Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

I am a BzzAgent!  About a month ago, I accepted a campaign for Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream!  I am a big fan of lotions, hand creams and other moisturizers, so this is definitely right up my alley.

For free I recieved a 2oz bottle of unscented hand cream, and several 0.5oz scented hand creams.  I did give away several of the small ones!  I haven't heard any feedback, though.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula

On the back it reads, "Neutrogena Norwegian Forumla Hand Cream provides highly effective relief for even the most uncomfortably dry, cracked hands.  It is so concentrated that only a small amount instantly leaves dry, cracked hands noticeably softer and smoother after just one application.  Used daily, it heals and helps keep dry skin from returning.  And, it's not just for hands.  Use it on your elbows, knees, face and lips - anywhere your dry skin needs extra help."

The main ingredient in this hand cream is Glycerin, which definitely leaves my skin soft after application.  Since the glycerin is slow to absorb or whatnot into my skin it feels greasy after I apply it, so I don't use it throughout the day.  I usually use it before I go to bed for some overnight pampering.

I recently did my nails and took a couple pictures!  These are my hagraven claws.  Dirty, chipped and disheveled.

Right Hand Pre-Manicure

Yeah, this really needed to get done.  I removed all my nail polish, first.  With an acetone based polish remover.  I know it's not good for nails, but it's 100x more work getting them wiped clean without it.  I then filed them one way with a metal file, and shaped them gently.  I've been trying for so many years to get rounded square tips but my nails break right when I think it's getting good.  Here are my hands/nails, filed and washed so they are not all dusty.

Right Hand Post Manicure

Left Hand Post Manicure

I put Neutrogena Hand Cream on them that night and let it set in.  I didn't take pictures becase, quite honestly, having freshly hand creamed hands when there are yarn fibers, cat fibers and kid fibers around just isn't attractive.  I've also come to learn that when you do skin care or nail stuff and sleep on it, you wake up looking like a million dollars.  Kind of.  At least, I always feel I look my my freshest when I wake up.

Here is after a night of rejuvenation!

Left Hand Night After

Right Hand Night After

They aren't really perfect 10's, but they look much better now that they have been cleaned up. :)  I let them breathe for a couple more days before I put on some Sally Hanson Green Tea + Bamboo Strengthener.  I reapply it daily because the Strengthener actually chips super easily. Sigh!  I need to find something I like better.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: NYC Liquid Lipshine

SO, a while back I finished a Brand Challenge on Influenster and was told I'd be sent a NYC Liquid Lipshine as a little extra gift.  THEN, I got accepted to receive the Holiday 2012 Voxbox which had one in it!

Funny enough, I got the Holiday 2012 Voxbox first.  The color I received in it is Nude York City 582.  A couple days later I got the complimentary gift from NYC Color.  The color I received from them is City's Clear 574, which is... clear.  Hehe.

NYC Liquid Lipshines
Click for bigger!
Here are a couple swatches for ya. ;)

NYC Liquid Lipshine Swatches
Click to see it bigger!
Please ignore the scars and cat scratches.  Arggh.  Nude York City is definitely nude with small sparkles.  City's clear is just a plain clear lip gloss.

Also, I hope you think the hairs on the back of my hand are sexy.  Rwar.

Cough.  ANYWAYS!  I took two pictures of me wearing these lip glosses!  Now, can you guess which one is which?

NYC Liquid Lipshine

NYC Liquid Lipshine  You can't?  Me neither.  Oops.  I thought I'd be able to after taking the pictures but after uploading them to my computer... err.  Well, I think the top one might be City Clear, and the bottom one Nude York  City.  The lighting in the bottom one is slightly more orange and... yeah.  We'll just go with that.

SO, in conclusion, they are both very nude and natural looking!

The smell of Nude York City is a very fake vanilla.  It's almost sickly sweet, and I'm just not sure I can get behind it.  City's Clear is similar but less chemically and more make-upy.  So, they don't smell HORRIBLE but I think it's just not my thing.

