The one where we say goodbye?

04 July 2014

I know that I gave a heads up that I was going to be MIA for a little while on here, but it has ended up being a much longer absence than I was anticipating. To be honest things have been in a weird state for me lately. Nothing bad in the least, but I'm finding my balance I guess is the best way to put it. Or maybe trying to keep my balance is better.

So what have I been up to? My best friend in the whole wide world just moved across the country from me. He's in NYC with his boyfriend and I'm in West Texas. The good news is that I now have an excuse to visit NYC as often as I like (can afford) and I've got a place to stay.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the World Cup has also been going on. This may sound ridiculous to you, but it has been wearing on my nerves to such an extreme. My two absolute favorite teams are out (Spain & Italy) and they both went out with a bang. A huge chunk of my other teams are also out (Mexico & Portugal), and the US also got taken out. The only team I even remotely have left to go for is Germany. I find Brazil and Argentina's teams interesting, so I'll find some sort of entertainment with it even though the teams of my heart are gone.

Other than that I've been focusing on me. I've started up my yoga practice again and I'm very motivated with it. I found a great teacher through Cody App and I'm really enjoying the challenge of getting back into it. I can do it at home at my own pace. I was much more out of shape than I thought that I was, but I've been diligent with it and I'm seeing an improvement in my practice. I'm taking it slow and I remind myself that it's going to take a lot of time to get back to where I was. I'm also seeing some differences in my body. There mild differences, but differences none the less. I do everything I can to keep myself motivated and consider myself lucky that when I fail at something it hasn't discouraged me, but rather encouraged me. I've found several yogi's to follow on instagram and the cody app has been brilliant. I'm thinking of adding another plan soon, but I want to wait until I feel a little more secure with the one I'm on now.

I've also been working on my Italian. I minored in Italian in school and did a small stint of study abroad in Florence (one of the best places on the planet). Let's be real though, I live in West Texas and I don't get to practice it at all. I've also been wanting to learn Spanish (being half Mexican, it's pretty disgraceful that I can't speak a lick of it) and Portuguese (I think it's one of the most beautiful sounding languages). I spoke to a psychologist about it though and they stated that with my history with Italian, it would be better for me to get on more solid ground with that first. Not being more solid with it could cause learning the other two to be more difficult whereas being more solid with it could help me with the others immensely since the languages are so closely related. So I'm working on my Italian with Duolingo for the time being, but I have plans to move on to Spanish and Portuguese as well.

All of the above had lead me to not spending time on the blog. My interest in it has fizzled out a bit. I've even minimized my collection by at least half (lucky sister) and could probably minimize it even further. I've been really focused on saving as much money as I can for my labor day trip to NYC and any spare money is going to some yoga gear. While I love blogging, I'm going to be calling it quits for a little while so I can have more time for myself. I want to be able to take a deep breathe and enjoy the little things in life as much as I can. I hope to come back to blogging at some point, but I don't know when or how. For now I'll just take in la dolce vita...

Beauty | Coconut Oil + My Top 3 Hair Tips

21 May 2014

Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
When people come to me asking what I do to get my hair is such great shape, because they just cannot get their hair to look as healthy, my response is pretty simple and straight forward:

