Real Talk: Beauty Pageants

At this time in history, women are doing amazing things. At the college level, women continue to outnumber men, at 56% of enrollment. In the business world, women hold 5% of the Fortune 500 CEO positions which is a number that continues to grow. And in Congress, women hold 99 or 18.5% of the seats with 79 women in the House of Representatives and 20 women in the Senate.

And yet, just last week a televised program aired that judges women based almost solely on their looks.

I’ll admit that I used to watch the Miss America and Miss USA pageants because I liked seeing the dresses and watching the interview questions. But how is it, that in this day and age where women are making leaps and bounds in society, we still have this type of National competition? For the ladies competing, 20% of their score is based on them parading down the runway in evening wear and another 20% is made up of the swimsuit portion. The time of the evening when women are asked to put on similar versions of the same swimsuit, walk the runway in heels and then stand next to each other while their bodies are judged by a group of men and women. When you break it down like that, the whole idea feels a little crazy and a lot archaic.

If you read my last Real Talk post, you know I discussed the great female-empowerment type of commercials that have been going around and yet, they are the direct opposite of these beauty pageants. Let’s face it, most women critique and criticize their bodies on a daily basis and if you decide to go into pageants, you have the unique “opportunity” of standing in front of a group of judges and letting them do that for you. There is just something so wrong with this! It also doesn’t help that the contestants all look very similar with what the media says is the ideal body type right now. And yet in pageantry, they get away with this by calling it “lifestyle and fitness”. This purports the idea that this specific body type is the only way a woman would look if she cares about her body and yet, there are so many women out there who eat healthy and exercise regularly but don’t look like the ladies walking the runway.

I think that one of the reasons that Miss America has made its way into the 21st century is by saying that they are the largest scholarship organization for women. There is a great video now circulating from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver‘s examination of the scholarship portion of the Miss America pageant that you can watch below. I won’t recap it all but I will point out two things that stood out to me. First, the Miss America pageant claims that it gives out $45 million in scholarships to women annually. This is a huge number and John Oliver’s team investigated it and found that in 2012, at the National level, Miss America only gave $482,000 in scholarships! If you start to include regional scholarships, the most they could come up with was $4 million in scholarships! The video below explains the disparity in the numbers but it’s really quite shocking.

And it gets worse. Although that number is grossly misrepresented, Miss America really is the largest scholarship provider to women. Apparently the other female-only based scholarships don’t even come close! And that just makes me sad. Sad that we live in a world where the “best” way to get a women’s scholarship, is to be judged on your appearance! Women have come such a long way since the Miss America pageant was started in 1921 and yet we still have televised programs where we compare women. It just feels like pageants and the like are setting women back and ignoring our brains and focusing on our bodies. Let’s change that. Let’s show the world the positive influence that women can have on every facet of society and that we have so much more to offer then just a pretty face.

Question:

-What are your thoughts on beauty pageants?

Long Hair Care Tips

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that my hair has gotten long- like real long. My hair has always grown fast, but after my hair cut last year, I decided that I wanted to grow it out. Well fast forward to now and my hair falls all the way down my back. I’ve had it long for the summer which has been both fun and incredibly convenient as for me as I think long hair is the easiest to style, but a cut is in my future. I’m going to donate it to Pantene and a whole post about that will be on the blog after the big chop happens. But for those of you who are wanting to help your hair grow long, or just keep it extra healthy at the length it’s at, I’ve put together some essentials for keeping my hair healthy and looking good!

Long hair care GGGF

1. Deep Condition Weekly

I’ve always been a faithful user of a good conditioner, but it wasn’t until recently that I started deep conditioning my hair. This is great for any length of hair as it helps make it stronger and healthier but is especially essential for long hair, color-treated, or damaged hair which tends to get dry. I’ve tried a few on the market and my favorite is the L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm. This treatment does it all as it repairs split ends, weakness, roughness, dullness and dehydration. It claims to reverse a year’s worth in damage in one wash, which I think is a slightly lofty claim, but it really does work.

