Glossy Smoky Eye Tutorial

It’s hard for me to rock a smokey eye without looking like a hungover raccoon, but it’s a new year and I’m open to trying new things.

This dark and stormy eye was inspired by El Nino, because it rained almost every day last week and I’ve forgotten what color the sun is. This is L.A., dammit. I’m entitled to drink mimosas on the beach in January.

Smokey Eye Tutorial Dark Skin

After applying my Wet n Wild Take On The Day Eyeshadow Primer all over my lids, I blended the light brown shade from the BH Cosmetics Missy Lynn Palette into my crease as my transition shade. If you’ve been following my blog for more than a day, you’re probably tired of me mentioning this palette. But I’m not tired of it. It’s awesome! The colors are all super pigmented and I have yet to find an eyeshadow that acts as a better transition color for brown skin.

I then pulled out the Smashbox On the Rocks Palette and blended the dark brown color in the palette on top of my transition color, focusing on the crease and outer corners. When layering an eyeshadow look like this, it always helps to start with your lightest colors first and work your way up to the darker shades.

I patted the grey color all over my lid, and then applied the color Creep from the Urban Decay Naked Palette on top of it to build up the darkness that I desired.

To make the look glossy, I patted on the glittery highlight powder from my Sleek Contour Kit on top. This is something I will have to do more often, because as you probably know by now I am a huge fan of glitter, and sparkly things, and French fries.

Smokey Eye Close Up

The most important of those things obviously being French fries.

I’m also wearing the Ardell Baby Wispies Eyelashes. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think these are the best eyelashes I’ve ever worn. They look natural and are totally daytime appropriate. And they are comfortable. So, so comfortable.

And on my lips I’m wearing Milani’s Teddy Bare Lipstick, which is my favorite nude lipstick for brown skin.

Thanks for reading! And please follow my blog if you haven’t already 🙂

Nude Eyeshadows Brown Skin

I have a confession to make – I hardly ever wear eyeshadow these days. In between hitting the snooze button one too many times and squeezing in episodes of Jessica Jones right before I absolutely have to get out the door, I find that I just don’t have the time.

But it’s not just because lazy and lack time management skills. I love creating intricate eyeshadow looks, and if I don’t have the time to perfect it I just won’t bother. But there are days when I do need the little extra umph to pull my look together. Enter the nude eyeshadow – it’s like my lips but better, but for your eyelids.

These three eyeshadows are my go-to when I just want to swipe something neutral on my eyes and not worry too much about blending it out and making it perfct. And the best part is, these colors are all brown girl/brown guy friendly.

  • Elf Smudge Pot in Brownie Points 

This is my all time favorite brown lid color. I love the deep brown color and the fact that it has a slightly metallic finish. I am obsessed with the Elf Smudge Pots because the texture and pigmentation is unbelievable, and the price is unbeatable!

  • BH Cosmetics Missy Lynn Palette (light brown shade)

The Missy Lynn eyeshadow palette is a godsend for brown girls/guys everywhere. The two brown shades in the palette are perfect when used as a transition shade – or all over the lid! I like to use the light brown shade by itself when I want to just throw something neutral on and get out the door quickly. If you have darker skin, the darker brown shade in the palette may be the perfect neutral shade for you – try it! This palette is very affordable and versatile.

  • Urban Decay Smog Eyeshadow

I’ve had the Urban Decay Naked 1 palette for about two years now, and the one color I have been using consistently since day one is Smog. Smog is a cool brown color with hints of gold that I use either to blend out in the crease for smoky looks, or just all over the lid by itself. It isn’t a true neutral color since it is quite gold, but I love how elegant this eyeshadow is. It looks so perfect by itself, no blending necessary.

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Nude Eyeshadow Black Skin

(l to r: Elf Smudge Pot in Brownie Points, Missy Lynn Palette light brown eyeshadow, Urban Decay Smog)

I Heart Sugar

Repeat after me: losing weight isn’t hard. Losing. Weight. Isn’t. Hard.

Motivation is hard, persistence is hard, and giving up is easy. I know because I used to subject myself to the violent cycles of crash dieting and yo-yoing back and forth between dress sizes. In early 2015 I was the heaviest weight I’d been since college. I felt terrible. My clothes felt tight and I was tired all the time. My wakeup call came when I noticed my heart racing after climbing just one flight of stairs.

