The Body Shop Tea Tree Skincare

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I am a huge Body Shop fan. I use their body butters almost everyday, and love their shower gels and creams. And I also love their skincare. Very recently, I switched back to an old skincare favorite of theirs, their Tea Tree line. My skin was looking a little less than great, so while in Ulta, I picked up The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish KitI used to use this line pretty religiously for a while, before I started oil cleansing. My skin is pretty oily and acne prone, with the odd dry patches here and there. I’m pretty sensitive to almost all foundations, and have to be pretty choosy with products if I want to avoid a massive breakout.

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This kit is a lifesaver for my skin, providing just enough acne prevention and moisturization for clearer, cleaner skin. This kit is an Ulta exclusive I think, and it was a huge bargain. Included in the kit is a full-sized Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash, a full-sized Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner, a full-sized Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion, a tiny bottle of Tea Tree Oil, and a sachet of Tea Tree Face Mask. Normally, if you were to buy all of these products separately, they would equal about $46.50. For the kit, I only paid $29! Normally, I would just order it online or pick up what I need from the mall, because The Body Shop literally always has a sale going on. They also have the Body Love program, which allows you to receive 10% off your order/purchase, combined with the sales and offers they already have going on. Big yes!

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Compared to the higher end skincare products out there, I am seriously a fan of the price and the quality of The Body Shop Tea Tree products. In the past two days, my skin is clearer and smoother, and a few scars that I have had are almost invisible now. If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, I seriously suggest giving this line a go, or any of the other skin care products they produce. The Vitamin E moisturizers are a favorite of mine too. (My husband is even a huge fan of the line!)

Have you tried the Tea Tree line? What’s your favorite skincare line? Let me know in the comments! 

Steffanie xo

August Beauty Favorites

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August was such a busy, crazy, all over the place month and I am so excited September has arrived. We finally have some cooler weather, and my body has started that need coffee all the time craving, which means fall is right around the corner! August was a good month for beauty products for me, some old favorites re-discovered, and some new products to talk about.

With autumn arriving, good moisturizers are key. While I have yet to find a good face one to brag about, I found a face and body moisturizer that I love. The Body Shop Body Butter in Japanese Cherry Blossom. I have heard so many good things about this scent from lots of people. Typically, I’m more of a coconut, brazil nut, shea butter girl, but seeing as though my local Marshall’s has a few tubes of these for sale quite often, I decided to try one. I use this mainly at night, because the scent is so spa like and comforting. It’s not as thick as the coconut or shea butters are, more the consistency of a thicker lotion. It smells wonderful, and makes my skin so moisturized. The hand cream I am using is The Body Shop Hand Cream in Wild Rose which I have been wanting to try for ages. I love it. I will say the packaging is a bit of a faff, because the lid doesn’t screw back on properly, but that might be user error. I do love the hand cream though. It’s light, smells great, and is super moisturizing.

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As I have mentioned before, I used to not be much of an eye shadow girl. But when a good one comes around, I use it like crazy. Recently, Maybelline released a new batch of 24 Hour Color Tattoos, which are my favorite cream eye shadows by far. I picked up Creamy Beige, and paired with Bad to the Bronze, they make for a perfect, long-lasting, neutral eye.

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For nail polishes, I usually tend to go for polishes that are way out of the seasonal color range, because I am a rebel like that. However, aside from my ColorClub Bright Lilac nail polish, I have been loving Essie Bahama Mama and Nails Inc. Gel Effect Polish in Porchester Square. Love both of these colors for fall, love the formula. I also picked up a new topcoat from Revlon’s Color Stay Gel Envy line. I really like this one because once it dries (definitely not as quick as Seche Vite) it makes your polish last for at least five to six days. I really like it for a good alternative to my Seche Vite. And the nail polishes in this line are amazing as well.

