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Ricky’s Cult Crushes Review

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Hello beauts! So I know we can all spend our paychecks in Ricky’s or Sephora or Ulta, or anywhere that sells makeup. There always seems to be a new product to try or a new beauty trend. I also feel like there a ton of beauty boxes out there that offer monthly subscriptions. I have tried Birchbox before since it was a gift from my sister, but I just felt like the samples were so tiny. What caught my eye about Ricky’s version of the monthly subscription beauty box is that it typically comes with one full size product. I also love that you get 25% off of all online purchases and free shipping on purchases of $50 or more. YASSSS. For only $11 getting ALL of that (retail value up to $50) seems like a steal in my eyes! For that price, it doesn’t even matter what is in the box, but it seems to always be something awesome 🙂 Check it more here.

This is the review September – I plan on updating this post each month with what I receive!

Opened it up to a little motivation! #CameToCrush everyday!

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HSI Mini Straightener

Umm ok a mini straightener?! This is actually perfection. Tiny yet so powerful! I can throw this right in my purse for days I am running late and can just plug it in at work, and viola my hair is set! The plates are ceramic which helps leave your hair shiny, annnnd even more importantly, they heat up in seconds! Love love love!

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HSI Argan Oil Shampoo, Conditioner + Leave In Treatment

Alright so after summer sun and salty hair, this came in at the perfect time. I felt like my hair was looking so dull and dry and brittle. Not after using these bad boys. I seriously am going to have to get the full size versions. I also love that they are sulfate free and full of vitamins.

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Z-Palette Large

Say what?! This is so unbelievably convenient – I remember my old company did some work with Z Palette and I kept saying I wish they would send us some so we can try, and now my dreams came true lol! This seemed to be a custom one for Ricky’s and I love it. It is so urban and hip. I love that I can customize my own palette with everything that I use – it is so helpful if I am doing my makeup on the go. Instead of lugging around my makeup bag, I can just throw it on my palette and shove it in my purse. Total win with this.

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Wella Root Shoot Mousse

I am a big advocate of Wella products – I used to work in a salon and everyone swore by it and since I got to test out the products first hand, I came to swear by them too! Sometimes my hair can get sooo flat, and since I typically straighten it, it doesn’t make for the best mix. I can’t seem to nail down that middle part with my hair pasted down like the Kardashian’s can haha. Sometimes I throw in a little volumizing powder but it makes my hair feel stiff and weird and doesn’t seem to work. I tried this once and my Jersey girl came out. Total life saver.

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Masque Bar Luminizing Charcoal Mask

I cannot seem to escape masks lol I recently just got a facial so I am trying to leave my skin alone for a bit so I have not yet tried this. But when I do, I will update 🙂

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After just one box, my final verdict is YES – totally worth it! For $11 the value is unbeatable.

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A Mask A Day + NEW Fall Skincare Routine

Fall is coming and I could not be happier! There is just nothing like sweater weather, crunchy leaves, apple picking, football season, and of course pumpkin spice everything. With the leaves changing and the weather getting colder, as we change our closets from tanks to over-sized sweaters, did you know you should also be changing your skincare routine?!

While skincare routines should always include the staples (face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc.), it isn’t necessarily bad or detrimental to switch up the regimen quite often, especially when seasons change or hormonal changes occur. For example, with the colder months, my face tends to become dry very easily, but in the warmer months, my face is much more oily and I am sweating so much more, so certainly using the same routine won’t be effective for both instances. Multiple dermatologists agree that changing products way too often won’t give you the chance to see results you may be looking for since average cell turnover is 28 days. If only clear skin appeared overnight!

So, as mentioned before, with Fall approaching, colder weather is approaching, and therefore my face is going to be drier than a desert :(. I decided to pick up seven different masks from Creme Shop and do a mask a day and see how my skin felt after each one. Basically, it felt as though I was going to the spa everyday, but the spa was my makeup room.

Before we get into the masks though, let’s compare our faces to a painting. The paint will go on smoother and the overall results of the painting will look so much better if you’re working on a clean, smooth canvas right? That is why it is so important to not rely on just makeup removers and masks. After reading this totally amazing review on some of the best facial cleansers out there, I picked up this CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser and I can honestly say I am obsessed. I have used it as my sole cleanser for this week’s experiment and I think it played a key role in my face feeling so soft and moisturized. I was wearing max coverage foundation and a full face of makeup, and this cleanser took it right off, without me going through an entire bottle of it. Can you say yes please?!

