Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Review

 

I have always been a bit suspicious of facial sprays, especially those that claim to do something. I’m really unsure why I became so curious about this one. Perhaps it was the stellar review on Beautypedia, or my current insatiable need for all things Clinique (nostalgia?). Whatever it was, I’m glad it worked.

Clinique face spray

This is a facial spray that may be used morning or evening, under or over makeup or other skin care. Firstly, I’ll say that the spray itself is surprisingly refined for a pump mechanism. I was preparing for a deluge, when what I actually received was a very light and refreshing mist. Impressive for a non-aerosol spray!

I have been using this spray as part of both my morning and evening skin care routines and I have to say, I enjoy it very much. Not only is it revitalizing in the morning and soothing in the evening, but it does appear to top off the moisture levels in my skin. The blend of glycerin, aloe, and vitamin E seems to impart the last bit of hydration that my skin craves. It dries fairly quickly (while I’m brushing my teeth), so I can commence my makeup routine just five to ten minutes after application. (This is not a fixative spray and it does not make my makeup last longer…just fyi.)

Will this spray change my skin? Probably not, honestly. However, it does feel good to apply, and it does soften my skin just a bit beyond the ability of my arsenal of creams and lotions. If you’re looking for a facial spray that is refreshing a lightly softening, I highly recommend that you try this one. I have enjoyed it so much that I have already spritzed away almost one-third of the bottle, after just 2 weeks! Maybe I can see if they make a larger size…

*This product was on my Fall Beauty Wish List.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay cozy!

Notes on Beauty and Age (or A Very Minor Midlife Crisis)

grey beard

I think it was perhaps that midlife crisis issue that I swore I wouldn’t have, that made me do it…

Sometime before my 40th birthday, I tried coloring my hair. I suddenly felt as though I needed to hang on to my fleeting youth; this was a new and alarming sensation to me. I had never before concerned myself with age much. When asked by complete strangers I had no problem divulging the digits, as it never really seemed to have much bearing on my happiness, career, or anything else that was important to me. Age was simply that, just a number.

Age still has very little bearing on what projects I choose to take on or what new adventures I seek to have. I feel younger than my age, I suppose. Not young, mind you, I guess I just don’t feel how society tells me I should feel at this age. Not just physically, but, though I’m a little ashamed to admit it, mentally. I think that may be why those little grey hairs suddenly blossoming into faint grey streaks began to alarm me a bit.

Not to say that I don’t find grey hair becoming. In fact, I distinctly remember myself and a few girlfriends gushing over the elegant beauty of our high school counselor’s long grey mane. It was thick, and shiny, and grey as storm clouds, and we all prayed that it would be the kind of hair that we would inherit as we matured beyond middle age.

Nonetheless, now I was currently in middle age, and baffled by this blend of brown and silver that had evolved at my crown over the previous few years. So, I colored it. I went to a professional as I did not trust my clumsy hands and asked her to color my hair, something as close to my natural color as possible. She mixed scads of liquids and gels together and made a dark, henna-like paste that was then slathered over my coiffure.

It stung, and it smelled. Although my colorist was a professional and there was no one I know who could have done a better job, or attempted to make it more pleasant, the whole process was time-consuming and unpalatable. By the time I exited the salon, my scalp burned and I had a vague sense of regret.

Everyone I knew “loved” the new color. I heard about how beautiful it was from all my friends and family. I fully admit that it was pretty. It was shiny and soft and uniform in color, the frosted streaks masked seamlessly by a masterful mixing of colors.

It was just that, now when I glimpsed myself in the mirror, I didn’t recognize me anymore. Perhaps an exaggeration, but it’s true that after seeing (but not) the slow progression of my hair color over several years, having it all erased came as a bit of a shock.

I have a handful of friends who color their hair regularly in order to maintain their look. My theory is that maybe they started years before I did, and therefore never experienced the drastic change that I did. I love their hair on them, and I can’t really picture them with grey hair…

For some strange reason, though, after I had colored my own hair, I felt like a fraud. Not in an “I’m going fool everyone else” kind of way, more like a “what have I done to myself” kind of way. It seemed as though the change I made was accepted so easily by every one around me, but never by myself.

Since then, I have let the color grow out and am dealing with ends than are a different color than my scalp. I cannot say that I will never color my hair again, as I can be slightly impulsive when it comes to things involving beauty. However, I am also learning to accept my limitations when it comes to my own vanity (cost, time, and comfort).

