Reviews You Can Use: Pure Silk Shaving Cream

20140704_110743Okay ladies, if you’re like me, you don’t waste your time with shaving cream. Why buy something extra when you can easily shave with a good body wash? I’m a shower shaver, if you’re not, I encourage you to look into it. The steam of the shower creates the perfect condition for a close shave. Plus, who has time to deal with the hassle of trying to shave in the sink?

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So, being someone who doesn’t purchase shaving cream (although I have been known to sneak my husband’s from time to time…) I was a little skeptical about trying the Pure Silk Shaving Cream I received from Influenster for testing. I’ll admit I left it in the box for a while before finally testing it out. How did I use it?

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Sorry Britney, I’m not convinced. No, I went old school and took it to the legs. Unlike some other women’s shaving creams that come out a gel until you move them around, this one comes out the can as foam ready to go. That’s fairly fun because who can resist creating shaving cream animals? No, you can? Really? Okay…moving on…

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The shaving cream worked really well, allowing me to get a nice clean shave while also moisturizing my skin. It wasn’t super messy either and had a great raspberry scent. Bottom line, I could live with it, but let’s be honest–I’m cheap and probably won’t justify the cost just for the raspberry scent, but you might. Try it out and see what you think. You may love it.

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I received this item free from Influenster for testing purposes. I was not compensated for this review.
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Baking with Buddy: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Let’s talk about fish baby, let’s talk about you and me…20140630_200759

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a huge fish fan. Really, I’m a big fan of seafood in general, but I love trying different types of fish, from the more fishy options to the less fishy options, like tuna and even, I know forgive me here, fish sticks.

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Tilapia is an easy go-to for nights when I want to eat healthy, but also have something that tastes well and isn’t complicated. My favorite tilapia recipe has to be this one from Rachel Ray:


Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia

20140630_200421Makes: 4 servings

ingredients

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)
  • lemon, cut into wedges
directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with oliveoil and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.20140630_202915

See? So easy! I actually cut the recipe down to make only two fillets and skip the lemon wedges. I use Simply Balanced fish because it’s sustainable and also I can avoid the disaster that is Fukushima seafood. I know there’s conflicting reports on that, but I’d like to err on the side of caution. I want my fish to have two eyeballs, not ten. Plus, this time, I didn’t have grated Parmesan and used shredded Parmesan instead. It worked, but the cheese browned more than the grated usually does. Also, I don’t use a foil-lined baking sheet. Instead, I use a shallow Pyrex baking dish sprayed with non-stick Pam Organic Olive Oil. Comes out perfectly. You know you want fish now…

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I do not own this recipe. This post represents my own experience and take on it.

DIY Fourth of July: Gigantic Patriotic Cookie

20140704_181919It’s here! It’s finally the fourth of July! If you’ve been following my posts, you should be all decorated. Now, you need dessert. Enter the gigantic, festive cookie! Seriously, it’s so big, it actually spilled over the sides of my pan and I’ll need to de-cookify the oven. Moving on… I used a recipe from Around My Family Table and tweaked it. Here’s the portion I used:

Giant Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie {Gluten Free/Vegan}

 1-2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, prepared as directed, but not baked

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie/pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare cookie mix according to package/recipe instructions. (You will probably need two mixes to fill the pan.) Spread cookie dough evenly in pan, pressing all the way to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes and then check every few minutes until cookies are baked and almost fully set in the middle.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Decorate with red white and blue icing
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Their recipe calls for handmade icing. I wasn’t feeling up to that so I decided to cheat and purchased Wilton icing instead. As a tip, you’ll need one tube for the blue and two tubes for the red. I found this out the hard way when I was halfway through decorating and ran out of icing.
 
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For the cookie itself, I used two boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Each box requires one stick of butter (I used Simply Balanced Organic Unsalted Butter), one egg (I used brown eggs) and one teaspoon of gluten free Vanilla (I used McCormick).
  • 20140704_162925Following the directions from the original recipe, I prepared the two boxes of cookie mix using my KitchenAid Mixer. If you don’t have one, break down and buy one. You’ll love it and, if you look hard enough, you can find them at a great price thanks to sales. I also used the KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater which actually scrapes the bowl as you mix. My parents gave me the attachment as part of a Christmas gift and I love it. I don’t have to occasionally stop the mixer to scrape the bowl.
  • Once the mix was prepared, I scooped it into my Chefmate Pizza Pan. You really have to press down on the dough and work it a bit to get it to spread out and fill the entire pan, up to the edges.20140704_163555
  • Bake your massively large cookie for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. There’s almost a little too much dough for the pan, so the cookie will spill over when it’s baking. I actually left it in the pan once it was done cooking and trimmed around the edges to make it perfectly round. It was far too heavy to try to move onto something else.
 
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  • Let the cookie cool completely before decorating. This is a perfect time to eat the pieces that you trimmed off.
 
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  • Using the blue icing, draw the square for the flag and fill it in. You can use a butter knife dipped in water to help evenly spread the icing.
  • 20140704_172654Using the white icing, draw the stripes, leaving space for the red stripes between. Also, with a star tip, add white stars to the blue square.
  • Fill in the empty space between the white stripes with red, finishing up the flag design.
  • Rejoice in your cookie talent. And, of course, eat it!

Happy fourth of July!

 
 
 
 

DIY: Fourth of July: Glittery Frames

20140627_232751I’m still counting my way down to the fabulous fourth, so here’s another festive and fun DIY project to get you in the mood for hotdogs and fireworks.

In my first post I showed you how to make a festive door hanger. Now, I’m going to show you how to make some awesomely festive glittery picture frames.

