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Monday, 17 July 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: e.l.f Eyebrow Kit


I purchased the e.l.f. eyebrow compact this past week and I have to say I am really impressed.  For years, I used Benefit's Brow Zings compact.  It comes with a pair of miniature tweezers which, in theory, seems like a good idea but, over time, I ended up with a handful of the little guys that I just didn't know what to do with.  I always reached for my full size Tweezermans and never the little mini one.  Finally, I stopped buying the Benefit compact and used an eyeliner pencil which was the right shade of ashy brown that disappears into and yet subtly accentuates a dark brow.  The eyeliner pencil lasted me an incredibly long time, however, as I got closer to the end, the more difficult it became to sharpen it.  The tip kept snapping off and I was losing a lot of product.  I noticed that the e.l.f. line was on sale at my local pharmacy and decided to pick up the brow compact.  It really looked like a dupe of the Benefit compact with a dark cream shade and a lighter shade to get a natural ombre effect.  And for the price, it really is a steal.  I use an e.l.f. angled brush to apply it and it is so easy and effortless to apply and blend.  I got mine in the shade Medium.  There was only two shades available at the pharmacy, Light and Medium which really surprised me but a search on Amazon showed that there is a  Dark shade available which I likely would have preferred. No more stressing over trying to sharpen a pencil!

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Monday, 10 July 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Banana Bread With Pancake Mix Recipe, Le Creuset Terrine



We had a few ripe bananas that needed using up so, on the spur of the moment, we decided to make banana bread.  When I say "spur of the moment", I do mean that as a quick rummage in the kitchen cupboards revealed that we didn't have any flour, milk, vanilla extract or even a loaf pan to bake it in!  However, I had just brought home a Le Creuset terrine and was really keen to use it ( I couldn't find a white one on Amazon but you can get a classic red one here).  It is such a beautiful piece that I didn't want to just restrict its use to pate.  I do find that a new, beautiful and functional addition to the kitchen can inspire one to be a bit more adventurous, don't you?  So we made a few substitutions to the standard banana bread recipe, basically using whatever we had on hand.  Below is the recipe with the substitutions:

BANANA BREAD RECIPE WITH SUBSTITUTIONS

 3 ripe bananas
2 2/3 cup pancake mix (instead of flour)  I used Aunt Jemima's
2/3 cup demerara sugar (instead of white sugar)
1/4 cup soy milk (instead of milk)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
the seeds of one vanilla pod (instead of 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
I didn't have any nuts on hand but you can add 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Instructions:
Mash the bananas.  Mix in the sugar, milk (or milk substitute), vanilla (or vanilla substitute), and eggs in with the bananas then add the pancake mix and nuts.  Pour mixture into the greased terrine or loaf pan.  If you have flour on hand, you can grease and flour the inside of the terrine.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees C.

You will need a 9" X 5" X 3" loaf pan which I didn't have so I used my Le Creuset terrine instead.  The mixture was the perfect amount for it as you can see in the photo above.

The banana bread was delicious!  The texture was dense and firm, very bread loaflike.   The demerara sugar deepened the colour of the bread and gave the top a yummy stickiness without the addition of any caramel frosting.  The molasses in the sugar gave the loaf a rich mellow flavour as well.  And the aroma from the vanilla pod was heavenly.


It was perfectly and evenly baked throughout.  Le Creuset is fantastic for even heat retention which is a boon for baking.  The terrine is a firm favourite now and I know it will be a kitchen workhorse for many years to come.

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Monday, 3 July 2017

LBH June Monthly Favourites: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension, Natural Moisturizing Factors, Hyaluronic Acid 2%


Welcome to another Monthly Favourites!  The standout for me this month is The Ordinary.  I dare say it is fitting that this Canadian company, which has taken the skincare industry by storm, should be my sole favourite for this particular month which leads into a celebration of Canada's 150th birthday.  Woohoo!  150 years young!  Happy Birthday Canada!
Natural Moisturizing Factors Moisturizer appeared in May's Monthly Favourites which you can read about here. I have also written about the Vitamin C Suspension here.  I am still using the Vitamin C as it is good for combating hyperpigmentation caused by long sunny days.  I have cut back on the Moisturizer as I find I don't need as much moisturizer in the summer and added in something new, the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, instead.  Hyaluronic Acid is excellent for hydration as it can hold 1000% its weight in water.  There is a little glass pipette that administers drops of the acid.  I just sweep it over my face in the morning before applying makeup and it is enough hydration for me.  There is a slightly tacky feel to it which some may not like and it doesn't provide a lot of slip if you are one of those who like to throw in a bit of facial massage at the same time as you are moisturizing your face.  However, as a simple serum, it is perfectly adequate.
That is it for June!

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Friday, 30 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 30: Last Day


It is the last day of the Wellness Challenge!  Woohoo!  Honestly, I can't believe I made it to the finish line. Truth be told, there was a point where I thought to myself, "I can't believe how many bad habits I've accumulated.  How am I even standing up?"  I also wondered what I had gotten myself into.  I wasn't even sure I would be able to keep blogging for 30 days straight.  In a way, throwing out a Challenge into the blogosphere was a way to challenge myself, of keeping me honest.  If you have been following along as a lurker, multiple pats on the back all around!  I bet you thought there would be a huge revelation on the last day.  Well, not really.  On the last day, I think we all deserve a free pass, a day of freedom where we get to feel free of stress and worry, a day where we revel in feeling comfortable in our own skins.  I just wanted to add that all the suggestions posited during the Challenge were exactly that, suggestions.  Each suggestion was like a symbolic apple a day.  It is up to each of us to pick and choose what works in our own lives.  Thanks so much to all of you who silently followed along!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 29: Reusable Glass and BPA Free Food Storage Containers

For the second to last day (!!) of the Challenge, I would like to chat a little bit about food storage containers. I have been slowly weeding out my collection of plastic containers.  We know so much more about toxins leaching out of plastic into our food and once the veil of ignorance has been pierced, there is no going back.  Even Monsieur has come on board and absolutely loves using glass containers for storing leftovers.

