Favorite Things

Favorite Things FaceAbout Face

This winter has been brutal in my neck of the woods! And as much as I love all four of the wonderful seasons we get to experience in Central PA, I am ready to kiss this one goodbye! The cold temps are wreaking havoc on my skin and when you add that to the fact that I'm not getting any younger, the need for a good skin care routine is a must. Don't get me wrong, I am completely willing to accept the aging process and plan to do so gracefully but hey girls, why not preserve what we've got? I think it's important to be proactive and using products that work helps! I thought I would share some of my latest skin care favorites with you today. Happy Friday!

Mia_White_Front_1000x1000Clarisonic Mia ~ Morning  and/or Night

This little gem paired with your favorite cleanser is a great way to start and end your day. It does a great job at gently but thoroughly cleaning your skin. I've had mine for about a year and I love it!

SCS031_lSkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel ~ Morning

Recommended by my Dermatologist, this power packed Vitamin C Gel delivers a healthy dose of antioxidants that do a nice job of repairing and protecting my skin. LOVE it!

Kiehls EyeKiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ~ Morning & Night

This awesome eye cream was in the Swag Bags at the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Show last April and I have been using mine ever since. It's lightweight but does a great job of hydrating. I'm hooked!

Kiehls FaceKiehl's Ultra Facial Cream ~ Morning & Night

Another Swag Bag treat that just might be my favorite right now. While I usually prefer a lighter moisturizer, this intense cream is perfect for keeping skin hydrated in these bitter cold temps. It's like a huge drink of water for your face!

z0ao0ran_201305152236088183 Replenix Retinol Smoothing Serum 10x ~ Night

The older I get the more I appreciate the word Retinol! You know the whole fine line thing... (nothing fine about lines on your face!) And although I am not a fan of most Retinol products because they can irritate my skin, I do love this one! A little goes a long way when I add it to my moisturizer making it last twice as long. Bonus!

Agave Nectar

Farmhouse Fresh ~ Agave Nectar Body Oil

Taking care of your skin doesn't stop with your face. I decided to try a sample of this body oil last fall when I was wearing a cocktail dress and heels. I used it on my legs and I LOVED it! It wasn't greasy and sticky like some oils can be. It absorbed really well and gave my skin a nice subtle glow (a perfect fix for that winter white look). I've been loving it ever since!

Take control this winter and make your skin a priority! Do at least one little thing for yourself each day and notice the difference it makes! You're worth it! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

winter copy Photo by Doug Reese

Wow is it Friday already? This week flew by! It was a productive one for me with lots of catching up, working on projects and planning events, all while trying hard to stay warm. We had some record breaking low temperatures in PA this past week and it made me think that maybe my three sisters who moved to California were the ones with the right idea! I love winter but these cold days had me begging for spring. It made me appreciate some of the little things that I depend on in the winter months to keep me warm, happy and not so chapped! Here are a few of my favorite ways to fight the chill of winter. They are simple, inexpensive and so effective. Happy Friday!

QticaLipBalmQtica Lip Balm

I'm pretty sure the word addicted would be appropriate for me when it comes to Qtica. Ask anyone that knows me well (because I probably forced them to try it). This stuff is like gold and if you use it, you will never want anything else! It's that good!

NeutrogenaHandCream2Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Neutrogena Hand Cream keeps your hands soft and your cuticles and nails from drying out. I keep one in my purse and one on my nightstand. Love it!

cerave-moisturizing-lotionCeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

Not everything you put on your face has to be expensive. My dermatologist actually recommended CeraVe lotion to me as a simple, every day way to keep my skin hydrated. I use it on my face and body. I love that I can get it in a drugstore.


STAX fire starters from Duraflame

I love burning fires in the winter. I have a wood burning fireplace and wouldn't trade it for the world. There is nothing like the crackle of real wood. And although I consider myself somewhat of a Girl Scout, I prefer the quick start method over the "from scratch" method any day!

