Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Baking

Since I'm not good at updating regularly, and the theme of this is all things beauty, meaning pretty things, and I'm a total glutton; I baked a cake! A Valentine's Day pound cake to be exact. It was super easy, but not super quick. Like most baking projects, it takes me a couple days.

So what did I make?

Drum roll please....

A Hidden Heart Pound Cake!

I got the idea from a page on Facebook. (If you Google "hidden heard pound cake" you'll get a ton of results as well as other hidden shape ideas - I want to try the pumpkin one come the holidays.) The link to the recipe used box pound cake. Blasphemy! Call me a baking snob if you want. Once you start baking from scratch, you can tell and appreciate the difference. Not all baked goods from scratch are good. I've had my fair share of nasty bakery goods.

For the pound cake I used the recipe from my favorite cookbook of all time CakeLove by Warren Brown. The recipe can be found here. I know this because this is the recipe I used. We're in the process of moving, so my copy is already packed. :( I made the non-alcohol version, but still including the (homemade) vanilla extract and did not subtract any of the milk used to substitute for the alcohol. And I did not add the lemon zest. Why no alcohol? We are too broke for that right now. Otherwise I would. I usually weigh out my ingredients with a food scale. I did not sift the flour. I didn't want to make another thing dirty, and I'm lazy. And the cake came out just fine. And I used regular sugar instead of extra-fine sugar (bakers sugar for those of you who don't know what extra-fine sugar is).

The frosting is Ghirardelli's White Chocolate Frosting recipe. That's right. When I say from scratch, I mean it! I made a half batch. Mostly because I had 2 egg whites leftover from the pound cake, and because a full batch makes WAY TOO MUCH! Seriously! They claim it makes enough to frost the 14 cupcakes the recipe yields (it makes more cupcakes than that, I can't remember how many now though). I made these for a coworkers going away party and I put a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake as pictured on the site and I still had a 3 cup tupper of it left! It's really easy to make. I think the instructions can sound intimidating at first. The only thing is that it says it will take a couple minutes to heat up the egg whites and sugar. Not on an electric stove. More like 5+  minutes. Full batch - more like 10. And FYI: The recipe starts with the 4 lg egg whites. The web page doesn't make the distinction between which ingredients are for what, it's just one solid list.

Besides being time consuming, this cake is actually really easy to make. You just need enough ingredients for 2 cakes, pans, frosting ingredients if you want (I was debating frosting, but the cakes overflowed because I filled the pans to high, so it needs it for aesthetic reasons, and it's yummy), and a cooling rack. Having a mixer of course helps immensely. We have a KitchenAid. And you need a cookie cutter in your desired shape. In my case a heart for V-Day.

And now how to do it. I'm probably going to make this sound way more complicated than it is with all my side commentary. It's super easy - says "Little Miss Betty Crocker" as the family puts it.

All you do is mix up a batch of pound cake, add your desired color of food coloring, bake and cool. The website I got the instructions from said to bake the cake 10 minutes less than the recipe called for. This didn't work for me because my oven temp was off (I live in the most horrible shithole in this town - but not for long, yay!) and the cake still turned out just fine. Once your cake(s) (the CL recipe yielded 2 cakes), are cool, slice then no thicker than your cookie cutter. I didn't take any pictures of this (you can find plenty through Google). Posting this was more of an after thought, I don't know where my good camera is (all pics in this post were taking with my phone), and our kitchen light is out (thus the closet door background for the next pic). And punch out the middle of each slice with your cookie cutter. Next mix up another batch of cake batter, sans food coloring. Put some in the bottom of your pan(s). I probably put about a half inch. Then put in your cutout pieces of cake down the middle of the pan. I was surprised with how easy this step was. Next pour more batter down the sides (mine was thick enough I could spoon it on with a spatula) and over the top. Bake according to the directions. Let cook for 5 minutes, de-pan and let cool fully. Frost if desired (I didn't frost my cakes before cutting. I'm frosting each individual piece as it's cut because I only have ziplocks to put the cake in). And Enjoy!

 But wait! What about the leftover cake from the first 2 cakes? Jess surprised me with his suggestion: cake pops.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Black Friday - Bath and Body Works

This years Black Friday haul was quite tame compared to previous years; but I'll get into that in another post (if I get to it...)

Like last year (and previous years I assume) Bath and Body Works had their spend $40 get a bag full of product valued at $102.50 for an additional $20 BF deal. Of course I wanted to take advantage of this if they still had the bags, being that it was Saturday. They did and the deal was better. Buy anything, no matter how cheap and get the bag for $20; no limit, separate transactions. I ended up coming home with 2. But being the bargain hunter that I am (ahem, cheap), it made me curious: is the bag and products really worth the $103.50 they claim it is? Here's the break down:

Forever Midnight Triple Moisture Body Cream 8 oz $20.50
Eucalyptus Spearmint Body Wash & Foam Bath 10 oz $13.00
Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Lotion 8 fl oz $12.50
Forever Red Eau de Parfum 0.25 oz $10.00
Sparkling Snow 11 Gentle Foaming Hand Soap 8.75 fl oz $5.50
Champagne Toast Mini Candle 1.3 oz $4.50
Cream Shower Sponge $3.50

Total: $65.50

Thus making the bag $38.00.

