Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Note from Karley: I am taking a blogging break until Tuesday, June 1st. In need of a dish to pass at a family BBQ this weekend? Try this one. Originally posted June 2009. Enjoy your weekend.













Nicholas and I are the only 2 people in the house who love strawberries. We could eat them all day. In fact, Nick and I already had them at breakfast in our yogurt and for a late morning snack. For dessert this evening at dinner, we'll have this strawberry shortcake.

On Thursday we went to Gro Moore Farms for berry picking. Please note that this is not the same location as their main store on East Henrietta Road. The berry picking is on Route 251 in Rush. Since the sky opened up with heavy rain, thunder and lightning, we managed one lonely quart! Did I mention it was about 70 miles round trip?

For this recipe, I am using 1 quart of super sweet home grown berries.

Let's make the bicsuits first. These are delicious, flaky biscuits.

Biscuits:

2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. milk

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in the butter. Add milk. Knead with your hands and place on floured surcae. Roll 1/2" thick. Cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter. I use a 2" manual nut chopper which I actually use as a cookie cutter.

Bake at 450 degrees (oven should be pre-heated) for 10 minutes. Your oven may vary, so take out when they are a golden brown on top. Let cool and then slice in half.


Strawberries

I used just under a quart of berries. You may cut in pieces (my Mom prefers larger berry pieces in hers) or do what I do and puree. I needed no sugar in my berries because they are sweet on their own. If you like an extra sweet dessert, add in 1/2 t. to 1 t. sugar.

I also add in about 1/4 t. grated lemon zest.

Stir together.

Whipped Lemon Cream

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 t. lemon extract
1/2 t. sugar

In a cold bowl with cold beaters, beat the whipping cream. Slowly add in the extract and sugar. Keep beating until the cream is the desired consistency. I don't like it too creamy, but I stop before stiff peaks have formed.

Assemble your shortcake!

Put the berries onto bottom portion of biscuit. Top with a bit of cream. Add the top biscuit. Add more whipped cream and garnish with a berry top or mint sprig.

Enjoy!


A Variation Using Raspberries

Soon will be raspberry season, and each summer I make a raspberry shortcake with almond cream. Make just like the strawberry shortcake (minus the lemon zest). For the whipped cream, add almond extract instead of lemon extract. When assembling, I garnish with slivered almonds.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

{diy thursday}


Note: I am taking the day off so I am posting a "rewind" of a post from 2008. I just wrote on Monday about my skin condition, Keratosis Pilaris, returning. It is a condition that causes what looks like red goosebumps on the skin. I have it on my upper arms. Using body scrubs on the affected area, rubbing, and applying harsh products will aggravate the condition.

This recipe used to help in past years. Right now, nothing seems to be working -- I've tried everything from the overpriced DermaDoctor KP Duty to LacHydrin to prescriptions. I started in again with the latest version of Paula's Choice 2% BHA Lotion. This no longer contains parabens, as it did years ago when I used to use it. It will take a few weeks to show any changes, so I am hoping it will work.

I wish the 100% natural recipe or pure coconut oil worked for me this season. Just because it is not currently working for me, doesn't mean it won't help you!

This post originally appeared two years ago.

Here it is:


You'll need 3 berries & the white of 1 egg




2 teaspoons of your favorite honey







Mix egg white into the honey


Stir in berries and blend until frothy






Today we're going to make a simple facial mask. This isn't a paste or a hardening clay mask. It's going to be a bit messy, but the results will be worth it!
Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits to use in skin care. Not only does the fruit of the berry contain more vitamin C than oranges, the leaves alone contain 4 times as much vitamin C! Strawberries also contain salicylic acid, also know as beta hydroxy acid, which is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate into the pores and help "de-gunk".


I have found 2 completely natural treatments for my own KP. Your results may vary. I use coconut oil (virgin 76 degree) every single night on my arms faithfully. Coconut oil has been used for many years to naturally treat various skin conditions, and it truly has helped my Keratosis Pilaris. With the coconut oil, I also used the recipe I am going to share with you today. The salicylic acid from the berries helps, in my case, to treat the Keratosis Pilaris naturally. Again, I am not a doctor and your results may not be the same as mine.

I use this messy mask often. I have battled Keratosis Pilaris (those pesky little red bumps on the backs of the arms for me...on arms, legs and other areas for many as well) for more than 10 years. KP is caused by the skin producing too much keratin, which ten traps the hair follciles in the pores. Even though KP is a harmless condition, I know from my own experience that it can cause self esteem issues. Before I had my KP under control I wouldn't wear sleeveless shirts. Sometimes I would be asked, "Did you know you have a rash on the back of your arms?"



