Friday, February 28, 2014

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Have you heard of this?

I remember my brother years ago when needing to suck weight for a military fitness test, would go on this diet for a week before a weigh in.  My sister-in-law would cook it for him.  I never tried it for some reason, I just have a difficult time eating the same food 2 days in row, so 7 days in a row is out of the question, until now.  :)

My husband is facing the same issue with a weigh in, so I decided that we needed to do something a little more extreme than just the salads we have been eating.  Last Wednesday he showed me a Facebook post.  "Think we should try it?"  The picture of the soup looked robust and full of vegetables and then I told him about my brother's success with it back in the day.  I did some research that night and found a recipe and a 7 day plan.

So Thursday I went shopping, and Friday we started.

I followed the recipe from Divas Can Cook as well as a few others. I tend to wing it and throw ingredients in a pot until it tastes good.  :)  Link!  The 7 day diet part is adapted from here!  I started reading through the comments and everyone seemed to lose weight.  So this is the plan that we went with.

Here is my adapted recipe since I was cooking for 2:

Whole cabbage
3 celery stalks
1 medium sized onion
Large package of mushrooms
3 carrots
1 green pepper
2 small zucchinis
2 small yellow squash
10-12 oz package of frozen green beans
1 can of rinsed kidney beans
1 can of rinsed black beans (added after 2nd day, due to feeling of weakness)
6 cloves of garlic
2 16 oz containers of chicken stock
2 14 oz cans of Italian flavored diced tomatoes
1 bottle of V-8 juice (64 fl oz)
oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, paprika, pepper, and a limited amount of salt to taste.
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (because I put it on everything, including popcorn!)

1. Chop up all veggies into bite sized pieces.
2.  Heat up large stock pot, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté vegetables until softened.  Season with any of the above spices or whatever you have on hand.
3. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.
4.  Pour in canned tomatoes, chicken stock, V-8.
5.  Add 1/4 of nutritional yeast and any other additional seasoning.  Try to limit the salt!
6.  Cook for 1 hour.

You can even throw this is the crock pot if you wanted.  Portions of the soup can be frozen for later use as well.  Adapt the recipe as you see fit.  The point, I believe, is lots of veggies and fiber, little calories per serving.

I have also omitted coffee for the entire week.  I have been supplementing with green tea and lots of water!  Hot water with lemon saves me in the morning.  No headaches!  Yay!

Day 1:

Fruit day!  Eat any and all fruits except for bananas and other starchy varieties.  I ate grapes, oranges, apples, pears, watermelon, a handful of blueberries and a couple strawberries.  You also eat as much of the soup as you want.  I ate a bowl for lunch and dinner.

Day 2:

Baked potato breakfast and veggie day!  Eat any veggies except for corn and other starchy varieties.  I started the day with a baked potato and yes I put a little salt, pepper and a half pat of butter on it like Monique did from Divas Can Cook.  I felt a little nauseous this morning.  Probably from the lack of coffee but I didn't have a headache.  I started to feel weak by midafternoon too.  But I pushed through snacking on sugar snap peas, broccoli, I cooked a spaghetti squash and tossed it with sautéed spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic.  I ate that for lunch and dinner.  I had some cabbage soup midmorning.

Day 3:

Veggie and fruit day!  Still avoiding starchy fruits and veggies I ate the same fruits and veggies as the previous 2 days minus spaghetti squash because my husband and I ate it all on Day 2.  Still feeling a little weak, I added a can of rinsed black beans to the soup.  I had soup for lunch and dinner.  After dinner I was hungry so I some more watermelon and a grapefruit.

Day 4:

My favorite Day!  Bananas/milk/yogurt day!  Up to 8 bananas and 3 glasses of skim milk and cabbage soup today.  I made banana smoothies and everyone in the family liked them.  I blended up bananas, greek yogurt (I believe full fat...  oops!), coconut milk and a few cubes of ice.  It was delicious.  I drank some for breakfast and dinner and had some soup mid-afternoon.  I think I ate 6 bananas in both smoothies.  I was not hungry at all today and my energy level was back up to normal.  I stepped up my water game today too.  Also I am down 8 pounds.

Day 5:

Tomato and protein day!  You need to consume 6-8 tomatoes and chicken, fish, and/or turkey.  I started the day off with salmon in a foil packet seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, lemon, and a sliced tomato.  I sealed the foil packet and put in in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.  For lunch I had chicken and a tomato salsa of sorts; chopped tomatoes seasoned with lemon, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley.  I was hungry around 3 so I ground up some turkey, with spinach and the tomato salsa.  For dinner I had cabbage soup with the left over ground turkey.  Cabbage soup with ground turkey tastes like chili!  It is so good!

Day 6:

Protein and veggies!  Same rules, turkey, chicken, fish, no starchy vegetables.  I had the last bowl of soup with added turkey for breakfast, eggs with spinach, mushroom and garlic for lunch and spaghetti sauce with ground turkey over steamed broccoli for dinner.  I feel and look slimmer today.  Pants are officially falling off as well as my wedding rings.  Yikes.  9 pounds down.

Day 7!

Last day.  Fresh fruit and vegetable juice.  I have a juicer so this was no problem for me.  I just threw in kale, carrots, an apple, kiwi, orange, watermelon and celery times 3.  Very hungry today.  We had a school event this evening and I had a hot dog no bun.  This gave me enough energy to get through the book fair/chorus performance, Girl Scout meeting and basketball practice without collapsing!  lol  Same weight as yesterday evening.

The aftermath...

