Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer drinks: A healthy & refreshing blueberry-banana smoothie.

Girls, I feel like this website was a failed attempt at a beauty blog. I am supposed to post about beauty products, and yet I find myself compelled to post about food -- drinks in particular. Maybe I should rename it to "Drink your calories with Nastia" or something of that sort! Oh well, since I will mostly share healthy recipes, it still has something to do with beauty, right ;)? Anyway, I hope you don't mind my randomness!

Today's drink is a blueberry-banana smoothie that requires no more than 4 easily accessible ingredients. I discovered this little recipe thanks to the book "La bible des smoothies" by Louise Rivard, which offers nearly 200 pages of creative smoothie ideas. This is one of the easiest -- I would love to experiment with the others, but I always lack some ingredient to be able to do so. One day I will have tried them all!

For this one you will only need 1 banana, 80g of blueberries, 60ml of chocolate milk and crushed ice (as well as a blender to mix it all, of course).

Step 1: Throw the banana and blueberries into the blender, and pour the chocolate milk over the fruits.

Step 2: Set your mixture to blend, first slowly, then at a higher speed. Leave it on for about 1 minute: you want your fruits to be well-blended, but be careful not to turn your drink into liquid juice.

Step 3: Stop the blender and add some crushed ice.

Step 4: Blend once more. Again, don't overdo it unless you want your smoothie to become watery. 30 seconds to 1 minute should be fine, depending on the blender you use: just watch over the texture and stop when it becomes smooth, while still remaining thick.

Final step: Pour the mixture in a tall glass, add a straw, go outside and enjoy it while reading a good book :).

I hope you are all making the best of summer! xoxo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My morning skincare routine

I thought it could be fun to tell you girls about my morning skincare routine, as skincare is probably my favourite part of the beauty world (I'd choose it over make-up any day). Not to mention, I think the right regimen can really kick start your day, especially when you would rather not start it at all and spend a few more hours in bed instead. Here are my own 3 (occasionally 4) daily steps!

Step 1: Morning Burst Facial Cleanser with Bursting Beads by Clean & Clear
You know how Clean & Clear ads always claim their products will "wake you up"? Well, I find that claim to be true in this case. I love to wash my face with this cleanser first thing in the morning, as it refreshes my sleepy skin and gives it a much needed boost.
My only complaint is that the beads tend to become scarce when you start to use up the product (you can see mine is almost empty). Perhaps the pump gets clogged after repeated use... Anyway, at least you can be sure that this product (which contains 236 mL) will last you a long, long while: in fact, I suspect that my little sister has helped me a great deal in finishing it up!
Also, this is not a product that will remove your make-up successfully, which is part of the reason why I use this only in the morning, on skin that has been cleaned up the night before (my night-time skincare routine will  be described in an upcoming post).

Step 2 (1x/week): Apricot Scrub (Gentle) by St. Ives
I don't know if I will ever be able to get through this product, since it's only meant to be used weekly and I need such a little amount even so. Anyway, I have nothing particularly insightful to say about this scrub: I like it (it does the job) but I do neglect it sometimes, meaning that I probably use it less than once a week. I must also say that even though this is supposed to be the gentle version for sensitive skin (which I don't necessarily have), I still find it a little too harsh on the face.
If you know of a scrub that you love so much that you look forward to using it every week, definitely share it in the comments!

Step 3: Light Moisturizing Day Care by Nivea Visage
I've talked about this cream here and here. This is my fourth time purchasing it (this time, I decided to try out the tube version as it seemed more practical/hygienic, but I notice that this one doesn't have SPF 15) and it still is everything that I could ever wish for: it smells great, it doesn't cost a lot of money and it feels very nice on the skin. Out of my entire skincare routine, this is the product that I'd have the most difficulty replacing.

Step 4: Baby Lips Lip Balm (Peppermint) by Maybelline
I leave the heavier lip balms for night-time: I won't bother applying a thick coat on my lips in the morning (it seems pointless when I'm about to have breakfast and drink water anyway). This lip balm, as simple as it looks, is perfect: it has a fresh peppermint flavour, it soothes my lips when they are irritated, and it's easy to reapply anytime with just a swipe.

Here I am all cleaned up and (partly) awake. Only then do I feel truly ready to carry on with my day!

My skin is all red from the scrub, haha!

Which products help you to start off the day, girls?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Walmart "essentials" haul

(Album I am listening to while writing this blog post: The Very Best of Lightnin' Hopkins)

I might have mentioned that I try to buy very few products as of late; to use up those I already have in my collection, mostly. Well, that still holds true: in fact, the only reason I stopped by Walmart earlier today  (despite the heat!) was because I ran out of a few things that my routine would dearly miss.

I was out of conditioner and I need conditioner at all times, otherwise my hair will not be happy. All Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners were on sale for $2.00, so I didn't look any further and picked one out of their endless range. Each product of theirs triggers something specific -- roots, volume, split ends and what-not -- and I'm not sure they're all that different in the end, but every one of them smells really nice. I'm not one to boycott all drugstore hair products: I've used them forever and my hair remains healthy. Plus I wouldn't want to spend a fortune on conditioners alone, considering the rate at which I use them up! This one is called "Hello Hydration" and the scent is a blend of coconut and orchid, not bad at all!