I went to my dermatologist years back who told me to apply Am Lactin or Lac Hydrin. Neither worked well and smelled heavily of ammonia. She advised me to avoid mechanical scrubs, as they would only further aggravate the problem and cause scratching and bleeding. This was very true in my case. Once I stopped trying to scrub away a skin problem that cannot be scrubbed away, the redness did tame a bit.


I found great help in Paula Begoun's 2% BHA and her AHA products. When used together faithfully, my keratosis pilaris diminished by about 80% in a couple of months. While I am thankful to have found relief, I am not crazy about the ingredients in either product. Both contain potentially irritating ingredients and parabens and are full of silicones. *See note about changes to the Paula's Choice formula up in my 1st paragraph.


Stopping my Paula's Choice regimen was hard because that meant I had to find other avenues of treating a skin condition that never really is cured if you stop treating it.

So let's make my messy berry mask! Please note that it is a very thin and frothy mixture. Many recipes are more like a paste because they contain cornstarch or baking soda. I find that neither are necessary and can be a bit harsh on your skin. Even though it's a bit messy, it is very effective!


You will need the following ingredients:

*3 medium sized strawberries (rinsed)
*1 egg white
*2 teaspoons of your favorite honey

Step 1: Put your honey in a bowl. Add the egg white and mix it with the honey.


Step 2: Mash strawberries with a fork or chop in your food processor. I also add the leaves for added vitamin C. Mixture will appear slightly frothy.


Step 3: Since this is so messy, I brush the mixture on to my skin. Leave on 15 minutes and rinse with warm water.


The mask works especially well on oily skin. I use it on my face a couple of times a week in the summer when my skin is more on the oily side. As I said earlier, I use this faithfully several times a week on my KP and use it in conjunction with coconut oil. I never scrub the area, and I follow with a fragrance-free goat's milk lotion, because I find that the natural lactic acid in the milk also helps! You need to keep up with this on a regular basis, as Keratosis Pilaris is a chronic condition.



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

{oranges}



Tiny glass earrings in orange from Kristin Perkins
$26


Citrus spray from b. noel Aromatics
$6



Clutch from Gracey Bags
$38



Candle holder from Buffalo's Valley Kat Designs
$4



Blood Orange Jam from Lemon Bird Handmade Jams
$8



 Tropical Fruit Coconut soap from Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap contains orange essential oil. I have a feeling I'll be ordering this one very soon!

$5.50



Filigree ring with orange mum from Loubird Handmade
$14



What gorgeous earrings from Ronnie at My Three Jewels!
$29.99



Clay mug from PattyMara
$42


Organic cotton baby crib quilt from Sewn Natural
$120

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Skin Care Review

{emergin c pomegranate toner: ouch!}




One of the perks I have here at C & G is the fact that I have an opportunity to try all sorts of products that I may not otherwise have purchased for myself. 

Some of these products have been amazing to try and with great results. Others have been what I would classify as duds.

A couple of weeks back, I was sent a new to me product for review called Emergin C Pomegranate Toner. I like toners this time of year. Since I no longer make my own, I have been using the Thayer's Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner.

I always opt for something without alcohol, as it is highly drying and irritating to almost everyone. It simply isn't a healthful ingredient to put in skin care, not even for those with the oiliest of skin types.

When I opened the Pomegranate Toner, I was struck by the strong aroma of alcohol mixed with what smelled like Hi C Orange drink--that artificial orange.

This is odd to me because there is no fragrance listed in the ingredients listing, however, the scent is obvious.

I pressed the top to dispense the toner onto a cotton ball and applied the toner to my face. I was apprehensive because of the alcohol and sure enough, my skin started to burn.

The drying, sore feeling I experienced reminded me of what happened when I used the alcohol-laden Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2  many years ago. It was not a pleasant feeling.

Right after using this, my skin also felt uncomfortably tight. It looked dry. I moisturized as normal afterward, but my skin simply did not look or feel its best.

In the interest of fairness, I used this toner 4 more times, although on alternate days. I did this because the EmerginC website states, "If skin feels excessively dry, use less frequently."  Each time, I had the same result.

This is because of the Alcohol Denat., which is denatured alcohol. This is an extremely harsh solvent.

What bothers me greatly about this product is the fact that consumers will see the claims on site and think that because green tea, pomegranate, and natural fruit acids are present, that it will be a skin nourishing choice for the skin. It is anything but. Water, butylene glycol, and alcohol are the first three ingredients.

In addition, the price point is extremely high when you consider the top ingredients used. 

The toner sells for $30 for 8.1 ounces.

My biggest gripe, though, is that the FDA requires companies to put a warning label on all products containing alpha hydroxy acids if they do not also include a sunscreen.  The reason for this is because the acids make skin more photosensitive. Companies need to put a "sunburn warning" on the label. There is nothing with this warning on the bottle of toner, and with the acids and retinol present, this will definitely make your skin much more prone to burning.