I survived!  The 2nd day was rough for me.  The weakness I felt was tough as it was a busy Saturday with a lot of events going on.  I might have needed more veggies and a greater variety that day and probably should have eaten more soup as well.  I thought about coffee the most. 

I was most pleased this week by kicking the coffee habit.  No headaches!  But what I realized is that the week before cabbage soup my friend had given me some "Dandy Blend."  I had been mixing that in with my coffee.  Dandy Blend is an herbal caffeine free alternative to coffee!  I just looked it up.  Link!  So I was tapering my caffeine intake without even thinking about it. So give Dandy Blend a try if you are trying to cut down on your caffeine habit.

We will definitely try this again in a few weeks.  Maybe once every couple of months if we need it to get back on track.

Have you tried the "Cabbage Soup Diet?"  Was it a success?

Let me know your thoughts below...  :)

Project Organization

This year I've already decided that 2014 is the Year of Organization.  If you have been following Savvy Beauty for a couple of months now, I have been sorting through my makeup and samples every Sunday/Monday and have been putting together a weekly skincare and makeup box in an effort to rotate though my collection and to essentially de-clutter.  But there are several other areas in my house that equally need my attention.  The situation is dire...

I'm a super saver...  I live in what I like to call organized chaos.  We are a busy household of 5, just like any other family.  Sports, Girl Scouts, volunteering, committees, meetings, and work happen 7 days a week.  We do not have a lot of down time.  My biggest issue is time management, i.e. finding the time to do everything and get everything done.  Last year I faltered, badly.  I took on a lot of commitments and I was barely treading water.

This year, I'm determined to get ahead, and stay ahead.  My first step is to tackle the paper that comes into this house.  It is a bit overwhelming, okay not a bit, extremely.  I'm talking about school paperwork, bills, receipts, artwork, pamphlets, magazines, catalogs, shopping lists, endless lists of things to do, things to donate, things to store, things to sell, things to scrapbook, magazine clippings, ideas for blog posts, ideas for organization, ideas for home decoration, and recipes ripped out from magazines and printed from the internet pile up.

Why don't I just go digital?  Yup, I have that to organize too...  Pictures, recipes on Pinterest, ideas on Scrapbook page layouts, ideas for organization, the list goes on and on.  It's out of sight out of mind for me.  If it's not in front of me at the moment, I won't think about it.  So all the recipes on Pinterest, I have tried a few.  I do have a pinboard, Pins Accomplished with 14 or 15 items that I have made.  But I still like my paper.  I like flipping through magazines for inspiration and ideas more.

Nothing is ever lost, just misplaced...  I have a lot of places.  The kitchen island, dining room table, computer room, a full 4-drawer filing cabinet, (and previously) the shelf in the laundry room... Everything is neatly put away in file folders, decorative boxes, and baskets but that is the problem, I need to streamline and to shed some paper weight.  I can't keep everything. It's just overwhelming. We are a military family, relocation can come fast and furious.  Weight allowance on some relocations and tight living spaces can cause some issues as well.  We have been at this duty station for 2.5 years.  Winds of change are blowing and I feel the need to get ready. 
I have of course a list of things I want done immediately, as in the month of March and some things I have already accomplished:

1. DONE!  Donate toys and clothes.  I read this article that someone shared on Facebook that really resonated with me.  Ruth from Living Well Spending Less did what I have always wanted to do. I too have asked my children to pick up their rooms only to return to every bin dumped out on the floor.  Stern warnings ensue, threats to take away tv, computer and game time come next, time outs, etc...  They were just as overwhelmed with all their stuff as I am with mine.  It was time to take it all away.  The 4 of us went through every toy bin and determined what they wanted to give to other children.  And we discarded all the broken toys, games with missing pieces, etc.  We kept the essentials that they actually play with...  Board games, cars, legos, Lincoln logs, paints, crafts.  They have plenty to keep themselves occupied with on rainy days but for the most part, they are outside, at school or participating in after school activity or sports. 

1. HALF WAY THERE!  Organize my recipes.  I have approximately 100 cooking magazines and another 100 pages of recipes from cookbooks, magazines and the internet.  This is a bit of exaggeration but it is still way too much.  I have Rachel Ray Magazines from 2006!  Ahhh!!!  I'm a foodie, cooking and baking make me happy.  Since moving to NC, I haven't even looked at them though.  I feel like I have had them for so long, that I am required to do something with them... Get my cooking inspiration back, seriously meal plan, and try several new recipes every week. 

2.  Filing cabinet.  I have a 4 drawer filing cabinet filled with paperwork.  I have to start shredding papers that I no longer have to keep and organize it in a way that makes sense.  Right now it is in alphabetical order but I want to go with "zones." As outlined by Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I think her strategy will make sense for me.  And it's color coded.  What's not to like about that?!

3.  School paperwork and artwork.   I have 2 going on 3 Tupperware 18-22 gallon bins filled with school and artwork.  My children are in Kindergarten and Grade 3.  At this rate, we will have a storage unit filled with school paperwork in a couple of years!  This is after recycling a majority of the papers that come into the house weekly. I swear I do not keep everything!  Some things have come in handy.  For instance, when my daughter was in Kindergarten learning to read, the teacher gave out photocopied books.  I saved these easy reading books for my son and he started flipping through them in Pre-K and already was reading by the time he went into Kindergarten.  Saving this paper, proved to be worthy.  I will save them for 3 year old as well.  My goal, and it's a lofty one, is to separate the paperwork into yearly (?) binders for each child.  It will be tough, but it has to be done! 