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I really like this 22 piece set by Rubbermaid as it is dishwasher, freezer, microwave and oven safe.  Some glass containers are not able to go into the microwave so, if you use the microwave often, this is a feature that you will want to look for.  The lids snap to bases, other lids and nest inside each other for easier organization.  How cool is that?
This one by Glasslock is oven safe and microwaveable.  I like the fact that it is airtight and leakproof.  Like the Rubbermaid set, it is BPA free and, bonus, recyclable.

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Of course, I forget Pyrex, the granddad of all glass containers!  

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The glass is preheated oven, microwave, fridge, freezer & dishwasher safe and the lid is BPA free.
Of course, heavy glass is fine for storing food at home but it is too much to expect a child to lug a heavy glass container to school.

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I like this BPA free plastic set, above, by Rubbermaid because you get 42 pieces and a variety of sizes.  As with the glass version, the lids snap together and to bases.
This BPA plastic set by JLY Canada, below,  has compartments and is stackable.

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Containers are great not just for leftovers and lunches but for meal prepping and menu planning.  This set below by Fit4Life is BPA free and microwaveable.

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Hopefully this post has given you some food for thought!  Come back tomorrow for the last day of the Challenge and celebration time.

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 28: Choosing The Right Task Lighting For You


via Amazon
Back when I was a poor student, I rented the attic room in a boarding house.  Because it was the attic room, the rent was slightly less than the other rooms.  At the time, I thought I was getting a great deal.  I had the whole of the attic to myself.  It wasn't until the end of the school year that I realized that I had not gotten such a great bargain after all.  There was only one tiny window at one end.  The room which was panelled in dark laminate and had dark carpeting was in perpetual gloom even if all the lights were on.  I would get severe headaches after long bouts of sitting at my desk.  Eventually I realized the headaches were caused by the constant squinting.  With all the studying I was doing, I ended up permanently damaging my eyesight.  Ever since, I have been quite anal when it comes to proper task lighting.  So for Day 28, I want to chat a little about proper lighting in the home.  Broadly speaking, there are 2 types of lighting, ambient and task lighting.  I live in a condo and so changing ambient lighting which usually involves ceiling lighting is not really an option.  This challenge is about relatively easy, doable changes so I am going to focus on task lighting which usually involves desk lamps or lighting for specific tasks.  First, think about your desk or work space and whether you believe it to be adequately lit for the tasks you perform at that area.  Do you work there during day or evening hours?  Simple tasks performed for a minimal amount may only require a decorative table lamp that gives off 360 degree light.  However, if you are there for long periods of time, a desk lamp that shines a light focused on your work space or electronic devices might be better suited to your needs.  You may also wish to think about adjustability. OttLite is a highly respected brand and the OttLite Executive Desk Lamp pictured above is an example of a desk lamp designed for task lighting. A rotating shade and and height adjustments mean you can angle it to suit your lighting needs.


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There are so many styles to suit all sorts of needs.  I like this OttLite because it comes with a space saving craft organizer.

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I really like this sleek Turcom LED Desk and Table Lamp as it has a USB port, it's dimmable and has a touch sensitive control panel.  The fact that it is LED leads me to another consideration and that is the type of light bulb that the lamp uses.  Ask yourself whether you want the yellowish light of an incandescent bulb or the cooler light given off by an LED or CFL lightbulb. 

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There are so many styles ranging from traditional to contemporary to choose from, it would be impossible to cover them all.  I am sure we are all familiar with the traditional banker's lamp that is often placed over a piano.  I like this modern interpretation by OttLite pictured above.
I hope this has given you some ideas to tweak your work space so that you are able to work with greater ease and comfort.

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

30 Days to Wellness Challenge Day 27: Picking the Right Office and Desk Chair for You

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At first glance, you would not think that the furniture in our homes ought to be included in our drive towards wellness.  Several years back, I was involved as a passenger in a car accident.  Cue months of physiotherapy and I soon came to realize how important it was to have furniture, especially office/desk chairs, that suited my needs.  Even though I am now recovered, I still think that proper office chairs for working long hours at a desk is a necessity.  They help support the back and legs and stave off fatigue and cramping.  The one pictured above is a gaming/racing style but don't be put off by the name of the style.  Gamers spend a lot of time in a chair so a comfortable chair is a must.  Look for terms such as "ergonomic" and "adjustable."  You want a chair that has as many adjustable features as possible so that you can customize it to suit your body.


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There are so many styles available and they need not be the stereotypical bland desk chair of old.  I like the one above as it has a mesh back so, visually, it has a lighter look.  Bonus is that the mesh back helps keeps you from feeling overheated.

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They don't have to come in standard issue black either.  This white Eames replica aluminum chair has a wonderful modern contemporary look to it.  At the very basic level, height adjustment is key.  Ask yourself whether you require head support or adjustable versus fixed arm rests, padded versus hard arm rests, fixed or adjustable back.  Functionality first, then looks.
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And this luxury executive chair by HomCom even has a retractable footrest!

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Years later, I still use my ergonomic chair every single day when working at my desk and would never dream of using any other type of chair.  So for me, I consider it another "lifetime haul purchase" that was made mindfully and intentionally.

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