VALENTINE’S DAY BEAUTY – HARD CANDY

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Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. A holiday which involves love and sweets. And sometimes shiny jewels. Which, let’s be honest, is always a stellar gift. But let’s get back to the sweets. Lots and lots of delicious, sweet candy treats. Natasha and I both have a sweet tooth, but I may have a wee tiny addiction extreme fondness for candy. But that’s neither here nor there… what we’re talking about today is cosmetics. One of our other favourite subjects. I can get so side tracked when it comes to sweets!

When we heard about the cosmetic company Hard Candy, we were intrigued. We thought it would make for a sweet Valentine post and give us a chance to play with some new make up that we’ve never tried before.

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Hard Candy has the cutest packaging, they offer a wide range of products from bronzers, foundations, illuminators to nail polishes and the prices are f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s! You can afford to have fun and experiment with a bunch of new products! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of my years as a beauty advisor it’s that a product doesn’t have to be expensive to be awesome. I think we’ve just discovered that with some of the Hard Candy products.

Fun Fact:
Hard Candy was founded in USA in 1995 by two sisters. The line began with one of the sisters mixing a nail polish to create an original light blue shade called ‘Sky’. After gaining much interest and popularity they started to sell it to major retailers. Later that same year the brand literally became an over night success when actress Alicia Silverstone appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and he commented on her interesting colour of nail polish. The rest is history as they say.

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GLOW ALL THE WAY BAKED BLUSH in shade HONEYMOON ($6.98)

This blush applies and blends easily and can be used in 2 ways to create different effects. When applied dry it creates a softer look more like a high lighter/illuminator. When we applied it wet the colour appeared more dense/pigmented and looked more like a blush colour rather then a high lighter.
Tip: I prefer to use one of my favourite blushes then use this baked blush dry on my cheek bones. It adds the perfect warm glow and lasts for hours. So pretty.

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TOP TEN CLASSICS EYE SHADOW PALETTEPINKING OF YOU ($6.98)

The eye shadow palette offers a good mix of glitter, matte and shimmer shades to create a wide variety of desired looks. We do recommend using a base primer before applying the shadow (any shadows) to get the ultimate result and staying power. Also these shadows are very powdery so we found that you need to initially apply the shadow with a sponge applicator first then use a blending brush after to blend out.

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PLUMPING SERUM VOLUMIZING LIP GLOSS in shade CRUSH ON YOU ($6.98)

We are both lip gloss/lip product junkies. We need lip gloss rehab I’m pretty certain.
However, Natasha avoids any ‘plumping’ lip products like the plaque since she had a very intense reaction awhile back. Something she would rather forget. But as for me, bring on the plumper!
I loved this plumping lip gloss. It is non-sticky, long wearing and actually does plump my lips slightly. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot just because of the price point but it is actually one of the better plumping glosses I’ve tried. It so turns out that a whole lot of other people out there in the world agree as it is rated as one of the top recommended plumping glosses. I’m so happy I stumbled upon this little gem!

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PLUMPING SERUM GEL LIPSTICK in shade DESIRED ($5.98)

We were really pleasantly surprised with the quality of this lipstick. It is infused with mango butter so it literally glides on and feels like butter, is extremely hydrating and the colour actually lasted longer then some of the high end brands we own. Totally impressed.

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SHEER GLOW ALL THE WAY in BLUSHING BABE is an illuminator in a light golden pink shade. It is also available in a beautiful bronze shade. 

I found that this product actually was almost an identical version of one of my favourite products from Benefit cosmetics called High Beam. Sheer Glow comes in a much larger size tube and also costs a mere fraction. I typically use this product on my cheek bones after I apply my blush and a small dab down the bridge of my nose, chest and occasionally bare shoulders when desired. I would completely recommend this product. It’s definitely a steal!

Tip: The Sheer Glow All The Way illuminators (in either shades) applied to your chest, bare shoulders and on tanned legs is gorgeous!

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I used the Glow All The Way blush in Honeymoon on the apples of my cheeks with a dab of the Sheer Glow illuminator on top of the cheek bones. It created a gorgeous subtle glow which I love. It actually wore through the whole day with no need to reapply.

Where to buy:
Hard Candy is available exclusively at Walmart.

Connect with Hard Candy Online: Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Hope you guys have a very special Valentine’s Day!

Laura & Natasha xo

Decadent Double Layer Chocolate Cake

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Chocolate Lovers – this one’s for you.

This cake is hands down, the best homemade chocolate cake recipe ever. You’ve gotta trust us on this one – we’ve tested many different kinds of chocolate cake recipes over the years, and this one blows away all the others.

This cake is soft, light, fluffy, and perfectly chocolatey. {All the things a good chocolate cake should be.}

The cake’s super fluffy & moist texture is due in part to a few things.. the use of buttermilk, and coffee! That’s right – 1 cup of hot coffee is used in this cake to help accentuate the chocolate flavour. Don’t worry, it will NOT make the cake taste like coffee. Buttermilk is also used to help keep the cake super moist. (Buttermilk really is a great baking ingredient for cakes & cupcakes.)

For the frosting, we decided to ditch the usual chocolate buttercream that is often used for this kind of cake and went with a Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting instead. Neither of us are big fans of buttercreams, as they are usually extremely sweet and overpowering. We always tend to frost cakes using a whipping cream frosting because it is a lot lighter, less sweet, and just seems to taste better & fresher.

Natasha made this cake a few weeks ago for a birthday, and everybody raved about the cake so we decided to make a Valentine’s version! This chocolate cake is perfect for any occasion – decorate it however you wish! 🙂

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Nummm! You can see just how moist & fresh the cake is.

This cake is amazing because it actually stays fresh like this for days after baking! {Keep cake covered at room temperature for up to 4 days to ensure freshness, or covered and refrigerated for up to 6 days.}

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Decadent Double Layer Chocolate Cake
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For the Cake
  1. 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder {not dutch processed}
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  9. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  10. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  11. 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting Ingredients
  1. 250g whipping cream
  2. Nestle Nesquik Chocolate Syrup (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Butter & flour two 9-inch round cake pans & set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, & salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, oil, room temperature eggs, & vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined. Add in the coffee. {Batter will be very wet – it is supposed to be. don’t worry!}
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 prepared baking pans and bake for approx. 24-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the beater/whip attachment, whip the whipping cream on medium-high speed for 2-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in chocolate syrup to taste, and mix.
Notes
  1. It is very important that eggs are at room temperature for this recipe! using eggs at room temperature will allow the cake to rise properly. using cold eggs could ruin your cake.
Rose & Lea http://roseandlea.com/

Happy Valentine’s Baking!
 Natasha & Laura xo