Trying out the Venus Immortals Palette From Lime Crime

For the past week or so I have been playing around with the Venus Immortals Palette from Lime Crime. I’ll admit I sort of stalked this palette on line for a while before deciding to purchase it. I have the Venus Exposed Palette and it is one of my favorite go to palettes if i want something quick and easy to work with. The colors are nice and it can give me great everyday looks or lean into drama with very little effort.

I know this Immortals Palette wasn’t going to be the same thing. I knew looking at it that this was not going to be an everyday palette. But I liked the color story and to be honest I was awash with a sea of neutrals palettes and this just appealed to me. Then in my stalking phase I saw they had a sale and I purchased it.

This was an interesting palette to work with actually. But because of the color story, it is not a quick and easy palette to work with, at least not for me. Let’s talk about the mattes first. There are four: Unseen, Unveil, Ash and Cameo. While Cameo looks a little beige in the pan, it applies white on the skin. Ash is a very light gray. Both of these lighter mattes blend really well. All of the shadows (matte and shimmer) are a bit powdery on the brush but if you tap off the brush there is no fall out during application.

Ash and Cameo can be blended out for a soft and subtle look. Unseen and Unveil are not subtle. They are very pigmented and even though Unveil swatches as a dark reddish brown on the lid it looks almost black. It just looks like a slightly less deep black than the black of Unseen.

When applied, Unseen can be a little patchy but it does blend well and settles in. There is a slight fading throughout the day, but at the end of a work day I still had eyeshadow on. It didn’t disappear.

Technically there are four shimmers, but the white of marble behaves a little differently so I really want to put that in a different category. I’m just not sure what category to put it into. But we’ll get to that in a minute, first the other three shimmers. They feel soft to the touch and like the mattes, the brush needs to be tapped off to get rid of some of the loose powder.

The Silver of Hail is stunning on the lid and is a stand out. It shimmers like foil when it is on the lid. The darker gold of Echo is actually one of my favorites and paired with the darker colors it is metallic but a bit more subtle than Hail. The darker tones of the old gold really work well with the darker shades.

Moth is more of an everyday work day shimmer. It pairs well with Unveil, but is almost too subtle to be with this palette. It really feels like it should be paired with some softer mattes. The other shadows in this palette are very bold and direct, but Moth is softer and tends to get a bit lost.

And then there is marble. It is the most powdery of the shades, but again tapping off the excess works well. It applies bright whit and glittery, but when you blend it the white fades down a bit and you can actually pull a light sheen of glitter over the lid.

This isn’t the boldest of looks but you can see how Marble was used to tone down the other shades and add a little sparkle over the top of them. The base shadows are Ash overlaid with Unseen at the outer edge and Cameo in the inner corner. then marble was blended over the top.

Over all I really enjoyed using this palette however it is not a quick palette to use. I didn’t pick it up and instinctively go for a certain shadow. I had to actually think about what i wanted and where I wanted the shadows. It is also not a palette I would use as an everyday work palette. The shadows will last on the lid all day, but because I had to think about the application it took a little longer to apply and for me the color story is a bit too bold for the office. It is a palette I will enjoy sitting down with and taking my time to play with. All of the shades are lovely and to be honest I will reach for this Marble shade to put over other eye looks. This Venus Immortals Palette form Lime Crime isn’t one I will pick up when I need to get out of the door in a hurry, however it is one I am happy to have in my collection and one i will look forward to playing with.

Holiday Shopping Guide: The Art of Tea

Once again we delve into the gifting possibilities for the season, this time with the Art of Tea. As you are probably aware I have been working my way through the Tea Discovery Kit (pictured above). It comes with eight sachets of varying blends in an adorable wooden box. The Tea Travel bundle is the Discovery kit with a travel tumbler.

Thus far i have tried out four of the eight teas in the package and really enjoyed all of them. My two favorites have been the White Coconut Creme which i think would make a fantastic tea to serve with a desert at the end of a long meal and the Matcha which was just a stunning tea.

For those interested in Matcha and wanting to get either more traditional with it, or provide something just a little bit extra special for the matcha lover on your holiday list, there are several options. You can purchase the matcha teabags, or a canister of the ceremonial style of Matcha tea. There are even at home ceremonial matcha mixing bowls and whisks for those looking for an elevated experience.

there are travel tumblers and on the go Matchasticks as well that look like very interesting gifts, and to be honest as much as I adore the ceremonial bowls (and really any pottery), I am looking at the glass tumbler for day to day use. in addition to the glass tumblers for an elevated travel experience, The Art of Tea also has various tea accoutrements like glassware, tea strainers, mugs and tea sets. All well worth looking into.