This is obviously not an argument for or against coloring one’s hair (or doing any other beauty procedure-people should do as they like). It is an observation at how such a small, seemingly insignificant change bothered me so much, and how surprising that, in and of itself, was. I am still quite envious of those with a single color in their hair, be it brown, blond, red, black, or grey, artificial or not. Even so, I am attempting to be patient and hoping that eventually my hair will settle into the beautiful thundercloud grey that my high school counselor had.

If patience fails me, I still have my colorist’s number…

 

What are your thoughts on the details of midlife?

Warmth to all, and stay cozy!

Clinique Blended Face Powder Review

I’ll be honest, after the age of thirty-five, I had pretty much sworn off any kind of facial powders. That was about the time that I began to notice how crepey and crinkled my face could appear with powder applied to it. I spent years avoiding powders (with the exception of blush), and learned to accept that, while my face wasn’t exceptionally greasy, I was going to have some shine on my visage most of the time.

Much to my own surprise, and very much on a whim, I recently purchased the Clinique Blended Face Powder, more out of curiosity than anything else. I had seen rave reviews on both the Nordstrom’s website as well as the Beautypedia website. So, with a little trepidation, and full faith in Nordstrom’s excellent return policy, I gave it a try.

clinique powder

I ordered the “invisible blend, ” partly because I am so pale and partly because I enjoy a more casual, natural look on a daily basis. It does seem to blend into my skin pretty well, though I am a bit dubious about how “invisible” it would be on darker complexions. At any rate, I also chose the invisible blend because it contains silica (the other colors are rumored not to) and I was hoping for a bit of pore smoothing in addition to a little shine dampening.

clinique powder

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this powder. It does mattify quite nicely for me, without making my skin shrivel up with dryness. However, my favorite part is definitely the pore smoothing! It doesn’t necessarily make me look like a porcelain doll, but it does make my skin appear so much smoother. I have plenty of pores and a few scars, and while this doesn’t make them disappear, it does make them much less noticeable, even outside in harsh sunlight.

I’ll admit, it has cooled off recently where I live, so I can’t yet comment on how this powder would perform in high heat. I can convey that it seems to handle a bit of humidity quite well, not smearing or wiping off as easily as other products that I have tried.

All in all, it looks as though this may become a consistent addition to my Five Minute Face routine. (I can’t say much, however, for the brush that is included and I prefer using my own Sephora #55 Airbrush.)

What other powders should I try? Thanks for stopping by!

Stay cozy!

A Schedule Change…

lattes

I find this tragically comical to write, as last month I was commenting to a fellow blogger about how I tend to schedule my posts ahead of time. Later last month, my son started school, I contracted pneumonia, and work became a bit more insane than usual. (In case I haven’t stated it, I work in healthcare, and this time of year usually keeps me pretty busy.) Unfortunately, after all of that, my scheduled blog posts have run out, and the pace of life hasn’t allowed me to catch up.

I could just put out very small posts on my regular schedule, though I fear for their quality and the value of their content. I have such respect for my readership (however small) and I wish to, at the very least, maintain the quality of Cozy and Sage. I am so grateful for everyone that has read a blog post or followed my blog! I am still just as passionate about blogging as when I started, and my ambitions for Cozy and Sage have not waned. Although my posting frequency will be lessened, I have hope that perhaps the quality of my blog posts will improve.

I will continue to post at least once a week through the holiday season. I hope to increase my blogging frequency when life settles down a bit and I can create more time to devote to this blogging project that has become…well…let’s say it’s verging on an obsession.

Again, I can’t thank enough all the people who read what I write. I am so grateful and honored that you would be interested!

Wishing everyone health and happiness during this busy time of year.

Stay cozy!

Mediterranean Inspired Quinoa Salad

I must admit, the first time I tried quinoa, I didn’t care for it. I suppose that I had the expectation that it would taste something like couscous (after all, that is what it most closely resembles). At any rate, due to the flavor and (especially) the texture being a far cry from my preconceived notions, I avoided quinoa for, well, years.

I am not currently a super health conscious person, although I used to be. I must admit though, that when I rediscovered quinoa recently, I was most impressed by its nutrition portfolio. According to Healthline.com, 100 grams (about 3 ounces) of cooked quinoa contains 4.4 grams of protein, 2.8 grams of fiber, and a bunch of other good stuff.

In an effort to try to eat a healthier diet, and with encouragement from my husband (who happens to love quinoa), I thought I would give it another try. This time I decided to go with Mediterranean-type flavors. As usual, I also went for simplicity (laziness?), and this salad may be my easiest recipe to date!