4. Organize photos.  Place all pictures from computer on a photograph website and finally press print!  In the digital age, printing photos is something that I have neglected.  Emailing, texting and sharing on Instagram and Facebook has been the status quo.  I'm hesitant to scan/take pictures of artwork then discard because last year our external hard drive crashed and we lost thousands of pictures.  The majority of baby pictures of my middle child are lost.  They are forever gone and it is very sad for me.  So more the reason to print and put in photo albums like the good ol' fashioned way! 

5. eBay.  I took all the kids toys away from them and it seems only fair to take some of mine away too.  I have been sorting through my closet and I have a pile of things that I haven't touched, new with tags and gently used items that need a new home.  It's time to let go of this stuff! Why do I hold on to something, why do I allow it to take space in my life if I do not use it, right? 

Since I am about half way through my recipe organization, I will share the process with you all very soon! 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

AVON Ideal Flawless CC Cream

I picked up this new CC cream a couple of weeks ago and as I previously stated, I'm really enjoying it.  This CC cream is the newest addition to the Ideal Flawless range.  What makes this product a stand out to me is the SPF 50 stamped on the tube.

SPF is something I am quite obsessed with.  The sun is much stronger down here in the South than when I was growing up in MA.  (Depleted ozone layer maybe mixed with being closer to the equator.)  I do not step out of the house without a minimum of 25, usually 30 or 50.  Despite an application of SPF 50, I still get color down here in NC.  I do spend a lot of time outside either running, riding bikes, walking the dogs, at the pool and beach so it's not surprising. 

What is really amazing about this product is that it is SPF 50 and has virtually no smell and absolutely no greasiness.  No white cast/flashback that I have noticed in photos either.  It's almost hard to believe that this product has such a high SPF for being so light weight on the skin.

I picked this up in shade light medium.  Initially, it looks a lot lighter, but it does oxidize on my skin to a shade just a tad dark but workable which you will see below.  I need to get some self-tanner on my neck so that it matches my face.  It's whitey white at the moment. I have this matching problem even without foundation.

left: freshly applied   right: after 10 minutes

So as you can see, the product does warm up to a true light medium. 

The feel of this product like I stated previously is very light, it has a matte finish and dries down quickly.  There is no sticky or tackiness which is the norm for a product containing an SPF over 25.   This CC Cream contains the usual Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide but it also contains Homosalate which is the first ingredient.  Not familiar with this one, so I looked it up on the Environmental Working Group site.  It gets a score of 4 which I am satisfied with.  Just for reference, Octinoxate gets a score of 6 and Zinc oxide 2-3. 

My current SPF product of choice for my face is La Roche-Posay Anthelios 10 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid which has an SPF of 50.  This product pales out my skin considerably.  It has a semi-powdery finish though which is nice in the summer when I am usually a complete grease ball.  It works beautifully and is water-resistant for 40 minutes which is important to me.  

AVON Ideal Flawless CC Cream is not water resistant but for day to day use, I can wear this as a foundation, or under foundation or powder and I will save Anthelios 10 for running or at the beach and pool when I need something water resistant. 

I've been using this product for over 2 weeks now with no ill effects, reactions, etc.  I will continue using it and update you further on anything that pops up but so far this is a great product for me!

The best part is that you can pick this up for $11.  Great price point.

Have you tried AVON Ideal Flawless CC Cream?  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 7 Beauty Box Results!

 Week 7 Results!  This is what I used last week.  I didn't try all the samples that I had originally put in the box so off they went into week 8.  I don't know about you, but these weeks are really flying by!

Original line up:


Foundation/CC cream:  I used Bourjois Healthy Mix, AVON's new Ideal Flawless CC Cream and
Lumene CC cream this past week.  I used the CC cream under Bourjois.  Not sure why, Bourjois has pretty good coverage on its own.  The CC cream provides enough moisture for me lately and since I haven't had any oiliness issues, I'm going to stick to the CC cream.  Lumene has a bit more coverage than AVON's CC cream. But they all worked really nice and was happy with the results.

Primer:  CC creams!

Eye Cream:  Still scraping out product out of Estee Lauder Serum bottle and I tried the Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel this week.  Sinks in nicely and has a fun cooling effect.  I usually keep an eye gel (when I have one) in the fridge for some serious morning cooling action.  This one is going in!

Serum/Moisturizer:  The L'OREAL Age Perfect Glow Renewal has a very strong perfumey scent.  I don't mind it but noticed that I could still smell on my face it the next morning.  I used Seventh Generation Boosts Clearing with tea tree this week to battle out my congestion issues.  I saw some improvement so I will continue to use on my t-zone.  I bought this at Walgreens on a super sale last summer (store sale and high dollar coupon).  I haven't seen the line since.  
I also used Korres Greek Yoghurt Adavanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial to help combat some dryness a couple nights this week.  Works nicely.  

Treatment: Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution:  No noticeable results after week 1!

Cleanser:  I used a combination of eclos and Biore charcoal cleanser and even mixed the two a couple of times.  The Biore has a tiny bit of grit in the formulation.  Subtle exfoliator.  I hadn't noticed it before.  

Mask: 40 Carrots Carrot + Papaya Facial Mask.  I used this twice and I think I have one more use. This is a great product.  I will be on the look out for it at Marshall's.  Fingers crossed!