There are of course holiday bundles as well. Sets that offer a few holiday themed teas not available during the rest of the year and delightful additions to the holiday. White Winter Chai, Butterscotch, pumpkin pie and Dark chocolate peppermint. I picked up a canister of it last year and I would be remiss if i just stuck to the teas. I brought a canister of it home with me last Christmas and it was a big hit. At our house we always used to have hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps for the holidays. while we still do, there are a lot of people who either don’t or can’t drink alcohol. Last Christmas we had three pregnant ladies and one older gentleman who’s prescriptions prohibited consumption. I actually preferred it as it had the peppermint I wanted, but it didn’t have the alcohol tang to it. The tea was also a little bit lighter. I should confess I also added whipped cream for the richness.

This year while I will be picking up a cannister of the dark chocolate peppermint, I will probably also pick up the Apple Pie Blend. I have a fondness for the warming spices of the season. I love that you can buy the cannisters either separately or in bundles. I have several people on my list who love the holiday teas and I am always looking for a good hostess gift that is an alternative to wine. For me one of these holiday canisters with a bow on it is a great alternative hostess gift to that bottle of wine. For the past few years there haven’t been as many gatherings but this year it seems like everyone is making up for it. so having a few ready to go gifts is never a bad thing at this time of year.

Of course for the gift that keeps on giving, you can’t beat The Art of Tea’s Tea Club. It is a a monthly subscription. You can choose the frequency (3, 6 or 12 months) as well as the caffeine level, and style (tea bag, looseleaf). It is a really good subscription and I have purchased it for relatives in the past. It is especially useful if you have the relatives who are either trying not to accumulate more things in their houses or who live far away. The two people I generally get this for live on the other side of the country and don’t really travel any more. This is a gift I can get sent to them with no trouble. In addition it isn’t just a holiday gift as it keeps coming throughout the year. It is a great way to make sure someone knows they aren’t forgotten once the holiday ends. It also increases communication as I generally get a phone call as soon as the package arrives. (My great Aunt Olive insists on calling me as soon as the box comes in, then opening each bag, sniffing it and telling me what time of day the blend would be perfect for. Come to think of it, I do the same thing with the blends i pick up. so I suppose it is either a family trait or some sort of learned family habit. either way, it is a gift I know she will enjoy.

If you have a tea drinker on your list, whether they are a long term tea aficionado or someone just beginning to dabble in the wild world of teas, it is well worth taking a look at the holiday sets and blends of the year when making out your gift list. While I know there are a few I will be getting this year, i also know that i will be picking up several cannisters just to take with me as hostess gifts once the holiday celebrations begin. They are just handy to have around and i know that with as much tea as we drink in this house if any of them don’t get handed out, we will always happily use them ourselves.

The Daily: September 20th, 2022

Good afternoon my darlings. This is going to be a quick post today. My babydoll had a flat tire malfunction on his way to work so I started my day with an auto rescue. I then went straight into errands that need to be done before I leave Friday morning.

I think I’ve driven more today than I have in the past month actually.

I am home for about ten more minutes and then it is back out into the wide world. I figured so much of my day was already spent on errands I might as well go ahead and knock them all out so that I don’t have to worry about them the rest of the week. My hair is in a messy ponytail and most of my face is covered by a face mask, so I didn’t actually bother with any form of makeup today.

We’re just going to call it a skin care focused kind of day. But now I must run. Tomorrow there will be makeup and I will talk about the products that are going to be traveling with me. I hope the rest of your day is simply fabulous. But now I must brave the grocery store so at least a few dishes can be made and put in the freezer so my babydoll doesn’t try living off frozen burritos while I am gone. I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Oh before I go, Besame Cosmetics just launched a Disney Villains’ collection. It is gorgeous. The Ursula compact is absolutely stunning. I highly recommend taking a look at the collection. All of their products are quality and their collections are amazing. When it launched I picked up the Sleeping Beauty Collection for my godmother (she adores Sleeping Beauty) and she still uses the mirror from that on a daily basis. Anyway there is also a discount code they gave me to share. It is Valerie20 with will give you 20% off the Disney Villains collection for the next 30 days.

Perfume Review: Sauvage by Dior

I know technically this Sauvage by Dior a cologne and not a perfume, however there are several designated male scents that I enjoy and I see no reason to allow a sample to linger in my box of samples simply because it is oriented towards males. Plus if my babydoll wears it, the scent will become a part of my world so I might as well see if I like it before I will still call it a cologne in this post though, for the most part.

This scent sample came to me in a subscription box. Macy’s I believe. They have since cut back on their perfume samples but there were two in every subscription box for a while and I am still working my way through the accumulated collection. In general I am a fan of Dior products. I love several of their skincare products and I am currently in love with their concealer. Their scents however have been a little hit or miss for me. I seem to find the ones that skew either too young or too old for me but never something just right. Admittedly i have only used samples that happen to fall into my lap, if I were to make an effort and try out a wider range I might find more I like, so that could just be my perception.

