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?

Drugstore Mascara Showdown

Hi there, after the serious nature of my last post, I wanted to switch it up a bit, so let’s talk beauty! I’ve been a drugstore mascara girl for as long as I can remember. Although I was interested in the high-end ones, none ever compared to my bright orange container of CoverGirl Lash Blast and the cheap price tag didn’t hurt either. But lately I’ve been expanding my beauty horizons and decided to try a bunch of different drugstore mascaras out to see how they compare. The ads for them never help because they are always claiming to the most lengthening, volumizing, you name it and the picture accompanying the ad always features a model sporting fake lashes. So hear’s the real deal from me. I tried to do my make-up the same each day so that you could get a good idea of what they are really like. Also, everyone has their own lash preferences, but I’m after big, voluminous lashes that are not clumpy, so keep that in mind as you read my reviews. (Side note: It’s really hard to try and take selfies of just your eyes but I did my best! Also, sometimes when I smile, I unconsciously raise one eyebrow, so it might look higher than the other!)

Covergirl Bombshell Mascara

CoverGirl Bombshell

The Claim: This brilliant two-step Bombshell Boost System combines extreme volume with an intensifying top coat for big, sexy bombshell lashes. Step one: Apply the extreme volume base coat, Step 2: Finish with intensifying top coat.

Review: This is the mascara that you’ve seen the beautiful Sophia Vergara modeling and who wouldn’t want to look like her? Brush side 1 is very similar (if not identical) to the CoverGirl Lash Blast and side 2 is a more wiry brush. Honestly, I couldn’t tell a difference after applying side 2. I liked the look of the lashes at first, but was disappointed that they didn’t stay that way all day and by the end of the day they weren’t looking so hot and were more on the shorter, clumpy side. However, I was pleased that there wasn’t much fallout or black under my eyes by the end of the day.

Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Flared Out Mascara

Flared Lashes

The Claim: Lash glam with a flare, instantly! Patented Spoon Curler Brush fans out lashes from corner-to-corner, while our Pro-Keratin formula instantly builds volume without clumping. Unique flexible wand lifts and separates lashes to provide the look of 300% more visible lashes.

Review: I’m a big fan of the Maybelline Falsies line, so when I saw this special “flared” variety I thought I’d try something new. I do really like this mascara and the way my lashes look- they are long and thick but without being overly clumpy. One thing I’m not a fan of though is that the wand is flexible which actually makes it more difficult to get control over your lashes. If you wear mascara on your bottom lashes like I do, do not use this mascara on them! It causes the side ones to flare up which results in your top and bottom lashes becoming a bit tangled! It happened once and I learned my lesson after that! Also, if you are a fan of a wet mascara formula, this one is not for you as it is definitely dryer and dries out very quickly.

 Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Big Eyes

falsies

The Claim: Revolutionary dual-ended mascara for 360 degree All Around Lash Glam. Two brushes specifically designed for top and bottom lashes. Special quick-dry formula holds lashes in place. The Upper brush pushes lashes over the top while the lower micro-brush grabs even tiny bottom lash for a full circle effect.

Review: This mascara was actually the first one I tried and I immediately fell for it. First of all, I love the mini brush designed for the bottom lashes! It makes it so easy to catch every lash but never clumps (an especially big no-no for bottom lashes)! The brush for top lashes is great too, and I love the way it makes my lashes look. This isn’t a formula though that works well for multiple coats so I stick to 2 quick ones!

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes

millions of lashes

The Claim: This mascara has a revolutionary collagen infused formula and Millionizer Brush for amplified volume and definition. The luxurious, buildable, No Clump formula amplifies each lash instantly, glides on smoothly and lasts all day while thickening and separating each lash for a clump-free, smudge-free look.

Review: I had heard good things about this mascara and was looking for a waterproof mascara so I thought I would give it a try. I can say that it has quickly become one of my favorites! Your lashes feel natural (unlike some of the formulas containing fibers that make them feel a little hard) and it is perfect for every day. It’s definitely buildable and I usually do 2-3 coats. The other night I wore this and ended up in the hot tub later in the evening. Imagine my surprise when hours later, my make up and mascara was still holding strong! I thought for sure it would be streaking down my face, so I’ve included a picture so you can see the proof! Also, there isn’t any fallout with this mascara, so you don’t constantly need to check under your eyes for black smudges!

Proof!

Millions of lashes post

L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara

Butterfly

 The Claim: Stretch and extend your lashes into wings! The revolutionary Butterfly brush with asymmetrical lash line shape extends and lifts outer corner lashes to give you a winged-out effect, instantly volumizing lashes at the roots and stretching lashes outward. The unique Cocoon Fibers instantly wrap lashes in a delicate veil to create silky, spectacular lashes that flutter.

