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Reviewing Hot Sauces

So Ryan and I love hot sauces and eat a lot of them, which has lead to us now owning over 40 hot sauces. This is part two of our series of videos reviewing sauces. Some we blind taste test, others we just discuss. This time around Blair’s Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage was our hottest sauce, sitting at 550,00 SHU, and it burnt my tongue like you wouldn’t believe.

Please let me know your favourite hot sauce in the comments and if you have ever found a sauce that is just too hot for you.

Since filming this video, I have acclimated to the Blairs, and can now enjoy it in small amounts without suffering, but I will admit that no sensible person would every need this sauce in their life.

Sriracha

A simple sriracha sauce with a lot of strong pepper flavour without much sweetness that suits almost anything. To explain the flavour, I would call it a beautiful blend of bell pepper and sriracha pepper flavour.

Secret Aardvark

This is a well loved sauce as it isn’t too hot and is bursting with flavour. It describes itself as a Caribbean Tex Mex with it’s blend of turmeric, mustard, peppers, spices and sweet flavours.

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Shaquandas Hot Pepper Sauce

A unique sauce with strong carrot flavour that mixes well with the heat it brings. It has a sweet pickled flavour that yields well to chicken.

El Yucateco – Habanero XXXtra Hot

This sauce has a smokey flavour that could be added to any grilled or sautéed dish. While it does have a good kick of heat, it isn’t unreasonable for the average consumer.

Blairs Original Death Sauce

This sauce has a strong chipotle flavour that pairs well with hard cheeses and red meats. That being said, anything you would put chipotle on, you can enjoy this sauce on.

Bravado Spice Co. – Ako Miso

This sauce has heat and is very umami. It tastes strongly of miso and is excellent for adding to seafood and ramen dishes. I could see it being appealing on a variety of fried noodle dishes, but it isn’t a sauce I particularly enjoy, due to my personal dislike of umami.

PexPepper – Painapple

This sauce has three ingredients. Reaper chili, honey and pineapple. The pineapple and honey come through strongly and are backed with intense heat. This sauce is probably hotter than the average individual would enjoy, but for heat enthusiasts, this sauce is a great addition to meals and dishes that need a little fire without a lot of strong conflicting flavours.

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Da Bomb – Ground Zero

I can’t say a single good thing about this sauce. It tastes bad, the texture is uncomfortable, and without good flavour, the heat is just unjustified.

Mad Dog 357

This sauce tastes like a spicy Yum Yum pickle. There is no strong vinegar flavour, but a sweet underlying flavour that compliments the heat so perfectly that the sauce is very enjoyable on it’s own as well as paired with anything you would enjoy sweet pickles with.

Blairs Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage

This sauce is very very strong. It states that you should not eat it undiluted. While the flavour is simple, the heat is almost unbearable. Since the filming of this video I have increased my heat tolerance, which allows me to enjoy Blairs Mega Death, but I don’t think anyone who is adding hot sauce for flavour would use this sauce. This sauce is great for those who want to push the limits of heat, but the average person should steer clear.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

You might remember back in April that I made a ridiculous Reeses Peanut Butter Cake for Ryans birthday. He absolutely loves chocolate and peanut butter so I sometimes humour him with treats inspired by his favourite treat, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Today we have his podcast co-host coming over for the first recording session since the beginning of the isolation orders, so I decided my boys need something yummy for their multiple hour recording session. That treat is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes.

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Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Cake

Ingredients

  •  1 large egg, room temperature
  •  1/2 cup half and half cream
  •  1/2 cup vegetable oil
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  1/2 cup hot water
  •  1 cup flour
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1/2 cup cocoa powder
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt

Direction

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients excluding the hot water, combining well.
  3. Mix in your dry ingredients until well combined.
  4. Gradually add in the hot water until the whole batter is smooth.
  5. Pour into a greased pan or into paper liners 3/4 up the side.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before icing.
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Eva Blakeman – Icing Tips

Icing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups salted butter (room temperature)
  • 4-5 cups icing sugar (more sugar for stiffer icing)

Directions

  1. Cream peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually mix in icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pack your piping bag and have fun!
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Okay so let’s look at this recipe and some things that might help you yield the best results. Firstly, having room temperature ingredients when baking changes everything! The only thing that I don’t believe needs to come up to room temp is eggs. The second is how hot the water you add is. I add steaming water, so just below 100C, as I find it just comes together better with the rest of the batter. The third is to pay attention to your cupcakes as they bake. I pulled the first batch at 17 minutes and the second at 16 minutes because they were done and I didn’t want to lose moisture due to over baking them!

Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Cupcakes

When it comes to mixing icing I’ve heard everyone say you need a hand mixer but this just isn’t true! A sturdy fork and patience is all you need. Starting by creaming the butters then gradually adding sugar is the best way. Always fully combine all the sugar in the bowl before adding more and you are in business!

Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
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Overfilling your piping bag can also cause problems down the line, so don’t fill past half way in your bag to keep control and even pressure when icing. I chose to pack two bags with different tips for this reason. The other thing is to practice and try new things whenever you can. Try spooling the icing, or squishing back into the cupcake! If I were using a vanilla or maple icing I would have coloured it and done roses, but as I decided to keep the peanut appearance I stuck to more simple decorating. And the staple of a swirled up icing is always beautiful!

When it comes to baking I believe in reading what’s going on rather than following strict directions and recipes, which is why my “recipes” change over the years. I change them to better suit the way I like my food to come out! I recommend trying to make things to better suit you. For example, when I make banana bread, I cut out half the sugar, because I prefer it to taste more like banana and less sweet.

Anyways, I hope you liked the recipe and if you ever want to see videos of my cooking, click here!

Quick Vanilla Cupcakes

Hey guys,

Today we are talking cupcakes, because that’s what I made this week. This was really in reactions to having a friend of mine asking questions about baking and wanting some tools to get him started which lead us to a Micheals discussion.. which lead me to Micheals to buy some new pipping tips and here we are.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half a half cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Add all dry ingredients excluding flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually mix in flour until mixture is smooth.
  5. Grease a muffin tin with butter (or) place liners into the pan. Fill each half way with batter.
  6. Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stabbed into the centre of a cupcake.
  7. Let cool completely before frosting.

It may sound a little odd, but I find pouring the batter into a large bottle makes pouring the batter into the tin much easier as you can control flow better. If you want to try this, make sure the funnel you use has a large enough tip that the batter can flow through well to load the bottle. Recipe yields 18-24 cupcakes.

Buttercream Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temp butter
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (or maple)
  • 4 cups icing sugar

Directions

  1. Cream the butter in a bowl until completely smooth, add in vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, fully mixing in the sugar before adding in more.
  3. Add in colouring if desired.
  4. Refrigerate if it won’t be used right away.
  5. ** In order to do the roses I used the tip below.

When working with buttercream it is important to remember that temperature will change everything. Warm buttercream is easier to work with but needs to be cooled to ensure it doesn’t droop or melt. Cool buttercream is very difficult to ice with as it is too firm to push through the tips easily. Body temperature is slightly higher than the desired warmth for buttercream, but using the heat from your hand to warm up the cream nearest to the tip will allow you easier icing.

Another thing that I see a lot is over packing the bag. You can always add more later so don’t fill more than halfway or you will have more icing than you can easily push out of the bag with your grip strength.

How To Pack and Cook For Camping

Hey guys,

Since I’m in the middle of prepping for camping at the moment, it seems like the perfect time to write about this. I am a tent camper, which means I don’t have a stove, fridge or anywhere to store food aside from my small cooler. This means I have very little space for cold food. This does not mean I don’t like to eat well while I’m in the woods though. Let’s go over prep work you can do before your trip, ways to store food and foods that take little to no effort to prepare.

Eva Blakeman – Camping

Before we get to food, I want to impress how important it is to store your food safely when camping in bear country. Dispose of food in bear safe garbage containers or burn them. Do not leave food unattended at your camp site as a vacant site with food is just calling for a bear to come by, and likely return again in hopes of getting more easy food. Coffee cups and juices also attract bears, so make sure your morning coffee isn’t sitting out with dregs, as a small amount of cream and sugar left in a cup is more than enough for a bear to sniff out.

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Store food in sealed containers and preferable inside your vehicle/ camper / trailer. If you are camping away from you vehicle, store food is air tight containers. Unfortunately most re-sealable bags are plastic, but they can be re-used many times before they are disposed of, so I would recommend re-using them as many times as you can before you throw them out.

Non Refrigerated Items

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While camping generally means eating less than clean, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something other than chips. Apples, carrots, nuts, celery, bread, peanut butter, honey, etc, don’t require refrigeration and last over a week, which makes them ideal for camping. Not to mention how easy it is to eat an apple! No clean up.

