Welcome!

Welcome to my blog. If you’re looking for clean eating tips,  health and fitness articles, makeup and beauty, all after age 30, you have come to the right place! I have found plenty of stuff online about all those things, but nothing that really focuses on how different health or beauty is when you’re not 26 anymore. (Or even over 18!)

I love makeup and beauty products, but I’ve noticed that there are unique things that come from dealing with fine lines and wrinkles. Makeup has become a hobby of mine over the last few years. I’m in the middle of my weight loss journey at the moment, but clean eating has definitely become a lifestyle for me. I also have a lot of goals that have nothing to do with weight loss, such as being healthier overall, and lowering my body fat percentage. I like to feel good, and feel good about what I eat, because I LOVE FOOD! If you’re interested in specifics on my weight loss journey you can check out my post about that.

If you’d like to know more about me, please visit the About page. If you’re interested in some of these topics but not others, just use the categories over there to your right to browse by topic. Health & Fitness and Beauty & Makeup are my most popular categories. I love comments, so please if you have questions, comments, or tips of your own, share them! Thanks for reading. ❤

* Some of my posts contain affiliate links. Using affiliate links helps to support this site, thank you for your support!
All content © 2010-2017, Stacey E. Aldridge, unless otherwise noted.

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Homemade Vegan Yogurt, Part One

Or – What not to do.

home made instant pot vegan nut milk yogurtI can’t remember where or when I discovered that you can make yogurt in an instant pot. I didn’t even know what an instant pot was a month ago! As soon as I knew it was possible I could not stop thinking about making my own vegan no sugar added yogurt. When you are lactose intolerant and watching out for FODMAPs, store bought yogurt is pretty much off limits. SO after thinking about it for a bit I bought an amazon warehouse deal crockpot brand slow cooker/pressure cooker for $50, some vegan yogurt starter, and after having read several yogurt making blogs and recipes – both vegan and non vegan, I was sure that it was going to be easy! All it took was time.

The first thing I noticed was that unlike the Instant Pot brand pots, when I hit “yogurt” and then “temperature” as the recipe instructed, it did not say BOIL on the display. It was at that point that I read the completely useless directions that came with the crock pot that said yes, you can adjust the temperature on the yogurt setting but nothing about boiling. I did not have a food thermometer, something I would come to regret, so I decided to just hit the yogurt button and hope for the best.

8 hours later I had some very yummy smelling lukewarm almond milk. I decided it must have been the not boiling that did it so I set out the next day to get a digital thermometer with a cord so that I could set it to let me know when it hit 180 degrees. I also bought the recommended silicon whisk and two more containers of almond milk. I was certain that it would work the second time.

After heating my milk to 180 degrees and adding the yogurt starter with the silicon whisk, just as the instructions said, I placed my almond milk mixture back in the crock pot and hit yogurt. 4 hours later, I really wanted to see what it was looking like in there so I opened it up – again it was full of very good smelling almond milk that was no thicker than when I poured it into the bowl. It was at that point, more closely reading the instructions that came with the Cultures for Health vegan yogurt starter that I saw the sentence “You can make yogurt most nut milks except commercial almond milk.” Noooooooooo! I decided to finish the 8 hours after I stirred in some flax meal to hopefully thicken it, as some blogs suggested. 4 hours later all I had was a bowl full of almond milk with 4 tables of flax meal at the bottom of it.

This time I saved the now-fermented almond milk with probiotics to use for smoothies.

However I have now determined that I MUST make vegan yogurt. I can’t not. I have now put 16 hours, a $50 crock pot, a $9 yogurt starter, 4 containers of almond milk at around $4 each, a $15 digital thermometer plus my order of new yogurt starter, a nut milk bag, and pectin from Amazon. I will make vegan yogurt, no matter how long it takes! Stay tuned.

Makeup Revolution Brand Review

Makeup Revolution is a London-based cosmetics brand that is carried in Ulta stores and on Ulta’s website. You may have noticed the display in your local Ulta store, it has gotten larger over the last couple years and rightfully so! It’s a drugstore priced brand with the quality of prestige makeup. They have also gotten some negative attention recently for their “dupes” of brands like Too Faced and Kat Von D.  The photo on the left is only a portion of my Makeup Revolution collection and I want to talk about some of my favorite items from the brand.

