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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Pre-heat oven to 425F
Mix 2 cups of warm water, yeast and sugar together in a large, heat safe bowl.
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.
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.
Place the bowl back beside the vent for 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Brush the buns with warm butter (this will soften the crust) immediately upon removing them from the oven.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very happy to be writing about this today! If you missed the first on, click here to read up on belts. I really enjoy writing about styling as a plus sized lady. As it can be difficult to get clothing and accessories that fit my body it is very important being able to make what I can get to look nice, and a great way to pull an outfit together through accessories.
As with many things in fashion, there are rules and there are circumstances where the rules should be thrown out the window. Let’s start with the rules.
Accessories that match pull outfits together. A tan belt, a tan bag and a nude pair of pumps paired with a blue dress allows the outfit to have a common and central colour that avoids looking messy. The same does with a black belt, black purse and black pumps paired with grey dress pants and a white blouse. Having matching pieces brings an organization to an outfit, and having them being subdued colours and tones keeps the look professional.
When it comes to matching accessories to jewelry, the rules says not to mix metals. Gold accents on a purse should be paired with gold jewelry. When it comes to building a versatile wardrobe on a budget, pick one metal and match to it. For example, my engagement ring and family ring are both gold, so I have opted to buy accessories with gold rather than silver accents to keep fluidity in my outfits.
As a rule, I would recommend always having a “set” of accessories. A matching belt, purse and pair of shoes pull a look together. As a minimum I would recommend having a complete set in both black and nude as they will pair well with pretty well every other colour. If tan doesn’t pair, black always will. You don’t always have to use all three items together. Having two matching items that work beautifully together can do as much as having the three.
Now let’s break the rules. Let’s return to the blue dress and say you wanted a statement piece. Let’s say you have a tan purse and pumps and a gold belt. This also works as the belt and shoes still match and the gold compliments the outfit. In this outfit let’s assume you would wear a gold ring and gold earrings. Now you have a strong theme in your outfit. The tan ties the belt and shoes together. The blue dress is the background. The gold belt, ring and earrings match well and now the outfit looks lovely and no part of it looks messy. The reason this works is due to the matching. Mixing metals and many colours at the same time makes outfits look messy.
In this day and age, mixing metals, prints and textures has become very common and when done correctly can lead to good results should it be done in moderation. A loud top, bright printed bottoms, statement shoes and a bold purse is just too much! Pick and choose and when pairing two prints, try to find a common colour between the two to tie them together. You can also match jewelry to outfits by matching the colour of the stones or beads to a colour in the outfit. This allows for loud looks that maintain an order that stops them from becoming a disaster.
Now all this being said, rules are meant to be broken. These are general rules, but your personal style doesn’t need to stay between the lines. For business and events, it’s probably best to stay within the lines, but personal style knows no boundaries! I would love to see your outfits and the confidence you have wearing them! DM me on instagram at @evablakeman!
So Ryan decided to buy a massive bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs and then imposed the rule that they had to be used in desserts before we could eat them out of the bag. This lead me to trying some new variations of great recipes to include Mini Eggs. If you don’t like Mini Eggs, you could use this recipe while switching out the Mini Eggs for your favourite chocolates. I personally think Oh Henry bars or Reeses would be amazing in this recipe.
I realize a lot of people like adding sour cream to their recipes, but I am not part of that club. I’ve always loved adding a little yogurt to cheesecake recipes to add a silkiness to them, but in this case I just wanted a good old fashioned cheesecake. If you are concerned about the cake coming apart and needing corn starch or flour, I can tell you this cake came out beautifully with a great texture without them.
Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake
After having made this, I think switching out the graham to a chocolate graham would benefit the recipe, as well as using a whipped topping with crushed eggs rather than graham and full eggs. As it is shown it was very delicious, but I think those alterations would make it easier to eat.
1 cup graham crust
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
3 cups cream cheese (3 Philadelphia cream cheese blocks)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Mini Eggs (crushed)
I really enjoyed changing up my favourite cheesecake recipe. I would usually mix a little strawberry yogurt and blended strawberries to this basic recipe to make a light, fruity dessert. The cake turned out creamy and dense even though I blended my ingredients together. As you can see in the images, there were bubbles visible as well as chocolate spots in the top of the cake. I do not bake my cheesecake in a water bath as I find my spring pans will let water leak in, so I choose to use the “low and slow” method of cooking to avoid splitting and cracking.
I won’t lie to you, we ate half the cake the night I made it, then ate the other half for breakfast the next morning. I don’t recommend eating that much at a time, but that’s how tasty it is. It certainly let me get access to the Mini Eggs that were being unfairly kept from me which was my ultimate goal. I did also make some cookies with the Mini Eggs, which was just Chocolate Chip Cookies with the chocolate chips replaced with Mini Eggs.
