Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Fashion: My Spring Fashion Shopping Plan & Some Pieces I'm Eyeing

I've really begun to get into my new seasons shopping. But a lot has changed. In the past I would walk into my favorite stores or skim through online shops and grab all sorts of great trendy pieces that caught my eye. It's not that I haven't made good use of them, it's just an extremely disorganized way of shopping. This season, I've taken a different approach. It may sound pretty basic but it actually is not something I've taken the time to do in the past. I've always taken screenshots of looks I've found on pinterest, instagram, blogs I read daily etc. and they've just kind of sat around in my phone until I did a clean out here and there. Recently, I created a pinterest board specifically for spring style inspiration. When I come across a look that I can see myself wearing or taking inspiration from, I pin it to the board. Now going to that board, I can get an idea of specific trends I want to incorporate as well as specific pieces that are repeated often. I then go on the search at my favorite stores- Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, DSW etc. for pieces like those that I can get a lot of use out of in several looks. I'm also trying to match outfits up, instead of just buying a whole bunch of random pieces that don't actually go together. This way when all is said and done, I will have at least 5 good outfits that I can mix and match if I like as well. This doesn't mean I won't do any more shopping throughout the season, it's just good to know I have something good going to start with. Also I've decided to save my money and spend less on the trendy items and invest more in my designer pieces that will last and stick around with me for years to come. 

Here are some the specific pieces I'm on the search for:








1) Caged heels. 









2) Denim Jackets.




3) Backpacks



4) Off the Shoulder Tops




5) Skinny Jeans





6) Lace Skirts




What pieces are you eyeing for the upcoming season & do you have any tips for shopping effeciently? Leave me your comments in the form below, I love hearing from you!


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GIGI.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Nespresso Inissia Silver Coffee Machine & My Coffee Station


My name is Gigi Katz and I'm a coffee addict. I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened but I do know that I started drinking coffee when I was 12 years old. My high school friends used to warn me to watch out since it's said to stunt growth, I'm not sure if that's true but I never did make it past 5 feet tall. I drink coffee for several reasons but the main one is because I love how it tastes. Another plus, is feeling motivated and productive but also being hypothyroid with hoshimotos means I have an extremely slow metabolism and I'm often very tired all of which are easily helped with a cup of coffee. I don't ever have more then 2 cups a day, most of the time I will only have one in the morning when I wake up, sometimes I need a re-fuel towards the afternoon though. I love all coffee and will sometimes step into dunkin donuts or starbucks for a cup but that can become an expensive habit. I had a keurig coffee machine for a while and I really liked it but the k cups can be pricey, especially those yummy flavored ones like mocha or creme brûlée. We had that machine for a couple years and then it started to get old and there was no way of properly cleaning the reservoir so I got rid of it. It was in October for my most recent birthday that my husband bought me this new machine- the Nespresso Inissia. 

I thought all coffee was created equal until I tasted these espressso pods. One small cup is packed with enough caffiene to energize me until mid day. The flavors make any other coffee taste remedial, they are just true and bold and incredible. Taste some for yourself and you'll know exactly what I mean. The one main difference between these and other pods is that these do not come sweetened at all so you do need to add sugar, honey, agave or your choice of sweetener once it's brewed if you like it that way. Also they are classified for strength with different numbers from 1-10 etc. so that when you are selecting one you can choose how much caffeine your hoping for. They have pods that are caffeine free as well for those who like coffee but don't drink caffeine. 

We purchased our machine from Bloomingdales and it came as a bundle with a great milk frother. I've frothed cream, almond milk, chocolate milk and so many others, but typically skim milk on a day to day basis. It's a powerful little machine and it makes a nice cup and a half of frothed creamy deliciousness like taking a bite out of a cloud, I would imagine. 

Between the espresso and the frothy milk to top off my cup, my mornings have become a whole lot better. I also really love having a station of sorts to come to each morning to whip up something yummy. The best part is that the machine itself isn't overly large so it doesn't take up much space at all. At the moment it sits on my counter but I plan to build a shelf into my pantry for it in the near future. Soon after buying the machine, we picked out this divided drawer with sections to seperate different kinds of pods. It makes selecting one when I'm in morning rush, still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes a whole lot easier. I've talked about it a bit on snapchat and I've gotten a whole lot of questions about the machine, how it differentiates from others, and wether I like it or not. I hope that this answers some of those queries and help anyone who may be looking for a coffee maker. 




