Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gluten-Free / Sugar Free General Tso's Chicken

My Husband and I are quite a pair when it comes to food.  He has Type 1 diabetes and I am gluten-free, so sometimes it can become a circus trying to plan out our meals for the week.  

My husband loves Chinese food, but most Chinese restaurants have lots of sugar in all their sauces, so his options were limited.  And now that I've gone gluten-free (and never felt better), certain soy sauces have gluten in them, so I have to be careful too. 

I found this recipe about a year or so ago and have made a a few times since then (prior to me going gluten-free).  There are a couple of things that need to be changed in order to make it gluten-free along with already having no sugar.  

Pay attention to the Soy Sauce you are using.  Some companies use wheat in their Soy Sauce.  A gluten-free option is Tamari, which I have been able to find at my local Publix (grocery store).  Also, make sure that your cornstarch is gluten-free.  In most cases they are (since it is made from corn), but check just to be sure.

You can obliviously modify the recipe to your liking by adding more or less red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it), ginger, etc.  I always add a little MORE red pepper flakes and garlic, and a little LESS ginger.

And the leftovers taste just as good the next day! =]



Friday, July 5, 2013

Trying to fix Bloglovin'

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Hey everyone.  Been trying to fix my blog in the last few days.  My Bloglovin' account doesn't want to seem to cooperate with me =/

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Perfect Summer Everyday Lipstick

MAC Lipstick in Costa Chic

MAC's Costa Chic is a frosty light coral color that is PERFECT for summer.  It is smooth and easy to apply, and a definitely moisturizing lipstick.  I would NOT recommend this lipstick if you have dried, chapped lips because I can see it settling into the cracks in your lips.

I put on every night (well, every night I remember) Kiss Me Tonight Intense Lip Therapy to keep my lips moisturized.  And on days where that doesn't work I use Lush's Bubblegum Lip scrub to get off all the dead, dry skin.

MAC lipstick's run about $15 (depending on if it is in a limited edition collection).  

Costa Chic on my lips

What are your go-to summer lipsticks?


Friday, May 24, 2013

Beauty, Clothing, and Odds and Ends Haul!

I have done a little bit of shopping in the last month or so.  =]

Here are the items I've gotten:

There have been some great sales lately.  Got two comfy sweaters from Pacsun for about $30.  I am also a HUGE bookworm and two new books came out by authors I love: 

Dan Brown's Inferno and Iris Johansen's Taking Eve.

Target had the new Tomb Raider game for about $20 off so I snagged that up since I had beaten all my PS3 games. =]

Here are close-ups of the make-up items I've gotten over the past month(ish):

Here is the close-up of Tarte's Amazonian clay 12-hour blush in Fearless, Laura Geller's Balance and Brighten Foundation in Medium, and MAC's lipstick in Impassioned.

Love, Love, Love Victoria's Secret body scrubs.  They usually have a deal for 5 for $30 so I stocked up!  The scents I got were:

(From Left to Right)

Love Spell - cherry blossom and peach
 Amber Romance - amber and creme anglaise
 Pure Seduction - red plum and freesia
Midnight Dare -raspberry and sandelwood 
Secret Craving - black currant and vanilla absolute

Here is another close up of MAC's lipstick in Impassioned.  And I also got NYX's lipliner in Pinky to line my lips when I wear Impassioned.  I will do a post on Impassioned and show pictures of what it looks like on. =]

I have the hardest time finding make-up remover that doesn't leave my skin an oily mess.  But with Sephora's Triple Action cleansing water, OMG! This stuff is AMAZING! It gets all my make-up off and leaves no residue on my skin! Love this find!

Lastly, since summer has already in full force in Southwest Florida, I needed some extra help with my oily skin.  I have used Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray and loved it, and I was running low so I decided to grab their setting spray formulated for oily skin! On Urban Decay's website they had the De-slick in a Tube on sale for about $12 so I grabbed that as well.  I have tried the De-Slick in a Tube and it is pretty great.

Well, those are the products I have purchased in the last month or so! =]

What have you guys gotten for yourselves?


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why spend $40 when you can MAKE it for less then $5?!

