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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Gratitude

With Thanksgiving being this week, I thought I would write a post on gratitude. 

During the holiday season, we usually feel closer to others. We celebrate the holidays by sharing a meal with family, we pick out presents for our friends, and we give back to our communities through donations and volunteering. 

My challenge to you before the end of 2015 is to enhance you attitude of gratitude. Let's not just be thankful on Thanksgiving and during the holidays, but each and every day. 

Gratitude is a two way street. Have you ever noticed that when you pay someone a compliment or do something nice for another person, that you feel good afterwards as well? 

Studies show that practicing gratitude daily makes us happier. It makes us more optimistic and improves our self esteem and well-being. Being grateful positively impacts the people around you and has the power to improve your own life. 

I'm planning on writing handwritten letters expressing my gratitude for the important people in my life and including the letter in their holiday cards I send out each year. 

Here are some interesting and thought provoking ways that you can show gratitude:

Smile at a stranger in passing. 

Speak kindly to yourself - Look in the mirror and give a compliment. 

Pay for the person's coffee who is in line behind you. 

Begin a gratitude journal- Each night, before you go to sleep, write down five things you are grateful for. 

Make eye contact- When interacting with someone, if you make eye contact, you'll show that you are present and paying attention. 

Volunteer your time- at a soup kitchen, nursing home, a veteran's hospital, library, etc.

Start your day happy- When you wake up, find something positive in your life that you are thankful for.

Embrace your mistakes- We are not perfect. Instead of criticizing, allow yourself to move on and grow from the experience. Ask yourself what wisdom you attained or the lesson you learned. 

Spend quality time with friends and family- Put down the electronics and be present to what's going on around you. 

Help the elderly- Offer to carry their groceries, shovel their driveway, invite them to join you for dinner, pump their gas, etc.

Give compliments to people you hardly know- such as your waiter or someone in the checkout line. And of course, compliment those you know too!

Give a belonging away- Have you ever been complimented on something you were wearing or had an item in your possession that someone admired? A piece of jewelry, a scarf, a writing utensil, etc? Next time that happens, consider giving the item away. It will make their day. Being selfless can enhance your well-being. 

Spend less time speaking negatively and gossiping. Instead, focus on sharing something positive. 

Make a donation- Help those in need or give to those who have made immense personal sacrifices to preserve our freedom. Some examples are: Toys For Tots, Salvation Army, Wounded Warrior Project, The Friendship Circle, a local food bank...The list is endless.

When you become stressed during your holiday dinner or when you're part of the chaos on Black Friday, remember this....Make the best of a "bad" situation. Make the conscious choice to live in gratitude! 

What are you thankful for today? Have you performed a random act of kindness yet this week?

Have a lovely holiday weekend!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Duct Tape Creations - My Parsons/Teen Vogue Assignment

I'm currently enrolled in a fashion program through Parsons School of Design in collaboration with Teen Vogue. The unit I just completed, "Think Like A Designer," had numerous assignments that got me out of my comfort zone and challenged my creativity. My last project was to design an accessory and clothing piece using an unconventional material. I chose duct tape.

The tote bag I created was made from duct tape, with lace on the sides and a few pieces of cardboard. It took a little over two hours and I was happy with the end result. You could totally use the bag to store magazines or cosmetic supplies, etc. 

I thought it would be fun to show you the progression of the dress. I assumed it would take hours upon hours, but it only took me two to complete my project! 

After doing some research, I learned the company that makes all these really cool patterned and colorful duct tapes, has a contest each year in the springtime. They challenge high school teenagers to make a dress/suit for their prom entirely out of duct tape.  Check out the link to see some really cool creations:  

P.S. Thank you Ashley (my best friend) for volunteering to be my model. 

Would you wear a duct tape creation? What do you think of my dress? Any DIY ideas for me to try out for my blog?

Until next time!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Simple and Healthy Twist on Classic Beans and Rice Recipe

This week's blog is a for the foodies. I'm always looking for a flavorful dish to cook and my newest recipe is packed with protein and is delicious and vegetarian and vegan friendly. 
Below is a step by step recipe to follow for a tasty meal!

Servings: 2-4

1/2 Avocado
2 garlic cloves
Northern beans
Brown rice and quinoa
Half of a lime

Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese

I personally use Seeds of Change Quiona and Brown Rice which can be microwaved. It's sold at Costco and Sam's Club. The ingredients are straightforward. It's great tasting too! You can choose to use whatever rice and quiona you would like.

Peel and chop garlic.
Slice avocado in half
Cut lime in half or into four slices. I find it easier to squeeze the juice if it's in a smaller slice (You'll need half of the lime).

Place pot onto stove and turn the heat on high.
While the pot is heating up, microwave the rice for 90 seconds
Next, pour about 5 tablespoons of olive oil into the pot and add the chopped garlic.

Cook the garlic until golden brown. This takes about 20-30 seconds. Turn your heat down to a medium setting.

Add rice and quinoa and stir to mix it with the olive oil and garlic.

Now, add the can of beans. Stir for a minute and then scoop out the avocado into the pot.
Mix avocado in thoroughly.