2. Embrace the Tangle Teezer

Since I was a little girl I’ve had hair that was pretty tangled when I got out of the shower, no matter what types of conditioner I used. I remember my mom would spray detangler in my hair and take a long comb to get it under control. So as my hair got longer, I realized that I needed to do something about these tangles! I went to Walgreens and CVS and in the aisles of beauty hair care products, there wasn’t a single detangler on the market! (However, there are now BB Creams for your hair…) I finally checked the baby aisle and found a detangler there, but was convinced that I couldn’t be the only adult dealing with tangles. Enter the Tangle Teezer. Oh my goodness. Essentially it’s a hard brush with firm rubber bristles that somehow slides through your hair when it’s wet, no detangler needed. AKA it’s a game changer! If you have curly hair, this is an absolute must too as it glides through just as easily when hair is dry and somehow doesn’t get caught, meaning no more falling out, breaking hair!

3. Dry hair with a microfiber hair turban

I remember seeing a commercial for the hair turban years ago and my mom and I laughing at it. We thought who would need such a product and the commercial specifically cited that you could “answer the phone” while you had it on as a plus. Well years later, I’m a convert. Basically, long hair takes a while to dry when you aren’t using heat products and leaving it wet down your back is rather uncomfortable. So after I’ve detangled my hair with my Tangle Teezer, I put my hair up in the Turbie Twist. Now, essentially, this is just like a small towel, except it really is great that your hair stays put while you are moving around and yes, maybe even answering the phone. As my hair turns curly, I leave it in there for about 20 minutes to get most of the water out, brush with the Tangle Teezer again, and then put it in a braid to dry the rest of the way.

turban

Make-up free selfie (though I did add a filter- guilty) rocking my turban!

4. Apply a Treatment

After you’ve taken your hair out of your glamorous hair tuban, I like to apply a treatment. From the drugstore, I like Garnier’s Damage Eraser Split End Bandage which strengthens hair and increases your damage resistance. Just use one pump and apply it to the ends of hair, combing through after with your Tangle Teezer. If split ends aren’t an issue (lucky you!) but you still want to give your hair a little love, go for Aveda’s Smooth Infusion which makes your hair smoother and silkier! Both of these products are great and won’t weigh down your hair, while making it softer and stronger.

5. Limit heat products and when you do use them, always use heat protector spray

This one is huge as I’ve always abused my hair when it comes to heat products. Having naturally curly hair, I have been drying it straight and straightening it since 7th grade. While I may like the look, my hair doesn’t like the heat, causing split ends so over the past year, I’ve kept my hair dryer in the drawer. I always thought that my hair would never get that sleek look unless it was blow dried first, but I’ve found that with some special steps, the same look can be achieved. Which means that not only is my hair not getting that 20+ minute blast of heat, but my arm is a lot less sore too! Although I do occasionally wear my hair wavy, I straighten it pretty frequently these days and have found that using a good heat protector spray is essential. I used to stay away from heat protectors as so many of them would make my hair wet (not what you want after spending so much time drying it) or make it crispy which no one wants. But I’ve found the solution to all that- the dry heat protect spray! Oscar Blandi is one of my favorite brands for dry shampoo and their Pronto Dry Heat Protect Spray is amazing and protects hair from up to 450degree heat!

Question:

-What’s your secret to keeping your hair looking good?

 

Gluten-Free Spotlight: Pressed Juicery

One of the things I miss the most from my pre-food allergy days is frozen yogurt. I have loved frozen yogurt since before it was “a thing”, always opting for soft serve as a kid over ice cream. Then frozen yogurt became uber popular and I was in heaven. Living in LA I would alternate between Penguins and Pinkberry and am not even embarrassed to say that fro-yo happened at least once a week. So when I found out that I had celiac and was allergic to dairy, I had to say goodbye to fro-yo (and without even a proper farewell)!

But that all changed this week when I went to Pressed Juicery for the very first time. In addition to their delicious cold-pressed juices that they are known for, they are also offering something new and very exciting… The Pressed Juice Freeze. They offer 6 amazing flavors and all of them contain no gluten, dairy or added sugar. They also are made with the same real ingredients as their juices. I may have sampled almost all of the flavors and here’s the breakdown:

Pressed Fro Yo Machines

Greens: Like their popular green juice, this flavor contains kale, spinach, romaine, cucumber, apple, lemon, dates and coconut meat. If you are skeptical of having a green juice in fro-yo form, I can assure you that it is absolutely refreshing and delicious!

Roots: I’ll admit that I was a little nervous about this flavor because I’m not a fan of beets in my juice, but you don’t even taste them! Instead what really comes through in this flavor is the ginger and it contains carrot, beet, fuji apple, lemon, ginger, dates and coconut meat.

Citrus: This was the only flavor I didn’t sample but as I’m typing this I wish I did because it sounds delicious and contains orange, apple, pineapple, coconut meat and dates.

