About Me

My Photo
Watching my mom and grandmother expertly apply lipstick with or without a mirror enveloped in a mist of Chanel 22 planted the seed of my obsession with everything pretty. I have worked as a model and pro. make-up artist for approximately 13 years now and I still moonlight as one when I am not busy running my Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching practice and being a mom to an awesome teenager and a wife to a talented man.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Versace Lights All Over Shimmer Gel

I was excited to finally receive my Versace lights all-over shimmer gel in the mail! I really love the classic medusa compact and how pretty it is.  This compact houses 1.8 ml/.07 fl. oz., of what I thought was going to be shimmer goodness as  I want perfectly dewy Sex In the City cheeks.
The consistency was more like petroleum jelly (smelled faintly of it too), and as for shimmer, it was if I had rubbed clear lip gloss on my skin as you can see below. That is exactly how I'll be using it, as lipbalm. It really didn't do anything at all for me. I was hoping it would be a good shimmer to use on the cheekbones and/or decollete. Unfortunately it was none of the above. I give it 1 wink. And the 1 is because I love the compact.


Now I have an excuse to go shopping for more face/body highlighters!
I'm ready for some weekend shopping, are you?
Stay pretty! ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ooh La La This Girl Can Cook!- TUSCAN SOUP WITH SAUSAGE AND KALE

I love to cook. And boy this girl can cook! Last night's rainy weather put us in soup mode here at the Wink! household. What can be better on a cold rainy day than some rich warm soup? I can tell you this is not a light or diet conscious meal but rich comfort food that is allowed on rainy days such as yesterday. I will share with you my "Tuscan Soup" recipe. It's my own improvised version of the Zuppa Toscana you might be familiar from Olive Garden. I usually cook by sight so bear with me on my directions as I am not used to writing down my recipes and giving instructions on how to cook something. :)

Ready to cook? ;)

Ingredients for Wink! Tuscan Soup
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup cubed skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped thick sliced bacon (I use Farmer John Premium Thick Cut)
  • 1 cup mild Italian sausage (removed from casing and crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup chopped (not diced) white onion
  • 2 golden potatoes scrubbed and chopped into small cubes
  • 1 cup farfalle (butterfly/bow tie shaped) pasta (I like to use Barilla brand)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
Over medium heat, place a large pot with water and cubed chicken. Cover and meanwhile begin to fry chopped bacon. When bacon is done, drain and discard fat and set bacon on a paper lined plate to remove extra fat.

In another pot, cook ground sausage until fully done. Drain and put in the same plate as cooked bacon.
You will probably see white foam in your chicken stock. Remove and discard as much as you can with a spoon just so your broth is not filled with foam. Some will remain, trust me, and that's ok. Add your potato and pasta. 

In a pot, place your butter and onions, cook these until they soften, but not to where they are caramelized please. Remove from heat.
                          
Now you may add to your soup the sausage, bacon, and onions complete with the butter they were cooked in. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and add cream, salt and pepper to taste and kale. Cover and let cook for approximately 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Easy huh?
Now doesn't this look delicious?
Definitely 5 winks!
Here's a tip: In order to save time on clean-up I like to clean my counters and wash the dishes I've used as I go along and wait for some things to cook. 
Hope you enjoyed this recipe.
Now have yourself a big bowl and
Buon Appetito!

Stay Pretty! ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Natural Cleansing Milks, Even a Vegan Sunscreen!

Lately I've been trying out natural moisturizing products for my skin. I have been on a Dr. prescribed beauty regimen of Retin-A .01% (as a wrinkle preventative) and Hydroquinone 4% (bleaching cream) for a couple of years now and although I only use these products at nighttime, I still get the mildly dry skin associated with the use of these products. These reviews reflect my opinion and the way these products reacted on my skin.
(fair, early 30's, combination)

First up is Alba Coconut Milk Facial Wash. I was hoping to get a whiff of the tropics but upon pumping the product out I got a very perfumey citrusy/lemongrassy smell. Hmm. Not a fan. Milk washes usually are not my preferred methods for removing make-up so I prefer to use these types of products in the AM. I applied the product and it felt oily, did not tingle or sting, but upon rinsing left a mildly oily feeling on my skin. I prefer a moisturized clean feeling from a milk wash so due to the scent and cleansing capabilities of this product I can only give it 2 winks.
Ingredients: Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil (Certified Organic), Octyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Capric Caprylic Caprate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Zingiber Zerumbet (Awapuhi Ginger) (Awapuhi), Carica Papaya (Papya) Fruit Extract (Papaya), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Milk, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui Nut) (Kukui Nut), Macadamia Ternifolia Oil, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Carbomer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl, Propylparaben, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract (Grapefruit), Botanical Fragrance