I wonder, what is your favourite make-up remover? Mine is, without a doubt, the Oil-Free Eye Make-up Remover by Neutrogena. And I've tried many. I'm planning a complete review on this one, but let's just say this is my third bottle and I absolutely don't want to look elsewhere. It removes make-up flawlessly, as any product that bears that name should, and leaves no trace of a greasy film around your eyes. Two basic requirements, yes, but unfortunately most fail to meet them!

I was just walking along the alleys, browsing for anything I might not need, when I stumbled upon the Udder Cream by Udderly Smooth. I believe that Gaby has talked highly of their products (marketed for dry/chapped skin) and she is a wonderful reviewer, so this caught my eye. For some reason I thought that there was no way to get it but online, so I didn't really seek out this product before, but when I saw it in store I decided to give it a go. Besides, how can I resist at that price ($2.83 for 4 ounces)?
So far so good: I applied it on some dry patches I had on my arms, and the cream was instantly absorbed by my skin. Also, love that the packaging is old-school and perhaps amateurish; it does not give me the impression of paying more just for an elaborately designed tube.

I needed a base coat and a new top coat, so I thought of saving some money by going for a two-in-one:  this is the Multi Care Base + Top Coat by Revlon. I'll let you know if it's any good -- I just noticed it had rather poor reviews on MakeUpAlley, which worries me, but of course I still want to see for myself. 

The first time I purchased the Dream Lumi Touch concealer by Maybelline, I talked about it in my March haul: at the time I was looking for a new undereye concealer, and I chose this one based on reviews, hoping I would like it. Well, I did. It's pretty amazing, actually. It hides dark circles while adding a bit of brightness under the eye (very subtle, nothing over-the-top to be sure). My shade is 320 - Ivory.

That was it for this time. If you posted about any recent hauls, leave your links in the comments! I always love to check out what others by, especially in the beauty department ;).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Super quick and easy Iced Mocha recipe :)

A while ago I found a super simple, quick, easy (you name it) recipe for a drink that I absolutely loved to order at Starbucks and the like: the iced mocha. Don't mind the logo on my reusable cold cup: this drink is home-made and considerably cheaper than the coffee shop's alternative. It tastes just as good, the look of it can fool you, and it might be a healthier option as well. The recipe that I had went something like this; but really, you can customize it to your liking (my dosage, for example, is slightly different -- and I skip the extra sugar). Basically, you only need some hot water, ice cubes, milk, chocolate syrup, and instant coffee. Alright, let's get into it!

Step 1: Fill your glass with ice.

Step 2: Take a small dish, and pour in a few spoonfuls of hot water.

Step 3: Add in a few teaspoons of your favourite kind of instant coffee. I use 2 of them: I'm not an avid coffee drinker so I react pretty strongly to it, but as I said, add as much as you like or need.

Step 4: Stir the mixture to let the coffee dissolve in the water.

Step 4: Same process with the chocolate syrup. Add the amount you feel is needed -- it depends of how much of a sweet tooth you have! Once again, I use about 2 teaspoons.

Step 5: Stir. I told you, this is very basic.

Step 6: Pour the chocolate and coffee mixture over the ice.

Step 7: Time to fill your cup with milk! Use non-fat if you want to make it a bit healthier, or use whatever kind you fancy. Side note: Yes, this is a milk in a bag. I live in Canada and I know that some Americans, for one, find that weird beyond belief. Does it really seem that strange?

That's it! Put in a straw, mix it up a bit, and your glass will be filled with delicious swirls of chocolate. Yum!

I hope you try and enjoy! xoxo.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Haul from here and there

Alright, so I went to Sephora as planned yesterday after my final (it was opening June 1st in downtown Montreal) and it was truly insane! I only walked in and through the store quickly, to have a look -- the crowd was so scary that it was impossible to browse the displays calmly. I meant to pick up something but the line looked like quite an adventure as well, so I did not bother. Anyway, it's a very pretty store from what I could see, and I'll surely go again once all the excitement quiets down.

Anyway, today was my first day of summer vacation, but it was rainy and I couldn't enjoy it in the sun, so I opted for a trip to a shopping mall outside the city ;). I decided to share what I bought right away since I never carry out my intentions of blogging my purchases. So there it goes!

I picked up a random body scrub from Bath & Body Works (this is one is the True Blue Spa: Fresh Foaming Body Buff with shea butter) after realizing that Lush's Ocean Salt was waaaay too expensive, even if it's claimed to be amazing. Plus they were giving out coupons for a free product with a minimum purchase of $10, so I went for the Japanese Cherry Blossom Creamy Body Wash. The smell is to die for!

At Zara I found a pair of navy blue flats, perfect for any outfit, and a long white tee. My friends make fun of me because white and black tees are all I seem to wear, but I love the basics!

These two golden studded bracelets have got to be my favourite purchase of the day. I got them at Aldo Accessories and fell in love; they're perfect, exactly my style. 

I'm glad I stopped by Winners as they were reselling the Hunger Games nail polishes! I really liked Smoke and Ashes on blogs, but had to forget about it since I usually cannot find China Glaze polishes here. Post-purchase I can say that the colour is a bit harsh against my pale skin, but it still is a beautiful opaque black with cool-toned shimmer.
Oh, and since there was a Sephora in the shopping mall I was at (and it was much less hectic!) I bought the primer that I wanted from Urban Decay there (their famous Primer Potion in Original).

Et voilĂ . I hoped you enjoyed your day, rainy or not! xoxo.
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