Did anyone say Cheese Cake

Everyone has a love affair with cheesecake. At least anyone I know! Including myself of course 😉 This is why I thought I’d share with you all this super easy to make and delicious cheesecake recipe. cake ed 7About a year ago I found this amazingly fluffy, fresh tasting and delicious cheesecake recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com. Yes you read well…Fresh and delicious AND so easy to make, you’ll want to make this over and over again. It definitely has become one of the staples in my kitchen. I have not found one person yet who doesn’t absolutely love this cake. cake ed 2

After making this a couple of times for different occasions, I changed the recipe a bit, to fit my and my family’s taste. If you want the original recipe you can find it here https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8350/chantals-new-york-cheesecake/.

The few things I changed/added:

  •  I use 2 packs of 8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese instead of 4. And I add one pack (10-12oz) of mascarpone cheese.
  •  I almost always decorate it with freshly whipped cream and berries. It seems like this is everyone’s favorite mix.
  •  I add one spoon of vanilla sugar in the mix for a more vibrant vanilla taste.
  •  Sometimes I sprinkle confectioner sugar powder or vanilla sugar powder at the end to jazz up the presentation 🙂

Remember that even with 2 packs of cream cheese and 1 mascarpone, you’ll get a pretty big quantity of cake to bake. So I always have 2 baking trays ready: a big one for the main cake and I always bake a smaller one just to give away, or to have as an extra.

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Bon appetite!

xoxo, Bianca 

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New Year…New Skin

friends-315_2016_03A mom’s schedule can be complicated. Taking care of the kids, and the house, doctor appointments, sports practice, maybe a job too, all these can lead to having no time left for yourself. Sometimes you are just so tired at night that, you fall asleep with your makeup and clothes on. In the morning you don’t know how to get out of the house faster to take the kids to school and make it to work, and you barely have time to wash your face and put on whatever cream you find handy on the bathroom counter. But, there is no greater mistake than not washing your face and not removing your makeup at night. Sleeping with your makeup on will age your skin 7 times faster! And of course, no one wants that!

Because I know how busy moms can be, and because I also know a thing or two about skin care, I’ve decided to try to help you in the New Year. New Year, new skin resolution! That’s right! I’ve put together a very simple general skin regimen with some active ingredients, some being preventive some being corrective, and no matter how busy you are or what your skin type is, you can do it! Unless of course you have a special skin condition that you’re seeing a skin care therapist or a doctor for. Take a look!

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Morning

  1. Always wash your face. You need a gentle cleanser for mornings. Something that won’t strip off and dry out your skin. A couple of cleansers that I love and are super accessible are: Toleriane Dermo Cleanser from La Roche Posay and Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. After washing the skin, dab the skin dry and follow withIMG_34292. 5-6 drops of a very good Anti-oxidant complex. We hear this word a few times a day, so by now we know that anti-oxidant rich foods and products are working only in our benefit. More specifically, they help neutralize free radicals which occur in our skin due to sun damage, pollution, smoking (even passive smoking), alcohol, not enough rest, etc. Free radicals are the damaging factors responsible for collagen and elastin breakage, leading to premature aging of the skin. This is why a very good quality anti-oxidant product in a stable formulation is essential for preventing this kind of damage and premature aging. My favorite one for many years by far has been CE Ferulic- for drier skin types, and Phloretin CF– for oily skin types, both from Skin Ceuticals.IMG_34252. And a mineral sunscreen, applied religiously to your face, neck, chest and the back of your hands. This will protect your skin throughout the day from the damaging UVAs and UVBs, responsible for the aging of your skin as well as the increased risk of skin cancers. I recommend PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45 as well as Mineral Tinted Cream SPF 30 from MDSolarSciences.

Evening

  1. Remove all your makeup thoroughly. And only after that you start cleansing your face. At night you can use a more exfoliating cleanser, in order to remove a lot of the debris, oils and makeup accumulated throughout the day. My favorite cleanser for night time is Effaclar Creme Moussante Desincrustante from La Roche Posay. IMG_3428 (1)
  2. Every other night apply a Retinol/RetinA product on clean dry skin. This is your one corrective for night time. If you don’t have time for anything else, this is going to help regenerate your skin over night. I personally use medical grade RetinA or Tretinoin, but sometimes I also like to use the PCA Skin Retinol, which is one of the  best on the market. And it comes in a few versions, depending on your skin’s needs.IMG_34263. On the nights when I do not apply the Vitamin A product (#2), I like to use a Glycolic Acid Gel. My go to lately is Glicoisdin from the Spanish company ISDIN. Glycolic acid is known to help brighten and resurface sun damaged and aging skin, while it also helps increase your skin’s elasticity. This product in particular is also somewhat hydrating, having a very light weight gel consistency.

