Cookies, we all know them and we all love them, but not all cookies are created equal. There is just something about sugar cookies, they have a beautiful simplicity and makes us all love them. They are one of my personal favorites, you have so much creative freedom with them. Unlike the little lumps of brown dough that make up your classic chocolate chip, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies.

have tried quite a few cutout sugar cookie recipes, but this one is by far my favorite. They are crisp, but still slightly soft in the middle and the flavor is perfect, and best of all they don’t spread at all!

The quest has been long, but I think I have finally found my perfect cut-out sugar cookie recipe!

DSC_0197DSC_0202 The main thing that makes this different from the other sugar cookies that I have made over the years, is that addition of the cream cheese, and the cornstarch. I’m also kinda obsessed with this square ruffled edge cutter, I love how uniform and elegant the finish is.


Sugar Cookies

1 Cup Cold Butter

4 Ounces Cream Cheese

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Large Egg Yolk

2 Teaspoon Almond Extract

2 3/4 Cup All-purpose Flour

1/4 Cup Cornstarch

 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Beat together the butter and cream cheese, once those two are combined add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

3. Next, add the egg yolk and the almond extract, you can definitely substitute vanilla or any other flavoring, but almond is my favorite.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low until well combined, and forms a stiff dough.6. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to be 1/4 inch thick, and cut into your desired shape. I used a square ruffle edged cutter from Wilton.

7. While you are rolling out your dough make sure it’s not sticking to the counter if it sticks it will be really hard to get your cookies to the pan without messing up the shape.

8. Place your cookies onto the prepared sheet, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are just started to change color.

9. Leave the cookies on the pan for a minute or two, then transfer onto a cooling rack.
10. Let your cookies cool completely before decorating. I was impatient so I put them in the fridge.DSC_0125DSC_0128


Royal Icing

4 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted

3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder

8–10 Tablespoons Room Temperature Water


You will need your icing to be two different stiffnesses, so start off with two cups of the powdered sugar. You want the white to be a little more on the runny side so you can dip the cookies, but it won’t all run off.
1. Mix together all of the ingredients, adding the sugar in a little at a time.

2. Once the icing is at a smooth but slightly runny consistency, remove a little more than half and place it in a shallow bowl.

3. Once the cookies are cool, dip the top of the cookie in the white icing. Make sure to let the excess icing drip off before placing the cookie back on the cooling rack.

4. Continue adding the powdered sugar to the remaining ice. It needs to be soft enough to pipe, but able to hold its shape without settling.

5. Depending on the design you are going for you will need different ratios of colored icing. I took out about a bit more than a 1/4 of the icing, and colored that pink, and colored the rest a nice leafy great.

6. I put my pink icing in a piping bag with a number 18 star tip, and my green in another piping bag with a number 5 round tip.

7. Decorate!

Once you have your cookies the way you want them, let them sit overnight before you stack them. DSC_0130DSC_0134DSC_0204

There you have it!

These cookies can really be as simple or as intricate as you want to make them, either way, they will be delicious. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

 

Gluten-Free Brownies With NibMor Chocolate         Peppermint Macaron Recipe

When I heard that Tarte Cosmetics was launching Sugar Rush I was immediately intrigued. I absolutely love Tarte but they tend to be a bit out of my everyday price range, so it’s more of a once and a while treat brand for me.

Sugar Rush is designed with Gen-Z’ers in mind, but can definitely be for everyone that loves cute, skin-loving products that don’t break the bank. Everything in the new line is under $30 and has a little bit of everything, makeup, skincare, and even a couple of fragrances.DSC_0009

I just had to try some of it out! I mean why is it cheaper then Tartes other products? How does the quality compare? I picked up one of the two palettes, one of the cream blushes, and a few minis, so now I’m excited to be sharing my thoughts with you.DSC_0043DSC_0090

The palette I choose is the Sweet Slice Eye and Cheek Palette.

The packaging is absolutely adorable, it is made of cardboard but still feels sturdy.

My main question about this palette was why it was so much cheaper then Tartes usually palettes, while I did notice that the shadow pans are a bit smaller than the pans in my other Tarte palettes but other than that I haven’t noticed any major difference.

Slice Slice Baby- A soft matte peach blush.

Just Chillin’- A pretty pearlescent cream white shadow.

Picnic– Glowy champagne colored shadow.

Just Ripe– A light pinky peach matte.

Sweet- A gorgeous rosy gold shimmer.

2 Scoops– A medium matte brown, slightly cool toned. 

Flip-Flops– A light matte tan shade.

Juicy– Beautiful dark rosy rust colored shimmer. 

Overall this is a great little palette, and I can’t get over how cute it is. All the shades in this palette are very usable for me, all very neutral and nothing too crazy.

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Next up is the Beach Cheeks Cream Blush in Beaches & Cream.

