Monday, May 25, 2015

Outfit: You Struck Gold

Ever since I pinned a picture of Alexa Chung wearing one of these button-front denim skirts, I have been on the hunt for one of my own. I would absolutely die for Alexa's own design for AG, but unfortunately my skirt budget is far from $100. Luckily, I was (FINALLY) able to find one at a thrift store for $2. I had searched for at least a couple of months, only finding larger sizes or ones that flared up oddly in the back; any of my fellow big-behind-ed ladies feel my pain? Alas, it is mine. I can already see this piece becoming a staple for me, whether it's paired with black and white striped tops or thigh-high socks in the colder months. I kept it casual this time around with my beloved Kate Nash t-shirt, cardigan, and cat flats. I'm really into "playful" clothing right now. I think it has something to do with wearing business attire Monday-Friday. B-O-R-I-N-G.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Outfit Details;
Hat- H&M
Bag- T.J. Maxx
Tee- Kate Nash show (old)
Flats- gifted
Sunnies- Gabriel Brothers
Cardigan/skirt- thrifted

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recipe: Cauliflower Steaks

For my 21st birthday, my sister took me to dinner at Wheat Penny in Dayton. I ordered the best lasagna I'll ever have, and she ordered cauliflower steak. Now, even after being a vegetarian for several years, that just didn't sound like anything special to me. I mean, celebratory meals are meant for cheesy, creamy, decadent, "I'll regret this tomorrow" dishes. But, I could not have been more wrong. I spent the duration of the meal picking off her plate, dipping this amazing, meaty cauliflower into a side of polenta that I swear was heaven-sent.
I recently tackled polenta (click here for recipe), and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't mess it up. But, cauliflower steaks have been off limits for me in fear of tarnishing the memory of Wheat Penny's masterpiece. Too much? Well, they were really THAT good. But, alas, I conquered the fear and took the plunge into making my take on the dish I continue to swoon over after almost a year. And, while it may not live up to the restaurant's version, I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the results.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the outer leaves from a large head of cauliflower, and cut it in half. Take one of your halves and slice 1-inch slabs, starting from the cut side and working your way to the smaller edge. Repeat this step with the other half. Your slices should include the stems, as these are edible and have a very "meaty" texture. Put your cauliflower slices into a large resealable plastic bag with a 1/2 cup or so of your favorite salad dressing or marinade. I used a creamy garlic and black pepper salad dressing, but Italian dressing or lemon pepper marinade would be great! Place the bag in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes. This next step is optional, but I highly recommend it. While the cauliflower soaks in the marinade, roast a full bulb of garlic in the oven. If you don't remember how to do that, go here!
Once the garlic is roasted, its time to cook the cauliflower. Place a frying pan over high heat, and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil once its screaming hot. Place the cauliflower slabs into the pan and let them sear for 45 seconds to a minute on each side. This step is not about cooking the steaks all the way through, it's just about developing a crust that will lock in the flavors of the marinade and give you that 'charred" meat affect. Once the steaks are seared on both sides, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown/fork tender, flipping half-way through. While the steaks are baking, squeeze out your roasted garlic into a bowl. Add a half stick of butter, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs/spices(I recommend parsley, rosemary, or lemon pepper). Melt the garlic butter in the microwave, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Baste the steaks with half of this mixture five minutes before they're finished cooking. It adds so much flavor!
I added the rest of the garlicky, herb butter to the cauliflower steaks once they were finished cooking, and ready to serve. These "steaks" were so filling and decadent. The roasted garlic adds a really refined taste that pairs so well with flavors from the marinade. This dish is very versatile, too. I plan on making one with caramelized onions and mushrooms with some sort of gravy/sauce. Or even one with a pico de gallo on top. The pairings are endless! This would also make a great alternative to the traditional frozen veggie burgers most people prepare for their vegetarian friends at barbecues/parties. I hope all you meat eaters and herbivores alike try something new with this one.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Birchbox: May Review

I love trying new beauty products. I mean, who doesn't? But, I really LOVE it. I can easily kill a couple of hours browsing the drugstore or Ulta, mindlessly tossing item after item in my basket until I've tallied up a hefty tab. But, some beauty products, not unlike clothing, are often just fads.They are destined to find their demise in the back of my bathroom cupboard, until I remember to throw them out months later. However, the hope of finding a "holy-grail-can't-live-without it" product keeps me searching and trying new lipsticks, moisturizers, setting powders etc. This is why I finally subscribed to Birchbox. It gives me the option to try samples of high-end beauty products, each month without the guilt of not liking something/letting it go to waste. With products ranging from cleansers to eye shadows, each month really is a treat to open and try out. And, perhaps the best part, it's only ten dollars a month! Here's what I scored in my May Birchbox;
This month's box was probably the cutest one yet.
Benefit Cosmetics 'It's Potent" Eye Cream// This stuff is honestly the most effective eye cream ever. "It's Potent' promises to reduce dark circles and boost skin's elasticity. And, after just a week of using it, I am seeing results. I have MAJOR dark circles that I conceal everyday. But, just a dab of this cream really does give me eyes a brightening effect. I am definitely going to grab a full-size of this one.
Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Eye Shadow Quad// The colors in this quad go really well together. I absolutely love the darker brown and gold shades. And, while I don't typically go for purples, I really liked the two in the palette; great for days you want to do something different. The formula seems pretty long-lasting, too!
PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray// I am an avid sea salt spray lover. Nothing gives hair better texture. This sea sat spray adds a healthy dose of shine, along with adding wave. And, it smells wonderful!
Marcella Energizing Hydrating Gel// This is the one product in this month's box that I could have lived without. I found that it made my skin feel tight and broke me out. It promises to go on "cucumber cool", but all I got was a burning sensation. No thanks.
Harvey Prince "Hello" Perfume// This perfume is such a bright and happy scent. Packed full of floral and citrus notes, it really does just feel like Spring. A little bit goes a long way, though. Less is definitely more with this one.
There you have it! Are any of you Birchbox members, or subscribed to any other beauty sites? What are some of your favorite products that you've found through them?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Outfit: Florals For Spring...Groundbreaking

