Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random Update: Skincare, Nails, Rings & things

Happy Sunday! It's been a little bit since my last post, so I thought that some quick coverage of some random items would be a nice way of getting back into the swing of things.

Pregnancy skin can be so fickle. For about 18 weeks, my skin--everywhere--was all over the place. It was disheartening to say the least. As an avid beauty lover, I've read and heard my whole life that pregnancy is when your skin will look its best. I'd heard unendingly about the "pregnancy glow", and then I get there and all of the sudden I'm thinking "well, who lied to me?". I thought it would never end, and there were few correcting products deemed safe to use during that time.

But then 18 weeks hit...and everything snapped back into place. And even better than before! Let's hope this is a trend in...*ahem*..all areas, say post-pregnancy. Now I seem to be able to use whatever I like without any reaction at all (knock on wood). It's sort of reminding me of my high school/university years--those days when I could have poured hot grease on my face, and there'd have been no ill effect.

Lately, I've been loving the effect of re-introducing a serum into my routine. Thanks to Mrs Ruffles & Rouge, I found the wonder that is Lumene's Bright Radiance Skin Nectar, paired with their Vitamin C+ Pure Radiance 24 hr Lotion. The active arctic cloudberry encourages circulation, consequently smoothening the texture of the skin. After the first day of use, I could see a visible change in brightness. It doesn't weigh on the skin like a thick gel, but rather absorbs quickly and non-stickily. The lotion is a nice combination, as is also quite light, yet hydrating. I don't think I'll be switching anytime soon!

To add to the fun, I've thrown in my new favorite facial sunscreen. Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense (SPF 50), which was just introduced in a larger bottle. This is a very lightweight sunscreen that can be patted into the skin directly after moisturizing. Although I think it's important to apply sunscreen, I often skip it because many formulas congest my skin. This one does not at all, and is very thin and runny. It absorbs quickly and does not leave a white cast. I do prefer the dispenser on the smaller bottle however, as it is narrow and pointed--eliminating any potential spillage mess.

My nails have been changing throughout the weeks, from neon to pastel, to nudes, and back to brights. I can't seem to make up my mind about which Spring/Summer shades are my favorite. China Glaze's Pool Party is a throwback from their Poolside 2010 Collection.

It dries to a surprisingly matte finish (ew, yuck, barf), so there was no question about topping it with a glossy top coat. Looking at the bottle, you'd think it was a hot pink--but it ends up leaning a little red/orange on the nail. This one received a lot of unexpected compliments (don't they always though? The ones you can't make up your mind about receive all the compliments..).

Lastly, there was a silver bow ring pictured in my last belly photo. I received a handful of tweets asking me where I found it. Well, none other than Forever 21! Cheap and cheerful it was, to pop into our new 3-story Forever 21 and find a few chunky and fun silver rings. I don't expect any of them to last all that long (you get what you pay for), but they made me smile on an otherwise boring shopping day.

I gravitate towards pieces that are unique--sometimes chunky, other times so delicate that they appear breakable. Clearly, this was a chunky mood day :)

How goes your weekend, and what have you been up to? For those of you in the states, happy Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pai Faina, Mother's Day & an Update

It's no secret that I love to eat. And cook. And bake. And every once in a while I'll tweet about it (by once in a while, I clearly mean a few times per day), and quite a few people who follow me on Twitter have asked for recipes. Well, here we have it!

On Easter (it may have happened a few times since then..give me a break--I have a big appetite; I'm pregnant!) I prepared what Tongans affectionately refer to as Pai Faina--Pineapple Pie. There are many ways to go about making this, and honestly this is the easiest one in my book. The big emphasis for my family is that the filling is quite custardy, and the crust/pastry not be store-bought. Even better, the filling ought to utilize fresh pineapple...but beggars can't be choosers in these non-tropical parts of the world. There are several variations (we don't mind a bit of rum in the filling) that are much more time-consuming, but it's usually up to what you have the energy for. This is a simple dessert--one that can be finished in under an hour.

Pai Faina

Pineapple Filling:

3 cups pineapple, crushed
3tbl custard powder
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbl butter (you can add a bit more for a creamier effect)

Pastry:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
5 egg yolks

Meringue:

5 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
5 egg whites

Set your oven to 350 degrees F.