$38.00??? BBW wants us to believe that the bag is worth $38?!

Seriously guys? Really? (it's so not worth that much at all)

Regardless, $65.00 worth of product for $20 plus an ok bag (last years bag was way better, I use it quite frequently) isn't terrible. And if you don't like the products it comes with you can pull the old, "I got this for Christmas and I don't like the scent, can I exchange it for one I do like?" This tactic does work. Or at least it has in previous years. I haven't checked the bottoms of the bottles to see if they are labeled differently. Last year they weren't.

So why did I buy 2? Christmas purposes / I'm a beauty product hoarder / I get caught up in the "it's such a good deal" moment / because I can always exchange the products for ones I'll actually use but in reality I'm too lazy to do it.

This reminds me of TBS's BF deal 2 years ago. Same type of thing, I'm fairly certain it was spend $30 get the bag of products worth over $100 for $25. I did the math and it was similar to above. The bag made up $40 of the value of the deal. It's a decent bag, especially compared to other bags they've offered, but no where near worth $40.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Unexpected Haul - NYX

Yesterday I totally scored! I got 13 NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils for $10.48!!

Either I'm a wizard or I have a built in deal radar. I was on my way home yesterday waiting for the light to change so I could get on the freeway when I spotted a sign for McCaulou's. There was no traffic coming, so I made the turn into the parking lot. Because the price was so good I got all the colors I didn't have and a second one of each color for one of my best friends for her birthday next month. I figure if she doesn't like them, it's ok. I'm not going to post the colors so they stay a surprise.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kryolan Bag Sale San Francisco

I started this post on the 2nd. It's now the 14th. I blame work and Pinterest (it's like crack) and my lack of motivation and laziness... you get the idea.

I've known about Kryolan since beauty school. I had always wanted to go there but never actually invested any time in finding out where it was and going there. In 2011 I figured out where the San Francisco location was from walking past it while training for Bay to Breakers (totally awesome footrace, I recommend everyone do it (or at least go there and watch it) at least once in their lives. Last year I went as sexy Pikachu XD and Jess was Red from the games "I'm not Ash!"). Every time we would walk past it while training for B2B I would be like, "I want to go there!" and Jess would be like, "ok, we can come back another day" since they were always closed on our training days, and I never went back. Like the thought was gone as soon as we had walked past the store. Fast forward to last semester, I took Stage Makeup at Solano. Awesome class. BJ is THE BEST! So about the end of August I finally got to Kryolan for the first time (class field trip.) It was awesome! I managed to not buy one of everything in the store (a fucking miracle), I only got what I needed for class. Since then I've been back only 3 times. Once for an Aquacolor and eyebrow wax that I didn't even use for my final, once for the metallic Aquacolor palette which is so amazing and gorgeous (and I had a 30% off coupon for it!!)! And again today (almost 2 weeks ago x_x) for the bag sale. Enough babbling. Here's what I got: pictures now, more babbling later, right? All pics were taken with my phone. I have a Motorola Atrix of that makes any difference or if anyone cares :P

This was the line after I had been waiting for a bit. It was long. I got there at 8:09am. The sale started at 8am. I wanted to get there earlier, but didn't. I really should have driven instead of taken public transportation. But I really hate that all the meters in that are are $3/hr.

Everything I got.


 Micro Foundation Mattifying liquid: 210 (6), 525, 330, 110, 130. Micro foundation Smoothing Fluid 400.
I have never used Kryolan foundation before. Their number system seems to be random. At first it appeared that as the numbers got higher, the shades got darker, however this was not the case. I didn't test any of the shades, I just picked ones that looked close enough to my skin tone in hopes that at least one of them would work. Here's hoping that 210 is a good match since I have 6 of them. (I tried it today and it seems like a perfect match. I will review it eventually, it's pretty impressive.)

Eye shadows: M12, Sunlit, Red brown (pan). Bronze (no color name) eye liner x7.
While in line, the girl in front of me ran into some friends who had already been inside. They said they had lots of eye shadows and foundations. These were the eyeshadows they had left when I got in.

The pencil isn't a bad shade.  It is quite hard though. Idk that it'll be a very peasant application. Thus confirming my suspicion that this is how they get rid of their older products. Why did I grab 7 of them? Because I could.

Stargazer Semi-Permanant Conditioning Hair Colour Rinse in Blue Black, Royal Blue, Foxy Red, Hot Red, and Copper. I wish I had grabbed a few more of these. The bottles are pretty small. Which should work for my short fine hair, but idk if I'd get more than one application out of them. I'd like to do color swatches but I don't know that I want to have to bleach out one of my doll heads.

Star Gazer colored hair spray in Pop Yellow, hot pink (no color name), and Silver. 

