Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sexy Face Mask Sunday - Que Bella Relaxing Aromatherapy Mask

Say it with me now:
SEXY FACE MASK SUNDAY! WOOHOO!


Today's skin treat was another one from Que Bella, the Relaxing Aromatherapy mask. It's described as a "lavender day mask", and its lavender essential oil is supposed to make you feel "refreshed, revitalised and relaxed". It comes in the familiar 15g/0.5 Fl Oz. size foil pack, and feels quite like a mud mask when applied.

Also? It's FANTASTIC. Look at how relaxed I was! I'm a fantastic actress, folks, but that was REAL.

Sometimes natural lavender products can be too strong. This has a soothing, light scent. It's a pale colored mask with a clay consistency. At the same time, it's very smooth - it doesn't feel gritty or drying as some mud masks do. I genuinely felt myself relaxing and enjoying the mask. It stung a tiny bit around the nose as it dried, but otherwise it was comfortable.




My skin felt very moisturized and happy after using this mask....I will definitely get it again! It's my favorite of the line thus far.

Now for the bad news: I don't see it listed on their website,  OR on Amazon.com. Hopefully they keep carrying this one! I bought mine last week at Target. Like all their masks, it sells for between $2-3 dollars. This is the perfect thing to accompany a nice long soak in the tub on a relaxing day off.

Orrrrrr those five minutes of stolen peace on a hectic morning...like mine today :D!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sad Sack Cooking Show #1: Red pepper & kale omelette

OM-E-LETTE YOU FINISH - but I already used this pun on Facebook. I'm a great writer!

Welcome to the Sad Sack cooking show. Are you disappointed at where you are in life? Me, too. So let's make breakfast together, while examining our poor life choices. Fun!

Unrelated question: Is 9:30 too early to drink? I'm sure MyHarto would say "No! No, it's not!" Go watch "My Drunk Kitchen". Later. For now, let's just cook! Or whatever. You're out of wine anyway.

On today's menu:
 le Omelette with red bell peppers and kale, with a side of delicious self-loathing!

...JUST LIKE EVERY MEAL! YUM!

Step 1:

Go to bed in a depressed mood, and wake up that way. If you're going to be a downer, stick with it! That's called dedication! Say it with me, kids! Ded-i-what does it matter anymore, anyway, I'm a failure.

*pause*

So go cook something with cheese in it? That's a good idea!

Step 2:

Decide to make a healthy breakfast, in case vitamins can magically make your poor choices and lack of resolve into a magic band-aid for everything you're doing wrong in your life! (Spoilers they won't tell you at Whole Foods or on Rachel Ray: they can't! WOO!)


Step 3: Assemble the Avengers Ingredients, and make your own omelette station! Hi, creepy sponge! At least someone's smiling! You heartless bastard.


Today we have: Margarine, eggs, milk, cheese, red & orange bell pepper, kale, turkey bacon, salt, pepper and onion powder. Seasoning things like a damn adult, up in here! Positivity!

Step 4: Melt your fake butter in a skillet over medium heat, and crack some eggs in a bowl! Break them! BREAK THEM, LIKE LIFE HAS BROKEN YOU.

Step 5: Reaffirm your desire to make the omelette, and then keep making said omelette anyway. Add a tiny splash of milk, and try not to mess it up while taking a picture of it like the blogging idiot you are. Retype omelette like eight times, because Blogger doesn't recognize the word. Google it, due to your crippling self-doubt. Yes, you won the school spelling bee in seventh grade - but it's all been down hill since then, hasn't it?


Step 6: Rally, and try to be positive. Look at that! Milk in eggs! Good job, you! Now, beat them. BEAT THEM. But be happy about it. Try singing the eggs song!

video
Your cooking skills and your beauty are only out-matched by your ability to write a moving lyrical masterpiece.

Step 7: Stop lying to yourself, and add your seasonings because you forgot them before beating. Great job. Pour the eggs into the melted butter in your pan.

Step 8: Congratulate yourself on your progress thus far. Good pour, self! Nicely done!

Step 9: Wash your veggies. Admire their glistening flesh. Think about how long it's been since you felt actual human contact. Realize one pepper is moldy, despite being in a new package, and consider that a metaphor for your love life. Cry as you throw the pepper away.

Goodbye, pepper. It's not you, it's me. Maybe in another life, we coulda made it. Here's lookin at you, kid.

Step 10: Give your remaining bell pepper and a washed handful of kale a rough chop. Hear your Mother's voice in your head, "You're gonna chop those fingers right off!" Almost chop your finger off. Survive.