Overall a very successful experiment that I would recommend to anyone.
Preparation and Baking:
Preheat oven to 375 C
Mix all crust ingredients together then pat down into a greased 9 inch spring pan. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
Turn down oven to 250 C.
Mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla together (easiest done while cream cheese is warm, else wise use a hand mixer or stand mixer, this may add bubbles, but I blended the ingredients and had no cracking in my cake).
Fold in crushed mini eggs.
Pour filling into the crust, bake at 250C for 1 1/2 hours.
Turn off oven but leave the cheesecake inside for an hour.
Let the cake cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge. Cool 4 hours or until chilled.
Decorate your cake with a sprinkling of leftover graham and eggs.
I started my love of baking at a young age. I vividly remember baking chocolate chip cookies with my brother and watching ingredients magically become delicious treats in my mothers nimble hands. I didn’t get any training, no food courses in high school and limited help from my mother as I experimented with foods. I don’t believe that in order to be a good home cook it requires a lot of help, but rather a lot of courage and willingness to fail. Screwing up a recipe is a great way to learn where your skills need improvement in the kitchen, and gives you direction as to where your attention should be directed. Also, if you are lacking the tools or pans recommended in recipes, there is always a way to improvise. I really encourage people to dive in to cooking and baking at home, as they are life long skills. When you’re young and you host, feeding your guests homemade foods is impressive and shows how much you care about your guests. Being able to feed yourself, your partner and your kids will be less costly and will give you complete control over the nutrition of your diets. As you get older, being the nice lady who bakes for the kids who shovels their walks is an iconic position to hold in the neighbourhood.
Cooking is by no means an easy thing to pick up with no experience, but it is do-able. Understanding the purpose of each ingredient makes it a lot easier for new cooks to shine in the kitchen and to experiment with more success than failure. Below is a combination of recipes and advice for new cooks. I truly believe with a little practice and courage everyone can cook.
How To Set Up For Success
No one starts out with every kitchen tool, spice and gadget and in most cases you can improvise, but there are some things you just have to own to be able to cook. Depending on the cultural background of the foods, necessary kitchen-wear and spices will vary.
Recommended Kitchenware :
4 inch (or longer) kitchen knife
wood cutting board (resists bacteria better than plastic and can be resurfaced)
stainless steel skillet (can cook just about anything)
saucepans of various sizes
steel or glass mixing bowls
multiple kitchen knives of varying length
a bread knife
cast iron skillet (can cook anything that isn’t acidic)
8×8 or 9×9 cake pan
Recommended Spices :
Preparing before cooking is the true key to success.
Planning your meals long ahead of time will not only reduce food waste, but ensure you are thawing out your meats the night before and will ensure you will have time to marinate them rather than be running them under water in the sink trying to thaw them out directly before cooking.
Cutting up your vegetables, having your spices out, putting out your tools and getting everything ready before the cooking begins will make everything down the line much easier. Having everything set up will help avoid burning foods and pots boiling over while you’re trying to get things together.
Another important thing to be aware of is cross contaminationwith raw and cooked foods. Raw meats should never be stored near other foods, and should be in air tight containers. A good option to avoid cross contamination while simultaneously avoiding freezer burn is to invest in a vacuum sealer. Due to the meat being vacuumed sealed, it shouldn’t be able to cross contaminate as it thaws in the fridge, provided it remains sealed. I purchased a vacuum sealer due to wanting to save money by purchasing meats in bulk but not wanting to thaw out 20 pork chops at a time. So I package my meats in sets of two and then freeze them until needed.
How To Cook Eggs
Since eggs are some of the most commonly used ingredients and they are a fairly easy thing to work with, I thought we would start here and move towards more difficult cooking throughout the article.
Hot liquids will scramble your eggs if not tempered. In order to introduce eggs to a hot recipe without them scrambling and becoming lumpy. Start cold and slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs while constantly whisking them will help keep them from coagulating.
Poached eggs don’t work well unless the eggs are fairly fresh. In order to poach an egg you must fill a saucepan with enough water that the egg won’t touch the bottom of the pot. A couple inches of water minimum. Bring the water up to a simmer (not a boil, you want slight steam and bubbles but not rolling bubbles or heavy steam). Tip your egg into the simmering water and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Turns off the heat and let the egg continue to cook in the water for about ten minutes. Try to get the egg out without any water (a slotted spoon works well).
Frying an egg may seem like the easiest thing in the world, but if you want a runny yolk your egg should be under 149F but above 144F for a sturdy white. The minimum temperature for eggs to become solid is 144F. In short, if your whites have turned bright white and have a ting of browning happening, your yolk should be just at the turning point of being runny and becoming solid.
