Monthly Archives: January 2017

Monday Q&A With the Chick

Of all the questions sent my way in the last few months, the most common ones from you ladies tends to be in regard to skin care.

I get it.

I worry too about what the future will bring with my skin and often want to try and make the future a more attractive place in my beauty routine- while I am good for common sense advice, when we start into areas such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels and what the difference between them is (or, even, what they are) I am out of my element as I’m not a professional.

Have no fear!

Last week I sat down with Debra Powell Adkins LE  of Miracle Salon and Medi Spa in temperance, MI to get the real skinny on skin care routines, procedures to rejuvenate skin and her suggestions for sun protection.

Chick: Hello, Debra! Thank you for sitting down with me today.

Debra: It’s my pleasure!

C: Please tell me a little about your background; when did you become an aesthetician and what drew you to the craft?

D: I was a massage therapist for 10 years and although I loved my job I have always had a passion for helping women look and feel their best so I went back to school 4 years ago to become an esthetic Ian.

C: Wonderful! Please tell me a little about the menu of services a client can expect when they come to see you.

D: I am so fortunate to work at a medi spa so I am able to combine amazing skincare modalities with medical procedures such as IPL laser, laser hair removal, microneedleing and an amazing medical grade peel called The Perfect Derma Peel.

C: That sounds marvelous! And also is a perfect segue into my next question, which is about chemical peels and microdermabrasion; what is the difference between the 2?

D: Microdermabrasion is what we refer to as mechanical exfoliation as opposed to a peel which is a chemical exfoliation. Microdermabrasion can be a little too harsh for mature skin. It tends to break capillaries when skin is starting to thin a bit. A peel is a great alternative for women 35 and up.

C: That is amazing! How invasive or painful are these procedures and what can a client expect in the first 24-48 hours in regard to discomfort?

D: Microdermabrasion basically has no downtime. At the most you may be a little pink after the procedure. There are different strengths of peels. A superficial peel has no downtime possibly some residual flakiness at the most. A medical grade Peel on the other hand such as the perfect derma peel goes three layers deep to the trans dermal layer and definitely has downtime. After a medical grade Peel the first three days you’re just a little pink by about the fourth day you really start to peel and continue to peel for approximately four more days. It can be intense but the results are amazing it can totally refresh and revitalize your skin.

C: That sounds very rejuvenating! How well do these procedures help with reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles?

D: Peels are kind of the gold standard for helping with fine lines and wrinkles. As we get out of our 20s our cell turnover slows way down and we get a build up on the surface of our skin , which causes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. When we do superficial peels on a regular basis or a medical grade Peel a couple times of year we remove all of the dead skin cells and we help our body with cell turnover which gives us a more youthful appearance and definitely helps with fine lines and wrinkles.

C: Perfect! What is your basic daily skincare advice and wisdom that you want to pass along to readers?

D: Home care is huge. If you only do procedures or facials, say once a month you will get improvement but the the real magic is caring for your skin daily. Depending on your age you need a skincare program designed for you, but the basics are a gentle cleanser, a serum, eye cream and a good moisturizer. The most important ingredients to look for in your products are Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, peptides and retin A. I am a little different than most aestheticians when it comes to sunscreen. I am not a big proponent of chemical sunscreens I prefer a mechanical sunscreen because of the toxic chemicals used in the regular sunscreen. I also believe that it is very important to get vitamin D from the sun not during the hottest part of the day but either earlier in the day or later in the evening.

C: That’s very different than what we usually hear, although I have been hearing a lot about the terrible chemicals in sunscreen. Can you explain mechanical sunscreen? I’ve not heard of it and am very interested.

D: A mechanical sunscreen contains ingredients such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide which creates a barrier on top of the skin to deflect and scatter UV rays as oppose to a chemical sunscreen that uses dangerous , possibly cancer causing chemicals to prevent sunburn. One of the downsides of a mechanical sunscreen is that it can have a slightly chalky look, but for me it’s worth the trade off to not expose myself to dangerous chemicals. Also it is important to remember we have an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency because we have overused sunscreens. We need to be wise when it comes to sun exposure but we do need about 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure to our entire body during a time of day when the UV rays are not at a dangerous level. Usually earlier in the day or later in the evening.

C: This is all very useful information! What brand of mechanical sunscreen do you suggest?

D: That’s an excellent question because although many brands contains zinc oxide some of those brands contain other toxic chemicals. Two of the brands that I consider very clean are Badger and Mexitan. I used to recommend Aubrey but that brand now contains paba Esther which is a petro chemical.