And this is all if your time does not permit you to do more. I promise you that if you follow these very simple steps every morning and night, your skin will change within a couple of months.

And no more excuses like “I don’t have time for me” or “I don’t have time for a skin care regimen”. You will wear your skin for the rest of your life, so help it look and feel its best!

                                                                                                                                      xoxo, Bianca

Family Goals – Mexico 2017

A couple of months ago, before my very good friend Nina moved back to the US, I asked her to do a photo shoot for me and my family. She insists she is not a photographer but I think she is a super talented one. So we went out to our backyard here in Mexico City and this is the result. This is just a glimpse of our life and family of four here in Mexico.

Every single day is a new adventure here. We discover new things, amazing aromatic flavors and foods, breathtaking places and most importantly beautiful people who have become our family here. IMG_0697IMG_0503

My girls

Loving mama

Thank you, Mexico!

How to clean your makeup brushes

So you want beautiful skin. Who doesn’t?! You’re willing to pay big money for the best skin care products and beautifying treatments out there, but did you know that the quality of your makeup and the makeup brushes you use play a huge role in how healthy your skin is?

Yes, that’s right! The makeup brushes too! Because with each use, dirt, oils, dead skin, and bacteria get trapped in between the fine bristles, and if we don’t clean them regularly, we apply all of those things on our skin with each makeup application.

Therefore, I will detail here how to cleanse your makeup brushes effortlessly.

First of all, you need to wash your brushes once a week. They take a few hours to dry out, so make sure you have spare ones to use or wash them after you have applied your makeup for the day. You could also use a hair dryer to dry them out quicker.

So you’ll need:

1. Warm running water

2. Baby shampoo or a sulfate/paraben free shampoo

3. Paper towels

You apply a few drops of shampoo in the palm of your hand, run the brush under lukewarm water until it is wet, then swirl the brush in the palm of your hand for a few seconds lathering up the shampoo. Rinse the brush and repeat this procedure until the foam and water in your palm is clear. Shake extra water off your brushes and lay them flat on a bed of paper towels until the next day.

And… Voila! Not hard or time consuming.

Secondly, I’d like to mention that after each use, it is recommended that you spray a disinfectant spray on each brush, and wipe off the residual makeup on a paper towel. I personally use the Color Science disinfectant spray, but you can use any daily brush cleaner you like.

 

Believe me, your skin will thank you!

Comprehensive guide on how to use your skin care products

products-2-editedBeauty is a billion dollar industry; therefore, we have a very large palette of cosmetic, skin care, and medical products to choose from. This can be overwhelming for many of us most of the time.

First of all, it is hard to choose the products that are the most appropriate for our skin type and condition. Second of all, it is both time consuming and difficult to figure out the order in which we should use these products.

So I’ve decided to elucidate this mystery. Every day, I write comprehensive skin care regimens for my patients, so I will put these in writing here for everybody who is interested in learning how to layer correctly.

MORNING

  1. Mild Cleanser. Generally it is recommended that you don’t strip your skin off of all the “good” oils that it naturally produces overnight. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use a very gentle milky cleanser to wash the face; my personal preference is to use room temperature water to wash my face. Hot water is dehydrating and drying for the skin. Skin Ceuticals Gentle Cleanser or Avene Clean AC are perfect for the morning wash. 
  2. Toner. It’s not a must. However, if you love that squeaky clean feeling, after you wash your face you can use a toner or astringent. You have to make sure that your toner does not contain alcohol, as that would dry out the skin, and in time damage it, just like hot water. I personally don’t like to use toners too much, but it’s just my preference. 
  3. Serum. This is one of the most important steps in skin care. It is as important as using a Retinoic acid at night, and using sunscreen during the day. I recommend a concentrated antioxidant serum every morning, in the form of a dropper or lotion. The reason we need to use an antioxidant serum every morning is because antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that damage our skin throughout the day. Think of free radicals for the skin and body in general, like cavities are for the teeth. They damage from the inside by breaking down the collagen and the elasticity inside the skin. My personal all-time favorite antioxidant serums are Phloretin CF and CE Ferulic from Skin Ceuticals. 
  4. Moisturizer. The reason we apply moisturizer after the serum is because moisturizers have a different chemical formulation which does not allow them to penetrate into the skin too much. They create an occlusive layer which locks in the previous products and the naturally occurring moisture. Now in order to avoid too many steps in the morning, I generally prefer to use a moisturizer with an SPF 20 or 30 already included, like Avene Hydrance Optimale SPF25.  But if you prefer a separate sunscreen, this would be your next step.
  5. Sunscreen. I am a big believer in physical/mineral sunscreen. I personally don’t like the idea of a chemical sunscreen, simply because physical sunscreen creates a protective “shield” which reflects away damaging sun rays, while the chemical ones neutralize the damaging sun rays once they have already entered the skin. Therefore, some of my favorite physical sunscreens are MD Solar Science Tinted Cream , Physical Matte UV Defense SPF50 from Skin Ceuticals, and Color Science Sunforgettable SPF 50 in case you have oily/acne prone skin and prefer a powder sunscreen. 

