Birchbox June 2015 Reveal and Review

This was going to be my last Birchbox.  I am not going back to work anytime soon because our son was been born with some special needs, especially in his first year of life.  This leaves my boyfriend to support 5 people and a dog on his own, including his 30 year old autistic brother who eats a ton!  Therefore, BB must go…after July.  I did the math and if I hold out until July I will have exactly $30 in points to use vs $20 if I stopped it this month.  So on with it…my second to last Birchbox review:

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Temple Spa Good Hair Day Shampoo and In Good Condition Conditioner – these has a scent stronger than I would prefer.  I haven’t tried them yet, but hopefully they work for me!

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant – I have had this before but I think I traded it away.  I may give it another try now that I know it’s supposed to help fade dark spots which seem to be creeping up more and more for me.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner – this was added instead of the Eyeko Fat Eyeliner that I was really looking forward to.  This is metallic blue, a shade I am not sure I can pull off unfortunately.

Coola SPF 50 Sport in Mango – I’ve read many reviews that this doesn’t rub in good.  I do like that it’s organic so I’ll probably use it on the kids this summer.

L. Erickson Grab and Go Ponytalk Holder – this is considered a “Lifestyle Extra” to add a pop of color…lol.  I got gray.  How drab.

This isn’t my favorite BB, but it’s not terrible, especially if I like the shampoo/conditioner.  The only item that may not get used at all is the blue eyeliner.  Hoping my next one is awesome since it will sadly be my last :(

<3 Lolo

May 2015 Empties

This post is a little late because I was kinda busy having a baby ❤️

  
I have to say I really liked all of these items.  The perfume might be too sweet for some but it was great for work and around my kids.  The primer was good, but not as good as my HG. The scrub works so well and actually warms up.  My only complaint is that somehow I always tastes it and it’s horrible.   I have no idea why I would taste that but never any other facial products???   And the Darphin Lotion literally changed my skin for the better instantly.   Amazinggggg but out of my budget :-(

Keeping it short and sweet this month in the hopes my lack of sleep doesn’t show too much!  He’s worth it though. 

<3 Lolo

  

Low Carb Gluten Free Cheddar Bacon Cauliflower Soup

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Low Carb Gluten Free Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

I don’t dare call this recipe “healthy” but for those of us who are on strict low carb diets, it works really well and tastes SO good!  I have made it as healthy as possible but still prefer regular cheese over low-fat.

Ingredients

6 slices turkey bacon cooked crisp and crumbled

2 T olive oil

1 t minced garlic

1 small-medium head of cauliflower, shredded

2 T water

1 t onion powder

1/4 t celery salt

2 T gluten free all purpose flour

2 C chicken broth, divided

2 C unsweetened almond milk

2 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Add olive oil to a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Saute garlic a minute or two until fragrant.

2.  Add cauliflower, water, onion powder and celery salt, stir and cover, stirring occasionally for 5-7  minutes until cauliflower is tender.  Add 1 3/4 cups of the chicken broth and the almond milk and bring to a boil over high.

3.  Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of chick broth with the flour and whisk into the pot while stirring.  Turn the heat back down to medium and let simmer a few minutes to thicken.

4.  Turn off the heat and slowly stir in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese while stirring, until smooth and melted.  Stir in half the bacon crumbles.  Salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with remaining bacon crumbles and cheddar cheese.

This will be a chunky textures soup. I suppose you could use an immersion blender to smooth it more if that’s what you prefer – enjoy!

<3 Lolo

Birchbox May 2015 Reveal and Review

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This month I decided to go with the sample choice over the curated box.  Honestly, nothing in the curated box appealed to me and the sample choices were just kinda meh, but it happens.  At least I could possibly still get some surprises that I loved and as always, those Birchbox points add up!  This month was curated by Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere.  I recently checked out her blog and it’s really cute!

Here’s my box!

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And a little breakdown:

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Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment ($9.52) – this was my sample choice for this month.  I find oils usually work better as an overnight treatment for me that I wash out in the morning.  This is a very generous sized sample as a little oil goes a long way!  It also smells really good!  Overall I am now happy I chose this!

