Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's 100 degrees outside, but Xander is either laying in the sun or snuggled up in a big, warm afghan. Silly kitty...

Monday's Meal - Do-It-All Marinade

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gus & I really like a good marinade, so when i saw this recipe in one of the issues of "All You", I knew it would be one we would use a lot.

Do-It-All Marinade
Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: 2.5 cups
Cost per serving: $0.25

3/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. Worchestershire sauce
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP. lemon juice
2 TBSP. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 TBSP. finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together. Pour marinade over chicken, steak, or pork; cover and chill meat for at least 5 hours. remove meat from marinade, discarding marinade. Pat meat dry and cook as desired.

PER SERVING (2 TBSP): 82 cal, 8g fat (1g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 0g fiber, 0g protein, 2g carbs, 43.1mg sodium

My notes: I used this on salmon - yummy!! I put the salmon in a gallon-size ziploc bag & poured about 1/2 c. of the marinade over it. Then I just zipped it up & popped it in the fridge with the fleshy part of the fish face-down in the marinade. No mess - no fuss - no clean-up - and my hands never touched the salmon! I let it marinate for about 5 hours (I know you're only supposed to marinate salmon about a half hour, but that doesn't give it enough flavor for us), then Gus grilled it. Absolutely delicious!! Even Buddy loved it.

I stored the rest of the marinade in a bottle in the fridge. I figure it should be good for at least a week, maybe two. I have some pork & chicken, so I plan to try the marinade on that as well.

Facial Moisturizer Reviews

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I've tried several facial moisturizers recently - some were anti-aging, some were just "plain" moisturizers - so I'm going to share my thoughts on each. I don't usually use a moisturizer on my face (other than I Feel Pretty's Pretty Pearlfection Facial Lotion), but some of these were really nice.

Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum
Pros: thin, clear serum with a nice consistency, absorbs quickly & completely, no discernible fragrance
Cons: Very pricey; comes in a dropper bottle (I would have preferred some type of pump bottle that didn't expose the product to air - especially at this price level.)
Repurchase? No - mostly due to price
Price: 1 oz. - $95
Ingredients: Water/Eau (Aqua), Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Niacinamide, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Tetrapeptide-21, Beta-Glucan, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Malus Domestica Fruit (Apple) Cell Culture Extract, Inula Crithmoide Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Leaf/Stem Extract, Glucosamine HCL, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Ergothioneine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Sorbitol, Xanthan Gum,  Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Ceteareth-20, Sclerotium Gum, Propanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol, Benzoic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Citral, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol.
Product description from the Algenist website: "A smooth, advanced anti-aging serum formulated with a high concentration of the revolutionary ingredient alguronic acid to rebuild skin firmness and elasticity while restoring skin density and elasticity. Wrinkles are minimized and skin radiance is boosted."
Note: I used this for almost two weeks & I don't think I saw any difference. Maybe someone who wasn't already using anti-aging products would see a difference. For the price of the product, I would've liked to have seen some change within 2 weeks.

Boscia Recharging Night Moisture Cream
Pros: this is probably a good moisturizer for those who require a thicker, more moisturizing cream
Cons: smells like ashes/charcoal, too thick/greasy for me (and probably for those who tend to be oily or prone to breakouts)
Repurchase? No
Price: 1.4 oz. - $44
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Squalane, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium (Willowherb) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Ampelopsis Grossedentata Extract, Phytosterol, Glycogen, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa (Peony) Root Extract, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Carboxymethyl Dextran, Potassium Carbomer, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract
Product description from Boscia website: "A concentrated moisturizer that works overnight to nourish and revitalize the skin. Repairs, strengthens and improves skin elasticity and firmness."
Note: I really hate that so many of the Boscia products have that nasty ashtray smell.

DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-free Moisturizing Dew
Pros: clear, lightweight product with no fragrance, absorbs quickly & completely; comes in an airless pump bottle
Cons: may not be moisturizing enough for those with dry skin
Repurchase? Probably - this is a nice product for those who like a light moisturizer
Price: 1.67 oz. - $38
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Squalene, Beeswax, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Sodium PCA, Triethanolamine, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Allantoin, DMDM Hydantoin, Polysorbate 80, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.
Product description from DDF website: "An oil-, fragrance-, and dye-free moisturizer for all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Contains aloe vera, vitamins A, E and C, and grapeseed for comfortable hydration. Will not clog pores. Lanolin-free."
Note: This was one of my favorites. It's a very nice oil-free, fragrance-free, lightweight moisturizer that comes in an airless pump bottle & isn't outrageously priced.

L'Occitane Radiance Moisturizing Cream
Pros: none for me
Cons: thick cream that never completely absorbed, slightly medicinal fragrance, caused a lot of itching on my neck (most likely due to the fragrance)
Repurchase? No. I think this product has been discontinued, but I wouldn't buy it if I could.
Price: ?
Ingredients: I'm not going to bother typing them since the product doesn't seem to be available
Note: I really wish cosmetic companies would stop putting so much fragrance in their products. So many people have sensitivities - and this one was very heavily fragranced.

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
Pros: lightweight, white lotion-like product that absorbs quickly & completely
Cons: may not offer enough moisture for those with dry skin; it's in a jar (I wish it came in an airless pump bottle like the Truth Serum)
Repurchase? Possibly - I liked this one a lot
Price: 1.7 oz. - $45
Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Dimethicone, Stearyl Alcohol, Tribehenin, Glycerin, Steareth-20, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethiconol, Sucrose Dilaureate, Polysorbate 20, Cyclomethicone, Octyldodercanol, Xanthan Gum, Pisum Sativum (Pea Extract), Steareth-2, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fusanus Spicatus Wood Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Seed Extract, Sorbitol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Berberis Vulgaris Fruit, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Vaccinium Myrtilus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limomum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Calcium Ascorbate, Dimethyl Sulfone, Superoxide Dismutase
Product description from Ole Henriksen site: "So sheer in texture, this luxurious oil-free cream feels light and silky as it penetrates the skin and helps fade discolorations such as freckles, age spots and sun damage without the use of chemicals. Instantly nourishes and retexturizes the skin, smoothes facial lines and provides intense free radical protection to prevent further damage."
Note: This was one of my favorites - if it came in a pump bottle, I would've already bought a full-size

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster
Pros: lightweight, oil-free, orange-colored serum that applies easily & absorbs quickly; contains antioxidants; non-irritating & didn't cause breakouts; love the airless pump bottle that the full-size product comes in
Cons: I felt that it left my skin feeling slightly tacky, but it could be that I applied it too heavily (I don't think I did, but who knows?)
Repurchase? Maybe.
Price: 1 oz. - $48
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Calcium Ascorbate, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Oleth-20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Benzophenone-4, Sodium Hyaluronate, Thioctic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow 6.
Product description from Ole Henriksen site: "Like a daily vitamin for your face, this high powered vitamin C complex helps smooth out lines and wrinkles and prevents further damage. Loaded with antioxidants to fight off environmental aggressors and moisture-binding ingredients to keep your skin nourished and protected, this aromatic serum is absorbed instantly and penetrates to the deeper layers of the skin to provide long term results. Sensitive skin prone to irritation will benefit immensely from the calming properties of this oil-free serum."
Note: My skin seems to like the Ole Henriksen line of products. I will probably buy this one in the fall & use it throughout the winter months.

Monday's Meal - Boston Cream Cupcakes

Monday, July 18, 2011

I love sweets. They make me smile - and they taste oh-so-good. Boston Cream Pie has always been one of my favorite desserts, but I rarely indulge. And since the doctor has put the kibosh on my fat, sugar, & starch intake, I haven't had many sweets at all. Sigh.

I found this yummy-looking recipe for Boston Cream Cupcakes on the Hungry Girl website - and since they're fairly low in fat, sugars, & carbs, I thought I'd give them a try.