Scrambled eggs are a fairly easy dish to make, but it is essential that you add the salt once the eggs are done cooking or it can ruin them. If you like fluffy eggs, add a tiny amount of baking soda to them. If you like rich and creamy eggs, a knob of butter will do wonders. Make sure to mix the eggs often and ensure they reach a minimum of 150F to get them thoroughly cooked.
French toast for four people (assuming each is eating 3 pieces):
12 pieces of bread
1/4 cup of milk
a dash of cinnamon
a teaspoon of vanilla.
The eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon should be whisked together in a shallow bowl. For denser French toast, let the bread sit in the mixture for a minute, allowing it to absorb more of the mixture. For lighter French toast, quickly submerge the bread. Fry the bread in butter at medium heat for best flavour.
French toast is also an egg heavy dish that can be cooked reliably simply by the look of it. Golden brown egg and bread on both sides is the sign of properly cooked French toast. In order to change the increments of the recipe, the general rule is one egg per person plus one, the milk, cinnamon and vanilla need only be increased or decreased slightly.
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How To Make Broth & Soups
Broths are an incredibly easy thing to make, and they can be made with your food scraps. When you are cutting up vegetables, throw the parts you don’t plan to use (the stem of carrots, the root of the onion, the base of the celery, etc) into a ziplock bag in the freezer. These little scraps will help build your broth without spending a lot to make it.
The basic ingredients for a vegetable broth are carrots, onions and celery. After those three main ingredients the rest is up to you. Often garlic, neutral oils (like vegetable or canola) and bay leaves are included. For an easy vegetable broth recipe, click here. The basics of making a broth is simmering ingredients in a large amount of water for long periods of time to release their flavours, then straining out all solid pieces to leave behind a rich and flavourful liquid. As every culture and person makes their broth differently I would recommend looking into a variety of different recipes. Personally I think fresh dill in a vegetable or chicken broth is fantastic, while others say it wouldn’t be complete without garlic or rosemary. Really it’s up to you to find what you like.
Meat based broths are often made with the bones and left overs the meat. Simmering them with a collection of the basic vegetables from above in water will result in a broth. The difference between vegetable and meat broths is the scummy layer of impurities that form when boiling them, this will take the form of white, foamy sludge on the top of the broth. Often the bones are blanched (boiled in water) before being added to the broth pot to remove impurities, but even then you will have to skim the pot.
Let’s talk soup. A basic chicken and noodle soup will require a chicken broth, black pepper, cooked chicken ( cooking it in the water will result in the scum), finely cut celery and the pasta of your choice. The important thing here is timing. You can boil the broth, vegetables and chicken for quite some time, but the pasta is what needs to be watched. Each pasta will have its own boiling directions on the packaging. Make sure to add it last and follow the instructions as if it were boiling in water.
Tomato soup and tomato based soups are prepared very similarly. It starts with either removing or processing the skins of the tomatoes (if processing remove the stem and throw the rest of the tomato it). It will also require some butter, vegetable stock and onion. Spices depend on the individual cooking, but salt is customary. In order to transform tomatoes from the raw flavour to rich and creamy, cooking them down is very important. This means letting them cook at a relatively low heat for at least twenty minutes. For an incredibly easy tomato soup recipe, click here.
How To Cook Meats
Each meat has its “safe temperature”. As most people know, chicken must be thoroughly cooked, while beef doesn’t require being fully cooked through to be safe to eat. All juicy meats do better when seared, as it seals the exterior of the meat, keeping the juices sealed inside. In order to sear a steak, press each side of the meat to a very hot pan, it should hiss and sizzle, until a slight crust has formed.
Chicken must reach 165F internally to be safe to consume. The “white meat test” has been used for a very long time to ensure chicken is cooked properly, but some chicken will have a pink hue even when fully cooked. This is especially true beside bones. If in doubt, use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is fully cooked.
Commonly salt and pepper are used, but hot sauces, dill, cayenne, garlic and onion powders are great options to try out.
Mozzarella and Spinach Chicken
2 chicken breasts
4 tablespoons fresh mozzarella cheese (pre-grated cheeses have coatings which ruins their melting)
1 cup chopped spinach
a dash of salt
a dash of pepper
a dash of cayenne
Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Rinse your chicken breasts in cold water then cut a pocket with a small opening in the breast (be careful not to cut through the other end of the chicken or the stuffing will come out as it bakes). Mix mozzarella, spinach and cayenne in a small bowl. Stuff each breast with the filling. Toss some olive oil onto a baking sheet ( I recommend lining it with aluminium foil to make clean up easier ). Ensure there is ample oil under where the breasts will sit. Place the breasts on the pan and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake them for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes. Let them rest a few minutes before serving as the cheese will burn your mouth like hot pizza if you don’t let it cool a little.
