New Products I Am In Love With!

My search for the best mascaras and hair products have come to an end!  Here are the 2 best mascaras EVER and stuff to make your hair thick and shiny!

I recently discovered Touch in Sol Stretchex mascara from Sephora.com.  This mascara truly does lengthen your eyelashes while keeping it soft and supple thanks to the silk proteins in this formula.  It also does not clump or smudge and it’s water resistant (but removes easily with warm water and soap).  The brush has small bristles and is slightly curved which is perfect for my wimpy eyelashes.  It’s almost too good to be true! Out of the numerous mascaras I’ve tried in my life, this is my number one love!

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Here is the second best mascara I’ve found.  It’s from Pacifica, which is a natural, cruelty free cosmetics and skincare line I love to use.  Their Stellar Gaze mascara has coconut oil and B vitamins so it goes on silky smooth, conditions and lengthens. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the brush is too big. Other than that, this is my second favorite mascara!

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Now as for hair, I love some volume in my roots and silky, shiny ends.  Organix has a Thick & Full line which includes biotin and collagen to plump up your strands.  I spray this on my damp hair in the roots first, then I follow it up with a few drops of Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil at ends. This oil is very lightweight and a little goes a long way. It makes hair soft, shiny and more manageable while blow drying.

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I recommend you give these products a try!  Hope you love them as much as I do!

How I learned to slow down and live life, not race through it!

It’s been quite an interesting 2015 so far.  In some ways it has been good, and in some ways bad.  I took the plunge to change careers, quit my job, went back to school to study my passion (skincare therapy), went through a really tough breakup (lost my best friend of 4 years), started a new diet (successful!) and got in a car accident.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions.

One day, I was sitting at Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades with a good friend of mine.  We were both trying to find serenity.  I stared and stared and stared at that beautiful lake and scenery not knowing how I was going to handle these overwhelming emotions.  Then it hit me.  If I want to be happy, I need to take action and start living!

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I didn’t realize that all these years I was racing through life and not living it.  I was so entwined in the everyday hustle and bustle and sweating all the small details that I simply have forgotten to stop and smell the roses!  I know, I know..it’s not an easy thing to do especially in today’s world with work, family, kids, etc.  But start off with a few small changes and work your way to bigger changes.

Here are some of the changes I’ve made to help me start living life to the fullest and feeling great!

1.  Practice Gratitude: I learned this from a sales coach we had at a company I worked at.  Taking the time to find 3 things you are grateful for each day can make a huge difference in your outlook on life, your relationships and how you feel about yourself.  We truly have a lot to be grateful for!                                                                                                        gratitiude2.  Meditation: I NEVER was the one to meditate and it was always difficult for me.  I thought, “who has time to do this?”  I was always anxious and couldn’t get my mind to settle just for a moment.  But I did some research, talked to some people, and realized this could make a big difference in your attitude even if it’s as simple as closing your eyes for 2 minutes to focus on your breathing.  It calms me and makes me feel more at peace.

3.  Letting go of anger: It’s like the song from Disney’s Frozen.  “Let it go! Let it go!”  I never thought I could let some things go.  And yes, I can get angry very, very easily.  Then I realized I’m only hurting myself and ruining the potential of my day over a driver that cut me off!  If I wanted to start living life, I couldn’t waste my energy on anger, especially on small things that will have little impact on my day.  So now I tell myself, okay that sucked, but move on!

4.  Staying active: We all know exercise is good for you, right?  Releases endorphins, releases toxins from the body and makes you feel good!  So it may seem ironic that I quit my gym membership.  But I wanted to start enjoying the outdoors and nature while getting a workout.   Jogging, walking, hiking and biking in the sun are really what keep me alive.  I also started to practice T’ai Chi which takes a lot of patience, but I think I’m getting there.

hike5.  Focusing on my core: Along with staying active, I’m focused on a lot of core workouts and a diet that supports it.  I have always been a firm believer that if you have a strong core, the positive energy radiates out to all your extremities.  This is why I enjoy practicing Pilates so much because it focuses on strengthening the core.  I’m also on the Abs diet and it has done wonders.  Lots of veggies, whole grains, protein , zero alcohol and less processed foods have made a huge impact on my energy and body.  I fit in my skinny jeans again and feel great.  My energy levels are sustained throughout the day and I’m not crashing at 2pm.  In addition, a strong core has helped me feel centered and balanced both mentally and physically.