It should be noted that their full line is only available on their Tam Beauty website  but they do offer free shipping to the US with a $40 purchase which is better than some US-based brands offer! I started getting really enthusiastic about the brand when I purchased the Newtrals vs Neutrals palette. It is full of warm toned browns, reds, and oranges, and at $12 it is a steal – not to mention that MUR is frequently on buy one get one 50% off deals at Ulta. I had tried other eyeshadow palettes from them in the past but the Essential Day to Night Redemption Eyeshadow Palette was unimpressive and it ended up shoved in the back of my makeup organizer. The swatches that I saw of New-trals vs Neutrals made me want to take a chance, even though I had found that the previous eye shadow was not very pigmented and a little dry. The Newtrals vs Neutrals palette was nothing like the one I had tried before! The colors were beautiful and well pigmented for a low priced brand. No, it is not the same quality as a $40 or $50 palette but that shouldn’t be expected from a $12 palette. On the request of some instagram followers, I swatched the palette.

Makeup Revolution Newtrals vs Neutrals paletteThis is a great palette for fall. Warm toned neutrals are still extremely popular and I don’t see that popularity waning any time soon! I had purchased the Iconic Pro 2 eyeshadow palette around the holidays but had forgotten about it because I had also purchased the Tarte Tarteist Pro palette and a bunch of Makeup Geek singles around the same time. I decided that I needed to give the Iconic Pro 2 a chance to wow me and I was not disappointed. It is also $12 but remember with BOGO 50% off if you purchase these at the same time one would be $6. The Iconic Pro 2 is cool toned shades with browns, grays, plus a bold blue and golden green thrown in. Both of these palettes are a mixture of shimmery shades and matte shades that make themMakeup Revolution Iconic pro 2 palette swatches both great choices if you’re new to makeup or are just starting to expand your collection but have to stick to a budget. Remember that I’m very pale, typically using the lightest of any foundation, so some of these lighter colors will “pop” a lot more on someone with darker skin.

The real standouts in the brand are the Skin Kiss highlighters, although the baked highlighters are also an incredible value! The Skin kiss highlighters are hands down my favorite highlighters, I reach of them before Makeup Revolution Skin Kiss Highlighterany of my more expensive highlighters by Smashbox and Lorac. The Skin kiss are available in three super pigmented shimmery shades, Peach Kiss, Gold Kiss, and Ice Kiss. I haven’t yet added Ice kiss to my collection but I definitely will at some point. These are HUGE, the size of a Jeffree Star Skin Frost, and at $9 anyone can afford one.

I also purchased the Ultra Blush and Contour palette in shade Sugar & Spice. It’s a variety of pink, rose, and nude blushes in matte, shimmer, and baked finishes. A little of these goes a LONG way. They are super pigmented and the baked shades are mixture of blush and highlight. There are some warm and some cool tones in this so if you, like me, are just getting into wearing blush on a daily basis this is a great palette to start with. It retails for $10 on Ulta’s website.

It can’t all be perfect though. From my first photo, you may have noticed that I only have two lipsticks. At $5, the Salvation Velvet Lip Lacquer makes it easy to buy less traditional colors like the purple shade Depravity, but these have no staying power. The wear off easily and while many MUR products have 4-5 stars on Ulta’s website you will see most of their liquid lipsticks and lip kits have 3 stars or less. The Salvation Intense Lip Lacquer is not much better when it comes to long-wear, you will be reapplying these throughout the day even if you do not eat or drink. If you have a meal, they will absolutely be gone.

Overall, the Makeup Revolution  brand is continuing to make better and better products. They seem to have their finger on the pulse, knowing what is hot right now and which popular products will tempt makeup lovers into trying a low priced dupe. Do you have a favorite MUR product? What has your experience with the brand been like? Comment and let me know!

Makeup Revolution Blushing Hearts Blusher

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick

Swatching My Entire Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick Collection

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched my two videos on my top 12 liquid lipstick brands, you will find out my #1 pick in this post.

This is my full review of Jeffree Star Cosmetic’s Velour Liquid Lipsticks. I talk about which colors I like and which I did not, the differences in the formula between colors, how well they hold up during/after eating and drinking, if they’re transfer proof, everything you could want to know!

