Sunday, December 28, 2014

Strawberry Coffee Smoothie yumminess

The last few days got me all revved up to buy some more strawberry coffee mix from Lip Smackin Creations, but when I went to their Etsy page, they were no longer around :-( I wanted to add it to the smoothies I've been having in the mornings for breakfast on my long train ride into the city since I can avoid getting in trouble for eating but still break my fast. I also like the idea of adding some caffeine to my morning without having to urgently poo during an hour and a half commute. Brewed coffee does a number on my princess innards. Le sigh. What's a girl to do? Well, figure out an alternative, obviously. Woot!

Strawberry-Coffee Smoothie Recipe

  • a large handful of strawberries (I like them frozen) 
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee grounds (brewed coffee makes it too runny) 
  • 1 banana, peeled (if you have bananas going to mush, stick them in the freezer then pull them out to make great frozen smoothies!) 
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (this is a great way to add amazing extra nutrients as well as helping to create a fullness. Here is a great list of all the amazing benefits of chia seeds. I have become a huge fan.) 
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla protein powder by APS, their grass fed whey is great if you aren't a vegan. The whey comes from 100% grass fed cows with no antibiotics or hormones. You can actually buy it at Whole Foods and Albertsons.) I then tried it with the chocolate powder and it was amazeballs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract if you use unflavored protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk or Greek Yogurt

The coffee was a nice, subtle addition and gave me an extra energy boost without being overwhelming. The chia seeds and protein powder made it quite filling, which was especially helpful on a day when I wasn't allowed a lunch until 3 in the afternoon. (though I did sneak a yummy kumquat and persimmon fruit leather when no one was watching. I work for sadists :-)  That's a joke, please don't fire me!) 
Tomorrow I'm gonna try it with a chocolate powder and see how they compare......

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Shaped By Hand handcrafted jewelry

A while back I received these sterling silver and czech glass earrings from Shaped By Hand in a sampler box. Very well made and quite striking with the hair worn down, they became one of my go to pairs. Recently I rediscovered them while unpacking and realized that I needed to check out their Etsy store and see if they were still around. Lucky me, they are! Whoo hoo! FINALLY I don't have to mourn the door shuttering of another indie business.

There is SO much gorgeous stuff on this page, I highly recommend you check them out. 

UP - Hot Air Balloon Pendant in Copper with Sterling Silver - Blue Skies

I want this necklace so hard it makes my face hurt. Mama needs to stop having an overdrawn bank account first..... Losing three months of work because of spinal surgery kinda puts a crimp in the old financials. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Shoe Privee gone bye bye

It's amazing how quickly things change in the great big Interzone.... Shoe Privee was one of the first member's only discount shopping sites that I joined and I recently came across a pair of beloved shoes that I got from them. These shoes are fantastic. These shoes are crazy cool. These shoes require me to be wheeled around on a dolly because they're impossible to walk in....... So I went to go see what's current on their site (and to see if maybe I had a credit I'd forgotten about to give myself shoe cheering up) and POOF! So I looked at their Facebook page and they apparently just disappeared without a trace, not even giving members a heads up. That sucks because what if I DID have a credit that's just dust in the wind? That's one of the hazards with doing online shopping; you take your roll of the dice sometimes because no matter how legit a company may look, you never really know what's going on behind the scenes. And silly me, it makes me sad because they had some really wacky footwear. Fur ankle cuffs? For real? Sigh...... Just Fab, you need to get a little wackier and weirder sometimes and then you'll be perfect. 

My super awesome stilettos of funkiness

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Support Handmade!

It makes me so sad when I go back to visit a favorite seller and they're gone :-( I realize that's the nature of the game; people move on, pick up new hobbies or sadly just give up. Because of my current invalidism, I decided to stop by The Button Bowl to pick up some more cute barrettes because I am trying to keep my hair out of my face while I wear my neck brace only to find them sadly hasta la vista. I had previously bought the barrette below from them and was hoping for more girly vintageness to keep me looking my best (er, better? Um, not like a hobo, anyway?)


So instead of saying, Oh I want some new hairpins, I'll get these Goody hairclips at Walgreens, why not take a few extra minutes and get something unique and handmade? When there's a handmade option out there, pay the few extra quid knowing that you're keeping the independent spirit alive. Keep America funky, one purchase at a time!