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Harvey Prince Yogini ($1.00??) – there is no way for me to get an accurate value for this as the actual measurement of the sample is not listed.  I really love the way this smells!  It has sandalwood, grapefruit and Egyptian myrrh listed as ingredients.  If I didn’t have a ton of perfume I would likely put t his one on my list to buy!

CoTZ Flawless Complexion ($1.43) – so I *think* this is a tinted sunscreen?  It doesn’t have  a shade listed but it has a typical tinted appearance to it.  I really have no interest in this type of product or this brand and I keep getting samples!  Ahhh, at least it’s not a high value item for my box.

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Benefit Lollibalm ($9.00) – I am excited to have received this sample, but I am not sure the shade is going to work for my skin tone.  The reviews are amazing though so I am definitely going to give it a try!

TokyoMilk Bon Bon Shea Butter Rich Lotion ($6.51) – I thought this was a hand lotion because the full sized item is only 2.3oz for $20 but it doesn’t really specify if its body or hand.  This is actually my favorite item int he box.  It smells SO good!  Ingredients include lychee, sugared grapefruit, sweet jasmine and warm vanilla.  I plan to use it as a hand cream…and I may be buying more!

When I first saw my box in the sneak peek I was disappointed, but now that I have it in my hands, I really do love everything except for the tinted sunscreen.  I paid $10 for this box and received approximately $27.46 in items and will get $5 back in Birchbox points after I try and review all my items!  Not a bad deal at all!

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox you can by using my referral: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/w7sp1

Thanks SO much!

<3 Lolo

Baked Grain Free (Gluten Free) Turkey Meatballs

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My boyfriend is Gluten Free because of a true sensitivity/allergy to it so I need to be careful what I make and let him eat. In all honesty, we don’t avoid gluten completely in our home because the rest of us still love certain things with it in there, but I try to make sure dinners are always gluten free.

A while ago I was looking for a gluten free meatball recipe that also didn’t contain many carbs (because of my gestational diabetes) and came along one for grain free meatballs.  The genius part of that recipe was that it used ground flax seeds as the binder rather than bread crumbs!   A few modifications and viola!  Grain Free, Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs!

Grain Free Meatballs

Ingredients:

1.25lbs Extra Lean Ground Turkey

1 Egg

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 T Ground Flax Seeds

1 T Italian Seasoning

1 T Dried Parsely

1 T Onion Powder

1 t Salt

1/2 t Black Pepper

1/4 t Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  Roll out into one inch balls.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Coconut Curry Chicken With Cauliflower

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I LOVE cooking….but I never write about it.  I don’t know why that has been, but I am planning on changing that!  We will soon have a really nice camera so hopefully my pictures will increase AND improve but for now I present…

Coconut Curry Chicken With Cauliflower

Coconut Curry Chicken With Cauliflower

It doesn’t look that pretty, does it?  But it’s DELICIOUS!  Seriously, even my 7 year old told me tonight that this is his third favorite meal after PBJ sandwiches and chicken nuggets!

The other thing that I have been so happy to find is that this works (*for me*) on my super strict Gestational Diabetes diet as well!  I have come up with my own version of this by modifying other recipes for curries and personal preferences.  I think the fun thing about curries is that you can always take something out or throw something int o make it your own.  This is how we like it!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces

salt and pepper to taste

2 T oil

2 T curry powder

1 t onion powder (I really hate onions)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk

1 8oz can tomato sauce

2 T Splenda

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces

  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat.  Stir in the curry and cook a minute or two.  Stir in the onion powder and garlic and cook for about another minute.
  2. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.  Add it to the curry mixture and toss to coat.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, tomato sauce and Splenda.  Add cauliflower and stir to coat.  Lower heat again to low-medium and cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
  4. Serve!  We like it over brown rice, but it’s just as good plain as well!

This serves only 2 in our house, so I increase the chicken and squeeze as much cauliflower as I can into the pot after that when my boyfriend is here.  There are never any leftovers!

Enjoy!

Pregnant with PCOS – Complications

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From day one with this pregnancy it’s been one thing after the next.  When I has my son in September 2007, I did not have PCOS (not a single symptom), nor was there ever a single concern with my pregnancy until the end when I couldn’t deliver and needed an emergency c-section.