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Unlike harsher cleaners that exfoliate and really remove the skin’s protective barrier (this is why you should only exfoliate 1-2 times a week!), this cleanser actually helps to restore that protective barrier as well as keeps the skin’s natural moisture. My face feels so soft and looks nice and dewy immediately after washing. Since my skin is nourished and moisturized all day long, I’ve even noticed that my foundation stays on better throughout the day, and that’s without me using primer (when I go to work, I don’t wear much makeup, so I nix primer from my routine – I try to let my skin breathe during the week). I love love love this product and can’t wait to continue using it and keep you updated!

If you want to try it, here’s a $2.00 off coupon! You’re welcome! 😉

Dry skin and red spots be gone!

Now back to our painting…I mean mask experiment! All of these masks are from the Creme Shop. Aside from masks, they also have beauty products from beauty blenders to eyelashes, something I never knew before. I guess I will have to save that for another post though! If you’ve read my previous post on Korean skincare, you know I am a huge fan and avid lover of those products, a Creme shop mask being one of them. All of these masks are made in Korea and deliver just as well as the other ones in that post! I tried seven masks, check out my thoughts on each of them below.

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  • Drink Up, Skin

This one is infused with hyaluronic acid (a main ingredient in the CeraVe facial wash by the way!). This is what keeps the skin’s thirst quenched, keeping it smooth and dewy! I also love that it is non-irritating, so for those of you with sensitive skin, definitely give this one a try. The design was adorable, and after I took it off after a half hour or so, my face felt so soft and looked so moisturized. Bye bye flaky dry skin!

  • Slow Down, Skin

Another adorable “animated” mask! Who doesn’t love pandas, and who doesn’t love to fight aging skin early?! This one is infused with restorative bamboo extract and is rich in silica – which means it boosts structure and elasticity. I actually felt my face tingle slightly while using this one. My face did feel quite refreshed after using it.

  • Charcoal & Lemonade Mask

Alright so anything charcoal seems to be all of the rage in skincare, due to its ability to completely wipe away the impurities and dirt/oil on our faces. First off, I LOVED the smell of it as soon as I opened it up, definitely smelled like delicious lemonade (as I am literally drinking lemonade as we speak haha!). So this dual mask is designed to obviously be like a 2-for-1. As we know, charcoal lifts up toxins and dirt from  the pores on our faces. Lemons have antibacterial properties that can help heal, brighten the skin, and combat blackheads. This mask is also filled with hyarulonic acid, making it full of moisture. I loved how this mask made my face feel, my face felt so clean and soft and looked so dewy. When I woke up the next morning, my mother (who is on me about skin ALL. THE. TIME), complimented how great my skin looked! Oh ,you can also refrigerate this mask for a cooling effect and feeling.

  • The Kale Face Mask

Kale yasss! I can say I know a ton of ways to EAT kale, I didn’t know I could use it to help my face though! As we all know, kale is full of Vitamins, A, C, and K. It is a super food that helps our body, but it can also help with skin imbalances. It helps reduce bloat and puffiness, corrects redness, and can even help with dry patches/flakiness. This certainly helps with keeping skin toned and revitalized!

  • Pineapple Enzyme Infused Mask

I loooove pineapples, and now I love putting them on my face! I had no idea it had an enzyme (bromelain) that acts as an all natural exfoliator, breaking down the keratin protein in dead skin cells. This reveals a new layer of skin and helps get rid of discoloration, leaving you with bright and renewed skin. My face felt so soft after this one!

  • Witch Hazel Infused Mask

This one had some serious powers like a witch haha! I wanted to try this one because it said it combats acne and blackheads and helps minimize excess oil production. It also said it helps against sun damage – a must have since summer is over. Apparently, witch  hazel has a ton of healing properties such as reducing skin damage, inflammation, and swelling. the all-natural ingredient soothes troubled skin and balances the skin for an unblemished complexion. After I took this mask off, I felt like it wiped my blackheads away too, my face felt so smooth and looked so supple.

  • Coconut Oil Infused Mask

So we all know coconut oil is the cure for everything – did you know it even whitens teeth? That will have to be my next post ;). Sometimes after washing my face I will put coconut oil on my face because it makes it feel and look great. Coconut oil is also a great makeup remover if you didn’t know! So, since I already love coconut oil, I was super excited to try this one out – and I was not disappointed! It really felt the same as when I put coconut oil on my face, super moisturized, super smooth, and younger looking 😉

PS – for a cooling effect you can refrigerate their masks 🙂 I haven’t tried, but if you have, comment below!

If you’ve tried any, I’d love to hear which ones and what you thought of them!

Could not be happier with my skin ❤ !

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Apple of My Eye Apple Pie

So it feels like ages since I went apple picking, and I promised I would share just what I did with all of those apples. A few days after apple picking, I whipped up this recipe for everyone to enjoy – however, I’m just posting about it weeks later. It has been so hectic on my end – starting a new job, helping with my sister’s wedding & bachelorette party, it never ends!