A reminder of why I love Zibbet's Sample Zbox

For those of you "in the know" about the indie handmade community, there's a lot more out there than just Etsy. Etsy may dominate the market, but there's other venues out there where you will find a whole slew of talented artisans just waiting for you to discover them. Thanks to the awesome ZBox Sampler, you can discover many of them in one fell swoop by receiving a box full of samples of their wares. The box is amazingly inexpensive and you will ALWAYS get your money's worth and then some. Some full sized items are generally included and for the jewelry lover, you'll be in heaven. I have been introduced to some of my absolute favorite handmade artists via this box, and can even call some of them my real friends now! Ah, the power of handmade! (Hi girls, you know who you are ;-) )

Z BOX Subscription
Just to give you a taste, here's a group of sellers that were included in a typical Zbox and a sample of their wares.To see an actual box itself, you can see my unboxing videos here.

I'm showing a full piece from their stores so you can see the sellers themselves.

Dancing Rainbows 
Suncatcher "Sultry"
Rock Paper Scissors 
My Dad is Bigger than Your Dad   Father's Day Card

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ipsy- Party Perfect product reviews- Nailtini, Chella, Bare Minerals, theBalm, Starlet

this is a look back at a previous Ipsy bag and what I thought of the products inside. Ipsy is an amazing deal, this bag was valued at almost $50, not including the Just Fab $20 gift card. At only $10 a month, you can barely buy even buy a single drugstore item for that price, let alone a cosmetics bag with 4-5 items, mostly full sized!
If you'd like to join, I'd LOVE for you to use my LINK. Thanks!

I absolutely ADORE this Nailtini polish in Millionaire. Stunning and reminds me of the Nail Inc Feather Effect  polish that I'm wearing today but they had the look first! Long wearing, applies like a dream and is truly a showstopper. I've got a number of Nailtini polishes, and they always become a favorite in my mani arsenal. This is one of those polishes that makes people examine my nails up close and go "ooooh!" Simply put, gorgeous.                         

Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel
Is fantastic. I have very fair brows, but they also rival Ernest Borgnine's in sheer voluminousness.  While thicker, natural brows are in,Wilford Brimley with caterpillars glued onto his forehead is not. This stuff tames them, makes them look groomed and glam, keeps them in place and in general gives a more polished look. It's also excellent for using with brow powders to keep it from giving you fallout. Now a staple in my beauty bag of tricks.

Bare Escentuals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss - # Dare Devil 4.5ml/0.15oz Bare Escentuals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss - # Dare Devil 4.5ml/0.15oz
Contains natural ingredients exotic oils botanical extracts & antioxidants With a refreshing formula that nourishes lips for exceptional comfort Provides sheer vibrant color Creates a full satiny shimmering & mirror-like pout that lasts for hours

This is not only a gorgeous color, but it feels fantastic on your lips. It has a lovely minty tingle that has the added bonus of sweetening your breath while also giving a slight plumping to the lips. They really DO look fuller! Not Angelina or anything, but they definitely make a difference without causing agonizing pain like some lip plumpers. Extremely shiny and smooth with a nice slick, non sticky feel that lasts and lasts.

theBalm  Meet  Matt(e)  Eyeshadow  Palette  by  theBalm  Cosmetics  1  Eyeshadow  Palette theBalm Meet Matt(e) Eyeshadow Palette by theBalm Cosmetics 1 Eyeshadow Palette
theBalm Meet Matt(e) Eyeshadow Palette by theBalm Cosmetics 1 Eyeshadow Palette

This is a regular use color for me; I keep it on my makeup table and am constantly grabbing it. I'm amazed that I haven't panned it out yet. A rich sable brown that goes on silky smooth with no fallout. It plays well with others and also makes a great basic day to day fast application 'out the door' shade that you can slap on and look like you tried. It has awesome staying power and will still be just as rich at the end of the day as when you started. And the retro packaging? Adorable.

There was also an eyeliner by Starlet Cosmetics, but they appear to have gone the way of the dodo..... Guess that sums up the general public opinion fairly well, eh? I thought it was fine. Nothing to write home about (and with my mom being who she is, we actually DO that, she just mailed me an article on the influence that the right shoes can have in the workplace) but a decent, inexpensive liner that didn't smudge too bad with a primer. Trust me, it definitely didn't smear as much as my hated bane-of-my-existence Elizabeth Arden eye pencil.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Cleaning (and everything else) on a budget?