Makeup:  the Balm and the Beautiful is a wonderful palette but I needed some matte neutrals for blending and grabbed the ever so trusty Naked Basics. Physicians Formula Powder Palette in Creamy Natural is a nice powder that leaves the skin very silky.  Nice formula.  The Buxom took a turn this week and it is already drying out.  boo hiss!  This was really nice straight from the tube.  I wonder if a full size lasts longer?  NYC Sunny is always a nice bronzer to warm up the face.  Very inexpensive too! I finally found my larger eye pencil sharpener and was able to use my UD 24/7 glide-on shadow pencils. I have JuJu in the box.  Love this color.  I've been trying out the green end of the Physicians Formula Concealer twins around my nose that can get quite red.  Works pretty good under concealer.  On its own it blends out a grayish color on my skin so I need to cover it up.

Kind of a boring week...  It was a busy week so I was autopilot trying to get out the door in a timely fashion!  It's always a battle. 

And I kind of have a new full blown obsession that has been consuming my spare time as well.  I should have something coming in the mail today...  Hopefully I will be able to share soon!

Next up is what I have been using this week!  Week 8!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 8: Weekly Skincare/Makeup Box!

Week 8 is upon us!  Last week of February.  What a month it has been so far.  With the weather and holidays, the kids didn't have a full week of school.  I think they averaged 3 days a week.  It was a quick one, that's for sure.

The weather is warming up and the sun has been shining every day.  It's good to be in the South this time of year.  My mother showed me her front yard which is still covered in snow.  Yuck!  I will do snow in December and January but I always remembered February being the coldest growing up.

Week 8 Box!

Foundation and BB Cream: This week I have to be presentable so trying out foundation combinations really shouldn't be my focus but oh well it's fun!  I picked eclos Hydraprimer SPF 30 which is like a tinted moisturizer, but I will but it in the BB category for this week.  I remember it being a little dark so I will go over it with True Match Lumi in W1-2.  I have had this sample of Clinique kicking around for it bit knowing it will be too dark so it should be a good mix in with LUMI.

Primer: eclos Hydraprimer will be my primer this week!
Moisturizer: I'm further multitasking the eclose Hydraprimer this week but I also added in the Origins Plantscription SPF25 as well in case I need a little more moisture.  I have sample of Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil that I tore out of a magazine to try this week.
SPF: HydraPrimer SPF 30, LUMI SPF 20 and Plantscription SPF 25.
Eye cream: I'm going to keep on keeping on with Estee Lauder.  I also included Ole Henriksen as well to use as well.
Serum and/or treatment: Seventh Generation Clearing with Tea Tree has been working well for me so I will continue on.  I also will continue using Kiehl's Clearly Corrective as well. I have one more packet of the Lancôme DreamTone leftover from Week 7.  Rapid Lash!  I slacked last week.

Cleanser:  Nearing the end of eclos Skin Prep Cleanser so I will use Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser like I did last week.  I just used the Murad Clarifying wipe.  It smells medicinal, it's cooling as well as a slight tingle.  It says no need to rinse.  I didn't wear any eye makeup today so I'm just going to follow the directions and use the rest of the skincare from the box for tonight.  :)  I might have to pick up a few more of these...

Exfoliant:  Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel which I didn't end up using last week.

Mask:  One more use of the 40 carrots left so I included Julep Mask Noir.  I do need to review both separately.  Julep Mask Noir is a peel off mask which is always fun.

Makeup: Urban Decay Naked 3! 

Hair Treatment:  Kerastase Chroma Riche.  I had another sample of this that I used a few months ago.  I remember it smelling nice.  lol

Lips:  Baby Lips Dr. Rescue in Soothing Sorbet.  It has a menthol or eucalyptus taste/feel to it.  Like a Hall's Cough Drop without the sweetness.  Hmm...   It's interesting.  The color is nice but I think I would rather a non-tinted one.  I got this as a gift from L'OREAL Consumer Testing.  My lips have been a little dry so maybe this will help out.

Body Moisturization: Suave Smoothing with Cocoa Butter and Shea.  This is a PinchMe sample and it feels and smells really nice.  Which reminds me, I need to log on and do some reviews!  PinchMe is a free sample service that will send up to 2 products at a time and requires you to review them.  If you want to sign up here is my link!  And good news...  New Samples will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, February 25th at 12pm EST.  The reviews are a quick 5 question survey.  Easy! 

I also have sample of Caldrea left over from last week.  Coconut Fig Leaf.  Just from the name I know that I will love it.

So that's my line up for this week!  What samples/products are you using this week?

Weekly Beauty Box 5+6 Results!

The pink Glossy Boxes are getting a bit small for my weekly wrap ups.  I might have to find something a little more suitable! 

Foundation/BB Cream:  Dr. Jart Black Label Detox is still going strong! I thought I would have finished this but of course a few other bits landed in the box.  I'm testing out Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup.  Other than the fact that it's almost impossible to get out of the bottle, it's a pretty good color for me and lasts pretty well.  Liking it so far.  I received this foundation through Bzz Agent!  I also used the Super BB from Skin 79.  I love this for brightening under the eyes, upper cheeks, the triangle so to speak. It glides over the pores and smooths everything out.

Primer: Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer.  Forgot to use this.  Maybe once did I this week, but I was using BB creams and they are technically primers.  :).  The Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm was surprisingly super dark.  I will save this for the summer months.  I had to wash it off.  

Eye Cream:  The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion bottle is currently inverted and still going strong.  I didn't rip open the Benefit just yet!  
But I also used Tarte Pure Maracuja oil for my eyes at night as well.   

Serum/Moisturizer:  I finished up the Jose Maran Argan Oil which I told you that I loved.  I tried Origins plant scripting and even mixed this with the Bzz Agent Neutrogena with pretty good results. My face got a bit shiny but I can tolerate it right now as the weather and my face have been cooperating with each other.  I also used Eclos moisture therapy regenerative cream.  Good stuff and smells nice and botanical.