This goes without saying, but floral print is my favorite. And, while I wear it all year round, there is something about putting on a dress with flowers on it in the Spring. Especially when that dress is this little vintage number that I scored a few weeks ago. This thing is PERFECT. I've already worn it about ten times, and I probably won't be retiring it any time soon. Too good
What are your favorite pieces for Spring?

Outfit Details;
Dress- Vintage
Tote- Forever 21
Clogs- Old Navy

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Best Foundations For Any Budget

Finding the perfect foundation can be a real pain in the butt. There are so many to chose from, first of all; drug store brands and high end lines, all offering a flawless complexion. But, how many of them actually deliver? And, once you settle on a brand, the task of finding your shade begins. I mean, who hasn't spent money on a foundation that ended up making them look either like an Oompa Loompa or Casper? I have had a tough time finding foundation with a good level of coverage that won't cause my acne-prone skin to freak out. But, I feel as though I finally have it down. Here are my picks for the best foundations fit for any budget!
(From left to right)
1. Flower Beauty About Face Foundation ($14): I have been a huge fan of Drew Barrymore's Flower Beauty since its debut a few years ago. Their products are sold exclusively at Wal-Mart (perhaps the only downfall), and are meant to offer luxurious, high-quality cosmetics at prices that won't break the bank.. Their foundation is perfect for all skin types, offering light to medium coverage. They have a great shade range, so it's easy to find your perfect match, and it has a really fresh, dewy finish. My skin has hit a bit of a rough patch meaning I need a bit more coverage, but I definitely plan on using this product again once my complexion settles down. It's my number one pick!
2. it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+Illumination ($38): I recently went to Ulta to try out some higher-end brands since my skin has been so troublesome. I explained to an employee that I was interested in "clean" lines that would be more gentle on my skin, and she went straight for it Cosmetics' line. She matched me for this CC cream, and I was amazed at the coverage it offered. It also had a really dewy finish that looked so natural. I was super hesitant to invest that much into make-up, as I have been a drug-store shopper since my teens. But, I ended up going back for this foundation the very next day. And, I'm so glad that I did! This is perfect for the days that you want coverage, but don't want to do a full make-up routine. It wears like a foundation, but just feels like moisturizer. Plus it has SPF 50! The "CC" stands for color correction, and that is exactly what this product offers; covering redness and adding a beautiful brightness to your complexion. The shade range is pretty small, so I'd definitely suggest getting matched by an employee.  I started using their finishing powder, too, and the combination is uhh-mazing! Totally worth the investment. 
3. Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation ($6): This is my holy grail full-coverage foundation. And, when I say "full coverage", I mean FULL COVERAGE. I picked this up from Target on a whim one day, and boy am I glad that I did! This product promises to wear for 25 hours, and it really does stand true. It goes on smooth and sets matte. I didn't need to use any concealer with this foundation; it's high-pigment formula really did cover everything that I needed it too. My only complaint on this line is its limited shade range. But, at such a low price, I really can't complain!
4. Revlon Colorstay Foundation ($12): This has become my new everyday foundation, as it offers medium to full coverage. The shade range on this line is the best I have ever seen from a drug-store brand. From the lightest ivory to warm olives to the deepest browns, Revlon really does have everyone covered. The Colorstay foundation does just that: stays. It's very similar to the Rimmel foundation, but has more of a dewy finish. This line comes in either "normal to dry skin' or "oily/combination'. I picked up the "oily/combo" formula from Ulta during a sale, and loved the coverage and creamy feel, but it later set into fine lines and blemishes, and made me feel like a flaky biscuit. I exchanged it for the "normal to dry" kind, hoping it would offer more moisture, and it really did the trick. The two really are like completely different products, and I'd recommend that you go for the "normal to dry' variety unless your skin is super, super oily. This foundation has great build-able coverage that looks very natural. Perhaps it's only negative is that is has seemed to give me a few more pimples than the other three foundations above. But, part of that is just my pesky skin. 
After searching for what seems like forever for products that work with my skin, it feels pretty good to know which lines to go to. Hopefully this helps some of you struggling with the same thing! Of course, I know there are tons and tons of make-up lines with beautiful products to offer, so if I missed any of your favorites, please leave them in the comments below!

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