Step 11:  Add the veggies to your cooking egg mixture, once it looks as though it's 3/4ths of the way firm. Pause to think about the cutting board, stained red and green. Think about Christmas. Stop thinking about Christmas, because the holidays can be hard for everyone. Think about the Joker. Miss Heath Ledger. Press on through the tears.

Step 12: Add cheese, because you deserve it. Well, you don't, but add it anyway because cheese is delicious in eggs. Even though I don't think you can consider American singles to actually be cheese.

Yum, plastic-y! Let it melt.

Step 13: Realize you used the wrong pan, and it's sticking. Realize that this is way too big an omelette for your poor flipping skills, and that you're making a mess of it.


Step 14: BE NICE TO YOURSELF, because ok. This isn't freaking Denny's. You've not getting paid to do this. And even Denny's says "Make Your Own Pancakes" on the sign. Really, Denny's? I have to come to you...to make my own pancakes? Great customer service! Maybe DENNY'S needs an attitude adjustment, ever think of that? You're going to cut this into pieces anyway - what's it matter if it's not perfect?

I bet it tastes great, anyway.


Step 15: Plate it, add ketchup and hot sauce - because you always do, no matter how tasty the dish is - you silly thing, you - and enjoy. Because you did well, and you deserve it, and you're going to have a great day.



Even if it kills you.



Bonus content: Bacon song fail! The poor turkey bacon was forgotten until after the meal. It had seemed important at the time. But it just wasn't meant to be. It's not you, turkey bacon...it's...well. Maybe it is you, after all.

video


Disclaimer: Some of the negativity may have been exaggerated. The food was still pretty delicious. Also, I take no issue with Denny's...I haven't been there in ages, but I'm sure they're all very nice people. I'd love to come over and make my own pancakes at your fine establishment, any time. Maybe we could hold show #2 there! Guys? Why are you running? 


What dish should the Sad Sack cooking show tackle next? Comment, and let me know!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

"The Maiden Journey of the Great Ship S.O.L." - Fiction Drabble series

One of my beloved co-workers and drinking buddies has left work for a few weeks on a work assignment. I've decided to chronicle our trials in his absence. Except, of course, "we" are the great crew of the incredible S.O.L. Enterprise - a futuristic luxury cruise liner, bereft of it's much loved Captain S. One crewman feels something strange is happening, and can't help but worry for the true fates of the dear Captain, their crew, the ship itself, and it's none-the-wiser passengers.


Crewman's quarters, S.O.L. E. 
Maiden voyage, second day.

Day two on the S.O.L. Enterprise. Without Captain S, the crew has grown uneasy. Spirits began high after takeoff, but morale has begun to ebb and there are mutterings of dissension in the ranks. Strange keening sounds have been reported in the engine room, but we have been assured they're merely the new bulk heads settling into place at hyper speed. Still, I have begun to fear that this journey may hold perils unknown to all but the highest authorities.
- D/C Vilks
 ~


Crewman's quarters, S.O.L. E.
Maiden voyage, ninth day.
 

Despite my misgivings, the crew of the SOL has completed the first leg of the journey without incident. Bar a minor kitchen scuffle over the preparation of coq au vin (where the sous felt sherry should go IN the recipe and the chef felt it should go in HIM), and the small matter of a missing lapdog from first class, everything has been running smoothly. The odd engine room noises have disappeared, at least during the day time. 
I find myself waking at odd hours, though, often with a start. And, surprisingly, shivering despite the warm waters we sail through. Once, I awoke OUTSIDE my cabin...sprawled on the small steps toward the passenger deck, clutching the rail and gasping in air with a thudding heart as though I'd just sprinted through the wide forest back home. Perhaps I've taken ill, and should see the doctor for a tonic of some kind. I'll do so, should these oddities persist. 
-D/C Vilks

Godspeed and smooth sailing, son, hopefully we'll hear from you soon.

<3

Not a Recipe - "Creamed" Spinach with Tomato

Oh, yeah. It's Not-A-Recipe time, guys.

Not-A-Recipe: Kristi takes a "dash of this", a "pinch of that", a heaping spoonful of arrogance, and makes something delicious - without really giving you enough information for an exact replication. FEEL IT, IN YOUR HEART, COOK WITH MEEEEEEEEE.


"Creamed" Spinach with Tomato
Oooooh, yeah.

This is one of our favorite side dishes from the past year. When I first made it, we had had an excess of spinach that I bought for smoothies and couldn't drink fast enough (seriously, if you haven't tried spinach smoothies yet - go do it. They're surprisingly DELICIOUS) so I decided to cook it up. But I didn't want just wilted greens, I was craving something naughty and Italian. So I decided to combine some Italian dish flavors with what was arguably a healthy base ingredient. And then I covered it in cheese.