I really only use cream blushes in the summer months, they are perfect for a fresh, minimal makeup look.  They came out with two colors of cream blush, Ocean Girl, and Beaches & Cream. I opted to Beaches & Cream, it is a pretty pinky peach color.

The packaging as the same feel as the classic Tarte blushes, a very sturdy feeling plastic compact, but this one is shaped like a scallop shell.

The color is quite pink, but once its blended in it looks so nice and natural. It soaks right into the skin, more like a balm than any of the other cream blushes I’ve used before.

I’m so excited to use this more once summer rolls around.

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I picked up a few mini products as well. I thought that would be better so I could try out more products instead of just buying a couple. The first mini I got is the Sugar Coat Velvet Liquid Lipstick in Sprinkle. This lipstick comes in four shades, three that are variations of pinky nudes, and this one which is a deep berry shade.

I have never been a fan of liquid lipstick, but I have found that this one is more of a cream. It reminds me of the NYX Matte Lip Creams that I love so much, it doesn’t feel dry, it sits like velvet on your lips. Although it doesn’t have the classic staying liquid lipstick staying power, I would much rather wear these. I’m definitely going to be picking this up in a couple of the other shades soon.

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I was actually most excited by the Sugar Rush skincare products but didn’t want to commit to buying them, so I ordered the mini Don’t Hate, Hydrate Oil-Free Moisturizer. This has a very strong sweet orange scent, so if that’s not your thing then you should probably steer clear of this one.

If your like me, and you like the sweet orange, then this is a very nice little moisturizer. The texture of it, and the feel it leaves on your skin reminds me very much of the Clinique Moisture Surge. However it doesn’t seem to be the most intense moisturizer, so with my skin recovering from winter, it doesn’t quite cut it.

I think this would be perfect for someone with oily skin, who doesn’t want tons of added moisture. I think I’m going to try this again once Summer hits, that’s when my skin gets a bit oiler, and I need a lighter moisturizer.

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Tarte released two fragrances with the Sugar Rush collection, a body spray, and a rollerball perfume. I picked up a mini of the rollerball. Vacay Day Rollerball Fragrance.

This scent is said to have notes of sea spray, beach jasmine, and mandarin,  all of which you can easily find once you know that they are there. My first impression was that it smelled like jasmine and sunscreen but in the best way possible. It is a very light scent, and definitely summery, it smells with the beach.

I also ordered the Best Buds Lip Butter Balm, but it was out of stock and didn’t arrive until after I have taken the photos for this post. I will bring it up in another post here soon, but so far I’m really enjoying it.

Overall I’m very impressed with this collection, and I’m very excited to try out more from them.

I’m so excited to be sharing this post with you today! I have been seeing some of my favorite bloggers talking about their gorgeous JORD watches, so I was beyond excited when JORD reached out to me and asked me to work with them.  They are also letting me host a giveaway for you, so be sure to stick around for more information on that._DSC8604When it comes to jewelry, I tend to be more on the minimalistic side of things. I don’t really wear much on a daily basis, I will occasionally wear a necklace when I go out but I just don’t really reach for it. The one thing I do love is a stunning watch, something simple and elegant,  Something like this beautiful Cora Polaris Koa & Rose Gold Watch.   _DSC8668When my watch first arrived it was a bit big for me, I prefer my watches to fit so that they don’t twist around. I just took it to my local jeweler and he removed two links, one from each side. Now it fits perfectly.         

 

 

                            This watch is made with real Koa wood and rose gold. Swarovski crystals are set in the shape of the Little Dipper which adds that little bit of sparkle and you know how much I like sparkle. I have been wearing this watch every time I leave the house, I’m absolutely in love with it. This goes with just about everything, so making it the perfect accessory to dress up any outfit. _DSC8559

For a chance to win $100 off a JORD watch of your own, enter my giveaway here! Everyone who enters will receive 10% off just for trying!

 

*Partner

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Hello everyone!

As soon as I saw Colourpop announced this collection I knew I wanted to try it. While I’m not particularly a fan of Zoe,  I have been wanting to try more products from Colourpop, and the colors and packaging of this collection were too adorable to pass up.DSC_0165DSC_0332

The whole collection has fifteen products I only picked up five. The eyeshadow palette, a blush, one of the lip bundles, a liquid eyeshadow and of course, the Brunch Date makeup bag.

My very first impression was how adorable the packaging is IRL, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from a Zoella collaboration. The brunch theme is strong in both packaging and product names, especially in the eyeshadow palette.

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The Brunch Date Eyeshadow palette promised to be the star of the show, and it does not disappoint! Colourpop has always killed it in the eyeshadow department and this one is no exception.

For $18.00 you get 12 shadows, seven shimmers, and five mattes.DSC_0207

Champagne Toast: Is a beautiful light gold champagne shimmer shade.