Pork can also cause health issues if not properly cooked. In this case a temperature of 145F is needed to be safe to consume. According to food scientists the meat should rest three minutes after reaching 145F before being consumed. Previously it was said that 160F was the limit for safe consumption, so don’t worry about going over the minimum. Pork also doesn’t give away its secrets with the colour of the meat. Often properly cooked pork will also have pink showing, so once again, use a meat thermometer. If pan cooking pork, try adding butter near the end of the cooking (to avoid it burning) and fresh herbs like rosemary to the pan to add flavour to the meat.
Beef is a constantly under and overcooked meat. Though you may of heard of a blue rare steak, you don’t want to eat one. Beef is also said to require 145F internal temperature to be safe to consume. The biggest issue with red meats is that it is very difficult to see worms within the meat, so it’s better to cook them thouroughly rather than get an infestation of worms in your digestive system. Ground beef should be browned (fully cooked) but for steaks you shouldn’t cook below medium rare to ensure safe consumption. To cook a great steak, let it marinate in garlic oil for a couple days before cooking it (make sure to pierce the meat with a fork to let it seep into the muscle) and the steak with be juicy as can be.
In order to cook a good steak in a pan the meat should start at room temperature. Dry the meat before introducing it to the pan to get a good crust. Sear the meat on a very hot pan with oil, then lower the temperature to medium to cook the steak without burning. You should have a dark exterior with no grey areas. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the steak, but it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes from start to finish. For extra flavour it is common to season with a little salt and pepper before cooking and near the end of the cook time adding some butter to the pan can add some great flavour.
While we are on the topic of foods that are dangerous to consume without being cooked, raw flours can contain e.coli, eggs can have salmonella, potatoes with green in them can cause some nasty digestive issues ( to keep them from sprouting or becoming green, keep them in a dark, cool place), rhubarb leaves can cause a plethora of issues, elderberries can host cyanide, raw red kidney beans will cause extreme diarrhea and vomiting. Apple seeds contain cyanide, raw milk can contain salmonella, e.coli and a few other harmful bacteria. Raw lima beans also contain cyanide. Thankfully all of these foods can be rendered safe by cooking them thoroughly, though with the two beans, it is just safer to buy cooked beans. When in doubt, check before consuming!
Making a good salad includes a variety of textures for it to be fulfilling. Adding apples, strawberries, nuts, croutons, pickled peppers, etc. can make a basic lettuce salad a lot better. Arugula and spinach mix well in salads especially with citrus flavours added. Lettuce yields itself to almost any flavour, so experiment and try new things. An important thing to remember when preparing any salad is that you don’t want to inconvenience anyone with pieces they can’t fit in their mouths. Make sure to cut up pieces small enough to be easily fit in a mouth.
Fruit salads are a wonderful thing to serve and can be done in a lot of ways. A common way to serve fruit salad is to encompass it in jello. Make sure there aren’t any strong acids when using this method as the jello won’t set. For a fresh fruit salad, cut up all pieces to under an inch as to make them easier to eat. Oranges, apples, strawberries, pineapple and melons mix together beautifully. Experiment with your combinations! Fruit salads don’t need any dressing to be enjoyed, so they are an easy dessert to prepare, though drizzling a little raspberry dressing adds a little sour kick to the sweet fruits.
How To Roast Vegetables
Roasted potatoes, carrots, asparagus are just the beginning with roasted vegetables. once you are comfortable with the roasting process you can experiment with all sorts of vegetables and try new combinations to find the ones you like best.
Oven roasting is by far the easiest way to roast potatoes. The general practice for roasting potatoes is to cut them into conveniently sizes for eating and toss them in a combination of olive oil, herbs and spices then to bake them, turning them over to ensure even browning.
Simple Oven Roasted Potatoes
20 small potatoes cut into quarters
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
a dash of dried parsley
Mix the oil and seasonings in a mixing bowl then toss the potatoes until they are completely coated with the mixture. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake them in a 400F pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Flip over the potatoes half way through the cooking time. They should come out golden brown with a crisp outer layer and a soft core.
Roasted asparagus is a favourite and it’s incredibly easy to cook them in a pan. Make sure to cut off the bottom of the stalks (roughly 1 inch) before cooking. With a little olive oil in a pre-heated cast iron or stainless pan at medium heat, toss them in unseasoned. Once a darkened colour has taken to the stalks turn down the temperature a slight amount to give the interior time to reach a soft consistency without burning. Once cooking is done, roll them into a small amount of honey and salt and they will be delicious as a side.
Roasted carrots are undeniably yummy and also an easy baked item to serve. Carrots pair nicely with garlic and onion flavours and due to their sweetness, a little acidic kick can do wonders.