  1. Embrace your natural hair and listen to it. It's incredibly common to want what you don't possess. Girls with straight hair long for luscious beach waves and on the flip side, girls with curly hair desperately want it straight. Blonds want to be brunettes and brunettes want to be blond. When I started to try to embrace what I was naturally given is when I saw a huge change in my hair. Let it be and don't try to force it to be what its not. THIS is the first step to gaining truly healthy hair. Now of course you can dye it and do all sorts of other magic to it and it can look healthy, but chances are that it's not going to be at its healthiest. That becomes your choice of exactly how healthy you want your hair to be. While my hair is very healthy, it is not the absolute healthiest it could be because I choose to use heat on it occasionally. I know it might sound psychotic to tell you to listen to your hair, but do it. Your hair will tell you when it needs more moisture or when you've over processed it. I don't have a rule of thumb on when I get my hair cut, I cut it when it tells me to. What I mean is when it's gotten so long that I feel like I need to stand on my tip toes to put in a roller or when the ends start to look a little scraggly. It takes a little practice to get the hang of listening to your hair because many people who desire their hair to be anything other than how it was naturally won't want to listen to it.
  2. Stop washing your hair so much. There are two camps on this that are polar opposites of each other. Some say to wash your hair daily and others say to wash it very minimally (some say to not wash it at all). I veer toward the camp of not washing your hair so much. I average washing my hair about once a week and I practice co-washing pretty regularly. I try using sulfate free shampoos as often as possible, but that can sometimes get a little tricky. The thought behind this is that the longer your hair is the less often you need to wash it because it takes your natural hair oils longer to travel down the shaft of your hair. Of course you can suffer from oily scalp because of this, but there are products out there you can use to help with that. Dry shampoo is the standard go to, which I tend to use about once a week or less because over use of dry shampoo can cause clogging of the hair follicle and hair loss in the future. I tend to opt for scalp toners more than anything else to help with battling oily scalp when I'm not washing.
  3. Use coconut oil. The brand doesn't matter so much as long as it's organic, unrefined, extra virgin and cold pressed. You can do this as often as you like and for everyone its a little bit different. I started out doing it weekly, then cut back from there. Now I tend to just listen to my hair and do it as needed. I'll cover the length of my hair with the oil and let it sit for a while. Many times I will also cover my scalp because I tend to have a tender scalp and this is very soothing for it, but this can be tricky and usually requires much more work to get the oil out of your hair. At least 30 minutes, but sometimes I will do overnight if I can. I'll wash it out in the shower and this is when I tend to use a sulfate shampoo, because sulfate free varieties are usually not strong enough to get all of the coconut oil out of your hair which can lead to extremely oily looking hair. I'll give it a good wash and follow with a more mild conditioner. My favorite for this is the Aveda Black Malva as it also helps to keep my color dark and rich. 
I have also started to use coconut oil to cleanse my face and I adore it for that. You also have to be sure to follow with a second cleanse so you don't leave residue behind. I know that some people also like to use it as a moisturizer, but I haven't ventured there yet as my face tends to not like super rich moisturizers. 

What are your go to hair tips for naturally healthy hair?

Wishlist | Summer

14 May 2014

Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning | 36

Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con No. 7 Palette in The Starlet | 59

Butter London Nail Polish in Cotton Buds | 15

Atelier Cologne Deluxe Miniature Duo | 18

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion | 35

Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Endless Guava | 18
Summer is here and in full swing. While we've been plagued with rather horrific dust storms lately, I'm dreaming of a time when I can spend my weekends lounged out by the pool, with SPF 75 of course, without getting covered in a layer of dirt. Above is my list of the beauty products that have me a wee bit excited for the (hopefully) calmer months ahead.

I've finally settled on getting the Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con Palette in the Starlet. I've been on the fence about it for ages, but I keep going back to it and think that it may be time for me to take the plunge soon.

I promised myself to cut it out on the blush products, but I'm incredibly tempted by the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion and the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Endless Guava. Both scream summer and that a clean out of my blushes might be in order to make room.

When it comes to nails, I tend to treat my polish selections similarly to my wardrobe selections, neutral. I've heard great things about the Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Naked and it's right up my alley. I've been on the hunt  for a good opaque white nail polish for ages and thus far every one that I've tried ends up a streaky mess. I have cautiously high hopes for the Butter London polish in Cotton Buds (how great is that name?!).

To give me a fake glow for the summer months (I'm pretty anti UV tanning), I'm thinking of giving the Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning a go. I've heard nothing but great things about it, but no matter how anti UV I am, I still have not mastered sunless tanning (meaning I'm usually rocking paper white year round).

Last, but certainly not least, scent. It's no secret that I'm loyal to my Stella Mc Cartney Perfume, but I enjoy playing around with fragrance. It's the type of samples I always opt for and I'm prone to buying rollerball offerings of perfumes so I can broaden my scent horizon without purchasing the full size. I've also been curious about the Atelier Cologne line and since they offer a Deluxe Miniature Duo, seems like fate.

Beauty | Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid

07 May 2014

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid | 39
I purchased the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid (along with it's accompanying moisturizer) almost 3 months ago. I like both products, but this is more of the standout of the two for me. It acts almost as a serum and is meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer. I will note that several reviewers on the Sephora website mention that they use it by itself for oilier skin. I would only maybe recommend that if your skin is severely oily, otherwise I would say to proceed with caution.

