Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a “wiz” in the kitchen, I like to pretend I am!  One of my favorite websites is AllRecipes.com where you can search for recipes based on their ingredients, see other people’s reviews of the recipes, and post your own recipes to share.  I’ve recently mastered the art of baking great chocolate chip cookies, and I have a recipe I found on All Recipes.com to thank for that!  I’ve made these cookies for my coworkers on multiple occasions, and now I’m known as the “Cookie Girl” and everyone is so happy when I walk around the office putting these little morsels in their hands.  They never last long!
   Getting the ingredients ready to mix in my Kitchen Aid mixer!
Here’s how you can make these tasty delights!
Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
 2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt (In my opinion, they’re just as good without the salt)
 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I use organic ones!)
 1 cup chopped walnuts (I usually do not add these)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
They come out perfectly, every time!
Posted in cooking, favorite things, food, home, recipes

EOS Lip Balm

After watching several YouTube videos about this product, I decided I couldn’t do without it.  Funny how that works, isn’t it??  This company, EOS (Evolution of Smooth) seems to have popped up out of nowhere with these cute and unique products.  They are big on innovative packaging and natural ingredients- which just so happen to be some of favorite qualities in products.

After a quick trip to Walgreens, I came home with the trio of lip balms in a cute summery pouch.  Actually, I ripped into the packaging and began testing them as soon as I got in the car!  For $9.99, you get the Summer Fruit, Honeysuckle Honeydew, and Lemon Drop flavors.  The scents are juicy and sweet without being overbearing, they go on smooth and clear, and leave your lips very hydrated with ingredients like organic coconut oil, shea butter, organic sunflower seed oil, and Vitamin E.  They are petroleum and paraben free, which is great!  I’m a big fan and think anyone would love these products!
Posted in lip balm, organic, product review

I want these curtains!

I’m in the process of a little redecorating project where I’m going to rearrange my bedroom furniture, paint the walls, and spruce things up a bit with new accessories.  I already have a blue and somewhat beachy theme going, but I need to tie it all together.  I was recently perusing one of my favorite design websites, House of Turquoise, which features this cool, breezy, and calming color in beautiful and awe-inspiring ways. I check Erin’s blog every day to get ideas, and the images she features are simply stunning!

Recently I checked out Anthropologie’s website because I love the unique items they have for fashion and home decorating.  Low and behold, I found the most beautiful curtains that would fit with my theme!  These curtains look rich, elegant, feminine, and I love that turquoise color!

Look at the detail of the embroidery! The curtains come in a couple different colors, and they’ve received excellent reviews from others who have purchased them.  They cost $108-$168 per panel, depending on the length, so they’re definitely not cheap.  I think I’ll put some more thought into it, but you may soon see some pictures of my new and improved bedroom. Stay tuned!

Posted in decorating, home

Great deals to share!

I just found out about a couple of great online deals (limited time), and of course I have to share!

The first one is from one of my favorite all-natural skincare lines, Mychelle. They are currently offering 50% off all of their mineral makeup when you use the code makeup50.  This offer expires 6/20/10.  And as always, get free shipping when you spend $50 on their website.  I’ve only tried their mineral foundation (I’m the shade Porcelain in case you were wondering) and concealers, and I like them very much.  I would love to try the blush, but the idea of cream eyeshadows does not appeal to me.

Second, my favorite website for all things natural (supplements, health/beauty, vitamins, even food items), Vitacost is offering free shipping on any order over $79.  Their shipping is normally a flat rate of $4.99/order, but every little bit helps, right?!?  This offer is only good until 6/20/10.  And don’t forget, you can use Ebates with Vitacost and get 5% back on your order!
If you order anything, let me know! I’d love to hear about what goodies you found.  🙂
Posted in beauty, sale, vitacost

Yummy new soap

Ahh, don’t you just love the feeling of putting a fresh bar of soap in your shower?  If you’re like me, you have about 12 different bottles of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, and body wash cluttering your shower (hey, I get bored easily I guess!), but there is something amazing about adding a fresh new item into the rotation.  I generally use shower gel with a mesh poof to wash my body, but I prefer to use a bar of soap when I’m shaving my legs.  So today, I introduced this new item to my shower…..a beautiful lilac-colored bar of deliciousness.