C: Which is scary as people don’t always understand how scary petro chemicals and parabens and all the nasty elements are that find their way into products can affect their long term health. My last question is about diet; How much does diet affect skin health? What kinds of foods keep skin glowing and beautiful?

D: Diet is huge! I can’t emphasize enough that if you don’t have a good diet you are not going to have beautiful skin. Many skin conditions have to do with food intolerances. When someone comes to see me and they have a problem with acne or rosacea my first question is always,”do you have stomach issues”and invariably the answer is yes. My recommendation is if someone is having serious skin issues they do an Elimination diet to find out what their food intolerances or allergies are. If someone does not have serious skin issues and they are just looking to keep their skin healthy and beautiful a diet that is high and fresh fruits and vegetables and lean grass fed non RB GH meats is ideal. Also drinking water to keep your skin hydrated. If you are healthy on the inside it will definitely show on the outside.

C: That is extremely sound advice! Thank you again, Debra, for taking the time to talk to me today! Where can people make an appointment with you if they are interested in the services we discussed?

D: It was my pleasure. I am at Miracle Salon and Medi Spa 6634 Summerfield Rd. Temperance MI 734-847-3700.

So there you have it, folks!

Procedures are great for that little something extra but consistent home care and maintenance and a healthy diet are the keys to staying beautiful.

Thank you again, Debra!

As always, we love comments! Let us know what you think in the comments section below or on our Facebook Page!

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

Thursday DIY; That’s My (Tomato) Jam!!!!

I have this very talented cousin who loves to grow food.

She is so good at it that she took her education and her talent and her extremely sweet personality and, for a few years, taught children in the great state of Arkansas how to not only grow their own fruits and vegetables but also how to incorporate a more plant-based food philosophy into their everyday lives.

The times we were able to get together were always fun and on one of her visits she brought a bunch of canned goodies to share with us and my grandparents and I loved everything I tried- her talent at canning her own foods is what started my own canning obsession.

There is nothing I have tried that I loved more than her tomato jam- so much so that I had to give making it myself a shot.

My cuz directed me to a site with so much great information called Food in Jars for their tomato jam recipe as that’s the one she used- they have one sweetened with honey and one sweetened with regular granulated sugar.

I have made both and will tell you a bit about each experience.

I didn’t think to take pictures of the honey sweetened tomato jam but I did take a few of the granulated sugar sweetened jam (be forewarned- it was nighttime when I took the pictures so they’re a little bit dark and if you view this post on a smartphone my pics will be sideways. Yes, I’m aware of it but, no,  I don’t know how to fix it.)

What You Need;

5lbs of tomatoes, finely chopped (food in jars advises against peeling the tomatoes which is great because that’s a lot of work)

Either 2 1/2 cups honey or 3 1/2 cups sugar (do not modify sweetener amounts, the sugar aids in shelf life and stability)

1/2 cup bottled lime juice

1T sea salt

1T freshly grated ginger

1T red chili flakes

1t cinnamon

1/2t ground cloves

Put all ingredients in a wide shallow pan and cook until it ‘s reduced, sticky looking and jammy- as she says in her instructions when your spoon leaves a tunnel where you can see the bottom of the pan it’s ready to ladle into prepared canning jars.

The jam will take about an hour to reduce in the pan so while it’s doing that, when you’re nearing the end of the line in the cooking process get your canning jars ready.

Once you’ve ladled the jam into your prepared jars and have the lids with the screw bands on fingertip tight (meaning don’t crank them on like a bodybuilder) lower them back into the boiling water and process for 15 minutes.

Remove using either metal tongs or a canning jar lifter with rubber grips (I recommend the latter- mine cost 9 dollars locally so they’re very inexpensive and a much safer option) and set the jars on a wire rack to cool overnight.

They should start to seal right away, but if within the hour they have not you should refrigerate and use immediately any jars that didn’t seal properly.

The popping sound when they seal is my favorite part of the process!!!!

The only differences in the honey sweetened and the sugar sweetened tomato jam was a difference in color and an ever so slight difference in flavor.

The honey sweetened came out a little darker in color (I use very dark, local wildflower honey from Storm Honey Farm here in Mountain View) and had an earthier flavor.

The granulated sugar sweetened had a cleaner flavor and was a little bit of a prettier jewel-tone red.

I like them both and intend going forward to use what I have on-hand- when my honey gets grainy, I will use it and when my honey is brand spanking new and I want it for tea I will use the sugar.