6.  Pampering myself: I’m in school studying to become a licensed esthetician also known as a skincare therapist.  My goal is to work at a wellness spa and have my own someday.  I love making clients feel relaxed while giving their skin treatments.  Afterwards, they feel good and healthy. While I love giving that gift to someone else, I know I need to take the time to do that with myself too.  It’s all about making time to de-stress.  This could be as simple as putting on a facial mask to nourish your skin, listening to some relaxing music or taking a nice, relaxing bath.

IMG_6170crop7.  Eating slowly: No more eating in the car or inhaling food.  I’m taking the time to sit down and actually taste my food, enjoy the flavors and textures.  It is amazing how different you feel after eating this way.  It goes back to gratitude.  Feeling satisfied and grateful without feeling bloated or sluggish.

kale8.  I swapped my alcohol for tea: Alcohol is a depressant and has never made me feel good.  After a night of drinking, I’m lazy with zero energy the next day.  Zero energy means I’m not going to be productive or enjoyable to be around for that matter.  So instead I’m drinking all different kinds of tea.  Green tea, chamomile, ginger, white tea, blueberry, rooibos..there are so many satisfying flavors.  Plus, they contain good antioxidants for your skin and body!

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 9.  Make time for friends and family:  It’s easy to get wrapped up in responsibilities and chores, but make sure to spend quality time laughing with your loved ones!

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10.  Smile:  Last but not least, smile!  Make the time for others.  Smile and say good morning to whoever you pass by.  You will feel good and so will they!

These are just some of the things that are helping me live my life to the fullest. Hopefully, this inspires you to make some positive changes so you can be successful and START LIVING LIFE AGAIN!

New Year, New Life, New Products!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update. To be completely honest, I’ve been so busy with work, life changing events and haven’t been motivated.  But guess what? I have some exciting news. Probably the most exciting news I’ve shared on here. I am finally pursuing my dream as an esthetician and makeup artist. Yes, this is for real!

I’ve always been passionate about skincare along with makeup artistry. Ever since I was 15 years old, I have been dreaming of this. The first time I touched someone’s face doing makeup for theater, I knew I had a gift. I loved transforming someone into a character they were playing and I was damn good at it. Now, I want to help people with the health of their skin and help them feel confident and beautiful.

I left my job of 3 years to pursue an esthetician program full time.  I have to say it was a difficult decision because I had an awesome boss and coworkers. However, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. A good friend of mine went through a traumatic experience this year (Alan, hey there!) and we both realized we need to start taking action to fulfill our dreams. That led me to this decision and this exciting new chapter in my life. I’m so excited!

With that said, it’s a new year with a new beginning. So of course, I’ve been testing some new products to kick it off! Here are my favorites so far!

“Eye” love these for the windows of your soul!

Green Tea Eye Patches by ToGoSpa

Extremely soothing and relaxing!

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Shiseido’s Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

You can also use these around the mouth for those frown lines!

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For glowing and radiant skin:

                Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Face

 Exfoliates and really makes your skin smooth and glowing! I love these so much!

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                Karuna’s Age Defying Face Mask

 Okay these are brilliant! I’m so into cloth face masks right now and this moisturized my skin after one use!

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I’m looking forward to writing more posts!  I’m feeling great and extremely motivated now that I’m starting to live my dream!

 

 

Shiny, happy hair! Finally!

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on my hair.  People are constantly telling me how shiny and healthy it looks.  Two years ago that would not have been the case.  It used to be so brittle and dry.  So what’s changed since then? Well I broke some bad habits and started using the right products!

Gone are the days of blonde highlights and daily flat irons.  And I don’t brush my hair with a fine tooth comb while it’s wet.  I use a wide tooth comb and I’m extra gentle.  I have to treat my hair like a baby.  Our hair gets more and more delicate as we get older so we really need to give it some real TLC.  I also decided to go back to my original hair color so I don’t have to dye it as much.  I use less heat styling tools, and if I do, I use a heat protectant.

I’ve searched EVERYWHERE for the best shampoos and hair products.  I’ve spent more than I could afford on products that promised healthy, shiny hair and have been left disappointed.  But recently, I’ve struck gold!  Loreal came out with an awesome line called Total Repair 5.  It promises to repair hair even the most wicked, ugliest hair.  And guess what? It works like magic!

In addition to the amazing shampoo and conditioners, I use a deep conditioner twice a week.  I also alternate with Joico’s Revitaluxe.  Also a fantastic deep conditioner.

One thing I’ve noticed ever since I’ve stopped highlighting my hair is that it doesn’t break off as easily anymore!  Which is good news because my hair has grown pretty long (I felt like it never would grow ever again!)

Now I’m left with healthy shiny hair.  Yay!

