{Natural} Winter Beauty Essentials

Monday, February 17, 2014

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I don't know about where you live, but here in Kansas City, winter has been brutal. I already have pretty dry skin and hair, but this harsh season has not been kind to me! I headed to Walgreens in search of some more natural beauty products to help my poor body (and my kids dry skin) cope! Here's what I picked up:

1. Maybelline Fit Me blush in light pink
2. St. Ives Daily Hydrating bodly lotion
3. Covergirl Outlast nail polish in Ever Reddy
4. Organix Renewing Argan Oil
5. EOS lip balm in Honeydew
6. Jason Tea Tree treatment shampoo
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I was surprised at the natural beauty options at Walgreens. I saw brands that I normally see at Whole Foods or Sprouts.

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I picked up these 2 hair items because I wanted a deep moisturizing treatment for my dry hair. The Organix Argan Oil leaves my hair feeling really soft. I've used it about 2x a week. I grabbed the Jason tea tree oil shampoo for my girls. They struggle with super dry and itchy scalps in the winter and I know that tea tree oil is supposed to help with this. I also love that it's all natural. So far it has made a bit of a difference and I've used a few times as well.


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The St. Ives daily hydrating lotion smells SO good and works surprisingly well. It's all 100% natural with no parabens or Phthalates so I can use it on my girls. Jane has some eczema in the winter and this has worked great for her.  The EOS lip balm is just so cute and smells SO good! I love the packaging. It's also an all natural lip balm option.

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Ok, these 2 products are not "all natural" but I needed some color to brighten up my super pale skin in the winter. The Maybelline fit me blush is a very light color (I got the color light pink) and natural looking. Next time I actually might try a darker shade because it's almost hard to see on my skin. The Covergirl nail polish is a really fun orange-red color. I usually don't go for colors this bright but I'm actually really loving it and my girls have like it as well.

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Here it is in action on Lula's toes! It's just cheery and bright!

What beauty products are essential for you in winter?

Winter {Natural

Tips for How to Make the Perfect Cup of Pour Over Gourmet Coffee

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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Last September, I bought Reid all the pour over coffee basics for his birthday present. We've been hooked on this method of coffee making every since. It's definitely a little more time consuming and probably high maintenance, but the extra few minutes are SO worth it. I cannot rave about how much I love this method of making coffee. We usually freshly grind our own right before brewing a cup, but I decided to try it out with Gevalia's ground gourmet coffee. The results were tasty and it was nice to know that you could still brew a decent cup of you have some ground coffee around and didn't want to take the time to grind it yourself.

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The Gevalia gourmet coffee can be found at Walmart, but any of your favorite beans will do. The pour over method extracts tons of flavors from the beans, so don't be surprised if the end results taste a lot different than what you are used to - even if it's the same coffee you usually drink.





The basic tools that we use (there are many to choose from) are a Hario Coffee Drip Kettle, Hario v60 Coffee Dripper, Hario V60 filters, food scale, glass carafe and a burr grinder. (we currently have this one from Cuisinart)


The first step is to grind your beans. It's best to do this right before you make your coffee...and a burr grinder is a must. This one we have is pretty inexpensive and it does the job.
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Here is where your food scale comes in. For 2 cups of coffee, we measure our 38 grams of beans (or in this case, grounds since I was trying it out with the pre-ground coffee. But usually I'm measuring beans and then grinding them)
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Next,  put a filter in the dripper and fill with water and let it drain out. This wets the filter and it sticks to the dripper better. It also claims to get rid of any slight taste the paper filter may have.
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This is how the set up looks. (oh, and you should be boiling some water in your slow drip kettle in the meantime)
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Once your water is boiling, take it off the heat and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Make sure to zero out your scale because you will now be measuring the amount of water that is poured into the coffee filter.
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Slowly pour about 50 grams of water into the filter, trying to only stay in the center. The coffee should "bloom" out (kind of froth and puff up)
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Wait about 30 seconds
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Now pour the rest in a slow circular motion until you reach about 480 grams of water total.
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After all the coffee has dripped out, you are ready to enjoy your amazing cup of heaven.
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Purists insist on only drinking this method of coffee black. While I can tolerate it black, I do add some cream and sugar to mine. But even if you think you hate black coffee,  just try a sip of it plain. It really is delicious and so flavorful!

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