Friday, November 7, 2014

Sorry I haven't been posting... and I edited my first video!

I am so sorry I haven't posted in forever... I am a terrible person. But I started senior year, and am much busier than I had anticipated, so this has kind of been moved to the back burner... But I thought that I would mention here that I edited my first video over the summer, and Will decided to post it on his YouTube channel. Originally I had planned to get a few videos done over the summer and hopefully continue filming and editing throughout the semester, but busy-ness happened and I wasn't able to. But, as he mentions in the video, we didn't want this video to go to waste, so he did a few final touches on it and posted it. I know it's super rough but I'm really proud of it. I had never done anything like video editing before, so I think it turned out pretty well! Let me know what you think, and hopefully I'll be able to get back to posting some baking/cooking/review posts soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

St. Ives Scrub Reviews

Hey everyone! So awhile back Target was having a sale on St. Ives scrubs where if you bought three you got a five dollar gift card or something like that, so I thought, for the sake of the blog, why not get all of them and see which one is best? 

 So this is the whole line of face scrubs so far. The apricot, green tea, and oatmeal have been around for awhile, but the pink lemon and orange is pretty new. 
 All of the scrubs have this image on them, which tells you how scrubby/exfoliating they are. 
 First: The oatmeal. This scrub is "gentle", meaning it won't leave your skin feeling like you washed it with sandpaper. Immediately after using this scrub your skin will feel noticeably softer, which is what it claims to do, so good job them. I don't really have a problem with dryness, so I'm not sure if it works very well in that department. 
In terms of acne, I wouldn't use this scrub as a daily exfoliator. I used this every day for about three weeks and I noticed more acne than usual. However, this does help with acne if you use it as a mask. Once a week I will wash my face, then put this on and leave it for about half an hour (the instructions say 5 minutes). This gives it time to dry. I've found that even if this doesn't completely get rid of acne, it helps to bring pimples to the surface so they can either be popped (I know you're not supposed to but I'm gonna do it anyway) or go away faster. 
I would put this scrub in 3rd place.
 Next is the apricot scrub. This is labeled as "deep" on their scale. To me this just meant that there were larger pieces of exfoliant in the scrub. I didn't notice that my skin felt a bit more exfoliated than it did with the oatmeal, but it wasn't too rough after one use. However, if you are going to use this more than once a day, your skin might get a bit irritated (or if you have sensitive skin once a day might be too much). I didn't really notice anything good happen while using this scrub. I didn't even notice "softer skin," which is what they claim this helps with. My acne got worse, and to me the smell is a bit strong. I have since started using it as a body exfoliant about once a week, but I don't like to use it for my face. 
4th place.  
 The green tea is placed in "moderate" on their chart. The scrubby bits are much smaller than the ones in the apricot and oatmeal, but I feel like they do a better job of exfoliating. While using this I definitely saw improvement in my acne (which is probably due to the salicylic acid, something I use very regularly), and while I haven't really noticed huge improvement in the blackhead department, I have noticed that if you leave this on for a few minutes while in the shower (or if you're just washing your face) it really helps with redness. I have continued to use this since trying it and now it's part of my daily routine. 
1st place! 
The pink lemon and mandarin orange is the newest addition to the scrub line. It's also placed in the "moderate" category. The exfoliators feel a bit bigger than the ones in the green tea, but nowhere near as large as the ones in the apricot. I really enjoy the smell of this one, because it's noticeable but not too strong like the apricot. I do think that this makes your skin appear brighter after using it, and I haven't gotten any breakouts while using it. Another aspect I really like about this scrub is that it's a bit creamier than the others, and when you combine it with water it kind of lathers a bit. You won't get any noticeable foam, but it feels more like a foaming cleanser. I have also added this one to my routine.
2nd place

A few months after I got these scrubs, St. Ives started selling their apricot scrub with salicylic acid. I probably won't try it since I didn't particularly like the scent or the scrub, but I'm assuming it'll work much better! 

I hope you found these reviews useful. If you have any comments, or any thoughts about these products or other products I should try, go ahead and leave a comment below! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Instant Pumpkin Spice?!