They’re both viable options and delicious on anything you would put ketchup on- I use it mixed with a little apple cider vinegar for a glaze on meatloaf and sometimes I just eat it on crackers.

Whatever’s clever.

You have to try it.

What kinds of jams, jellies, condiments and pickles are staples in your cupboard and refrigerator?

Let us know in the comments section here or on our Facebook page!

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

 

Wednesday Recipe Corner; Gyro Soup

Winters where I live are not necessarily cold- not like some of the Michigan and Illinois winters I’ve lived through (and that some of my friends and loved ones are currently enduring), but it does get chilly.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, does grey, overcast and foggy quite like Arkansas does in the winter- it makes most days perfect for staying in with your loved ones under a fuzzy blanket, watching creepy movies or ‘Coraline’ and having bowls of steaming soup with homemade bread on the side for dinner.

Mmmmmmm, soup.

I have always been a fan of soup even in the hottest months of the year- it’s simple to throw together and you can eat it for several days, plus, if it’s a clear broth soup it’s likely a fairly healthy meal option.

My hubs puts a ban on soup in the house from April until the first cold day of fall- no soup, no chili.

Stew?

Don’t even ask.

So I have been slyly (OK not too slyly) trying to milk the cold days and make soup as often as possible without getting asked what our other meal options are.

I have been fairly successful and the Chef even made a huge batch of game chili a few weeks ago, enough to eat for a few days and also freeze for another time (which, to me, is a huge win, especially when it’s ladled over Nathan’s hot dogs and sprinkled with cheese).

But a girl can only eat so much chicken noodle or chili before we go on the hunt for something different, with a lot of flavor and that could preferably all the ingredients could be dumped into my Crock Pot and cook without my help for the next 7 hours.

We’ve already talked about my love of recipes from Taste of Home; aside from America’s Test Kitchen, I really do find the home cook recipes from TOH to be the most reliable out there.

Flipping through the February issue of Country Woman magazine, which is a sister publication to Taste of Home, there was a recipe for Gyro Soup which was a crock pot recipe that I had most of the ingredients to make on hand.

Whoot!

It’s delicious, guys; it has all the flavors of a gyro that I grew to love when eating at the Coney Islands back home but without the expensive airfare it would take to get there (and without my beloved, carb-y pita bread).

If you love gyros and soup you have to try this!

Gyro Soup (Taste of Home)

Prep Time; 25 minutes          Cook; 6 hours

Makes; 6 Servings

Ingredients;

2lbs Ground Lamb (I’m sure beef would stand in in a pinch)

8 cups of water (the recipe says 5 but it wasn’t enough)

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

(I added 3t beef Better than Bouillon for flavor)

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup red wine

6 garlic cloves, minced

3T minced fresh mint or 1 T dried mint

1T dried marjoram

1T rosemary, crushed

2t salt

1/2t pepper

Optional toppings;

Plain Greek yogurt

Crumbled Feta cheese

Brown the lamb in a skillet and once it’s done throw it into the Crock Pot with all the other ingredients on low for 6-7 hours while all the flavors meld into gorgeousness.

We crumbled feta over ours and it was delish!

We’re finishing our leftovers tonight with homemade bread.

You can view the original version of the recipe here.

Thank you, Bridget Klusman, from Otsego, MI!!!!

What’s your favorite winter meal on a cold day?

Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Until next time!

Love, The Chick and her Chickadee

 

 

 

Tuesday Beauty Talks

So, I admit it . . .

I’m a little bit of a fragrance junkie.

Actually, that’s not true- I’m a lotta bit of a fragrance junkie.

I could say I don’t know where that started but then I would be lying and the basis of a strong friendship is trust soooooo . . .

When I was about 12 years old I would steal the perfume samples out of my Mom’s Avon catalogues and try on the grown up scents and feel like an adult (or an old lady, depending on which scent I was trying out).

Mind you, she had bought me my very own bottle of the very age appropriate classic Sweet Honesty and I liked it well enough but I was mature for 12 (or so I thought with my NKOTB obsession and huge pink glasses, so stylish) and yearned for something that would make me feel like the tiny adult I fancied myself.

I’ll never forget the moment when I peeled open a sample of Avon’s Night Magic Evening Musk (which they still make and I still, occasionally, buy)- I thought it was the loveliest scent I had ever smelled at the time.

Soft, mildly sweet and musky (but a white musk, fresh, not a dirty musk) I was hooked- when I dabbed it on I felt at least 14 years old.