Do you have a coffee maker in your home? If you do, which one do you have? If you don't are you eyeing this one? Let me know in the comments form, I'd love to hear from you! Our machine is called the Nespresso Inissia in the Silver Color, this specific bundle can be purchased on their site here. This post was not sponsored, all opinions are my own honest ones!

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GIGI.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Color & Mega Rocks Glitter Nail Color on My Nails Today


 I have a pretty large collection of nail polish because I'm not the person who loves sitting at a salon getting a manicure, it's just not that relaxing for me! So I tend to trim and paint my nails on my own at home most times. These are the two colors currently on my nails, both from Wet N Wild, easily found at the local drugstore for a couple of dollars each. I love how the matte black looks with some shiny glitter top coat layered over it because on it's own it's just a bit blah on me. I prefer a slightly thinner brush to these wider ones to get a more precise application. This is due especially to the fact that I am only just getting a bit better at painting my left hand with my right and I am a true lefty. The glitter polish is a bit hard to work with. If you actually want to build up those colorful little particles as I've done here, you need to stamp the brush over your nail over and over again until enough of them have been layed down, with one even stroke you will only get a couple of them sprinkled over your nail. They last on my nails for 3-5 days without chipping which is great for the price and they do not stain my nails once off. The detail that absolutely drives me mad with these is the chemical scent and fumes coming off these into the air while painting me nails. By the time I'm finished both hands, I can literally taste that bad chemical taste in my mouth, really not enjoyable at all. I love the finished result so much but there are dozens of good matte black polishes and glitter top coats out there and although I have had these for a while already I think I have to toss them. It's just not worth walking around with that bad chemical taste for a couple of hours. 

This is not to say I won't try other polishes like these from the brand in the future because I am all for finding new inexpensive goodies for sure!    





What drugstore nail polishes would you recommend I give a go next? Leave me brands and color names/numbers in the comments form below! I would love to get your recommendations! 

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GIGI.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Orange Liqueur Chocolate Cake Balls Recipe


I've been obsessed with chocolate rum balls for as long as I can remember. Whenever someone serves them at a party I am just all over that tray. I even get my husband to bring some home for me in a napkin, I'm not embarrassed at all (ok maybe a little). I've tried preparing them at home several times with many failed attempts- burnt cake, overly liquored cakes, toppings that wouldn't stick. I almost got completely discouraged and gave up. And then it finally happened. I decided to go back to the basics, didn't turn to any fancy recipes and took my basic brownie cake to the next level and coming across my most amazing version of chocolate rum ball- the orange liqueur chocolate cake balls. I snapchatted the whole process because I was so excited. Speaking of which ( get ready for a giant plug) see more of the behind the scenes of my cooking escapades- both triumphs and fails and never seen recipes there on snapchat, my username is gittykatz123. I usually post them on my instagram stories too, my handle is gigi_katz. When I actually finished with the long process of preparing these-mixing, baking, cooling and then rolling (worth the wait!) I was shocked by how easy the recipe was. I'm sharing these with the rest of you in case you were after a recipe of your own but mostly I am being selfish and posting these for my own reference, hehe. But YASSSS they were that good! 


Orange Liqueur Chocolate Cake Balls

Yields- about 16 cake balls

Ingredients:

1 Stick Butter
1 9 Oz.  Bag Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
3/4 Cup White Flour
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Spirit of Solomon Orange Flavor Triple Sec Liqueur
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar and Assorted Sprinkles to Roll in

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9X13 pan.

2. Using the double broiler method or the microwave for short intervals at a time, melt down the chocolate chips and butter, mixing constantly.

3. Combine brown sugar, salt and flour in a mixing bowl. Allow the butter mixture to cool for a couple of minutes before pouring it in with the flour mixture in the mixing bowl. Then add the orange liqueur and lastly the eggs, mixing quickly with a whisk to combine well.

4. Pour the readied batter from the mixing bowl into the prepared 9X13 pan and bake for 18 minutes or so on the center of the middle rack of the oven so that it's baked through but doesn't have overly crisp edges.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely for an hour or so on a wire rack.

