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

Paleo Mexican Chicken Zucchini Boats

One thing about living with food allergies is that sometimes they can seem to cut off access to various types of cuisines. For example, since finding out I had a severe corn allergy over a year ago, Mexican food has pretty much been off the table. Living in CA, I’ve always had excellent Mexican food options and especially when I lived in LA. One of my favorite food memories is senior year of college when my best friend Krae and I would meet at our favorite place, La Sirena Grill in El Segundo for endless chips and salsa, margaritas, the perfect burrito and girl talk. (If you find yourself in LA, I seriously recommend that place… it’s pretty much amazing and I would love to live vicariously through all of you!) But between the celiac and the corn allergy, Mexican food has kind of felt off-limits. One day, I decided to change that. After all, who says you need corn or a tortilla to have a fabulous Mexican meal? These zucchini boats are full of Mexican flavor and are gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free, paleo and totally delicious!

Mexican Zucchini Boats GGGF

Ingredients

  • 5 Small-Medium Zucchini
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1/4 C. Chopped Green Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/4 C. Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1/4 C. Salsa
  • 1 Package Frontera GF Key-Lime Cilantro Skillet Sauce*
  • 2 Chicken Breast Cutlets (About 1 Lb)
  • 1/2 t. Oregano
  • 1 t. Cumin
  • Olive Oil Spray

* 1 cup of any salsa will work, this skillet sauce is my favorite one though!

Directions

  1. Spray bottom of crockpot with any nonstick spray (helps immensely in the clean-up process) and put 1/4 of salsa on bottom of crockpot. Layer chicken cutlets in, adding salsa between them and on top. Don’t worry too much about the layering process here as all will combine when you shred. Place on High and cook for 3 hours.
  2. When chicken is cooked, shred with forks and set aside.
  3. Cut ends off zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Hollow out inside of zucchini. People commonly use a melon ball scoop for this, but I used an apple corer and it worked like a dream, was fast and easy and ensured smooth boats! Set aside insides of zucchini that have been scooped out.
  4. Heat 4 Cups of Water in a bowl and drop zucchini boats in for 1 minute. You could do this with a pot of boiling water on the stove, but I just poured hot water into a bowl and it was so easy. Remove boats and set aside.
  5. Chop zucchini, onion and green pepper into fairy small pieces and set aside.
  6. Chop fresh cilantro until you have about 1/4 cup.
  7. Heat a large saucepan on the stove and 1 T. of olive oil. Add chipped onion and stir for about 3 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute more.
  8. Next, add green pepper, chopped zucchini and cilantro along with cumin and oregano. (If you want to up the spice factor, you could also add chili powder but my salsa had enough heat.) Cook for about 5 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add shredded chicken to mixture and stir to combine, cook on low to let flavors combine for a few minutes.
  10. Now it’s time to stuff the zucchini boats! First, spread 1/4 of salsa on the bottom of 9×12 pan.
  11. Use a spoon to fill the boats with the mixture until they are smooth and flat. Then, overstuff them by using rounded spoonfuls to pack on mixture. Carefully set in pan.
  12. Cover pan with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes and garnish with chopped green onions.

Question:

What’s your favorite Mexican dish?

Summer Reading: The Rosie Project

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a book review, but after my recent post on binge-worthy tv shows, I thought books deserved some love too! I’ve always been an avid reader and devour books in a few days, often staying up late or reading during random times just so I can get a few pages in. I think I get that quality from my Grandpa- I always remember him being enraptured in a book and so often he’d be sitting there reading and you’d start talking to him, and he’d almost be surprised because he was so into his novel. As a kid I don’t think I understood it, though as an adult, I definitely do. However, one problem with reading books quickly is that I have the tendency to forget them. I’ll generally remember a few plot points, but sometimes I’ll hear about a book and forget if I read it entirely. In an effort to change my ways, this year I started a journal devoted to books. Now it might sound silly, but after I read a book, I write about it in the journal with a short recap and my thoughts on it. It actually extends my enjoyment of the book and I figured would be fun to look back on how many books I read in 2014.

Since books by the pool is the perfect Summer combination, this will be the first installment of my Summer Reading series! I’ve also decided to write my own description in addition to my review, taken from the pages of my book journal, because anyone can read the Amazon ones!

The Rosie Project

Description: 

The Rosie Project is written from the perspective of Don, a genetics professor in Australia who is brilliant but his social skills are severely lacking. He is very odd, lives by a religious schedule and only has 2 friends. One day he decides that he should have a female partner so he creates “The Wife Project”, which is essentially a survey of some very specific questions. Don believes that in order to be a suitable match for him, a woman must answer all of the questions exactly how he would answer them. And then he meets Rosie, who he disqualifies from the project almost instantly but decides to help her with what they call “The Father Project” and what happens next takes them both by surprise.

Review:

I loved this book because it’s very unusual to read something from an autistic character’s perspective, but that’s what makes it so interesting. It also has an extraordinary realness to it and so many twists and turns. I read that the book started as a screenplay which makes sense because each scene is so vivid and aptly described. This is actually being turned into a movie and I can’t wait to see what happens on-screen as well as read the sequel that comes out in the Fall. It is a fantastic book and one of my favorites that I’ve read this year.

The BEST Paleo Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Let’s face it. Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t like a good chocolate chip cookie? It’s a classic for a reason and the scent alone makes them instantly crave-able. There are a lot of amazing chocolate chip cookies out there, including in the gluten-free world. Unfortunately, a lot of them have sugar and shortening or vegan butter and those are ingredients I’d prefer not to put in my body. Enter- the paleo cookie. I can’t actually take credit for this recipe, as I got it from my amazing sister-in-law Julia, who started making this when she and my brother went paleo. Enter the night before Easter this year, when my brother had a craving for some delicious chocolate chip cookies and he and I whipped these up (ok, so he was mostly my sous chef, but an excellent one). ;) I’ve since made these cookies for various occasions and everyone loves them! I’m talking my Grandma (who’s weary of gluten-free things) as well as friends who had never even heard of paleo. They are a true winner and you’ll feel like one too when you make a batch of these!