Get free printable coupons now from

I go there before every trip to the grocery store because you'll often find higher value coupons than what comes in the paper. LOVE this site.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Homemade Body wash for only $4.50 compared to $39.95 for comparable

Thanks to Little Seed Farms for this awesome recipe! 

homemade,bodywash, recipe, soap recipe, body, washOur Homemade Lavender-Lemongrass Body WashWhat do you put on your body every day? By the time I’ve finished my morning routine I’ve used shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen for my face, and lotion for my body. Somehow, it took me close to a year before I started wondering what the heck was actually in those bottles in my shower. Isn't it odd that we’ve become so conscious of what we put inside our bodies, and somehow managed not to give any thought about what we were putting on them? 
All of that changed a few weeks ago when a friend recommended The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database which rates products according to the chemicals they contain and how harmful they are. I searched the items in my bathroom and found that all of them except for what I put on my face (Alba Botanica and Kiss My Face) had a moderate to high hazard score. Scary!
I decided to replace some of the items in our routine with safer, natural products - preferably something homemade (well, yeah!). The first to run out was body wash. We had been using Dove's Go Fresh Bodywash which is a 5 on the 0-10 hazard rating system. I am a huge fan of a nice creamy bodywash and an exfoliating pouf and felt a tinge of dismay thinking about the future of my suds, sure that I would have to give up this little luxury for a bar of something filmy and a washcloth. Little did I know that I was about to make the best bodywash EVER. I’m serious.  
I searched out different recipes and ingredients that would be good for my skin -not so easy when you have been fighting a lifelong battle against hypersensitive skin. I went with an infusion of oats and rosemary to soothe and tone, coconut oil to moisturize because we had it in the house and it’s one of the few oils that doesn’t make me break out, and the essential oils of chamomile, lavender, and lemongrass for their properties and scent.
 It smells amazing, produces a great lather, gets you clean, and actually leaves you moisturized. It’s an amazing shave gel for legs. I should also mention that this batch that made 24oz using all organic (and local where available) ingredients cost only $4.50 to make - half the price of the scary stuff! Here's the breakdown:
Give it a try! Swap out oils and infusion ingredients to make a recipe that’s perfect for your skin. This would be a fun project to try with kids too.  
  • 1 Tbs steel cut oats (optional - to infuse)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (optional - to infuse)
  • 1 c. distilled water
  • 1 Tsp citric acid (to prevent bacterial growth in your bodywash)
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil (can swap out with olive, grapeseed, almond, jojoba, apricot kernel or any other oil)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1-1/2 c. liquid castile soap (I used Dr Bronner’s)
  • 1 tsp guar gum (you can find it in most markets that carry natural foods with the Bob’s Red Mill grains)
  • 30 drops essential oils (your preference - I used a blend of lavender, chamomile, and lemongrass)
1. Boil water in a kettle and once boiling pour over the oats and rosemary (or whatever you decide to infuse). Cover and let sit for an hour, then strain to remove oats and rosemary bits from your infusion.
2. In a bowl whisk your oil, honey, infusion, and citric acid together.
3. Sprinkle in the guar gum, whisking to combine, and then immediately afterward whisk in the castile soap (if you wait too long the guar gum will thicken and you’ll have clumps) until blended and smooth.
4. Drop in your essential oils and fold in with a spoon or spatula. Store the mixture in a bottle that you have sterilized (opaque is best) out of direct sunlight and shake before each use.

PLEASE NOTE: As this recipe only contains mild natural preservatives (citric acid) and has not been created by a chemist, you may want to store the finished body wash in your refrigerator or make a batch small enough to use within 3-4 days. It is very important that you sterilize (boiling water or the dishwasher will do) all implements that will be used to avoid introducing any bacteria into your bodywash. We personally have not had any issues with bacterial contamination and are still using a bottle from a large batch that was made over 6 months ago that has never been refrigerated.  