Wait, come back! Guys, it's still ok! The parmesan and vinegar combine with the wilted vegetables to create what tastes like a filthy, gorgeous cream sauce...without all the creamy calories.

....creeeeammmmyyyy is fun to saaayyyyy.

You will (vaguely) need:

+ Olive Oil (I prefer extra virgin, but you can use light)
+ Spinach (baby or cooking - approximately a bathtub full. Or at least one bag of prewashed)
+ Tomatoes (Roma works best, but whatever you have - one on the vine pictured above)
+ Parmesan Cheese (from the off-brand shaker, like the Italians pretend they don't use - *ducks a rolling pin*)
+ Apple Cider Vinegar (TRUST ME, it's magic, tastes better than plain white in this)
+ Salt, to taste (All of it's to taste, since I'm too lazy to measure, but it just sounds fancy to say that!)

Put a little swirl of oil in your skillet, and put it on medium to medium-high. Toss in as much spinach as your pan will allow, and chop up a tomato while it starts to sizzle and cook down. If you're using roma tomatoes, give two to three a rough chop and toss them in. One large hothouse tomato should do the trick, otherwise.

As the spinach is cooking, add a dash of salt. Feel like Julia Child. Add a healthy sprinkling of parmesan, and then about two cap fulls of apple cider vinegar. Wonder how to accurately spell cap full in such a manner, as the internet seems divided. Digress. Keep stirring, and adding more parmesan bit by bit until it cooks down to a creamy consistency. 

The spinach will cook down like crazy, so be prepared to add more as you go. I usually a) get very excited at how delicious it's beginning to look, b) become depressed that there's so little creamed spinach as it cooks down and finally c) add more spinach, salt, and parmesan. 

The romas will cook down and make the "sauce" a bit pink, and the vinegar helps break everything down into a delicious mess. I use quite a bit of parmesan, so if you're more in the mood for plain greens feel free to not add extra with the additional handfuls of greens.

At the end, it should look close to this:


 And there's never ANY leftover, no matter how much you make. It's like MAGIC!


Here it is, with a chicken "burger" patty and cottage cheese. Not too shabby for a light, healthy dinner!

If you try it out, let me know and tell me what you think! 

Sexy Face Mask Sunday - Que Bella Pomegranate Peel-Off Mask

It's that time again, sparklesaurs! SEXY FACE MASK SUNDAY!

This week, I tried Que Bella's "Refreshing Pomegranate Peel-Off Mask". Like the other masks in their line I found it at Target in the familiar foil packet. It's 15g/0/5 fl oz., and was a low price. Unlike the other masks, I hated it.


The package states, in part, "Refresh tired skin with this fresh-scented mask...will leave your skin with a great, refreshed feeling".

If you're unfamiliar with peel-off masks, they are usually of a transparent, gel-like consistency. You smear them on your face awkwardly, and after they dry you peel off a thin layer of something akin to stretchy Elmer's glue as you peeled it off your fingers in first grade. Afterward, your skin feels somewhat more refreshed - usually due to a magic, skin feeding ingredient that makes your life better.

This mask wasn't exactly gel-like. More like Jelly.

K.Y. Jelly. 


Um. Nice to meet you too, over-excited spa lady. How refreshing?

I think the formula separated somewhat in the pack...there was a lot of liquid, making application messy. Oddly enough, the gel portion was semi-tacky already - like it had already started to dry. So. wrong on two counts. The mask got uncomfortably itchy quite quickly...mostly around the nose, where I was probably crinkling it in distaste. It peeled off in small, spiderweb-like sections - not the satisfying peel of other masks. I ended up washing most of it off under the tap. The scent was somewhat fruity, but in an almost alcohol way - like really cheap, fruit vodka. I didn't notice it as much as it started to dry.

The one positive thing I noted about this mask was that my skin looked less red after using it on some areas where I had temporary discoloration from a breakout. My skin doesn't feel like it's horribly dry, it does feel cleaner and like oil was removed - but I do have the urge to go slather on moisturizer, my cheeks and forehead feel too tight when I move.

So, not the worst thing that's ever been on my face - story for another day! - but I won't be repurchasing it.


Try Queen Helene's Grape Seed Extract Peel-Off mask instead, if you want to jump on the peel-off train - it too promises to remove impurities, is low-cost, and shockingly leaves your skin feeling BETTER after you use it.

Find it on Amazon, or the "Skin Treats" collection of my brand sparking new Luvocracy.

...have you tried Luvocracy? It's like Pinterest, for products you can then buy. It looks pretty amazing. Comment below to show me yours, and let me know how you like it! I'm thinking of using it to list items used in tutorials or comparison reviews.