Paleo Cookies & Milk GGGF

Paleo Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 C. Almond Meal
  • 1 C. Enjoy Life Mini Chips*
  • 1 C. Chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 t. Salt
  • 1/2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1/3 C. Honey
  • 2 T. Melted Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 t. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg

*Any chocolate chips will work, but I love these dairy-free/soy-free mini chips. Also, although tempting, don’t add the whole bag, as it will become difficult to get them to stick together.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients (almond meal, salt, baking soda) together.

3. Add the chocolate chips and chopped pecans to the dry mixture and stir evenly.

4. In a separate bowl, heat oil and honey together to liquify in microwave for 30 seconds.

5. Whisk the wet ingredients together (honey, oil, vanilla extract and egg).

6. Make a crater in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the whisked wet ingredients.

7. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly mixed.

Paleo Cookies Close-up

5 Binge Worthy TV Shows

I consider myself somewheat of a pop culture aficianado, but somehow I missed these 5 great shows in the beginning. Thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime though, I was able to hop on board and thought I would share some of my favorites. Plus, who doesn’t love watching a full season of a show minus commercials and waiting week-to-week for new episodes? Instead of inserting pictures, I put the first season trailer (some of these are older shows so I promise the trailer doesn’t do them justice) but thought it would give you a better sneak peek into the shows. If you’ve overlooked these shows in the past, plan a little staycation, grab some snacks and get ready for some seriously good tv.

1. Friday Night Lights

I don’t know how, but somehow I completely missed Friday Night Lights when it was on tv (truth? I was probably too busy watching the CW). My brother and his wife were completely into watching it a few years ago, and to be honest, I didn’t understand the draw. I thought it was some football show, and not being much of a sports girl, decided I wasn’t really interested. Well, was I missing out. Friday Night Lights is one of the best tv series out there and I can’t tell you how sad I was when the 5th season was over. It is a show where you really fall in love with the characters and of course idolize the marriage between Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. It also doesn’t hurt that there are a number of very cute guys on the show! There’s always drama, but what keeps you coming back is the heart, it feels like quality television that I just couldn’t get enough of. No judgment here if your new mantra becomes, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”.

2. Suits

When Friday Night Lights was over, I was on the hunt for a new show. Luckily, my bestie Krae came to the rescue and suggested I watch Suits. I haven’t really watched much on the USA Channel but found that I was missing out on this great legal drama. I have always loved legal dramas and this one is up there with the best. Similar to The Good Wife (another fave if you haven’t seen it), most episodes feature a case of the week, but they are far from boring. They have a unique ability to capture your interest while progressing the characters storyline, not to mention some relationships as well. Come for the legal drama, but stay for the dynamics between Harvey and Mike, they are the dynamic duo that you never want to be broken. Also, the female characters on this show, like Donna, Jessica and Rachel rock and are strong women that you don’t get to see on many shows. An added bonus is that Suits is currently airing Season 4 right now, so once you finish your binge watch, you can continue your obsession in real time.

3. Veronica Mars

I remember catching an episode or two of Veronica Mars years ago, but never really started watching it. Then, when the kickstarter campaign for a movie started and was a smashing success, I thought that maybe I was missing something. This is a show that is really best to watch from Season 1 because you would miss a lot of the character’s arcs without it. Veronica is a high school student (and later college) that happens to be a private eye on the side. I’ll admit that it sounds a little cheesy, but somehow, the show just nails it. Kristen Bell does a phenomenal job and is totally snarky and loveable at the same time. It definitely is a little on the younger side but such a fun show to watch. Plus, it has the added bonus of catching up with Veronica in the movie when she’s 30 which if you’re like me, you’ll start streaming the second after you finish the final episodes of Season 3!

4. Parenthood

Parenthood was another show like Friday Night Lights that I just never found myself getting into for no real reason. When Krae suggested that I get on board (yep, she suggested another of my favorites) I knew I had to start watching because we have such similar tv taste. Parenthood feels like Friday Night Lights in the wholesome sense mixed with Brothers & Sisters in the family sense. It revolves around the Bravermans which includes the grandparents, their four children (including Dax Shepard, Lauren Graham and Erika Christensen) plus their significant others and their children. Needless to say it’s a big group. But the more you watch, the more you fall in love with the Bravermans and they will make you laugh and will make you cry. In fact, Vulture does a great “cry-cap” after each episode rating scenes on how many tears were shed. Season 5 just wrapped and the 6th and final season premiers in the Fall, so be sure to check it out before then!

5. House of Cards

Yes, the Netflix show that everyone talks about really does live up to it’s hype. My brother urged me to start watching this series, so just before the second season was set to drop, I binge watched the first season. And wow, what a season it was! HOC is set in DC and revolves around Frank Underwood, the Democratic Majority Whip Leader who is extremely ambitious and ready to do anything to rise up in the ranks. It stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright Penn as the power couple that you do not want to cross. Episodes are shocking and exciting and if you like Scandal this show is for you!

Other shows that would be great to binge watch: The Good Wife, Scandal, Revenge and Pretty Little Liars! (Can you tell I love a good drama?) In the comedy department I only really watch one: The Mindy Project and it’s amazing. So much so, in fact, that I might have to do a full focused post on it soon!

Questions:

-What are your favorite tv shows?

-Any shows that I need to binge watch? I’m always looking for new recommendations!

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?