Mediterranean Inspired Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Inspired Quinoa Salad

About 3 cups quinoa (made per package directions, usually 2 ½ cups water to 1 cup quinoa)

1 small package (6-8 oz.) of crumbled feta cheese

1 cucumber, partially peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks

3 tablespoons favorite Italian dressing (or to taste)

Cook quinoa and allow to cool a bit, for about 20 minutes. Add other ingredients and mix. This salad may be consumed slightly warm or cold and fares well in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

(They don’t know who I am, but I must say, the Kraft Tuscan House salad dressing was great in this recipe! Very flavorful and tangy!)

Mediterranean Inspired Quinoa Salad

Yum!

I must admit, this was a salad I really enjoyed, as did my family. I even used it for a small get together that included a few lacto-ovo-vegetarians and was quizzed about the recipe. Its nutritional characteristics as well as its versatility are quite appealing to me, and I expect to be posting more quinoa recipes in the future!

I hope you enjoyed my very short and sweet recipe today.

My best to all, and stay cozy!

Clinique ‘Superbalm’ Moisturizing Gloss Review

This is another product that I have used on and off for about a decade. It is a necessity for me when we are traveling to very arid climates, or during chilly times of year. It is the one gloss or balm that can keep my lips from cracking when we visit the desert to see relatives. I have gone through at least one tube, I have one that I am currently using, and I have already ordered a backup. Always prepared!

Clinique Superbalm in lilac

Clinique Superbalm in lilac

While I would argue that this gloss is not at all sticky, it does cling to the lips tenaciously. Of course, I believe this is how it helps protect the lips from the ravages of polar winds and torrid climates. In very hot or humid weather it can feel a tad cloying or goopy, but those aren’t usually the situations in which I crave an incredibly moisturizing gloss anyway.

If you are looking for a gloss that provides intense moisture, protection, and shine, I heartily suggest this one! If however, you are relying on a gloss for color, this may not fit the bill. It comes in a small range of colors and they are all quite transparent. The palest lips may see slight variations in shade between them, but most of us will not.

Most of the shades have some shimmer in them, which you can see through the tube; yet, one of the aspects I love about this gloss is that it never looks glittery. The texture is absolutely smooth, if not just a tad thick. There is no odd residue left on the lips after it wears off, and wearing off does take a while. This is most definitely not one of those lip products that disappears minutes after application.

Clinique Superbalm, thickly swatched

Clinique Superbalm, thickly swatched

This is a petrolatum based product that also contains, amongst other things, vitamin E, squalene, linoleic acid, and aloe. It has very little, if any, scent, and no taste. It does not currently contain SPF.

This is unequivocally in my top 10 lip products of all time (and I love lip products). I hope this review helpful and I appreciate the read!

Thanks, and stay cozy!

The New American Dream, Part 3: Money

dollar

“It’s not how much money you make, it’s how you spend it.”

My father has said this so many times that I associate the phrase entirely with him…even if it’s been said by countless other folks.

Perhaps because I heard it so many times, or just because I was young, I never really contemplated what it meant. Fast forward a couple of decades and the implication hits home as I compare my incoming and outgoing expense reports. I suppose it is somewhat natural for most of us to either live at, or slightly above, our means (a budget will generally swell to fill the revenue it’s granted). Yet, it can be so disheartening to see most, if not all, of your hard-earned cash disappear at the end of the month without a trace.

I suspect that’s why people across the United States, young and old, are attempting to live leaner, more functional and fiscally conscientious lives, as discussed in the initial post in this series. In the new American dream, currency is becoming a means to more time, rather than more possessions.

The Money We Make

The manner in which Americans, and millennials particularly, are earning currency seems to be changing. While many continue to procure employment by large companies, more and more folks are cobbling together incomes from various smaller jobs (often referred to as “gigs”), either because there is a lack of employment in their geographical or professional field, or because it fits their schedule or lifestyle better. As company dynamics and economics evolve, sometimes corporate needs call for a more flexible worker who can come and go as needed, or work remotely online.

One interesting aspect in this changing game of cash flow juggling is the phenomenon of “scaling income.” This means that income is generated from a product (usually electronic) or marketing campaign that can be “scaled,” i.e. increased in size or reach so as to escalate revenues (as opposed to the time-for-money exchange that most of us are used to).

Increasing numbers of savvy people appear to be trying their hand at strategies such as affiliate marketing or designing products, while many others are earning profits from training programs, courses, and e-books designed to train people to become successful marketers. Although it’s generally accepted that only a small percentage of affiliate marketing startups actually see success, thousands of people attempt it every year. (I, myself, know very little about affiliate marketing, but  I like to follow Malan Darras’s You Tube channel just for his unique perspective on the subject.)