Okay, so if you are anything like me I HATE cleaning my makeup brushes.  I mean I clean them because I don't want to keep putting dirty brushes on my face, but it's a pain in the ass to stand hunched over the sink for 30+ minutes scrubbing my brushes.  Yeah... no fun.

I saw that a brush company had come out with what is essentially a rubber "oven mitt" with different textures to do the scrubbing for you.  The first time I saw this I was excited to get something that shorten the time I was hunched over the sink.  However, when I saw the price ($40 + shipping and handling), my excitement went away.  WHY is it so much...?  I know a hundred other things I can that money on, like food.

So I sat brainstorming on ways to cut the time down into this annoying chore. I realized that the only thing that I needed was a surface with different textures to scrub the brushes on.

I had my hot glue gun out for another project I was working on when I got my inspiration.

Here is what I came up with:

The only thing I had to buy was the plastic clipboard, which you can get almost anywhere (I ordered mine off of amazon).  I did different designs and sizes with the hot glue to give it different textures for cleaning my brushes.  I let it dry overnight just to be sure that my brushes wouldn't come in contact with still wet hot glue (because that wouldn't be good).

To clean, I just laid the clipboard in the sink, wet it and used my normal brush cleaner.  Then I swirled the brush over the different bumps and grooves.  I don't think I've had my brushes cleaner.  And this actually did cut down the time cleaning over the sink!

Mission Accomplished! =]

- XO, Alyse

Friday, March 8, 2013

February's Birchbox review

So, I have had my "Red Carpet Ready" themed Birchbox for about a week now and I have had time to try the products out to see what I like and don't like.

In case you didn't see my blog post on the products I received in February's Birchbox, click HERE to read it.

Here is the review I left on Birchbox's website:

Can I please have other perfume samples other than Juicy Couture...?!?!  Seriously, it seems like I get one every other month.  And I haven't liked any of them except maybe one.  And this one isn't the one I like AT ALL.  Idk to me it just smells like musty, dirty, dead flowers... not good. Sorry. Not for me.

Here is the review I left of Birchbox's website:

I understand the concept of double-sided tape; however, I need my "girls" to be locked and loaded into place.  I am to busty to mess with the no bra/use tape .  More power to those that can pull it off, but I am not one of them.  I wear dresses that have straps that allow me to wear a bra or my (really expensive) strapless bra.  

I just have no use for it.

Here is the review I left on Birchbox's website:

This is a good detangler, but that is just it... It's good.  There is nothing EARTHSHATTERING about this product.  You can get good detanglers for much less than this one.  

Here is the review I left on Birchbox's website:

I love Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares ESPECIALLY the Caramel flavored one.  However, I HATE getting food products in my monthly Birchbox.  I live in Florida where it gets HOT!! I also have a metal mailbox.  So by the time I get to my mailbox, I don't trust the food products that have been sitting in the hot, hot, sun-beaten, metal mailbox.  So I end up throwing food products away.  Sorry...

Here is the review I left on Birchbox's website:

I reason I gave this product only 2 stars is because I didn't see any "mattifying" effect in this moisturizer.  My skin is combo/oily, so this would have been a good find to have; however, this didn't do anything for me that my normal (AND not so expensive) moisturizer.  The texture was nice, but the selling point of this product didn't so anything for me. 

Here is the review I left on Birchbox's website:

My husband is VERY picky about the lip products I wear. He doesn't like kissing me if I have certain lip stuff on.  So the first thing I did when opening this product was put some on and ran to give my hubby a smooch.  He, of course, looked at me like I was crazy and asked me what I was doing.  When I told him I was testing out a new lip gloss and I wanted to see if he "liked" it or not, he shrugged and said "it didn't taste bad, so it's okay...".  So, to me that equal WINNER! =] (Keep in mind, I still wear what I want, I just TRY to keep him in mind if I was planning on kissin' my hubby).

About the product, it is as Birchbox describes is: sheer (NO COLOR, just some shine), and doesn't leave behind any "trace evidence" a.k.a sticky residue on the lips.   If you like products that show off you natural lip color and just adds a little bit of "glossy, wet" look to your lips, then this is the product for you. (Plus, I think the sample sent was a full-sized product.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

HUGE Make-up Haul

So, this make-up haul has been a couple of weeks in the making.  Over the year I have earned a lot of "points" (which can be redeemed for money to spend on the site) through Ulta's ULTAmate reward program and through Birchbox.  These saved "points" allowed me to go a little crazy and get some products that I've had my eye on, along with new products.