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Lastly, for lips, what lip color says “Fall” better than MAC Plumful? None, I think. This is my favorite fall lipstick. The color is plummy, beautiful on so many skin types, and it lasts for quite a while. MAC just makes the best lipsticks. (I posted a picture over on my Instagram recently, if you want to see it on. Link below.)

That’s all for favorites for August. I’m looking forward to posting some new recipes, book favorites, and wardrobe additions soon!

Steffanie xo

On the Menu: Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Corn Salad

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I told you all in this post that I was trying out some new recipes, expanding my cooking skills, etc, and that I would share with you all some of the meals that were hits with our family. We had just bought a huge fresh salmon in our most recent grocery store trip, and I was looking for a new recipe to try it out with. Looking into my pantry, I saw a can of black beans that I had been ignoring waiting to use. I also had some frozen corn and lots of fresh spinach. So I did the most natural thing, and googled a recipe for all the aforementioned ingredients. This recipe, was the first one that I saw. It looked good, so I decided to give it a go.

I am not typically a bean person. At all. I actually really detest them. But, just like sunscreen is good for your skin, beans are good for your body. So I have been trying to eat them more. Not everyday, not even once a month (I picked all the beans out of my recent minestrone batch), but occasionally, I try to incorporate the dreaded bean into a meal or two. I am really surprised to say that the beans in this black bean corn salad actually are minimally noticed when combined with all the other ingredients. And that, for a non-bean lover, is a wonderful thing. 

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The salmon is just slightly sweet, tender on the inside, and full of flavor. The salad is sweet due to the corn, but combined with the spinach, bell pepper and onion, it’s a savory little dish that is surprisingly filling. The salad alone would be a fantastic meal, and I have enough leftover for a nicely filling dinner tomorrow night. Score!

This meal was a huge hit for my husband. Being the protein-loving, low carb eater that he is, he was all over this recipe. So be rest assured that the men in your life will like it too.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Also, feel free to share some of your favorite recipes in comments. 

Steffanie xo

Boot Season

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Cooler weather is hopefully in our near future, and with autumn on its way, a nice pair of boots is always good to have on hand. I was browsing the Topshop website a few weeks ago, ordering a few fall time essentials, and happened upon this pair of boots. My favorite pair of ankle boots were beginning to look a little rough, and since these were on a major sale (regularly $90 and are on sale for $24!!), I decided to go for them. And I am so glad I did. 

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+Topshop MONTI2 Cutout Boot in Taupe

These little boots are so perfect for fall. They have a pretty cutout with two straps, making them a little more interesting than just a pull on/zip boot. They are so comfortable, and pair easily with any outfit. They have a slight heel, and are made from a beautiful suede material. I love these boots, and I can tell that I am going to get a lot of wear out of these this fall.  I’ll be hard pressed to find another boot that I like as much as these.

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Let me know in the comments what your favorite pair of boots are! Are you ankle boot or a high knee, or somewhere in between? 

Steffanie xo

Minestrone for days.

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My husband is a wonderful man. He is hilarious, kind, and has a quiet determination that begs to be boasted, but never is. And the man loves to eat. He is incredibly in shape, and likes his food to be on the healthier side, but he can devour a pizza or donuts with the best of them. We are people who enjoy our meals, and try to share as many as we can, with each other. Because of his job, we only get to share meals together about half of the month, while the other half we eat separately. For me, I typically turned to quick meals, easy, and delicious. Typically I’d pick up a frozen California Pizza Kitchen Pizza, or make a poached egg on toast, a tuna salad on a crepe, or order my favorite hearty club sandwich from the barbecue place down the street. His meals consisted mostly of protein bars, eggs, rotisserie chicken, and frozen veggies. every. day. Needless to say, he was getting a bit tired of the redundancy and I needed less pizza (rather, my jeans needed less pizza). So we came up with a plan to make meal times better for the both of us. Healthier alternatives, that are still delicious, and easy to be transported to work. 