75 Uses for baking soda

Baking soda is a chemical compound that appears as a fine powder. It releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it interacts with an acid and a liquid. It’s most commonly used in baking, where it acts as a leavening agent. The following are 75 other uses for baking soda aside from making muffins soft and fluffy.
Health Uses
1. Use it as an antacid.
2. Use it as underarm deodorant by applying it with a powder puff.
3. Mix half a teaspoon with peroxide paste and use it as toothpaste.
4. Use it as a face and body scrub.
5. Add a cup to bathwater to soften your skin.
6. Relieve skin itch from insect bites and pain from sunburn.
7. Remove strong odors from your hands by rubbing them with baking soda and water.
8. Put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.
9. Apply it on rashes, insect bites, and poison ivy irritations.
10. Take a baking soda bath to relieve skin irritations.
11. Heartburn? Take a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one-half glass of water.
12. Freshen your mouth by gargling half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed water.
13. Relieve canker sore pain by using it as mouthwash.
14. Use it to relieve bee stings.
15. Use it to relieve windburns.
16. Apply it on jellyfish sting to draw out the venom.
17. Unblock stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your vaporizer.
In the Home
flower vase
18. Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon to the water in the vase.
19. Put out small fires on rugs, upholstery, clothing, and wood.
20. Put an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb the odors.
21. Sprinkle it on your ashtrays to reduce bad odor and prevent smoldering.
22. Sprinkle it on your slippers, boots, shoes, and socks to eliminate foul odor.
23. Turn baking soda into modeling clay by combining it with one and 1/4 cups of water and one cup of cornstarch.
24. After feeding your baby, wipe his shirt with a moist cloth sprinkled with baking soda to remove the odor.
25. Wipe your windshield with it to repel rain.
26. Improve the smell of dishrags by soaking them in baking soda and water.
27. Suck it in with your vacuum cleaner to remove the odor.
28. Freshen the air by mixing baking soda with your favorite perfumed bath salts. Put the mixture in small sachet bags.
29. Restore stiff brushes by boiling them in a solution of 1/2 gallon of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a cup of baking soda.
30. Put it under sinks and along basement windows to repel cockroaches and ants.
31. Scatter baking soda around flowerbeds to prevent rabbits from eating your veggies.
32. Sweeten your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants.
33. Sprinkle it onto your cat’s litter box to absorb the bad odor.
34. Sprinkle it on your pet’s comb or brush to deodorize their fur and skin.
In Cooking
35. Use it as a substitute for baking powder by mixing with it with cream of tartar or vinegar.
36. Wash fruits and vegetables with it.
washing vegetables
37. When boiling a chicken, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.
38. Soak dried beans to a baking soda solution to make them more digestible.
39. Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.
40. Make a sports drink by mixing it with boiled water, salt, and Kool-Aid.
41. Remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside the fridge.
42. Make fluffier omelets by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs used.
43. Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda.
Cleaning Purposes
44. Add a cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush. It will clean the toilet and absorb the odor.
flushing toilet
45. Use it to scrub sinks, showers, plastic and porcelain tubs
46. Spray it on walls, mirrors, and countertops.
47. Add a spoonful to your dishwasher to make scrubbing dishes easier.
48. Remove grease from pots and pans.
49. Dry clean carpets and upholstered furniture by sprinkling baking soda over the fabric and gently brushing it. Leave it for an hour or overnight, then vacuum.
50. Boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power by sprinkling a handful on dirty clothes.
51. Combine it with water to make a paste for polishing stainless steel and chrome.
52. Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls.
53. Clean your shoes with it.
cleaning shoes
54. Clean garbage cans with it.
55. Use it to wash diapers.
56. Clean the fridge with it.
57. Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda solution.
58. Mix it with water to wash food and drinkcontainers.
59. Put three tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water, then use the mixture to wash marble-topped furniture.
60. Absorb it with a damp sponge, then clean Formica countertops with the sponge.
61. Use it to get rid of stale odors from cooling containers and thermos bottles.
62. Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution, then rinse.
63. Combine with hot water to clean baby bottles.
64. Sprinkle it on barbecue grills, then rinse it off.
65. Scatter it on your greasy garage floor, scrub the floor, and rinse.
66. Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing.
67. Clean your ashtrays with a baking soda solution.
68. Keep your drains clean by putting four tablespoons of baking soda in them each week. Flush it down with hot water.
69. Clean your shower curtains by soaking them in baking soda and water.
70. Put it on a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
71. Use it to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from a toaster. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp rug, then use the rug to clean the toaster.
72. Use it to clean your retainers and dentures.
cleaning dentures
73. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and used it to scrub enameled cast iron and stainless steel.
74. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water, and use it to clean the inside part of an oven.
75. Use it to unclog gas stoves.

Original article Here at Life Hacks

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Saturday, March 15, 2014