Regardless, for a while I felt like this Sauvage cologne was pursuing me. Every time I turned around there was another commercial for it. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Or at least i hope I’m not just being targeted. It is the commercial that tends to feature Johnny Depp and Wolves. For a while, every time I went on line for something there would be an add. It was a part of any commercial break. It was simply everywhere.

So I finally broke down, took the sample out of the box and gave it a try. According to the website…

François Demachy, Dior Perfumer-Creator, drew inspiration from the desert at the magical twilight hour. Mixed with the coolness of the night, the burning desert air exudes profound scents. A moment tinted with a thick blue that unleashes the wildest instincts. At the hour when the wolves come out and the sky is set ablaze, a new magic unfolds.


Okay if I were just reading the description I would fall for it. The description sounds delightful.

In person, not so much. In fact I could only wear it once before I had to set it aside. I know that is not normally the reaction and normally it is not enough for an evaluation, however, In spritz on the wrist lasted all day long, well into the night and the next morning was still detectable in the hallway.

It is also heavy with bergamot which I did not do well with. I will say it has some staying power. I took a shower and it was still potent on my wrists when I finished toweling off. It is a scent that stays with you.

Here is the thing, and I mean no disrespect to Mr. Demachy and his desert imagery, but it smells like a more expensive version of Brut. It smells like someone took Brut and decided to use higher quality ingredients to make it. It reminds me of my grandfather and his friends. And oddly enough has more of an aftershave back note to the scent than a regular cologne. At least That is my take on it.

While I will admit there is some nostalgic quality to it. It does smell very much like a very specific point in my childhood, It is not a scent I will keep around, either for me or my babydoll to wear. (He thought it smelled like the barbershop where his grandfather used to get his hair cut and was not interested in wearing it either.)

If this is a scent that appeals to you, remember that a little goes a long way. It will last a really long time and it is a scent that makes a lasting impression on your environment. It is not something that stays close to your skin for an intimate scent but something that comes noisily into a room fills up all the spaces and stays well after you leave. Sauvage is quite savage, but not in a good way.

Trying out the Yensa BC Skin on Skin Full Coverage Foundation

Recently Yensa sent a package to me for the purpose of review. Inside were a few of my favorites. The Pumpkin Turmeric Exfoliating mask is a long term love and I have purchased so many of the Yensa Tone Up Primers that I have lost count. Under a matte foundation it is one of my favorite primers. Included in this box was the Yensa BC Full coverage Foundation from their Skin on Skin line.

I believe i might have tried out a sample size of this product a while back, but truthfully it has been long enough that I couldn’t remember. So I was thrilled that I had a full sized version to try out. I really enjoyed wearing this foundation for the duration of the trial and i can tell you that I will be reaching for it until not a drop remains in the tube. But let’s cover what the product is supposed to do before we get into the details of how it performed.

Achieve your SUPERFOOD GLOW with our all in one BB, CC and full coverage foundation. Our BC Foundation is our #1 best seller that provides killer coverage and is infused with our exclusive 8 SuperBlacks Essence to feed your skin while you are wearing it.

8 BENEFITS FOR A SUPERFOOD GLOW™: Full coverage foundation, SPF 40 protection, Graceful aging moisturizer, Built in concealer, Provides brighter and even skin tone, Helps minimize the appearance of pores, Nourishes skin with 8 SuperBlacks Essence, Blurs imperfections, fine lines and wrinkles


I love when brands give you a checklist for a product. I can say that as far as I can tell this foundation hit them all. It was full coverage, and it had SPF 40 in it so it had some sun protection. And while I appreciate that in a foundation, you should never count on your foundation as your only sunscreen. As good as it is to have in the product, it isn’t enough. You need a regular sunscreen. That being said this foundation layered beautifully over the sunscreen i am currently using. (Currently Sunday Riley Light Hearted).

dotted on

In addition during the trial I didn’t have to use any concealer. I ended up using it as a lid primer when I used it, but it wasn’t needed on the rest of my skin.

I think the thing that most impressed me about this foundation was that even though it was full coverage, it felt like a BB cream on the skin. For me this is especially nice to know going into the warmer months. Often in the summertime I will only wear tinted moisturizers and BB cream simply because foundation feels a bit too heavy. even the light weight formulas sometimes feel heavier due to the high humidity. This actually felt light enough that it felt like wearing nothing, hence the skin on skin name i suppose. It also looked really natural.

blended in with nothing else on

This is a somewhat glowy foundation which did take me a bit of getting use to. I tried it with a non matte primer and it was far too glow-y for me. In the spirit of fairness I have to admit that I did get several complements that day so it looked nice, it just wasn’t my personal preference. with a matte primer underneath it was the exact right amount of glow for me. It worked well with all of my matte primers. Once I found I liked it better with the matte primers I didn’t really try it with all of the glow-y/dewy skin ones.