I loved it and had to have it.

This was the beginning.

I have had a lot of loves since then; a stint with Biagiotti’s Venezia (that crashed to a halt when it was discontinued), a brief dalliance with Lagerfeld’s Sun, Moon, Stars (that also ended in a discontinuation of the scent), a 2 year love of Mugler’s Angel (that ended when a brutally honest friend told me that it made me smell like her granny’s house), and my dearest love for quite a long time- Dior’s Addict which I simply wore for so long that I don’t like it anymore.

My taste has evolved to include a great deal more florals (when they’re done right- to me this means light and fresh not heavy and old school) but I still love my heavy, spicy perfumes although I live in a rather unseasonably warm place so I don’t wear them as often.

So this is what my scent evolution has brought me too, 27 years after smelling the perfume that made me fall in love with the idea of a signature scent.

My top 5 favorite scents in my wardrobe right now in descending order of frequency of wear;

The Body Shop Red Musk

I had been on the hunt for something new and different- over the vanillas and the floral notes I wanted something clean and spicy and free of sweetness and flowers- but still feminine.

I know. Tall order. But when I typed pretty much those exact words into a Google search Red Musk by The Body Shop was one of the first things that came up to pique my interest because almost everyone who had tried it liked it (if you read fragrance reviews regularly you know that is actually quite rare).

I blind bought this scent when The Body Shop was running a 40% off sale with free shipping and I was pleasantly surprised by how spot-on the reviews and description is- it has cinnamon, tobacco and white musk as the notes and they all come across beautifully in a scent that is spicy and sexy but whispers where it has the potential to shout.

Plus, one of my dearest friends wears The Body Shop White Musk- the addition of that is so recognizable to  me that I feel like I’m hanging out with her when I wear it.

Miss you, girl!

Sparkling Limoncello (Bath and Body Works)

For quite a long time I had backed off Bath and Body Works- not for any particular reason other than in my devotion to them over the years I got bored and decided to give them a rest (because with their buy 3 get 3 revolving sale it takes a long time to work through your stash).

Around Christmas I went in to get the Chickadee some Pink Chiffon lotion (my daughter has, it seems inherited my love of scents that smell like frosting) and since there was a massive sale going on I scoped out a few seasonal scents for myself.

Have you ever taken a 3 year old girl into a BBW?

The wonder on her face and the 8 arms she sprouted were what stands out the most about the visit- and the look on her face when I pulled the Sparkling Limoncello lotion off the shelf for her to smell.

She got this dazed “oh my that smells delicious” look on her face that was so blissed out that I snapped up some lotion and a spray figuring if I didn’t love it when my nose cleared she would use it.

It really is delicious; lemon, sugar, orange blossom and just enough vanilla to make it sophisticated.

This has been one of my favorites in the last year- I just hope they don’t change it or discontinue it anytime soon.

Pacifica Tahitian Vanilla

I know.

I know I said I was off vanilla for the time being, but here’s the thing- this is not a sweet, cupcakey vanilla.

Pacifica’s Tahitian Vanilla is just a different animal altogether.

This is vanilla mixed with a little jasmine and black tea and this is one of the lightest, most wearable vanilla scents I have ever come across- plus the perfume solid pictured above retails for $9.

Not bad when you’re trying something new, am I right?!

Somerset Meadow (Crabtree and Evelyn)

If pressed I would have to actually declare Somerset Meadow by Crabtree and Evelyn my favorite perfume currently- it is fresh and soft, green without being sharp and has just enough blackberry in it to sweeten it and keep it out of the old lady camp without doing a herky jerky into smelling like something a teenager would wear.

It reminds me of my beloved Eau D’Hadrien by Annick Goutal which I love but is far too pricey for it’s lack of longevity- I have owned a single bottle in my adulthood and at almost $100 an ounce, it is beautiful but should last longer.

With Somerset Meadow I get a similar feel but much better longevity at a better price tag- there is a reason this scent is award winning.

The only reason it doesn’t claim the top place is that I don’t wear it every day- I wear it often but it is always sold out so I don’t want to run out suddenly and then not be able to get it for a bit.

I was wearing this when I got married. 🙂

Southern Girl (Siren Soap)

Anybody who knows me knows how I love Etsy- perusing a marketplace filled with handmade goods is right up my crafty alley and I have purchased plenty of jewelry (including my wedding band) and my fair share of scents from individual shop owners.

