Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

So, if you guys remember, early this month I did a Sephora Haul video, and showed you my new face primer, the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer.  It made a couple appearances in videos after that, but I didn't really go into too much depth as to what I thought about it.  Honestly, the reason for this was that it took me a while to decide what my opinion even was.

Up until this point, the only kinds of primers I used had more of a gel consistency, like the Too Faced Primed and Poreless, Illamasqua Hydra Veil, and the Mirabella face primer.  This one was much thinner, and as you can see from the picture below, it comes out pure white.  It undergoes a crazy color transformation when you work apply it, though!  If you rub it in your fingers, it becomes an almost purple color, and when you add it to your face...

It becomes invisible!  I'm sure this is much more anticlimactic than I had anticipated, but I truly thought this was going to make my skin even more fair than it already is.  So, in conclusion, the color really wasn't an issue.  Like I said, the consistency is kind of bizarre to me, but it could quite easily just be that I'm used to gel primers.  This was much, much thinner, and honestly a little messy.  I don't like speaking badly about things, but that was definitely a downside.

Having said all that, however, the real test was as to how well it worked as an actual face primer.  I was pleasantly surprised that this really did help my makeup last an incredibly long time, and I don't really have to worry about my blush or bronzer slipping off my skin with this on.  I don't always wear a primer, but I have noticed that if I don't, my blush is oftentimes gone by noon.  That is definitely not the case with this bad boy!

I'm sure this post has come off as very "meh", but that's kind of what I think about it.  It's not bad at all, and certainly does its job.  I think the only thing that would keep me from repurchasing it is that in trying it, I've realized that I do have a preference for gel primers.  So, in a way, this has been a good purchase, helping me narrow down what I like and don't!  I will definitely still use it up, and would recommend it to you folks out there that enjoy a lighter weight primer!  If you're good with the consistency, this product is wonderful. :)

On a completely different note, can you believe that it's already July tomorrow?  Independence Day is only 4 days away, and I haven't done a single patriotic post or video!  So, to make up for it, I think the next four days will be devoted to all things red, white, and blue - starting with nails.  I guess that's not much of a hint, but if you're interested in what that could be, make sure to come back on Thursday!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Favorite Health/Fitness Apps for Android

I've really started getting into taking care of my body, as seems to happen whenever summer or New Year's rolls around, and I've found a couple of apps that have really helped me stay on track.  Now, I'm one of those weird vloggers that does not have an iPhone, so these are all Android apps, but I imagine they or something similar is available for iPhone, as well.

The first I wanted to share with you is one that Joe actually found for me, called Water Your Body.  In it's simplest sense, it monitors how much water you're drinking, and gives you a target number of ounces to drink per day.  

I like the layout of this app, because it makes it really easy to discern how much water you're drinking, even when you may not have an actual measuring cup handy.  For example, in the photo below, you can see that I had two coffee-cups worth of water (one tea, and one coffee).  There are also options for a water glass, 24 ounce bottles, beer glasses, etc., and if those aren't handy enough, you can edit them to suit your habits.  My favorite part, of course, is that you get a notification congratulating you when you've hit your goal, and I always like being congratulated. ;)

The next two apps are by Under Armour, and absolutely amazing.  The first is called Map My Run, and has been on my phone for quite a while.  Essentially, it tracks how far you're running, walking, biking, etc., and where you're going. 

It also tracks some other handy things, like how long you've run, what your pace is, how many calories you've burned, etc.  I really love this app, and like I said, I've used it for quite a while.  The only issue that I really have with it is that it's not always perfect as to the distance you've gone, but since I tend to go the same few routes, I know where it should be, and can essentially figure out what it should say.  Also, I have to point out that for my third or fourth time out running in forever, I think two miles at 10:00 (or so) each is pretty good!  I'll get better.

Finally, the last app I wanted to quick mention was My Fitness Pal, also by Under Armour.  This is pretty much your standard calorie counting app, that helps you lose, maintain, or gain weight by giving you a set number of calories to try and stick to, and also allows you to account for bonus calories you get from working out and such.

This app also has one of the largest food libraries I've seen in a calorie counting app, and makes it incredibly easy to add in foods that have a bar code, just by taking a picture of that bar code.  So, say you're having a serving of spaghetti, you can take a picture of the bar code on the box, and it'll figure out the calories for you.  Adding sauce?  Take a picture of the bar code on that, and it'll figure out a serving of sauce for you!  It's really simple, and all bar codes I've tried have worked.