They feel like they last a while, but they are sticky and don't feel like they integrate into my lips.  I'm constantly smacking them together when I wear it.  I'm not a fan of feeling like I have a layer of something on my lips.

I probably wont be purchasing any more of these lip glosses.  I've already got a special place in my heart for baremineral's 100% natural lip glosses and so far nothing has been able to budge it.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Nails: Sinful Colors' Gorgeous

Here are my current nails!  This isn't a fresh paint, obviously  but the color is still beautiful.  It makes me think of Peacocks! :)  I painted a layer of Gorgeous over a layer of random black nail polish so it would really stand out.

This is one of Sinful Colors' metallic shades.  I haven't tried any other nail polish brand metallics, but these are so infuriating to use.  They take forever to dry and smudge/dent so easily for like a day after I've painted my nails.  :(

Kirsten Holen

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Things I'm Proud Of: Scrambled Eggs

While I've got blog content lined up, I'd like to try a little weekly post.  While I was making breakfast, I was admiring the aesthetics of my eggs and realized how proud I am that I can make them like that.  It feels good to be proud of something, even if pride is a sin.  I think it's important to feel good about yourself, and sometimes the seemingly insignificant things are the ones that give you the best boosts.

Like making fantastic scrambled eggs, which have been praised by everyone in my household.

So, every Thursday I'd like to share with you something I am particularly proud of, and if I can, tell you why I'm proud of it and how I achieved whatever it is I'm sharing.  Because, who knows, you might find something that you are good at and enjoy doing!

So, without further adieu, here are my secrets to  beautiful, fluffy scrambled eggs.

Scrambled Eggs On A Paper Plate
Click for a bigger picture, so you can see the details of my fancy paper plate!
Get some eggs.  It doesn't matter how many.  Adjust to however many people are eating.  I can eat about two if that's all I'm having, or one if I'm eating a piece of buttered toast (sourdough, please) and/or some vegetables or fruit.

Heat a pan over medium heat that is a proportionate size to however many eggs you got.  I think this is common sense.  I hope.  A good way to make sure your eggs are cooked correctly and evenly is to have a pre-heated pan.  In fact, I think this is a good tip for most anything you cook!

In a bowl, crack your eggs... then add a splash of milk.  I never measure it; I just put in what looks like enough.  A couple tablespoons for one egg, maybe?  Just don't put in more milk than there is egg.  This helps with the fluffiness.  This next part might shock you - don't add any seasoning.  No salt, no pepper, no nothin'.  Why?  Because I've found that when you pour the egg mixture into the pan, a lot of the seasoning sticks to the bowl, which makes me sad.  Another reason is because maybe not everyone likes the same seasoning in their eggs.

Ahem, now I'm going to introduce you to my biggest scrambled egg/omelette secret.  While some people will generally just break the yolks and stir everything to mix it, I want you to put some enthusiasm into it.  I want you to work those eggs like they owe you money.  That's right; I want you to get some air into your eggs.

You can get out the egg beaters, a whisk, or even just a fork.  I've done this successfully with them all.  My trick for a whisk or a fork is to tilt the bowl and whip the eggs in vertical circles, making sure I get the utensil up and out of the bowl, bringing it up and above the eggs, so that when it goes back down it gets a big swallow of air.  You'll be able to tell you're doing it right because you'll have this fantastic egg vortex going on, and the eggs will get a lil' foamy around the edges.

Now, lubricate your pan.  Butter it, Pam it, maybe try coconut oil if you're adventurous.  I haven't tried coconut oil with my eggs, but I've tried it with popcorn and pancakes and it's fantastic.  Very little coconut taste, especially if you add salt.  Pour your eggs slowly into the pan, whisking gently.  It'll still be a lil' foamy in the pan.  THIS is where you should add your spices!  I usually just do pepper and a little garlic and onion powder.  I tend to add salt afterwards because I think salt just works better that way.  If you want to add any meat or vegetables, this would be the right time to do it, too.  I wait until I plate the eggs to put cheese on, because if you do it right away the cheese will melt quickly on top instead of sticking and burning to the pan.