Avalon Organics makes this coQ10 cleanser I had been wanting to try out for a while. As you may know coQ10 is and essential antioxidant that is found in every cell which helps to provide the energy source for cellular renewal and smooth firm skin. I had to give this product a try! The smell is clean, of a faint lavender and the consistency is creamy. It's a mild cleanser and it did tingle a bit on my skin at first. I think it is due to the sensitivity caused by my use of Retin-A. The tingling subsided and this product rinsed off cleanly, leaving my face refreshed and soft. Because it did tingle I give this product 4 winks. However, I will continue using it because I love that for a moisturizing milk cleansers it rinses off clean.
Ingredients: Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) (1), Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) (1), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) (2) and Organic Arnica Montana (3) Extracts (Aqueous), Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Mystamine Oxide, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Ubiquinone (Coq10), Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vegetable Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Organic Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil (2) and Other Essential Oils, No artificial colors, synthetic fragrances or parabens. EU Compliant. pH Balanced. No sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate. 100% Vegetarian ingredients. No animal testing. Paraben free. 

I recently bought a bottle of Loving Naturals vegan SPF 30 sunscreen through Amazon. I was curious to see how well a vegan/certified organic/natural sunscreen would perform. The main active ingredient is zinc which protects from both UVA/UVB rays. The consistency is a bit oily, but absorbs nicely on my skin making it a good base for makeup. And the fact that it is made with 100% all natural, good for your skin ingredients is an added wink!
On other reviews, I've read that this sunscreen left a white mess on your face. I honestly think the users might have been going sunscreen happy when they applied it! What I do is shake the bottle and apply a small dollop on my finger and I proceed to apply. The smell is earthy, very natural. It does leave a pearlescent finish on my skin but I like it because when I apply my foundation over it it does the same effect as if I had used MAC's Strobe Cream. I really like this product for myself and my family so it for sure gets 5 winks and a permanent place in my medicine cabinet!
Ingredients: Non-Nano Particle Zinc Oxide (24.8%), Grape Seed Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (derived from Coconut Oil), Soy Wax (Non-GMO), Organic Olive Oil, Organic Plum Kernel Oil, Organic Sesame Oil, Candelilla Wax, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Macadamia Nut Oil, Organic Cocoa (Fair Trade), Organic Green Tea, Vitamin E Oil 

If you are looking for natural products to add to your beauty regimen, you can try these out for yourself. Let me know how these worked for you and remember to
Stay Pretty!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's How To- DIY GLYCOLIC ACID PEEL

I am in my early 30's and not too long ago I started to see it in my skin. In order to plump, exfoliate and boost my collagen as well as reduce any fine wrinkling I might have or develop I began doing at home glycolic acid peels. I used to have these done regularly at the dermatologist office I worked for and I know what great results they offer and how they were applied. Now that these skin treatments are readily available online it is easier to perform them on yourself instead of paying anywhere from $150-$500 for a light peel.

Light chemical peels, commonly referred to as lunchtime peels, are used to treat light wrinkling, blemishes and uneven pigmentation by enhancing, smoothing, shedding and stimulating the collagen production of the skin. There certainly are risks and these include infection, scarring, burning and pigmentation issues for those with darker toned skin. I also need to add that in no way am I responsible for your results, your method of application and any possible side effects. These are only suggestions and I am free of any responsibility regarding you following this skin treatment.

In order to do your at home glycolic peel you will need the following items:
  • Glycolic Acid: I purchase mine through Amazon through the company Skin Laboratory. I use a 50% solution but I suggest you begin with the lowest percentage available, usually a 20%, and gradually increase percentages as your tolerance  increases.
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Cotton swabs
  • Clean towel(s)
  • Calming lotion: I highly recommend using Atopalm Cream. I can not stress what a great calming/redness relieving cream this is. I buy mine through Dermstore
  •  Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol OR 100% Pure Acetone (FROM BEAUTY SUPPLY NOT HARDWARE STORE!)
  •  Face Cleanser: Preferably one that is great at removing makeup such as Mac's Green Gel.
  • Timer
  • Running water
  • Well ventilated and well lit area
First I recommend you do a patch test. Wash and pat dry the inside of your wrist. With some cotton, cleanse any remaining area with either acetone or alcohol to remove any oil residue. Now dip one end of your cotton swab and apply acid in a horizontal motion on your skin. One layer only. You will experience some stinging/burning. Wait 3 minutes and rinse with cool water. Pat dry. If this was tolerable to you and you did not experience any excessive burning, blistering or allergic reaction, you are probably ok to apply the glycolic acid on your face and/or chest. Whether you chose to proceed is your decision and not my responsibility in any way.

