Cleaning up and cleaning out

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After venting out yesterday and receiving a TON of feedback, all of which I truly appreciate, I came up with this note, that I posted by the door:

letter to self

 

I wanted to make it simple, easy and short. I didn’t simply write – get off of your lazy butt and do something, I went deeper into the issue, and ended up with this! I also cleaned! And here are the shots:

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The dining table, where you can actually eat now, and that’s what Sam and I did tonight! Plus all the chairs are clutter free and you can sit down! How awesome is that? I have also decided to keep my sewing machine on the floor. I don’t have a good spot for it just yet.

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Wow, look at this nice carpet! I also vacuumed! And here is something that’s been working for me, when in doubt – vacuum! Seriously, it works!

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And here are the two bags going to donations! I actually did it, I got rid of two giant bags of stuff!

And here you have it, all in a nutshell! After all, this is a 600 sq ft apartment! How difficult is it to keep it clean?

Take it easy and take charge!

Z

Advanced days are Over

And by that I mean the whitening days are over for my husband, remember these?

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Sam started using them a little over 20 days ago, and Wednesday was his last strip! Let’s see if you can see the difference?

Day 1:

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Day 20:

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I think it looks pretty white! I lot better than what we started off with! Now let’s see how long the effect lasts. Sam did complain about increase in sensitivity though, so that’s a definite downside. Otherwise it works!

Happy Friday,

Zhenya

Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips Challenge ft. my husband!

If You’re Not Whitening, You’re Yellowing.”

Disclosure: Crest 3D Whitestrips were sent to me free of charge through Influenster. To learn more, please check out the link.

Poor Sam… It all started 10 days ago, after we came back from Fargo and I received this in the mail:

These are no ordinary Whitestrips boys and girls, these are Advanced Seal, which means you can drink water while wearing them!

Here is the sad thing though, back when I was in college I used to whiten my teeth using Crest White Strips, and I did it a lot. I seriously think I overdid it! My teeth became super sensitive (I can only use certain kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash now), though they are still pretty white! I guess something good did come out of these.

It took me a few days to realize that even though I can’t use them, Sam can! To my surprise, he gladly agreed to whiten his teeth!

I do apologize for lighting in some of those pictures! But I hope you’ll be able to see the difference! I can definitely see it, and so can Sam, and plus he still has 10 more days to go!

Before:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:Β 

Day 7:

Day 8: I totally missed out on taking a picture that day :/

Day 9:

Day 10:

Well you get the idea! I’ll definitely post again in 10 days, after the course has been complete! I know it’s a rather pricey product! We saw it for $43.99 at Target today. But the cheaper versions work just as well. And I know that Crest offers a lot of mail in rebates, or you can get ExtraBucks for buying WhiteStips at CVS!

I definitely recommend the WhiteStrips, unless you have very very sensitive teeth. Even though instructions say that whitening won’t harm your teeth, any kind of whitening harms your teeth! So in the end definitely talk to your dentist and make a decision!

Cheers,

Zhenya

PS. Sam has also been growing a beard because it’s Novembeard. Let’s all support Prostate Cancer Research!

Influenster Beauty Bloggers VoxBox 2012

Blogging, just like everything in life comes with it’s own perks. Today I am sharing one of mine – the Influenster Beauty Bloggers VoxBox 2012. I’ve recently received it in the mail. It was sent to me from this amazing website – Influenster.comΒ . I highly recommend that you give this website a shot, especially if you are beauty/skincare/makeup obsessed, or just like free stuff πŸ™‚ Plus the website has a new updated interface, which is way more user friendly, the reviews are easy to find and are honest, because they are written by ordinary people, just like you and me!

So what was in my box?

 

I was kind of upset because I didn’t get a bonus item. Select members got either a Vitabath Fragrance Mist or a Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin. I really wish I would’ve gotten the latter, I’ve been dying to try that line. I guess I’ll just have to splurge and buy some of the products. Thankfully that line is available at Target!

Here is my super cute miniature candle, the box also included a $10 coupon on a 3 wick Bath & Body Works candle, but since I’ve already done all of my candle shopping for the season, I think I am going to hold off on that one! Let me know if you want that coupon and I’ll mail it to you!

 

Another thing that I have tried out of the box, and probably what I was most excited for was this NYC palette, which includes 4 eyeshadows (2 matte, 2 shimmer), a primer and a creamy illuminator. I used it to do my makeup on Friday!