Pancakes Please: A smooth antique bronze shimmer.

French Toast:  A rich, matte burgundy shadow.

Skinny Latte: Dark rose gold with silver flecks/metallic

Cinnamon Sugar: Bright copper shimmer

Mimosa:  A light matte rusty terracotta.

DSC_0223Maple Syrup: warm caramel matte.

Sundae Funday: An electric pink shimmer with silver glitter.

Sunny Side Up: Soft pinky peach.

Americano: Dark cool-toned brown.

Brunch Club: Bright cobalt blue matte.

Extra Slice: Dark chocolate brown with gold & pink glitter.

Overall, I really like this palette, all the shadows are great and the shimmers are incredibly pigmented and smooth. The mattes are great as well, but they don’t have the wow factor that the shimmers do. The only shade I can’t see myself using is Brunch Club, I learned early on that blue shadows aren’t for me.

The one thing I would add to this palette is a matte cream shade, I think every palette should have a good cream colored base shadow.DSC_0288DSC_0289DSC_0293

Pressed Powder Blush in Soul Mate $8.00

While the packaging is quite cute, I think this blush is kinda basic. It’s a very pretty light pink that goes really well with my skin tone, but is a little chalky and doesn’t have much color payoff. I feel like they also miss the opportunity to put a design in the blush itself, leaving you so open up the cute compact to see a disappointing looking matte pink disk.

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My Day One’s Lip Bundle $11.50

I love that the lip bundles come in these cute little boxes that look like tiny milk cartons! This set has the Ultra Matte liquid lipstick in the shade Little One, and the matching Lippie Pencil. I really like the color of these two, so I’m looking forward to trying them out some more. The lip pencil applies very smoothly and works so well with the liquid lipstick.DSC_0259DSC_0278

Supernova Shadow in OG $7.00
This is a lovely light champagne gold metallic with silver glitter. I have never used a liquid eyeshadow before so I’m interested to see what this one is like. Just for swatching it looks gorgeous!DSC_0328

Overall this is a really fun collection, but like I said, the eyeshadow palette is the star of the show. If you are interested in seeing a more in-depth review of any of these products let me know in my comments. I would be glad to let you know what I think after using these lovely products a little longer.

 

Complete Guide to My Favorite Makeup Products

 

What do you consider when paying a new makeup product?

Honestly, I pay way too much attention to the packaging, but that can’t be the only thing you think about when shopping. Although nowadays pretty much everybody has learned how to draw us in with the cute packaging. Really though, I tend to bear in mind three things, price, brand, and reviews.

While there are very few makeup products that I think you have to go high-end on, there are loads of drugstore brand products that perform just as well, if not better. I’m in no way a pro at this, but in my personal moderately well-informed.

I get quite a few questions about what products I would recommend,  what products I use, and what brands are the best.

I decided that I would write a full guide to all my favorite products, covering everything from primer to lip gloss, high end to drugstore.

Welcome to my Best In Makeup Guide!

 

Primer

For base products, I would highly recommend you go for something with good ingredients because foundation and primer tend to sink into your skin more then a powder would.

On the higher end of things, we have the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer $34. This one is so good if you have drier skin, as it is infused with coconut oil to boost radiance and hydration. It also gives a nice soft glow to the finished makeup look.

For a more mid-priced one, I love the Trust Fund Beauty Gimme Good Face Primer $20. This isn’t one you hear a lot about, but it’s a really good gel primer. It tops the Smashbox Photo Finish.

There aren’t as many lower priced primers that I really like. The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer $7.90 is a great one that I have reordered multiple times and I absolutely love it.

 

Foundation

If you are willing to spend a little more, the BareMinerals barePRO foundation $34 is amazing! It gives medium to high coverage, yet still looks soft and natural on your skin. They also have a range of 30 different shades, which is really good, although I am still the lightest.

For a good inexpensive foundation, you should check out The Ordinary, they make it really easy to find your color, and both their High-coverage $6.90 and their Serum foundation $6 are favorites of mine and are super affordable at under $7.

The Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation $6 is another favorite of mine, it is a great “my skin but better” light to medium coverage foundation.

 

Concealer

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect lightweight brightening concealer from the drugstore. However, when it comes the more expensive concealers there are so so many great options. My personal favorite is the Too Faced Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer $28. It’s lightweight, radiant and comfortable on the skin.

For higher coverage, I really haven’t found anything better than the Physicians Formula Conceal RX Physicians Strength Concealer for $9.99. It is awesome for covering up breakouts and scars, without looking cakey. I can’t go without this one in my collection.

 

Powder

I really have a hard time with powders, the only one I end up going back to is the Coty Airspun Powder, It has always worked really well for me. I always buy it in translucent

 

Bronzers

I don’t use a lot of bronzers, I will usually us a little contour and maybe brush a little around my forehead, but that’s about it. The Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matt Bronzer $30  is so good. The shade Milk Chocolate works really well as a contour shade for those of us with very fair skin.