Application for face is as follows:
  1. Wash your face with a make-up removing cleanser rinsing throughly and pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. Put some alcohol or 100%  pure acetone on a cotton ball or pad and swipe face as if it was toner carefully avoiding eye area, lips and nostrils. Please do this in a well ventilated and lit area. This will remove any remaining makeup and oil residue from your skin.
  3. Rinse face with cool water and pat dry with towel.
  4. Holding two cotton swabs as demonstrated in the picture below, dip the ends into your glycolic acid solution. Remember NOT TO DOUBLE DIP.
  5. Rub glycolic solution horizontally on your face, starting with your right cheek area, chin, left cheek area, forehead and nose AVOIDING NOSTRILS, EYE AREA AND LIPS. Do one layer only and use as many swabs as you need in order not to double dip. When you are done applying acid to your face, put your timer on 3 minutes. (With time you will be able to increase the amount acid is left on skin up to 10 minutes, but for now start with 3 minutes)
  6. Your face should begin to tingle, sting and burn. If unbearable, please rinse off with copious amount of cool water and contact a doctor as soon as possible. 
  7. When your timer rings, rinse your face off with copious amounts of cool running water, keeping your mouth and eyes closed. Rinse, rinse, rinse until you can feel your skin feeling clean of any acid. You skin will still continue to sting/burn for a while after rinsing completely.
  8. Pat dry with a towel.
  9. Apply Atopalm Lotion or any calming lotion on face.
  10. DO NOT apply make-up for at least 12 hours, avoid the sun for at least 6 hours and be consistent with using sunscreen for the following days. Your skin will flake and begin to peel the next day. You should see your skin improve within 4 days!
In order to see excellent results you should do a peel at least once a week for 4-6 weeks at a time.

My routine is one time a week for six weeks and then a break for 4-6 months. Like I said, I am NOT an esthetician or doctor and what works for me may or may not work for you. Only you and your dermatologist know your skin. With that in mind, please take the utmost precaution when doing a treatment like this. If you experience any adverse and/or allergic reaction please contact your physician or medical center. I hope you enjoyed this post. See you soon and remember to....
Stay Pretty! ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

68 years ago, on this very day, my grandparents were celebrating their wedding. And what better day than to start this blog on all things I love!
If you are reading this I am sure you are too a fan of all things pretty (ok and maybe even the not so pretty!). Here you will find my personal un-endorsed opinions and reviews on products I love and/or am currently testing out. From make-up (I've been a pro MUA for 13 years) to green cleaners, being a mom to an awesome teenager and a wife to a sweet guy, vacation spots and even throwing in my two-cent's worth on relationship issues (I'm a Certified Life Coach and Hypnotherapist specializing in relationships and women's issues), here you will hear it all! Occassionally I will include videos and pics of cosmetic procedures so look out for those as well.
*********************
Spring has definitely sneaked her way in here in the west coast! As for me, flowers and green scents are always a reminder that she is in the air! What better way than to partake in the crispness of spring than with a light and airy fragrance. I love Marc Jacobs Gardenia mist. Reasonably priced under $40 (through Amazon) nothing beats this 10 oz. mist as an after shower daytime spray. Trust me, it's a far way from the typical granny-esque white bouquets we sometimes associate with Gardenia. I love the fact it's not heavy, just light and feminine.
From my scale of 1-5 winks (5 meaning the bestest), I give this product 4.5 since I do wish the gardenia scent was more infused Yup, I'm a Gardenia junkie!

Top Note: Clementine, Yuzu, Green Notes, Dew Note Middle Note: Gardenia, Water Lily Base note: Musks
Consider Marc Jacobs 3.4 oz Perfume, MJ's Gardenia Mist's big sister. Not in size, but in fragrance. This is a fresh and lush evening perfume. It's as if Night Blooming Jasmine, Gardenia and Honeysuckle were lightly kissed by musk. It's elegant, yet surprisingly fresh.
 I recommend it for sunset 
filled evenings out in town ;) 
5 winks for sure!
Top notes: Gardenia, Sicilian Bergamot Heart Notes: White Pepper, Egyptian Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Wet Green Base Notes: Woods, Musks
I hope you enjoyed my reviews. Please let me know what products you like, or what you'd like me to review! I will also be doing make-up tutorials so look forward to those.
Happy V.tines day!

Stay Pretty ;)