Cleanser:  I finished the Billy Jealousy sample and my Julep cleansing oil.  I've been switching off with biore deep pore charcoal cleanser and Eclos skin prep cleanser.

Exfoliant: Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel was not touched but I did use Garnier clean Balancing Daily Exfoliator which has been in the shower for the last 3-4 weeks.

Mask:  GlamGlow sample!  It was amazing and just what my skin needed.  Cleared it right up.  Not sure why a sample packet worked 100 times better than a full size jar...  Hmm...  It was a couple of years ago from Hautelook.  Maybe I got a bad batch? It literally did nothing and made my skin so oily the next day.  Well so it did do something then I guess...   I understand the hype now.  If I can get the same formulation again.

Makeup:  Confession time.  I've had the Lorac Pro since December and finally used it for 2 weeks straight.  I do this with new things sometimes, well pretty much always.  Like bags for example, I don't want to scuff the leather. I like things looking new and pristine.  Review:  I do like the Lorac pro, but not over any Urban Decay palette.  I like the variety of colors.  You can do a lot of looks with this palette. No fuss packaging, full size mirror.  However, after every use, glitter and shimmer all over my cheeks.  

At first I thought that I just didn't notice the fall out upon application.  So the next morning I cleaned up a bit just in case.  However, I still had the same problem later on that afternoon.  Glitter pieces all over my face.  Not a good look for me.  Fun fact:  One day I was in CVS and the lady at the register literally had glitter all over her face to the point where it looked like it was on purpose.  Similar to how I look after wearing the Lorac palette.  So the next time I use this palette, I should probably try another eyeshadow primer.  

Now that I am looking at the palette, I have a nice dip in the color champagne.  It looks a little glittery.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of a little shimmer/glitter... Just be careful with the Champagne.  :)  For bronzer I primarily used AVON Ideal Luminous blush in Earthen rose.  This is a really nice product.  Reminds me of NYC Sunny.  I fact I use them interchangeably.  

Treatment:  I had to break out the Sibu sea buckthorn seed oil to help clear some facial freak out.  It's unusual for my skin to be reactive.  I blame it on lack of sleep, a bit of insomnia affliction.  Lots to do, little time, we all know the drill.  I'm going to re-work my diet in the next couple of weeks.  I've been quite unusually indulgent in the food department as of late.  Time to reel it in, beach time is only a few weeks away!  Currently I'm trying out the "Cabbage Soup Diet."  I will do a post on it.  So far I've lost 5 pounds.  But I fluctuate 5 pounds all of the time.  It's for 7 days and I'm on Day 4.

Vaseline lip therapy rosy lips:  The petroleum jelly doesn't really sink in as much as I would like and feels a bit waxy on the lips.  It does moisturize over night though.  I had been using this every night.  I started to notice some congestion under my bottom lip/lip line.  Very unusual and I'm pretty sure this product is the cause.  This is the only thing new that I have been slathering on my lips.  I have been bad about not wearing any of my new 20+ lip sticks and glosses that acquired at the end of 2013...  So I'm going to put the rosy lips away for a little while or not use it so often.  I'm still trying to use up what's left of the Philosophy lipgloss.  It's nearing the end and I just don't reach for it anymore.  Maybe I will throw this in my bag.  
Garnier Ultra-lift eye roller:  I woke up with some puffy eyes and hoped that this would work fast on the mornings I needed to get out of the house early.  It has a nice cooling effect with the metal ball roller applicator.  I think it helped.  Now if I could watch my salt intake and diligently drink more water, I would have less puffy problems.  This week on Cabbage Soup no puffy eyes!  :)
Concealers:  I used my light and fair Maybelline Fit Me Concealers.  They seem to be separating in the tubes but they are still creamy, blendable and do the trick.
I will be sure to keep you updated on the Cabbage Soup diet.  I almost bailed on Day 2 towards the end of the day.   I was feeling a bit weak.  I also cut out coffee and have been drinking tea exclusively.  No headaches!  And of course I should be drinking more water.  I don't know what it is with me and water lately.  I used to drink a minimum of 2 liters a day!

Week 7 results are coming up next!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 5+6 Empties!

We had a busy couple of weeks complete with more snow and no school in North Carolina.  What a winter!  We are finally back up to 70's.  Sorry everywhere else!  Truly I am...  I grew up in MA.

So on to the empties.  I finished up a few things.

Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo.  Sometimes you need just straight up moisture.  This one helps.  This is a drug store version.  From my understanding, the Nexxus you buy in an actual salon is more potent.  Any truth to that?

Korres Pomengranate Toner:  Thank goodness I have a backup.  I went back to Marshall's to buy the shelf but they were all gone.  This toner is a dirt magnet without stripping the skin.  I love, love, love it!

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil:  As soon as this ran out, I started having congestion issues with my skin.  That tells me that I need to repurchase.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner:  I wanted to be blown away by this stuff but sadly I wasn't.  It is super concentrated, maybe I used too much but it leaves a filmy feeling in my hair and when wet it's difficult to run a comb through it.  I don't feel comfortable yanking out all of my hair when trying to brush it.  No thanks.  Like the smell though.

Amlactin Ultra:  This has a terrible smell and its difficult to smooth into the skin.  It takes a lot of work.  I'm not afraid of a little extra effort, but I also have 3 kids and 2 dogs and cannot spend 20 minutes applying lotion to my body.  However, if I had extreme dry issues, I probably would.  Fortunately for me, I don't.  This was great for my feet though. 

Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum:  Effective, but not during the summer for me.  But nothing truly has worked perfectly. 

Jose Maran Argan oil:  Though I have never purchased full size, based on the sample, it's worth whatever price it is.  This stuff is really good and my skin loves it.  I have the "light" version to try next.  I will see which one works the best and purchase.  After I use up a few things of course.

Korres Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream:  My skin has been drinking this up.  I had to use this under CC and BB Creams.  My skin really needed it the past 2 weeks.

Murad Pore Refining Gel:  I had to break this out for some congestion issues 2 weeks ago.  I still have some issues on my chin but they are more localized under my lip and I'm starting to think it is from the lip balm I have been using.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum:  I thought that this was all gone but I'm still shaking a few drips out here and there.  I will keep trying!  I don't think it's enough moisturization for the winter.  Perfect for under makeup though.

Epielle Deep Cleansing Nose Strips x2:  They work pretty good and they are $2 for 3 at Big Lots.

md Skincare 4-in-1 Facial Treatment wipes:  Ugh my Holy Grail and I think these were discontinued.  And this was my very last one.  :(

UD Eyeshadow Potion:  I'm pretty sure I can break into this tube and slice my finger in the process to scrape out the last bits but I won't.

Lancôme Dreamtone in #1&#2:  They don't seem to have a color so I have been using them.  I don't see any dramatic results after 3-4 uses.  But maybe used in conjunction with other Lancôme facial products...

Lancôme Visionnaire:  This will go in the LUSH repurchase bag.  I would like to try this one a little more extensively.  I should probably share what I mean by the LUSH repurchase bag in another blog post.  Stay tuned!  :)

GlamGlow:  Remember when I said that I didn't understand the hype about this product?  Umm, I take that back.  It is very nice.  I'm not sure if I purchased a crappy tub from Hautelook but this sample was amazing.  Total skin clearing savior.  Maybe I used it when my skin was perfect or something.

Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask:  This used with Lancôme Visionnaire was complexion perfect.  I mean wow.  My skin looked beautifully even.  I would like to have both of these permanently.

And the rest were sort of unremarkable really.  Not going to sugar coat it. 

Of to the curb they go! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 7: Weekly Skincare/Makeup Box

This is what I have been using so far this week and its already flying by!

Foundation/CC cream:  A little more than half-way through the Bourjois Healthy Mix.  It's going on more than 2 years old I believe.  This is in 52, Vanilla. Love this foundation. I also picked up AVON's new Ideal Flawless CC Cream. I must say that I am already impressed.  As far as coverage, not much, but I am hard pressed to believe it actually has an SPF of 50.  It is light, absolutely no greasiness.  It has a matte finish and dries pretty quickly, no tackiness at all.  And there is absolutely, positively no smell at all.  No hint of perfumes, sunscreen, nothing.  So far so good!

Primer:  Even though I put one in my box every week, I use them once of twice.  So I will just use the CC cream as my primer, as is its intended purpose anyway! I did throw in Too Faced Primed and Poreless just in case.  :)  I will continue using UD Eyeshadow Potion this week as well as the last 2 weeks!  The  Boost-it Complexion Enhancer kind of acts as a primer, so I will throw it in the mix as well.

Eye Cream:  I thought my Estee Lauder Serum was dunzo but I actually can get a little more out so I will continue to finish up that and also I have Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel to try out.

Serum/Moisturizer:  I had some success with facial oils last week when my skin took a turn so I will continue that this week.  My face just responds better to facial oils.  Creams and lotions can be clogging for me. I have had L'OREAL Age Perfect Glow Renewal sample kicking around.  I also have one more foil packet of Lancôme DreamTone left over.  I'm not sure if I am supposed to be using 3 as it says "Dark" but the last 2 didn't really seem to have any color so I will just slap it on and see!  I also included fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum this week.  It's supposed to be in the 70's this weekend.  I've had no issues with oil at all this winter.  I have been wondering if my skin has changed, but there has also been zero humidity. 

Body Moisturizer:  I have a few body lotions hanging around including these foil packets.  Time to use them up this week.  I'm getting low on my last tub of Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter.  I need to finish up everything before I repurchase!  Discipline.

Treatment: Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution:  I have a spot that keeps popping up on my forehead which I first noticed 2 days after my 30th birthday.  I would like to call it a freckle...  I will see if this can finally wipe it out!

Cleanser:  I'm nearly at the end of eclos am + pm skin prep Cleanser.  Its a nice cleanser.  I think it will last another week and a half.  I also have a sample Murad Cleansing wipe to try out this week too.

Exfoliant:  One more packet of Wei Pomegranate buffing beads, which is more like a gritty powder and a packet can be used twice!  Good stuff but I have rice powder that works just as well that I can mix in with my cleansers.  But these are in a very convenient packet. 

Mask: 40 Carrots Carrot + Papaya Facial Mask.  This is one of those items that I wish I had the foresight to grab two of when I picked it up at Marshall's.  I really like this mask. 

Makeup:  the Balm and the Beautiful!  I have never used the cream blushes with this palette but I will try this week.  This palette has it all, blues, greens, pinks, neutrals.  Good stuff.  I also temporarily lost my L'OREAL Voluminous Lash Out Butterfly Mascara so I had to open up a Boxum sample last week.  Wow.  I will use it again this week.  On the fence about which I like better, but I would probably go with the one that is least expensive...  However, using the Boxum on my lower lashes is EFFORTLESS.  That might be the deciding factor.  Physicians Formula Powder Palette in Creamy Natural is the powder I will try to reach for this week as well.