So, now that I've shared what my favorite health and fitness apps are with you, I'd love you to share yours with me!  Let me know your absolute favorites whether it be iPhone or Android based in the comment section below.  Even if I can't use them, I'm sure someone else reading this post could!  Also, make sure to stop back next Tuesday for a brand new post, and follow this blog so you don't miss a thing!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SkinnyMint Teatox Review

This is actually the second time that I have done the SkinnyMint 28 Day Detox, and I have to say, I really like it.  After my first time, I was still a bit skeptical, but as time went on, I realized how much I missed it, and had to do it again!  I haven't lost an amazing amount of weight on this detox necessarily, but I do find that I have quite a bit more energy, and my stomach is much flatter than it's been for a while.  Definitely a selling point for me!

When I was first researching this detox, I know I saw a lot of reviews that said people liked the Morning Boost much more than the Night Cleanse, but I do have to say, I'm actually exactly the opposite.  The Morning Boost consists of ingredients like yerba mate, nettle leaves, dandelion, guarana fruit, grapefruit leaves, strawberries, pineapple, and (probably the reason I don't care for it as much) green tea.  I'm not the biggest green tea fan for some reason.  It's not bad, and I really don't mind drinking it, it's just not my absolute favorite.

Meanwhile, the Night Cleanse has ginger root (love ginger!), orange leaves, lemongrass, senna leaves, peppermint, licorice root, hawthorne berries, and psyllium husk.  I imagine that it's the licorice that would cause some people to not like this as much, but honestly, I barely taste it, there are so many other flavors going on.  Though, I can probably taste the ginger most, and I love ginger.

As for the Teatox itself, you take the Morning Boost every morning of the detox to give you a little boost of energy, and suppress your appetite.  Then, you take the Night Cleanse every other night to clean out your system.  I was actually kind of unclear on this point before I went on this detox the first time, and was confused as to why there were so many fewer night cleanse tea bags.  I will say, though, the teas definitely do what they say they're supposed to, particularly the Night Cleanse.  There is a reason you only take it every other day.

If you are a tea drinker already, I would definitely recommend trying this TeaTox out - the flavors are really quite nice, and the benefits are pretty amazing.  However, I don't know that I would suggest it as much if you are not already a tea drinker.  As I said, the weight effects aren't spectacular - at least they weren't for me - so I don't think it would be worth it to try and become a tea drinker.  If you already are, this tea does seem to help your body. :)

So, as usual, I'd love to know what you thought of the SkinnyMint Teatox if you've tried it before!  Let me know, did it work for you?  Did it not?  Have you tried other teatoxes?  What did you think of them?  Honestly, any other information you could give me would be much appreciated!  I love hearing from you guys!  Also, make sure to come back on Saturday!  I'll be doing another fitness style post, this time with a little added technology.  Can you guess what it is?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

It has been years and years since I've owned a mascara from Dior, and I'm so excited to have one in my collection, again!  Back in high school, I was given a sample of one of the Diorshow mascaras, and fell in love with them.  But, given that I was in high school at the time, and about to become a poor college student, I knew it wouldn't be what one would call an intelligent purchase.

However, now that I'm out in the real world, and have my own job, I figured that if I was going to treat myself, now would be a decent time.  So, I picked up the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara, which you can also see in my Sephora Haul from earlier this month.  My idea with  this particular mascara was that the formula would be essentially what I remembered, and the curved brush would make it easier to apply to the tops of my upper lashes without getting product all over my lids.

Well, the formula is just as good as I remember, and not only does the wand make it easier to apply to the tops of my upper lashes, it also makes putting a coat on my bottom lashes a breeze!  While it doesn't necessarily make your lashes look fuller, the deep black coloring makes your lashes look super long and glamorous!  It really doesn't clump up much, either.  It's just a really nice, easy to work with mascara!

Now, you guys know that I've been in love with my L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara for years, so I'm sure you're wondering what the future of that mascara will be in my collection.  Or, perhaps you haven't thought about it at all, but I'm going to tell you anyway.  I think at this point in my life, since I can afford this mascara, I may be switching from the Voluminous Million Lashes.  I know!  Shock!  Horror!  But, I really love this stuff, and sometimes change is good. :)

Besides, can we just talk about the packaging for a moment?  It's gorgeous!  Sleek, sophisticated, and definitely feels like a luxury product.  I really do, truly love it, and personally can't think of anything I dislike about it.  So, if this is a purchase that you can afford, I would highly recommend.  Though, I do have to say that the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes has carried me well through my poor college student years, even into my post-college years!