Oven Roasted Carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic powder or 1 clove minced
dash of pepper
dash of salt
3 large carrots cut into bite sized pieces
Mix the olive oil and balsamic (or apple cider) vinegar in a bowl with the garlic, salt and pepper. Toss the carrots in the mixture then spread them out on a baking sheet to bake in a pre-heated oven (375F) for 35-40 minutes, flip them half way through. Serve warm.
How To Bake Bread
Bread making can seem intimidating at first, but with a little patience it can be very rewarding, not to mention cheaper than buying artisan loaves. You don’t need a bread machine to make great bread, just your hands and a cake pan will suffice. For a great summary of how to make bread, click here to see a video by the creator of Binging With Babish on the basics of bread. Remember that when changing out the thickness of the dough, you have to keep a close eye to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Kneading dough can feel intimidating, but with floured hands and determination the sticky mound of dough will form into a workable ball. Try to avoid adding water or flour while kneading no matter how sticky or dry the dough may seem. Keep working it until either the stickiness has worn away or the flour has been integrated entirely.
When allowing dough to rise it is important that it is in a warm area as the heat allows the yeast to rise the bread. Cold rising just doesn’t work. Also, never forget to oil your bowl or you will have a sticky mess to deal with.
An interesting thing that you can do is alter the crust. If you brush the dough with egg wash before baking the crust will be shinny and dark. Brushing it with milk before baking will make the dough shinny. Brushing the bread directly after removing it from the oven with butter will soften the crust and add a richness to the flavour.
Crusty Round Loaf – No Knead Method(As seen above)
400 grams all purpose flour (roughly 3 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/3 cup room temperature water
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients until there is no flour remaining on the bottom of the bowl. If the dough ball absolutely won’t come together after a few minutes of mixing, add a couple tablespoons of water and continue to mix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in a warm area for 12 – 24 hours.
Shape the dough into a ball by pulling the dough underneath itself to give a smooth ball. Place the ball onto an oiled piece of aluminium foil (vegetable oil) and cover to rest for one hour.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F and place an oven safe container filled with water into the rear of the oven. It is important to do this during the pre-heat so that the water will be boiling while the bread is in the oven.
Liberally oil a cast iron pan with vegetable oil and allow it to heat in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the cast iron and place the ball of dough directly onto the pan.
Bake for 15-25 minutes (you have to keep an eye on your bread as it cooks to ensure the crust isn’t burning).
Immediately after removing the bread from the oven, brush the loaf with butter. You can do this with a very clean paintbrush if you don’t have a kitchen quality one. This butter will often the crust.
Let the bread cool completely before cutting, usually about 3 hours.
I really believe that anyone can cook anything if they give it an honest try. If you have advice or recipes you would like to share please do in the comments. Though the form asks for an email address it is not required to put one in to comment, so please don’t hesitate to share your stories!
Maintaining a clean home can be a struggle with work, kids, guests and seemingly endless amounts of dust, but it isn’t impossible. In order to keep a clean home it’s easier to do a little at a time rather than block out half a day to get things done. It also takes some self discipline to do what needs to be done instead of leaving it for later. As we live in an apartment, there isn’t a lot of room or storage areas, so keeping things clean and organized is very important to us.
A Clean Kitchen
Cleaning as you cook is a skill to master in its own, but cleaning dishes, wiping down counters and spot cleaning intermittently while cooking is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. By the time you’re done cooking all but the pans would be clean and drying so after your meal there isn’t too much more to do.
As a general rule, take the two minutes to put away all clean dishes before you go to bed, make sure the counters are clean and set out any items you might need early in the morning (coffee maker, mug, etc). You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Using containers to store messy ingredients like flour and sugar will make sure you don’t have that annoying layer of flour around the bag every time you grab it. Also reducing the amount of items on your counters also helps keep your cleaning time down, as you have less things you have to move around each time you need to wash down the counters.
A Clean Bathroom
I believe cleaning the bathroom once a week is sufficient, but to keep it looking nice I have the “rinse rule”. After brushing teeth and using face products, they often dry down into the sink leaving nasty residue and caking appearance. Hence the rinse rule. Always rinse the sink after using a product in it (excluding hand soap as it doesn’t seem to leave anything).
The rinse rule also applies to the shower, ensuring there is no hair, shampoo or other products on the walls or tub before getting out, this also includes emptying the hair trap before you leave the bathroom.
Another big thing is not keeping your shower curtain scrunched to the side after a shower as it makes it much easier for moisture to stick around and for mildew to grow. Let your shower curtains dry by leaving the curtain as wide spread as you can.