while it does have some pore blurring to it, I still felt the need to add a primer underneath it. It did a good job on it’s own but it performed even better with a partner. The two primers I preferred to use it with were the Tatcha Silk Canvas Primer and the Elf Poreless putty. While I adore the Yensa primer (and it did really well with pore minimizing) it was too glow-y for me when I paired the two together.

full face

Those of you who have read my reviews for a while know that my go to foundation brush is the bdellium 999 Master Blender. I did try it with this foundation but a Yensa also sent a foundation brush (pictured up top) I also tried that out. My normal foundation brush was just a little too stiff to work well with this foundation. The foundation brush that Yensa sent worked perfectly with it. it is an angled brush and while the bristles are densely packed it has a little more movement to the bristles that made it work better with this foundation.

I am going to be trying this foundation brush with other foundations and I think there are several formulas that it might work better than my usual. I’ll have to get back to you on that when I do a brush review. The take away here though is that with this BC formula a really stiff bristled foundation brush might not be your best bet. I would go for a densely packed one that has a bit more flexibility in the bristles. Using such a brush meant there were no lines that had to be buffed away. I simply didn’t need a makeup sponge with this formula and that style of brush.

Most days I wore the foundation about eight hours with no problems. I did have one day where I was in my makeup for over fourteen hours. On that day I did notice a little sinking into the lines around my mouth. Admittedly I would have been surprise if it hadn’t. It was one of those days where I looked exhausted both with and without makeup. In the normal course of an eight hour day there were no issues, it simply isn’t a 24 hour foundation.

I was honestly very impressed by Yensa’s BC full coverage foundation and I would definitely use it again. I loved the way my skin looked during this trial. I had some minor break outs due to my Easter candy extravaganza (seriously I had more sugar this month than I have in the past two years) and this foundation worked really well in concealing those. It is a great light weight formula that worked well now but I think will still be wearable as the weather heats up.

Interestingly enough, in this month’s IPSY bag, I received a different Yensa Foundation. It is the Serum Silk Foundation. I will be trying that one out next and comparing it to this one. While I may have tried a sample size of this BC cream once upon a time, I have not tried the other one (I believe it is a newer product). It will be interesting to see how the two compare. But for that, we will have to wait and see.

Cracking open the Limited Editing Glossy Box Easter Egg for 2022

I know we are a little past Easter but I wanted to share the Glossy Box Easter Egg with you.  I am also really excited to get the box.  For several year’s now they have had their Easter Egg and I have seen it, I have wanted it and I have forgotten until it is sold out.  Because it sells out fast.  This year was bigger and they changed the design.  The design ins a Wonderland Theme and Has Alice, the rabbit and a munch of mushrooms in the design.  It is a raised Gold Design on the Glossy Box Pink Background.  It is also sturdy enough to be reused.  Which I will be doing.  The top secures into place with a gold ribbon.  It is just really lovely. 

I also have a weakness for Alice in Wonderland (as I’m sure do a lot of people).  I have a tattoo of the Cheshire Cat actually. (it isn’t the Disney version.) But as super fantastic as the box is, it is what is inside that counts. But first the stats.  If you are a member then this Limited Edition was $24.  If you were not a member it was $29.  Also if you were a member you could order on March 29th while everyone else had to wait until the 30th.  A friend of mine told me she tried late on the 30th to purchase this and it was already sold out. (which made me feel extra victorious that I remembered. And yes, I did a happy dance.)

The first item in the box is the Alpha H Liquid Gold with 5% Glycolic Acid (Retail $54 although currently on sale at Lovely Skin for 20% off).  I just received a bottle of this in an Allure box and I am absolutely loving it.  Having a second bottle as back up is a definite plus.  Thus far my skin adores it so I am thrilled. It also more than pays for the box and since I was already planning to repurchase the serum, seriously helps my budgeting.

still sealed in plastic and going right back into the box to pass along to my mom

The second item is the neuBROW Brow Enhancing Serum (retail $60).  It is full size and surprisingly heavy for such a small tube. To be honest,  growing brows is not a problem I have at the moment.  Keeping them in check is.  However, when my mom went through chemo about ten years ago all of her eyebrows fell out and have only been growing in sparsely.  She is always willing to try a new brow growth serum so I will be passing this on to her. I know it will get a good try out.

The next item I pulled out of the Easter egg was a coppery box with KAB cosmetics on the front.  It’s their Illuminating dust (retail $26). It too is a full sized item. I’ll be honest I tend to use this kind of product on my collar bone around Christmas and new years and then forget about it the rest of the year.  I think it is because adding the shine to sweaty skin never appealed to me and once the summer heat hits I simply don’t think of body shimmer.  Which is a little strange as there is actually more of my skin showing.  While I might try it out this summer, I suspect I will keep this and give it a good use this winter season. I do like the color though.  The golden toned shimmers really sit well with my skin.