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An added bonus to making our meals is that I have to actually make them. To be honest, I missed cooking so much I couldn’t stand it. I love the the creativity cooking demands, and often adapt recipes that I use to fit them to our tastes. Each recipe is a new challenge, a new adventure. Cooking, baking and providing food is ingrained in my personality, and nothing makes me happier than feeding people I love. And let’s be honest, when someone loves the food you create, it’s kind of a nice feeling.

Our meal planning list so far consists of old favorites and new adventures, like chicken pot pie with sweet potatoes, maple pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables, and ratatouille. Hearty chili, Sunday roasts, stews, and chicken orzo soup, a favorite. Spicy chicken taco salad on the go, shepherd’s pie, and his favorite, minestrone. 

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Minestrone is a beautiful soup, chock full of vegetables and Italian flavor. My recipe is very loosely adapted from Jamie Oliver’s minestrone recipe, and it was my first time making it. I added in chicken, because my husband is a meat lover, and added red kidney beans for added protein and to make the soup a bit more filling. I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, and used ditalini pasta, which is a wonderful pasta when added to soups, the perfect size for spoons. This soup is a hearty, flavorful, tomato-y soup, wonderful for fall and perfect with a piece of crusty bread along side it. We made a huge pot of it, splitting it between the two of use for meals for the next two days. It’s delicious, filling, and beautiful to look at it. 

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Minestrone with Chicken

Pour one good glug of olive oil into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 chopped onion, 2-3 small zucchini, 2 chopped carrots and 2 celery stalks to the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. While veggies are cooking, boil 4 chicken breasts until cooked through and shred with two forks. Add veggies and chicken to large dutch oven or stockpot, along with 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 can of no salt added diced tomatoes, 1 can of crushed tomatoes, and 2 cans of red kidney beans. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup of ditalini pasta to the soup, and let cook for another ten minutes until pasta is cooked through.

**Feel free to add or omit vegetables–I opted to omit potatoes and green beans from my recipe but will probably add some kale or spinach next time– and to add chicken broth as needed if you like a soupier texture. Ours came to be more of a stew-like soup or chili, which we prefer to soups. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll post a recipe every week of some of the meals I have been making, in an effort to keep track of our favorites, discuss the not so favorites. I hope you enjoy them! I would love to hear what your favorite recipes are. Feel free to link up in the comments, and I’ll be sure to check them out. 

Happy cooking!

Steffanie xo

BabyLiss Love

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Recently, my flat iron died. Stomach sank. Tears were shed. I had my Paul Mitchell ceramic flat iron for about 8 years. It worked so well, and I loved it. So when it came time to look for a new one, I was a little out of the loop when it came to flat iron brands. Originally, I looked into getting a GHD, but was not excited about the $200 price tag. I read blogs, I googled, no decision was made. Thankfully, I have a genius hairdresser, who just happens to be a good friend of mine, and she is in the know. She recommended that I try the BabyLiss Nano flat iron, and she knows how unruly my lovely hair can be. So I trusted her to recommend something that would work well for my hair.

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Absolute love. Love, love, love, this flat iron. My hair is shiny, silky, and smooth after using it, and most importantly very straight! Ashley and her lovely self also picked me up a BabyLiss hair dryer that was on sale for literally about $10 with purchase of a new flat iron (um, heck yes.) and I’m thankful because my old dryer smells like garlic for some odd reason. Ew. Both the flat iron and the dryer are a beautiful shade of blue, and they have a nice weighty, quality to them. I’m definitely a BabyLiss fan, and if you are looking for a quality, pretty, and well-made flat iron, I recommend checking out BabyLiss flat iron’s.

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Have you tried BabyLiss? Let me know in the comments what your favorite styling tools are.

Steffanie xo 

Empties #4

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It’s empties time! This haul was a good one, including a few makeup bits that I have finally (sadly) finished. One of which I will be making a swift repurchase of in the near future.