So that is what I have going on this week!

What are you trying out this week?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This week at CVS...

CVS emailed me a $5 off $25 purchase so I headed in.  I didn't do any research or print out any other coupons than the CVS ones but I still was able to cook up a fantastic deal.  I had $17 in ECB and the $5 coupon, some CVS coupons prints from last week.  When I scanned my card I got another $5 in ECB!  I expected to pick up some L'OREAL Infalliables but nothing intrigued me.  Maybe if I went to the far CVS, they always have the new products fully stocked, ready to go.  This CVS was picked over...

So here is what I grabbed:

Colgate Optic White, my go to toothpaste was on sale for $3.  I printed out a $2.25 coupon from the Magic coupon machine and I had a $2 off $8 toothpaste/mouthwash/floss coupon from last week. Which makes it roughly $1.58 per toothpaste but combined with the $5 off $25 purchase, it was worth it.

Jergens was Buy 2, Get $5 ECB. These items are also qualifying Beauty Club purchases. 

Nivea was a bit confusing.  The shelf was marked Buy $10, get $3. So I grabbed a large tub which was on sale for $6 and then 4 little ones which were 3/$3.00 so they all ended up a $1 a piece.   I didn't end up getting the ECB even though the little ones were marked on the shelf.  No big deal, I had a $2 off $10 hand and body lotion CVS coupon. 

The Schick razor was a pretty good deal.  Buy any Schick Razor, Get $5 ECB.  It was a pricey $10.49 but I had a $4 off $10 CVS Razor coupon.

Now these deals would have of course been a lot sweeter if I had manufacturer's coupons, but going into the transaction I had CVS coupons and ECBs so I had to include some filler items so I didn't go over my coupon for item allowance, hence the Cadbury eggs and bubble tape.  I also printed a $1 off $5 candy purchase.

$18 out of pocket and I got back $10 in ECB and I believe another $5 in ECB for Beauty Club should be coming my way as well. If not, they will after the next CVS transaction.

The first CVS did not have the large tubs of NIVEA soft (which is why I picked up 4 of the small ones) that I wanted so I headed to the smaller CVS.  I also noticed that they were different prices at both stores.  The first CVS has them priced at $7.99, the second one $7.29.  But this week the large tubs are on sale at $6.  The second CVS did not have the NIVEA lotion marked on the shelves.  And interestingly enough, I do not see the sale printed in the flyer.  Hmm...

Anywho...  I was $8 away from the Spend $30 on CVS Brand, Get $5 in ECB "Club" and the CVS Skin Smoothing Body Wash qualified for Buy $10, Get $3 ECB.  So why not?   I use the Aveeno in similar packaging for the kids so hopefully this is a good dupe. So essentially with the $5 in ECB from the CVS Brand Club and the $3 ECB, I can try them for a $1 a piece. 

So I rolled the $10 in ECB from the first transaction on to this transaction, paid roughly $9 and got back $6 in ECB.


At the bottom of my second receipt, it says Beauty, Earn up to 10 ECB.  Spend $8.42 more, Get $7 ECB.  I believe that is for CVS Beauty so it just makes sense to roll the $6 in ECBs from this transaction on a 3rd transaction this week, right?  :)  I can always use sound cotton rounds/squares. 

Looks like I am heading to CVS again...  I can't stay away!!! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 5+6: Weekly Skincare/Makeup Box

The second month of the year is upon us and here is what I'm proposing to use for the 5th week installment of my weekly Beauty Box.

Week 5!

I just threw in the samples I did not use last week into this week.  I used mask in the purple tub last night and it was lovely!  I will go into it in more detail during my results post at the end of the week.

Foundation/BB Cream:  I'm going with Dr. Jart Black Label Detox.  I hardly have any left.  :(  I really enjoyed savoring this one.  It is a good match after it warms up.  It goes on a bit gray which is normal for "real" BB creams.  This is the smaller 20mL size I picked up from with some points.  Because it's almost empty, I grabbed the Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm and I will give that a whirl!

Primer: Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer.  This isn't a pore filler, but it's light and smooths out the skin sufficiently.  I always forget to use primer.  It's tricky with a BB cream because the BB cream is supposed to be your primer, but some just sit in your pores so you need the primer but then some you can't use with moisturizer because they are supposed to be your moisturizer...  Ahhh!!!

Eye Cream:  I have a few more uses of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion and I've been wanting to try the Benefit It's Potent eye cream.  If this Xeala pack is full, this sample could last me a while.   But I also grabbed tarte Pure Maracuja oil for my eyes at night as well.   So I'm covered in the eye hydration department this week!

Serum/Moisturizer:  I'm going to take it easy this week and just go with the Jose Maran Argan Oil which I love.  I have a few more drops.  If I finish it, I have a sample of the Argan Oil Light ready to go. I also still have the eraclear from last week.  I also grabbed the Korres for night as well.

Cleanser:  Same as last week, Billy Jealousy sample and my Julep cleansing oil is still going strong!  I'm pretty sure this will be the last week though.

Exfoliant: Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel.  Love this stuff.  I was tempted to grab another one for a 100 points at Sephora but this one is lasting a long time and is still practically full.   Hopefully by the time I have 500 points at Sephora, there will be a nice perk!  lol

Mask:  I already used Racine Doree Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask last night and it was really nice.  Generously sized too. I wish I only used half.  I thought about it but then figured with the exposure of air, it just wouldn't last.  I also included the GlamGlow Mask from last week and a epielle Deep cleansing nose strip.  I learned last week that my skin does not like me skipping out on the treatments.