 Enter the South of France soap in Acai Pomegranate.  I purchased this bar at Whole Foods on sale, but you can also find it at my favorite website, Vitacost.  This soap is 100% natural, packaged in biodegradable/recyclable packaging, not tested on animals, and did I mention it smells so good, I want to eat it?  The smell is like candy, so fruity and juicy that I just want to take a bite out of it! It’s also gigantic (8.8 oz), so it will last you a LONG time.
This smell actually reminds me of Rock Star Soap from Lush, but for a fraction of the price and without nasty ingredients like artificial color, sulfates, and propylene glycol.
Try it out!
Posted in vitacost

Disappointed in this “Rootine”

I’ve been on what seems like an everlasting quest to purify my beauty routine.  Slowly but surely I’ve been eliminating such evils as parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetics fragrances, urea, the list goes on and on.  I’ve done a good job so far of finding high-quality skin care products that are free of these nasty buggers, but I haven’t completely switched over my hair care.  I’ve been trying to find a chemical-free shampoo, but the sheer fact of the matter is that they just don’t work as well!

Case in point: I was recently at Sephora (surprise, suprise!) and noticed Jonathan Product was 20% off.  They have a line called “Green Rootine” which contains 100% natural ingredients and is synthetic free, paraben free, sulfate free, silicone free, petrochemical free, and vegan….(whew!).  The ingredients sounded so good they seemed almost edible (and the fresh spearmint scent didn’t hurt either) so I thought I’d give it a try and see what wonders it could do for my hair.  I paid $16 plus tax. 

The product comes in a foaming pump bottle, which is quite interesting for a shampoo.  The reason for this is the product doesn’t contain ingredients that produce suds, namely sulfates, so the foam produced by the packaging gives you just a little bit to work with. 

The first morning I was excited to try this, and I carefully read the instructions to make sure I did everything correctly. The packaging clearly states:
Green Rootine is 100% Natural, which may feel different from what you’re accustomed to. The products work best when used together and regularly. Go ahead, change your Rootine!
I was prepared for the product not to lather like a normal shampoo, but after adding 5 pumps of product and barely being able to move it through my hair, I became quickly discouraged.  However, I carried on, and felt good knowing I wasn’t absorbing nasty chemicals through my scalp!  The shampoo left my hair a pretty tangly mess, so I finished off with my favorite super-nourishing conditioner to soften and detangle.  However, after styling my hair for the day, I noticed that my hair was extremely static-y, difficult to style, and tangled easily.        

Determined to make this shampoo work for me, I used it every day for a week, but sadly nothing improved. My hair and I did not enjoy using this product, so I returned it to the Sephora over the weekend.

I feel kind of guilty about it….I mean, I want to be healthy and eco-friendly with my shampoo, but I can’t seem to find a product that fits the bill of being healthy and effective.  My favorite sulfate and paraben-free shampoo so far is (hands-down) the David Babaii for WildAid Hydrating Shampoo, but it still contains ingredients that the EWG frowns upon.  I’ll continue using that until I can find something better. 

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

Posted in beauty, natural, product review, shampoo

Fantastic deal from Pangea Organics

Not too long ago, I did a video on my YouTube channel about Pangea Organics. I’m really enjoying the products I purchased from them, and I love the company’s philosophy- their products are healthy for your body AND for the environment. I was excited to see that now their products are available at Sephora, which makes them even more readily available. Today I found out about an amazing holiday deal they were offering, and it was just too good to pass up! The New Radiance Gift Set contains $167 worth of products and is normally $100. Today I found out about a promo code (RADIANCE- expires TODAY!) to buy that gift set for $49.95 plus free shipping! You can’t beat that- so I purchased it!
The Radiance Gift Set Includes
Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange Facial Cleanser $28
Egyptian Geranium w/ Adzuki Bean & Cranberry Facial Scrub $32
Japanese Matcha Tea With Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask $40
Italian Red Mandarin With Rose Lip Balm – $12
Turkish Rose & White Tea Eye Cream – $55
I can’t wait to receive these products, and I’ll be sure to do a thorough review once I’ve used them for awhile.
What products from Pangea have you tried?
Posted in Uncategorized

What I’m Loving Now

I have a new addiction……the healthy kind!