This can be difficult because it takes intuition/experience/whatever else you'd like to call it to get it right.  It really does take making scrambled eggs a couple times to get the timing right, so if it looks weird the first time, don't give up!  Once you see the outer edges of the egg looking cooked, as in the stuff touching the walls, you're going to take a spatula, wooden spoon, or bamboo spatula/spoon and gently push all sides of the eggs INWARDS.  More egg will spill everywhere and you'll have an unattractive lump of stuff in the middle, but that's alright.

Let it sit for a little bit, then push it all inwards again.  At this point most of your eggs should be solid.  Lumpy and wet, but solid.  Wait some more, then push the eggs around a little bit.  You'll start to notice that the bottom of the eggs are cooked, so you can use your spatula and flip them over, or awkwardly scoop them around with your wooden spoon and flip them.  Maybe I should suggest you definitely use some type of spatula.

When your eggs are done, you should be able to slide your beautiful eggs onto a plate, garnish, and serve.  YAY!

So this has been probably the longest blog post/instructional on making scrambled eggs.  Thinking back, I should have taken photos of the steps.  I'll probably make eggs again tomorrow and add some pictures in here.  I'm sorry you had to read all that, but thank you SO MUCH and I hope it really helps you!

I've got an idea - how about you try it out, take some pictures and send them to me?  I'll make another post featuring your pictures and any comments/questions you have!  You know, provided I get any.  Please?

Email your pictures, comments and questions to

I really look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Make Up Brush Cleaning

When I got my BareMinerals starter pack, I was given a bottle of brush cleaner.  Erroneously, I figured this was all I needed to clean my brushes.  Every time I washed with that brush cleaner I would get a lot of pigment and dirt out of them, but the bristles were never back to their original softness.  It got to the point where it was far too rough and hurt my face to put powder on.

Enter Pintrest, the website full of many wonderful and many not so great ideas.  I've been a big fan of Pintrest (Much to Kevin's dismay.  Ask him about my honey, cinnamon and nutmeg face masque.)  and I've seen a few brush cleaning techniques/recipes floating around.  What they all seem to have in common is White Vinegar and Dawn Dish Soap.

Easy peasy.  I am well stocked with both, and happen to have a spare 15 minutes.

I have since replaced the office pencil holder with a glass jar that my brushes look much nicer in.  Also ignore the Vick's and the ginger in the background.  Cough.

Here they all are.  You can click that picture to see a bigger version.  A couple brushes you can tell have stuff on them, but the rest look pretty normal.  On the right is a mason jar filled with hot water, white vinegar and Dawn Dish Soap.  I'm horrible at measuring stuff unless it's baking.  Even then I can be a little dubious about stuff like spices, but that's for another post.  I just poured into the jar what felt right.  I didn't really think I could go wrong anywhere.

I dipped and swirled my brushes in the concoction.  I rubbed them in the palm of my hand, manipulated the bristles with my fingers.  I had an inkling that if Kevin and Lacuna had been present they would have been extremely jealous.  I then rinsed the brushes off with warm water.  It took a few rinse-throughs  for the water to run completely clear!

This was the result.

That water is disgusting.  Could it even be classified as water any longer?  I don't even put on make-up that often!

My wet brushes look like sad, scared cats that I just bathed.  They have since dried and look healthier than ever.  The bristles are soft and don't feel like I'm sandpapering my face any longer!


So, while I appreciate that BareMinerals included a brush cleanser in the kit, it just doesn't do the trick.  This cost pennies on the dollar and worked SO MUCH BETTER.  For anyone that uses make up brushes I definitely recommend washing them with dawn and white vinegar!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Watercolor California Poppy Field

Another experiment with watercolors! :)  I've been told this looks like different things depending on what's on your mind when you view it.  I've been told flowers and butterflies so far.  What do you think?