Fruit: I wish I could adequately describe this flavor, but it’s difficult- it doesn’t taste like one particular type of fruit, rather just “fruity” and like the perfect summertime treat. This one contains only fuji apple, strawberry, coconut meat and dates.

Chocolate: Oh my goodness. I would have this every day if I could and it tastes indulgent and rich with only almonds, dates, sea salt and cacao!

Vanilla: I’m not one to usually choose vanilla (I’ve always been more of a chocolate girl) but this flavor is absolutely perfect. It tastes like a rich, creamy vanilla and contains almonds, dates, sea salt and vanilla and would pair perfectly with any of the other flavors!

*Also, if you aren’t a fan of coconut, I can assure you that you don’t even taste the coconut meat in the freezes, rather I think it just gives them the consistency.

Pressed Juice Freeze

Of course, I couldn’t leave with just a sample, so after much debate, my Mom and I both decided to get two flavors each for the full experience. Her pick was Greens with Chocolate, topped with Cacoa-Nut Freezing Drizzle (which was apparently amazing), shredded coconut and sunflower seeds. I went for Fruit with Vanilla, topped with almond butter, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Both were unbelievably amazing and they went entirely too fast! I really enjoyed the Fruit but I think next time I would go for the Vanilla, Chocolate or the Greens!

One thing that I noticed and happened to love was this sign on the wall, comparing the Chocolate Freeze with similar products from Yogurtland, Pinkberry, Skinny Cow and Baskin Robbins. I was especially surprised with how many fake and unnecessary ingredients the Pinkberry Chocolate yogurt contained, especially because Pinkberry is known for being the “healthy” option and yet it contained carrageenan which is known to cause inflammation in the body and is linked to cancer! Also shocking was the exceptionally long ingredient list from Yogurtland which contains pretty much everything under the sun, not to mention wheat and soy! Seeing these ingredients list for what they truly are, makes me all the happier that there is now an option out there like Pressed Freezes which offer clean, natural ingredients!

Pressed Juicery Comparison

After we enjoyed our freezes, we had to stop back at Pressed to pick up some fresh juices! At Pressed, they cold-press their juices daily, so although they are bottled, none of them have been sitting for more than a few hours. Another great thing is that they let you taste any flavor that you wish! I really appreciated that because sometimes I have purchased fresh juice from the grocery store with a hefty price tag and been disappointed with the flavor. But that didn’t happen at Pressed! We each got a Greens 3 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon and ginger)  which was the perfect green juice in my opinion, as well as a Chocolate Almond Milk which is out of this world good and puts store-bought almond milks to shame! I plan on enjoying mine this evening for an after-dinner treat!

Pressed Juice Cases

Gluten-Free Chocolate Macadamia Tortilla Torte

I’ll admit it, I’m a sweets gal, through and through. And sometimes at night there comes a time when you need a treat and your usual square of dark chocolate just isn’t going to cut it. A time when you want to sit on the couch, watch your favorite mindless entertainment and have something that is going to require more than 1 or 2 bites. But maybe you also don’t feel like making a batch of cookies or cupcakes. Enter this dessert- it can be customized using whatever you have on hand and is so delicious that your friends or family will want one too! That’s why this recipe serves 3, but can easily be customized to a single serving. Once heated in coconut oil, the tortillas have a fluffy and chewy texture and the combination of melted chocolate and nut butter is delicious! If you don’t have any chocolate on hand (sad!) you could use jam instead and call it breakfast… or you could make the recipe as written and call it breakfast too, no judgement here!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Macadamia Tortilla Torte

Serves 3

Tortilla Torte Close-Up GGGF

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Gluten-Free Tortillas*
  • 3/4 T. Coconut Oil
  • 3 T. Cashew & Macadamia Nut Butter (Or any nut butter to your liking)
  • 2 T. Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/4 C. + 2 T. Enjoy Life Chocolate chips

*Note: I recommend using Udi’s gluten-free tortillas versus a brown rice tortilla which tend to be drier and won’t become fluffy. If you aren’t gluten-free, you could easily use a flour tortilla!

Directions

  1. Cut 3-inch rounds from tortilla using cookie cutter, or glass, setting scraps aside.
  2. In a skillet, heat coconut oil on medium-high heat and pan fry tortilla rounds until golden brown on each side.
  3. Continue process until all tortilla rounds have been heated and place on paper towels to dry.
  4. In microwave, heat chocolate chips in bowl for 1 minute in 20 second increments or until melted.
  5. On first layer, spread macadamia nut butter on round
  6. Next, spread melted chocolate on tortilla round and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
  7. Stack rounds, alternating chocolate and nut butter tortillas until full stack of 5.
  8. Drizzle remaining chocolate and nut butter over stacks and top with coconut.

