil and the often utilized pine nuts or walnuts. I've since begun trying different combinations of herbs and nuts to get one that's just right for my taste. You can truly do the same! 

Honeyed Cashew Cilantro Pesto Gnocchi 

Ingredients:

1 Lime, Zested
Juice of half a lime
1 Clove Fresh Garlic
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1/2 Cup Honey Roasted Cashews
1/2 Cup Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. Package already prepared Gnocchi (potato dumplings)
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Method:

1. Place the lime zest, juice of half a lime, clove of garlic, cilantro, cashews and olive oil into a food processor with the blade attachment. Turn the machine on for a few minutes or until it is completely combined and broken down into a slightly chunky, thick sauce. 

2. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Cook for 3 minutes and then strain. 

3. Mix the parmesan cheese into the prepared pesto sauce. 

4. Pour 1/3 cup of the pesto sauce over the cooked gnocchi. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top, and add a few sprigs of cilantro.

5. Serve cold or warm and reserve any leftover pesto sauce in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 



If you liked this video please let me know by giving it a "thumbs up", you can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel here


I really hope you will give my Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce recipe a try! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what it was like if you do! And feel free to tag me on Instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

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Gigi. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

OPI's "Big Apple Red" Nails of The Day



  Sometimes when you just aren't feeling it, a fresh coat of polish is all you need to appear put together. Especially in a bright red shade. So if you haven't gotten much sleep or it's a gloomy rainy day, taking the time to paint your nails may be just the thing to pick you up. It sure works for me. No one has to know that you literally just rolled out of bed and threw on the easiest outfit and a pair of sunglasses. Immediately your look will have an air of sophistication to it. And that brings me to the nail polish currently on my nails in this vibrant shade of red. It's by OPI and it's called "Big Apple Red."



I used to appreciate the OPI nail polishes in terms of wear. The last few I've acquired haven't been all that great in that aspect though. I believe that may be due to trying to their newer 7 day formulation and these just don't come close. I get a couple days wear with this one at the very most.

 It's interesting how this specific shade changes in different lighting as you can see in the photos. OPI nail polishes are priced at somewhere around $8 in most places, not terrible for a decent nail polish. 1 coat doesn't quite do it with this nail polish, 2 coats gets you to a satisfying opaque finish. 

Aside from that, it is not often I come across a red that I like on my skin tone and this one is a beauty. I sure hope this gets added to their 7 day collection.   


Have you given any of this nail polish a try? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven't do you want to?

Let me know in the comments form, along with any other opinions you may have, I love hearing from readers!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

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XX. 
Gigi. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tomatillo Guacamole Recipe


Food photography has never been my claim to fame. I've learnt a whole lot on the matter since starting this blog 6 or so years ago but I am aware of how much I still lack. I am also conscious of how beneficial good quality photos are when it comes to recipe posts. One of these days I will update my camera and lens, purchase proper studio lights and start collecting more props to up the appeal. In the meantime, this is going to have to do. I know the bowl of green staring at you looks to be just that, but let me tell you I have made all kinds of guacamoles and there has never been one to rival it. You just don't wait for daylight when it comes to photographing food this good. Regardless, I will share the recipe with you. My recommendation: throw it together for you next summer barbecue or football party and you can thank me later! 


Tomatillo Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Avocado, Pitted and Sliced in half. 
4 Tomatillos, Husked and Halved. 
2 Fresh Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Cup Fresh or bottled Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt 
1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion
1/3 Cup Each Fresh Parsley and Cilantro 

Method:

1. Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse on a low setting if you'd like it chunky. (Add a teaspoon of mayonnaise and blend it on a higher setting for a creamier version- shown in pictures above, I prefer the chunky version after testing both.) 

2. Serve with chips or crackers to dip. 

I really hope you will give my Tomatillo Guacamole recipe a try! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what it was like if you do! And feel free to tag me on Instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

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XX. 
Gigi. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Two Faced Better Then Sex Mascara Review


I am one of those people that buys those overhyped products last. If you see it being talked about a whole lot, expect to hear about it from me perhaps a year or so later, if at all. I don't know why it is, but it just puts doubt in my mind. This is the first ever product I've purchased during that "hype period" and I have to admit I now know why I haven't in the past. 