While receiving an eyeliner is ever my favorite thing in one of these boxes, I will make an exception for liquid liners in this style.  These are actually my favorite style of eyeliners.  They are what I learned to apply when I first applied eyeliner.  I love the liquid format and I love that they don’t dry out all that fast.  I don’t use a lot of eyeliner, so often the pen styles can dry out before I use them up.  With this style that doesn’t happen so I am pleased to have the Bellapierre Liquid Eye Liner in the full size (retail $20) in my Glossy Box Easter Egg.

The last full sized product in this box is the Kendra Professional Blow Dry Spray. (retail $36.99, also currently 20% off at Lovely Skin).  Oddly enough I have another Kendra professionals product (the intense fortifying masque) that I was planning to start trying out either this week or next so it is nice to have a second product from the brand to try. I have never actually tried anything from the brand but I have heard fantastic things about it.  And I am always happy to see a heat protecting spray. 

Its a metal tube and I squeezed it to see how full it was (completely full actually) so the dents are from me.

There are several Deluxe sample sized products in this Limited edition.  The first of these is the We Are Paradoxx Repair 3-in1 leave in conditioner/finishing balm.  I have the full sized version of this and I have been using it for my Saturday night hair masks.  And I used it a a finishing balm this weekend. It works fantastically well and I am thrilled to have a travel sized tube of it that I can just toss in my bag to keep with me. Applying just a tiny drop on the hands, rub the hands together and apply over the top of your hair is a great way to tame down fly aways just before a meeting or event really helps.  Here it is a nice quick trick to fight the effects of humidity so this travel tube will happily live in my purse.

I have also used the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream before.  It is a fantastically nourishing body lotion and as I am also in need of a hand cream I will be adding this to my purse as well so that I can hydrate after hand sanitization. I am very pleased to have it.

The Knesko Skin Rose Quartz Eye masks made me smile.  I spent the last few months going through my individual eye masks and now I have a new pair to try.  I also have a set from Aceology that arrived on the day I used the last of the individual ones so perhaps it is a sign.  I have never tried anything from Knesko Skin, in fact I have never heard of them.  I do however love eye masks and even though I am amused to find it appear right after my clear out finished, I will still happily give it a try.

Next we have a slim tube of Facial Enhancement Cream from Dermatologist’s Choice I have never heard of the brand before but I do love trying out sample sizes of moisturizers.  It is a great way to find out if a product is right for my skin before investing in the full size (which saves both money and reduces product wasting). The samples aren’t large enough to let you know results, but they will let you know how it feels on your skin, which is very important.  While there are broad categories that companies use I really believe everyone’s skin is different. 

Part of it is your own internal systems and how your body works generally, but a lot of it has to do with the environment where you live and work as well as your daily activities.  I have spent much of my life moving from place to place, often with very different climates and with each move my skin care has changed.  Products I love in one place simply did not work for me in another.  It was still my skin, but the world around it changed so its needs were different. 

I know that’s a long way to go to say I love testing out sample sized products before attempting to incorporate them into my routine.  Even if I am not moving as much as I used to, I like trying out new brands and as this is one I haven’t heard of, it is an extra bonus.

Finally we wrap up with a skincare tool from Daily Concepts.  It is an adorable silicone bunny designed for gentle exfoliation during cleansing. (I tried to find this product to link, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m guessing it was limited edition. The price is from Glossy Box. As I use it I’ll look for more information.)  It is a full size (retail $8). I actually have a round one from Daily Concepts that I love using.  It has a suction cup on the back and generally lives in my shower.  I use it on my face while in the shower.  Usually post work out.  It is a great way to simply get the sweat and salt residue off the skin without overusing products. 

This one is a pocket with fingers slipped inside instead of clamped around the back I am not sure how well that will work in the shower as I suspect water will gather inside, but I think it might be useful in the bathroom with regular face wash.  I’ll have to give ti a go and see. I do find the ears and bunny face adorable though.

30% off your first box with code GB30APR. Ends 4/30/2022. Subscribe today!

I know that Easter is over and this box is no longer available, but I did want to review it so that those of you who were curious, not only about this but about Glossy Box’s Limited edition boxes in general could see them.  I adore the box and will be incorporating it into my Easter Décor for a while.  At the moment it is filled with now empty plastic eggs and is going into the cabinet. I really liked the number and mix of the products.  There was a good mix of full sized and deluxe samples and the quality for the price was certainly there.  I have several products I am thrilled with, one I am delighted to be able to pass on and several I can’t wait to try.  For me, This Limited Edition Easter Egg was the perfect spring time treat.  I can’t wait to see what their next Limited Edition holds.  If memory serves they are doing one for Mother’s day.  I’ll have to investigate and report back in.