I swatch the 15 colors in my collection: Mannequin, Celebrity Skin, Gemini, Rose Matter, Doll parts, Calabasas, Candyass, Masochist, Androgyny, Sagittarius, Redrum, Rich Blood, Watermelon Soda, Pumpkin Pie, and Unicorn Blood!

My Top 12 Favorite Liquid Lipstick Brands!

I had to split this into two videos so it wasn’t too long! When I set out to make a video about my top ten liquid lipsticks, I realized that I had twelve different brands so I decided to rank them all. When I don’t like a liquid lipstick, I return it, so these are all brands and formulas that I like – but some I like more than others.

The brands that I rank include: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, Ofra, Hard Candy Velvet Mousse, Wet n Wild liquid catsuit, Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick, Tarte tarteist quick dry matte lip paint, Crystal Hearts Cosmetics, Colourpop Ultra Satin, Makeup Revolution Salvation Velvet Lacquer, Milani Amore Metallics, Colourpop Metallic liquid lipstick, Maybelline Vivid Velvet, Palladio Velvet Matte Lip Cream, and Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick.

My First Storytime Video – I Got the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette Free!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Reniassance PaletteI had been wanting the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette for the longest time! At $42 it’s not a cheap palette but the value is definitely there. I had swatched this in Ulta many times and more than once had it in my hand to check out and talked myself out of it because I just didn’t NEED it. Finally when I had the chance to get this for free, from Ulta so yes it is 100% authentic, I jumped on it. It took having the guts to ask a question that could have been considered rude but I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained!

If you’d like to hear the story of how I got it for free, in my very first storytime video, check it out! It’s not clickbait, I do have to warn you it’s probably not something that you can replicate.

My Instagram Social Experiment Results – How To Get Followers Without Being Shady

If you missed part one of this post, describing what my experiment was and why I did it check it out here. Tl;dr it: I noticed I had literally hundreds of accounts following and then unfollowing me quickly so I identified some red flags for accounts that do it and I decided to try it myself.

Does follow unfollow really get you lots of instagram followers?

I was curious after 200+ accounts followed/unfollowed me, most following and unfollowing within 24 hours, does this shady practice actually get you lots of followers? Are people that dumb because I caught on pretty quickly..? So I gave it a try. I followed ten accounts a day for a week using specific criteria on ones that I thought would be most likely to follow back. As I stated in my last post, I have removed the name and username of the example accounts that follow/unfollow because it is not my intention to call anyone specific out.

Most of the people I talk with on instagram, my followers and those I consider friends, seem to agree that follow/unfollow is rude, shady, or downright evil! So why do so many accounts do it? Does it really get you tons of new followers?

I followed accounts on instagram to get more followers

Boring white generic instagram feed exampleUnlike the follow/unfollow accounts I did not unfollow people immediately. However I wasn’t interested in all 70 of the accounts I followed so I will be unfollowing some of them. No disrespect to any of those accounts – not every account produces quality photos and as our feeds become clogged we do have to pick and choose who we want to see. I don’t follow accounts that only post giveaways for example, because I like to see photos of what people makeup are using and the looks they are creating with it! It’s also my personal preference but I’m not a fan of the super white, generic, lifestyle type accounts – they all look the same and it this point that look is pretty boring and overdone. I know you know the ones I mean! I like personality, not feeds where I can’t tell one photo from another user’s and where it looks like you’re just trying to appeal to the most number of people. No judgment that is just my preference, to me makeup = COLOR!

I am not unfollowing anyone who followed me back however! 🙂

how can you get more instagram followers

Here is the result of my follow/unfollow experiment.

I followed 70 accounts and 15 followed back. That is a lot of work for not much payoff! I think it could be that people don’t automatically follow back anymore because we are so used to people unfollowing and following just to get the follow. It’s possible some people looked at my feed and weren’t interested and decided not to follow back. Probably some don’t use instagram daily. Overall the time it took to follow and unfollow didn’t seem worth it to me, of course I made an effort to see who had actually followed back and didn’t unfollow them – it is probably quicker for people that don’t care about following anyone and just batch follow and unfollow. That to me still just feels shady and douchey, even with a low payoff I guess it would work to get followers if you are doing it with hundreds of accounts but I can’t see doing that myself.