And Rapid Lash...  It's difficult to tell if these eyelash serums work.  But I use them anyway, infrequently.

Palette: Lorac PRO! 

Alright, Week #5 is in full swing!  What are you trying out this week?

Week 4 Beauty Box Results

Happy February Everyone!  Mr. Groundhog said 6 more weeks of winter...  Boo!  Looks like another rainy Spring here in the South again this year.

We are finally all thawed out from the massive freezing/rain/snow storm last week.  Which honestly, was pretty remarkable from a Northern transplant standpoint.  I know the Northern States were making fun of us for canceling schools for 4 days, but in all seriousness, it was pretty bad down here. We all saw Atlanta on the news.  Kids sleeping on school buses.  OMG.  Our schools were cancelled Monday night.  The freezing rain hit later Tuesday afternoon for us. 

I'm always a bit skeptical of weather forecasts.  There are so many variables.  But something told me to go ahead and grab milk and bread.  And good thing I listened, stores were closed for 4 days as well...  Base shut down and even my husband got a few days off only to work on the weekend though.  It was a nice relaxing Stay-cation and the kids had a blast!

We were out in the streets sliding on kayaks and wake boards on 2-3 inches of solid ice.  It does not make for good driving or walking conditions for that matter.  Even the dogs wouldn't walk on it!  Paired with the lack of snow plows and sand/salt trucks, we just had to wait until the sun melted everything.  Which took until Friday.  The sun finally made an appearance that morning and by 1pm, the streets were cleared.

That being said, I hardly wore any makeup last week.  And my skin was not happy about it.  Let's dive in, shall we?

So here is a little reminder of what I started Week 4 out with:

Here is what I ended up with:

I don't know what my skin reacted to, but I attributed it to the Dr. Jart Skin Saver.  It was the only sample I tried.  I didn't do any masks or other treatments.  By Tuesday, I didn't have a breakout, but small white bumps, just bumpy skin in general.  On my nose, cheeks, above my eyebrow.  Just random places.  As soon as I stopped using it after 3 days, my skin finally cleared on Saturday. I will have to do some research on what ingredient it could have been but the active ingredient in the set is ceramidin.  It is said to hydrate which my skin definitely needed and then with the cold Polar Vortex blast... 

I had to bring in the big guns and slather up with Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre.  It truly saved my skin.  My skin cleared and felt much smoother.  Very happy with the results and my skin is much hydrated but not too much.  It's perfectly balanced at the moment.

If I did throw on makeup it was my Ponds Luminous Finish BB Cream which normally is super hydrating, but wasn't even enough last week.  I am truly wondering if my skin is changing.  As much as I can't stand my oil producing facial glands, I am missing them!  Dry, flakey skin is not a good look on me!

I can't seem to get a good match with the L'OREAL True Match.  W3 is too dark/orange on me.  Lumi in W1-2 is too pink, or it just doesn't neutralize my natural pink/redness enough.  The N1-2 is super pink on my skin and when I did try it, way too light.  Why can't they just come out with a W2?  Mixing W3 and W1-2 isn't the perfect solution, it's really unnaturally pink.  I've tried!  I like the feel of it, it's light-weight, a bit silicone-like...  I'm just tired of needing at a minimum 2 different shades of foundation to match my skin.  Does anyone else run into this problem?  I will still try out foundations, but I would like  just one to be able to slap on and run out the door!

I did try out the POREfessional Agent Zero Shine but I bought this way prematurely.  Should have waited until Spring.  Dang 20% off at Ulta!  And I didn't get my free gift with purchase.  Ugh.  So far it seems like any other powder.  I don't really have an opinion of it at this time.  Only that I have a million other setting powders and it is not needed right now.  It does have a color to it, not completely translucent on the skin, on pale skin for that matter.  But I like the packaging.  It seems easy to apply on the go.  I will do a separate review but I think that this is going to be a return.  I would much rather spend my money at Sephora.  My last trip there was truly unbelievable.  The store was literally trashed.

Because my skin has been so dry, cream bronzer and blush are the only way to go!  I do not have much experience with cream blush.  This one by NYX in Boho Chic I've used a handful of times.  The first time was a hot/humid day and it sort of slid off, never really fully absorbing.   It seemed to blend in better this week.  I either use a stipling brush or my fingers.  I think the brush works best.  It's pretty sticky, almost like an opaque cream gloss that you would use on the lips.  I find with my fingers, by the time I have blended (rubbed) it into my cheeks, my cheeks are red from the manipulation (is friction a better word?) and it's difficult to see how much I have applied until my redness subsides.  I'm still on the fence about it. With the Super BB Skin 79, my face looks a little flat so contouring with the Sonia Kashuk cream bronzer is a must even on a "no makeup" day!  ;)  It blends with minimal effort as well. Overall, it is a nice product.

I added in the UD Naked Basics as the Bare Minerals does not have a lighter matte shade.  I like to use the dark matte brown called Black Tie Optional as a liner but I still need a highlight and a transition shade to help blend out all the shimmer!  My favorite shade is Invite Only, a taupey moss green.  It's a shimmer, but not glittery.  The shadows are smooth and buttery, the perfect amount of pigment.  Just a lovely palette overall that I would recommend.  I don't believe it is still available unfortunately but if you can find it, it's a nice palette for your collection. bareMinerals READY eyeshadow 8.0 The Cocktail Hour.

So nothing too exciting last week and I don't even have any empties to share.  Shocking I know.  But I already have a couple items for Week 5 that I have finished up during the last couple of days...

Are your samples out?  What are you trying this week?!