Monday, May 23, 2016

Calm that face!

It's always awesome when you get to try products you might not normally buy.  I do buy Aveeno products here & there, & think they're great, but I've never tried their ultra-calming formula. So, when Crowdtap opened up a sampling mission I signed up ASAP. 

Join Crowdtap (& see here for a list of other sites). They do great sampling programs & you can also earn points for Amazon gift cards.  I don't get picked for every campaign, but I always try & sign up for each of them. It's FUN to receive free samples in the mail.  

Especially when they are full-sized samples:


I tried both products & really liked each of themMy 40-something skin appreciated the nourishing night cream.  I don't think it's a formula I would normally buy (I don't usually have an issue with redness/need skin calming formulas) but it made my skin feel soft (not greasy) & still felt great the next morning.

However, the makeup removing wipes I quickly used up & would buy as an occasional splurge - don't think wipes are the most eco-friendly product - but so effective!  I wear eye makeup almost everyday (love, love liner & mascara) & these did a great job of getting every spec of makeup off without damaging my skin.  

Did I mention how lovely they smell?  

I'm also religious about washing my face each night; these would be perfect if I just didn't feel like it or was too tired.  Again, the scent is pleasant & would be great to use at bedtime & stash in your bedside table.

Bottom line:  I think I'll put the makeup remover wipes on repeat.  I will probably skip the nourishing night cream, but if my skin's needs change it will be a contender.

Affiliate links above.  Products were free samples from/provided by Crowdtap, but all opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

10 Life Lessons from The Great British Baking Show

Have you guys seen this beauty of a show?

Netflix recommended it to me & I am so happy for their stalking!  I love this show!

Yes, there are lots of cooking/baking shows out there, but this one is especially special.  It's charming & funny. Goofy puns fly from the hosts non-stop galore.  No Hell's Kitchen nightmares & drama here. It's refreshing & restores faith in humanity vs. tearing it down in true reality show fashion. Plus, you'll learn a lot more about baking; I specifically learned that I have so much more to learn!

So after watching the 1st season twice (I've not seen the 2nd one yet), here are some of the things - 10 to be exact - I happily gleaned from 10 episodes:

1.   Paul Hollywood is probably the most handsome judge of all time. 

Let's just acknowledge it and get it out of the way because it's kinda hard not to.


Lesson here?  Not sure, but does it matter? :-)

All of the hosts are awesome.

2.   Color.  Lots of color makes everything better.

This show is a rainbow of color & I swear the baking tastes better because of it.  I don't know this for sure, but in my imagination it does.  It's a reminder to add in some color to your world - shake it up.

On the show, we have:
Pink hair
Orange sneakers
Mixers in yellow, mint, turquoise
Work prep islands in blue, lavender, & green
British flags
Mary Berry's jackets!

Everywhere you look, pops of color compliment the giant white tent they compete in - surrounded by a green, green lawn which leads to...

3.   Cute animals make everything better too. 

Look out for the ducks, horses, & lambs!

Life is better when you are sharing it with other living things - yes, that plant counts too.

4.   You are never too old or too young to live out a dream & do what you love.

The youngest contestant is 17 & the oldest is a grandmother.  I loved the diversity of ages & the experience everyone brought to the gingham table.  Everyone learned something new throughout the show regardless of age. Sometimes, we are all just winging it & often that is A-OK. Don't let your age always be a deterrent.

5.   Your day job should never undermine your creativity.

These contestants are not professional bakers, artists, most do not have "creative" jobs (although I argue all jobs are creative to some degree) - they love to bake, so they bake.  Some work in IT, construction, as students, as stay a home parents, etc. It doesn't matter.  If you are passionate about cooking, painting, writing, fishing, dancing, stamp collecting, do it.  You are only limited by your time management or fear.  Don't let either hold you back. 

You have permission to be creative regardless of your current job title.

ps:  you never needed it

6.   Loan your pencil!

Richard, one of the contestants, loans another his pencil (which he always has tucked behind his ear) during a bake.  Also, during an intense eclair bake, last-minute help is given by a couple of contestants so another can finish up in time.

It's OK to help your competitor; it doesn't detract from your success.  It's OK to smile & compliment too - it doesn't make you weak, it makes you human.  It's big world ya'll & I don't believe success, happiness, love, & all good things belong to a select few.  Help each other out. 

7.   "Never throw your bakes in the bin."

Sometimes, this is exactly what we want to do - we want to give up.  *Spoiler alert* One contestant does this when a bake doesn't work out as he hoped.  It's always better to present something and to show up.  This means many different things to each of us, but showing up is half the battle. Every day.

Don't give up; find a new path or rethink your plan.

8.   Sometimes it's OK to cry over cake.

TGBBS is low drama, but there are some tears.  Things don't always work out as we planned & while giving up is not an option, tears are.  Tears work & get us through it.

The contestants bake their way through cakes, biscuits, bread, desserts, pies & tarts, leavened cakes, pastries, advanced dough, and patisserie - I would be crying too (a lot!).  Oh, & 3-D biscuits!  What!?!  They create AMAZING 3-D biscuits (crackers/cookies) that look like:

Space adventurers
A ski village
Hansel & Gretel
The wild west
A monster attack
Zulu boats (at dawn, no less)
A carousel (day at the beach)
A train (express, first class)
A family having tea time
A dragon
Pirate ship


Cry it out when you need to. 

9.   "It's all to do with timing."

In baking, timing IS everything.  It's difficult. How long to bake to perfection (often they have no guide), how long to proof dough?  The clock is constantly ticking.  And waiting is sooooo hard too!  When will it be ready?  Will I be ready in time?

Life is about timing too & like these bakers, we don't always have clear instructions.  If the timing isn't right or we are forcing something, it's probably not going to work out & like some bakes...fall flat.  And having patience in waiting for things to come can be agony too.  The Clock is ticking - make the best of it.

10.   "We are all amateurs doing our very best."

This quote from TGBBS sums it up best.  That's all we all are.  The minute I think I know what I'm doing or have it figured out, the game changes.  That's life.

So, do your very best & eat some cake (or pies, tarts, eclairs, biscuits - you get the picture) every once in awhile.  And watch The Great British Baking Show.  You'll be happier for it!