Watercolor California Poppy Field

You can click it to see a bigger version!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Goody Quickstyle Brush

This was the item I was most excited about in my Influenster Holiday 2012 VoxBox!

I have very thick, long hair and it takes FOREVER and a day to dry.  I hate blow drying it because it still feels like it takes forever, and on top of that my arms get exhausted.

Enter a not so great picture of my brush:

I figured a close up of this alien-looking contraption would be good.  You can click the image for a closer view.  I began having doubts while poking at the microfiber bristles because they are not stiff.  They flatten down rather easily.

I used the brush a couple times after I got out of the shower and I didn't see a big difference in the dampness of my hair.  I don't know if it's just because my hair is soooo thick, or what, but it was a little sad.  I normally go through my hair with a thick-toothed comb and I got about the same results after towel-drying.

I finally got un-lazy and decided to use the Goody Quikstyle Brush to blow dry my hair.

Here is my hair before:

Not too glorious.  I sort of look like I should be lifting.  DO YOU EVEN LIFT?!

Okay, okay.  So, I blow-dried my hair.  It was rather awkward as I normally do it with a rounded brush.  It felt tough pulling the bristles through my hair, which may have been because of the microfiber bristles catching on my hair?  I also found that the microfiber bristles got completely soaked VERY quickly, and subsequently matted down.  I tried blow drying the brush to see if I could dry them up a little, but it just made the brush warm.

So, if the brush, for lack of a better way to put it, fills with water that quickly, what's the benefit of continuing to blow dry my hair with it?  I can only think that having a mat of wet cloth against my hair would hinder the drying process as opposed to having a regular brush that allows air flow.

The other thing was that I was constantly checking and cleaning hair out of my brush, which matted down the microfiber bristles.  A little inconvenient.

After about 20-25min of blow drying I gave up.  My arms were tired, I was sweating from all the heat getting blown around.  This is the main reason why I don't blow dry my hair normally.  My hair looked okay, but it was still damp.

My verdict is that this just isn't the brush for me.  I could see someone with thinner hair having more success with it.  Very sad about this. :(

Working on posts for the rest of my VoxBox goodies!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Influenster Holiday Voxbox

So, apparently I am horrible at remember to make a post about this, because I've had the box for a while now.  Oops.  better late than never, though, right?

I was so excited to get this.  It's my first VoxBox from Influenster!

Influenster Holiday 2012 Voxbox

I have so far tried everything but the EBOOST and Kiss Nail Dress.  Well... I haven't technically tried the Quaker Ready.  I gave it to Kevin to take to work and he enjoyed it.  I don't know why I would enjoy them, though.  Mmm peaches and almonds.

I have a review on the Goody Quikstyle Brush pretty much ready to go.  Same for the masque and lipgloss. Maybe tomorrow I'll try out the EBOOST. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nails: Sinful Colors Boogie Nights

I am so ready for spring!  I didn't know California temperatures were allowed to go below 30.  It's colder than a witch's titty out there in the morning and I am NOT happy about it.

Unfortunately painting my fingers this Barbie petal pink hasn't ushered in a new season.

Ah, well.  Any ideas on what color I should paint my nails next?

Nails: Sinful Colors Boogie Nights

My cuticles look so grody.  I'm still an amateur at painting my nails and managed to get my top coat everywhere.  Nail polish spirits, please forgive me!

TTFN! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Mary Kay Satin Hands

A little while ago I attended a Mary Kay party my Step-Mom and her Mary Kay friend hosted.  It was pretty fun!  We did mini facials and mini.. not manicures, but hand softening and exfoliating.  In fact, these products are the ones we used on our hands!  I was very impressed with both.

For Christmas, my Step-Mom got me the Mary Kay Satin Hands set in the Peach scent.

Mary Kay Satin Hands Set

(btw I made myself a light box... you like?!)

