Brown sugar and oatmeal: at home beauty treatments and yummy treats, too!

Today’s post comes from the amazing Ann-Catherin, author of the blog No Freshman Fifteen.  Ann-Catherin is young, gorgeous, and talented, and she specializes in turning healthy ingredients into easy to make, delicious food.  Today, she shares how to use brown sugar and oatmeal both as at-home beauty treatments and as wonderful treats to enjoy while getting beautiful.

The stunning Ann-Catherin from

The stunning Ann-Catherin from

The beginning of the new school year also marks the beginning of many commitments. Whether it be clubs, sports, or jobs, students are busy this time of year. I can speak from experience – I usually don’t get home until eight o’clock every evening. That’s when I start my homework.

Amid all that hustle and bustle, however, I think it’s important to find some family time. And for all you mothers or grandmothers with daughters or granddaughters, you need some special time bonding with your girl. It’s so easy to lose sight of things while rushing from ballet to swimming to the supermarket.

Chewy Snickerdoodles

Chewy Snickerdoodles

I’d like to propose something: an evening spent with your girl (if possible, no guys allowed) to get some much-needed “us” time. In honor of Beauty Info Zone, try a special beauty routine to pamper yourself. In honor of No Freshman Fifteen, make some treats to accompany the relaxation. Each beauty recipe/treat recipe share an easy to find ingredient.

I have two different beauty-recipe combinations, and you and your daughter or granddaughter can choose which one you like best. Try one or try both! The important thing is that you take time with each other and have a little fun.

Chewy Snickerdoodles dough

Chewy Snickerdoodles dough

Option 1: Brown Sugar Honey Scrub & Chewy Snickerdoodles

*Brown Sugar Facial Scrub

1 Tablespoon Raw Honey

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

  1. Place the honey and brown sugar in a bowl and mix together well.
  2. When applying, wash your face thoroughly. Then apply a small amount of scrub (roughly ½ teaspoon) to your skin and massage gently in a circular motion. Try to avoid your eyes. Rinse your face and pat dry, and enjoy your newly exfoliated, glowy skin!
Chewy Snickerdoodles

Chewy Snickerdoodles

Chewy Snickerdoodles


  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup nonfat, plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tablespoons smooth almond butter (
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Chewy Snickerdoodles ready to bake...

Chewy Snickerdoodles ready to bake…


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the 1/3 Cup brown sugar, 4 Tablespoons of honey, ¼ Cup greek yogurt, 3 ounces cream cheese, 6 Tablespoons of almond butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 egg yolks into a large bowl.
  4. Beat with a mixer at high speed until well-blended. Make sure that there are no brown sugar or cream cheese clumps.
  5. Slowly add in 2/3 of a Cup all-purpose flour, continuing to mix.
  6. Add 2/3 of a Cup whole-wheat flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon. Beat with a mixer until well-combined.
  7. Combine 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon with 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl.
  8. Drop the dough with a rounded tablespoon onto the parchment paper, leaving roughly an inch between cookies. Sprinkle a little of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough.
  9. Bake for 6 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Remove the cookies from the oven and flatten them with the back of a spatula or fork. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over them.
  11. Bake for an additional 8 minutes.
  12. Let cool and enjoy 🙂 (They’re also great while still warm!)  Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Oatmeal...not just for cookies!

Oatmeal…not just for cookies

Option 2: Oatmeal Face Mask & Whole Grain ( Quick Bread

*Oatmeal Face Mask

2 Tablespoons rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

water (enough to make a paste)

  1. Grind the oats in a food processor.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and enough water to make a paste.
  3. Apply the mask to a clean, dry face for 10 minutes. Rinse to remove.
Whole Grain Quick Bread

Whole Grain Quick Bread

Whole Grain Quick Bread


  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut or slow-cooking rolled oats, uncooked
  • ½ Cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds (shell off)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of pepper & dash of salt
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup steel-cut or slow-cooking rolled oats, uncooked
  • ¼ cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds (shell off)
Whole Grain Quick Bread

Whole Grain Quick Bread


  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×5 inch bread loaf pan with olive oil.
  3. Combine the 3 cups whole-wheat flour, ½ cup oats, ½ cup sunflower seeds, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, a dash of pepper, and a dash of salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the 2 cups buttermilk to the egg.
  5. Add the egg and buttermilk to the flour mixture. Stir until combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared bread loaf pan.
  7. Sprinkle ½ cup of oats and ¼ cup sunflower seeds over the top of the dough. Push it down with a spatula so that the oats and seeds won’t fall off when the bread is finished. Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. After making this bread, I spread some of the leftover cream cheese from the Snickerdoodles onto it. It was the best thing ever – warm bread with smooth cream cheese. Just a tip.
put on a little spread...yum!

put on a little spread…yum!