Hungry Girl's Boston Cream Cupcakes
(click here for a printable copy of the original recipe)

Half of an 18.25-oz. box (about 1 3/4 cups) moist-style yellow cake mix
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
3 tbsp. chocolate frosting, room temperature
2 tbsp. light chocolate syrup
One 60-calorie sugar-free Jello vanilla pudding snack 
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda or Truvia)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups and/or spray with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, egg substitute, and 1/2 cup water. Whisk thoroughly. Evenly distribute mixture among the cups of the muffin pan.

Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 - 22 minutes.

Allow cupcakes to completely cool. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chocolate frosting with chocolate syrup and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

Once cupcakes have cooled, use a knife or narrow spoon handle to create a small centered hole through the top of each cupcake, stopping about midway through the cupcakes. Set aside.

Open pudding cup and stir in vanilla extract and sweetener. Place pudding in one of the bottom corners of a sealable plastic bag. Remove air and seal. Snip off a small part of that corner with scissors.

Gently squeeze the bag and evenly pipe pudding through the hole in the bag's corner and into the holes in the cupcakes.

Evenly spread frosting-syrup mixture over the cupcakes. (Don't worry if some of the pudding filling gets mixed in!)

Serve and enjoy! (Refrigerate leftovers, if you've got 'em.)


PER SERVING (1 cupcake): 114 calories, 2.5g fat, 193mg sodium, 21.5g carbs, 0g fiber, 12g sugars, 2g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*


My observations:
The cupcakes were very tasty & moist - not quite as moist as they would be if you followed the directions on the package, but still very good. They were a little more dense than usual - almost more like a poundcake (but not quite).

The pudding was really good with the vanilla & Truvia added. Unfortunately, it tended to get a bit runny after 24 hours (even refrigerated), so I recommend only making as many cupcakes as you can eat within 24 hours.

It was difficult to make an opening in the cupcake because the cake was "sticky" and wanted to stick to whatever I used to make the opening. I ended up with openings that were larger than I wanted. Next time, I won't try to save time & I'll use my frosting bag/tip to fill the cupcakes.

The frosting/glaze was tasty, but it was too runny for me. It didn't harden at all (even in the fridge), so it oozed off the top of the cupcakes & down the sides of the liners. MESSY!!! Next time, I'll make a true glaze that will harden & be less messy.

Overall, these cupcakes were really good & I will definitely make them again with a little tweaking!

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer

Friday, July 15, 2011

How many disappointing products have you tried in your search for the perfect concealer? If you're like me, it's way more than you expected - and you're tired of looking. Well, look no further!!

I read about Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer somewhere - and it had really good reviews. I've been wanting to try it for awhile now, but that would involve a trip to Sephora to get samples - and I always seem to forget.

Luckily, an Ulta recently opened about 5 miles from my house - and they carry Amazing Cosmetics. Gus & I stopped in there the other day to take advantage of the $7.99 Shaper hairspray deal, and while I was there, I asked for a sample of the Amazing Concealer. A salesperson helped me determine that Medium Beige was most likely the best color match, and she gave me a generous sample to take home. (There are 10 different shades.)

This stuff is truly AMAZING!! I love it! It has a wonderful consistency, is easy to apply, and offers great coverage. And you only need to use a tiny amount! They gave me about a teaspoon of product - I've used it for a week and I haven't even made a dent in the sample. I apply with a small concealer brush.)

This stuff stays in place all day long - even when I'm cleaning the house or exercising. It doesn't separate at all - it really is unnoticeable except for the fact that it has completely concealed whatever you were trying to conceal. Skin just looks like perfect skin.

Pros: great consistency, easy to apply, waterproof, no creasing, lasts until you remove it with cleanser, a tiny amount gives great coverage, doesn't look "cakey" under powder
Cons: ? - I can't think of any. Price may be a factor for some, but the smaller tube is affordable & should last a long time.
Repurchase? Yes - ASAP!!
Ingredients: Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Lanolin Oil, Ozokerite, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Cucumbar Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol. May contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI77492)
Price: $28 for 0.2 oz., $42 for 0.5 oz.
Note: I was a little concerned about breakouts when I saw the first three ingredients, but so far, I haven't had any problems. If I do have issues down the road, I will update this review. Also - when the salesperson tried the Medium Beige concealer on my skin, I felt it was a little too light - but the darker ones seemed to have too much peach in them. After trying it for a week, the Medium Beige is definitely the right shade - so be sure to try the product for a few days before deciding on a color.