Refrigerated Items

As I said, I use a small cooler, so in order to keep my items cold I use frozen water bottles. This way I have water and get to keep my food cool, saving space and weight. I limit the cool foods I bring to cheese, hot sauce and sometimes meats. If I’m bring meats I vacuum seal them and freeze them before packing them for a few reasons. The first is to make the meat last longer and keep the whole cooler colder as it is frozen, the second is to avoid a mess. A vacuum sealed meat can’t leak as it thaws. The third is that it takes up less space vacuum sealed than it doesn’t in it’s original styrofoam container. Not to mention it can’t attract wildlife if it’s air sealed.

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Junk Food / Snacks

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I can’t pretend I don’t bring junk food when I’m camping, so let’s get it out there. Again for space reasons, I tend to ditch the original containers and switch them to ziplock bags to save space and to give them a re-sealable edge, especially with chips. I love sunflower seeds and almonds, both of which often come in re-sealable bags that aren’t half air, so they get packed “as-is”.

Tin Foil Potatoes

I have a deep love for cooking with fire, as it is something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. You don’t want to cut potatoes more than a half hour before cooking, so I take the small potatoes, a pre-mixed bag of spices (onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne and salt), some tin foil and a knife. Once your fire is good and hot you can cut your potatoes in half, sprinkle them with spices (you can add some olive oil if you have it with you) then wrap them up in foil, making sure there are no open holes in the foil, and throw them onto the coals at the edge of the fire. With 10 small potatoes cooking, it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes for them to be steaming and soft. If you have a small fire or it hasn’t been burning for very long, it will take longer.

Cooking Meats

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I rarely bring meats but when I do, I also bring tin foil. While steak doesn’t turn out great in tin foil, chicken and pork can be pretty tasty when cooked this way as it steams the meat in its own juices. It can be tricky to get the cook times right, so if in doubt, leave the meat at home. If you are confident that you can see white meat and no red or pink left, then you are ready to eat.

KEEPING DRINKS COLD

Eva Blakeman – Camping

If you are camping near a water source, cooling your drinks will be easy as you can either net your cans and leave them in the water or dunk them in for a half hour before drinking them. If you are not near water then being as efficient as possible with cold space is important. The likely hood of ice you packed 4 days ago in a cooler still being frozen is slim, so you will need to keep the drinks themselves cool. Having a committed cooler for drinks with frozen water bottles is helpful as you won’t be opening your food cooler often, losing the chill for your other foods. Storing your cooler in a shaded place also helps keep it cool.

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All in all, food is the least impressionable part of camping, but underpacking and spoiled food can ruin a trip. My tip would be to focus on foods that don’t perish for at least a week that don’t need to be kept cool. If you have any tips you wan’t to share, I would be so happy to hear them!

Top 4 Yummiest Hot Sauces

Hey guys,

Ryan and I have been getting a little obsessed with hot sauces, trying hotter and hotter ones trying to find the yummiest sauces with real heat. At this moment we have three of the Blair’s Hot Sauces shipping to us. We have found that once you get over 100,000 Scovilles it becomes difficult to find sauces that have really good flavour, so this list consists of sauces under 100,000. Not to say that they can’t have good flavour, but we haven’t found any at this point I would put on this list.

El Yucateco – XXXTRA HOT CHILE HABANERO

Eva Blakeman – El Yucateco

This habanero hot sauce has kick with a Scoville of 11,000 but doesn’t skimp on flavour. This is one of the few sauces we didn’t have to order as you can usually find this brand in shops. It has a strong habanero scent mixed with a faint smell of sweetness. On the tongue it will cause a small amount of burning, but the fullness of the onion, tomato and blend of spices really bring the flavour. It is the perfect sauce to add to salsa or pico de gallo as it shares similar ingredients.

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Bravado Spice Co. Black Garlic Carolina Reaper

Eva Blakeman – Bravado Spice Co

This hot sauce does not pull its punches with a Scoville of 71,000. It has simple ingredients without any note of artificial flavour or preservatives. It contains red serrano pepper, Carolina reaper, roasted garlic, maple syrup and black pepper, as well as some salt and vinegar. The blend of the two peppers with the garlic gives a well rounded and robust flavour. Admittedly I can’t taste any maple syrup in the sauce, but I imagine it’s doing its job in there. I like coating chicken in this sauce before baking because it really adds to the chicken. I also think it’s great addition to a charcuterie board (if your guests like spicy food).

Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce

Eva Blakeman – Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce

Forgive the name, as this sauce has a beautiful blend of sweet and spicy flavours. It comes in at 21,000 Scoville but doesn’t leave a burn on your tongue. Once again this sauce has no extra ingredients for preservation or artificial flavours. Dirty Dicks has a unique blend of banana, mangos, pineapple, brown sugar, raisins, onion, garlic and habanero peppers. It is an unrivalled sauce that can really go with anything. It goes beautifully with most cheeses, vegetables, pork and chicken. I could see this being mixed into a strong drink for kick.