Next heat up your pineapple in a saucepan, slowly adding the custard, sugar, and then a bit of salt. Let it thicken just a bit, and then remove it from the heat. Before it cools, add in your butter and stir until it has melted within the mixture. Set aside to cool.

Cream your butter and sugar together, later adding your egg yolks. Be sure to reserve your egg whites for your meringue. Add the remaining dry ingredients, being sure to have sifted them first. Nobody likes a big chunk of white flour in their crust!

Transfer your dough to a cutting board, after having floured your board and pin. Roll out your pastry and then place it into a 13"x9" pan (hey, a pie doesn't always have to be round--there are
mouths to feed!). Bake this in your oven for about 25 minutes, or until it's golden brown.

Once you've removed your pastry from the oven, pour your pineapple mixture on top.

Take your remaining egg whites, beating them until frothy, and then add your cream of tartar and sugar. Beat them some more until they form stiff peaks--if you are using a mixer, turn up the speed! Get the air into them but don't overdo it, lest they collapse.

Add this atop your pineapple mixture. The more creative you are with your swirling, the prettier the final outcome :) Pop this back into the oven at 375 degrees F, and watch it for a few minutes. The peaks will brown slightly, and then it's ready to be removed.

At this point, you should probably just take your share and run--because if your house is anything like mine, waiting will leave you hungry.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we've now had Mother's Day. I was able to celebrate for this first time this year! In my mind, it's a-ok to celebrate Mother's Day while you're still pregnant--I'll never have this opportunity again, and I believe that one becomes a mother at the start of pregnancy. We were able to grab very last minute tickets to a talk by a midwife that I greatly admire--Ina May Gaskin. Then we spent time in the sun taking a walk, riding the swing at the park (I don't know..I've been doing this more than i ought to admit, lately), and visiting my nan at the cemetery. Later, the two (or is it 3?) of us had a lovely Italian meal and called it a night.

He's getting so big at 29 weeks--even getting off of the couch has required a new routine! I'll update you soon with some pregnancy skincare bits. They're things that I feel are good for pregnant and non-pregnant ladies alike.

Did you grow up eating pai faina...or something similar? For those of you in the US, what did you do for Mother's Day?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Oh Honey: The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Collection

Whoa, 400 followers? Thank you so much, lovely readers! It means a lot to me--that the things I write about mean anything at all to you. I appreciate and always look forward to your interaction and comments :)

Just mentioning how unimpressed I've been with MAC's LE collections, reminded me of my favorite collection of last year--Naked Honey. Some of my favorite beauty treats have honey in the formula--milk & honey, honey masks, honey salve. When I heard that The Body Shop was releasing a Honey Bronze Summer collection, I knew that I needed in.

The bronze packaging of each product screams warm weather and beachy days. Those kinds of days are everything I live for, year-round. There are five pieces to the collection, three of which I picked up for a little pre-summer daydream.

The bronzing powders are offered in four shades. I chose shade 03, as it appeared the least orange on my skin. I can't overdo it (I promise...I'm not just saying this), as the effect is warming but not oompa loompa status. It's completely matte, yet moisturizing in a way similar to Korres' Monoi Bronzer. It does remind me of the Naked Honey High-Light Powders, in appearance--minus the shimmer.

The lip nectars are similar to many glosses on the market, texture-wise (think Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush gloss)--although the shade Honey Beige imparts a slight gold sheen on the lips. In my humble opinion, it's nothing to write home about. The jelly-like honey shade makes me wish there were at least a sweet scent to them (as opposed to being unscented).

Speaking of scent, we have a winner: the Shimmering Dry Oil. Naturally, this smells like something you'd find on the beach--a bit reminiscent of monoi, without the strong floral component, and a tad more of the coconut effect. It really and truly is a dry oil, absorbing quickly into the skin. Compared to the NARS Body Glow, you'll find that this formula is much less shimmery. I'm alright with that as it means one less worry about it staining my clothing. This one will be making its debut poolside, on my big 'ol pregnant belly. Yup, I'm one of those women.

The fair trade honey found in these products is sourced in Ethiopia, while other ingredients are products of Cameroon and Namibia. Not bad, not bad at all.

Are you ready for Summer like I am? Will you be checking out the Honey Bronze Collection?
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