Photo Shoot: Sarah Arnold

I had the pleasure of doing makeup for another shoot with my photographer Phil, and our beautiful model Sarah Arnold!  We had so much fun! Check it out:

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Photos by Phillip Kyle Briggs

Let’s get one thing straight: Your hair!

hair4My hair naturally

First off, I’m  going to say that I’m lucky to have been born with straight hair so I don’t really need to worry about straightening my hair.  Even though as a kid, I always wanted curly hair soooo bad.  I remember I would spend hours putting my hair in rollers and begging my mom for a perm!  I wanted to look like Tina Turner with a big curly fro!  For real!  But as I got older I realized that straight hair is actually a blessing.  It’s easy, simple and classic.

I have many friends and family that have been struggling with curly, wavy and frizzy hair.  My mom being one of them.  But years ago I introduced her to the flat iron and showed her how to use it correctly. She’s been thankful ever since! I have witnessed many friends straightening their hair with just a flat iron.  No brush, comb, or hair product.  But today, I will give you some tips on how to do it right.  In no time, you will walk away with straight, shiny, frizz free hair.

Smooth straight hair starts in the shower.  I recommend Joico’s Smooth Cure shampoo and conditioner.  These two will change your life!  The whole line is fantastic and they also have a straightening balm that works wonders.

hair7I HIGHLY recommend this product!

Coming from the shower, some of us can get away with blow drying our hair straight and be done with it.  I am one of them.  I don’t ever use a flat iron unless I want stick straight results.  However, if you have wavy or curly hair, you will want to blow dry your hair straight as best as you could.  I recommend using a big flat brush.  It may not be completely straight, but if you start with the blow dryer, it will take you less time with a flat iron.

When women flat iron their hair the biggest mistake they make is not sectioning the hair.  So you will need hair clips to section your hair off.  Use 1 inch to 2 inch sections and run the flat iron through it.  Secondly, women either put too much product or none at all.  You can use my favorite Bumble and Bumble’s Defrizz if you have wavy hair, or you can use Bumble and Bumble Straight if you have curly hair.  Don’t use too much because you don’t want to weigh your hair down or make it look too greasy.  I also recommend using a heat protectant so you don’t fry your hair.

hair6This should be your best friend when straightening hair :)

Another big mistake women make is just running the flat iron through their hair and not following it up with a brush or comb.  Following the flat iron with a brush or comb makes a huge difference.  I cannot stress how important this is when using a flat iron.  It tames the hair cuticle to lay and stay flat which reflects light and eliminates frizz.  Basically, it makes hair shiny and beautiful!

hair3cropFor best results, follow the flat iron with a brush or comb.

If you still have flyaways, I learned this cool trick from a hairstylist.  Take foil and spray it with hair spray.  Run the foil over your finished hair to hold the style and to tame any hairs that may be sticking up.  Finish the ends with the Bumble and Bumble defrizz for softness and added definition.

hair2cropMy hair nice and straight!

April Photo shoot: Malin Bylund

Boy, oh boy, it’s been a very long time since I have posted something on here.  Things have been so hectic with my life!  But I’m back in the game and I have some very exciting news!

I’m starting to do makeup for some photo shoots with my coworker, dear friend and amazing photographer, Phil Briggs.  He invited me to do my first shoot with his friend Malin Bylund.  Malin is a musician from Sweden living here in Los Angeles.  She is a joy to work with, and not to mention so beautiful!

I have to say as much as I LOVE doing makeup, I was extremely nervous for this shoot.  But as soon as I met Malin, I was at immediately at ease.  She has a very warm personality and a positive attitude.

Phil had requested that I create a soft, casual and playful look on Malin.  Because of her very fair skin, I decided to do a light smoky eye using mainly golden browns and rusty brown colors to make her blue eyes pop.  I used a black brown mascara on her already long lashes.  Black mascara would have been too harsh, I think.  Then  I defined her eyebrows with a light brown eyeshadow to lift up the eye area.  For this look, I really wanted to make her skin glow because I knew we would be shooting outside.  So I used a bit of bronzer to give her a beautiful glow, but also focused on contouring her face with it.  I used a bright pink blush on her cheeks topped with some highlighter.  For the lips, I kept it neutral with a pink gloss.

We did change up the makeup a bit for the second part of the shoot.  She slid into a dark plum sweater and we had her hair cascade in front of her face.  We started to get a more alternative vibe from the outfit, so we just went with it.  Phil had me darken her eye makeup and give her red lips.  The result was beautiful, dark and almost eerie.  I thought it was interesting how we went from casual and playful to dark and statuesque.

Here are some pics from our shoot! Enjoy!

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Photos by Phillip Briggs: http://www.pkbstudio.com