Technical Difficulties…

An automated system flagged my site and temporarily shut it down. I reported the error and the site was reviewed. It was found the computer made an error and now everything is all good. Still it blew a hole in my posting So there is no face mask post today. And the kitchen gadget review will wait as well. As for me, I missed lunch, am going on a really long walk to take the edge off my annoyance with all things computer related and then I am going to think about making dinner. But at least the problem is resolved. So I will see you back here bright and early Monday Morning my darlings. Have a great weekend.

Rub a dub dub with Salt Body Scrub

I’ll be honest, it took me a while to pick up this Kosette Salt Body Scrub to try out. This sample size arrived in an IPSY Glam bag a while back but the look of it was not that appealing. while I love body scrubs, scrubs with charcoal always leave a lot of clean up behind in the shower and bath so often times I avoid them in favor of other products.

In my holiday/pre new year clear out, I found this scrub and decided it was time. I would try it out and face the bathtub clean out so that I could use the scrub and get it off the shelf. I honestly thought that any appeal the product had would be completely mitigated by the fact that I had to scrub charcoal out of the tub. It turned out to be a lesson in judging something by it’s appearances. First lets take a look at the product page.

Made to feel like a day at the beach — this body scrub gently exfoliates the skin with gray sea salt while bamboo charcoal extracts and entraps toxins to be washed away to achieve a balanced and smooth skin. Made from nature’s most effective ingredients, the Kosette SALT body scrub is your solution to flaking skin, body acne, and uneven texture.

100% vegan and cruelty-free. No Alcohol, Parabens, Coloring, or Synthetic Fragrances.

out of the tube

Now I do like salt scrubs and any time I have used charcoal in masks I have liked the way it draws out impurities, so theoretically this should be up my alley. And so I took the scrub to the shower. Oh in case you are wondering, I actually found two of these sample sizes in my bath samples when I went looking. I think one came as part of an IPSY bag and the other came in an IPSY mystery bag. while one went to the shower since I didn’t want to take pictures of me naked in the shower I took the second tube to the powder room and took pictures in my hand over the sink. There is no naked Mimsy in this post.

Dispensing the product it was as charcoal-ly black as I expected it to be. The salt granules are thicker than I expected as well. I don’t know why I thought they would be finer grained. I think it might be because I was trying out an exfoliator for my face earlier in the day. The thicker grains are perfectly sized for body scrubs though. just not for the face.

There is a bit of an oily feel to the scrub which are the skin softening oils that allow it to do it’s job. Oddly enough I was expecting a charcoal type earthy aroma from the scrub. That isn’t whjat I got. I also didn’t get a sea salt kind of scent from the scrub either. Despite what my eyes told me my nose should be smelling, I kept smelling oranges. I thought it was something else in the shower but at the moment I am finishing up the Candy Cane scented products from Native so everything in my shower smells of peppermint.

It wasn’t until I scrolled through the ingredients list that I realized it actually was the Salt Body Scrub I was smelling. buried in the list of ingredients is orange peel oil. It isn’t the first ingredient but it is the scent that is most prominent. Honestly I am quite happy with that as I not only like the scent of orange but it also went really well with the peppermint scents already in the shower.

turns gray as you rub

So nose approved, I began to use the scrub. As you can see from the photo of my hand, the scrub sort of emulsifies as you use it and turns gray. While the gray would make a lovely color on the wall, as a creamy product on the body it is less than appealing. However it continued to lighten as I scrubbed and by the time I rinsed off and the remaining product went down the drain there was very little residue left on the shower tiles.

The massively extra charcoal clean up that I feared was not needed. There may have been a little gray residue around the drain, but the entire shower was not gray black. In addition, my skin felt well scrubbed, clean and smooth. The salt scrub was not overly harsh and the oils in the product left my skin feeling smooth. The light orange scent of the scrub disappeared down the drain with the last of the product, but it was pleasant while it lasted. There was enough in one tube for a single shower with a little left over. Combining the little left over with the second tube I ended up eking out three showers from two sample sized tubes.

Now they are both empty and I am sad to see the product go. I went from avoiding it because it looked dark and forbidding (and likely to cause me to scrub charcoal from the tiles) to wishing I had another tube to use, or better yet, a full sized version of this Kosette Salt Body Scrub. I think this scrub is definitely going on my list of items to repurchase. Which just goes to show, never judge a product before you’ve tried it.

A tag team duo for Face Mask Friday

Okay I have to admit, I am kind of excited about today’ facemask. In the past year there have been a lot more Dr. Botanicals products cropping up in subscription boxes and because of that they have been pinging my radar a lot more. Dr. Botanicals tend to be very affordable and to be honest all of the products I have tried from them lately have just been killing it. Some of their products I would take over several higher priced items actually.