I, like many other people, am crazy for the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). I was there the first day they started making them again (August 26th at my local Starbucks), and if I could I would probably have one every day... Since I don't go to Starbucks every day (and since I definitely can't afford to go every day...) I decided I would try the Starbucks Via Pumpkin Spice Latte. I've never tried a Via before, because I usually just make my own latte, but I can't make a PSL at home, so I was really excited about these. 

 Look at the Fall-ness! Can't you feel the Fall??
 Only 120 calories per serving... much less than the 300 calories for a tall with 2% (probably means it's not as good...) 
 Only 4 per package... 
 Looks questionable... 
 Here I added the recommended 8oz... which is clearly not enough. The smell is kind of gross, much like the other instant lattes you can get at the grocery store. 
I added more so it looked more acceptable. It smells icky, it tastes pretty gross, and I don't even get a hint of pumpkin flavor. It just tastes exactly like the other instant lattes you can buy at the store, which means it's not good and not worth the money. I wish I still worked at Starbucks and could get discount PSLs... *sigh*

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Clarisonic vs. Olay ProX

Hey everyone! So you may remember quite awhile ago when I got the Olay ProX cleanser. This is what I decided to use instead of forking out a lot of money to buy a Clarisonic. I happened to get this for free because my mom bought it in the clearance section of Safeway. 

 50% off, yes! 
 It came with its own cleanser, which I didn't use. 
 And then my mom decided it would be nice to get me the Clarisonic Mia2 as a gift. I did an unboxing, and told you I would do a comparison at some point... That point is now... 

 Right off the bat you can see some differences. The Clarisonic is much bigger than the ProX. Not just in the size of the body, but the brush itself covers a much larger surface area. 

After using the Olay ProX for the first time, I was impressed. I had never used an electronic cleanser before, so I was pleased with how well it cleaned my face compared to just using face wash alone. The ProX has two speeds, but the first one was much too slow, so I would always use the faster speed. Even then though, it doesn't have very much power and if you push into your face you can tell the motor is struggling. In contrast, I have never changed the speed of my Clarisonic. I just turn it on and go.

A nice aspect of the Clarisonic is that it's rechargeable. The ProX came with a AA battery, which I had to replace after a month of use. The Clarisonic charges for 24 hours initially, and then they claim that that charge lasts for a month. In my experience it lasted about two months, and then I felt I should recharge it just to be safe because I was going out of town. But it had no signs of dying.

Another aspect of the Clarisonic that's better than the ProX is that the Clarisonic has a timer. Once you turn it on, it vibrates at 20 and 10 second intervals (which you're supposed to use to know when it's time to clean different areas of your face), and then turns off after one minute. This is nice because it helps you to focus on different areas, and also reminds you not to overdo it.

The biggest difference between the two is the way in which they work. The ProX spins the entire brush in a circle. When I first got this, I just assumed that that was what the Clarisonic did as well, but no. The Clarisonic just sort of pulses. You can choose to move it in a circular pattern on your face, which I do, but it doesn't move the entire brush like that. Instead the brush just sort of vibrates. I think that this works much better than the ProX, and it might be the reason that I've seen better results using the Clarisonic than I did with the ProX.

The only upside to the ProX is that it's super cheap in comparison. You can buy one for about $20 at your local drugstore, whereas the Clarisonic is closer to $150. I would recommend getting the ProX only to someone who wasn't sure about making the purchase, or to someone who wasn't sure that an electronic cleanser would work for them. If you think for sure you'll use it, I would absolutely recommend the Clarisonic over the ProX. I've seen much better results using it, and it just seems to be much better quality (which it should be for the price!).

Finally, because the Clarisonic is so popular, they have a lot of accessories available. For example, they have a wide variety of brush heads that you can buy (you're supposed to change the brush every 3 months, so I'll be buying a new one soon). These include special brushes for acne, deep cleansing, and sensitive skin. They also have brush heads for your body, and they've started selling a whole system just for your feet. You can buy the brush heads just for the feet, but I'm not 100% sure that they fit with any Clarisonic system.

If you've found this helpful, or have any thoughts about my review or the products themselves, go ahead and leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Senior Year!