I hope you've all enjoyed hearing my thoughts on this mascara, and I hope you'll do me a favor and let me know what your favorite mascaras are in the comment section!  I also hope that you'll do me the honor of coming back on Thursday, when I will be telling you my thoughts on a particular tea.  Can you guess which one?  Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Basil Lemonade Recipe

With summer officially beginning tomorrow, I thought I'd share a lemonade recipe with you!  Personally, I can't think of many other beverages that scream summer louder than lemonade, whether it's the typical Country Time lemonade, homemade, or spiked with a little vodka and mint (my personal favorite!).  Or, you could try this Basil Lemonade recipe that Joe and I just tried a few days ago.  We both really liked it, and I hope you do, too!

Basil Lemonade Recipe

  • 2 cups Basil Lemonade syrup (see below)
  • 2 cups cold water, or more to your liking
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish: fresh basil sprigs; lemon slices
Stir together all ingredients in a large pitcher, then pour into tall glasses half filled with ice.

Basil Lemon Syrup
  • 4 cups packed fresh basil sprigs
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 9 (4"x1") strips of lemon zest
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour.  Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding the solids.  Syrup keeps covered and chilled 5 days.

Like I said, we love this lemonade recipe, and there really isn't much better than homemade lemonade.  Plus, even though we used store-bought basil for this batch, we have some basil that has been growing really well, so soon enough we'll be able to use our own!  If you guys try this recipe yourself, please let me know what you thought of it in the comment section!  I'd love to hear your opinions!

As always, make sure to come back next Tuesday!  I have a makeup review planned that I think you're going to want to check out.  It's a product that has since replaced a former love of mine, and when I say love, I mean that it's been a necessary product in my collection for years.  I'll see you then!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

MiracleGro Aerogarden

What?  Another gardening post?  Yes!  Yes, it is.  This time, it's centered around the MiracleGro Aerogarden system, which is appealing because it takes the 'Megan' out of gardening.  I've mentioned before that I am not much of a gardener, much as I'd like to be, and this hydroponic system essentially takes care of itself.  All of the plants in this post are only 10 days old, and yet you can definitely tell what each of them are, already!  Well, mostly, anyway.  We have one labeled "Curly Parsley" that doesn't look like anything, but I'll get to that in a moment.

As I said, this is a hydroponic system, which means the plants essentially grow in water, so there's no dirt whatsoever.  It also has a built in LED light, so it controls how much sunlight these plants are getting, but just wait!  There's more.  There's an electronic panel on the front of this unit that, in addition to being impossible to photograph, tells you exactly how to take care of your plants.  It tells you how old the plants are, tells you how much and when to add plant food, etc.  Like I said, it almost completely takes me out of my garden!

At least so far, these herbs are doing much better than my Tiny Tea Tin Garden Experiment.  Those plants do seem to be growing, but at a much slower pace.  I have heard rumors that plants grown in these Aerogardens don't taste as good, but since these are just 10 days old, I haven't been able to test this myself.  Honestly, though, if they're easier to grow, and I have access to them all the time, I think it's a fair trade off.  Plus, we can grow food all year long, even through the cold, Minnesota winters!

So, I'm sure you're wondering what I meant about the "Curly Parsley" thing.  Well, as you can see from the photo below, nothing's really growing in there.  That's actually perfectly fine, because we kind of sort of tampered with it, and there's not even parsley in there anymore.

Instead, we cut some rockwool down, and stuck that in the little MiracleGro seed pods, and decided to try planting something else.  Honestly, this one was Joe's idea.  I feel like every couple weeks I'm telling you about how our family has taken apart something new to find out how it works or try and improve it.  But, I think both of our parents would vouch for us, and say that we've been doing that since we were kids.  Anyway, we're growing spinach in this little guy, so we'll see how it does!

So far, I've really been enjoying our Aerogarden.  It's already become such a habit to check on it when we get up, and again when we get off work.  I don't know why, but it's just so fun to see our little plants growing!  When they're old enough, we'll probably transplant the herbs, and try growing tomatoes or peppers in this thing, but we'll see.  I'll try and keep you updated on them!

I hope you've enjoyed this second 'garden' post of the summer, and I hope you'll come back on Saturday!  I have a recipe coming that may or may not use an herb shown in this post...well, not any of these specific herbs, but you know what I mean, right?  Anyway, as always, I'd love to know what your guesses are as to what it will be, so please be sure to leave them in the comment section!  I'll talk to you again on Saturday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Quick DIY Headband

I made another Hobby Lobby trip recently, and thought I'd do another really, really easy and quick DIY for you guys!  Honestly, it's probably just as easy if not easier than the Quick and Easy DIY Floral Necklace I showed you how to make a while back.  But, even though it's so incredibly easy, I still think it's really quite pretty, and has such a nice, simplistic elegance to it.