I try to find positives in every product I review. If this product were alcohol-free, I think I would feel more positive about it. I also would be much more positive about this product if the company had been more responsible with issuing a sunburn warning, as required by the FDA. Unfortunately, as is, I cannot recommend this product.


Dicslosure Statement: This product was sent to me at no cost for review. I did not purchase this. All opinions are my own and the fact that this was free in no way has influenced this review.

Monday, May 24, 2010

{lazy afternoon musings}

Nick is in school until 3 and I still have about 25 minutes before I need to pick Benjamin up. I've had a lazy afternoon. 

I went over to Ulta  after I dropped Ben off because I needed to get some more Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I do not like the ingredients in this, nor do I use it for its intended purpose--on my legs--but it works well at covering my Keratosis Pilaris on my upper arms. 





I have battled Keratosis Pilaris (it looks like red "goosebumps" on the skin) for many years and some years beta hydroxy acids take care of it, other years a simple mask of strawberries and coconut oil helps. A mask of crushed aspirin used to also help, but this year it is back full force and still visible. I've gone to the dermatologist and tried so many different products. It takes several weeks for them to work and it's been hot, so I need to cover them because it makes me so self conscious.

Anyway, the Airbrush Legs works really well for that.

After I left Ulta, I had this intense craving for dark chocolate and coffee. Hey, it happens to the best of us. My friend who hails from Poland, Magdalena, told me before about European chocolate at Aldi being among the best she's ever had. I was driving by the Aldi in Webster and decided to try it out.





For $0.89, I bought a delicious 3.5 ounce dark chocolate bar from Germany. It's a brand called Schogetten and easily breaks into squares. Magdalena prefers the milk chocolate. I am partial to dark. Anyway, one square was all it took to tell me I'll be headed back for more of these at Aldi.





I then decided to take care of my iced coffee craving by going to Dunkin Donuts for an Iced Dunkin Dark with some skim milk. It is heavenly. I much prefer Tim Hortons to Dunkin Donuts when it comes to hot coffee, but DD has TH beat in the iced coffee department with their newer dark roast.

I've been nibbling on chocolate and sipping my iced coffee just enjoying a lazy afternoon.

I also just got a shipping notification in my inbox from Everyday Minerals. This morning after I posted the review on EM products, I ordered a few things. I typically place two larger makeup orders each year--late spring and in the fall. 


This time of year, my skin is in the normal to combination range, while it is quite dry in the fall and winter. 

I placed an order this morning and a couple hours later, it had already been shipped. How cool is that?

Something I also love is that Everyday Minerals has a perks program. If you order 5-11 items, they take 25% off your order. I ordered 6 things and, with shipping, it was $53. All of these are the full sized products, too!






Here is what I ordered:


Multi Intensive Concealer & Eye Primer (I use it to keep my eye shadow in place all day long in the summer)


Aussie Perk Me Up Concealer (I think this will be great for the inner corners of my eyes this allergy season)


Intensive Foundation in Winged Butter


Finishing Dust


Everyday Bronzer (I like this for the tops of my shoulders)


At the Zoo collection (with the 25% off the other items, this was basically free!)





My order will be here in a few short days and I cannot wait to try the new items out, as well as have my summer favorites replenished.


I've had a great day today and hope you are as well!

Makeup Monday

{coral glow}

I have been a fan of Everyday Minerals for quite some time. I really like their Intensive formula foundation and their Finishing Dust. Their blushes are sublime, as are their brushes. You also won't get a better value than you do with Everyday Minerals. You may remember me mentioning a great assortment I ordered from the company last fall in this post


In Saturday's mail, I was really excited to receive two brand new products from Everyday Minerals for me to test out for the blog. I was sent a Lippie in a shade called Enough Talk, Kiss Me! and a 2-in-1 bronzer/blush compact called Hiking Everest in Heels. The two items can be found in EM's On the Reef Coral Collection, which includes 12 makeup items and a canvas tote for only $34.

Seriously--12 summer makeup items for $34. What a deal. The one thing I love about this line besides the stellar quality is the fact that the price point is so competitive. Single items sell for $12 or less. The various kits they offer are always a wonderful deal as well.

On with my review...


Let's start with the summer lip color. The shade is  really the ideal everyday shade for this time of year. It's a radiant soft coral shimmer with a bit of pink, so it can be used by everyone. I usually do not do corals because blue undertones suit me the best, but this really is a neutral shade. If you normally wear a tinted lip balm or just a hint of color to add that pop in the summer, this will be right up your alley. 

Yesterday, I was outdoors all day planting some herbs and flowers and just had on my sunscreen, mascara, and a bit of concealer. Instead of my normal lip color, I applied this in the morning. It lasted through my morning coffee and faded gradually while I sipped from my water bottle. The nourishing formula really kept my lips feeling soft and supple.