Dollar per ounce, this works out rather well considering that you get 5 ounces for $39. Most other serums on the market are a fifth of that size and double the price. My skin reacts very easily to moisturizers and this (as well as the moisturizer from the line) have not upset it in the very least. I will say that after a night of large amounts of pickle shots (I don't advise it) this was not my favorite thing to put on my face as something with the smell really reminded me of pickles. Pickle shots and bad life choices aside, the scent actually does not bother me.

I now use this day and night with every moisturizer I own and often times in conjunction with another serum usually of the brightening variety. This is a gem, nothing to go crazy over, but most definitely a gem. It snuck up on me and I think that it will probably be a silent player for many. My skin is in pretty good shape right now, but I do feel like it's not solely up to this, but a combination of things. I do think that this plays a role in its condition, but I feel like there are never miracle working products. I've learned that having your skin in good shape requires so much outside of skin care products and the products alone can be hard to juggle and get in just the right place. I would do some sort of a skin care post, but I feel like those are hard since everyone's skin and circumstances are very different and I am by no means a professional

I also wanted to give anyone reading a heads up that the blog may be a bit silent through the month of May and possibly into the start of June. Work has been exceptionally busy lately and will be ramping up throughout the month so most of my energy has been centered there. Not to mention that on top of all of that my best friend is moving off to NYC at the start of June, so I'll be putting lots of time into seeing him and helping with the packing. In lieu of all of that, I'm not positive what that means for the blog, but I do know that I want to take this month on as calmly as possible and the blog may suffer for it.

Beauty | 6 Product Face

04 May 2014

NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer in Custard
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance
Anastasia Tinted Brown Gel in Espresso
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Finland
Bite Agave Lip Mask
Stila Convertible Color in Poppy
This is the absolute closest I will probably ever get to doing a 5 product face and I'm proud. This week has been a very busy week on the work front and I've been keeping my nephew over the weekend. Not to mention that with as terrible as the dust has been blowing in my neck of the woods, I'm spending a considerable amount of time trying to keep myself from getting sick. Sinus headaches galore!

Needless to say when I'm busy and not feeling my best, I want my makeup to be as minimal as possible. The products captured in the photo above have been my saviors and pretty much all I've been wearing for the past week and will probably be all that I wear for the coming week. I've opted for multi-use products to keep me on task and cut my get ready time to a minimum.

I've recently been testing out the idea that luminous skin can be attained by combo-oily girls as well and when I recently received a sample of the Laura Mercier Primer in Radiance I knew that I needed to give it a go. Now, I have been testing out a similar offering from NARS, so my expectations for this one were not anything overwhelming. I have to say though, that the Laura Mercier one blows the NARS one out of the water for me. Which is good because I'm personally more fond of the NARS tinted moisturizer over the Laura Mercier one, so I like to think that this is just leveling the playing field between the two brands. If I had better skin, I would wear this and only this. It makes me want to try the LM radiance tinted your back NARS.

Speaking of NARS, I topped the primer off with the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Finland and the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard to help with the tougher to cover areas.  I've shouted from roof tops how much I love the NARS Tinted Moisturizer, but the concealer is a new addition to my collection and it would be top notch, #1 concealer in my book if I could find a better color match for me. Vanilla is too pink for me and while Custard has just the right amount of yellow in it for me, it's a smidge too dark. I really need them to throw in another color for fair skinned girls with yellow undertones. I can't kind of make custard work for me when I'm using a light base like a tinted moisturizer, but with a full throttle foundation, it's too obvious of a color mismatch. Still an amazing product though.

For my brows, I've found myself going back to my long loved Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Espresso. While it doesn't give me as full of a brow as the Brow Pomade from the same brand or the Hourglass Brow Pencil, it's easy to use and fast. Also, if you comb through your brows immediately after applying with a brow brush, it does a pretty decent job filling in your brows. The absolute most natural look. It also double as a good water-proof mascara. I opt for this when I want the most natural lashes or I'm just too damn lazy to reach for mascara as well as everything else.

The Stila Convertible color in Poppy is one that I almost parted ways with recently, which is just baffling to me considering how much I'm using it now. I use it to give myself a quick flush to the cheeks and tapped into lips over the Bite Agave Lip Mask which is a thick lip treatment that does a fabulous job moisturizing lips and providing long lasting lip coverage with or without color on top.

I have another busy week ahead of me and it will also be a doozy with the dust set to blow at top speed most of the week. Here's to hoping that I can make it to next weekend without getting a sinus infection.