With this pregnancy, almost 8 years later, a completely different experience is occurring.  I honestly have had very few moments where I have just been able to be happy I am pregnant and enjoy the experience.

I was diagnosed with PCOS summer 2012 a few months after my symptoms started.  They think very stressful events led to my PCOS finally showing it’s ugly face.  Obviously I could do without a lot of the symptoms that came along with it, but the hardest for me to accept was that I may never have kids again.

I found out I was pregnant during my yearly exam with the specialist I see for my PCOS.  The nurse that day asked me if I had any wishes for children.  I told her I wasn’t sure and have been trying to accept the fact I may not be able to.  She simply said I would need “help” should I decide to try to get pregnant.  During my ultrasound to check my cysts, they noticed thickening of my cervix and decided to do a pregnancy test “just to rule it out.”  This is where all the negativity of this pregnancy begins…

– Driving home from my boyfriends later that afternoon, the doctors office called to inform me that I was pregnant.  I didn’t even have time to react because the next words were “but you’re possibly losing it.”  From there I had to pick-up Progesterone suppositories for daily use to help maintain the pregnancy as well as have blood work done every 2 days for 4 more tests to ensure my hormone levels were rising the way they should.  We passed all that.

– Next, my thyroid hormone was low so I needed to take medication for that.  A couple months down the road I stopped taking it myself because all my follow up tests came back normal (one even after I stopped).  I felt they were just jumping the gun and I think I was right.

– I was also having weekly ultrasounds to ensure the baby was growing properly during the first 12 months, while I was still under the care of the specialist.  On my very last visit with them, the babies heart rate was extremely low.  2 different machines and 3 different techs all got similar results.  This was the second time I thought I was possibly losing the baby and just a mess.  Thankfully, my boyfriend is amazing.  He really is my rock and stays strong and so positive when I’m weak.  They got us into our hospital’s Maternal Fetal Medicine and the quickly found the heart rate to be normal and had no idea what was going on at the specialist’s office.

– Finally I get a break from the bad news and switch to an OB and monthly visits.  Our 20 month ultrasound looked good and everything was right on track.

– the Glucose Test.   I had a feeling I was going to fail it.  I can’t tell you why, other than I am aware of huge link between Diabetes and PCOS.  In 2012 I had a glucose test done that came back normal so I am hoping I go back to normal after the pregnancy.  I am currently on diet only.  I was prescribed Glyburide a couple weeks ago, but my fasting numbers have mostly been good so they were ok with going another week.  Right now that’s a week by week thing.  The diet sucks.  I have lost weight and haven’t gained any of it back, but they have told me that’s ok.

– During my first ultrasound since the Diabetes diagnosis, they found the babies arms and leg bones were significantly shorter than they should be at this point.  My OB told me that they were measuring at about 25-26 weeks, while I was 31 weeks pregnant.  The doctor at the ultrasound said he thought it was normal and that babies have different growth spurts at different times and wanted to recheck me again in 3 weeks, especially because the babies belly and head were measuring a little over where they should be.  The only diagnosis anyone mentioned was a possible form of dwarfism.  So 3 more weeks of worry…

– the follow up ultrasound did not offer us any more peace of mind.  The doctor that day told us that while the babies arms and legs were longer, they were measuring at about 25 weeks, while I was 34 weeks pregnant.  To me, this does not go along with my OB telling me that they were measuring at 25-16 weeks 3 weeks ago if they have grown.  Of course I have googled to try to find people with similar stories, but have had no luck finding any where they say the limps are 9-10 weeks behind.  They also said the head and belly are larger than they should be and would normally associate that with uncontrolled diabetes but my numbers are really good so they don’t think that’s the case.  I also have an excess of amniotic fluid now and pre-mature labor.  This, for me, is a huge concern because we live 90 minutes from the hospital and I have to have a c-section.  I am now being put back on weekly ultrasounds to check the babies biophysicals and the amount of fluid and return in 3 weeks for more measurements.  Thankfully,  my boyfriend will be there for the next round of measurements because I never think of the questions I have until after I’ve left and have time to process things.  I will be asking my OB more on Monday when I am in for my next ultrasound and check-up.  Again, dwarfism was mentioned, as well as a possibility it could be some other chromosomal issue.  We did have genetic testing done, but that doesn’t rule out everything.  We did have normal development at least up until the 20th week  ultrasound, so why that stopped, I don’t know.  We won’t be having any further testing done until the baby is born and we can see what’s going on.  I am trying to stay positive and hopeful they are wrong (there are a lot of stories out there where the measurements were way off).  We have a picture from January and the baby is upside down with his LONG legs over his head.  It’s so hard to believe they just suddenly stopped growing along with the rest of him.