Let’s get to it.

bliss soapy suds body wash & bubbling bath in vanilla bergamot

This soap smells so good. Slightly sweet and slightly warm, vanilla-y and almost minty in a way. I found it at Marshalls, and thankfully, they sell a whole range of bliss products there. Happy dance! This makes for a good bubble bath, because it’s super sudsy and smells great. I think this bottle lasted us for about a month or more, which is unheard of in our bathroom, so I am very impressed with that.

+ boots botanics shine away mattifying foam cleanser and toner 

I love Boot’s products. They work well, they do the job, and they have restored my skin to it’s clear, smooth self. My husband and I usually go through a couple bottles of cleanser a month, but the toner, day cream and mask have lasted forever. I’ll do a more in depth review of these in the near future.

boots body butter in coconut

I love The Body Shop Body Butters, but unless they are on sale, I don’t have $20 to spend on a tub of lotion. If they don’t have any at Marshall’s (I got a Raspberry one for $6!!), I’ll usually just pick up a Boots one to tide me over until The Body Shop has a sale. This one wasn’t my favorite scent. I loved the consistency and it moisturized well, but the smell is sort of fake coconut. I am currently using the brazil nut one from boots and I love the scent of it, but like I said, I’m still a fan of the Body Shop ones more.

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yes to cucumber sensitive skin face wipes

I’ve heard so much about face wipes, lately. How bad they are for you, but how amazing they are for you? Makes no sense. I decided to give these a try (they were 0.99 cents) and see how I liked them. The smell is incredible and soothing, but these burned the heck out of my face. I don’t know why, but my face always felt really sensitive after using these. I finished the pack, but probably won’t repurchase because they burned my face. I didn’t break out or anything, but I am not a fan of the face on fire feeling.

+ dr. bronner’s castille soap 

I love this soap. it’s an amazing makeup brush cleaner, and can be used on literally anything. I use it to keep my Kate Spade canvas purse looking spotless and also use it on my dog sometimes for a quick spot bath. This wasn’t my favorite scent, the peppermint being reallllllly strong. But I love the lavender and rose scented soaps.

+ chi straight guard flat iron heat protecting spray

I’ve had this spray for about a year, using it on and off for protecting my hair from all my heating tools. It smells like cologne, and works really well. I don’t know that I would ever buy it (this bottle was given to me), just because I have other ones that I love that are much cheaper, but it did work well and smells fantastic.

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+ laura mercier mineral foundation with spf 15

I really liked this foundation. I’ve kind of moved away from mineral foundations recently, opting for a more dewy type of face instead of a straight matte look. This foundation was really great, except for the color match was super hard for me to find, and even still, I don’t feel like the one I settled on was really the best match. It’s a smooth formula, and doesn’t feel cake-y on the skin. I probably won’t repurchase anytime soon, but I did really like this and used it for about nine months.

maybelline color elixir in caramel infused 

I am so sad that I finished this!! This is my perfect, go to nude lip color, and when I finished it, I almost freaked. Luckily, I have a Target trip to make soon, so this will definitely be making it’s way back into my life. Love the color, love the formula.

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+ maybelline pumped up waterproof mascara 

I didn’t feel like this mascara was anything to scream about. I really like Maybelline mascaras, but this wasn’t my favorite. It became clumpy really quickly, and kind of made my lashes all clumped together. Still a fan of Maybelline, just not this mascara.

+ dove refresh + care dry shampoo

love it. works well. second bottle gone. I recently said that I liked the Not Your Mother’s version better, but that’s only because this one tends to be a little powdery. But it works great and I probably will repurchase it soon.

+ sensodyne repair toothpaste

Sensodyne is my favorite brand of toothpaste. I have used many different kinds, and this so far has been my favorite. Leaves my teeth feeling smooth and polished and clean. Does anyone else get interested in toothpaste others use? There are SO many brands and I find it interesting what people are drawn to.

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And that’s it! I’m already working on some empties for next time, when means I will have to go out and start trying some new things! Let me know in the comments if you like any of these or anything similar. :)

Steffanie xo