6. Once the cake has cooled use a spoon or spatula to scrape up the cake and sort of mush it together into one large piece of dough. Pinch off pieces and roll into 1-inch balls. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Then roll each one through topping of choice. I rolled some in confectioners/powdered sugar, others in colored sprinkles and some in metallic gold sprinkles.

7. Store these in the refrigerator and serve cold or allow to come to room temperature before serving.


I really hope you will give my Orange Liqueur Chocolate Cake Balls Recipe a try! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what they were like if you do! Criticisms and advice are welcome too! And feel free to tag me on Instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

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GIGI.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Whats in My Bag Video /The Blalock Multi Aldo Tote + A Peek Into My Kate Spade NY Glitter PVC Wallet




I have not done one of these "what's in my bag" videos in a really long time. I'm pretty sure I've promised one in every haul I had a new bag to show, so it's really about time I did this. Watch this weeks video here to see this bag up close and what I keep inside it most of the time here or read until te end of the post where it will be inserted as always.  This specific bag is one I got back in the black friday deals in late November from Aldo. I had spotted this Blalock Multi Tote in the stores and gotten a good look at it but hadn't wanted to spend sixty plus dollars on a non designer bag if you catch my drift. Also, it's quite a statement being as colorful as it is so I needed some time to mull it over. I came across it again while searching for a pair of shoes on their website over Black Friday, at which point it was reduced to fifty percent off. The thing with Aldo is that they go through styles pretty quickly and once they sell them out they don't usually bring them back again. Especially with funky items like this one! By the time I mentioned it in my winter haul video, it was already sold out and gone so I was glad I could grab it when I did and for the price I did. My philosophy is to buy inexpensive bags on even further reduction and save my dollars for the designer ones. This is not to put down the quality of Aldo's bags whatsoever. I have been impressed with the quality on any one I've ever purchased from them. This bag quickly became my every day carry- it -all. It's the one I take when I'm out with my kids for the day because I know I can fit anything and everything in it. I love that it's quite structured and that it has a separate middle pocket that I can put important things in to reach for quickly when I'm out and about. I'm super happy with it and I will certainly purchase others from the brand in the future! 

I also picked out a new wallet recently since mine had seen better days. I came across this Kate Spade NY Glitter PVC Wallet at Nordstrom Rack for just under $100 by chance and I knew it was the one. It's a bit much when paired with this bag to be honest but I don't actually care. The cream colored interior, center zip coin pocket and back pocket for receipts make it just the right fit for my personality and style. The quality seems really nice so far and I'm so thrilled to have found it.  

I love watching what's in my bag style videos on youtube because it's good to see what different people consider essentials. It helps me to get organized and select only the most important items to throw in there. What I like even more is getting an overview of a bag and wallet I may be eyeing and curious about. I hope that this video and post will be helpful to someone else in this way as well even with these specific items not being available anymore. I am confident that Aldo and Kate Spade both have very similar styles available. 


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GIGI.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Fashion: Transitioning to Spring with a Great Blazer


I absolutely live for the time of year when it's no longer cold anymore but the heat and humidity haven't hit hard yet either. Coats and hats get packed away and I pull out all of my favorite lightweight jackets, bombers and blazers like this one. If you thought I had gotten great at vintage shopping then you have yet to meet my mom- the queen of vintage. She finds me all the best stuff. Including this blazer which was a love at first sight situation from the moment she handed it to me. It's DKNY brand (similar here). The suede like material is so soft while still lightweight enough. I typically layer it over a basic v neck Hanes white cotton t-shirt like I did here. I love the casual vibe it gives along with the rolled up sleeves. This time I chose to go for this animal print pencil skirt (similar here, coral shoulder bag (similar here)  and duo chrome aviators (similar here) all from Forever 21. The pointed white flat shoes (similar here) are Charlotte Russe and the ombre' wig is my Irene, pushed back from my face with a rubberized classic Goody, thin purple headband. 

This Spring I plan to play with pops of color to sort of play up my casual every day style. If you've got a simple blazer in your closet, this is definitely the way to step it up and make it alot less boring.








Let me know what you think of the look in the comments form, I love hearing from you! 


