Kristina’s Favorite Products!

I love a great product!  It doesn’t take much to get me excited about new household items, accessories or make up.  Here are a few things I have tried lately, and really like:

  1. Bona Hard Wood Floor Cleaner –  My floors have never looked so clean!  This cleaner is non-toxic, has no scent, and is good for the environment.
  2. Scrub Daddy scrubbing sponge –  Not only is it adorable, but it gets hard if you use cold water, and soft if you use hot water.  It’s the ultimate scrubbing and washing tool for dishes!
  3. Benefit Super Curling and Lifting Mascara – this stuff really curls and separates each individual lash, making my eyes look huge and my lashes luxurious!
  4. Younique BB Flawless Cream – I love that it’s a light-weight foundation and it feels like I have nothing on but it really evens my skin tone and covers imperfections.  This product actually lasted me 6 months and I used it at least five times a week!  Well worth the money!
  5. BonaVita 8 Cup Coffee Maker – This little guy is reliable, and makes a truly delicious pot of coffee at lightening speed.
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Briabay, Headband Happiness

My little girl has crazy hair.  In fact, she even has a onesie that says “Crazy hair, don’t care” and it couldn’t be anymore true!  She was born with a full head of hair and that hair is hard to control between her naps, feedings, and play time.  The struggle is real, my friends!  Check out this picture of her before bed last night.  Terrible lighting, but you get the idea…


Headbands have been a lifesaver in helping to tame her crazy mane, but finding the perfect one has taken some trial and error.  I’ve purchased headbands from Etsy shops, local boutiques, Jane.com, etc., but it wasn’t until I ordered a headband from Briabay that I was finally satisfied.  My first priority when selecting a headband is always comfort.  I want Ainsley to be able to wear it all day, without having to worry about it being uncomfortable from the scratchy fabric or from it being the wrong size for her head.

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When my first set of headbands arrived, I loved how they were packaged.  Each headband was individually wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a cute little piece of twine.  It was like Christmas morning, opening them one by one.


Another thing I quickly noticed was the attention to detail.  Listen, I only took one textile class in college so I’m no expert, but I can assure you some careful planning, sewing, and love went into making each headband just perfect.  Look at how the pattern lines up down the middle seam.  That wasn’t an accident, trust me!

Most importantly, the headbands are constructed from a soft and stretchy material that is comfortable for Ainsley to wear.  They even hold their shape after being worn for most of the day.

  
The Briabay website has a variety of colors and patterns to choose from – here are my Fall favorites!  In addition to the bow style featured below, many of the headbands also come in a knot or turban style.

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Aztec – Headband

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Mustard – Headband

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Black / White Stripes – Multi-Color Bow Knot Headband

Briabay has been kind enough to offer our readers 10% off during the month of September by simply entering the code friendsof5andwhine when checking out.  And, if you want to sweeten the deal for even more discounts, don’t forget to sign up for their mailing list.

A special thank you to Amie for her willingness to let me review her headbands.  If you’re interested in reading more about her story, be sure to check out the Briabay website.  She’s a mom who loves to make girls happy!

Happy shopping! 

The Ultimate Stay-All-Day Lip Color

I have talked in the past about how grateful I am for my Birchbox subscription.  It has taught me so much about what beauty products do or do not work for me and my routine (and all with in comfort level).  My favorite benefit of the monthly subscription is that I get to try bold and bright colors that I could never afford to try otherwise.  I have transformed from “clear gloss girl” – to confidently styling bold purples, pinks, and reds!  I’ve- in fact – become so interested in new colors that this is my third lip product review!

With a wedding on the books and less than one year away – a “Stay All Day” product is the most important feature to me right now.  I want to know that photos at 2pm and photos at 10pm will have the same impact when it comes to my make up on my special day.

This months birchbox brought me THE one!  The one I might even use on my big day!  Its staying power is so strong- I think it will make it through 100 kisses, a few cocktails, and hours of smiles!

Stila Cosmetics is a brand worth knowing if you do not already.  And if you’re looking for a gem of a lipstick I suggest : Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.   My shade – “Bella.”   There are several other stunning colors:

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Venezia, Bella, Amalfi, Rosa, and Como

I thought a gender reveal party was the best way to see what this stuff really had to offer.

I applied my first coat at 12:00 pm and snapped a photo 30 minutes later:

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*NOTE; painting inside the lines is Crucial with this serious stuff!  Its going to STAY where ever you put it.