My other favorite is the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer $14.99. I have it in the lightest color and it’s perfect for bronzing and light contouring.

 

Blushes

I always wear blush when I wear makeup, even sometimes when I’m not. It’s such a staple in a pale girls collection. There are so many really great blushes available from all price ranges. Most of my favorites are from the drug store, but I do have a couple of each that I love.

The Too Faced Papa Don’t Peach Blush $30 Is one of my absolute favorite blushes, it smells incredible, just like sweet peaches, and has such a beautiful golden peachy glow.

The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blushes $29 are beautiful, and they last forever. I have the shade Blushing Bride. It’s super pigmented so I only use a touch every time.

The $8.99 Milani Rose Powder Blush in Tea Rose is my favorite drugstore blush, the flower pattern makes it look beautiful. It has a lovely soft dusty rose color.

Highlighters

Depending on the highlighter you use, and how you use it, it can add the prettiest soft natural glow, or a bright statement that you can see from a mile away. I sit somewhere in the middle, I love a good strong highlighter, but I find that I tend to go for a more natural look the majority of the time.

Highlighter is the most unnecessary makeup product of all, but it’s also one of my favorites. You can have a perfectly nice makeup look without it, but with it, your look is a little bit extra, and that’s probably why I like it so much. The highlighters that I love best are the ones that are buildable so I can have that natural glow one day, and the bright shine the next, all with the same product.

My all time favorite is the Too Faced Candlelight Glow $30  It has the perfect natural looking glow with the slightest hint of shimmer. I have had this one for quite a while and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Another awesome one is the Pixi Book Of Beauty Glow Getters Highlighter Palette $24. This one is great because you get six different shades, so you can pick and choose which shade to put where. These are a bit more intense, so need to be used sparingly if you want a subtle glow. I did a full review of this palette (here)

Lastly, we have the I Heart Revolution Chocolate Elixir Glow Palette $7. I can’t rave enough about this one! There are two highlighters in the palette, pearly champagne, and a light peachy one, they are both absolutely gorgeous.

Eyeshadow Palettes

While I do have some single shadows I don’t use them very much, I prefer to work from a palette where I can have everything I need without having to dig through my makeup looking for a particular champagne shimmer.

The Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Sizzle Palette $36 is my new go-to palette. I love it for traveling because it has absolutely everything you need to get a beautiful neutral eye look, and can also be used for a bit more of a bold look as well. The shadows are so soft and beautifully pigmented.

I did a full review with swatches (here).

Another incredible one is the Morphe 350 Natural Glow Palette $24.

While there are a few shades in this palette that I don’t use very much, the quality is excellent. The mattes in this one are very nice and pigmented, but the real star of the show is the shimmers, they are absolutely gorgeous, soft and buttery.

I’m a big fan of Revolution’s eyeshadows, but the  I Heart Revolution Chocolate Vice Palette $15 is a particular favorite. It’s a great warm neutral palette, with a couple of really pretty red-orange colors. Again, the shimmers are the star, but the mattes are really good too. My favorite thing about the I Heart Revolution Chocolate palette is that they have larger pans of the light base type shades, which is awesome because those are the ones I use the most.

Eyeliner

I had a really hard time finding my perfect liquid eyeliner, but I finally found it with the Kat Von D Tattoo Liners $20, I recently repurchased it again in both Trooper Black and Max Brown. This liner has a very fine brush point, that makes it so easy to be precise, whether you and doing a wing, or a simple line.

Mascara

I am very picky with mascara and I’m still on the search for my perfect match, but I do have a couple that I have really liked.

The  Marc Jacobs Velvet noir Major Volume Mascara $25 has the perfect wand, it’s a fluffy looking hourglass shape that works so well for volumizing. If volume is what you are looking for then this mascara is for you. Just don’t wear it if you are planning on crying because water resistant it is not.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara $9  has been one of my go-to for a long time, it’s just such a good staple mascara. It is lengthening and adds definition to the lashes, for clean looking lashes.

The look that the Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara $5 is a bit on the messy side, not clumpy. It gives length, volume and a little bit of curl, and for $5 you really can’t go wrong.

Lipstick

The options for lipstick is endless! There are so many different varieties, and colors it can be really difficult to figure out which ones to get. I’m a huge fan of drugstore lipsticks, so much of my collection is from the drugstore, but I will also be talking a bit about my favorites from more expensive brands.

When it comes to peach nobody is quite like Too Faced. Their Peach Kiss Moisture Matte Long Wear Lipstick $21 not only smells amazing but they are such an intense, saturated matte that is infused with peach and fig.