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Torchbearer – Son Of Zombie

(Sorry no image, we finished the bottle before I could take a picture, not to worry though, we have another on the way!)

This sauce is a combination of three flavours. Chipotle BBQ, Honey Garlic and Torchbearers famous Zombie Apocalypse sauce. This is Ryans all time favourite sauce because it’s flavour is so strong he can mix it into mayonnaise for his wraps without losing flavour. It comes in at 24,ooo Scoville but doesn’t cause pain. I’ve only had it a couple of times, but found it to be a perfect smokey blend.

I hear the Secret Ardvaark is incredible as well, and I have a bottle on the way, but until I can try it for myself I won’t say if it’s good or not. Ryan and I love spicy food and eat hot sauce daily, so over time I think I’ll make new hot sauces posts. I am very excited to try some of the ones we ordered as they vary from 10,000-550,000 Scoville. I know not everyone is a hot sauce lover, just as some people don’t care for wine, but I think both are made with love and a lot of art by their creators. Believe it or not, I think a good hot sauce and wine can pair beautifully.

Eva Blakeman – 4 Yummiest Hot Sauces

Money Saving Hacks – Make Up

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

As you guys know, I have a deep love for make up as both a way to cover up blemishes but also as an extension of personality. I really believe make up, like clothing, can help bring the way we feel to the surface. So in this post I am going to talk about ways I’ve seen my money disappear and ways I’ve saved money over the years with my make up.

Brush Cleaners

I’ve been seeing theses products becoming more popular over the years and I’ve never bought one. I have ten year old brushes that are just as nice as they day I got them after a decade of washing them with dish soap and conditioning them with a small amount of my hair conditioner. I’ve never had an issue with hairs falling out of brushes or them becoming damaged due to washing. I let them air dry upside down and wash them at least once a week.

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Expensive Bright Palettes

While I think there is merit in purchasing a large neutral palette that you can get a lot of use out of, buying 14 shade+ palettes of neons or varied shades can be a money drain. If you use your colours according to your skin tone, you will have a hard time using most of the palette. If you want to experiment with trendy colours on a budget, consider a 9 shade palette with a theme.

Buying All High End Products

Eva Blakeman – Marcelle’s Face Powder

There are products that are undoubtably better in the higher price range. Foundation, mascara and brushes are all products that are generally better above the drug store quality. Eye shadow, liners, lash curlers, high lighters and bronzers have great quality at the drug store. Brands like Physicians Formula and Marcelles offer great products at reasonable prices. Buying Sephora brand foundation is also a great way to keep a daily use product in a lower price range. A bottle of their foundation is $25.00, which is a few dollars more than drug store, but certainly easier on the wallet than Estee Lauder and other comparable brands.

Clean Your Make Up

I can’t tell you how many people I know who don’t clean their make up or disinfect it. This massively shortens the life span of a product. (Also, always use clean brushes). Ensuring your make up and tools are clean will also help reduce acne so there’s a bonus. I use isopropyl alcohol to sterilize but I’m sure there are alternatives. On that note, use a tool to remove product from pots instead of your fingers to reduce bacteria in the pot.

Take Advantage of Sales

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Whether you shop at Sephora or Shoppers, there are sales and there are points. Sephora admittedly isn’t as easy to build up and use points as Shoppers, but staying loyal to one or two stores can help you build up points and take advantage of sales. The key to saving money with sale prices is not to over buy during sales. Only get what you need and you will actually save money. Then at the end of the year, use your accumulated points.

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Online Shop

Eva Blakeman – Gold Colourpop Palette

When it comes to affordable make up, Colourpop is the best. Shipping is low, individual prices can be as low as $4.00 a shadow and their 12 colour palettes can be as low as $12.00. Their liquid lipstick doesn’t have the longest wear time, but you can’t beat its price. While their lipstick requires regular touch ups, their powder formulas have excellent quality.

Duplicate Products

Every year there are new palettes, new products and new trends for us to pour money into. Looking at it reasonably, do we need a gel liner, a stamp liner, a liquid liner and a stick liner? Probably not. Same way we don’t really need three nude palettes, 30 lipsticks and endless highlighters. While it can be fun to try out new products, wait until your current product has become empty or has reached its lifespan before buying a new product. Take the time to test products before purchasing to help reduce buying trendy products that might not suit you.