That's all for this masky madness, until next time!

<3

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sexy Face Mask Sunday - Que Bela Purifying Mud Mask


SEXY FACE MASK SUNDAY!

...I need some better lighting. BUT! Not a better mask! Plug! Just kidding. I get the "Que Bella" masks whenever I stop at Target for groceries (aka just to be at Target, because it's my shiny and clean happy place) and I've been very happy with them as a little weekend pick-me-up skin treat. The mud style masks come in a good-sized foil pouch containing 15g/0.5 fl oz of product, and the product is so thick that you can use it a few times. I've been sealing the pouch in a ziploc in the fridge to finish later in the week. 

This week I used the Purifying Tea Tree and Witch Hazel mud mask. The package describes the mask as "a tingly treat", stating "The cleansing action of the mask naturally draws out impurities and eliminates excess oil, leaving your skin revived and wonderfully clear". Target.com says it has a peppermint scent, but I get more of a tea tree aroma - not overly chemical or mineral, with just a hint of mint. It reminds me of something from when I was young, maybe an old Avon mask my Mom would use.

This mask had a nice tingle, not too caustic - just enough to feel like a good cleanse was going on. My pores had a party! It was a teensy bit uncomfortable at the end, as some masks can be, but a thicker application may have made it feel less so. I was pretty light handed today. My skin felt smoother after using it, and I did notice less oil on my makeup-free face at the end of the day though my skin didn't feel irritated or dry.

These masks usually run between $2-3 at Target, and for a once a week face treat (with more to spare, for a friend/roomie/relative/your metro-man/the you of tomorrow) I'm sold. Repeatedly.

The products mentioned above were purchased with my own sad little wallet, and I am in no way affiliated with Que Bella Beauty or Target. Though their website shows they carry body butters and bath syrups - somebody's gonna be hearing from me soon if they don't pop up in the Target beauty aisle! Hello! Toffee Apple? Come to mama! I wanna smell like delicious fair food, without rolling around in elephant ears. Why'd you think I chose the tea tree oil mask in the first place? Oil! This is all made up. I just get lonely, guys. YAY, FIRST REVIEW! Maybe I'll take a real product photo next time. SKY'S THE LIMIT!

SPOOKY SUNDAY! I get into Halloween.


DECLARATION: I AM A HUGE FAN OF EVERYTHING HALLOWEEN.

Original, I know. But I like the campy, cutesy, creepy Halloween - the Ricci movies, the Disney, gargoyles everywhere  (I'm a firm believer that gargoyles Jack Skellington belong in all holiday displays anyway) - I love the over-the-top ridiculous fun aspect. I like clever costumes, but I reserve the right to wear fishnets and way too much eyeliner if I so desire.

But I have NOT been spooky these past few years. Life has conspired to keep me from my happy go-lucky Wednesday Adams roots. And I'm rebelling! The next few weeks are going to AMAZINGLY HALLOWEEN-Y - I have spoken.

Most of my decorations are in storage, but I scraped together some Target and Dollar Store cheapies. Seriously, the first walk-through of Target's Halloween section makes me gasp like a kid at Disney World. Or like me at Disney World. Do you want to go on the Haunted Mansion with me? It's worth the $80 ticket. COME ON.

This is what I have going so far, besides my gargoyle slash dancing ghost display up top:

Target decals, Dollar Tree bat garland, spooky tree, glam skull and haunted house candy box.

Silver skull garland and wood sign from Dollar Tree. Campy Disney ghost cute!

Maybe I'll go to my storage unit and my Grandparent's attic and dig out my other decorations...regardless, I'm always gonna supplement my holiday decorations with Dollar store things from now on. The garland is so cheap, you can find great little bits and bobs to hang on the wall for add-ons...it's a great way to decorate on the cheap, or to accent your more lasting pieces for a much stronger festive look. Especially great at parties! *Eric Idle eyebrow wiggle*

...I swear this isn't a plug, I just love excess when it comes to holiday spangle and Dollar Store visits let you do it. If you use a judicious hand, it still looks like a million (ok, maybe twenty) bucks.

Soon will be cider, (more) pumpkin beer, homemade pizzas, skulls everywhere (punk? day of the dead? ALL OF THEM!), and my favorite flicks: HOCUS POCUS, Casper, ParaNorman, Cursed, The Addams Family, and - of course - Nightmare Before Christmas. 

Time to dig out my Jack and Sally earrings, and paint my nails a creepy color. Gotta scare the people at work, I've been slacking off.

MUAHAHAHahhahaha...ha.