Review: This brush is amazing! I have never seen one like it and while part of it is curved like a normal mascara brush, part of it almost has a little comb on it. It sounds weird but it is so good. The little comb part makes it so that you can brush them after multiple coats to get rid of any clumps! The one thing I haven’t really noticed is any extra winged out look in my lashes, they seem to go in the same direction as usual. But overall, I’m really impressed with the formula and it’s definitely a new fave!

Question:

-What’s your favorite mascara? Drugstore or High End?

You are Beautiful

Hi lovelies. I’ve been putting off writing another post this week because it feels frivolous to talk about something else when so many are suffering. I think that after a few days the news cycles tend to move on, people start talking about other things and our focus is shifted elsewhere. That’s normal and not necessarily a bad thing- we all need to live our lives to the best of our ability. But I would be amiss not to acknowledge that when the cameras go away is when the real work begins, when it sets in for all those affected just how hard this journey is going to be. So let’s pray for them as they move forward and undergo a new set of struggles.

Since it doesn’t seem right to post about Online Shopping tips like I was planning, I wanted to post something else that would fit this somber mood. As you might know, Dove does wonderful campaigns that celebrate real women’s bodies. I actually had the pleasure in college of hearing one of their models from the underwear campaign they did a few years back and it was so enlightening and inspiring. Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of the message they work to promote. They’ve done  some fantastic videos through the years, but the one they just released is one of my favorites.

The premise is this: when you look in the mirror, what do you see? Dove asked real women to come to a studio in San Francisco and behind a sheet describe their appearance to someone. They were honest and forthcoming with their feelings and a police sketch artist drew what he heard. Then, they asked a stranger to look at the person and after the subject had left, the stranger described what they saw. The differences were astounding.

First and foremost, I have to applaud these women for taking part in this campaign. It must have been a scary experience to be so raw and honest but I think it will truly help so many people. When watching this, of course I wondered about what differences I would see in the sketches. How I view myself versus how others view me. I think that most women nitpick things in the mirror that they would like to change about themselves. In fact, according to Dove, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. What a complete and utter travesty. I know so many beautiful women, both inside and out and yet how have we gotten to a place where so few women see it? One of the things that really struck me about the video was the reflection that the stranger’s interpretation looked much happier and more open. Not only do we not see our beauty but we also are presenting a more closed off view of ourselves. It makes sense too that when you are describing all of your faults, it’s pretty hard to see anything good or happy.

I hope that this project changes the way people perceive themselves, even if only a little. We all find ourselves looking in the mirror daily, so I challenge you to focus on all of the things you love about yourself rather than those you don’t. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. You know what I’m thinking about all of you?

You are beautiful.

What to Wear Wednesday: Colored Denim & Sock Buns

Hi lovelies! I hope that you are all having a wonderful week and are enjoying all the Olympics coverage! It’s resulted in a few too many late nights for me, but it’s so amazing to see what these athletes are capable of and I am constantly in a state of awe. I also admire all the hard work and years of training that they put into their sports. Something else that I’ve been noticing in addition to their skills are the different hairstyles the athletes have been sporting. For example, although I’m pretty much obsessed with Team USA’s gymnasts, they all wear these messy ponytails turned into buns. I may not be able to teach them anything about their sport, but I could certainly teach them about the art of the sock bun.

Shirt: LOFT, Jeans: Topshop, Bangle: Forever 21, Shoes: Target

I for one, am all about the sock bun. They help make any look a little classier and put-together and they allow you to sleep in a few extra precious minutes- all wins in my book! Oh and back to the outfit. Although I sport sock buns on a semi-regular basis, I chose to style my hair this way because of this shirt. Since the shirt has so much volume and detail, I didn’t want my long hair detracting from the shirt. I then decided to make it a little more fun by pairing it with my favorite colored jeans. For more conservative work environments colored denim might be pushing the envelope a bit, but if you pair them with other classic elements and perhaps add a blazer it helps keep it more professional. Also, if colored jeans aren’t the norm at your office, stick with more classic colors and save your highlighter pink jeans for the weekends.

Questions:

-Do you wear sock buns?

-Do you like colored denim? Would you wear it to work?

 

Blow Dry Bar and the “World’s Best Chicken”?

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! This weekend was a very special one as we had a fun family event celebration- but more on that in another post. In prepping for the event, my mom and I decided to visit the new blow-out bar in Walnut Creek- BDB.  If you’ve never been to a blow-out bar, basically the premise is this: for a set amount of money (usually around $35) stylists will wash your hair and blow dry/curl/straighten it in a desired style! They have been popping up all over the country and I was excited to give it a try. Side note: This particular blow dry bar was started by two 22 and 23 year-old girls in the bay area… Jeez, do I feel like I’m behind here!