The Kat Von D Studded Kiss Creme Lipsticks $20 are actually very similar to the Peach Kiss Lipsticks in both how they wear and the intensity of the pigmentation. Unlike the Peach Kiss, the Studded Kiss lipsticks are warmer toned and the smell is more like chocolate than peach.

Apparently, I love matte lipsticks because the Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipsticks $18 are another of my favorites.

 

L’Oreal Colour Riche Ultra Matte Lipsticks $10 are a bit more or a semi-matte finish, which comes from the moisturizing formula.

Not only are they are a really good price but I find the Milani Color Statement Lipstick $6 to have a very similar finish and color pay off to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipsticks.

Whenever I recommend lipstick to people I usually start off with the Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick $3.59 because they are dependably good, they are comfortable, pretty, and affordable Also, as I side not the Rimmel Lasting Finish lip liners are my one and only.

Lipgloss

Now we go from my wide range of matte lipstick to my ever-growing fondness for lipgloss. Lipgloss is the one thing that I have found that higher end brands truly do a better job at, I’m sure there are some great drugstore brand lip glosses, but there is only one that I can think of that I would ever recommend.

The Lancome Gloss In Love $27 feels so nice on, it’s hardly sticky are all, and it has a pretty little touch of shimmer. As they are more on the opaque side I only really use them as a lip topper to add a little glow.

The Too Faced Melted Latex Liquified High Shine Lipstick $21 has such an interesting formula. They apply and look like a lipgloss, but they have the coverage of a lipstick and have a pretty decent wear time for a gloss.

While the Too Faced and Lancome glosses are wonderful, BareMinerals has my loyalty when it comes to lipgloss, their  Gen Nude Buttercream Lip gloss $19, in particular, my very favorite.

Remember the one drugstore lipgloss I mentioned before? Well, the NYX Butter Gloss $5 are super, they feel like they melt onto the lips, and you can’t beat that price.

 

Well, I think that covers it!

 

Congratulations if you made it this far! If you have any questions about the products I mentioned or have a recommendation of something new I should try be sure to let me know.DSC_0047

 

Happy Friday!

I hope you have all had a great week.

It’s time for this month’s Degustabox review and unboxing.  If you are new here, Degustabox is a monthly subscription plan which contains a bunch of surprise food products. The items are selected from name brands, will contain fun flavors, and give you a new option to think about the next time you’re looking for a break in your eating routine.

DSC_0045POPCORNERS Spicy Queso $3.29 for 7oz Bag

“We made this tex-mex classic ONE BETTER with a chef-inspired medley of red and black peppercorns. The red ones are especially rare and bring intense heat to every bit.”

I absolutely love these! I have tried Popcorners before, the kettle corn ones to be exact and they were good, but I wasn’t crazy about them, these are delicious. I love the light crisp texture of the chips and the cheesy warmth from the spice.”

DSC_0062UNIQUE Sourdough Craft Beer Pretzel Rings $3.29

“A sourdough pretzel made with Unique’s high quality. We added real malted barley and a dash of hops as a tip-of-the-hat to all the brewmasters out there, inventing the original Craft Beer Pretzel.”

What can I say, these are just really good pretzels. I didn’t get very many of them because I decided to share them.

DSC_0051JUST ADD Classic Guacamole Quick Mix $1.19

“Just Add Classic Guacamole Quick Mix makes it easy to get the perfect guacamole, every time- in just minutes. Just mix with 2 avocados, and you’re ready to party”. 

I have mixed feelings about this, I really like the idea, but the garlic flavor is really strong. I think in future I would use one packet for four avocados instead of two avocados.

DSC_0057EMMY’S ORGANICS Vanilla Bean Coconut Cookies $2.49

Simple, not basic. The Combination of smooth vanilla and freshly ground almonds are a perfect pair for your daily hot beverage. 

These are so good! I  both going to be looking out for them in the store and trying to make something like them at home.

DSC_0053RAINDROPS Candy Taco $4.99

This is sure to be a favorite at your next party or as a snack to share with loved ones. Made from Raindrops delicious tasting candies, this is a one-of-a-kind taco!

I have no idea! This is definitely the weirdest thing I have gotten in a Degustabox.

I did get a good laugh out of it, but the candy in the taco was very basic gummy candy, which isn’t my thing anyway.

DSC_0068MANITOU TRADING COMPANY Truffle, Parmesan & Black Garlic Seasoning $4.49

“Our Truffle, Parmesan & Black Garlic Seasoning combines umami-rich flavors of truffles, black garlic and Parmesan cheese in a convenient, easy-to-use powder. Sprinkle over popcorn. Toss with freshly fried or roasted potatoes. Use to crust meat or seafood before grilling. Add richness to risotto or pasta dishes”. 

This sounds like a really interesting flavor, I really want to try this on popcorn, it sounds really delicious to me.