I LOVE trying new make-up products.  I try to research before hand so I don't get a "dud" product and just waste me money.  

Here are all the products I've purchased over the past couple of weeks:

All of these products were paid for by me.  I can also do more in-depth reviews after I get a chance to use them.  These products are broken up by category, starting with eye products.


This palette is the only thing I ordered off of Birchbox's website.  I had built up about $30 worth of Birchbox points and had a 20% off coupon.  

Emilynoel83 on Youtube raved about this palette in her yearly Emily Awards videos.  

This is theBalm Rockstar Palette.  This palette comes with 12 eyeshadows, 2 different lip/cheek "glosses", a luminizer and blush (Mary-Lou Manizer and Fratboy, if you are familiar with theBalm's products).

Each column of eyeshadow has a "rock" theme to them.  The first being Heavy Metal, then Classical, and Alternative, with each having a different finish to the shadows.

Excited to play with this palette and come up with a lot of different looks.

This trio is Wet n' Wild in Knock on Wood.  I have heard so many great things about the Wet n' Wild Color Icon shadows that I just HAD to grab one trio.  And for 3 dollars, who could beat that price.

A palette I have been really wanting is Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette; however, for $42 I got the LORAC pro palette that came with 16 different colors (8 matte and 8 shimmer).  To me, that is more bang for the buck.  I usually don't do completely matte or shimmery looks, so it is nice to have a difference in textures and finishes.  I'm excited to play around with creating different looks.

  This was another Emily Award Winner from Emilynoel83

This Milani shadow was on clearance at Target.  I haven't used Milani products in about 8 years.  I figured I should try it out.  This shade is #02 Black Out , a really pretty glittery black.  This shadow can be used wet and/or dry.  I think this could be good to line the lash lines for a little extra something.

I have wanted to try MAC's loose pigments but I can't bring myself to spend $20+ on them.  I've seen a lot of NYX items listed as MAC dupes so I figured this could be good.  I got only one in the color Nude because I wanted to see how they last on my eye before getting a few different colors.

I've seen a couple of videos on youtube where they use a lavender colored pencil rather than a white or nude color on the waterline as a brightening effect.  I like NYX's jumbo pencils.  I have a few.  They also make great eyeshadow bases.

I was in the need for a new waterproof mascara.  I don't wear waterproof mascara on a everyday basis.  This is for when I go to the beach or know I am going to be outside all day in the Florida heat.

I grabbed Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping mascara waterproof in Blackest Black.  I really like Revlon Grow Luscious by Fabulash mascara, so I figured that the Grow Luscious Plumping mascara would be good too.

Clinique Bottom lash is a mascara with a tiny brush that is perfect for coating your bottom lashes without getting all over your under-eye area.  With my normal mascara's I tend to hit my under-eye with the large brush.  So I wanted to grab this little guy to see if the smaller brush was actually worth it.  

This LORAC 3D liquid Lustre Diamond caught my eye.  I got the one in silver (it comes in gold also).  

The box description is "Amp up your look with LORAC 3D Liquid Lustre! This paraben-free, long-lasting, shimmering top coat can be applied over eye shadow or worn alone on eyes and cheeks for luminous, prismatic, 3-Dimensional sparkle and shine."  


This is EOS lip balm in Pomegranate Raspberry.  EOS lip balms are 100% natural, 95% organic, paraben and petrolatum free, gluten and cruelty free  products.  I have several of these lip balms and I love them (so does my husband).  These lip balms are full with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, smoothing shea butter and jojoba oil, keeping your lips moist and soft.  It also smells AMAZING.


So, I have combo/oily skin and I need to wear a make-up primer or I would have wasted my time with bothering to even apply make-up within a few hours.  I have never used any Laura Geller products but I have wanted to try several different ones, but I settled with getting this one first and seeing how I liked it.

This is the first of 3 different concealers I got in this haul.  Why 3 you may ask... Well, Benefit's Erase Paste is a salmon-y toned concealer for under-eyes.  The salmon color helps to counteract the blue tones that can happen from lack of sleep or just genetics.