Of course, maintaining one’s income with “gig’s” or online arrangements typically means that an individual is essentially a small business owner. Therefore, more people are having to become intimately involved with issues such as taxation, insurance, and retirement savings (items typically handled by an employer in days of yore). It will be interesting to observe how this influx of small businesses changes the markets, as well as government policy.

The Money We Spend

Our shopping habits are evolving in this new economy as well. This adjustment is definitely influenced most by millennial spending mannerisms, but it is a pattern that can be seen in all generations. As described in this Forbes article, discretionary spending is slowing down just a bit in the United States, most notably by millennials (though, this may change as millennials buy houses and start families, also mentioned in the article). Folks all over the country seem to be experiencing a need or want to downsize homes and possessions, either for aesthetic or economic reasons, and no doubt influenced by the latest minimalism and decluttering trends. This also means that people are making a concerted attempt to bring no more (or very little) clutter into the home.

Other characteristics of millennial spending are guiding the market, as well as influencing other generations. These inclinations include using social media as a shopping guide and using mobile devices as the primary way to locate, research, and purchase products, as outlined in this Entrepreneur article. Retailers are having to adapt to this new, “hands off” approach to marketing and distributing products by sustaining brand social media accounts and creating beautiful and functional websites. Millennials, particularly, are also very concerned about cost, as the Entrepreneur article eludes to as well. With increased competition in regards to price, both online and physical retailers are having to cut overhead and operate on leaner budgets in order to compete, while also maintaining online operations.

calculator

In summary, the new way to make money is on one’s own schedule, and, with any luck, by one’s own rules.  Work can be done anywhere and performed at almost anytime. Our spending is becoming less dictated by what we desire, and more so by what we require. 

*To read more about my take one the new American dream, you may see part 2 here, and the initial article here.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay cozy!

10 Cozy Meals in About 10 Sage Minutes

KNIFE AND FORK ON TABLE

Do you work? Go to school? Have kids? Live? There are bound to be times in any schedule when a quick meal for one, or a crowd, is required. Here are 10 meal ideas that can be prepared in about 10 minutes and can be scaled to meet your needs.

  1. Cucumber, avocado, and tomato salad– Just slice everything up and add your favorite salad dressing or a splash of olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.
  2. Warm tomato and cheese sandwich– Spread a bit of butter on two slices of bread. Top one side with sliced tomato and then your favorite cheese. Bake, open-faced, on cookie sheet in 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Take out of oven (carefully), and put two halves together while still warm.

    tomato sandwich caprese

    (this time I added basil and vinegar)

  3. Couscous salad– Make the couscous according to package directions (almost always less than 10 minutes). While the couscous is cooking, chop up some tomatoes and/or cucumbers. Add veggies to cooked couscous along with a bit of your favorite Italian-style salad dressing (or, alternately, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper). This salad is delicious warm or cold!
  4. Eggs on avocado toast– Top slices of toast with mashed avocado and an over-easy egg. Spice with salt, pepper, and a dash of lime juice.
  5. BTC– Just like a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato), but the lettuce is replaced by, you guessed it, cucumber! Simply spread mayo on two slices of bread and stack your cooked bacon, tomato, and cucumber. A dash of dried dill or Italian seasoning wouldn’t go amiss here, either!
  6. Chicken burritos– Shred some rotisserie chicken and warm up a can of drained black beans in the microwave. To tortillas, add chicken and black beans, and top with tomatoes, shredded cabbage or lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. Yum!
  7. Chili potato– “Bake” a potato in the microwave and top with your favorite pre-made chili, a smattering of cheese, and a bit of sour cream.
  8. “Green” Breakfast for dinner– In a warm, buttered pan, add several handfuls of spinach and/or salad greens. When greens are wilted, add beaten eggs and cook to desired (scrambled egg) consistency. Add a favorite cheese, if you like. Serve with whole wheat toast and A1 Steak Sauce.

    Green scramble

    “greens and feta scramble”

  9. Pasta– Ever the perennial simple meal, boiling up some pasta and adding a can of premade sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, or just some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper is about as easy as it gets. Include a bagged of steamed veggies or (better yet) some cut up peppers or cucumbers on the side to round out the meal.
  10. Lamb Burgers– Like the traditional hamburger, but using ground lamb. Top with feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce and serve with sliced cucumber. (We like cucumbers around here.)

Hope you enjoyed this quick post about fast and simple food. More easy and delicious recipes coming soon.

Thanks for stopping by! What does your family eat on a busy night?