And in my masking drawer was a Turmeric Face mask from Dr. Botanicals that I had not yet tried. So I decided that today was going to be it’s day. As with all new masks, I took it out, slipped on my reading glasses (Incidentally Thinoptics has a 25% off sale going on. Plus, if you don’t know the strength of reading glasses you need they have a Clarity kit so you can find out. It comes with it’s own deal and I’ll link it down below) and looked at the back of the packaging.

Usually face masks say something along the lines of apply to clean dry skin. Dr. Botanicals recommended using an exfoliator on your skin before applying a thin layer of mask and letting it sit for twenty minutes. And so i thought to myself, ‘I don’t have any exfoliators currently open, but I do have that Elemis Skin Buff I have been wanting to open up.’

Exfoliating with Elemis

So i used it as an excuse to open up the Elemis Skin Buff as my exfoliator. For a while I had a couple of exfoliators open and I wanted to use the open ones before opening another one. I just finished the Hey Honey Come Clean Exfoliator. It is really good and I already ordered a new one (gotta love sales, this was part of my stocking up from Lovely Skin order. The multi brand sales are just too hard to resist – and still going on if you ae interested). But it was time for the Elemis Skin buff.

This is actually my first time using it and I was happy to give it a go. It has a light and creamy almost face wash scent to it. The scent is very light. when dispensed the Skin Buff is white and creamy with very fine granules. I wet down my skin massaged the exfoliator in and found it gave a really nice gentle exfoliation. It rinsed clean away which was really good for me today specifically as I am using the mask right after. I was very impressed with the exfoliator and look forward to keeping it in the line up until it is used up. I am actually really happy the mask recommended it.

As the Elemis Skin Buff is going to be in rotation for a while I’ll just leave it with a positive first impression and move on to the Dr. Botanical’s Mask.

Post exfoliation/pre mask

After rinsing off the exfoliator and patting my face dry, I applied a thin layer of the Tumeric mask. It smoothed on easily, like a really thick moisturizer and then I left it for twenty minutes. The scent is lightly turmeric scented, but mostly the mask smells like a skin care cream. I then lay down with my headphones on for the twenty minute relaxation masking time. As always I lit my candles.

Mask on

I am currently using one of Paddywax’s Fall Favorites Black Fig and Olive in case you are wondering. It has just the right amount of sweetness and earthiness and just really suits the season. And it isn’t pumpkin spice. Don’t get me wrong I like pumpkin Spice. I actually have a candle called Pumpkin Souffle in my office, but not everything autumnal needs to be pumpkin. The fig and olive candle from Paddywax is a different scent profile and still very much with the season.

twenty minutes later (in case you are wondering the headband slipped and I had to adjust to keep my hair out of the mask

After my twenty minutes of relaxing, I went back to the bathroom to rinse off the mask. Most of the mask absorbed into my skin but on even the clear patches I could feel the mask residue as though it was a layer of plastic locking the rest of the moisture in. All of the mask, residue and all, rinsed of easily and cleanly. I essentially splashed water in my face, rubbed the skin to get the last of it rinsed off and then pat my skin dry with a wash cloth. It was essentially like removing a cleanser from the skin in terms of rinsing difficulty.

clean post mask skin

While I love clay masks, sometimes it is nice to have a mask that just rinses easily and cleanly away. This did just that. It is designed for skin calming and brightening. My skin feels nice and perhaps with repeated use I might see a brightening effect. I will certainly be happy to continue using this Dr. Botanicals Turmeric Face Mask as I really like the soft skin it leaves behind. For a first use though, it left a very positive impression.

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Happy Hour: Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread and Tomato Soup

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome once again to another Friday.  For me the work week is behind me and I am getting ready to enjoy a nice weekend.  To be honest, my big thrill this weekend involves getting my sleep patterns back into a more normal pattern. 

I know, not terribly exciting, but necessary. 

While my babydoll is still on antibiotics from a massive sinus infection happy hour is going to be a more tamed down affair.  Tonight’s drink is opening a bottle of my babydoll’s Cream Ale Home brew.  He made a batch that has finally reached the drinkable stage.  He was very proud of it.  So tonight it will be a bottle of that. 

I think he just wanted pretzels with it so he could savor the one drink so tonight’s treat is going to be dinner: a nice slice of jalapeno cheddar cornbread paired with some homemade tomato soup. I actually really like this as it feels quite comforting to me. While the cornbread has a healthy fat content with the added cheddar, the soup isn’t all that high caloric. And with the cheese in the cornbread it is moist enough that adding butter isn’t necessary, at least for me anyway. My babydoll adds it anyway. I prefer to dip my bread in the soup.