I have biophysicals Monday and May 12 and measurements May 20.  As of right now we are still scheduled to deliver June 2.  I’ve only told my mom about the limbs/fluid issue.  My boyfriend is opting to not tell anyone anything until after our next set of measurements.  He didn’t want to tell anyone anything at all, but I told him I don’t want spend our babies first day explaining to people somethings isn’t quite right.  It’s so hard to not know what, if anything, is wrong.  I can’t help him anymore than I am with my diet.  I don’t know if my PCOS has anything to do with all these issues.  I do know that after a horrific past relationship with my sons father, that I was lucky enough to find the most amazing man to be experiencing this with.  We didn’t expect these issues, no one ever does, but I know I couldn’t get through this without him.  He;s my shoulder to cry on, he keeps me sane and as positive as possible and I know if our son is born with dwarfism or any other condition, he will be there every single day lifting him up and making sure he knows he can have everything anyone else can….for that, I am thankful, for that, I know we will all be ok.

April Empties!!

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This month was actually a good month for empties for me!  Let’s get right to it!

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion:  I’ve written about this before.  The anti-aging formula is one that works best for me, along with the original formula.  My eyeshadow pay-off is great and it really doesn’t budge all day!

NYX HD Photogenic Concealer – a month or two ago I tossed out a yellow version of this.  While it’s not a bad concealer, it’s a little too light for the coverage that I need for dark circles.

Lancer Recontouring Lifting Cream – this was a super generous sample I got from Glossybox a while back.  I used up one tube, and now this was my last one.  Again, I feel it worked fairly well, but I just can’t justify the super high cost of the full sized version.  Thankfully, I have a ton of eye creams to work through!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Cream – I was using this as a day cream in the winter when my skin was super dry, but as the season finally changed, I switched things up and used the remainder of this as a night cream and it served it’s purpose just as well!  I really do love this cream in the winter!

The Aloe Source Vitamin C Antioxidant Cream – I also used this as a night cream.  This was a super small amount so I only got a few uses out of this little jar.  It smelled really good and I think it works pretty well for my skin, but again, I just didn’t have much to go with.

H2O Spa Sea Moss replenishing Body Lotion – H2O Spa products have been hit and miss with me.  Overall though, this lotion worked really well to finish up winter with.  I didn’t have any dry patches or itchiness while using it so I think this one was a win!

Everyone Lotion in Coconut + Lemon – my absolute favorite!  I could smell like coconut everyday for the rest of my life and never get sick of it.  This lotion first came to me over a year ago when my then boyfriend bought the wrong scent and thought this was too girly.  We broke up shortly after and I was heartbroken and couldn’t use up the HUGE bottle quick enough.  9 months later, and happier than ever, we found our way back to each other, and he bought the wrong scent again.  I love him lol….so this was huge bottle number 2!  We need to make a Whole Foods run soon so he can accidentally buy me some more!

Skinn by D’Mitri James Olive and Enzyme Cleanser – this is my “find of the month.”  Maybe the year…we’ll see.  It’s a balm type cleanser so it’s thick and creamy.  It removed my eye makeup wonderfully and left my skin feeling super smooth and super moisturized.  It also smells lovely.  I have this on both my Amazon and Ebay wish lists!  I am not sure how it would work with my skin come summer, but it definitely made my skin look and feel great this last month!

All in all a good month!  May could turn out to be a bust for me with blogging and keeping track of things.  I am in my last month of pregnancy, our basement is almost finish, my boyfriend, his dog and his autistic brother are moving in, and my son will be finishing up 1st grade!

Now that I am no longer working (at least until September) I had planned to write more often, but like everything in my life, other things are once again taking over…spinning

April 2015 Birchbox Mad Med Edition Reveal and Review

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For this month’s Birchbox I once again went with the curated box.  I also did Birchbox Plus for the first time and added on items at a special rate.