* All the recipes are from my blog No Freshman Fifteen.  The Brown Sugar Scrub is from The Kitchen McCabe and the Oatmeal Face Mask is from About Style.

Top 5 homemade skin care treatments with coconut oil

Nutiva collageSince I write about beauty for a living, I spend a lot of time researching skin care ingredients and how they affect the skin and body. I am also fascinated with ingredients that work from the inside out, like vitamins and foods that help create a strong body and a beautiful complexion.  I’ve started incorporating coconut oil into my diet in place of butter, shortening, and vegetable oil because it does three things:  1.  is easily processed by the liver into lots of energy; 2.  protects the body from infections, heart disease, and illness; and 3.  helps you lose weight.  Not only that, it tastes terrific.  So when Nutiva sent us their Coconut Oil (15 fl. oz $11.99), I was already happy – but not as happy as I became when I realized what a great ingredient it is for topical skin care.

Nutiva Coconut Oil

Nutiva Coconut Oil

Nutiva Coconut Oil - organic and sustainable

Nutiva Coconut Oil – organic and sustainable

Coconut oil is solid at lower temperatures, and liquefies at temps above 76 degrees farenheit.  I find it’s best for skin care recipes when it is at that ‘almost about to melt’ stage.  I’ve tried tons of recipes for face masks, body scrubs, face cleansers, and hair treatments, and these are my top five favorites. Be sure to use organic and raw ingredients when you can!

1.  Coconut oil hand and body scrub

1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 cup sea salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together and use this in the shower or just leave it next to the sink for a quick hand scrub.  It leaves hands super soft and moisturized.

2.  Moisturizing coconut oil facial mask

2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 mashed avocado

Mix together and apply immediately.  Leave it on for 20 – 30 minutes then rinse off.  This gives skin a great glow!

3.  Coconut oil facial cleanser

1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 drops tea tree oil, 2 drops lavender oil – add some lemon juice if your skin is oily or prone to blackheads

This mixture dissolves even the most tenacious makeup and leaves skin hydrated.  Be sure to avoid the eye area – use straight coconut oil to remove eye makeup.  It’s the best.

4.  Coconut oil foot scrub

3 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

After scrubbing and rinsing off this scrub, apply straight coconut oil to feet then cover with socks – in the morning your feet will be amazingly soft.

5.  Coconut oil hair mask

1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon honey – double the recipe for long hair.  Heat the mixture up on the stove for a great hot oil treatment.  Apply to dry hair from roots to ends, cover with a shower cap and let soak in for a half hour.  Then, shampoo and condition like normal and you will be astounded at how soft and shiny your hair has become.

Nutiva Coconut Oil

Nutiva Coconut Oil

Coconut oil by itself makes a great eye cream, lip moisturizer, and makeup remover!  I particularly like Nutiva Coconut Oil because it is:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Virgin
  • Non-hydrogenated
  • No cholesterol
  • Made from fresh coconuts

Give homemade skin care treatments a try.  It’s a lot of fun, and the results are fabulous.  With the holidays coming up, homemade skin care treatments in cute little jars make great gifts (except for the one with avocado – that has to be used immediately).  Believe me, coconut oil is going to become your best friend, both in recipes for food and in recipes for skin care.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

GrandCentralBeauty serves up some S.M.A.R.T. skin care

Most ‘grand centrals’ around the world are examples of classic architecture and modern efficiency. The New York skin care line GrandCentralBeauty is based on those concepts. In fact, their motto is “Classic Treatment, Modern Results.” They have three products that are meant to be layered for skin perfection. GrandCentralBeauty sent us their Express Facial Kit ($32, a $40 value) which is a great way to try out the line.

This cute wristband comes with the Express Kit

This cute wristband comes with the Express Facial Kit

All of GrandCentralBeauty’s products are S.M.A.R.T.  So what does S.M.A.R.T. stand for? Smooths, Moisturizes, Anti-aging, Redness-reduction, Tones. All products are meant to compliment whatever routine you are currently using, which is definitely smart in my opinion.