More summer movies...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gus & I have seen a couple more summer movies - and we loved both of them!

Bad Teacher - Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Lucy Punch, Justin Timberlake
Mwahaha!! Sooo funny!! Absolutely wrong in so many ways, but hysterically funny!! I'm not usually a Cameron Diaz fan, but she's great in this movie - definitely reminds me of her in There's Something About Mary. And I just love Justin Timberlake!! I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Horrible Bosses - Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sedeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx
Oh my gosh - this movie is HILARIOUS!!! We never stopped laughing. We loved Bridesmaids, but this was even better. You have to see this movie!!! Definitely 5 out of 5 stars!!

Monday's Meal - Pork Chops Stuffed w/ Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Spinach

Monday, July 11, 2011

I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this and it looked soooo good, I had to try it. Trust me, it was delicious!! And the filling is great with chicken as well as pork!!

Pork Chops Stuffed w/ Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Spinach
(from Giada De Laurentiis - see original recipe here)

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Since I'm supposed to eat fat-free as much as possible, I replaced the reduced-fat cream cheese with fat-free cream cheese. Honestly, we couldn't tell at all. The texture was still creamy & the goat cheese gives it a lot of flavor.

Another thing - if you use thicker pork or chicken, it can take a long time for the meat to cook (way more than the 4 minutes per side that the recipe states). Then when you cook it that long, the filling starts to come out. I tried opening the meat after I sliced the pocket & placing that face-down on the pan to partially cook it. That definitely helped. But I think next time I will try to use meat that is slightly thinner.

I have some pictures, but they're of chicken, not pork (I've made both and they're equally good!):

Facial Sunscreen Reviews, Part 2

Friday, July 8, 2011

Murad Essential-C Day Moisture spf 30
Pros: easy to apply, pleasant light scent, minimal sunscreen odor, contains antioxidants & anti-aging ingredients
Cons: price!, never felt like it completely absorbed, made my face feel very oily within a very short period of time
Repurchase? No
Price: $60 for 1.7 oz. (yikes!!)
Ingredients: Ensulizole 2.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octocrylene 6.0%, Titanium Dioxide 3.0%, Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Cocoglycerides, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Glyceryl Stearate, Lauryl Lactate, PEG-100 Stearate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Pelvetia Canaliculata Extract, Ectoin, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Tripleurospermum Maritima Extract, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Chitosan Ascorbate, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Zinc Gluconate, Ethyl Linoleate, Cetyl Phosphate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Eugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Red 33 (CI 17200).
Note: I have tried this product in the past and note that after a couple of months, the product smelled "off". I don't know what the shelf-life is, but the cost is pretty high to have the product smell bad after a couple of months. I stored the product away from heat & light, so that wasn't an issue.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion, spf 60

Pros: watery consistency (some may find that a "con"), easy to apply, absorbs quickly & completely, leaves face feeling & looking matte, price isn't prohibitive, very faint floral scent that is pleasant & dissipates quickly, absolutely no oiliness - even after several hours & exercising, contains antioxidants
Cons: I honestly can't think of any
Repurchase? Yes
Price: $39 for 3.3 oz.
Ingredients: Water, Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, Dimethicone Copolyol, Dextrin Palmitate, Xylitol, Methyl Gluceth-10, Glutathione, Zinc Myristate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Thiotaurine, Scutellaria Baicalensis Extract, Ectoin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Isostearic Acid, Stearic Acid Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica, Alcohol, Trisodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide.
Note: I think this is a great product. It's very similar to Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock spf 70 - and the Shiseido actually costs a little less per oz. than the Neutrogena!