The richness of the cheese is cut through by the spice of the jalapenos, but still feels decadent. Plus one of the few plants that produced well this year in the garden were the jalapenos so we have absolute buckets of them.

I’ll be honest, tonight I took a little bit of a shortcut with the cornbread.  Essentially I doctored a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.  It is good, it is cheap and it is fast.  Plus, I spent a lot of time on the soup so it is nice to have something quick and reliable. I also happen to like the taste.

For the cornbread

Equipment: bowl, whisk, pan for baking (9 inch square works well), grater for grating cheese (mine is an OXO Box Grater), knife

1 pkg Jiffy Corn muffin Mix.

I egg

1/3 cup of milk

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

2-3 jalapenos, diced.

Butter or non-stick spray to coat your pan.

I use three jalapenos because we really like the heat, but you can adjust that to your palette.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease your baking pan and set aside. Dice your jalapenos and grate your cheese. In a bowl, mix the Jiffy mix, egg, milk, cheese and jalapeno.  It will be a chunky sort of mix.  You can make this into muffins if you want but I like the one solid piece that I can slice into the sizes I want.

The chunky mix – it won’t smooth out as you mix, just make sure it is well blended.

Pour the mix into your greased pan and smooth over top. 

Put into the oven.  How long you bake will depend on the size of your pan.  If you are using a standard 9 inch square pan, 18-20 minutes will do.  My baking dish is smaller so the mix is thicker.  I baked mine for 26 minutes.  You want to bake it until the top is golden brown and a knife stuck into the center of the pan comes out clean. Then take it out and let it cool.

It is baked when it is brown on the edges and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool a bit before cutting

For the Tomato Soup

Equipment: baking sheet (get one with a lip at the edge to prevent the spillage of juices) , tin foil, knife, soup pot, blender or stick blender, sieve

2 lbs Roma tomatoes sliced

Olive oil

1 med onion

5 garlic cloves, roasted

3 cups veg broth

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 cup basil leaves

1 T red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Okay the first thing you are going to want to do is roast your garlic. (you can roast them with your tomatoes instead of separately – see below) It is super simple, but it takes a bit of time.  The benefit is that you can do it ahead of time and just use the rest of it as you need.  Personally I like a smear of roasted garlic on toast. So, to roast the garlic.  Take an entire bulb of garlic.  Slice the top off to expose the garlic within.  Rub the top of the now exposed garlic with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Then wrap the bulb up in tin foil.  Put it on a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Once it is done. Take it out and let it cool.  You can squeeze the roasted cloves out of the paper shell, they will be mostly paste and smash easily.

Next you have to roast your tomatoes.  Slice them in half and lay them on a baking sheet slice side up.  Some may lean over, it’s okay.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Roast for one hour at 350 degrees.  If you are doing the garlic and tomatoes on the same day, just put the foil covered garlic on one end of the pan and let it roast with the tomatoes. 

The tomatoes will look a little dried out but still be a bit on the juicy side. 

Dice your onion and in a large pot saute it with a little olive oil.  Retrieve your garlic cloves from the bulb and add them to the onions (they will mostly be paste so just make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.  Saute your onions until they are translucent (about 8-10 min on med heat).

Add in the red pepper flakes and stir for about thirty seconds to let them release their oils.  Then add in your roasted tomatoes, and vegetable broth vinegar. Stir so that everything is combined and nothing is stuck to the bottom.  Bring it up to a boil and turn it down to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes, add the torn basil and simmer for another five minutes (if you add the basil too early it can get a little bitter) and then remove it from the heat. 

Let the soup cool down.  (trust me this is important, you do not want to burn yourself in a blender related spillage.)

If you have a stick blender, this is the time to break it out.  If you don’t then go for the regular blender.  It will work just fine.  Blend the soup until it is smooth and creamy.  If the skins of your tomatoes aren’t breaking down enough for you then you can strain the soup through a sieve if you would like. 

I tend to strain my soup as we freeze a lot of it.  This is one of those soups that freezes really well.  So I generally make a big batch. 

Once it is a consistency you like, taste and adjust the salt and pepper if you want.  Dole out the portion you want to use, reheat it and set the rest aside for later.

So for us tonight is about celebrating my baby’s home brew and enjoying a nice comforting meal.  This week has been long and quite frankly it is nice to have something comforting to sit down to at the end of the week. And for me, this is just the start of the soup season. I tend to make the Tomato soup at the end of the summer when the tomatoes are in abundance (this year we planted San Marzano Roma Pole Tomatoes and they came up in abundance) and then freeze a lot of the soup for use throughout the winter. As fall progresses there will be more squash based soups as those veggies ripen and are ready. In the winter I love having the soups handy. Not only are they warm and satisfying but because I make them myself I know exactly what went into them.