The first part of the trio is the fragrance-free hand softener. "Apply a small amount to clean skin. For added hydration, dampen skin with water prior to applying."  I have never applied water before hand because I think the softener does enough on it's own.  It's almost solid when it comes out, but once it melts into your hand it's an... oily substance.  I'm not sure if oily is the best word for it, but that's what I've got.  The top ingredients are Petrolatum, Mineral oil, Paraffin, Beeswax, Hydrogenated Soy Glyceride and Copernicia Cerifera (Palm) wax.  Not very happy about the first ingredient  being Petroleum, but the rest of them would definitely explain the greasy/oily texture.  I can't deny that it's very smoothing and you could probably get away with using this product on it's own.  If you are going to do all three parts, don't bother washing it off because you go onto...

Part two, the Peach satin smoothie hand scrub.  It sort of smells like those Peach Gummy-O candies.  Which is good; those are delicious.  "Massage into hands and between fingers.  Rinse and pat dry."    The only ingredients I can pronounce or really matter for the purpose of my review are the Apricot Seed Powder and Peach Seed Powder.  Why?  Because those are the grungy scrubby ingredients.  I have a hand scrub from Bath & Body works that I absolutely love, but it's sugar based so the scrubbies eventually dissolve.  You have to be careful with the amount of water you get on your hands while scrubbing.

This hand smoothie has no such problem.  I put it on and rub it in without any water, first, and then gradually add a little water to get a foam on.  When I feel sufficiently exfoliated I rinse it off, and then I put on my...

Peach hand cream, the third part of the Satin Hands Trio.  "Massage cream into hands and between fingers.  This nongreasy hand cream leaves hands soft and silky.  Moisturizes hands for 24 hours.  It even lasts through several hand washings."  The only ingredients I can pronounce off the back of the bottle are Water, Petrolatum, Glycerin and Fragrance.  I'm going to assume that the Petroleum and Glycerin are the major "moisturizing" ingredients in this hand cream.

This is, sadly, my least favorite product of the three.  My opinion might be a little biased because I've already found my most favorite hand moisturizer ever, but the bottom line is that Mary Kay's just isn't that great.  The formula feels very thin, and when rubbed in I feel like I have a layer of something on my skin.  They tell the truth that it's nongreasy, but I think I'd almost prefer it to be greasy over this layer it leaves.  I just don't feel like it absorbs.

My skin is undeniably smooth, but the lotion just doesn't make my hands feel like they are mine.

I'm not sure about the staying power through hand washing, but I plan on testing that out in the near future.  I don't see how the benefits could last through being washed if it doesn't absorb into the skin.

When Kevin and I got home from dropping the kids off with their mom, we had TV and spa time.  Since you're supposed to wash the hand smoothie off, when it was time to do so I soaked a washcloth in warm water and cleaned us up.  It worked fine.  I rinsed it off and did another go over to make sure we got all the peach and apricot seed powder.

Kevin decided that his hands were freakishly smooth and he wasn't sure if he liked that or not.  hehe. :)

Mary Kay Satin Hands set is $34.00 for all three products and a cute little tote.  The hand cream by itself is $10.00, and the hand smoothie is $18.00.  It doesn't look like you can get the softener by itself.

Summery of thoughts:
It's a very nice spa set.  I use this once or twice a week while I'm messing around in the bathroom.  I have no desire to use the hand cream regularly.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Watercolor Flowers

This was another practice, and quite frankly I'm not a fan of how it turned out.  I mean, it's beautiful, but I guess it's  not exactly how I had it pictured.  Not sure watercolors work that way in the first place...

Another practice in negative painting.

TTFN. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Face of the Day

Face of the Day 1/6/13

I did a quick run to Michael's and stopped by my dad's to drop a couple things off.  I hadn't done my make up in a while so I made myself up!

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB in Light/Med
Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso
Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr in Pomegranate Punk
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Secret Service
bareMinerals Eyeliner in Black
Maybelline Lash Stilletto in Black
Buxom  Big & Healthy Lip Stick in San Francisco
Benefit Lip Shines in Foxy Lady

Okay... maybe the lip products wore off for the most part while crock pot BBQ chicken was being consumed.  The tint is still there, though.