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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Makeup Brush Essentials: The Ones Every One Should Own & Their Uses



Brushes. They are so essential for a precise makeup application. There are so many styles available to beauty fanatics and makeup artists alike now and it can get really confusing. I mean which ones do you really NEED, right? I remember wondering this when I first got out of makeup school and I think it would have been really helpful had someone pointed me in the right direction. But in the end, through a lot of trial and error and hundreds of makeup looks later I feel I have got a great collection of brushes to rely on for any look I'd like to apply. Today I am going to get down into the nitty gritty and tell you exactly which brushes you actually need so that you can save your hard earned money but still get a flawless makeup application every time. I'll get into my specific favorites and let you know which brands and model numbers I like best in another post soon, in this one I want to focus only on brush types so as not to confuse anyone. Of course I could recommend you a hundred brushes, each to be used for different techniques of makeup application but this guide is meant to save you time and money so I really tried to narrow it down to the real essentials and multi purpose styles. 

1) A Foundation Brush- Everyone needs one of these. You can choose from the stippling style, a beauty sponge or even a painter style brush. The style I prefer on a daily basis is a large round buffer style brush.

2) A Large Angled Face Brush for Contouring, Setting and Applying any powder products to the face- A good one will give you a really sharp contour line but can also be very multi purpose and easily be used to apply blush to the cheeks, highlighter to the tops of the cheek bones and use the baking technique by applying and brushing away loose powder to sharpen things up. 

3) A Flat Shader Eye Shadow Brush- This is great for applying a cream shadow or shadow base to the eyelid before applying any powder eye shadows, it's also an important one for packing color all over the lid. 

4) A Fluffy Dome Shaped Eye Shadow Blender Brush- Blending is key in any eye makeup look and will give the appearance of the colors melding into one another perfectly. This is the eye shadow brush I could not be without because it can be used to softly apply color to the lid, blend different colors layered over each other or blend out the edges as well. 

5) A Small Pencil Style Eye Shadow Brush- Small, tapered and pointed on the end just as a pencil is, these come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your preference but they are most ideal for blending shadow under the lower lash line, in a more precise way in the outer corner of the eye or to create different types of eye looks with small detail work like the halo or a cut crease eye look. 

6) A Thin Eye Liner Brush- Straight or angled depending on your preference, this will be very helpful to a beginner or pro at getting a perfectly straight line every time and it will certainly be useful if you like to create a full on cat eye liner or just a small flick on the outer edge with powder, gel, kohl or liquid liner products. 

7) A Small Angled Brow Brush- This one is similar to that angled liner brush but it will be a bit smaller, a bit more stiff and more packed with brush hairs to fill the brows in very precisely with a powder or pomade product.  

8) A Lip Brush- This will be flat and ovaled at the tip. It can easily double for precise spot concealing but mostly it's incredible for smoothing spreading lip products into every edge of the lips perfectly. Of course there are those that can apply lipstick from a bullet with ease, but a lip brush certainly simplifies the process. 


Extras:

There are a few brushes that I  find extremely useful for more detailed glamorous makeup and personally use on a daily basis but I think are less necessary for those looking to achieve a simple every day look. I still want to mention them because I think to some they could actually be essential as they are to me. So here they are:

1) The Fan Brush- These come in a variety of sizes. I like a smaller one for highlighting with powder, liquid or cream highlighting products. 

2) A Blush Brush- Having one specifically for blush that fits the apples of the cheeks nicely wether straight or angled and smaller then the larger angled contour brush, having this additional brush will make life easier.

3) A Concealer Brush for Under Eyes- These vary as with the foundation brushes. Having one to specifically blend and meld concealer product into the delicate under eye area is very beneficial. There are small beauty sponges, small flat painter style ones and small buffer brushes which are the kind I personally prefer. Each one will fit into the under eye area easily also reaching the inner corners for precise blending without disrupting the rest of the makeup. 

I get asked about which brush styles I recommend quite often so I'm glad I was able to put  it all together in one post for reference! Please do feel free to leave your comments, questions and recommendations in the form below or send me a direct message on any of my social media platforms and I will gladly respond and try to assist you on the subject if I can. I will also try to do a post possibly along with a video to follow this one pretty soon with all of my updated makeup brush favorites  with specific brands and model numbers.

Thanks so much for stopping by! 


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 Gigi.  
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