I recently discovered the wondrous world of Teavana. I’ve always been a huge tea fan, but only really tried a few herbal teas, black tea (Lipton always did the trick!), and green tea….and I always used tea bags, not loose teas. I’ve seen the Teavana store at the mall, but for some reason I only thought they sold tea pots and accessories. That is until one day employees were standing out by the door handling out samples…..and as I was walking by (probably heading towards Sephora), they lured me in with a sample of the most delicious warm concoction I’d ever experienced! Once I went in the store, I saw they have a wall of canisters, full of interesting blends of tea with fruits, flowers (we’re talking rose petals!), spices, and herbs. As I “oohed, aahed” and pointed to various flavors that intrigued me, they carefully opened each one and wafted the lid so I could take in the aroma of each tea. The employees were all so knowledgeable on the types of tea, health benefits, caffeine content, flavors, and preparation…I was amazed! I left the store not only with a hot cup of tea in hand, but with several bags of loose tea to make at home!


My absolute favorite is the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos Tea. It’s soothing, slightly fruity, naturally sweet, a little bit spicy….it’s heaven in a cup! If you’ve never tried a Rooibos (pronounced roy-bus or roy-boss) tea, you MUST! It comes from a bush grown in Africa, is naturally free of caffeine, it’s full of antioxidants, and it never gets bitter (no matter how long you steep it!). A little scoop of German Rock Sugar, and it’s practically dessert! If you’re a tea fan and you’ve never tried Teavana, you’re missing out! They have a lot of organic options, their teas are carefully crafted with unique flavor combinations, and they are always adding new teas to keep things interesting.

Best of all, I’ve been enjoying my tea in the most beautiful tea cup. It makes me feel like I should be sitting in a garden in England surrounded by wisteria, weeping willows, and people playing croquet in a field of green grass. I saw this tea cup at Anthropologie while on vacation earlier this year. I completely fell in love with it, but did not purchase it because I was afraid it might break in my suitcase on the way home. About a week later while at dinner with my mom and sister, my mom surprised both of us with little treats…..and in my goodie bag was the beautiful cup that I admired while on vacation. It was beautifully boxed by the lovely ladies at Anthropologie, and it was in the color I loved (a turquoise-green). Every time I drink from this beautiful cup, I’m reminded of the incredible thoughtfulness of my mom!

This simple pleasure is one that I enjoy very much. I’ve even brought a hot water heater to work (my colleagues are still wondering why there is steam rising from my desk every couple of hours- haha) so I can enjoy my tea throughout the day. I drink at least 4 cups a day, and it’s wonderful! As a matter of fact, I’m enjoying a steaming up of Thousand Mountain Jasmine right now. It’s so relaxing, soothing, and warming (especially now that it’s freezing outside!). It makes me happy. 🙂

Posted in cooking, favorite things, food, happiness, home, joy, tea

Friends and Family Sales Galore!

In addition to the Sephora Friends and Family sale that’s going on, I just found out (from the Korres Facebook Page) that they have a sale going on, too.

Here are the details:
Get an early start on your holiday gift-giving! Shop korresusa.com now through Nov 13th and enter promotion code FAMILY at checkout to receive 30% OFF! *Plus get a deluxe sample of Age-Reversing Oak Night Cream with any purchase over $ 25.
Posted in beauty, cosmetics, friends and family, korres, sale

Favorite Holiday 2009 Value Sets at Sephora

Like any beauty product junkie, one of my favorite things to do is get lost in Sephora. I take in the sights (the shiny packaging, glittering substances, kaleidoscope of colors), sounds (the bumpin’ music), and smells (the latest designer fragrances, paraben-free lotions, and sometimes even lipglosses!). After I’ve swatched dozens of products on my hand and it’s raw from wiping off/reapplying, and I can no longer remove the last traces of glitter, I know it’s time to leave!

I can literally spend hours in Sephora (and sometimes have), and Friday night was one such night. In case you didn’t already know, Sephora is currently conducting their annual Friends and Family Sale where everything they sell is 20% off (online code is FF2009, thru. 11/2/09). I decided to stop by the store and scope out the products in person to decide what purchases I might want to make for myself and as holiday gifts.