All you really need is a hair clip of your choosing (the one I have is from Fashion Tidbits, and you can find it here), and a craft headband (you can find the one I used here).  The type of headband you choose does make a difference, because as you'll soon see, this craft headband actually has a camouflaged ribbon on one side.

So, if you're really indecisive like me, all you really have to do is slip you clip into this little ribbon, and you can wear it for a day or two, then swap it out for another clip, which is much easier to store than multiple headbands!

However, if you want a more permanent hair accessory in your collection, all you have to do is apply a bit of hot glue to keep your clip in place!

Like I said, this is an incredibly easy DIY project, and makes for a nice, convertible hair accessory!  Personally, I love the option of just switching the clips out, and just having one real headband base, because even though I adore headbands, they're so difficult to organize nicely!  Clips, however, are much easier. :)

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and that it gives you some fun ideas!  This really is a versatile project, and if you try it out, I'd love to see your version!  I am on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, so make sure to send me your pictures!

Also, stop by on Thursday for a new post on something that I accidentally had in the background of my first picture!  Can you guess what it is?  Let me know what you think in the comments below, and make sure to follow this blog and come back to see if you were right!  Until then, I love you!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Joe's Birthday Present | SodaStream Dynamo LX

We have been looking into getting a SodaStream for such a long time, and we finally got one for Joe's birthday (I'm such a good wife!).  Before anyone gets up in arms about me getting something for both of us for his birthday, I do want to quick mention that I did surprise him with another toy that he really seems to enjoy, but that one is definitely his, and I won't be sharing it with you on this blog. ;)

Anyway, the model that we picked up is the SodaStream Dynamo LX, which we found on Amazon.  Essentially, we chose it because it was highly rated and you can get an attachment for it so you can fill the CO2 carbonator like you would a paintball gun, making it much, much cheaper to refill.  It did also come with a 12-pack of SodaMix samples, including Cola, Diet Cola, and energy one that tastes like Red Bull which we have affectionately named 'Quick Bull', and several others.  However, apart from the Quick Bull, we probably won't use them much.

We don't actually drink much pop, but we do really like carbonated water, which was really the idea behind purchasing this.  Though we'll just drink plain old carbonated water like it's going out of style, it also frees us up to make fruit-infused carbonated water using whatever fruits we'd like, like lemon, strawberry, raspberry.  We can even make our favorite mix, like when we shared our Fruit Infused Detox Water.  All you'd have to do is pour carbonated water into your infuser rather than plain water!

It's really easy to use, too.  All you have to do is chill some plain old water in the bottle that comes with the machine, then twist the bottle onto the machine.  From there, just press the button at the top firmly, then quickly release.  The machine will make a buzzing noise when the water has been carbonated, and you want to listen for 3 buzzes for an average fizz.

As I said earlier, we really haven't tried any of the sodas that came in our sampler apart from the Energy one, so I can't say much about their taste.  We did really like the Energy one, though.  The carbonated water it makes is absolutely amazing.  I think we'll get a ton of use out of this little guy, particularly since we have so much more freedom when we're making our water.  We can make it as carbonated as we'd like, and create our own flavors!

Personally, I really like it already, but if you've tried using a SodaStream before, I'd love to know what you think!  Let me know your opinions in the comment section below, and make sure to come back next week!  I have a fun and easy DIY project planned that I have a feeling you're going to love.  Also, make sure to follow this blog so that you get updates every time a new post goes up!  I'll talk to you again, soon!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chipotle Inspired Burrito Recipe

Guess what!  It's my husband, Joe's, birthday!  While I'll refrain from telling you how old he is, I did want to kind of commemorate the occasion by sharing with you one of our favorite recipes.  His favorite kind of food is Mexican, particularly burritos - at least that's what he tells me.  So, I thought I'd share our recipe for Chipotle-inspired burritos at home!

We find that there are two main pieces to making our burritos: 1) Meat that's been seasoned with chipotle and grilled.

and 2) Rice that's been flavored with cilantro and juice from half a lime.  I'd like to say that there's more to it than that, but there's really not.  I can tell you that we like our steaks to be medium rare by the time we cut it into squares for our burrito, and that we make one serving each of Minute Rice, but that's about it.  We kind of eyeball everything else.

As for the rest of the burrito, it's just like being at an actual Chipotle restaurant, and you can pick your toppings!  We really like adding black beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, black olives, salsa (anything with a good kick!), etc.

Then, just toss that into a warmed tortilla, and fold it up!  Honestly, burritos are really easy to make, and really tasty to eat!  We have them quite a bit - almost as much as we have our Chicken Stir Fry.  