The ingredients you'll find in this line's lip products are really wonderful--sunflower, olive oil, castor oil, pomegranate, mango butter, etc. All of their lip items are also free of carmine, which is a huge plus.

While this is not a long lasting, full coverage product, it really is a beautiful formulation and the color is subtle, yet lovely and so flattering.

Even though this is a shade sold in this summer kit, you can find other shades on their site for only $4.




The second item Everyday Minerals sent me is awesome. I am all for paring down the amount of products I need. 2-in-1 formulations done properly can save time and money without sacrificing the desired effect. This product was done right.

If you have seen me in person, you know that I am very fair. I burn easily. I am not one of those people who gets a tan. When I have a bronze glow, it comes from a bottle or my makeup.

Finding a good bronzer is often a challenge for me because they come off too rusty, too orange, or just too artificial for my skin tone. I like the concept of this product. It is a silky, yet rather matte coral  pressed blush with bronzer is one compact. A sponge is included, although I actually love the result using the Everyday Minerals Domed Blush Brush ($11). I lightly blend the blush and the bronzer right in the compact with one slight sweep of the brush and then apply everywhere the sun would naturally hit.

The result is natural and subtle, but the effect is definitely buildable if you desire a more intense result.

This product is lovely. It reminds me of another product I recently was able to sample by Dior, Dior Bronze Coral Riviera. Keep in mind that the Dior product is $43 and this one is far superior in terms of the ingredients used. If you are like me and have a hard time finding a believable bronzer, I cannot say enough about this!

I am really impressed with these 2 new products. I am going to order a product from the company today, in fact. It's called At the Zoo, and it is a great collection for summer for only $12. It comes with 3 eye colors, a blush, powder, and a brush. It is pictured below.


*Dislosure: I have been a paying customer of Everyday Minerals for about 3 years and adore the line. In fact, I just ordered several new items after I wrote this piece. The two products I reviewed, though, were sent to me at no cost for review. This in no way impacted my opinions and all opinions are my own.

And the Winners Are...

Congratulations to Manny L. of Vermont, Deanna G. from Michigan, and Amanda D. from New York.


The three ladies are the winners of the May giveaway here on Chic & Green which was sponsored by Bambola Beauty. Each winner will receive Bambola's Get Acquanited Kit, which has a value of $89 and sells on their site for $75. Congratulations, ladies!

Friday, May 21, 2010

{tarts, glorious tarts}

I am sure that I have told you before about a fabulous home scent guru on eBay, Carol Wolstencroft, owner of Candles From the Keeping Room.

Carol's tarts are truly second to none and I no longer purchase my home scents from anyone else. Carol makes affordable, beautifully crafted wax tarts with the truest, most heavenly scents.

Last week, after burning a tart with hardly any scent throw (which means how far the scent carries through the house) from Yankee Candle Company, I knew it was time to order another box of tarts from Carol.

My box came earlier this week and I could not be more pleased with this order and I thought I'd share it with you this Friday afternoon.

Here's what I ordered:



*Cinnamon topped cuttable tart cake in Apple Jack & Peel ($2.95 for a whopping 4 ounces)



*Chunky muffin tart in a blend of French Crumb Cake and Mandarin Cranberry ($2.50 for 3.5 ounces)


*Caramelized Apple Praline chunky votive-style tart ($2.00 for 3 ounces)



*Sage & Citrus and Orange Juice chunky votive tart ($2.00 for 3 ounces)



*Iced cuttable tart cake in 7 Up Pound Cake ($2.95 for 4 ounces)

*Bag of 8 Lilac tarts ($4.75)


*Bag of 8 Cinnamon Bun tarts ($4.75)



First of all, these are truly the most heavenly scented tarts I have ever, ever tried. I've been buying Carol's tarts for a year or so and have never had a "dud" scent.

The prices are so reasonable as well. She offers a bag of 8 traditional tarts for $4.75. These are very similar in size to those found at Yankee Candle Company. Those are $1.99 each. I can cut Carol's traditional tarts in half and get 3 burnings from each half.





Carol also included some extras with my order. How kind! She was super generous, as always, and sent some wonderful scents:

Cinnamon Cookie Dough
Granny's Green Apple
Fruity Loops
Cookie Jar
Country Kitchen
Sage Pomegranate
Orange Strawberry Zucchini Bread


I just had to share these with you. I am burning a Lilac tart right now. I typically prefer bakery scents when it comes to candles and tarts, but the Lilac Festival is going on right now and I thought I'd get in the spirit by having the house smell like Rochester's Highland Park.


Find Candles From the Keeping Room by clicking here to get to her online shop.