Own Good Brushes

There are two ways to buy tools. The first is to put very little money into them and need to replace them often, the second is to invest in good tools that will last. Some affordable good quality brushes that I’ve used are Sigma, Morphe and Sephora. It is also important to note that even the best brushes will break down if you don’t care for them. It is important to clean and condition your brushes and to store them where they won’t be crushed or constantly rub against each other. In the long run, buying a product once is much cheaper than having to repurchase many times.

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Always Consider Your Skin Type / Tone

We return a little to trendy products here. Consider your skin type before purchasing any product that goes directly on the skin. If you have dry skin and you are buying matte products and heavy alcohol setting sprays, you will only aggravate your skin. If you have a very warm skin tone, always make sure you are buying something with undertones that suit you. While there are some colours that look lovely on everyone, it doesn’t mean the undertones will. Red lipstick is universally loved, but depending on your tone, you may want an orange undertone, a blue undertone or a true red. Ensuring you only purchase things that suit you means you will not only look better, but that you will get your moneys worth of the product.

As always, I really appreciate you coming here to be a part of the community. If you have any tips you want to share, please do so in the comments! I would love to hear what you have to say and learn from you.

Eva Blakeman – Money Saving Hacks

Styling By Skin Tone

Welcome!

You know I love fashion, I love shoes, and I love wearing black. I wore black as my only colour for years due to insecurity with my weight and not understanding what colours fit me Shopping in the same stores my friends did I rarely found shades I felt confident in, so I hid under my black dresses and shirts. As I got older I realized that I was shopping in stores that had strong summer themes, which lead a lot of their clothing to be in warm tones, which just don’t suit me! I changed where I shop and suddenly I can find just about anything in a flattering shade, and when I can’t, I’ve learned how to adjust my look to wear it better.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

While skin tone does influence which colours look better naturally against your skin tone, they don’t have to limit you. Today we are going over how to determine your skin, eye and hair tone as well as what colours match well with them. After that we are going to get into how to adjust your make up and hair style to wear colours that aren’t as naturally suitable for skin tones.

Determining Tone

It is important to check your tones under natural lighting, indoor lights will skew results. (This also comes into play with dressing rooms with fluorescent lighting).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Skin Tone

The quickest and easiest way to determine your skin tone is to look at your eyelids and wrist for your veins. If you see them as purple or deep blue, you are cool toned. If they are a blueish green, you would be a neutral tone and if they are olive or green you are warm toned.

In my case I have very purple veins showing around my eyes and deep blue on my wrist. This leaves me as a cool toned individual.

Eye Tone

Eyes are interesting as blue can sit in any category. If your eyes could be considered “ice blue” or a deep blue without yellow tint, they are cool. Other cool colours include grey and deep green.

Neutral eyes includes dark brown and blackish eyes.

Warm eyes include blues that have a tint of yellow or a brightness to them that would be reminiscent of water. Warm also describes mid to light brown as well as hazel and light green eyes.

I have a Scandinavian looking ice blue eye with a dark band around the exterior, leaving me in the cool category once again.

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Hair Tone

Hair tone doesn’t really have a neutral but it is very easy to see if your hair is warm or cool. In the case that you have matching tone for your skin and eyes, it is recommended to dye your hair in the same tone. It isn’t necessary, and even as this sounds contradictory, dying your hair to match your other tones looks more natural.

Hair tone is most easily seen in the undertone of the colour. Cool hair will have blue, silver, ash or violet undertones where warm hair will have red, brown or yellow undertones.

I have dark blonde hair with no real hue, but seems to be cool. I do have lighter blonde balayage that I have to use purple shampoo on to keep it cool. When it becomes yellow the colour looks odd framing my face but lends well to why warmer toned shirts.

Matching Tones

A good rule when it comes to tones when shopping is to hold the fabric directly against your jawline. If your natural skin tone seems accentuated by the colour, it likely matches you, if you wind up looking ill or natural beside the colour, it isn’t a good match.

Something to be aware of is the trend of clothing tones changing depending on the season. In the spring and summer months you are much more likely to find a plethora of warm toned clothing whereas in the winter months you are more likely to find more cool toned items. Autumn tends to be a fairly even mix of the two. When in doubt, navy looks good on everyone.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Cool Tone

Cool toned skin looks marvellous paired with jewel toned colours. Bright blues, emeralds, deep purples, ice blues, true pink and the good old white and black. For metallics, cool tones can wear gold as metallic surfaces reflect their tone onto what is around them. A gold metallic shirt would reflect warm tones onto your face, warming you up (in order to make this work the best, warm up your eyes with red or yellow toned colours). Gun metal and silver metallic work well with cool skin tones without adjusting warmth in the face.

