Monday, November 07, 2016

"You Are What You Put In and On Your Body"

In August, I attended the Face & Body Expo for Northern California in San Jose, and among the numerous educational seminars was one that really resonated with me. The seminar was titled Glow From the Inside Out - How food & lifestyle choices are reflected in the skin, with speaker Ginger Hodulik, Vice President of research and development at DermaMed and also a Certified Nutrition Specialist with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition. I made sure to take extensive notes because I knew this was a topic I wanted to share with you all.

We all remember learning in school that our skin, the epidermis, is the largest organ, weighing more than any other organ in the body, accounting for 15% of your total weight. One inch of skin holds 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and 1,000+ nerve endings.

The epidermis is the outside protective layer, comprised of keratinocytes (epidermal cells that produce keratin), melanocytes (mature melanin-forming cells), and langerhans cells (antigen-presenting immune cells).

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review | Cozzette Infinite Eyeshadows

Cozzette is a brand that I have followed and admired over the years, but it wasn't until recently that I finally had the budget to splurge a little on some brushes and, on a beauty rush at The Makeup Show, I spontaneously purchased their newest line of Infinite Eyeshadows. These shadows initially grabbed my attention with their vibrant and alluring array of colors and textures - and then I touched them!! All of a sudden I found myself blurting out "okay, how much to buy all the shades here?!" *gasp* Thankfully, they were offering a discount at The Makeup Show, so I saved a good chunk of money on this colorful investment ;)

The Cozzette Infinite Eyeshadows are an impressive formula of smart ingredients with purpose and performance, excluding the common unsafe ingredients present in most eyeshadows. Jojoba oil is used as a binder in the formula, which is my BOF (Best Oil Forever!), because it is a natural ingredient that is good for the skin for hydrating and nourishing. The eyeshadow pans say "vegan" on the back label, however Cozzette does not market as being a "vegan brand", rather they identify with "cruelty free consciousness".

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review | ELF Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove

Today I have a very quick review on the new ELF Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove ($10), it arrived over the weekend, I washed my makeup brushes that evening and completely fell in love with it!
"This convenient and portable silicone brush cleaner has multiple textures to clean both large and small brushes. Use the larger round texture to lather and wash larger brushes for deep cleaning. Use the wavy texture to cleanse and rinse the brushes along with helping straighten hairs. Use the smaller texture to cleanse and refine smaller brushes. There’s also a small and large brush slot to help straighten brush hairs and to hold brushes to dry after cleansing."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review | ELF Precision Sponge Trio

I have a pretty exciting rave review to share with you all today. This little beauty sponge set is the new ELF Precision Sponge Trio ($12.00), a set of three sponges in different sizes - I like to call them large, medium, and small. If you remember the pink beauty sponge they launched a while ago, I had such high hopes for it but it turned out super stiff and chemical scented - I now use it for crafting to be honest. When I purchased the sponge trio I was really hoping these would be better than the stiff pink one - and boy oh boy am I impressed!! The Precision Sponge Trio is amazing, and I can tell you all right now, you must add them to your cart next time you order from the ELF Website! You will not be disappointed.
"The durable, latex free material allows for a controlled used for flawless application and blending. Three sizes enable precise application for all areas of the face and can be used with cream, liquid, and powder makeup. Use the small size around small areas like the eyes to blend in concealer. Use the medium size for applying color like blush or bronzer. Use the largest size to apply foundation. Reusable and washable."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review | Pacifica Polish Trio Spring 2016

[press samples]

Pacifica is known for their natural, cruelty free, and vegan products - this season they have launched a new 7-free* nail polish trio set available in Ulta stores for $22.00, individually the bottles are $9.00 each. When this pack arrived I squealed inside because there's nothing I love more than blue nail polishes! I  am already a big fan of their nail polish quality and shades, I used to have a ton of their colors before I had to slim down my collection while moving last year. The quality of these three new shades is just as lovely, easy to apply, self leveling, and very rich in color.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Review | Unwash Gentle Hair Care

[pr samples]

I have previously reviewed Unwash's Bio-Cleansing Conditioner (here), and since I recently acquired a few more of their products, I figured I would do an overall review of the line and each product I have been using. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have healthy straight hair with natural silkiness and shine, however, I suffer from very dry scalp and have found it difficult to find hair care that can keep both my scalp and hair happy. Once I started using the Unwash products, I've noticed my scalp is more hydrated, less dryness, less flaking, and no buildup. I find myself not even missing a shampoo when I'm using Unwash products :)

UPDATE 5/19/16: Unwash is now available in Ulta stores, as well as the Ulta website!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Instagram Beauty Trends & Filters

We have come to a point in the current trending beauty community, where we see tutorials every day for makeup applications and techniques - and frankly it has all gotten out of control. Personally, I am turned off by the excessive amount of makeup these influencers are layering onto their faces. They portray this "makeup routine" as if this is the way to wear makeup, and with thousands and millions of subscribers, they are setting a trend for other men and women to follow.