 

I have also tried the EBOOST powder, mixed it with my water and drank it last night! That thing fizzes up!

 

I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this anytime soon, because a box of 20 pouches (single servings) is $28! Airborne serves the same purpose, and is much more affordable! If you are looking for a good Airborne knock-off try CVS brand, I’ve tried that and Target brand and I can definitely say that CVS is much closer to the real thing than Target!

And finally there is a 1.5 oz tube of Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream, Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit and Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin – I will dedicate separate posts to those two products, though I am kind of skeptical about the pins, maybe it’s the fact that I have rather fine hair πŸ™‚

So there you have it, my Beauty Blogger VoxBox 2012! Did you get a box? What was in it? What do you like or dislike about it? Do tell!

Zhenya

Tuna Soup

I am going through my soup stage. Plus it’s one of those dishes, that will last a while. I never freeze my soups though, I know some people do, but I prefer to just finish it during the week.

Today I was super excited to try making Tuna Soup, like my grandma used to, when I was little.

Here is the recipe:

1 Onion

3 carrots

4 potatoes

2 cans of tuna (I used one in water, I believe you can also get one in oil, but I would recommend tuna in water for this recipe)

salt, pepper, dill or parsley (if you are into that stuff πŸ˜‰ )

You are going to start up by dicing the potatoes and boiling them in about 2 liters of water. Please don’t hate me for going all metric on you. If you are like me, you’ll wing it πŸ™‚

 

Now you want to fully cook the potatoes, so give them about 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, prepare the carrots and the onions:

 

I used butter to sautΓ© the vegetables, but if you want to, you can use oil πŸ™‚

 

You are going to add the veggies and the tuna to the potatoes, once those are thoroughly cooked,

then let it cook for 10 more minutes or so, add salt, pepper, some dill, parsley if you want to, and you are done!

 

 

Enjoy the yumminess! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Xo,

Zhenya

 

Sorrel Soup

The what? The who? And where did I get it? First of all, here is what sorrel looks like:

 

It’s nice and sour, I remember eating it as a child, it’s amazing with sugar! Stumbling across sorrel while walking in the forest was considered the best of luck, but that was back when I was 7, of course. I don’t know if it grows in the wild here, but in Russia it did πŸ™‚

Fortunately for me, my mother-in-law is growing some sorrel in her garden. And fortunately for you, I am going to share one of the best recipes of my childhood with you today!

1. You are going to start by making a broth (unless you are using a pre-made broth), I always make chicken broth, because I always seem to have chicken in my freezer. I really hope you know how to make chicken broth, but just in case you don’t, here is how:

– bring 1.5 lb of chicken in 64 oz of water to a boil, removing the foam from the surface;

– add 1 diced onion, and 1 graded carrot, boil for 45 minutes;

– add salt, pepper and bay leaf, boil for another 15 minutes;

– take out the chicken, cut it into small pieces, get rid of the bone (if you were using chicken on the bone), rid of the onion and carrot, toss those,

And your broth is done!

2. Wash and cut sorrel, make sure to get rid of the stems, unless you really want those in your soup ;).

3. Peel and slice 5 potatoes, dice another onion and grade one more carrot.

4. Sautee the onion and the carrot.

5. Bring broth to a boil, add the potatoes, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

6. Add onions and carrots, cook for 5 more minutes.

7. Add sorrel and cook for 2 more minutes.

8. Finally add the chicken, salt and pepper.

This soup is meant to be served with sour cream and half a boiled egg πŸ™‚

 

 

I hope you try this recipe, fall is here, and hot soup is one of my favorite foods of the season πŸ™‚

Xo,

Z

PS. I’ll have an update post tomorrow, just to share what’s been going on in my life πŸ™‚

 

TAG: My Weird Beauty Habits

Hey everyone, how are you? Out of all the possible posts that I can do today, I decided to do this one, and the fact that it’s 4 am and I am awake, speaks for itself! So please forgive me if this post gets a little bit weird, and my mind starts drifting away.

