Sunday, March 9, 2014

Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask #powerofplants


The Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask was one of the excellent items I received complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  

It is different from any clay mask I've used in the past for a couple of reasons:

  • It is thinner in consistency than most masks so it spreads easily and dries quickly
  • Since it is thinner, a little goes a long way so you will get MANY uses out of the tube
  • It smells really nice and doesn't have a chemical smell that other masks tend to have
  • It washed off really easily without scrubbing my skin raw
  • I felt it tightening up my skin within the first minute of having it on
  • My pores looked and felt smaller after the first use
  • It did not dry my skin out the way clay masks often do

I was skeptical when trying this that it would be just like any other clay mask - gloppy, thick, and hard to remove.  I was pleasantly surprised that this mask really was different. 

I started out by washing my face like I normally would, then applying this mask all over.  I worked quickly since it was drying almost immediately as I put it on.  I was concerned that it would drip or run since it was so thin, but it dried too fast for that.  I let it sit and do it's magic for about 10 minutes.  I then rinsed it off with just a wet washcloth.  It came off really easy, but did tint my washcloth a lovely shade of brownish green, so don't use anything light in color that you don't mind getting messed up.  After removing it, I just moisturized as usual and was all done.  My skin felt refreshed, tightened, and amazing!!

My personal recommendation is to not use this mask on super dry skin since it is designed to reduce oil.  However, I have combination skin and masks like this work really well when applied only on my oily areas (T-zone) or if I have a breakout.  I used it all over the first time and it did not dry out my non-oily areas of my face, but I don't need to use this regularly all over.

I'm excited to add this to my weekly face routine to keep my pores small and happy.  Give it at try and let me know how you like it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Beef Noodle Skillet

A couple years ago I had a vision of a dish that combined the flavors of our typical meatloaf dinner into one meal.  Growing up, we usually had meatloaf, fried noodles, and corn.  These flavors went so well to me that I couldn't understand why we hadn't thought to make it into one dish.  While visiting my parent's house, I decided to try it out.  While describing it to my mom, she said that she was pretty sure she once had a recipe for something similar.  I dug through her recipe box and found this:

This is a really old recipe off a can of Del Monte tomatoes.  My mom had apparently made it at some point and I guess took it to an office party.  She said she was pretty sure this was before I was even born or when I was very young.  I guess I wasn't the only person with the vision of this delicious combination.

By accident, this recipe is adapted from Del Monte's Macaroni Beef Supper.

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1 can corn, drained or 1 cup of frozen corn, thawed
1 can tomatoes (whole, diced, whatever you've got)
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 package egg noodles, boiled and drained

This one is super easy, and the order of operations doesn't matter much.

Put your water on to boil for the egg noodles.  Brown the ground beef and onion until no longer pink.  Drain off the fat.  

P.S.  It's really hard to take a good photo of meat browning because of all the steam!

Add the tomatoes (break them up if whole), corn, and ketchup.  Mix to combine.

When the noodles are cooked, drain and add to the beef, corn, tomato mixture.

Stir to combine and add more ketchup if desired.  You want the noodles to be pretty moist, so you may need more ketchup if they look dry.

Scoop it right out of the skillet and serve with biscuits for a delicious meal.

The Verdict: 
I don't have a Mr. Picky Pants review for this recipe since he wasn't there to try it.  However, my parents and I both thought it tasted really delicious.  It was so easy to make, it's definitely one to keep on hand for those hectic evenings.  It's a complete meal all in one and is filling.  Give this one a shot when you just have no idea what to make.  I'll bet you have everything in your pantry.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Influenster J'Adore VoxBox

I was lucky enough to be selected for the J'Adore VoxBox from Influenster which has a hint of a Valentine's Day theme.  Read on to find out about the products included in this box.

Vaseline Men Spray Lotion - I tested this out on Mr. Picky Pants briefly the other morning, but didn't get a chance to really investigate it.  It did go on really easily and was not greasy at all.  It did have a strong, manly scent so I had to wash my hands after rubbing it on his back to avoid smelling like a dude all day.  It did not seem like it would do much for really dry skin so I need to have him test it on other areas of his body to see how it actually does in terms of moisturizing.

Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates - I'm not sure if there are people out there that have never tried Hershey's Kisses, but I was happy to give them a try for the billionth time.  The bag that was sent was the family size (score!) and it was in the pretty Valentine's pink and red colors.  I've definitely been enjoying popping a few in my mouth when that chocolate craving hits in the evening.

KISS Looks So Natural Lashes - I have not worn false eyelashes since I was a ballet dancer years ago, so I don't have much to compare these to.  I have not put them on since I haven't really left the hibernation of my house recently, but I will definitely test them out at some point.  Just looking at them, they do look like natural eyelashes.  They have what's called Tapered End Technology that gives them that natural look rather than the blunt end that looks fake.  Seems logical to me.

Red Rose Simply Indulgent Teas - There are 4 flavors of tea in the Simply Indulgent line and I ended up with 3 bags of the Creme Caramel and 1 of the Lemon Chiffon.  I'm not complaining, but I really would have liked to try Cinnamon Streusel and Peach Cobbler.  I guess that's what the coupon is for.  The Creme Caramel was warm and cozy on a cold afternoon.  I haven't tried the Lemon Chiffon yet, but I can only imagine how yummy that will be.

Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight Flat Iron Spray - I do have naturally curly hair, but I have not straightened my hair in years.  I don't even really own a flat iron - at least not something I'm proud to admit I own.  I will be giving this a shot, but I don't have a ton to compare it to.  I have been impressed with Frizz Ease products in the past, so I'm sure this one will be awesome as well.

Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask - This was a pretty unique mask.  It was very thin so a little goes a long way and it dried really fast.  After washing it off, my pores looked smaller and my skin felt tighter.  It was a little drying on my skin (especially because it's winter), but it felt good.  I will definitely be continuing to use this probably on a weekly basis.

I really think this is the best VoxBox yet!  These products have been awesome so far and I am super excited to try the ones I haven't yet.

**Please note I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


This recipe is from Mr. Picky Pants' mom.  This is how she makes her spaghetti and I think it's a great way to "doctor" some jarred pasta sauce into a more robust meal.  You can use any brand of pasta sauce you like.  Just make sure it's meat-free since you're adding meat.  You can add any veggies you like or omit whatever you don't.  I like that I can alter this depending on what I have on hand and it usually tastes about the same.

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion,  diced
1 - 2 cloves garlic,  minced
1 small green pepper,  diced
1 T. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 can stewed tomatoes, diced (you can also use just diced tomatoes)
1 jar pasta sauce (marinara)
2 good handfuls of dried Spaghetti noodles

Here's how to pull it all together:

Brown ground beef until no longer pink.

While the beef is browning, dice up your onion and pepper.  I used red pepper since that's what I had.  The color of the pepper tends to only affect the sweetness.  Green pepper is a bit stronger and a little more bitter than red which is sweeter.  Use whatever peppers you have on hand.

**Tip**  You can freeze peppers for use in recipes like this.  Just cut in half and remove the seeds/stem, put in a resealable bag, and toss in the freezer for the next recipe. 

Once the meat is browned, it's up to you if you want to drain it.  If you have really lean beef, you probably don't need to.  See how much fat has accumulated and make the call for yourself and your family.  We don't normally drain this unless I'm using less than 85% fat.

Add your onion and peppers and the minced garlic.  Stir to combine and get those veggies cooking.

Add your tomatoes.  The original recipe calls for stewed tomatoes which contain onions, celery, and bell peppers.  Since these are already present in this recipe, it's not vital that you use stewed tomatoes.  Additionally, they only come as whole tomatoes which requires you to dice them up.  I'm all about cutting steps, so I've taken to using diced tomatoes.  I sometimes use the seasoned diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic, whatever I have.

Drain the juice into the meat mixture when you add the tomatoes.

Add all your seasonings at this point.  Mix it all together to combine.

Now add your pasta sauce.

Stir it all together and let it simmer for a bit to let the flavors combine. 

Cook your dried spaghetti noodles in boiling water according to the package instructions.  We use about two good handfuls of noodles for this recipe. 

Add the cooked, drained spaghetti noodles to the sauce and let simmer on the stove for about 10-15 minutes or longer.  Cover with a lid to prevent splattering.  

This is even better the next day, so don't stress about making too much.  It's even better if you make it in the morning and put it in the fridge and then pull it out and heat it up on the stove for dinner.  Yum!

The Verdict:

Mr.  Picky Pants loves this.  Since he grew up with it, it's one of his comfort foods.  He's even capable of making this himself (though it's a bit of a production).  This is definitely something we have often.  Overall it's a pretty healthy recipe...until you eat an entire loaf of garlic bread yourself.  But we don't talk about that.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Influenster - Violet Vox Box

Not the best photo - click on the links below for more information on each product.
This post is not food related, but it is about something exciting.  As a member of Influenster, I was selected to test out some products for the Violet Vox Box.  This is the second Vox Box I've gotten to review and I'm really excited to test out these products.

Included in this box is:

Goody Athletique Headband - This is an awesome headband that's designed for keeping your hair back and absorbing sweat while working out.  However, since chopping all my hair off, I've been struggling to keep my hair out of my eyes when doing other things.  I found this to be extremely helpful when baking Christmas cookies this year.  It did not budge the entire time!  I honestly cannot say that for any other headband I've tried.

Sally Hansen New Triple Shine in Sparks Fly - Wow!  What a gorgeous color for the holidays!  I've been working on getting my nails back in shape, so this is extra incentive!

SoyJoy Banana Bar - One word - YUM!  I loved the idea to zap it in the microwave for 8-10 seconds to get a fresh baked tasting treat.

Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spas Pulped Pomegranate Red Earth Clay Spa Mask - I haven't tried this yet, but I'm excited to test it out.  It sounds really refreshing and fun!

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo - I also haven't had the chance to try this and with my naturally curly hair, I'm not the best candidate to test this out.  My hair kind of likes some extra oil and dirt in it to look it's best (TMI - I know). 

I am so excited to be a part of this program and to try out these great products.  Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these products and what your thoughts are.

**Please note I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.