You will need:

  • Two 5×7 picture frames (I already had these thanks to a large set I purchased a few years ago at a Target Black Friday sale, but any 5×7 frames will do)
  • One piece each of red and blue glittery scrapbook paper (I found mine at AC Moore for 99 cents each, but most craft stores will have some variation on it in their scrapbook section)
  • 20140627_231242A paper cutter (I have the Fiskars 12 Inch Portable Cutter and I love it! It has rulers on both sides so you know how large the piece of paper you’re cutting is, plus guides on the cutting board itself so you can easily see if you’re creating a 5×7, 4×6, etc. As a little side tip, I had the Cricut 12 Inch cutter before purchasing the Fiskars one and it never quite worked right)
  • Glue or scrapbook paper adhesive (I like the EZ Runners. Each craft store usually has their own brand that is similar, or you can buy a two pack for $9 on Amazon. Each has about 28 feet of tape so they last a while)
  • Two 4×6 printable designs (I got mine free from Hostess with the Mostess, but there are tons out there. Just google “fourth of july printables,” design your own or search Pinterest)
  • White card stock (Amazon has a pack of 100 sheets for $9)
  • Computer and printer

Instructions:

  • Start out by printing off your chosen designs. Make sure you print them 4×6. Two should fit on one piece of card stock.
  • Using your paper cutter, carefully cut out your designs and set them aside.
  • Using your paper cutter, cut each piece of glittery paper into a 5X7 rectangle. Be sure they measure exactly 5×7 or they won’t fit in the picture frames and will require additional trimming.
  • 20140627_231535With your first design, which you’ve cut into a 4×6, center it on the 5×7 glittery rectangle. Adhere it to the rectangle using glue or scrapbook paper adhesive. I used scrapbook adhesive, running it around all of the edges of the back of the 4×6 design. It takes more than a few dots to make it stick to the glittery paper.
  • Repeat the previous step using the second 4×6 design and the second 5×7 glittery rectangle.
  • Once both designs have been attached to their glittery counterparts, open the photo frames and place each design in them. Note, the frames may need to be cleaned first with glass cleaner as new frames are sometimes fairly dirty inside.
  • Close the frames, wipe off any fingerprints on the glass and place each in the perfect location around your home.
  • Viola! Another fun, festive project complete.20140628_000727

DIY: Fourth of July: Festive Door Hanger

20140627_235727It’s almost the fourth of July! I love summer holidays. There’s just something about getting together with family and friends, snacking on a bunless hotdog (gluten free at barbecues is a challenge so you make do), and fireworks that make me excited. It also doesn’t hurt that summer is my all time favorite season. So, to gear up for the fabulous fourth, I’ve been DIYing like a crazy person. Seriously, overnight my apartment went from spring/summer-ish to patriotic passion.

I want to share some of the fun, so each day leading up the fourth I’m going to share a different festive DIY project. Up first, is this awesomesauce door hanger. I had been looking at ones in the craft stores and they just didn’t have what I was looking for. Many of them were sort of vintage patriotic and I’m not a huge fan of that, plus, they were expensive, so I made my own.

20140627_205413Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Three large wooden stars (I found mine at AC Moore for a $1 each)
  • Three small wooden stars (50 cents each at AC Moore; If you don’t have an AC Moore nearby, you can also use Amazon. They have a variety pack with both small and large for $4.90 so pretty close to what I paid)
  • One small bottle each of red and blue acrylic paint (59 cents each at AC Moore or Amazon has DecoArt acrylic paint for 99 cents each)
  • One white paint pen (I already had this from a previous project, but you can typically find them for a few dollars at a craft store or $3.99 at Amazon)
  • Patriotic ribbon (I used two different designs, both of which I found on sale at AC Moore)
  • Thumbtacks
  • 20140627_215708Aileen’s Tacky Glue (I can not say enough good things about this glue. I always have it on-hand and have used it for a wide variety of projects. Most craft stores carry it, but Amazon has the 16-ounce for $3.88 which is a great price since it’s usually closer to $7)

Instructions:

  • Start by painting the large wooden stars with a coat of blue paint. While they’re drying, paint the small stars with a coat of red paint. Put a second coat on both. Depending on your paint and your stars, a third coat may be needed. If necessary, apply a third coat and let dry.
  • Using the white paint pen, draw one letter each on the small stars (U-S-A). If necessary, trace over the letters to apply a second coat.
  • 20140627_222557When dry, apply tacky glue to the back of the U star and glue it onto the large star, placing it in the center. Repeat for the additional two letters, centering each on a separate large star.
  • Cut the first ribbon design into two even pieces. Also cut one longer piece.
  • Using the ribbon, attach one of the even pieces onto the top of the A star. Secure it with both glue and a thumbtack to the back of the star.
  • Attach the top of the same ribbon, using both glue and a thumbtack, to the back of the bottom of the S star.
  • Using the second even piece of ribbon, attach it with both glue and a thumbtack, to the back of the top of the S star.
  • 20140627_235639Attach the top of the same ribbon, using both glue and a thumbtack, to the back of the bottom of the A star.
  • With the slightly longer ribbon, attach the end, again glue and thumbtack, to the back of the top of the A star.
  • Take the top of the same ribbon and form it into a loop, attaching it to the back of the top of the A star.
  • With the second ribbon design, tie a bow through the loop to hang the hanger up. I used a 3m hook and stuck the knot of the bow through the hook part of the 3m hook.
  • Stand back and admire your patriotic masterpiece. Happy almost fourth of July you DIY diva you.