4 hours later, 2 beverages, a bottled water, and lots of talking and snacking later:

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Although you can certainly see the wear in this comparison – you wouldn’t know a difference with out the side by side!

This stuff has a matte look.  I would not advise adding a gloss over top, because I think it would carry your stain to outside your lip line or on to your teeth.   After about five hours it did begin to dry slightly on the inner circle of my lips, but still no changes, cracking, or bleeding on my lip line!

The only reason it finally came off is after several beers, crabs, and old bay I had to clean my forearms, face, and everywhere else!

I believe the stila stay all day liquid lipstick would have kept its promise otherwise!

I highly recommend this gorgeous shade and true stay all day product.

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Here’s to best friends and pink lips!


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As you can see- no transfer on to my main man either!

 

Ps. Our attire was appropriate- Its a boy!  Congrats to the Drake family on their new addition!

8 Kitchen Gadgets I can NOT live without!

Cooking is by far one of my favorite hobbies.  My mother started me young.  She told me I once said, “When I grow up I want to be a chef, an author, and an artist … so I think I will just write and illustrate my own cookbooks!”  Actually I think it was more like “I can make a cook book and draw the pictures in it too.”

I think a lot of people can relate to the satisfaction one finds while cooking.  It combines so many senses and for me has become a source of meditation.  Whether you love to create a new recipe,  a new flavor, or a beautiful presentation – no one can deny the thrill of compliments on a plate well done.

No matter what degree your love for cooking may be – the reality is  this is a hobby that takes a LOT of time.   I am often in search of any possible short cut – but without sacrificing the results!

All of these gold mine finds were purchased off of Amazon.  For products we found we needed on our own : Our criteria was simple:  Prime Eligible and the cheapest of the 4-5 Star customer rating.  If we fell in love with a product but were not happy with the price we would refer to an Amazon price checking and price history tracking site called camelcamelcamel.com .

Another large influence was from watching the show America’s Test Kitchen.   Those who are prime eligible – you must watch!  This show is brilliant!  They spend days testing recipes and products and share the most successful outcomes in at home chef language with scientific support for why it works.  I have found a new love for eggs because they have taught us out to perfect them.  I have found the best chefs knife and Green kitchen cleaners- and with out the professional chef price point!  Check out all of their professionally tested equipment reviews here! I will notate the America’s Test Kitchen products with a * – so that way you don’t ONLY have to take my word for it 😉

Here are 8 kitchen gadgets I have found over the past year that have saved the day on several occasions!

1. Salad Spinner :

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I went with the Prepworks from Progressive International SALL-6 Salad Spinner with Handle.  This little guy holds 2.5 quarts – I might wish I splurged on a 5 quart barrel for how often I use it- but either way, it is worth every penny of the $14.95 we paid!  We eat salad daily, and it is just not enjoyable when your lettuce is weighted down with excess water.  Or when your dressing falls to the bottom of the bowl in a wet and muddled puddle!  There is no other efficient way to do it – and for under $20.00 we have used this 4 our of 7 days a week since we bought it.  Note; not dishwasher safe :/  Our bowls are slightly morphed (but still usable!) after a few too many hot water baths.

2. Garlic Press :

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WHY, WHY did I EVER bother mincing tiny itty bitty pieces of garlic leaving my hands to reek of the offensive garlic odor for days after the meal?  Garlic Press = Problem solved.  YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO PEEL IT!  Hellloooo … just get it: Prepworks from Progressive International GIGP-93 Aluminum Garlic Press with Non-Stick Coating for $9.19 on Amazon.com

3. Oil Mister *

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I did not even know this was a thing?  Thank you A.T.K.!  Why buy cooking spray when you have olive oil already?  Well because when you pour it in the pan – it is too heavy a layer.  Now this is refillable (aka REUSABLE), add your preferred oil, and you get a thin and even layer.  You will save tons of money in the long run with this $10.53 Norpro Stainless Sprayer Mister .  Bonus – this is dishwasher safe.  You could even use this to infuse oils as the picture shows!

4. Thermometer

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It is actually scary that we let ourselves play with the temperature of our meats with faulty and dated meat thermometers.  Did I think that flicking the dial of my water logged thermometer would give me a MORE accurate read or less accurate but more hurried?  Stupid, this is my health we are talking about.  After watching A.T.K. – we started our search, but we were not ready to commit to their $100 suggestion.  In the end we fell for the $24.99 Lavatools Thermowand.  Reads in just seconds.  Plus- it comes in the ultra cute Mint color.