If you guys try out this recipe, please let me know what you think!  I know it's nothing exact, but I promise it will be worth it!  Also, make sure to come back on Saturday for a special post on one of Joe's birthday presents.  He's been eyeing something for quite a while, and I'm kind of curious to try it out myself.  If you have any guesses as to what it might be, please let me know in the comment section!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DIY Coffee & Coconut Sugar Scrub

You guys know how much I love my Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Sugar Scrub, but I do have to admit that I don't like to use it all the time, simply because I love it that much.  In an effort to save my sugar scrub solely for pampering nights, I decided to see if I could find a DIY sugar scrub that I could use on more of a regular basis.  

 I ended up finding a DIY Coffee and Coconut Sugar Scrub recipe that has been all over the internet (you know how much we love coffee!), and I'm not sure who I can really track this back to.  However, my friend Siri, from A Wildflower Life on YouTube also shared this recipe, which you can find here, so you should also check that one out!

As for the recipe itself, start with 1/2 cup of decent ground coffee.  You want it to be decent because coffee has a very powerful scent.  If you don't like the way it smells, it won't be a pleasant thing to use.

Combine it with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, and 1 tsp of cinnamon.

Mix it all together to create a kind of dirt-looking moon sand mix, and that's all you need to do to make this Coffee & Coconut Sugar Scrub!  I know that doesn't sound appealing, but it works well, and let's just be honest: who doesn't like playing with moon sand?

All you have to do once you have your exfoliant is hop in the shower, and gently rub it over your body!  I would recommend doing this on wet skin, so that the ingredients stick together well, but that's really all I have to tell you - the sugar scrub will do the rest!

I hope you enjoy this DIY sugar scrub recipe, and if you try it, please let me know what you thought!  I am an absolute coffee addict, so I love this scrub, and it's definitely a nice DIY way to keep your legs nice and soft through the summer by using ingredients you probably already have in your home!  Finally, make sure to come back on Saturday for another, more edible recipe!  I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you guys, so make sure to follow this blog so you know when it goes up!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fruit Infused Detox Water

While browsing Pinterest, I've started seeing all these really yummy looking detox water recipes, and I've gotten quite intrigued.  As some of you know, I am really trying to drink as much water as my body needs, and this just struck me as such an awesome way to not only get the hydration you need, but also to enjoy a nice, flavorful treat, as well.  So, naturally, I had to start trying some different recipes, and I came up with one that I think you'll enjoy with strawberries, cucumbers, lemon, and mint.  Personally, I love it, and Joe even said he liked it, and he's not really a fan of cucumbers.

Before we get into the recipe, however, I have to talk about the bottle I'm using to store it.  I actually got this for Christmas this past year from one of my sisters-in-law, and it's made specifically to infuse different liquids with fruit.  In fact, it's called a Fruit Infusion Flavor Bottle, and you can make not only infused water, but also olive oil, tea, cocktails, etc.  It's pretty awesome.  Oh, and apparently fruit will keep good in this guy for 10 days, which is nice, because then I don't feel like I'm wasting fruit.

For my batch of detox water, I used:

  • 4 large strawberries
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon
  • a few sprigs of mint

Let's just be honest here, you could easily just toss all the fruit in to a pitcher, or if you have one of these Fruit Infusion Flavor Bottles, you can toss it into the base and not worry about how it looks.  But, I do have to say, I love the way this looks with layers!  So, if you want to layer, I did 1 strawberry, cucumber, 1 strawberry, lemon, 1 strawberry, mint, and 1 strawberry.

At this point, all you have to do is fill the rest of it up with water, and let it sit for a while, so technically if you're just here for the recipe, you could leave this post.  However, I did also want to show you why this bottle is so cool!  As you can see from the picture below, the neck of the bottle is separate from the base.

This is really nice, because you have a larger opening to put the fruit in, and to refill with water, you can use the top opening.  The neck also has a strainer, so you don't have to worry about the top opening getting clogged with fruit while you're trying to pour!

So, there you go!  That's how I make my favorite fruit infused detox water!  I still drink a lot of plain old water, but this is definitely a tasty little treat, and honestly, this bottle really does make it so easy to make a big batch of fruit infused water.  We use it all the time, so I'd definitely recommend taking a look at it, and seeing if it would work for your family!

Whew!  This post is making me thirsty!  I think I'll have to get a glass of this myself as soon as I'm done talking to you guys!  If you have any good flavor combinations you think I should try, please let me know!  I'd love to experiment more with these waters!

Also, make sure to come back next Monday if you like beauty DIY's!  I've got one coming at you, and I'd love to know if you have any guesses as to what it could be!  Let me know what you think in the comment section, below!  Love you!