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Neutral Tone

Neutral toned skin can play with both warm and cool colours without it looking off. Faded blacks aren’t a good match with neutral skin, so make sure to protect your blacks when being washed. Dark denims, shades of brown and mustard yellows can really compliment this skin tone.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Warm Tone

Warm toned skin pairs nicely with rich ruby reds, blush pinks, pastel colours and leafy greens. Floral designs often look very nice on warm toned skin as they often have a combination of the above mentioned shades. Rose gold and gold looks lovely paired with warm skin and gun metal can be used if you cool down the eyes with greys, blues and purples.

Adjusting To Other Shades

Colour against the face

Separating colours that don’t match your tone with white, black or neutral tones can help you wear the colours you love without looking off. A white collared shirt with the collar popped over the sweater that doesn’t match can change the whole look. Using a scarf can have the same effect.

Warming Up Or Cooling Down The Face

Warm toned skin compliments gold naturally, but metallic shades can be used to change the appearance of tone on the face. A cool skinned individual who wants to wear warm toned clothing could use a gold highlighter and yellow toned brown shades round the eyes.

For a warm toned individual who wants to wear cool toned, try using a more purple hued blush and blue, white and purple tones around the eyes. Also using a matte finish foundation will help keep the cool toned look.

Clashing Hair colour

In the case that you hair tone does not match the tone of the top you are wearing, separate them. An up-do will separate the two tones that are clashing. Another option if you really love warm toned clothing but you are cool toned is to balayage your hair. If the top is cooler near your face and the bottom is warmer where it would rest against clothing, it can help pull it all together.

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Weddings and Confidence

While it is generally easier to wear what matches you, it isn’t always what you like or what you have the opportunity to wear. Weddings can be the most problematic as bridesmaids don’t often have a lot of control over hair style or dress colour, but you can always fake a different tone for a day with neutral foundation instead of your cool or warm tone and use a little highlighter to warm you up if you need it.

The most important thing I want to say about all this is that while there is colour theory and everyone has good and bad shades on them, the most important part of pulling off any outfit is confidence. Don’t let your clothes wear you, make sure you wear them. Pull your shoulders back, straighten your back and walk with the knowledge that you can do anything.

As always I really appreciate you coming here and spending some time with me. I love hearing back from you guys so please let me know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Quick Buttery French Buns

Hey there,

This week we are doing buns! The best part about these buns is how quickly they can be made. I’ve tweaked and fussed with this recipe for a while now until I could make it just right. These buns are excellent to pair with soup, use for sandwiches and as a breakfast with butter and jam. So here it goes, my recipe for the perfect chewy buns.

I will point out this recipe requires a heat source to speed the rising of the yeast. If you do not own a tradition oven+stove with heat coils and a vent out of the oven, you may need to wait longer for rise times.

Total Time : 95 minutes Yields : 8 Large Buns / 12 Medium Buns

Eva Blakeman – Buttery French Buns
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tbsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3-4 tbsp salted butter
Eva Blakeman – Buns Before Being Brushed With Butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  2. Mix 2 cups of warm water, yeast and sugar together in a large, heat safe bowl.
  3. Place the bowl beside the vent for your oven (hover your hand above the elements of your stove after you have been pre-heating for a few minutes. One of them should have a steady amount of heat coming from it venting out from the oven, you will want to place your bowl beside the element, not on top of it). Let the bowl sit there until bubbles form on top of the mixture.
  4. Mix in the salt and flour one cup at a time. I would recommend stopping at 3 1/4 cups and kneading more flour in as needed later down the line.
  5. Place the bowl back beside the vent for 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes or until the dough has become smooth and is no longer sticky. Avoid adding large amounts of flour.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and pull the dough into smooth balls. Place them on a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil and greased with butter. Place the baking sheet on top of the oven and allow 15- 30 minutes for the final rise.
  8. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the oven a few minutes before putting in the buns. (The humidity will help form a better crust).
  9. Bake the buns for 18-25 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 15 minutes or you will lose humidity. They should have a hard crust and light brown colour on the top.
  10. Brush the buns with warm butter (this will soften the crust) immediately upon removing them from the oven.
  11. Buns can be enjoyed warm after a half hour of cooling or can be stored in an air tight container after they have cooled to room temperature.
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I hope you enjoyed the recipe! If you tried this recipe, please let me know! Tag me in pictures of your baked goods with @evablakeman on Instagram.