The regular Birchboxes were designed by Rifle Paper Company and super gorgeous.  The Birchbox Plus items were also from Rifle.  I chose the tumbler and notebook pack for $20.

I opted for one of the special Mad Men inspired boxes this month.  I don’t watch Mad Men so I have no idea why these items would relate to the show, I just wanted to try some of the items and have been afraid lately of the regular boxes! Here is one of the Mad Men box options:

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Beauty Protector Hair Oil – I LOVE the scent of Beauty Protector but hair oil doesn’t really do much for me.  I find it works best if I use it at night and wash it out in the morning.  More like a treatment.   I have had this before and traded it and this one I will likely swap as well.

Whish Shave Cream – another item I have received before.  It’s such a small sample (the tube is far from full) but it smells nice (blueberry!) and would be good for an overnight bag, so I’ll likely keep this and maybe use it during my hospital say when I have my baby.

Liz Earle EyeBright Lotion – this is a watery liquid with a light scent, not your typical eye cream/lotion at all.  It says to use it to “soothe and refresh tired, puffy eyes.”  I swatched in onto the back of my hand and it does leave your skin feeling smooth adn more hydrated. This is another item that may come in handy as it gets harder to sleep and for after the baby comes.  A huge con for me though, is that it does contain parabens so I won’t buy it unless they reformulate it.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Eye Gel – this is an item I have wanted to try.  Why?  I don’t know.  My eyebrows aren’t really unruly, but I’ve heard good things.  Maybe they will look even better?  We shall see!

Cargo Blush in Los Cabos – I have a lot of blushes I haven’t even opened yet but I HAD to have t his one too.  It’s a darker peach color with some shimmer so it doesn’t look too good on my winter pale skin.  I think it should work great come summer though!

Overall I am happy with this month’s Birchbox.  I really do like the option of the curated boxes or the Pick Your Sample Choice.  It definitely helps me feel more like I am getting what I am paying for and keeps me looking forward to each months box.  Plus, the rewards system is awesome!

<3 Lolo

March Empties!

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I feel like this month of empties is sample sized…literally.  I only finished one full sized product, but was able to get a good idea if I liked the others or not because most were generous samples!

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Alterna Re-texturizing Protein Cream – I started this awhile ago in an attempt to smooth my hair after drying, but it didn’t work great for me.  Recently I used it a night as a leave-in and washed it out in the morning and that seemed to work better for me.  I wouldn’t buy this though.

NYX High Definition Photogenic Concealer – I’m not a selfie person, but I had been slacking in the concealer department (and I have dark circles!) so I decided to try this out.  I thought yellow was supposed to help camouflage dark circles but I could be wrong.  This was sheer.  I used a beige shade over this and then foundation over that….still had circles, so now I’m looking for a good full coverage concealer.

Urband Decay Primer Potions in Sin and Eden – I think I’ve written about these before.  I LOVE UD’s primers, but Sin is too shimmery for me and Eden freaks me out because it’s yellow-ish.  I prefer the original or the anti-aging.  I’m using up the Eden one now because once eye-shadow is over it, it’s not that bad, but Sin I’m passing along to my mom to try.

Laura Mercier Highlighter – this deluxe sample came from a Sample Society box after the revamp.  I loved it!  I would buy this again if I didn’t already have 5 other highlighters that all work well for me still to use up.  A little went a long way and the result was subtle but noticeable.

Kate Somerville Dilo Oil – I used this as my nighttime moisturizer.  I didn’t notice any great results but there wasn’t much so I probably didn’t get enough uses in to really judge.  I am a big fan of La Prairie’s Dry Oil for nighttime use.

Davines Oi Oil and All In One Milk Foils – I got 2-3 uses out of these.  I LOVE Davines and the Oi conditioner is my HG, but these I could take or leave as they didn’t seem to add any additional benefits.  I used pure organic coconut oil to smooth my hair after drying and I think a tiny tiny bit of that works better than the oil did for me.  I’m not really sure what the purpose of the milk was, but overall I would highly recommend trying Davines products that may suit you.

So hopefully this wraps up winter and we can all start breaking out our warm weather shades and products for next month!

<3 Lolo

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