Well, it's that time again. School starts this week... goodbye Summer, I don't know where you went, but I'm so sad that you're gone. This semester should be pretty stressful and terrible, and I just want it to be Christmas already!!! I'm overloading since I had a change of mind of what I want to do as a career, so I'll be in five classes. On top of that I'm doing research with one of my professors, since I didn't get a position with all those applications I filled out (I'm guessing they got lost... cause why would someone not hire someone with no experience??)... and this is the semester that I have to write my thesis. I don't really have a good idea of what I'm gonna do that on, and I need to pick a topic by next week. Also I need to focus on my application for grad school... so... stress and business. I'll start regularly posting again next week (hopefully).

In other news, my sister moved in to her dorm this week. It was weird seeing all the freshwomen moving in and gave me lots of feels about this being my last year in college. I hope that she focuses and adjusts well to college life... but last time I checked she still hadn't been to the dining hall, so I'm pretty sure she's just gonna starve in her room... which she might do anyway after seeing the food options...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cake Batter Pie Anniversary Special!

Hey everyone! So I know I've been super terrible and I haven't done a blog in quite awhile. Real life took over for a bit, sorry... Will had a live show for work that took up a lot of time, and then right after that we left for a vacation in Vegas (which went terribly wrong so many times... but that's for another post). I've also been busy working, and trying to get my application for school done. Anyway, enough with the excuses.

I was getting ready to make a brand new beauty blog post, but then I turned on my camera and found these pictures from MONTHS ago! Our anniversary was way back in the beginning of June, and that is why I baked this super yummy/weird pudding pie. Will is a huge fan of anything cake batter flavored, so for his present this year I decided to get everything cake themed I could find... It was kind of hard because I had this idea super last minute and didn't have time to order anything online, but I think it turned out pretty well. 

The final set-up included a pack of cupcake flavored lip smackers (I know lip smackers are for girls but guys get chapped lips too!), a cupcake piggy bank, birthday cake flavored M&Ms (which are chocolate cake flavored, if you're wondering/buy them and are surprised that they aren't yellow cake flavored like most birthday cake flavored things), a red velvet cupcake candle, a vanilla icing candle, a vanilla cupcake candle (there are a lot of candles that smell like cake!), a headband for small children that has a cupcake antenna, and method's vanilla creme scented hand soap (I also got the body wash but that's not in the picture). Also pictured is a card I got him which I think was supposed to be for a granddaughter, but it was bright green and had cupcakes all over it, so I just crossed that part out. An additional present, and why there are Swedish fish on the pie, was a Beta that was a super cool cream color, who I named Buttercream (he has since died... RIP Buttercream). 

Anyway, to the baking! I found this recipe, along with a bunch of other awesome cake batter themed foods, on Pinterest. The original post is from Pizzazzerie. I decided on this pie because it was something that would keep long enough to hide it from Will and make it in advance, and it seemed like one of the less weird recipes, although a lot of them seem like they could be pretty good. 

 Ingredients for the crust:
About 13 squares of graham crackers
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 cup of butter, melted
 For the pudding:
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons funfetti cake mix
 For the topping:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
sprinkles/any other decorations you'd like
 First, in a food processor (or if you don't have one in a ziplock with a hammer) grind the graham crackers into fine crumbs
 Place the crumbs in a bowl
 Add your sugar
 And the melted butter
 And combine until it sticks together nicely
 Then place in the pie plate and spread it out, pushing it into the shape of the pan
 Next, place the egg yolks in a bowl
Not pictured: heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it is almost simmering
 Add the cornstarch
 The sugar
 And the salt
 And beat on medium speed until thickened
 While mixing, add the heated milk slowly until everything is combined

 Return this mixture to the saucepan and heat until thickened

 Remove from heat and add butter
 And vanilla extract
 Make sure there aren't any lumps by straining the pudding
 Add the funfetti mix
 Pour into your crust
 Cover with saran wrap, making sure that it's touching the top of the pudding so you don't get a yucky film on top, and place in the fridge for a few hours
 For the topping, make whipped cream by combining the whipping cream...
 The vanilla
 And the sugar
 And then beat it until it looks like whipped cream
 Take your pie out of the fridge once it's solidified a bit (mine was still a bit too runny at this point)

And top with the whipped cream and any other decorations you'd like.

My biggest problem with this recipe was that it never solidified like it should have... I think that the weird runny texture of the pie made it weirder to eat, but it did taste like cake batter, which was awesome. Will seemed pleased, at least by the effort I made!