Real Talk: Like A Girl

I’m excited to introduce a new series on the blog today entitled “Real Talk”. Today’s centers on beauty but you can expect these to be on a variety of topics. One of the wonderful things about having a blog is having this platform to discuss things that I find interesting at the moment and sometimes they don’t always fit in the food or beauty category. So here’s some real talk from me to you! If there are any topics you’d like me to cover be sure and comment below!

In terms of commercials, so often these days we are fast-forwarding through them or if we’re on YouTube, waiting the requisite 5 seconds before we can skip them. Except lately, a few beauty brand commercials have caught my eye and enticed me to watch the entire thing. In the past, we have become accustomed to women’s empowerment type of commercials from Dove  (and I have previously written about them here and here) but it is so wonderful to see other female brands hopping on the positive self-esteem bandwagon.

Pantene Not Sorry| Shine Strong

I don’t know about you, but when I first watched this video, all I could think was “Omg, that’s me”. I am always saying I’m sorry whether it is when someone else bumps into me or for a myriad of other reasons. In fact, previous boyfriends have told me to stop saying I’m sorry so often. (And for the record, when someone tells me to stop saying ‘sorry’, it’s extremely difficult for me to not respond with ‘ok, sorry’.) Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a problem. Now I’m not really totally on board with the whole “sorry not sorry” thing, as I think sometimes people use that as an excuse to be rude but I do think that many women are constantly apologizing for things that we don’t need to be apologizing for! As a natural people-pleaser, it’s a difficult habit to change, but I do love the idea to “be strong and shine” and I feel inspired to live that out a little more and leave some of the unnecessary sorrys behind.

Covergirl #GirlsCan

In this commercial, I love how these amazingly talented female musicians, athletes, as well as TV and movie stars are all sharing how they were told that they “couldn’t do something.” And then they went ahead and did it. Women have been breaking barriers since the beginning of time and it’s so refreshing to see the media focus attention on challenging those walls. It’s also so interesting to see these huge stars whom we associate with their talents that made them famous and think that they were once held back from doing those very things. I feel so lucky to live in a country that doesn’t put barriers on what women are capable of and so many opportunities are now afforded to us. Reminds me of a pin I had in high school that said “A women’s place is in the House… and Senate” and maybe next the White House!

Always | #LikeAGirl

This post is similar to the Covergirl campaign but it focuses on the phrase “like a girl”. It’s one that has inundated our language for so long and yet, this is the first time I really thought about what it meant. I think it’s so eye-opening watching the adults do a variety of activities “like a girl” and then to see the young girls do the same activities to their full potential. It saddens me that as we grow up, many women lose confidence in their abilities and tend to give in to that gender stereotype. But what if “like a girl” meant strong and powerful and capable? How many more things and boundaries would we be able to push? Definitely food for thought in this one.

Clean & Clear | Confidence in Yourself: See the Real Me

I just stumbled upon this video tonight but I had to include because it’s one of my favorites. I’ll be honest, I love beauty and hair and style and think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those things. But self-confidence is something that every woman has struggled with at some point in their life, if not on a regular basis. The statistic in the beginning shocked and saddened me that 75% of teen girls want to be seen but are afraid of being judged. Little personal story: when I was in middle school my mom had to have a little talk with me because I wasn’t raising my hand in class. I remember telling her that it wasn’t because I didn’t know the answer, in fact, I often did. Rather, it was that I felt uncomfortable giving the correct answer, afraid of how I would be perceived. I was never shy and have always loved speaking in front of crowds and yet, I was worried what people would think if I was correctly answering questions. Thankfully, with my mom’s wise words and growing self-confidence, that worry went away and I became much more engaged in answering questions from then on. But I think girls need to hear the message that it is wonderful to be smart and that it is something to be celebrated, not to be downplayed.

Questions:

-What campaign resonated with you the most?

-Any topics you’d like me to cover in the new series?

4 Fashion and Beauty Trends to Try

It’s well documented that I love fashion and beauty and that’s where the Glitz and the Glam of this blog come from! But as much as I love putting outfits together and trying new beauty products, there are certain trends that I have yet to master. Here are some of my current favorite trends that I’m looking to incorporate into my style.