Around my birthday I stumbled into a shop called Siren Soap and it’s phenomenal; the owner Jessi is as sweet as they come and makes everything from whipped soaps to body scrub to perfume oils in an array of scents.

There is something for everybody in there and if you haven’t gotten acquainted with her shop yet I highly encourage you to do so- you won’t be disappointed.

When I saw Southern Girl and the description of white chocolate, whiskey, mandarin and cedar notes I knew I had to have it for myself.

It is light, sweet, sassy and sexy and as I write this I am steadily working my way through my second bottle of this delicious brew- if this sounds like something you would love, it probably is and you should go meet Jessi and find something pretty to dab behind your ears while you’re there.

You’ll never be sorry you did.

 

What kinds of scents do you reach for day in and day out?

Let me know in the comments section here or on our Facebook page.

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee

 

 

 

Monday Q&A with the Chick

Good morning and Happy New Year everyone!!!!

I hope this blog post finds you all happy, healthy and thriving on this gloomy Monday.

There is a notorious lack of involvement with readers around these parts- and although we just celebrated our one year anniversary of being live on the 1st of the year we did so without a single reader comment!

Whoot!

I do, on occasion, get messages on Facebook asking questions and the hubs suggested I answer the pertinent and pressing questions publicly- I like this idea so much that Mondays going forward will be devoted to doing just that.

So, without further adieu, welcome to Monday Morning Q&A with the Chick!

Dear Chick,

You mentioned in a post that you’re 39 years old. I am too! I’m looking for a good anti-aging cream and would love any suggestions you can offer me. My skin is on the dry side.

Thanks!

Jane, Crisfield, MD

 

Hi, Jane!

I am 39! Skin is funny as it begins to age, am I right? Suddenly, what always worked no longer does and while it’s tempting to run out and invest a lot of cash in products that will slow or diminish the ravages of time on our skin, I take umbrage with the term “anti-aging”. Nothing, unfortunately, will stop skin from aging completely. The good news is that there are a few ways to keep skin looking great and, while I am certainly not a dermatologist, esthetician or expert by any means, here are my personal tips for slowing down the hands of time as they tick.

Right across our faces.

Sunscreen;

I have always slathered my face, neck and decolletage with sunscreen before leaving the house.

My current favorite is Coppertone Clearly Sheer Sunscreen which has a SPF 50- it is lightweight, doesn’t clog pores and doesn’t disrupt foundation and make it greasy if you’re rocking a full face of makeup.

It’s a bit of an underrated rock star, honestly.

It is perfect for manically combination skin like mine.

It’s economical too, retailing at $11.49 at Walmart.

Stay Hydrated;

I don’t know about anybody else but, for me, when I’m dehydrated my skin is the first place I really see it.

Water is not, perhaps, the most fun thing to be sipping on all day but when we’re hydrated from the inside out we give our skin what it needs to rejuvenate- this becomes even more important as we age because our skin has a hard time producing collagen and can look dull and gritty at the drop of a hat.

Make it easier.

Drink plenty of water.

Don’t Sleep in Your Makeup;

I know this is common sense but I still have to remind myself that, if I cave to my laziness and sleep in my makeup, in the morning my skin will be red and my eyes puffy.

It’s not worth it, guys.

Take off your makeup and if you’re in for the night and not going anywhere until tomorrow slather with a rich, long-lasting moisturizer or cream that will pamper your pretty face.

I really like Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturizer; it keeps me smooth and hydrated while I get my beauty zzzzz’s and is also economically priced at $9.99.

If You Live in a Really Cold Area;

I know sometimes we need a little something extra when it’s frigid and the combo of chilly winds and indoor heat wreak havoc on our skin.

In those moments I have always kept a bottle of L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil on hand; a few drops will absolutely smooth out dry scaly skin, flaky, peeling noses.

Pretty much anything you got.

Be forewarned that it can make foundation a bit of an issue; do some extra blending and use a light hand when applying and you should be good to go.

Exfoliate.

Just do it.

Honorable Mention;

I know that in the vein of an anti-aging cream I have read a lot about amino-peptides and how effective they are in at least making skin look more youthful.

Olay has a whole fact page about their anti-aging line that you can check out here; if you try them please let me know what you think!

I do know a few folks who are skin care professionals- I could, potentially, have them do a short Q&A as well on skin care regimes and anti-aging products if anybody is interested in that going forward.

Thank you for reaching out, Jane!

It was awesome to hear from you and I hope you are having a prosperous and beautiful New Year!

Until next time!

Love,

The Chick and her Chickadee