Link to Facial Sunscreen Reviews, Part 1

So which are my favorites?
1) Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion, spf 60
2) Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion spf 30

If I was buying a drugstore brand facial sunscreen, it would be:
1) Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock spf 70
2) Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, spf 100
(Although I'm guessing they'll be changing the names within the next year in order to be compliant with the new FDA regulations.)

Fortune cookie...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hmmm. A party where strange customs prevail? 
I don't know whether to be excited or scared!!

Facial Sunscreen Reviews, Part 1

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I promised I would review the facial moisturizers with SPF (and one sunless tanning product) that came in the Sun Safety kit I got from Sephora, so here it is!! I've tried all but 2 of the products, so the final two will be in a separate post.

Smashbox Photo Finish UVA/UVB spf 15 w/ Dermaxyl Complex
Pros: easy to apply, absorbs quickly, essentially fragrance-free, gives skin a flawless finish
Cons: as with the original Photo Finish, this product makes my face an absolute oilslick within a couple of hours, price
Repurchase? No, no, no. I can't tolerate an oilslick on my face.
Price: $42 for 1 oz.
Ingredients: Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate) 7.5%, Octisalate (Ethylhexyl Salicylate) 5%, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether, Ethyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cola Acuminata Seed Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tribehenin, Ceramide 2, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Water (Aqua, Eau), Ethyl Trisiloxane, Caprylyl Methicone, Methicone, Silica, Silica Silylate, Hexylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Philosophy hope oil-free spf 30
Pros: easy to apply, absorbs quickly & well, just a faint sunscreen odor that dissipates quickly; a slightly thicker lotion/cream that may offer a little more moisture for those who need it
Cons: after a couple of hours, my face was pretty oily - not as much as with the Smashbox, but still oilier than I would like
Repurchase? I would love a product like this for my body but not for my face. They do have a face & body sunscreen w/ spf 30 & antioxidants called "Shelter" - I think I'd like to try that for my body.
Price: $38 for 2 oz. (the price for "Shelter" is $25 for 4 oz.)
Ingredients: Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (3.75%), Oxybenzone (4.0%), Zinc Oxide (4.53%). Inactives: Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dibutyl Adipate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Glycerin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Behenyl Alcohol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Dimethicone, Behenoxy Dimethicone, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Beta-Glucan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder, Arachidyl Glucoside, Maltodextrin, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Arginine, Benzyl Alcohol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Disodium Edta, Citric Acid.

DDF Mattifying Oil Control UV Moisturizer spf 15
Pros: applies easily, absorbs quickly & well, very faint sunscreen odor that dissipates in a short time, lightweight lotion with a nice consistency
Cons: my face was really oily after a couple of hours, price
Repurchase? I really wanted to like this one, but because of the oil problem, I wouldn't repurchase. Something like this for the body would be awesome.
Price: $42 for 1.7 oz.
Ingredients: Octisalate 4%, Avobenzone 2%, Octocrylene 1.25%, Enzulizole 1%, Dimethicone, Triethanolamine, Isopropyl Isostearate, Pentylene Glycol, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Propylene Glycol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Lactic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Silica Dimethicone Silylate, Stearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dimethiconol, Peg-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Disodium Edta, Peg-4 Laurate, Peg-4 Dilaurate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Peg-4, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Trideceth-9, Sodium Benzoate, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Boscia Oil-free Daily Hydration spf 15
Pros: applies easily, very thin, lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly & well, no sunscreen odor, took 3-4 hours for my face to show signs of oiliness
Cons: has a fragrance that reminds me of charcoal or ashes (eventually dissipates, but it makes me want to gag when I first put it on)
Repurchase? I would definitely buy this one if it wasn't for the fragrance. Every Boscia moisturizer I've tried has this odor & I find it pretty offensive. Who wants to smell like an ashtray?
Price: $36 for 1.4 oz.
Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract, Bishydroxyethyl Biscetyl Malonamide, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hydrogenated Rapeseed Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sclerotium Gum, Aluminum Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide.