DSC_0071MANITOU TRADING COMPANY Piri Piri Sauce $2.99

“Piri Piri, Swahili for “pepper pepper” speaks to this Portuguese classic’s African influence. Our Piri Piri Sauce starter makes a zesty marinade for grilled or baked poultry.”

I’m super curious to use this, I have never heard of it before and it sounds really good. I guess I need to get cooking!

DSC_0047BEANSMASH! Bean Dip $1.29 

“BeanSmash! Is a warm and tasty protein-packed bean dip or snack that is available in four great flavors. Each cup contains at least 10 grams of protein, is gluten-free, vegetarian and non-GMO. It is convenient and easy to prepare. Just add water”

Not a big bean fan at the best of time, but I will definitely be giving these a try at some point.

DSC_0067PBFIT Peanut Butter Powder $5.99 for 8oz

“PBfit is everything you love about peanut butter, made better. Whole-roasted peanut pressed to perfection, means PBfit contains up to 90% less fat than traditional peanut butter, and about 1/3 the calories.”

I find this idea really cool! I don’t eat peanut butter regularly but I tried this on its own as peanut butter and it’s surprisingly good! I’m very curious to see how it is in a smoothie or maybe use it in some baking.

Overall it was a good box this month, there are a few products that I may pass along to someone who will like them better than I would.

You can get 50% off your first Degustabox here.

            Last Post             January Degustabox            December Degustabox  

This box was sent to me for review, all thoughts are as always, my own.

 

This post contains affiliate links.

 

It feels like forever since I have done any type of beauty-related post, I guess in reality it has only been a few months but I have really missed it.

So to start off the first beauty post of the year here is my current go-to makeup routine!

dsc_0030I start off using the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer all over my face and following that with the Benefit PoreFessional primer on my T-zone, where I have bigger pores and the makeup tends to wear way first.dsc_0036dsc_0041

For foundation, I have been using the Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation in Fair Porcelain 102. It is quite a high coverage formula so one or two pumps is all I need. I have actually started using a foundation brush when I want a lighter coverage and then going over it with a beauty blender to even everything out.

I’m still using my trusty Physicians Formula RX concealer, it really is the best, it covers absolutely everything but still looks natural on the skin. I have recently started using the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer again as well, I use it on my forehead, chin and under my eyes. It adds a soft highlight and a little extra coverage. Depending on how my skin is acting I will often skip the RX and go right for the age rewind.

Then I will set it all with the good old Coty Airspun powder, I use the translucent.

dsc_0044For contour I use the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer in Light Bronze, I believe it is the lightest shade they offer. I use this around my forehead, under my cheekbones, and under my chin. For blush, I’ve been using the Too Faced Papa Don’t Peach blush, on my cheekbones, carrying it up to my forehead lightly. depending on my mood I will occasional boop a little on my nose a light dusting on the apples of my cheeks, this is just so that I look less ghostly.

dsc_0084For eyes my go to has been the Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Sizzle palette, I did a full review of the Sizzle Palette (here). This so goes for everyday makeup as it has all the shadows you could want, but it can easily transition to a more glam look. I have been mainly using the shades Playa, Paddleboard, Off Duty and Kite Surf.dsc_0051

 

My all-time favorite eyeliner is the Kat Von D Tatto liner! I have been using Mad Max Brown. I just do a thin line along my lashes and a tiny little wing. I have recently returned to one of my old favorite mascaras, the Maybelline Lash Sensational.

dsc_0046The last two steps are highlight and lips!

For highlight, I have been using the Revolution Melted highlighter duo. I use the pink shade on my cheeks and lightly on my forehead. Then The lighter shade on my brow bones, cheekbones, nose and sometimes on my chin.dsc_0088

My favorite lip combo at the moment is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick in Kiss and the Too Faced Melted Latex Lipgloss in Hopeless Romantic over top of it.dsc_0270

I would usually finish off with a setting spray, but I don’t currently have one. I finally ordered the Morphe setting spray and it should be here by the end of the week.

There you have it!

What are some of your go-to products?

Hedgehogs are still a fairly uncommon pet, but they are quickly growing in popularity here in Maine since they were taken off the restricted species list in 2017 and are now legal to own without a special permit. I have had my little hedgie Bridget since December of 2017.

While I absolutely love her, there are a few things that I wish I had known before getting her, which would have made my first couple of months with her easier and made both hedgehog and owner a whole lot happier.

So here are 5 Things I wish I knew before getting a Hedgehog!

 

dsc_03191. Bonding Time 

Hedgies are by nature quite solitary, so they require lots of attention to get them to open up and be social and friendly, I did kind of know this but I didn’t realize how important it was.

The fact is you should ideally spend a half hour to an hour with them every day. Yes, I said every day. I think most people would agree with me when I say that is a lot of time to commit to for a pet. If you don’t have time for them every day or you go away for a week, then you come back to a grumpy ball of quills that you have to completely retrain to like you.