In May 2015 I took up jogging and finally began a healthy relationship with food. I reached my goal weight about four months later, and as we enter 2016 I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to maintain it. As the girl who formerly couldn’t keep a diet for more than a week, this is a huge milestone for me.

If losing weight is your New Year’s Resolution for 2016, I want you to know that it is possible. Keep these tips in mind whether you’re trying to lose 5 lbs or 50. Take it from me – a girl who’s done it.

1. Be Mindful and Check Your Emotions

Food is wonderful, food is great, but every emotional high and low doesn’t have to include food. Be mindful of why you’re eating when you’re stressed, or bored, or sad. Chances are, there is a real problem that you’re dealing with that you’re trying to fix with food. It doesn’t work. Get to the root of the problem and solve it. Recognize that there is something bigger happening in your life that food can’t fix.

There is a social bonding factor behind food that drives this behavior. When you get that promotion at work, your boyfriend takes you out to your favorite pizza place to celebrate. When you have a bad day at work, you break out the ice cream and wine and have a good cry. Channel your emotions into a healthier activity that you enjoy, and end mindless eating for good. Every emotional high and low shouldn’t be tied to food.

And don’t eat just to eat. Bored eating was one of my biggest problems that I’ve only just started to overcome. Only eat when you’re hungry, and stop eating when you’re full.

2. Leave Food On Your Plate

And you’ll be surprised at how little food you actually need to eat to get full. This ties back to mindless eating – after a certain point you’re no longer eating to satisfy your stomach, but your brain.

Savor the food you’re chewing before you start hunting down the next spoonful on your plate. Put the fork down in between bites and take a second to breathe. You’ll get a better sense of whether you’re full and ready to stop eating when you take a break and listen to your stomach. Just because there is food on your plate doesn’t mean you need to finish it (sorry mom and grandma)! Yes there are starving kids all over the world but you’re not going to pack up what’s on your plate and ship your leftovers to them.

In America, the portions we are served in restaurants in huge. What would regularly feed two, three people is made to look like a party for one. Leave some food on your plate, and take the rest home to eat later. Eventually you’ll become satisfied with smaller portions after your brain rewires itself to remember you don’t need to eat an entire slice of cheesecake to satisfy your sweet craving.

3. Avoid Processed Food

This may be one of the hardest rules to follow, since everything we eat these days seems to come in some sort of package or box. We forget that the potato chip we’re eating started out as a vegetable once upon a time before it was malformed and sprayed with cheese-flavored seasoning. The end result looks nothing like the happy vegetable it aspired to be. Those foods aren’t good for you. The sooner you avoid eating foods that come out of a plastic wrapper, the happier you’ll be.

My general rule is that I won’t eat anything that looks too far removed from what it started out as. For example, I used to love cereal as a kid but the fact that that most of those cereals started out as corn or wheat and ends up looking like a science experiment does not sit well with me.

Because I live in L.A., I understand I have a much easier time finding healthy food than people in smaller cities who don’t have a Whole Foods on every block. Sometimes unprocessed foods is inaccessible, and it sucks. We should all have access to natural, healthy food. You can remedy this problem by cooking more food at home. Start with ingredients like real fruits and real vegetables and the weight will start to fall off naturally as you feed yourself with good, nourishing foods.

4. Eat Whatever You Want… In Moderation

When I talk to any of my friends or family members who want to lose weight, the first thing most of them say is that they are going to swear off this food, or that, for good. That approach doesn’t work for anyone. Eventually you’ll slip back into eating that food and you’ll beat yourself up for indulging in the “bad” food. I have news for you: no food is bad for you in moderation. One slice of cake isn’t going to make you fat. One slice of cake everyday, or every other day, won’t do you any favors.

I found that when I switched my diet over to include mostly healthy foods my craving for sweets and cheese-covered things diminished. Your body wants healthy food, but its needs are smothered by our addictions to salt and sugar. Give in to the craving when you need to, but no more. Be honest with yourself – was the sixth bite of cheesecake really more enjoyable than the first? Portion control is a huge key here.