Supergoop Everyday Face & Body Lotion spf 30
Pros: slightly thicker lotion that is easy to apply, faint sunscreen odor, price
Cons: have to work a bit to get this one rubbed in, takes longer to absorb, made my face pretty oily after a couple of hours
Repurchase? No
Price: $14 for 1.6 oz.
Ingredients: Homosalate (Sunscreen) 10%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 5%, Avobenzone 3%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer (Waterproofing), Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate (Sunscreen Stabilizer), Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Stearic Acid (Plant Derived), , Phospholipids, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Glyceryl Stearate (Plant Derived), Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Carbomer, Behenyl Alcohol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Glycerin (Plant Derived), Ethylhexylglycerin (Plant Derived Preservative), Polysilicone-15, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate
Note: They now have Save Face Serum spf 30 with Uniprotect - it's a lightweight antiaging serum with spf. I would love to try it!! My one concern is whether it would be possible to apply enough of the product to protect without it leaving a weird "film" on the skin (sometimes that makes it hard to apply foundation). $32 for 1.7 oz. - comes in a nifty airless pump bottle.

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion spf 30 (oil-free)
Pros: easy to apply, absorbs quickly & well, includes anti-aging ingredients, fragrance-free w/ a very, very faint sunscreen odor that dissipates quickly, lightweight lotion with almost a thick mousse-like consistency, cool pump bottle, left my face no more oily than it would normally be after a few hours 
Cons: price
Repurchase: Probably, but I wish it wasn't so expensive!
Price: $42 for 1.7 oz.
Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5.0%, Meradimate 5.0%, Oxybenzone 3.5%, Avobenzone 1.0%, Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Stearic Acid, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Phospholipids, Ceramide 3, Dimethicone, Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Allantoin, Cetyl Alcohol, Tetrasodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben.
Note: I really, really, really want to try the PTR Uber-Dry Sunscreen spf 30!! $26 for 4.2 oz. - I may buy this one to take on vacation in October. There is also Ultra Lite Oil-free Sunblock spf 30, $26 for 4 oz. and Un-Wrinkle Makeup-Less Chemical-Free spf 30 Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer, $48 for 1.3 oz. I need to go to Sephora & see if I can get samples!

(picture from sephora.com)

Tan Towel
Pros: very handy, single-use product, citrus-scent
Cons: I had a lot of difficulty getting this product to glide smoothly over my skin - it kept getting "stuck" and my hand would slip off it and I would have to go back & pick it up. It was very annoying & I was afraid that I would get uneven color, so I ended up going over all areas with another sunless tanning product. I later noticed that the product also contains erythrulose (another self-tanning ingredient) in addition to DHA - and erythrulose & I don't get along well. When I use erythrulose, I get funky fading - not good.
Repurchase? I don't think so - although I wish it had worked because it would be great for travel.
Price: $27 (med-dark) for either 5 full-size towelettes or 10 half-size towelettes; $24 (fair-med) for either 5 full-size towelettes or 10 half-size towelettes
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Ethoxydiglycol, Dihydroxyacetone, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Erythrulose, Sodium Metabisulfite, Fragrance (Parfum), Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea
Note: I had a difficult time using the full-size towelette, so I ended up cutting it in half, which made it easier to handle.

Link to Facial Sunscreen Reviews, Part 2

Monday's Meal - Exploding Chicken Taquitos

Monday, July 4, 2011

Love this recipe from Hungry Girl!!

Exploding Chicken Taquitos
(copied from Hungry Girl - see the original recipe here)

8 small (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas
One 9.75-oz. (or 10-oz.) can 98% fat-free chunk white chicken breast in water, drained well
1/2 cup salsa
1/3 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. dry taco seasoning mix
Optional: red enchilada sauce, additional salsa, fat-free sour cream, for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and salsa, and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Remove chicken mixture from the fridge, and drain any excess liquid. Add cheese and taco seasoning, and mix to combine. This is your filling. Set aside.

Prepare a baking sheet by spraying with nonstick spray, and set it aside.

Dampen two paper towels, and place tortillas between them. Microwave for about 1 minute, until tortillas are warm and pliable.