The Express Facial Kit includes a deluxe S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting MASK, a deluxe S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting POLISHER, and a deluxe S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting SERUM+PRIMER, all packaged in a cute pink travel tote.

Grand Central Beauty

GrandCentralBeauty Active Mask Powder (held together with the wrist band!)

the mask

the mask and booster

The S.M.A.R.T. SKIN PERFECTING® MASK is a powder mask that is mixed with the accompanying liquid Intensive Booster.  I love powder masks because they keep a whole lot longer than masks that are already liquid. One jar of powder makes a single very thick mask that ultimately peels off and looks like a Halloween mask.

the mask

the powder mask – mix it up right in this container

The mask does all the S.M.A.R.T. things, plus it brightens skin and reduces oiliness. It really is a whole lot of fun to use, too. The powder is pre-measured, and the mask is left on for fifteen minutes. It cleans out pores like crazy – you just might faint when you see all the gunk in the mask that used to be on and in your face.

the polisher and serum

the Perfecting Polisher and Perfecting Serum

The S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting SERUM+PRIMER has a slew of cool ingredients, including squalane from brazilian sugar cane, apple, watermelon, lentil, rice and soybean protein. I think it works better as a serum than a primer – I need a little more spackle than this provides – but if you prefer a lighter primer this is a great option.

full size Skin Perfecting Polisher

full size Skin Perfecting Polisher

Skin Perfecting Polisher swatch

Skin Perfecting Polisher swatch

The S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting POLISHER is a seriously cool product. It’s a 30-Second Multi-Tasking Toning Peel. Looks like a serum, doesn’t it? But it is a peel with ingredients like multi-fruit acids including apple, lemon, sugarcane and orange, botanical extracts like peony, and caviar-like beads that exfoliate and polish.

This is applied to a clean, dry face, then massaged until these little spongy beads show up (about 30 seconds or so). Those beads are actually dirt and dead skin cells…ewwww…but fascinating! Just buff them off into the sink, and no need to even rinse. Do this before the mask and follow with the serum and it’s a complete pampering facial.

Of the three products, the Skin Polisher and Perfecting Mask are the standouts. If you are interested in GrandCentralBeauty, the Express Facial is a great way to try everything and see what works best for your skin.  In fact, I would say that it is a S.M.A.R.T. buy!  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

At home facials

Today we have a terrific guest post by the beautiful Aleya Bamdad, owner of the beauty blog called Spontaneous Chick.  Take some time for yourself, follow her advice and indulge in a little pampering.  Enjoy!!  – Lisa and Marcia

Even if you don’t have time to get a professional facial you can still get a great facial at home so that your skin will always look radiant and healthy. Here are some tips:

Remove Makeup– Start by removing any makeup that you have applied on to your face.
Cleanse– Wash your skin with a gentle cleanser that is made for your skin type. Be sure to apply the cleanser by making small circles on your skin and to wash it off with lukewarm water. This step is important because it cleans off any dirt or leftover makeup from your skin.
Exfoliate– It’s important to exfoliate your skin so that you remove all the dead skin cells that have been building up over time. As with the cleanser, use an exfoliator that’s right for your skin type and apply it to your skin by making small circles. Don’t forget to exfoliate by your nose, but stay away from your eyes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Tone– Even though you’ve washed and exfoliated your skin, it’s still possible that you may have some dirt or debris left on your skin so be sure to use a toner on your face to remove anything that may be leftover.
Steam– Pour some hot water into a bowl and throw some chamomile tea bags in there. Then put a towel over your head and allow the steam to enter your pores. Breathing in the chamomile fragrance will help to relax you. Be careful to not tip the bowl over because you will get burned.
Mask- Apply your favorite face mask to your skin. As with any other product that you use on our skin, use  a facemask made for your skin type. Be sure to not move your face when the mask is on your skin. Wash the mask off with lukewarm water.
Eyes- While the facial mask is on your skin, be sure to apply some cucumber slices to your eyes. This will help to replenish moisture to your eye area and to reduce under eye circles.
Moisturize- When you apply moisturizer on your skin during a facial you should apply more than you normally would because you want to give your skin an extra boost of moisture and softness to make it glow.
Massage- When you’ve applied the moisturizer onto your skin, make sure to massage it in gently. This final step will help to relax your muscles and really get the moisturizer to soak into your skin.
– Aleya Bamdad, owner of the beauty blog Spontaneous Chick.