The Cat Eye

Subtle Cat Eye

The feline flick has always seemed so difficult to me. I am great with pencil liner, can do gel liner even on a moving train and can handle the liquid in felt tip pen. But the full-on liquid liner? It makes me a little scared! I absolutely love how liquid liner looks on the eyes and how it has such incredible staying power, so I recently purchased the Pixi Liquid Liner pen to give it a try. Lining my eyes wasn’t too difficult, but when it came time for the elusive flick, my hand practically started shaking! I have watched numerous tutorials on YouTube and read posts about it, but currently it is still out of reach. I’m determined to master it though and you can expect to see pictures when I do!

Soft Curly Waves

Perfect waves

It seems like everyone is a pro at wielding their curling irons these days and somehow I missed the memo! My hair is naturally curly but I’ve been straightening it since I was in 7th grade. But curling it? It’s another story. Much like the cat eye, I’ve watched a few tutorials on how to get that perfect soft curl, but have been unable to do it! It also doesn’t help that despite my hair having a curly texture, it does not want to hold a curl! I think the secret here might be in both the products and techniques so I’m going to start practicing!

Skinny Pant-Ankle Boot Combo

Miranda Kerr

I absolutely love the skinny jean and ankle boot combo that everyone is wearing these days, especially in the Bay Area. It’s a slight departure from my usual style but I think it looks so effortless and cool and perfect for anything from running errands to a night on the town. I think it all starts with the perfect pair of boots, so I’m currently on the hunt! And of course, Miranda Kerr (above) could make any trend look amazing!

Crop Top-High Waisted Skirt Combo

perfect crop top

At first it seemed like the crop top was going to be a fleeting trend and I’ll admit that I rejected it in the beginning because it reminded me of the 90s when we all wore belly baring shirts. But the crop top of the past few years is so chic and I love that just a sliver of skin shows due to the high waisted skirt! I especially love Reese Witherspoon’s look where it’s just a hint of skin through the cutouts and am hoping to try it before summer ends!

Questions:

-What fashion or beauty trends would you like to master?

-Have any tips for me for mastering the above?

Gluten-Free Spotlight: Mariposa Bakeshop

With Celiac and a host of food allergies, it can be really hard to go out to eat. But luckily I’ve found a few places that are safe to eat at and are delicious! So welcome to a new series on the blog where I’ll tell you about the best gluten-free restaurants, cafes and grocery stores! The first one I’ll be featuring is Mariposa, which is easily one of my favorites and one of the best GF bakeries in the Bay Area. I first visited their outpost in the Ferry Building in SF but then a few months ago was able to visit their restaurant/bakery location in Oakland.

Me at Mariposa

Mariposa1

It’s hard to describe, but when you are used to walking into restaurants and bakeries and not being able to eat anything, the experience of walking into one where everything is safe feels a little surreal and very exciting. In addition to snapping the pictures, I took my time examining each product and deciding what I was going to choose to eat. I may have wanted to get one of everything but I controlled myself. Also, not only does Mariposa offer amazing baked goods, but they also have a small section of grocery items as well! I always love when gluten-free places do this because it’s the best way to find out about new great gluten-free products on the market. As it was lunch time, I decided to split the empanada plate with my mom.

Two vegan potato curry empanadas made with organic peas and carrots baked in toasty hand pies and paired with our organic side salad (Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and vegan)

Mariposa2

Oh my goodness, I can’t even describe how delicious this was. The crust was hot and crunchy while also having a flakiness to it (which is uber hard for gluten-free goods) and filled with the most amazing curry filling. The salad also came complete with gluten-free croutons! I admit that at first I had a minor freakout thinking that I’d have to send the salad back because of the croutons but then I remembered that everything here was safe- what a wonderful feeling! I could have easily eaten the full portion of this but was saving room for dessert.

Mariposa5

Mariposa4

Mariposa has a stocked dessert case, but when I spotted the chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting I was sold. I’ve had this cupcake in cake form before and it is absolutely delicious. The cake is moist and rich and the vanilla frosting is creamy and the perfect amount of sweet. It’s very reminiscent of the Sprinkles Black & White cupcake but in gluten-free/dairy-free form! The only problem? It was over too quickly! It was accompanied by a delicious new-to-me drink, SolidariTea Blueberry Rooibos Red Tea served over ice! All in all, it was such a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to visit again soon!

Mariposa3