Take one tortilla (keep the rest between the paper towels), spray both sides lightly with nonstick spray, and lay it flat on a clean dry surface. Spoon about 2 heaping tbsp. of filling onto the tortilla. Spread it evenly across the entire surface, and roll tortilla up tightly, so that you have a cigar-shaped tube. Secure with toothpicks and place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Bake for 14 - 16 minutes, until crispy. Allow taquitos to cool for 5 minutes. If you like, dunk in enchilada sauce, salsa, or sour cream!


Serving Size: 2 taquitos
Calories: 197
Fat: 2.5g
Sodium: 594mg
Carbs: 22.5g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 20.5g

POINTS® value 4

The first time I made the recipe, I followed it exactly. We found it to be a little "bland". So the second time I made it, I made a couple of changes. Instead of a 1/2 c. of salsa, I used 1/2 c. of taco sauce - and 1/2 tsp. instead of 1/4 tsp. dry taco seasoning. We found this to be more to our taste, but I will probably add a little more seasoning next time. I will also double the recipe since everyone likes it!

This is really quick & easy to make - and it's a night light meal for warm weather. If you're using them as a meal, you'll probably want more than two - or you'll want to also have a salad and/or some refried beans. I think the filling would also be good in a tostado shell taco salad.

Love thy neighbor...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Yeah, right. It's difficult to love your neighbors when you have neighbors like mine. Well, it's mostly one family that's annoying...

A couple of years ago, they planted 5 pine trees near our fence line. No problem - they want some privacy - so do we!! It was fine the first year. They weren't the loveliest pine trees around, but I could deal with it.

Here are the pine trees this year:

Not very nice, right? Well, let's take a closer look:

Yep, that's right. Not only are the trees dead, but they have massive weeds growing under, around, & up through them. I think perhaps they plan to use the trees as a base for topiaries. I can only hope, because that is definitely the lesser of all of the possible evils.

These people have hot tub parties and play the music so loud that we can hear it inside our house with all of the windows closed - at 2:00 am. Hey, I like to party with my cool neighbors (the ones who live in our cul-de-sac), but we don't disturb everyone else & we sure aren't blasting music at 2:00 in the morning.

If you look closely at the first picture, you can see that they have patched the siding on their back porch. Unfortunately, it's nowhere close to the color of the original siding. Yet another lovely thing we get to stare at if we sit on our deck. It annoys me more than it should - but I think that's because they do so many other annoying things.

A couple of winters ago, they decided to "seal up" their back porch. Now most people would have put plastic on the inside, but not them. They put it on the outside & held it in place with 2X4's. They didn't even bother to trim the excess plastic. It just flopped in the wind. That was really pretty to look at all winter. Thank goodness they haven't done it again. Yet. Oh, please, don't let them do it again.

They have two kids - a girl around 18 months and a boy around 4. The boy is a brat and the mom likes to scream at him a lot. (I'm going to call him Bratty Boy - because he's a bratty boy, and because his mom always uses his first & middle names when she screams at him.) You can hear this inside our house with the windows closed (God forbid you should be outside while she's yelling - yikes - it's deafening). 

They have a dog that they like to tie up outside - and he likes to bark. A lot. We have a dog, too (Riley) - but if he starts barking, he has to come inside. I don't let him bother the neighbors. I caught Bratty Boy standing on our fence one day, trying to poke Riley with a stick. Riley was slobbering, barking, & going crazy like a rabid beast, but that didn't stop BB - and Mom was nowhere to be seen. I had to go out and tell BB to stop bothering Riley - and that he should always leave Riley alone because he bites. :-)

The other day, I noticed Bratty Boy in his yard playing with one of his friends. BB was swinging a golf club. Yeah. Now that's the kind of toy to give to a kid like BB. I thought to myself - he's gonna hit that other kid in the head. Where was Mom? Nowhere to be seen, as usual. A couple of minutes later, I hear crying. When I looked out the window, the other kid was crying, & BB's mom was screaming at the top of her lungs. Again. Guess what happened? Luckily, the other kids seemed to be okay.

I wanna love my neighbors, but they sure do make it difficult!!! Argh!!!