A Clean Bedroom
It can be irritating to fold laundry, but putting it away directly after getting it out of the dryer is the best way to ensure it won’t become a pile on the floor that gets re-washed without even being worn.
Taking a few minutes to dusting a couple days a week can also keep your bedroom cleaner, and reduce allergy reactions during the night. Changing the sheets often will also help with this.
Minimizing the amount of items in your bedroom will also help with your cleaning. Like with your kitchen, the less you have to move around to clean, the faster it will be. a few candles are nice, but having piles of items stacked on your dresser and side tables just makes it harder to clean.
The Living Room
Dust is often the enemy here, with bookcases, gaming systems and decor, there is ample room for dust to settle. Keeping a duster in the living room makes it quick and easy to remove dust, and seeing it will help spur you to do it. Every once and a while a good scrubbing is required, but generally a quick run with a duster will keep everything looking good.
Couches often get abused, stained and ripped, so investing in couch covers will lengthen the life span of your furniture.
Using coasters on wooden tables is also a must to ensure longevity of your furniture, as will using rugs under couches and tables to avoid damage to your floor. Keeping your house looking nice isn’t just about keeping it clean, but keeping it in good repair.
The Paper Basket
Often bills and odd ball paperwork winds up pilling up, I recommend having a paper basket, a place for them to sit until they are sorted that isn’t a step or kitchen counter. Not everyone has a filing cabinet, but you can get portable file organizers from Staples for a couple of dollars to organize your paperwork and keep it safe and well organized. It’s never good to lose your paperwork, especially around tax time.
The Front Door
This one can be difficult, as guests are not always respectful of your home, so I came up with a solution. As I live in Canada, where we often have mud and snow on our boots, I got a massive matt for my front door, allowing ample space to come in, take off shoes and place them on racks with matts underneath without getting my floor wet and muddy, which can cause damage to the wood. Essentially, the front entrance has three matts which can be easily vacuumed and ample shoe storage to avoid anyone needing to place their footwear on my floor. To ensure your guests don’t make a mess, you can also recommend they place their shoes on the rack the first time they visit, to ensure they know they are allowed to use them.
Clutter makes it very difficult to keep an orderly home. I recommend removing seasonal items and storing them in Rubbermaid containers. Winter clothing, boots, scarves and mittens can be removed from the front entrance during the warm months. During the winter, summer jackets, sandals and summer dresses can be switched out. This allows more space for visitors jackets, less clutter in the front entrance and in your bedroom closet.
Essentially, keeping cleaning supplies in an easily accessible area makes it easier to clean. Using those couple of minutes between other things can be used to keep things in good condition. I recommend having a lot of microfibre cloths around to avoid wasting paper towels that leave little bits behind. Most things can be cleaned with vinegar or baking soda if they are caked on. Being able to convince yourself to do it now rather than later will make cleaning easier. Not to mention I can almost guarantee you will never look at a clean counter first thing in the morning and be irritated about how clean it is.
I can quickly throw on a face, some leggings and a pair of booties and run out of the house to get things done.
As you guys know, I LOVE COSMETICS. I love playing with make up, I love wearing it and more than anything, I love hiding my acne with make up. You can watch the video, or read how I get my daily look so darn quickly.
Please remember that all steps are really optional. If you don’t like wearing foundation, skip it, if you prefer fake lashes to mascara, go for it! Customize to your face!
Step 1: Clean the skin – exfoliate your skin to ensure your cosmetics will sit well and last all day. You can exfoliate quickly with a little hypoallergenic soap and a clean face cloth.
Step 2: Astringent and Moisturizer – I use Clean and Clear Astringent to keep my black heads at bay. I then use a hyaluronic face oil and a medicated moisturizer that also helps with my acne. I usually let this sink in while I am doing other things for a few minutes.
Step 3: Primer – For daily use I use the Revlon Rose Glow, because it works and it’s cheap. On days where I have an extra minute, I’ll use a pore filling primer on my t zone and then use the Rose Glow every where else. Unfortunately pore filling primers take a minute to work into the skin. Press it into your skin, don’t be an animal like I can be, primers like to be pressed, not rubbed into skin.
Step 4: Concealer and Foundation : Concealer on red spots and dark circles, foundation over the concealer. I use a moist beauty blender because it’s incredibly fast. Remember to blend the sides of the nose up to the brow, as it’s a often forgotten spot.
Step 5: Throw powder on your face. I use a combination of beauty blender and brush for quick application. Beauty blender for the eye area, brush for the rest. Don’t forget your neck! Brush off excess, check your shirt and move forward.
Step 6: Contour : Build some bronzer under your cheek bones, in the hair line and along the nose, blend it out to a more natural look. Hit some highlighter on the cheek bone, tip of nose and cupids bow.