IMG_5914 (640x426)The Republic of Tea ~ Ginger Peach Decaf

As much as I talk about my love for a latte, I am a tea lover too. Republic of Tea is one of my favorite brands of tea and the Ginger Peach Decaf seems to be the perfect remedy for a cold winter day.

Comfy-Warm-BlanketChenille Throw from Restoration Hardware

This is one of my favorite blankets. It's a simple chenille throw that we picked up several years ago at Restoration Hardware. It's heavy, soft and warm.

So there you have it! Just a few little things that I appreciate this time of year. Simple? Yes. But isn't that what it's all about? Funny how  some of the littlest things can make you happy! Look for them, what are yours?

Have a great weekend!

Leslie xo

Homemade Marshmallows

There is something fun about marshmallows. They add a little "happy" to campfires, hot chocolate and rocky road ice cream.  I have been wondering for some time, if it was easy to make homemade marshmallows. If it was, wouldn't those s'mores and cups of cocoa taste so much better? I see recipes and photos of pretty, fluffy white marshmallows and imagine the mess it must take to create one perfect batch. So I decided to try it myself. I found a recipe over at Smitten Kitchen and it looked like a good one, so I went for it, and it really was easy. There are a few steps involved but they are not difficult and the result was well worth the time it took. The best part was the taste. They were delicious!

You start by heating the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt.

You will need a candy thermometer to make marshmallows. You have to boil the mixture until the thermometer reaches 240 degrees.

The hot mixture gets added to a bowl of dissolved gelatin and is whipped with an electric mixer until it triples in size and is very thick and white.

You will beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. *TIP* I had my hot mixture whipping in the electric standing mixer while I beat the egg whites with a hand-mixer in a separate bowl. You could also do one at a time but I wanted to move a little faster.

You will beat the egg whites, sugar mixture and vanilla until combined.

When the marshmallow is mixed, it gets poured into a 13 x 9 pan that has been greased and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

The marshmallow has to be chilled for a few hours or overnight before it can be cut.

Once the marshmallow is chilled, it can be inverted onto a cutting board that has been dusted with confectioner's sugar.

If you are going to use cookie cutters to make marshmallow shapes, you will want to dip them in confectioner's sugar before each cut to avoid sticking.

Cut your marshmallow into desired shapes.

Once the shapes were cut, I dusted the marshmallows with confectioner's sugar to keep them from sticking (and because it looked pretty).

I decided to make marshmallow snowflakes. Most of them came out great. You can see how light and fluffy they are. Use your favorite cookie cutters or use a sharp, thin knife to cut squares. There were a lot of pieces left over once I cut out the shapes. I cut them into small pieces with kitchen scissors that were dipped in confectioner's sugar.

I am so glad I decided to try this recipe. It was a lot of fun and really easy to do. I will not hesitate to make my own batch whenever I need some marshmallows in a recipe or on a dessert bar. They really are that easy!

Have fun!

Leslie xo

Homemade Marshmallows

Author: Leslie Reese
Serves: Makes 1 13x9 pan
Adapted from [url href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/06/springy-fluffy-marshmallows/" target="_blank"]Smitten Kitchen[/url]
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 1/2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup cold water divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  1. Grease bottom and sides of a metal 13 x 9 pan and dust with confectioner's sugar.
  2. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and let stand to soften.
  3. In a 3 quart heavy saucepan, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, 2nd 1/2 cup of water and salt on low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240 degrees Fahrenheit, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
  5. With standing or hand-held electric mixer, beat mixture on high speed until white, thick and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.
  6. In separate medium bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
  7. Beat egg whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined.
  8. Pour mixture into baking pan.
  9. Sprinkle 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar evenly over top.
  10. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to one day.
  11. Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board.
  12. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut into squares or cut with cookie cutters dipped in confectioner's sugar.
  13. Toss marshmallows in remaining confectioner's sugar and put in storage bags or containers.