Can I just say the whole sexy names thing as a marketing plan has me confused and annoyed? Why can't I buy a blush (ahem, Nars) or mascara without comparing it to something racy? If it's a good product it'll be just as good with a name like Goldfish. I know, random but seriously I think that has just gotten very out of hand. 



Now let's talk about the mascara. When I first purchased it, I was certain I was in love. It had my favorite overly wet formulation and gave me tremendous lashes, black as night. Fast forward 3 weeks and it is my least used mascara because it has completely dried out. I close it tight every time I use it and yet it has gone from very wet and easy to use to very dry and a bit meh if I'm honest. 


Obviously the packaging is gorgeous in light pink with the letters beautifully inscribed on the tube. It is also very substantial and heavy feeling which is lovely as well. The wand/applicator is massive and hourglassed shaped. Although the thinner smaller style is usually my preference, these are getting my vote lately for giving huge voluminous lashes. 


On my lashes, 2 Coats (once it had dried out) 

Had this mascara stayed slick it may have been added to my list of notably great mascaras. It doesn't have any claims for being waterproof, but it did seem pretty resistant in a wet situation with no flaking or smudging to be seen. It also did give my lashes definition, length and curl.  For that kind of price, a mascara has really got to sweep me off my feet to get the thumbs up.  So really, it ticked all of the mascara criteria boxes in my mind but in the end, it was just a great disappointment. 


Have you given any of this mascara a try? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven't do you want to?

Let me know in the comments form, along with any other opinions you may have, I love hearing from readers!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

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XX. 
Gigi. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Fashion: Mini Budget Friendly Summer Style Haul


Shopping for a wardrobe after having a baby can either be one of the most tedious and stressful jobs or one that is most gratifying and enjoyable. At this point it is a little bit of both for me. I've found that my shape has changed a bit after the birth of my second child which means I need to find skirts that fit slightly wider hips and so on. That is the challenging part. At the same time I am really grateful and obviously thrilled to be back at my weight previous to getting pregnant with just 10 lbs to my official all time goal weight. Because I am still not exactly where I want to be, (I know I will get there slowly with time, exercise and healthy eating habits) I'm not buying a lot of expensive on trend pieces for now. I've decided to stick to budget friendly items from my regulars like Target, Charlotte Russe and Forever 21. Over a couple of trips I've managed to gather several good items and thought I'd share them. This is all talked about in full detail in this weeks youtube video as well, so go watch that here, or read till the end of the post where it will be inserted as usual. I will also link to these items if I can find them online. Also, look out for more summer style shopping posts because I am far from done! 




Here's what I purchased:






Owl & Feather Stud Earrings


Cupcake Stud Earrings


Gold Beaded Headband 


Eyelet Detailed Short Skirt 








Have you made any exciting discoveries for your summer wardrobe lately? Leave your favorite item you've picked up in the comments form below, I love getting recommendations!


If you liked this video please let me know by giving it a "thumbs up", you can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel here

  

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

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XX.
 Gigi.   

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Recipe


Amongst the many personality traits prominent across the world is what I believe would be called the cookie type preference. It's why there are so many different kinds available in the groceries- crispy, soft, hard, chewy, cakey, more chips, less chips, white chips, chocolate chunk, nuts...I could go on!


As a kid a reward for going grocery shopping with my mom and helping would sometimes be a box of those already prepared but very raw cookie dough balls in the box from the frozen aisle and you guessed it, they never made it into the oven because we would eat them how they were. Slightly frozen still, the chips were so cold and the batter thick, stickey and gooey, the kind that got stuck to the roof of your mouth. Those were the best. At the time "raw" was my preference. Not the healthiest choice, but oh so good! As an adult I think I prefer crispy. And guess what, I think I have officially found the perfect balance between the two in these caramel cookie bars. And don't worry, they do get baked and I don't recommend eating them raw either.


Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 

Ingredients:

2 Cups White Flour
1 Cup Oil
1/3 Cup Confectioners Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt.
1 Cup (Dee Best Brand) Non Dairy Caramel Sauce
1/4 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Semisweet Non Dairy Chocolate Chips

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a square cookie pan.  Measure out and sift the flour and confectioners sugar and combine with salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix until you have quite a thick dough consistency. Take the mixture and press it into the bottom of the square pan evenly so it reaches all of the edges. Bake it for 25 minutes and then remove it from the oven to cool for 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime prepare the caramel part. Combine the caramel sauce, eggs and vanilla almond milk and mix well before pouring it over top of the already baked bottom half (crust). Then pour the chocolate chips over the top as evenly as possible and put it into the oven again for another 25 minutes. The top will be slightly soft when you pull it out of the oven. As long as it's not runny and overly liquid like, this is fine. Allow it to cool completely before cutting it into squares and serving.