Squeeze in the lime and stir. You can add some shredded cheese on top if you'd like and voila! Bon app├ętit!

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments. :)

Until next time,

Monday, November 9, 2015

Limited Edition Holiday Beauty Must Haves!

Do you believe it's already November? Before we know it, it will be December and the holidays will be right around the corner. A lot of beauty and cosmetic companies come out with new and limited edition products specially for the holiday season. Stores like Ulta and Sephora get some products in stock specifically for them, so be sure to check their stores and websites for limited edition beauty products.

Below are are a few of my favorites. The items I chose are vegan/cruelty free.

Benefit : Party Poppers Makeup Set $45.00

Last week I was at Ulta and there was an end-cap that I kept eyeing. It ended up being various Benefit holiday sets. Typically, one of their holiday sets is a 24 or 25 day beauty advent calendar but this year they switched things up with 12 days of great goodies! Once you open this set up it plays a fun, original song. 
Pop each door open to reveal:

2 Mascaras
2 Highlighters
2 Lip Glosses
Face Primer
Lip and Cheek Stain
Under Eye Brightener
Facial Moisture Cream
Eye Makeup Remover

Their samples are a very nice size and I'm obsessed with their adorable packaging.

Lush : Golden Wonder $19.95 and Snow Fairy (prices vary based on size) $9.95 - $29.95

I'm a big fan of anything and everything Lush. I recently went into their store like I always do at this time of year to see what new holiday items they had in. I like to get a few gift boxes for friends and family. 

I stock up on the "Snow Fairy Shower Gel," which has a sweet fragrance of bubblegum and vanilla. It's also sparkly with a fairy dust shimmer. What could be better?

The wrapped gift box, "Golden Wonder" comes with three presents inside. 

Celebrate - a body lotion with a citrus and champagne scent. 

Golden Wonder - a bath bomb with a similar smell to the body lotion. This bath bomb will leave you with a glittery and turquoise explosion in your tub.

Gold Fun - a bar that can be used as a shampoo, bubble bath or soap. It has a sweet honey-toffee scent- yum!

Jeffree Star Cosmetics : Velour Liquid Lipstick $18

Earlier this year, Jeffree Star came out with a liquid lipstick line. I had been looking for a bold purple and purchased "I'm Royalty," It lasts a long time and the best part about these lipsticks is that they are vegan and can be used as liquid eyeliners as well....I also used it on my eyebrows for my Halloween makeup. 

During the holiday season, there have been some limited edition colors released.

Doll Parts - A subtle pink 

Androgyny -  A sultry plum that is already sold out!

Drug Lord - White like snow, and can be used to lighten other lip shades.

Hoe Hoe Hoe - A deep red with hints of metallic red and purple (this is the color I am planning to get).

Mistletoe - Green like a Christmas tree. You'll definitely stand out with this color.

Too Faced : Le Grand Chateau $49

Like Benefit, Too faced packaging is aesthetically pleasing. Their brand is inspired by Paris and femininity. From their limited edition Christmas Collection, "Le Grand Chateau" is a chic and adorable set which includes three palettes and a travel sized "Better Than Sex" mascara.  You could actually gift each individual palette. The palette's come with six eyeshadows, and two of them come with a blush and the other a bronzer.  

Have you already started your holiday shopping?

Until next time,

Monday, November 2, 2015

My Halloweekend

This week's blog post is about the month of October and Halloween, one of my favorite days of the year. 

This October I....

Carved my first pumpkin EVER. 
Took my best friend to her first cider mill
Played in the leaves.
Became obsessed with everything pumpkin (as a lot of us do each year). 
Had a fall photo shoot (which you can see in my previous post)
Planned my annual Halloween party

Here are some of the highlights:


Not too bad for my first carvings, right? :P

My best friend moved to Michigan from California and this was her first official fall. I had to take her to the a cider mill. I look forward to drinking cider and munching on some donuts every year!

Halloween has always been exciting to me because I love being able to create my costume and bring it to life. I host a party annually and enjoy decorating the space and making homemade festive goodies!

This year I decided I wanted to be a mermaid. I searched numerous Halloween stores, Etsy, etc and found pieces of my costume from various places. 
I hand painted my sea shell bra and found on Pinterest how to make scales on my face (using fishnets). 

I used Jeffree Star "I'm Royalty" Velour Liquid Lipstick on my lips and eyebrows. 

I decided to change up my costume for Halloween party night #2. I went as a hippie fairy...which if you know me isn't too far off from my every day vibe. During the month of October, I wore fairy wings out and about, around town. A lot of times my style can be described as boho chic/60's free spirit. 

 Flower Headband: Claire's
 Lace Flower Tank: Francesca's
 Yoga Pants: Teeki
 Fringe Boots: Minnetonka 


I also thought I would show you some of the food I made for the party.

Bloody Eyeball Eggs 

Pumpkin Pretzel Bites

Puking Pumpkin 


What do you think of my costumes? :) What did you do for Halloween? Did you dress up? I'd love to hear from you. 

Until next time...