Unfortunately the best way to get followers is a slow way – to create great content and to slowly build a REAL base of engaged followers over time. I will be sharing the results of my giveaway experiment in the future so stay tuned for those stats!

 

How To Get More Instagram Followers Without Being a Douchebag

I recently did a giveaway on my Instagram. I had heard from friends that people will unfollow you after they don’t win and I had seen on other accounts that people say they track that so people can’t enter future giveaways if they unfollow. I decided it would make sense to do that, so I downloaded a couple “follower tracker” apps. Since my account is small and I don’t make money doing this I wanted only free apps and after using a couple I liked “Followers for Instagram – Followers And Likes” by Social Mana LLC so I kept it and uninstalled the rest.

Follow and unfollow trying to get more instagram followers

Getting more instagram followers app that tracks followersIt was once I started monitoring that I realized how many accounts follow and then unfollow 12-24 hours later. It seemed like the vast majority of instagram followers were unfollowing soon after following. I am sure you have noticed this yourself but what I didn’t realize before I started using the app was the huge number of instagram accounts that do this! I have 326 followers right now and incredibly, over 200  have followed and unfollowed!

Since the app tracks everything, I can see the vast majority unfollow soon after following so it’s not an engagement thing – the accounts and people that actually care about following me keep following so it’s not a content issue.

 

You can spot who is going to unfollow and just not follow back

Follow unfollow instagram app accounts with thousands of followers tend to unfollow quicklyAs far as I can tell, everyone thinks follow/unfollow is uncool and not a good way to try to get followers, yet plenty of accounts do it. I actually have three instagram accounts and beginning to track unfollows and engagement I can easily tell who is going to unfollow me quickly and I’ve started just not following back unless the account actually interests me. I do unfollow when someone unfollows me, it seems only fair.

Red flags for accounts that are likely going to do the evil follow/unfollow are having thousands of followers but only following a few accounts. I want to show examples but I’m not trying to call out accounts so I have removed names and usernames. The picture to the right (ironically calls herself “genuine” but followed unfollowed within 24 hours) has 15,000+ followers but doesn’t follow many so I did not follow it back. I was not surprised to notice they unfollowed me soon after following.

Red flags for accounts that will unfollow you

Business accounts nearly always unfollow. Unless it is a brand that you have heard of before and been interacting with (i.e. you followed them first and are familiar with the brand, they have shared your content, they have commented on a post, etc.) they will likely unfollow you. I never follow back a brand that isn’t one I know and use such as Tarte, Covergirl, Maybelline, BH Cosmetics, etc.

The “brand” in the photo of the left doesn’t actually seem to be a real brand and may actually be a spam account. They have over 4,000 followers and are only following 3 and only have 2 posts which is another red flag! I did not follow this account because it did not interest me. It unfollowed me within a day.

Accounts that cover Different SUbjects than you will likely unfollow you

Another red flag is a large account that is not about what your account is about. My accounts cover makeup, fitness and health, and psychology mental health, respectively. If a predominantly fitness account follows my makeup account, that’s a red flag to me that they will be unfollowing me because my subject matter is different than theirs. I have also had really random genres such as sports cars follow my makeup account and again that was a red flag that they would unfollow. I have lots of “lifestyle” accounts and fashion accounts follow me and every single one unfollows.

Does follow unfollow get you more instagram followers?

Follow unfollow on instagram red flags to help get followers and avoid unfollowsI was curious after watching hundreds of people unfollow me. Does follow/unfollow REALLY get you a bunch of followers? So I decided to try it myself. Nothing outlandish, for one week I followed ten accounts that I found through hashtags I have used or on the “explore” page of Instagram.

I wanted to make sure to keep it to accounts that were similar to mine so I had the following criteria for those I would follow with no other reason than for them to follow me back:

  1. They had to be makeup focused
  2. They had to have around the same number of followers as me. The reasoning for this is that accounts with thousands of followers are unlikely to follow back in general.
  3. They had to have recent instagram photos, within the last 24-28 hours. If someone doesn’t post regularly they may not get on instagram daily so they wouldn’t have the opportunity to follow back during the experiment.

Those were my only criteria, follow accounts like mine, with a similar number of followers, who were posting similar content. I followed ten accounts a day for a week.

Stay tuned for my results!