Upon arrival we were greeted with mimosas which are a fantastic first step in my book. We were then were instructed to fill out a card with what we were looking for, and our hair type and texture. Here’s the weird thing about my hair: it is very curly and I straighten it every day which works fine but on the odd occasion that I want to curl it with a curling iron- the curl does not stay! Unfortunately, that very thing happened this weekend after my blow-out. But at least it looked like this for a little while…

All in all, it was a great experience at BDB and I will definitely be back. The stylists are able to complete blowouts super quickly and for only $35, it would be fun to do before a night out. My only suggestion would be to really know what you want going in to your appointment as they don’t have a hair menu as some other blow dry bars do and it can be difficult to describe your vision to your stylist without images.

And on a completely unrelated note, last night I made dinner using a Pinterest find. I’ve mentioned before that I usually cook only vegetarian foods. You see, my lovely best friend scared me in college because she never trusted the chicken from restaurants, fearing it was undercooked. As it turns out, this rubbed off on me when it came to cooking meat and I was always too nervous to give it a try. But last night that all changed. Finding chicken breast in the fridge, I knew it was time to give it a go. The other day I saw a recipe on Pinterest claiming to be “The World’s Best Chicken” which I thought boded well for my first chicken cooking attempt. The ingredients are super simple (dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt & pepper and red wine vinegar, though I used white since it was what I had on hand.)

After pouring the mixture over the chicken breasts, I put it in the oven and got to work on the rest of dinner. To avoid my usual uncooked fear, I decided to use a meat thermometer, which might be my new favorite tool. For once, I was able to see clearly when it got to 165 degrees, without even having to prematurely cut into it. When it came out, it looked a little like this…

“World’s best chicken”, tri-color quinoa, and roasted veggies

I think it’s because I used whole grain dijon mustard, but my chicken definitely didn’t look like Rachel’s finished product. But despite that fact, I thought the chicken was delicious. It was super quick and easy to make and the chicken was moist and flavorful. It does taste sweet with a fairly strong mustard flavor though, so it might not be for everyone. I’ll definitely make it again and it’s a great recipe to have on hand. I wouldn’t say it was the world’s best (that award goes to the amazing chicken marsala from Carmines in NYC) but it was a great dinner and the perfect way to end a fun weekend.

Questions:

-Have you been to a blow-dry bar?

-If you started your own business, what would it be?

-Do you make any Pinterest recipes?

 

Best of Beauty

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all are having a wonderful week so far- we are halfway to the weekend! But before I set my sights on this coming weekend, I have to catch you up on the fun things that I did this past weekend.

Last week I was invited to attend Saks Fifth Avenue “Best of Beauty” event in San Francisco, hosted by San Francisco magazine. Always up for a fun event, I knew it would be the perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon. As I browsed the make-up counters I enjoyed a glass of Rutherford Hill Chardonnay which was crisp and cool- the perfect reprieve from the heat outside!

With a glass of wine and issue of San Francisco magazine in hand, I made my way over to the Chanel beauty presentation. I’ve never really used Chanel products before and was excited to hear more about them. The amazing Cathy G. and Ali took us through Chanel’s newest products- some of which took 10 years to develop! Chanel is really committed to creating top-quality products that are free of any added fragrance and feel extremely luxurious on the skin. My skin tends to be extremely dry (ironic considering how much water I drink!) so I’m always looking for new products to help restore moisture. I’ve tried many that feel hydrating for the first 10 minutes, but the below Chanel products actually kept my skin feeling fresh and vibrant the whole day.

Then it was time for make-up! We first watched Cathy do a demonstration on Ali of some of the newest products for summer. I think in summer we all crave effortless make-up routines so we can get out and start enjoying the sun, which is precisely what Chanel offered. Besides getting to see the products in action, I learned a few new things! First, I learned a new technique of applying eye liner so it smudges more against your eyelashes, rather than creating a fine line, which makes your lashes look thicker. Then, I heard that your ideal color of blush is the color of your fingertips. This was groundbreaking to me! As a girl who wore red blush for every dance performance growing up, I’ve always been a little scared of it and tend to only wear bronzer. However, after seeing how much the bronzer-coral blush combination brightened up my complexion, I may be a convert! Getting to try the new products was so much fun and I loved my new look!

Our make-up stations!

The event was fantastic and I feel so honored to be involved! A huge thank you to Saks and Ali for inviting me! I went out on Saturday night rocking my new look and got lots of compliments, so now I will be going back to Saks soon to purchase some of these new products!

Questions:

-What’s your make-up routine like?

-What are your favorite make-up brands? Drugstore/Department store?