Stay cozy!

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream Review

Cold weather is coming. The autumn equinox has happened, a chill has returned to the air, and winter is on the way. Something happens to my skin in the fall, it seems to sense the change in the weather a week before, and it begins to dry out. This is the time of year when an old friend of mine re-enters my life after our hiatus of spring and summer.

My trusty Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is my skin care workhorse during the cooler months.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

I discovered this product several years ago when my son was an infant and suffered from mild eczema. In addition to using the prescription creams we were given, we were also tasked with diligently applying a fragrance-free moisturizing cream twice a day, every day. This led to auditioning countless creams and lotions with the hope of finding one that would actually retain moisture in my son’s skin. This was one of the first few we tried, and it was the one we always went back to after every subsequent failure, until we finally decided that no other cream worked better for his particular skin.

Being the mother of an infant at the time, my own evening skin care routine went from a 5 step process in the sanctuary of my bathroom to a 2 step process that occurred wherever my son was. Baby wipes and Cetaphil cream. It wasn’t glamorous or even necessarily what these products were intended for, but this combination worked beautifully for me then, and does now, especially in the winter months.

Cetaphil moisturizing Cream

My face specifically can get very dry and crepey in the winter which can accentuate the growing number of wrinkles I now bear. My favorite summertime lotions don’t seem to be heavy enough for the winter months as the air can be particularly cold and arid, and seems to draw away light moisture as quickly as it is applied. This cream just feels good to apply, as it seems to absorb into the skin and moisturize all layers of it. In the morning my face feels soft and hydrated, even in the depths of winter. I use this cream on other body parts as well, including as a nightly foot cream, and for hands and elbows.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is a great all-purpose face and body cream that is very rich, and especially useful for the colder, drier weather.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay Cozy!

The New American Dream, Part 2: Status Symbol

pocket watch, sands of time

Many of us are products of the 80’s and 90’s and can recall some of the items that were popular back then. Certain shoes, cars, and electronic gadgets were considered a sign of wealth and social status (or good credit) at that time. Owning things brought prestige and envy, especially amongst peers and colleagues. The phrase “he who dies with the most toys, wins” was coined.

Fast forward twenty-five years, through 3 recessions, a housing bubble, the healthcare crisis, and crippling student debt. In each case, we have learned something about handling money (or how not to handle it). We have also been awakened to the fact that the economy in most countries, but perhaps particularly the United States, is a living, breathing thing. It is a beast that can both make and ruin people, financially and otherwise, as it waxes and wanes.

For most of us though, through all of the perambulations of the market, there has been the constant of employment. A vocation to pull us out of our student loan obligations and afford accommodations whether they be our own, or rented from someone else. Work, a perceived cornerstone of our nation, and something that we are all taught to pursue passionately. After all, where would all our “things” come from without some form of paid occupation?

flea market stuff

Not to mention that those “things” come with costs aside from their purchase price. It can be alarming to consider that everything you own, you are still paying for (hence, the idea of being “owned” by the objects one has acquired). Ultimately, any “thing” that you possess requires some type of residence, whether that be your abode, a storage unit, or your parents’ house (although those costs may be more intrinsic), and this will usually be something that you have to pay for. These items have physical costs too, such as some form of maintenance, or, at the very least, the time and effort it would require to rid yourself of them.

So, we toil for someone else in order to acquire possessions, we continue to work in order to pay for the said items’ housing and maintenance, and oftentimes must physically use or care for an item to keep it operational. While we usually look at this equation in terms of monetary cost, it could be argued that the largest and most valuable expenditure here is not of dollars, but of time.

wristwatch

Although it’s true that we all get at least some time, it is lamentable that we don’t always get to spend it the way in which we desire. Those fortunate enough to have surplus wealth, however, get the side benefit of utilizing their hours as they choose, rather than for another’s cause.

Accordingly, having “free” time has become a sign of wealth and means. This could be true either because the owner actually has a healthy income, or simply because they are adept at budgeting, and choose time over objects. In any case, the freedom that an individual has due to their possession of spare moments is becoming associated with greater social status, rather than ineptness, as had been the stigma in decades past.

clock tower

Now that seemingly everyone is operating on someone else’s schedule, those that are allowed to function according to their own agenda are seen as the new elite, having escaped the so-called “rat race.” The value of currency is becoming more associated with its ability to grant chronological freedom than the accumulation of commodities. Time, and the freedom to dictate it, are becoming the new signs of prestige, in a nation that has brandished its 40 hour work week as an ideal for so long.

*This article is the second of the New American Dream series.

Stay cozy!