2. Bathroom Habits

This one of the biggest things that I really wish someone had told me.

So, hedgehogs require a wheel for exercise, 12 inches or bigger. My girl runs from about 9:30pm at night to around 6:00am, every night. The thing I didn’t know is that hedgehogs don’t stop running to relieve themselves. In fact, they only do it do it while running. I have tried breaking her of this every way that I could think of and nothing worked. So I have accepted my fate and clean out a poopy wheel every couple of days.

dsc_02993.Smell 

This ties in with number 2 and has been a huge problem up until recently. I had also been told that hedgies hardly smell at all. Whenever I mentioned this to someone they seemed to think I was exaggerating, I mean how could something so little and cute possible smell that bad.

As they are meat eaters they smell like, well, a dog, cat or an actual full sized hog. I originally had Bridget’s cage in my bedroom but after about a month I couldn’t take it anymore and she moved into the office. Then the rest of my family couldn’t stand it, as the stench would waft through the house as we sat watching a movie, so she moved to the basement.

After a while I decided that there must be something that can be done about this, I mean nobody would own one if this was a normal thing. For the first six months or so I had been feeding her the food that the breeder had recommended, but after some research, we discovered that any kind of fish in their diet has a huge effect on how they smell, so we switched her over the duck based food instead of a fish based one and now she hardly smells at all! So there is always a silver lining.

4. Broken Nails 

One morning when Bridget was still living in my bedroom, I woke up and looked over at her pen to a scene straight from a horror movie. Her wheel was covered in blood, the roof of her hut was covered, there was blood splattered all over the sides of her pen and on the wall behind the pen. I stared blankly at it for a minute, whatever had happened it wasn’t something my sleepy brain wanted to deal with.

Once I comprehended what I was looking at I popped up and immediately checked to see if Bridget was okay. I got her out and checked her over, despite being covered in blood, I couldn’t see anything wrong with her. I washed the blood off and the only thing I could find was that one of her toenails was quite a bit shorter than the rest.

Yes, this whole violent looking scene was the result of her breaking a toenail and continuing to run in her wheel all night long, which in turn sprinkled blood all over the interior of her pen. The bleeding is caused by the nail snapping off and exposing the thin veins that run through it.

dsc_03065. Quilling

This was something I was aware of, and I was actually given some paperwork about it by the breeder, but I didn’t realize how much it would affect her.

Quilling is a process that takes place between six weeks and four months old when a baby hedgehog starts to lose their baby quills and grow their adult quills. Baby quills are much smaller and thinner than adult quills. Imagine a baby teething, the teeth must come in slowly working their way up and breaking through the skin, it’s basically the same for a hedgie. A quill that has trouble coming out is similar to an ingrown hair, it will be red, swollen and very uncomfortable.

The quilting process is painful so it can affect the little critters mood a lot, which it definitely did. Remember what I said about needing to spend a lot of time handling them? It was hard for me to want to handle her when sixty percent of her body hurt when I tried to pick her up and handle her. This left me with a grumpy, lonely, uncomfortable hedgehog. Thankfully the quilling process only lasts for a couple of weeks, then you can get back to your normal routine.

Despite all this, I absolutely love my little girl and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to own such a special creature.

If there is anything else you would like to know, or you would like to so more blog posts about owning a hedgehog please let me know!

 

 

 

The Hotel De Glace or Ice Hotel is truly one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. It was one of the only things I know for sure I wanted to visit when we went to Quebec, but I had never seen any picture of the inside or really read that much about it, so I was completely blown away.

I was heartbroken that my camera battery died about a half an hour into our visit and none of the pictures on my phone turned out very well. Thankfully I travel with a very talented photographer so some of his pictures are mixed in. You can tell them apart because I like to shoot in landscape and he shoots in portrait.

Be sure to check him out on Instagram (here)

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The hotel is located north of Quebec City, on the slopes of the Laurentian mountains, in Charlesbourg. It was the first and so far the only ice hotel in North America and it is built each December and opens in early January. The hotel lasts for only three months every year from January to April. It started out with 11 double beds when it first opened, and it now has 51 double beds. The beds are all made of ice, followed by a  wood base and soft mattress. For those brave enough to stay overnight, a cozy sleeping bag, isolating bed sheets, and a pillow is delivered to the rooms.

It takes a team of 50 workers about a month and a half to build. The snow made for the structure is a special mixture that is made to be stronger and adjust to humidity.  The hotel is made of 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice and the walls are up to four feet thick.

The Ice hotel first opened on New Year’s Day in 2001. It was located in Montmorency Falls Park, on the outskirts of Quebec City, that first year, and move to the nearby Duchesnay resort next year. It was built there up until to 2010. The Hôtel de Glace then moved to a new site in 2011, in Charlesbourg, and has been built there ever since.