Wishlist | Brushes

30 April 2014

Louise Young LY34 Super Foundation Brush | 41

Louise Young LY34 Angled Sable Brow Brush | 21

Sephora Collection Pro Flawless Airbrush #56 | 32

Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57 | 24

Wayne Goss Brush 10 | 53

Wayne Goss Brush 14 | 33

Wayne Goss The Eye Set | 148
 As the years have gone on, I've realized that while I've invested in makeup and skin care, I haven't done too much investing in the tools department. Since the tools are one of the more important elements, I've decided that it's probably high time that I put a bit of my effort into revamping my tools collection. I've got a pretty big number of Real Techniques brushes, and while I really like those, I feel like I'm lacking a really good blush brush. I have a fair number of foundation brushes that I like, but I'm always down to add to that collection and I feel like a few investment brushes in that department would be welcomed. Don't get me started on eye brushes as I can't identify the brand of most of my eye brushes and I fear that most of them are probably from holiday collections that you find in the likes of Target. I need some major revamping in the eye brush department.

I've heard all of the UK bloggers raving about Louise Young brushes and these two in particular. They're available at Nordstrom stateside and the foundation brush is currently on backorder. I'd really love to get my hands on these two to see if they really are as great as they say and of all of the brushes these are the two that look like they'd get some good use from me.

I have one brush from the Sephora collection and it's the majorly hyped up Mineral Foundation Brush. It's pretty darn good and has gotten some pretty good use. Now all of the rage is about the #56 and #57 brushes and from what I hear they are just as good, if not better than Sephora's mineral offering. Considering that these are two that are more easily accessible for me, I have a tad bit of experience with the brand already and the price tag is on the lower end of all of the above offers, I really think that the'll be joining the ranks first.

Then there is Wayne Goss. He's a makeup pro and really knows his stuff. His Brush 10 looks incredibly intriguing to me, but this may be the one I hold off on. I only own one stippling brush and I love it so much with cream blush that it never gets the opportunity to be used with foundation. I've been toying with the idea of getting myself another stippling brush for foundation use alone and this really fits the bill, but the price tag of it is holding me back since I tend to opt for brushes like the Sephora Pro Collection #56 when it comes to foundation application and not stippling brushes. Is this making sense? I do, however, really want to get my grubby mits on the Brush 14. I've been hearing rave reviews in how great it is for blush and that's one department my brush collection is completely lacking. Price tag isn't unreasonable either. This will probably join the ranks quickly following the Sephora offerings.  Wayne Goss' eye set also seems like a no brainer since I really need to work on my eye brush collection. When I look at the set though, I'm not convinced that I really need every single one of these brushes, so I'm thinking of holding out for when they start to sell them individually and scoop up the three in the middle as they look like everything I need. Wayne Goss' brushes can be found at

Anyone have any makeup brush recommendations that they just love? I don't mind investing in them within reason. Let me know your thoughts if you've tried any of the above.

Beauty | Bite Agave Lip Mask

27 April 2014

Bite Agave Lip Mask | 26
Did I promise a wishlist in my last post? Well, this is obviously not a wishlist and I've been wishlisting it up on here quite a bit lately so I figured no one would be that upset if I put it off a little while longer. I thought that since I mentioned this in my last post, now would be the best time to write about it. This beauty is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. We all know that I have two holy grail lip balm products in the Caudalie Lip Balm and the Jack Black Lip Balm. I sing their praises from the roof tops on a regular basis. Coming off of winter, living in West Texas and battle a constant off/on war with my allergies has been making my lips more dry than normal over the past few months. When Bite released this around the same time I must admit my curiosity was peaked.

Let me just say that all of the rave reviews people have been giving this, is so true. I love this and I've considered buying a second for my hand bag. When I purchased this I mainly intended to use this as a night time balm to keep me from waking up with dry lips. And I have been doing this, but I've also been using this in the mornings before applying makeup. I was originally thinking I'd wipe it off after makeup application to do some lip exfoliation before applying lip products for the day. I soon abandoned that plan when I considered the pretty high price tag on this sucker and when I discovered that it worked wonders with two lip products that had left me wanting in the past. Hello Stila Convertible Color in Poppy and NARS Lip Gloss in Scandal. Two products that I adore the color on, but really had an issue with how they sat on my lips. Out of curiosity, I tried the combo one morning and these two Meh lip products have found themselves at the top of my list. It gave them a new breath of life. This will join the ranks of my two other holy grail lip products and I really need to stop looking for new lip products now...

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