5. Knife Sharpener *

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Everyone should know the power of a sharp knife.  It is hard to find a reasonably priced and worth while knife ( I would like to say we did, and I will tell you about it shortly).  BUT if you have a set that you are happy with, and simply need to touch the blade periodically you can do so with the $8.85 AccuSharp 001 Knife Sharpener.  Bonus: this duals as a TOOL sharpener as well.

6. Mandolin Slicer

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We eat salad ALL the time.  Or at least some form of vegetable with most of our meals.  Michael is willing to down a bowl – no joke – of JUST greens.  I on the other hand am a women; so I make things complex and have a picky palate – duh 😉  I like to add tomatoes, a cucumbers, carrots, cheese, radishes, and whatever other fresh vegetable I can to my salads.  HAND chopping all of that?  Forget it, takes too long.  Finally we gave in and bought this OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slicer Set for around $29.00.  I love doing my veggies on the quick, thin, and consistent straight blade, my carrots on the course grater, and cheeses on the fine grater.   Bonus Julienne Blade if you are feeling fancy.  It all conveniently slides into the container with measuring marks.   I LOVE THIS THING SO MUCH!

7. 8″ Chef Knife *

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I never knew what a relief a sharp knife is.  I once had a roommate who was a professional chef – he had it all when it came to the kitchen.  Using his knife was like a special treat.  How it would just glide through anything was remarkable.  I literally did not know their were knives this great out there.  It made me enjoy cooking more- I was not struggling to make a cut or a dice.  Even after moving on, I still was not ready for the splurge of a chef knife.  But after being convinced by America’s Test Kitchen, and watching after CamelCamelCamel – we have finally met the love our kitchen lives.  Now going for only $33.00 you can get the perfect priced perfect chef knife: Victorinox Fibrox 8″ Chefs Knife.  You will not be sorry if you make this purchase TODAY. How can you not trust the makers of the original Swiss Army knife!

8. Nutribullet

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Anyone who knows me knows my obsession!  I LOVE YOU NUTRIBULLET!  When my roommate moved out to his own little flat, it was only weeks before I had to have my own nutribullet.  This thing is just amazing.  The blade cuts and crushes ice flawlessly.  The smoothies I make in this machine are perfect and complete in seconds.  Not to mention the motion of the blade is emulsifying … which means I can cream soups in this beast as well.  The pack also comes with a milling blade – I can make seeds into powders and nuts into butters.  If you don’t LOVE eating greens – this is a great way to sneak them into your diet with out even tasting them!  Check out my post on how smoothies have helped me get through the days!  It is all thanks to my nutribullet.  This one is by far the splurge on the list – but watch the price tracker sites and you might find a price that you are more than pleased with.  I got mine for around $75.00.

Okay my fellow kitchen Diva’s and Duder’s  – I want to hear about what gadgets make for a better cooking experience?  Share the wealth !

 

The perfect nude lip 😍

Lip color is my new favorite thing.  I was so afraid of it in the past, but after trying several samples and watching a few glam girls on YouTube; I started to get the knack of things!  

I found electric purples and vibrant reds! The one thing I struggled with was the perfect nude.  Nude is so classic.  It can be romantic or edgy, day or night.  To me it is uber feminie.  I wanted to create my perfect nude and I had felt like I tried everything!  Of course it was too dark, too milky, too matte, or too shiny.

Finally I realized that just like paints … I was going to have to mix, match, and blend my own custom nude.

After trying about 20 colors from Baum to full on lipstick I was about to give up.  The specialist at Sephora suggested a nude matte base.





I ended up purchasing :

  • NYX Wonder Pencil in Medium
  • NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Madere
  • NARS  Lip Gloss in Stolen Kisses

 



You can see how discolored my lips are with out the lip color (however did I go with out!?).   The matte lipstick has two purposes: to neutralize my lip color and to work as a primer to fill in the winter chaps.  The liner allows for it to all stay in place and me to stay in the lines.  The gloss is the pretty rosy color.   



With out the base color and liner I did not like the gloss on its own.  It certainly was no where near a nude tone.  The benefit of the extra purchases means I can now turn every lip gloss or baum I already own into an entirely seperate color just by adding the matte before it!





Have any pointers for this new to nude girl!?