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I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of Wandering Quebec!

Would you ever stay in the Ice Hotel?

First Degustabox review of the year!

This months theme is New Year New You, although I’m not sure how well all the carbs and chocolate fit the theme, but they are delicious.

Degustabox is a monthly subscription plan which contains a bunch of surprise food products with each box. The items are selected from name brands, will contain fun flavors, and give you a new option to think about the next time you’re looking for a break in your eating routine.

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LA TORTILLA FACTORY Low Carb Flour Tortillas $4.89

“With only 4g net carbs, each of these tortillas is packed with 3g of protein, and only 45 calories. Plus, they’re made with unbleached wheat flour and no GMOs.”

Always happy to have tortillas in the house! I have used this brand before and they make some top notch ones.

dsc_0039GROUNDED SNACKS Vanilla Chai Baked Grain Bites $3.49

“We’ve mastered the right balance of rich vanilla mixed with warm cinnamon, and exotic spices to create a superb Vanilla Chai flavor sensation.”

These are so tasty! They remind me so much of the cinnamon toast cereal that we used to get when I was a kid. The sweet cinnamon and vanilla flavor goes really well with the crunchy puffs. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these.

dsc_0045IDAHOAN FOOD Mashed Potatoes $1.39

“For those who can’t get enough of a good thing, our Idahoan mashed potatoes are perfectly blended 100% real Idaho potatoes with flavorful ingredients to create delicious favorites.”

I haven’t tried these yet but I’ve had Idahoah’s potatoes before and there are really nice.

dsc_0048PARTNER’S CRACKERS $3.29

“These delicious, slow-baked crackers are made with real honest ingredients, like buttermilk, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of sea salt. They’re perfect for snacking on their own or pair them with anything from hummus to the fanciest of cheeses.”

I’m so excited to try these, they look amazing! I’m saving them up for a movie night with a cheese platter.

dsc_0050SMASHCRISPY Cinnamon Churro/ Strawberries & Cream $1.99

“Smashcrispy is no ordinary crispy rice treat. This epic smashes up is made from only the very best simple ingredients and packed with flavor for a tasty twist on a classic. A guilt-free, everyday, anytime of day treat for the taste buds that are just like you remember only better.”

Between the two flavors, the cinnamon Churro is definitely my favorite, but I tend to be a bit of a purist when it comes to my crispy treats. The Strawberries & Cream flavor just doesn’t work for me, but my family tasted it and liked it.

dsc_0067VITABELLA Traditional Choco Crispies $5.99

” Traditional Choco Crispies are made with 100% organic Italian whole rice, steam cooked and coated with the best selection of cocoa powder.”

I have always thought that adding chocolate to cereal makes it even harder to pass it off as a breakfast food.  Although this one isn’t particularly sweet, it has a very strong dark chocolate flavor and a subtle touch of sweet.

dsc_0060SWEET BABY RAY’S Hot Sauce $3.29

“When it comes to hot sauce, there’s really no such thing as overdoing it. With a hearty kick of aged cayenne and garlic, this brand-new sauce will soon become your go-to for just about everything.”

Hot sauce isn’t something I use a lot on its own, I tend to use it as an ingredient way more often. I have used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce quite a bit so I’m excited to try out their hot sauce.

dsc_0055MICHEL et AUGUSTIN Cookie Squares 

“These cookie squares are baked in France with butter, chocolate, and amour! Made with ingredients you could find in your kitchen, each recipe brings together crispy shortbread and a dreamy, creamy chocolate ganache.”

My only complaint with these cookie squares is that there were only two of them. They are a great little bite-sized snack and I love the shortbread and chocolate ganache together.

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CHOCOLAT FREY Swiss Chocolate Milk Crunchy Nut Bar $3.29

“With more than 25% nuts and made with authentic Swiss chocolate, these premium bars are a delight for all nut and chocolate lovers.”

This was so delicious! It is so nice to have milk chocolate for a change! I’m really not a fan of dark but I love milk. The chocolate in the bar is smooth and creamy, and I love that they used hazelnuts instead of almonds or peanuts.

dsc_0057MARANATHA Almond Butter $9.99 for 12oz jar.

“Satisfy your afternoon craving with a MaraNatha packet, the perfect on-the-go snack. Try all three flavors including Dark Chocolate, Caramel, and Coconut.”

These almond butters were all really good but I think the dark chocolate and the coconut are my favorites, the caramel was just a bit too much like a dessert, although, it would make a great cake filling. The coconut really just tasted like almond butter, maybe with a tiny taste of coconut, the chocolate reminded me of Nutella and was absolutely delicious on apple slices.

You can get 50% off your first Degustabox here.

  November Degustabox      December Degustabox  

This box was sent to me for review, all thoughts are as always, my own.