Thanks for stopping by!

I really hope you will give my Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars recipe a try! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what it was like if you do! And feel free to tag me on Instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

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XX. 
Gigi. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

NYX Liquid Crystal Liners in "Crystal Gold" & "Crystal Aqua" Review



I have a glitter obsession. There I said it. Special occasion or every day, it doesn't really matter to me! From eye shadow to eye liner in every shade of the rainbow, I love discovering new creative ways to wear it. It adds that special something every time! That brings me to these NYX Liquid Crystal Liners which I later found out are "not intended to be used around the eye area." But don't expect me to listen to those instructions when we're talking about glitter! Where were they intended to be used anyways? They are marketed as liners are they not? It doesn't seem like NYX sells it on their site anymore but Ulta describes them as "high impact liquid liners that provide the eye with color that sparkles" Hence my confusion. Regardless let me tell you what I think of these "not to be used as liners" glitter liners:


There are about 9 different shades available from blues to green, silver and purple. The price is right at just under $6 and Ulta is always offering good deals on NYX so you can often get them for buy one get one 50% off. The colors are vibrant and beautiful with one swipe and they actually last on my eyes for more then 24 hours at a time. The applicator is thin and precise making them very user friendly and the packaging although very basic is lightweight and easy to travel with. After using these each on my eyes a couple of times I can understand why they aren't that great in the area. My eyes definitely feel uncomfortable as I first apply them (for the first 60 seconds), but as I wear them throughout the day it is just fine. They look just as good in person as they do in photographs too. 
  

Overall: I absolutely adore these for their opaque bold color and lasting power and I truly wish they were intended for use around the eyes! I will be heeding this warning from now on though as I do not know enough about the ingredients and their long term effects. I recommend those of you looking into purchasing these to really take that into consideration before doing so. Now to find some glitter liners that perform the same way but are intended to be used around the eyes- leave your recommendations in the comments form, I will be forever grateful ;) 


Have you given any of these liners a try? If you have, what did you think of them? If you haven't do you want to?

Let me know in the comments form, along with any other opinions you may have, I love hearing from readers!

Thanks so much for stopping in! 

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Don't forget to follow me with Bloglovin' 

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XX. 
Gigi. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Fashion: Chambray Stars & Orange Flare Outfit of The Day


Happy Independence day weekend everyone! Whenever the 4th of July rolls around it reminds me of some really wonderful childhood summer memories. Sparklers on the porch with my moms art camp. Long drives to my grandparents cottage where we'd roast marshmallows over a fire pit and swing in the hammock with our Bubby.  Fire works at the local college. My older sisters birthday- at the end of July (Happy Birthday, Rae!) The smell of fresh mowed grass and sunscreen always pungent in the air. And swimming, I was in the pool more then I was on dry land, I love swimming! There are too many great memories to name. 


Summer time has always been my happiest time. While many people find it overbearing and humid, I am thrilled to spend as many of my waking hours outside. It's just so invigorating. When the weather is warm, my mood is that much more cheerful. Is it just me? Or are there other people like that as well?



I have a fashion haul video and post coming, planned for next weeks Friday Fashion in fact. It will most likely seem a little backward and confusing when you see it as alot of the pieces shown here and in my last outfit post are talked about there as though I just bought them. They are indeed all brand new, I just couldn't hold back my excitement for wearing them. Of course the white stars are all too apropriate for the 4th of July too, so that is how that happened


Just as with the outfit post before this one, I am wearing a flared skirt which is something very new to me since I always go for the more straight pencil skirt styles. I've found that I actually quite like this style on me lately though and I am on the hunt for a sophisticated floral printed one at the moment. 


This coral orange shade is one of my favorites this summer! What color are you loving this season? Let me know in the comments form, I love hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping in!

Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

Stay updated:

Don't forget to follow me with Bloglovin' 

You can also follow me with:
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XX. 
Gigi. 
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