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Eva Blakeman – Quick Buttery French Buns

How To Deal With Combination Skin

Hello,

As you guys know I have combination skin. I tend to be very dry on the chin and around the mouth but oily on the nose, cheeks and forehead. I often have acne on my cheeks and jawline and black heads on my chin and nose. After seeing a dermatologist and trying many products, I have managed to put together a routine that keeps my skin pretty clear.

I should point out, I am not a dermatologist nor a doctor, so all of this is based off my own experimentation with products. If you also have combination skin and have found other products work really well for you, please let me know so that I can try them too!

Daily Use Products

Micellar Water

I use micellar water every morning and night before any other product. It’s able to lift dirts and oils from the skin and doesn’t need to be rinsed off. If I’ve been sweating I use it to remove the sweat from my face to reduce the bacteria from trying to move in. I love using it to remove eye make up as well as it is very gentle around the eyes.

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Salicylic Acid

While this solution does contain alcohol which dries the skin, it is able to penetrate lipids and disinfect. It kills the bacteria both on and in your skin, treating acne. I use the Clean and Clear Astringent because it’s inexpensive and it works. This is a morning and night daily product for me.

I also use this salicylic acid moisturizer to help reduce bacteria on my skin throughout the day. While it does leave my skin feeling hydrated, the hydration is short lived. This moisturizer is more of an anti acne product that it is a hydration product. Nonetheless I like it and have found it to be very useful.

Hyaluronic Acid

This is an acid naturally found in the body and it helps keep moisture in the skin. I love using it after my acne treatments to hydrate the skin. It’s also thin enough to be used for facial massages. Most evenings when I apply it I massage my skin with it thoroughly, reducing stress in my jaw muscles and the underlying muscles on my forehead.

Tea Tree Oil

I use this night mask from the Body Shop for two reasons. The first being it has visibly decreased acne, the second being it’s a little sticky which helps me not touch my face. It has a strong scent at first but dissipates quickly after applying it.

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Bi-Weekly Products

Benzoyl Peroxide

While this product is drying to the skin, I love it. I use it as a mask a couple times a week in the evening. It is also capable of penetrating the lipids so using it as a mask allows the product time to really get in there and kill bacteria. The formula is use is also a Clean & Clear product and I find after using it as a mask, a lot of my dry skin sloughs off with it when I remove it using a face cloth. I should warn you that this product will bleach your wash cloth and towel, so either use white or commit one face cloth and towel to your benzoyl peroxide days.

Microneedling

I use the derma roller twice a week before applying my hyaluronic acid. You can read here about my experience with the derma roller. You do have to vie very careful with disinfecting both the skin and the tool or you can risk infection in the skin. It’s important not to use it near the eyes, but when properly used it allows for much deeper absorption of products applied. I would recommend this tool to any adult who wants to hydrate, reduce acne scarring and help the collagen production in their skin.

Collagen

Photo by Nika Akin on Pexels.com

I use the Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask. While it has a whipped rubber texture, it dries into an incredibly tight chalk like mask. I’ve noticed improvement in over all pigmentation after use.

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Exfoliation

I love my Mary Kay microdermabrasion product. I use it once or twice a week as an exfoliator. The particles in it are small enough that I have never torn my skin with it, but sturdy enough that my skin feels incredibly fresh after use and I can see no dry or dead skin left on my face.

Lifestyle Changes

Hydration

As we all know, hydration helps skin. Drinking enough water helps my skin and removing coffee and other caffeinated beverages from my diet has helped keep me hydrated as I am no longer ingesting diuretics.

Daily Bathing

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

I take a bath nearly every night, which gives me time to relax, but more importantly in this case, gives me a good amount of time to invest into my skin care. It also ensures that the sweat and dirt of each day gets removed from my entire body each night. I used to shower every two to three days, and I found my face and back had more acne at the time. I can read a book while masks dry or medicated masks do their work, allowing me relaxation and productivity at the same time. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

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Establishing Routine

Skin care routines only work if they are routines. Establishing one can be difficult, especially if you have a partner or children, as their needs may need to come before your own. This is why establishing a routine daily is important. If everyone knows it’s your time to take care of yourself, you are more likely to be able to commit to it. Whether that means waking up earlier than others in the home or taking a daily bath, without consistency a routine won’t work.

Cutting Out The Junk Food

We all know nutrition and skin health are linked and a lot of people notice changes in their skin when they remove something from their diet. In my case, removing dairy and greasy foods leads to better skin. All in all, a healthier you will have healthier skin.

Thank you for being here today and taking the time out of your day to read this post. As always I love being able to talk to you through the comments on on social media! My links are in the bar below and I hope to hear from you soon.