Blonde crepe hair (2)

Cinedfex books 122, 124, 125, 129

I'm not familiar with Kryolan pricing and their website doesn't list prices. From what I could find online combined with what the employees said the foundations are worth, I got over $700 worth of stuff for $32.55. Not bad. Especially since the foundation I got seems pretty awesome so far.

Overall it was a good experience. I would do it again. But I would get there earlier next time. It was sheer luck that I was able to go. I had originally requested the day off work for a different event I wanted to go to. I found out about the bag sale through a friend on Facebook who posted on the event page. Since I like purses and I saw "Bag Sale" it peeked my interest. It wasn't what I was expecting. It was better! And amazingly enough the timing was perfect and I was able to go.

I heard the first person to get there showed up at 11pm the night before. The girls I mentioned earlier (friends of the girl ahead of me in line), said they got there at like 5:15/30am. Had I known that, and had I had a friend to go with me, I would be one of those people in line at 4 in the morning freezing to death. But I really can't complain. I walked away with my bag filled more than the people before me (I think because I was one of the last to leave that they didn't care by that point) and got to enjoy a few hours in the city before my mad dash back home for my evening plans.

Hopefully sooner than later I can do a post about the foundations I got. Even though I have only worn it once so far, I am thoroughly impressed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Unintentional Haul

Finally a post, yay!

I went to the mall today with the intention of exchanging my eyeliner and getting 1... I repeat ONE... lip gloss at Victoria's Secret to take advantage of their free panty offer, and I came home with 3 extra makeup items.

First things first. Yes, I did say FREE panty. If you don't already get Victoria's Secret emails like I do, head on over to their facebook page ( for their free bride panty with purchase offer. It's going on till Sunday July 29th. It's a thong and it's one size fits most, but if I ever make posting here a regular habit, you will learn how much I LOVE free stuff. No matter if I will ever use it or not.

Here's what I got: (flash vs no flash. My camera kinda sucks, btw)

Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 liquid liner
Tokidoki Strawberry Latte Prisma Gloss
Tokidoki Cactus Rocker (black) Punk Lash Mascara
Victoria's Secret Slice of Heaven Lip Gloss
Victoria's Secret Dazzling Citrus Dazzleshine Lip Gloss

UD liquid liners are my favorite! I just love them. But I only own this one because of the price. Another thing you will learn about me if I make posting a habit is how effing cheap I am! Anyway, I'm so happy they let me exchange mine for another one. The one I had had defective packaging and the top wouldn't screw shut. The only thing I don't like about this liner is that it takes extra work to get off. And usually involves pulling it off with my fingers while washing my face. I think that sounds worse than it is.

I hadn't tried Tokidoki before until last week. While in Las Vegas I learned that Sephora will no longer be carrying them and are clearancing them out at 40% off, so I picked up a few things (eye liner and nail decals). Today's purchase was a total impulse buy. I had to resist buying the shadows they had since there were no testers, they're stupidly shaped, and I knew I wasn't impressed by the colors I had seen while in Vegas. The gloss looks like it will be clear once applied. And the guy at Sephora said he heard good things about their mascara. So I figured it's worth a try for $10. Plus if it sucks, I can return it. Unlike some stores where clearance items are final sale.

At VS I had intentions to buy one lip gloss since select ones are 75% off (probably leftovers from their semi annual sale), aka the cheapest thing in the store at $1.75 a pop. But I found 2 that were pretty (and I wouldn't be surprised if I already have ones that are the same of close enough in color to not need another... welcome to my overuse of parentheses, yay!).

And a quick swatch:

Color wise, Slice of Heaven is my favorite. I have feeling that it will be very shear on the lips though. Strawberry Latte is the only one I tried on. I like it. It's thick, but still slick and not sticky. It has a light scent and taste to it. But it's not so flavored that I want to lick it off. Which is good, because lip gloss is not food. I've only had it on a few minutes, but it feels like it's going to stay in place pretty well for how thick it is. Dazzling Citrus looks like one I already own. At least it was only $1.75, right?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not the first or the last, but...

I am finally making a beauty blog after years of just thinking about making one. I plan to post beauty related things here. Pictures, possibly even videos, product reviews, of all things hair, skin, and nails. Plus maybe the occasional random look-what-I-made knitted or baked thing. And my cats. Because you can't have a blog without pictures of cats.


Ame (ah-may)



My name is Liz. I've been a licensed Cosmetologist since 2003. I guess you could say that I specialize in cutting and perms since I don't do color at the moment (except for my own) and I rarely do styles. I have worked in a select service salon for the past 6 years. As much as I would like to branch out and do full service, I love where I work.

I got into hair because of my sister. Throughout high school I was always coloring my hair and getting it cut, so my sister suggested that I might like doing hair on other people.

I started doing my own nails in 2006 to save money and because I couldn't find anyone in my area who could do nails how I like them. I started out with acrylics and have branched out to gels and now I either use all gel or a combination of both gel and acrylic depending on what I am going for.

I have never made tutorial videos before, but I am hoping to give that a go.

I'm not sure what else to put here, so if you have any questions or comments about what I post here, feel free to comment.