Alright, weird beauty habit number one: I usually wake up in the middle of the night, right around 3.30 am, like today and go get a drink of water, then of course I go check out my face in the mirror, because I want to see if the beauty sleep is working. Does it work when interrupted though? I guess not, anyways that’s when I put more moisturizer on my face, because I feel like my skin is too dry, and for good measure I put some moisturizer around my eyes too! This is what I currently use for my middle of the night beauty routine:

 

 

 

Weird beauty habit number two is more like a confession – I love samples, and small travel sizes of, well of everything! I have about 6 small containers in addition to full size products on my cabinet, some of it is Estee Lauder, some of it is Bobbi Brown, I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s coming in a cute packaging and preferably free πŸ™‚ I am also a sucker for shampoo and conditioner combos. I think I have enough to last me through the next three months without having to buy anything full size, which I am planning on doing. And just yesterday I sat down behind this exact computer, went on my favorite Sweet Free Stuff and got 3 more shampoo/conditioner combos mailed to me. I also love Aveda samples, that come in those cute little boxes – best thing ever! I think I’ll go get some of those tomorrow!

 

My weird beauty habit number three started at work one day, when I was complaining that my hair was too greasy and I needed to go get some dry shampoo. That’s when I was told that Beautiful body powder from Estee Lauder works just like that and even better. So that’s what I’ve been using ever since. Now if you ever come see me at work and notice pink powder on my clothes, know that it’s my wonderful hair emergency go to!

 

And this is what I use at home:

 

Which leads to weird beauty habit number four: I love freecycling beauty products. That’s where Wind Song Body powder in the picture above came from, it was also brand new, and if anyone wants to know it’s $25 on ebay, I just checked πŸ™‚ And yes freecycle is a hit or miss, but a lot of times it’s the latter. I got a huge box of body washes, lotions, etc. about a month ago. Love it, won’t need to buy a body wash or a body spray for the next two years now! Here is a tip though – always check for expiration date, and if there isn’t one – then smell it, if it smells funny, recycle it. I love recycling my old skin care/make up/beauty packages at the Origins counter, they have bins there, so check your local stores!

 

And my fifth and last weird beauty habit that I can think of for today is actually a weird beauty routine that I do when I work out! Here is what I do:

– Put apple cider vinegar mixed with water and lavender or rosemary essential oils on my hair roots, and scalp,

– then I put coconut oil on my ends, which of course means I am putting coconut oil all over my hair πŸ˜‰

– pull it all in a bun, go run 2 miles or so,

– all this while doing laundry!

Yup I am that good at multitasking πŸ™‚

(There is a very small workout room in our building right next to the laundry room, so I am kind of killing two birds with one stone, three depending on how you look at it πŸ™‚ )

 

Okay now that you’ve read this post, you’ve all been tagged, so write your own post like that, or simply leave me a comment, I am dying to hear what everyone’s weird beauty habits are πŸ™‚

And don’t do what I do, don’t write a blog at 4 am πŸ™‚ It’s already 4.40 now, I got side tracked looking up stuff on freecycle πŸ™‚

Lots of love,

Zhenya

Product Review: Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

A couple weeks ago I got a Summer Beauty VoxBox from Influenster. You can read a detailed post on what was inside the box here.

And two of the products that I got were the Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy shampoo and conditioner:

 

They are larger than travel or most hotel sizes, but smaller than the regular size shampoo and conditioner bottles. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but they are 3 oz each. That’s why they only lasted me 2 weeks, plus all of my intensive workouts, and washing my hair practically every day (which I hate and try not to do).

Another sad part is that I always run out of conditioner faster than shampoo, that’s why I like having masks and other 3-5 minute treatments handy, that way I can actually use them instead, and make the conditioner last longer. Interestingly enough, my husband is the exact opposite.

Now, what do these products promise us?

“Nourishment, strong beautiful hair, ten vitamins and nutrients, stronger, more beautiful hair in 7 days, less breakage when combing vs. non-conditioning shampoo.”Β 

Unfortunately the 10 vitamins and nutrients are nowhere to be listed, but there is a heck of a lot of acids and sulfates in the ingredients, and coconut oil somewhere at the end of the list:

1. Ingredient list for shampoo

2. Ingredient list for conditioner:

 

Almost scary looking, aren’t they now?

Since I’ve been using these products for 2 weeks now, I feel like I can share my opinion and experience. So let’s go through the basics:

Smell:Β Some artificial, very chemical scent, reminds of the smell of Dove, but since it’s all produced by Unilever,F that’s not very surprising. The shampoo and conditioner both smell the same. I am sure other products from this brand smell the same, kind of like Garnier’s Fructis. I am not a huge fan of the smell, it’s not as strong when you put it in your hair though.

Look:Β Unfortunately I am so out of these products, I couldn’t even get anything out of the bottles to show you, but shampoo and conditioner both look pretty much the same, there is obvious shimmer added to the first one, and the conditioner just has a thicker texture.