This is Physicians Formula Conceal RX Physicians Strength Concealer.  On the box it claims to have maximum comfort, maximum coverage, ultra-ling wear, a natural smooth finish, and has a no mask effect.  I think it is always good to have a maximum coverage conceal and foundation in your make-up collection.

This concealer purchase was a repurchase for me.  I have used a tube of NYX's HD ? before and really liked it.  It is great for covering any random spots and around the nose.  It also blends really easily.  

This is Physicians Formula Glow and Happy Boosting Blush in Natural.  Physician Formula products are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and gluten free, non-comedogenic and dermatologist approved.  This looks like it will give a very natural (hints the name) wash of color on the cheeks.

As I have said before I have combo/oily skin.  I use a finishing powder to finish all my looks to set the make-up.  I got two different powders to see which one I liked better (this Palladio and the NYX one below).

The first thing I noticed with just taking off the plastic on this Palladio Rice Powder was that it is MESSY! Oh man... It went EVERYWHERE! So I already know that this product will NOT be traveling with me ANYWHERE! Nope, Nope.

This first thing I noticed about THIS setting powder was that had a plastic sheet that only allowed a small amount of product out at a time.  This finishing powder is in the color Light/Medium.

I got the Palladio Rice Paper Oil-absorbing blotting tissues to keep in my purse to blot when needed throughout the day.


I got a new base coat.  I also have Revlon's Colorstay Base Coat, and I have to say I am not a fan of it.  Whenever I remove my polish, it feels like the base coat doesn't completely come off.  Maybe it is my polish remover...

This is Essie's Fiji.  To me, it is a perfect baby pink color.  It looks like it is the perfect pinky-nude in the sense that it would go with everything.

This is Essie in Peach Daquiri.

I have never bought a China Glaze polish.  This color jumped out to be as being a PERFECT summer color. This is Flip Flop Fantasy.

This is China Glaze in Turner Up Turquoise.  It is a very Green-ish turquoise over a blue-ish turquoise.


I have heard a lot about the benefits of coconut oil for many things.  Personally, I probably wouldn't use it in food because I can't stand the taste of coconut (but then again, I'm not sure if the flavor of coconut oil actually shows up in food).  I've seen posts on Pinterest with hair masks using just coconut oil and I wanted to try it.  I ordered my jar off of amazon along with the Tangle Teezer (below) and the clear make-up case (last pictures), so I was also able to get free shipping with my Amazon Prime membership! YAY

Honestly, I don't know where this Tangle Teezer has been all my life.  In this whole haul, this is the only thing that I RIPPED out of the packaging to use.  I have LONG, THICK, WAVY/CURLY hair.  My hair gets tangled easily and I spend a good 10 - 15 minutes trying to carefully get the knots out without ripping all of my hair out.  This little "brush" has quickly become a Holy Grail product for me.  I don't understand why I didn't have one sooner.

The last two hair products I have gotten a Hot Tools hair dryer and tapered curling iron.

This past week, Ulta had an AMAZING deal where you spent $48 on Hot Tools you got this Tapered Curling Iron (1 inch to 1/2 inch) for FREE!!! YAY We LOVE FREE!  I have been in desperate need for a new hair dryer.  I am 24 years old and I don't think I have EVER bought myself a hair dryer.  I usually used my moms, or took one of my parent's when they got a new one.

This dryer comes with 3 different attachments: Narrow concentrator, Finger diffuser, and Pik.  It has multiple heat and airflow settings.

So, I was SUPER excited when I saw this deal and figured I might as well get the dryer since it came with such a good deal.  The hair dryer originally $64.  It was on sale for $59 and I used a 20% off coupon with it.  The curling iron that was the free gift with purchase was about $59.  So, all and all, I got an AWESOME deal! GO ME!


So, the main reason I got this clear travel make-up case is because my husband and I are going on vacation in April and I don't have a good make-up bag to bring on a LONG airplane ride.  I was so excited when I heard we were going I had to buy something to bring on the trip so I "settled" for this make-up for now.

This picture is only to show how much this bag can hold.  I had placed everything in the first picture in this case and there is still plenty of room to spare.