Step 7: Use a light shade on your entire lid up to the brow bone. I used white, but a light sand or bright white would work as well. Fill the crease with a medium-dark brown. Blend it out. Cover the lid in a light shade. I use a Champagne shade.
Step 8: Liner and Mascara – Grab a liquid liner, throw on a quick cat eye then double layer your mascara to get stacked lashes. Alternatively, a pencil liner can be used on the top lash line if you aren’t going for a cat eye.
Step 9: Grab your favourite shade of lipstick, because we used very nude colours on the eyes, any lip shade will work. I use bright red matte, because it stands out and I love it.
Step 10: Use some setting spray and start your day!
There is a time and place for complicated make up, and for me, early morning is not the time for it. I like having a simple routine with my products already waiting for me. the only thing I really have to think about it dampening my beauty blender while I fill my water bottle and then I can quickly throw on a face, some leggings and a pair of booties and run out of the house to get things done.
If you do like more complicated and longer routines, check out my channel and see if you like hitting up the glitter and brows too! I tend to put out videos once a week and sometimes the looks get a little fancy. I tend to stay in the “wearable” looks lane, as I don’t tend to go too glam in my real life. I would like to try out some more glam looks in the future, but we’ll see.
If you are looking for some great products to try out, check out this post on my favourites. I would love to do another favourites post soon, so keep an eye out for it!
As we know, self-care is incredibly important, and as we become more run down and fatigued, things tend to start slipping in our lives. It is incredibly important to take time to recharge. Unfortunately there is an entire “self-care” industry that has monetized our relaxation. Beauty industry would tell us that self-care is heavily dependent on buying the right products, where this is not the case at all. Please note I am not a health care professional, should you require medial attention, please contact your doctor.
Taking care of yourself starts with taking care of your health. Eating vegetables, drinking water, ensuring your body is getting the nutrients it needs is the most basic proactive self care. Now there are days where the idea of getting up to make anything seems like climbing a mountain. Try to reach for simple snacks. Some nuts, a piece of fruit, a piece of cheese. These are snacks that take almost no effort to grab from the kitchen but will give you nutrients. On days where you simply can’t stomach the idea of something healthy, be kind to yourself and don’t hold onto regret and guilt for eating some junk food. Sometimes you just have to have some fries and ice cream.
Moving. Physically getting out of bed can be one of the hardest things to do. A lot of things can feel like they are pulling you down instead of helping you get up, those can be anxiety, depression, seasonal disorders, stress, etc. It may be difficult to swing your feet out from under the covers, but it is incredibly important that you do. Once you’re up you will start to be able to do simple things like brushing your teeth, having a drink of water and splashing some water on your face. Not getting out of bed can stunt your whole day, and it can make it hard to feel like you have achieved anything, which can lead to worsening anxiety and depression.
Exercise is another very important part of taking care of yourself. It can be difficult to get to the gym and pushing out a workout, simply walking around your home and neighbourhood can get your blood moving and your systems engaged. If you can handle it, go work out. Push yourself and feel like you have achieved a goal for the day.
Some things you can try to increase your physical health without pushing yourself to the gym include :
Cut out soda and coffee – all that sugar is not helping
Drink a few bottles of water a day
Eat smaller amounts more often
Avoid processed meats – the sodium can make you bloat and slow you down
Stretch your body and breathe deeply
Everyone is different in how they act and react during spells of poor mental health. There are some things you can do proactively to reduce negative effects, such as paying attention to media, people and situations that make you crumble internally. Some shows promote anxiety in people, some people in your life might bring forward unhappy feelings and some situations are just a nightmare. Unfortunately we can’t remove everything that upsets us, but we can limit exposure. If a show makes you feel anxiety, don’t watch it. If scrolling through social media makes you feel bad, get rid of the apps, if meeting up with large groups of people makes you very uncomfortable, organize to see people in small groups or one on one. Unfortunately there is no “cure-all” method when it comes to mental health, and you should see a doctor should you feel suicidal, depressed or are exhibiting any behaviours that cause harm to yourself or others.
Things to do that can help :
Write in a journal (you can get guided journals if it’s hard to start writing from nothing)
Take a bath with soothing music (you can find great spa music on Apple Music and Spotify)
Clean your home (you will feel productive and having a clean home, free of clutter can be beneficial to mental health)
Cook something healthy and fill it with flavour
Work on a creative project
Take a walk with or without music
Have a coffee date with a friend
Write out your budget and look at eliminating costs (a lot of stress comes from finances)
Try out a new look (play with some colours you normally wouldn’t, do a cat eye, or do a look that makes you feel cute or sexy)
Organize your book cases
Wash your sheets, it will feel really good to slip under nice clean covers
Wash your hair and scrub your feet
Open a window or sit outside to get some fresh air
There are a lot of different things you can do to feel better depending on who you are. Creative people might want to paint, design or write. Our nerdier friends might feel better after a good action movie or some gaming. If you pay attention to what brings you joy and peace, you can use that to help you on the darker days. That all being said, some days it can feel like a band is wrapped around your chest and the world can feel dark. Don’t feel guilty if you need a day in bed, sometimes when we get really run down some physical rest and a mid day nap can make a world of a difference.