This is a perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re having a more intimate, smaller gathering. A great alternative to apple pie – and you don’t have to worry about how big of a piece you take 😉


Ingredients:

  • 10 apples (this is only because I had sooo many)
  • 4 Tbsp. of butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Crumb Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers (this is optional)
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. butter (melted)
  • 1 roll of pre-made pie crust (optional if you don’t want to wrap the apple in dough)
  • Ice cream! Caramel sauce, whatever you’d like!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash apples and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping by combining flour, graham crackers (if used), oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and then melted butter until mixture is combined and crumbly. Set aside.
  4. Peel and chop 4 of the apples.
  5. Add these chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup to a large frying pan and cook over medium heat for about ten minutes (until the apples are softened and tender!). Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. With the remaining 6 apples, cut the tops off and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Be careful to not go all the way down/pierce the skin of the apple! Leave a perimeter within the apple as shown below. It should resemble an “apple bowl”.
  7. Fill your “apple bowl” with the filling from the sauce pan you just made. Fill about 3/4 of the way, or halfway if you’d like to be generous with the topping.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into strips and “mummify” or wrap the apples! It can be a bit tricky to have them stick to the apple so definitely press the dough strips into one another so they don’t unravel.
  9. Place the apples into a pie pan (I had to use two) because just in case of drippings, it doesn’t overflow as it potentially could on a flat baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. Serve warm and with your favorite ice cream! I recommend Ben & Jerry’s cinnamon one.

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Double Stuffed, Cookie Dough Fried Oreos w/ Nutella

Yes. You read that title correctly. Luckily summer is over and it’s okay to indulge a bit (thank goodness for sweater season!). If you still want to reminisce on the summer feels, like carnivals and festivals, what other way to do so than fried oreos?! These are incredibly easy to make, and I must admit I make them more often than I should. I like to add cookie dough, because well cookie dough is everything and I personally believe it to be it’s own essential food group. And of course the Nutella drizzle just speaks for itself. Enjoy!


 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Oreo’s (I usually get the mega-stuffed, or whichever new flavor they have at the time)
  • 1 Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough roll
  • Aunt Jemima pancake mix (I use this because you just need to add water to the mix)
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fry the Oreo’s in)
  • Confection sugar
  • Nutella

Directions:

First, prepare the pancake mix in a medium sized bowl. If using Aunt Jemima, it is 2 cups dry mix and 1 1/2 cup water.

Begin to heat up the oil in a deep frying skillet, or a fryer if you have one.

Next, take your Oreo’s and twist the top off of each (gently, so the cream stays on one of the cookies). Take a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough and press onto the cream to flatten so it looks like it is just another disc of cream. Put the cookie that you just took off back on.

I recommend doing this to all of the cookies first, and then once that is done, begin dipping them into the pancake batter, as it is more efficient.

Once all the cookies are done and the oil is heated (you can test by flicking a few drops of water in it – you’ll hear it sizzle and see it bubble), begin to dip the cookies into the pancake batter. Using a spoon, gently place them into the oil.

As they begin to cook, line a plate with paper towels to absorb the oil for when you remove them.

You’ll notice the Oreo turning golden brown. If the oil isn’t high enough, simply use the spoon to turn the Oreo to fry the other side as well.

Once a nice, bronzed, golden brown color, remove the Oreo from the oil and let cool on the paper-towel lined plate. Continue doing this until all Oreos are done.

Once cooled, sprinkle confection sugar and drizzle Nutella all over those bad boys! This is where you can really go to town, use as much as your heart desires 🙂

 

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Sorrento

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Oh Sorrento, I absolutely adore you. Sorrento is definitely in my top five favorite cities of all time and I recommend if you ever go to Italy to make it a priority to spend a day/night here. With charming little alleyways lined with shops, incredible restaurants, and views like no other, it is also the limoncello capital of the world (all the more reason to visit!).

When I first arrived in Sorrento, I’ll never forget how breathtaking the views were, especially since it is like a city carved into and atop the cliffs. Overlooking the sea, our hotel room (see the video below) was like a dream.

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My sister and I immediately went to the beach and went swimming – the water was freezing since it was September, but we figured we were in Italy so we just had to do it. Later in the day we were able to rejoin our group and went to a local pizzeria where we were able to have a pizza demonstration and of course eat our body weights in pizza (when in Sorrento, right? 😉 ). Afterwards, my sister and I went strolling around, shopping at the boutiques and emptying our wallets. We strolled around Piazza Tasso, a square lined with little cafes.