Going Caffeine Free

Hello!

Like most western people I am guilty of having a dependance on caffeine. A couple months ago I decided to cut it out entirely in order to help me reach my weight loss goal. I am a wimp with black coffee and I always add honey or sugar to my tea. So in order to cut down calories, I cut out caffeine.

Was it easy?

Not at all. My head ached with a dull and persistent heartache for days. I craved iced coffee more than I ever had before in my life. I was outwardly very moody and I felt mean during the first three days. I felt finicky with my moods and couldn’t focus on anything for the first while. Considering how bad the withdrawal was perhaps it was a good thing I decided to remove it from my diet. It’s been months and I’m still getting used to the fatigue I feel in the morning. The fatigue isn’t new, but without coffee and tea to dull it, it’s much more difficult to ignore and work past when I’m already grumpy first thing in the morning to begin with.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

I still find it difficult to avoid drinking coffee as my fiancé drinks it every morning and for years he’s been bringing me coffees to cheer me up on bad days. He knows I am avoiding it so he doesn’t bring me treats which is good for my diet, but I do miss the little things like a coffee or a Thirsty Buddha that showed he was thinking about me. Getting an apple just doesn’t feel the same.

In a way it’s good I did this during a non-social time, as we aren’t going out for dinners with friends or having get togethers at home, as the temptation would be much stronger if we were. I do wonder if my resolution will hold when the world re-opens.

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How have I been dealing with it?

A lot of water. Hydration helps reduce fatigue, not to mention just about everything else in your body. Now I do not love drinking water all day so I use Mio to flavour my water when I can’t stand the idea of drinking it. I love the lemonade and black cherry flavours. I’ve tried flavouring water with fruit but since I always use my Contigo water bottle (as seen below) having the fruit can gum it up. I have also taken to drinking a glass of Tonic Water before bed even though I cannot stand the taste of it as it can reduce leg cramps. I often wake up very dehydrated after a long night of sleep because I can’t sleep without a blanket over me, so I sweat out all night. Due to the dehydration my legs often feel cramped in the morning. I have found the glass of tonic to help reduce the discomfort until I can rehydrate.

Eva Blakeman – CONTIGO Water Bottle

Better nutrition has also done a lot to help me keep me energized. By changing my diet and cutting out junk foods I have had more energy. I’ve switched to a lower calorie diet with a lot of chicken for protein and rice for carbs. I’ve found that by reducing my sugar and fat intakes I don’t have sugar crashes, which has made it a lot easier to stay productive throughout the day and avoid reaching for a tea to perk myself back up.

Going for a daily walk has also done a lot to keep me going. It’s no surprise to anyone that daily exercise helps improve mood, heart health and reduce the risk of a lot of diseases, but I’ve also found that the walk helps me refocus and gives me an energy boost for a couple hours. I find the actual walk to be helpful to give my mind time to wander. I think in giving my mind time to relax for a half hour or so helps me refocus with more motivation.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Baking has also helped me a lot. While I am choosing not to eat bread, my fiancé loves fresh buns and I really enjoy making babka and buttered buns. The exercise of kneading bread and scrubbing dishes also increases my daily activity which is good for me. I think taking the time to do something I really love also helps keep me sane during this time.

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I have also been following the mental health recommendation of daily bathing. I usually shower every two days, but I’ve switched to daily baths. I find taking the time to soak in the warm water while I do my skin care routine helps relax my muscles and unwind. I sleep better after a nice long bath and I feel healthier for it.

On that note, sleeping more! I used to sleep around six hours a night but now that I am not relying on caffeine I am sleeping between seven to eight hours a night. My theory is that with the increased physical activity and lack of caffeine combined with sticking to a rigid wake up time, my body is settling into a better sleep routine.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Would I Recommend It?

Yes I would. While it’s an uncomfortable transition, I believe it is worth the discomfort. While caffeine has been proven to increase the basal metabolic rate of adults and can increase muscular strength it does have some less than lovely side effects. It can worsen the symptoms of asthma, negatively affect gastrointestinal processes and in the case of postmenopausal women, it can rapidly increase bone loss. Not to mention the increase in dehydration by drinking diuretics.

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I think kicking caffeine has improved my quality of life, but I don’t know if I will remain caffeine free forever. There is a time and place for everything, and should I really need to stay awake, I know it’s there. I don’t think returning to a dependance on caffeine would be the healthy choice for me so I hope to continue with this lifestyle.

I won’t claim to know more than medical professionals and caffeine has been proven to help with certain medications, so if your doctor recommends you use caffeine, please follow your doctors counsel.