Anywhooooo that's all. :3


Friday, January 4, 2013

My Christmas Cactus Bloomed!

I AM SO EXCITED. The flowers were already getting there when I (just) bought it, but this morning when I looked over at it, it was sticking its' tongue out at me!

I think these are so pretty and I have wanted at least one of my own since I saw my Grandma has some.  I remember the flowers being pretty but I apparently didn't remember exactly how they looked when fully open!

Christmas Cactus in Bloom
PLEASE click to enlarge!
So tropical and magnificent!  The bloom almost smells like a rose.  Here's a picture of it head on.  I thought these silly phone photos were so fancy. :P

Christmas Cactus in Bloom
Please click to enlarge this, too!
This definitely inspires me do to some watercolors and maybe even colored pencil drawings.  I took the pictures in effort to preserve the image for these purposes.

There are a bunch of little purple buds all over the place and I can't wait until they get bigger.  You can bet I'll post most pictures of them here. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sewing: Roll Up Brush Case

I've had this completed for a while now, but I am such a procrastinator.  I'm sure my dad hoped I would grow out of it... sorry!

This was experimental in several ways.  One, sewing in general... two, using fusible vinyl.  All of the stuff I read online said fusible vinyl is so easy to work with.. yeah, alright.  I guess we can't all be good at everything.  Looking at the finished project I'm not even sure I did it right or where I could have possibly gone.  It doesn't look like some smooth, beautiful waterproof fabric.  Maybe it's just the material I put it on?

Either way, I guess it's still functional.

I didn't do any exact measuring for the pockets, just a rough estimation of stuff I would be putting in there.  Here I've put several brushes, a mascara, a lip gloss, and three eye liner pencils.  Not bad!  There is a small amount of fabric at the top to flip down before you roll it up so the bristles are protected.  Or the bag you put this in, if you've still got make-up on your brushes.

I attached some fabric to use as a tie so it would all stay together.  It's nothing fancy but it works!  I keep meaning to give this as a gift, experimental as it may be, because it's still very useful.  It's just one of those things that sits on my desk and I don't remember until I'm already where I'm supposed to be.  That about sums up my life.

Oh, here's a picture of it sans beauty tools - you can see how crinkly and wrinkly the vinyl is.  :(

TTFN, (Teenage Turtles Future Ninjas)


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Magazine Organization

I'm not a big magazine person.  Most of them are full of ads and don't boast any good reading material.  Big culprits of this are beauty and fashion magazines, which is why I've come to like browsing beauty bloggers. :)  A little better are craft magazines, but even then maybe 1/10th of the pages are worth keeping around for any possible future use.  So, magazines usually get tossed out lest they sit around promoting clutter.

Until I realized those weren't my only choices.  I've been putting all sorts of other stuff in binders: Coupons, art, M:TG cards, patterns... why couldn't I put magazine pages?

I pulled out the pages I found useful and put them in plastic sleeves, doing my best to keep the integrity of page order. The way magazines are put together don't really promote the categorical organization I like.

Open Binder of Organized Magazine Pages
Sorry for the glare!

On the left are uncovered pages, and on the right are pages I already put in the binder.  I'm pretty sure these are all from Martha Stewart's Living magazine.  She actually has a lot of great projects for all sorts of crafters, from sewers to chefs.  Already put into the binder are recipes for camping meals, which I love.  I plan on implementing these on our annual camping trip so we're  not stuck with hamburgers and hotdogs for three days.  /cough

Height of Organized Magazine Pages

So now, the best part - this is over 10 magazines worth of "usable" content.  I think it's only about an inch thick.  SO much space saved.  The only problem I have is actually sitting down, ripping out pages and putting them into sleeves, but that's only because I'm lazy, not because it's particularly tough.

I've actually put it on my calendar that tomorrow I am to finish putting pages in this binder and organize my coupon binder.  You know, after I sweep and clean the bathroom.

/le sigh

Do you guys have any nifty organization tips or methods to share with me?  Please let me know!  I like to experiment. :)