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I think my favorite part was when we went to Limonoro, a candy/sweet shop that revolves around everything limoncello. I’m talking limoncello filled cookies, limoncello gummies, the list goes on. They offered us free samples of literally anything we wanted to try! I had these cookies, and honestly my taste buds have never been the same. I am seriously placing an order as soon as I finish writing this post.

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To end our stay in Sorrento, we had a feast with our Contiki group for those who wanted to participate, and the views were just breathtaking from the restaurant, Circolo dei Forestieri. The decor was beautiful, the food was unmatched. When I get married, I’d consider having destination wedding with the reception here – everything about it was above and beyond. After my meal, I was sitting there with my sister and this older gentleman came up and asked me dance! I’m normally very shy, ESPECIALLY dancing in front of other people to Italian songs doing Italian moves I have no idea how to do. I kept saying no, but that doesn’t work too well with Italians – especially the men haha! So he pulled me up and whisked me away for a solid two songs. I let him lead the way…and of course I had him dance with my sister as well. We go down we go down together, sisters are forever haha!

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Before we left for the night we stopped at a limoncello store I Giardini Di Cataldo, and stocked up on bottles on bottles on bottles of limoncello. It also made for the perfect favor. Good thing we didn’t drink too much of it since we had a boat ride to Capri the next morning.

Stay tuned for the lovely Capri!

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ROMA E POMPEII

img_4052Buongiorno a tutti! So, growing up Italian (well only half  😉 ), it has always been a life-long dream to visit the motherland. Since I was practically raised by my Nonna, the Italian culture and way of life has always been something that has resonated deeply with me, and something I have always cherished. I also believe that when my dad (an Irish/British gent) married my mom (a hot-headed Italian), the Italian culture just kind of took over. Although, she does give my dad’s side of the family some recognition by making corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day hahah.

ANYWAYS – I finally was able to make this dream a reality with my sister. We went on a Contiki tour (a travel agency catering to 18-35 year olds), which took us ALL over Italy, starting at Rome. Since I have over 4,000 images from this trip and notebooks of memories, I decided to break down the blog posts in sections, by cities.

Let’s talk about getting there first. I don’t know about you, but I always have the biggest anxiety before overseas trips. Irrational, I know. From all of my experience travelling overseas (okay 3 times), the planes have been equipped with WiFi, televisions, charger ports, the whole nine yards. Well, let me tell you, stepping onto that plane was like stepping into a time warp that transported me to 1492. I minds as well have just sailed with Columbus. The phone (shockingly equipped with one), still had a cord attached to it…I didn’t even know they made those anymore! And so, a panic attack ensued.

Luckily we made it safe and sound, we had our meals (best part of the flight to be honest), and landed in Rome bright and early. With all the stress from the flight, thanks to me, my sister and I were completely worn out. Once we got through customs, we went outside and were greeted by a line of taxis. We got into a “taxi”and were on our way to our hotel where we would meet with our Contiki group later that evening.

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The cab ride was great, the guy was super friendly, giving us recommendations, I was even speaking with him in Italian! Then…we got to our hotel and he wanted 200 euros…normally a 50 euro trip. He became a little angry and us being scared and in an area we knew NOTHING about (it didn’t help it was so early and no one was around), we had no choice but to give him the euros. I should note it was all of our euros we had initially exchanged to get us by the first few days of our trips. So we were robbed in Rome within the first twenty minutes of being there. At least now as I type this I can laugh, not cry.

I immediately started looking at flights home while my sister sobbed in the bathroom. Our parents were able to calm us down and things actually started looking up. We went to a little restaurant La Gattabuia, where we had a few aperitivo. Seriously the food in Italy had the power to turn our entire mood around. We ate until we were in a food coma and went straight to bed since we were off to Pompeii in the morning!

Pompeii was so historic and the Italians did an incredible job of preserving this history, but am even better job telling of the history. On a side note, I learned that Mt. Vesuvius erupted on my birthday, to which my dad said “explains a lot”. I learned so much about the culture there at the time, let’s just say it wasn’t too PG-13. They even had a prostitute row, I guess it was the OG Red Light District. The beds were made of stone, because they wanted everyone to do their business and then leave immediately and not get comfortable so the next person can come in. There’s also a really interesting background to puttanesca sauce. Puttanesca comes from the Italian word “puttana”, which basically means whore. Legend has it that at these brothels, the puttanas would make this “quick and easy” sauce and serve it to customers who were waiting their turn. All in all, Pompeii is an absolute tourist trap, I would just recommend going on a walking tour and leaving.

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Stay tuned for Sorrento – one of my most favorite places in the world!