Majority of the online beauty community edits their makeup photos. They use apps on their phones to smooth the skin of pores and lines, tweak the levels of brightness, contrast, etc. to enhance the shadows and concentration in the photos. Some use high end cameras and photoshop to take it to a whole other editorial level. All of this is fun to play around with - but I feel that if you are an influencer putting out tutorials on makeup application and techniques, your work should not be so highly edited because essentially you are displaying something that is unattainable... sound familiar to those photoshopped models in magazines we all used to complain about?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review | The Jojoba Company - Pure Jojoba & Hand Cream

[pr samples]

The Jojoba Company specializes in featuring 100% natural Australian jojoba in their skincare products. Jojoba is a natural ingredient that is good for the skin, they have a whole page on their website dedicated to Jojoba information and benefits. Here are some key points in understanding its importance in skincare:
  • Jojoba will hydrate and nourish skin
  • Jojoba can work on the deeper layers where the cell regeneration and cell synthesis occurs
  • Jojoba replenishes the wax produced naturally in young healthy skin
  • Jojoba also protects what is added to it so jojoba is able to carry important nutrients with it deep into skin to support skin health
  • Jojoba is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic

I found this tidbit the most interesting:
100% pure liquid wax esters make up to 50% of the mass of jojoba beans. Wax esters make up to 30% of the sebum produced in young, healthy skin. They kill germs, smother viruses, keep sebum liquid and flowing, naturally condition hair and create the barrier in skin that stops moisture from escaping from deeper living skin cells.

I started using the 100% Natural Australian Jojoba ($14.95) as my nighttime moisturizer. I would apply about 2-3 pumps of it all over my face and neck, sleep with it over night and wake up with supple glowing skin. It has no scent, so I found it very easy to wear daily. There is no greasy residue, I'm pretty sure the skin absorbs it completely because within a few minutes you can't tell I applied an oil to my face. I've even applied makeup right on top and it did not break down the products or make my skin oily.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review | NYC Metro Girl Handmade Makeup Brush Cleaner Kit

[pr sample]

Makeup brushes must always be clean before touching your face - this will minimize bacteria buildup and facial blemishes. There are many quick-cleanse products out there like Parian Spirit and Cinema Secrets brush cleaners. These are liquid cleaners that you can dip or spray onto your brush, swirl it on a towel and let dry within minutes. A liquid brush cleaner is great for daily use as a fast cleanse to sanitize your brushes after makeup application.

Taking it to the next level, I recommend a deep clean at least once a month - I usually do this at the beginning of each month. This is when you use a gentle soap to wash your brushes thoroughly and massage out all the product build up that can get down in the center of the brush head bristles. A standard soap will be too harsh, it should be a gentle formula with conditioning properties. Think baby shampoos and gentle bar soaps.

NYC Metro Girl has just released the new handmade Makeup Brush Cleaner ($7). A delicate formula that will break up powder and cream product build up while featuring coconut oil to condition the bristles for a soft and like-new feel. The Brush Cleaner includes a 2 oz. jar of soap and comes in four scent options - unscented, lavender's kiss, desire, and tea tree oil.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Recipe | Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I think it's safe to say that most people dislike brussel sprouts... you know, when they've been steamed and taste like bitter baby cabbages (the taste comes from an organic sulfur compound). I have hated them my entire life, I never understood why people ate them. But then I experienced the mouthwatering roasted brussel sprout. That's right - I *now* LOVE BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!

Brussel Sprouts are indeed related to cabbage, they are high is Vitamin C and Vitamin K, as well as B Vitamins like Folic Acid and Vitamin B6.

This is a great side dish or snack, and an easy way for adults and children to enjoy eating brussel sprouts.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Review | Goslings Original ChopSaver Lip Care

[pr sample]

Just hear me out, yes, I'm doing a review on a tube of lip balm, but it's for a very good reason. When I was offered a pr sample of the Goslings Original ChopSaver Lip Care ($3.99), I browsed the website and was automatically intrigued about the product. The all-natural, herbal lip care, ChopSaver, was developed by professional trumpet player, Dan Gosling, in his own kitchen. Motivated by the natural healing agent derived from sunflowers, Arnica, he concocted the perfect formula to also include organic ingredients Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Avocado Oil, Aloe, Citrus Oils, and Grapeseed Oil (see ingredient list here*).

Not only is his lip balm highly touted by musicians who no longer need to worry about chapping, soreness or inflammation, ChopSaver is also recommended by doctors as a Petroleum and gluten-free lip care that is long lasting and soothing. Their is also the ChopSaver SPF 15 lip balm for outdoor protection.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Recipe | Radish Avocado Sandwich

I have been craving radishes for a while now, and when Safeway had them on sale two bundles for three dollars, I couldn't ignore my cravings any longer. They looked so good! I have been trying to eat breakfast every day, I usually just make my coffee and get to work while I make sure my kids eat a good breakfast - I know, that's a bad habit. Well, this weekend I was making my toast and goat cheese one morning and I decided to slice up some ripe avocado to put on top, then I remembered those mouthwatering radishes I bought, so I sliced those up too. I cracked some salt and pepper on top and turned it into a sandwich. I must say, this is going to be a staple breakfast sandwich for me, it was so delicious and fresh. I think I'll buy some sprouts next time I'm at the store, I think that might be a nice addition.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mount Tamalpais | 1/10/16

This Sunday I spent the day with my girlfriends, we drove out to San Francisco and did some light walking around Mount Tamalpais, elevation is about 2500 feet. We were almost at the very top, so all these photos I took were looking out where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Francisco Bay. The air was amazing, so refreshing and full of moisture from the mist and fog. We hope to return soon and spend more time up there and hike more trails around the peak.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Recipe | Top Round Steak with Pan Sauce & Roasted Vegetables

I can easily get tired of eating all the steaks my husband requests, so I've started to branch out and try new recipes of steak dishes. Recently, we stumbled across this Steak with Pan Sauce recipe, that I lightly tweaked to fit our taste, and it turned out to be a hit! My kids, 3 & 5 years old, are not fans of eating meat unless it is juicy and flavorful (and low in marbling). Luckily, this pan sauce meets their high standards. For this recipe, we chose a Top Round Steak, which is very hearty, with minimal fat marbling - easiest for my kids little teeth to chew. A colorful Roasted Vegetable side dish pairs nicely with this thick steak.

I would love to hear if you tried this recipe, and how you made it your own.