If you have recommendations or methods that have helped you, please leave them in the comments.
As teens, everyone experiences acne from one degree to another, and unfortunately, not all of us get to grow out of the acne stage. Throughout the years we have heard endless reasons why we get acne, a lot of which was just misinformation being spread like wildfire. Washing your face twice a day does not guarantee to rid you of acne, though it does prevent a lot of bacteria based skin infections that we include under the title of acne.
A quick use of an Oxytocin’s pad does not count as washing your face. Grab that bar of soap, a face cloth and some water and scrub your face. Exfoliation reduces the likelihood of pores being blocked by dead skin cells. Make sure to switch out face clothes often, as they will become mildewy and collect bacteria as they stay in your washroom.
There are a lot of “exfoliating” products on the market these days, all of whom promise to rid you of your acne, but these are just overpriced soaps that don’t rid your skin of as much dirt, oil and skin as a good old fashioned washcloth. A lot of the exfoliating products will actually tear your skin as they are too aggressive, which can lead to bacterial infections and cause acne rather than prevent or treat it.
Make sure you take off all of your make up! Foundation stuck in your skin over night is a nasty way to get acne, never mind styes and other issues with your skin. Always make sure to remove it before bed time, and let your skin breathe. Heavy make up around the eyes can lead to styes forming, and depending on their location, they may have to be removed by a dermatologist. Better off just taking a minute to wipe it off.
Make sure to always thoroughly rinse your face after washing to remove the skin, dirt, oil and soap. Dry your face with a clean towel and avoid touching your face any more than you have to.
There are two common topicals we use on acne. Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. Salicylic Acid is what you would find in astringent products, and it disinfects your skin. You will recognize the telltale stinging of this product in things like Oxy Pads and Clean And Clears Astringent. Salicylic Acid is proven to help reduce black heads, which are oxidized pores but it can’t do anything about pores that are actually blocked and filling up with white blood cells.
Benzoyl Peroxide has been marketed as if it could wash away all your worries, but in reality, it’s a very harsh and drying product that causes its own plethora of skin problems. Unless told by a dermatologist to use these products in conjunction with water based moisturizers, avoid them. Not only will your face feel like an alligator, benzoyl peroxide bleaches any fabric it touches. Say good bye to your nice towels.
Let’s start this one off with, everyones body is different, and different foods will trigger people differently. That being said, common foods linked to acne breakouts include; dairy products, wheat, chocolate and gluten. If you are curious to see if your acne worsens with ingestion of certain foods, keep a food log and track acne vs foods over time.
It is always recommended to stay hydrated and eat nutritious foods to help fuel your body and keep yourself healthy, and that include your skin. Drink plenty of water, eat your fruit and veggies and you’re on the path to a clearer complexion.
We hear all the time that exercise helps your completion, and while that is true, not cleaning your skin after exercise can lead to worsening acne. After heavy sweating, take a moment to clear your skin of the heavy sweat and get changed into clean, dry clothes.
Genetics & Hormones
Some folks suffer from terrible cystic acne in their early teen years, then in their twenties have clear skin, whilst others might have mild acne their entire lives. Genetics have a lot to do with this, as do hormones. As many know, women tend to break out around their mensural cycle, and this is common up until menopause. Some individuals might break out in their mid fifties should they be stressed out. Essentially what I’m saying here is, depending on your genetics and hormones, you may have to struggle against acne for the better part of your life. Not to be discouraged of course, as no one in the world other than yourself cares that you have a pimple on your cheek.
Now it can be disheartening to wake up to acne, and certain individuals in your life may find sick amusement in trying to make it an insecurity, but almost everyone has acne in their lifetime, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. When I was a young teenager I thought I would grow out of my acne, but that is simply not the case. Over the years I learned how to manage my skin, and I can usually keep my skin clear. I gave up on my hope of having effortlessly clean skin when I realized that my family members, who are thirty years older than I, are still dealing with acne themselves. So I took the time to develop a skin care routine that was simple enough I could commit to it, while it still being effective.
My routine consists of Miscellar Water (if I’m wearing make up that day), then my bar of soap and washcloth. I rinse my face then use an astringent, and lastly I moisturize with a light, oil free, water based moisturizer. I do this morning and night and it works well for me.
If you want to leave your routine in the comments to help others, please do!