5. Exercise

Ah, the elephant in the room. I’ll be honest with you – you can reach your goal weight through dieting alone. Your diet is the first thing you need to change if you want to lose weight. Exercise, though, helps expedite the process and will help you keep the weight off. Muscle burns fat, even at rest. Your body will be more forgiving when you do indulge in that weekly cheese-smothered treat.

But most importantly – exercise will make you feel good. You’ll be happier, less lethargic, and more mentally sharp when your body is fit and healthy. We were not designed to sit in chairs all day or lay on couches for hours. Our bodies are beautiful machines that want to work hard and explore their limits. Get up and move it.

Since I started exercising consistently for the past seven months, I’ve truly never felt happier. I like pushing my body to see what it can do. I personally exercise for an hour at least four times a week, not taking more than a two day break between trips to the gym. I’m a fan of cardio, but I look forward to exploring weight training in the new year and seeing what else my body is capable of.

I hope you all reach the goals you set for yourself this year. Happy New Year, and here’s to an adventure-filled 2016!

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation Rich Caramel

Foundation is the most important beauty invention known to man, and I will argue with anyone who says otherwise. If you’re one of the lucky elite with perfect, blemish-free skin then foundation may not be as crucial for you as it is to me (and if you’re one of those people, please share your skincare routine and I will send you a box filled with kittens and chocolate candies in return).

This year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and experimented with different foundations. I’ve been using MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid forever, and although I liked it the beauty addict in me just had to see if there was something more flawless, more perfect, and likely more expensive than MAC. This was the year I set out to find my Holy Grail foundation, and I think I found it.

The Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation is hands-down the best foundation I’ve ever tried, the best foundation ever, and my favorite beauty find of the year. It’s the most expensive foundation I’ve ever used, but I would happily repurchase it over and over again. I’m currently on my second bottle, after scraping my first one clean to get every last bit of it out. One bottle lasts forever because I only need to use a tiny bit to cover my whole face and get the coverage I need.

This foundation is perfect for my oily skin because it has a matte finish. One layer covers all of my dark spots, but you can easily build it up even more by applying more foundation to your trouble areas if needed. I exclusively apply this using a makeup sponge and my skin looks so flawless yet natural. And it lasts all day. All. Day. I could sleep with this on, and literally wake up flawless.

Honorable mentions for other great beauty finds of the year go to the L’Oreal True Match foundation and ELF mineral blush and bronzer. I don’t know where I would be without the ELF mineral bronzer! I’m guessing probably curled up in a ditch somewhere, or some awful city in Ohio.

What was your favorite beauty product of the year? I know it’s hard to choose just one!

Banana Peanut Butter Goji Berry Smoothie

I will fondly remember 2015 as the year that I focused on my health and got into shape. I didn’t diet, obsess over my jean size, or stop eating after six. I wanted to be healthy and I made it happen.

I don’t count calories, demonize carbs, or avoid the occasional donut party at work. And yet I’ve still managed to reach my goal weight and become happy with the way I look and feel. Now I have new goals to set for next year and hope to explore strength training and weight lifting for the first time – two things that used to scare me but now seem more in reach.

My 2015 was also the year of the smoothie, and I want to introduce you all to the smoothie I drink in the morning before my hitting the gym. This is my favorite smoothie of all time. I’ve been working out pretty consistently for about seven months now and this smoothie has foods that give me energy (oatmeal) and protein for building muscle.

This Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie has been my savior for mornings when I’m hungry and tempted to grab a muffin or a bagel. It’s lightly sweetened with honey which satisfies my never-ending sweet cravings, and also includes goji berries, a superfood I only discovered this year.

So here is the recipe for my favorite smoothie. It’s the perfect thing to jumpstart your health goals for 2016 – or recover from yesterday’s Christmas feast one step at a time!

Peanut Butter Banana-Goji Berry Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 2 TBS peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 TBS honey
  • handful goji berries
  • granola for topping

Pour the almond milk into your blender, and add in the oatmeal, banana, peanut butter, goji berries and honey. Blend until creamy. Pour into a tall glass and top with a sprinkle of granola, more goji berries and a squeeze of honey.

Protein Workout Smoothie Recipe