I was pleasantly surprised that most of the lines I enjoy have started to sell their holiday value sets, which I love! I scoured every brand, checked out the packaging, the colors, and the quality of the product themselves, and decided to share my favorite holiday sets. To make it on my list, the product has to be cruelty-free, an excellent value, and high quality (great color payoff, wearability, and quality ingredients).

First off is the Tarte Treasure Chest

The nitty gritty: $52 for 32 all-new, full-sized eyeshadows (16 shimmering, 16 matte), 16 all-new lipglosses, Park Avenue Princess Mineral Powder Bronzer, soft pink luminizer, and 4 powder blushes.

Packaging: Not my favorite. Somewhat gaudy exterior (bejeweled metallic silver faux-leather material); nice and compact, but flimsy. A bit cumbersome to access all the layers.

My take: The shadows are in wearable shades, with a few brights mixed in. The shimmery ones are great, but the matte ones really “wowed” me…..great creamy texture and excellent pigmentation. They are very soft- so be sure you dab onto your eyelid, then blend. Lipglosses are nice and creamy, not dry and hard like some other “palette” form lipglosses. They are fairly sheer though. The blushes are super-pigmented, but might be a bit too shimmery for some. You can create so many looks with this set, and I think it’s a ridiculously great value for the money if you’re looking or high-quality product that you can experiment with.

Next up is the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. II

The nitty gritty: For $48, you get 16 AMAZING quality eyeshadows (8 best-selling shades, 8 brand-new ones), 2 trial sized 24/7 eyeliners in brown and black, and a sample size of the famous primer potion

Packaging: Sturdy, compact, and great for home or travel use. Nice sized mirror. Slightly annoying: having to pull out the drawer by a ribbon in order to access the shadows

My take: I love the consistency and color payoff of the shadows, but wish there were more matte options (they are all shimmery except one); however, there are some really beautiful and versatile shades in this palette! I am already a huge fan of the 24/7 liners, and black and brown are staples. The travel-sized Primer Potion (another must-have product in my opinion) is an added bonus. If you love Urban Decay and don’t mind wearing shimmery eyeshadows, this is a GREAT value and excellent for travel, too.

For a lipgloss set, I think the Smashbox WISH for a Perfect Pout is a must-have

The nitty-gritty: 2 full-sized lip enhancing glosses (one in my all-time favorite color POUT), 4 medium-sized glosses in great colors. $29 ($96 value)

Packaging: The set comes in a cute box as shown. The glosses all have doe-foot applicators. Would make a great gift (especially for yourself!)

My take: Since I already love Pout lipgloss and enjoy the texture/finish of Smashbox glosses in general, I was mainly wanting to check out the shades included in this set. When I swatched them in store, I loved every one of the colors (the deepest shade is a juicy sheer raspberry which is gorgeous for fall/winter)! The smaller tubes are great to throw in your purse or travel bag. If you’ve never tried these glosses, they are great- shiny, not too sticky, mild and pleasantly scented, and gorgeous colors to choose from!

Honorable Mentions

Korres Natural Beauty Necessities $39 ($104 value)


6 full size products for less than the price of the blush and lipgloss? I’m sold!!! I’m a huge fan of Korres and adore their value sets. Here you’re getting 2 eyeliners in must-have shades, a gorgeous pink blush, mascara, and 2 cherry oil lip glosses (see my YouTube review here).

An amazing deal if you want to experience Korres makeup for the first time, or if you’re already a fan and want to try some new products or shades.

Tarte Crown Jewels Lipgloss Multi-Gift Set $39 for 3 sets of mini lipgloss 5-packs

This is a cute and practical idea. You are getting a total of 15 mini lipglosses, packed in ready-to-give-as-gifts boxes (or if you just really lipglosses, keep the whole thing for yourself- you deserve it!).

I especially liked the top set of sheer, milky, pastel shades. They are slighly pigmented, shiny, and I love the variety of colors. The middle set is quite sparkly (almost like a MAC Dazzleglass), with sheer but colorful pigmentation. The last set has a nice subtle shimmer with a bigger punch of color.

They are small, but this is a fun set to try lots of different colors of healthy, yummy scented lipglosses.

~Happy shopping everyone!~
Posted in deals, korres