Feel:Β The shampoo is pretty nice, lathers up well, gets coconut oil out of my hair in one wash (I put coconut oil in my hair in the mornings when I run on the treadmill, just as a conditioner) which is definitely a plus. Conditioner doesn’t really do it for my ends, if anything, it made them even drier. So I am not overly excited about that.

Overall I wasn’t necessarily impressed with this combo, it was nice to get the smaller sample sizes of it for free, to see how I would like them, and well, the truth is – I am going to stick to my organic, SLS free products, because they don’t dry and frizz out my hair, have a proper list of ingredients, no harsh chemical scents, and are eco friendly.

Have you tried any of the Clear products? If so, please share your opinion πŸ™‚

xo,

Zhenya

 

 

 

“Clean Out Your Fridge Soup” of the day

I was experimenting with some veggies the other day and decided to make a soup. The thing is, I sometimes buy the products that I cannot possibly finish and I either have to throw them or use them ASAP. And what can be better than making some good filling soup? I know, the Russian in me will always love her soups! So here it goes, my very own recipe for “Clean out your Fridge Soup”.

Assuming you are like me and your fridge is ridiculously overstuffed with fruits and vegetables. For some reason the first ones always go faster than the second ones. Anyways, you want to decide which veggies are going to go into your soup! I took out some potatoes, one onion, one package of celery, 4 carrots, half a cabbage, two tomatoes, one beet, and a can of garbanzo beans (love them!) You are also going to need some stock, I used vegetable one, just because I had some and wanted to use it up!

So first you want to cut it all up – however you want it, small, medium or large – it’s your soup – go ahead and experiment. You are going to start off by frying the onions and the carrots. I just put a little oil on the bottom of the pot and fried in it, that’s

a) less dishes to do

b) you are going to add other veggies to sautΓ© later, and do you really want to deal with moving it all from the pan to the pot? I don’t think so!

Then you are slowly one by one going to add celery and tomatoes.

Once those have been in the pot for a couple minutes, add cabbage and beets.

This is also when you want to add the stock – the amount of stock depends on the size of your pot, I put in one regular sized carton of stock and the rest I filled with water.

Last you want to add potatoes and garbanzos. Bring it all to a boil, and then let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes. I usually check whether my soup is ready or not by checking on the potatoes!

This recipe is great for the summer, and the soup can be served hot, warm or cold. Since there is no meat, it is also vegan and vegetarian (as long as you are not using chicken stock πŸ˜‰ )

This soup is best served with lemon juice, salt and pepper, but you are free to use whatever spices you like.

Another thing – as one of my friends commented and said –Β Gute Fart! – it will make you go, more than you want, but not more than you need. It’s a great recipe for all of you out there trying to lose weight. I wasn’t trying to lose anything, except for maybe the produce from the fridge πŸ™‚

I hope you give this recipe a shot and definitely let me know how yours turned out, what veggies you used and how you liked it!

And finally, you can also watch a video tutorial on how to make this soup, but it’s all in Russian:

Soup of the day

Hope you all had a great weekend!

xo,

Z

PS. Did you notice? I now don’t blog on weekends!

Shampoo of the Month: Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine

There is a story behind this shampoo. I won it in an on-line magazine giveaway. Right around Christmas. I honestly would’ve never bought it for myself. I’ve been kind of an organic shampoo freak for the past few years. But I didn’t want the product to go to waste, so I started using it. And I loved it! I’ve only been using it for a few weeks now, but it works better than some of the organic ones that I’ve tried. Here is what the packaging looks like:

And the back

I do have frizzy hair, and it is dry on the ends, so this shampoo/conditioner combo works well for my fine hair. It adds shine to it. Doesn’t make it look greasy. The only thing is – Why do all Fructis products smell the same? – I mean I can get over it, it’s their signature smell and all, but still…

So here is what my hair looks like today, after morning shower, and then running around all day :

I usually put some Organix morocan argan oil in my hair as well, and all of these products seem to be working super well together! I still use my Aveda treatment, the gloss by Fekkai, and whatever is left over from that 3 minute miracle by Aussie.

I also want to encourage you to participate in giveaways and sign up for samples, because it’s good to try out new things!

What hair care products are you currently using?

Cheers,

Z

PS. Oh and I hate the little dark green tops, the one on the conditioner is hard to open, and it always gets stuck under my nail πŸ™ OUCH