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  1. Cleanser. In the evening, it is important that we cleanse the skin very well, and wash off all the dirt, pollution, and residual products. If you use makeup, make sure you remove all makeup first, with a makeup remover like Micellar water. After removing all your makeup, you’ll want to wash the face with a foamy, possibly medicated cleanser.
  2. Exfoliation. I strongly recommend that you exfoliate your skin at home. If you have a Clarisonic Brush, you can use it every day (only once) because it provides just the right amount of exfoliation on a daily basis, without being too abrasive. If you like to exfoliate with other products, such as mild facial scrubs or exfoliating serums (like Blemish and Age Defense from Skin Ceuticals), this would be the time to do so.
  3. Treatment product. After exfoliation, I recommend that you use any medicated products you might have, such as Salicylic Acid, Retinoic Acid, or Hydroquinone, for acne, anti-aging, or brightening purposes. Generally if you have a good Retinol or RetinA product, I recommend that you use only a pea size amount at a time. Take one pea size amount of that product and spread it evenly all over the face, avoiding the area around the eyes and the mouth. Using it this way, you’ll avoid the unpleasant irritation and peeling that occurs almost every time a retinoic acid product is used incorrectly. One of my favorite Retinol products lately is the PCA Retinol.
  4.  Serum. Now, you’ll want to apply a hydrating/anti-aging and replenishing serum to face, neck, chest, and hands. Or, you can also use the anti-oxidant serum from the morning. A little extra Vitamin C never harmed anyone! My favorite serum I like to use at night though is Metacell Renewal B3.
  5. Night moisturizer OR facial oil. In order to lock everything in and help with the repairing process over night, I recommend a good peptide cream or a replenishing oil like Jojoba oil, for the face, neck, and chest. I really like this Perricone MD Neuropeptide Firming Cream, but it is on the pricey side. 
  6. Eye treatment. Last but not least, a good eye cream, eye serum, or even pure Vitamin E will help the sensitive skin around your eyes while you sleep. I usually apply the same treatment around my lips, to avoid those vertical fine lines. You’ll really like this Neocutis Lumiere eye treatment

Enjoy your beautiful skin! signature pic monkey ed 1

Tireless pursuit of shoes

shoe-black-edIn my tireless pursuit of decently priced shoes this past year I managed to acquire a few super cute and practical pairs, which I am very proud of. There is no secret anymore that there is nothing better out there for me than a great shoe sale.

Stuart Weitzman high heel bridal leather sandal. You find similar ones here. picmonkey-image-white

 

Schutz Enida cork high heels. Similar ones here
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French Sole Truffle grey suede flats. Similar ones herepicmonkey-image-shoesignature pic monkey ed 1

Oils for your forever beautiful skin (Part2)

Hello busy moms and dear followers!

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As promised a while ago I am following up with a couple of oils I love and I am using in my beauty routine on a daily basis. These two are in fact my favorite ones. I hope you’ll enjoy them too as they are very accessible and so easy to use.

 

Jojoba Oil

jojoba oil

This oil is not an oil. It’s actually a wax. Its amazing anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties make it one of the best “oils” for your skin. It has a very long shelf life so we can have it in our bathroom for a couple of years. However I go through a 4 oz bottle every couple of months, so no reason to keep it for so long. Use it! It’s an amazing oil with a lot of attributes that can work wonders when you want to remove your makeup in a natural way, to moisturize your skin (I apply 6-7 drops on my clean skin and dab off the extra with a tissue paper, for a matte finish), and its powerful properties will aid in the treatment of acne, killing the harmful bacteria that causes acne (or make it thrive) in some cases and reducing the inflammation often accompanying the acneic skin. It can help heal warts, Athlete’s foot infections and and nails that suffer with fungus!

These are just a few most important properties of this golden wax. You can massage it on your skin morning or night. When you buy yours make sure it’s a pure Jojoba oil and not a blend.

 

argan-oil

Moroccan Argan Oil

This oil is indeed a superfood for the skin. It’s so easy to use and it penetrates into the skin so nicely, without leaving any residual oily film on your skin. It has the ability to decongest the pores, while hydrating, nourishing and stimulating the skin’s regeneration. It is very rich in essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and other nutrients which help maintain the skin in great shape, without a huge effort.

You can massage it in your hair, on your scalp, use it on your hands, tips of fingers and on your feet (then put on socks and some gloves for a couple of hours) for a softer, smoother skin.

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