The Beauty Roundup - January

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The Beauty Roundup - January

It's time to round up the best makeup and skincare from the past month. January was COLD and my skin did not appreciate it. It was dry, it was itchy and breakouts were frequent. I went through a ton of products but there were only a few stand outs. Here are the five products that got the job done for me in January.

BH Cosmetics Foundation [$3.95 to $8.95]

This is one of my favorite products of the last year. The only foundation I have used up (and repurchased) - it such great product. It has a thick consistency, but its not heavy on the skin. It give a very flawless, even toned finish with medium to full coverage. I apply it with a beauty blender or brush. I use the shade deep beige in winter and deep cocoa in summer month. With 12 shades in the range, there is something for everyone. Normally $8.95, but it has been on a discount at $3.95 for a while now. This is only available on the Company's website - here.

Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer [$6.99]

If you are an oily combo skin gal like me - this is the primer we have been waiting for. I have been wearing this under makeup all month and I have gone 8 to 9 hours without shine. I usually get a shiny t-zone 3 to 4 hours after applying my makeup. With this primer - no shine through, no blotting all day. I use this under my foundation and go over my foundation with the same blotting powder I have used for years.  I have not been through the elements with this primer - but if my mattified face the last month is any indication, I think there is less blotting in the future. 

Lumene Excellent Future Age Defying & Repairing Day Cream SPF 15 [$28.49]

Talk about moisture overload. I picked this up in the summer , but it was way too thick for 100 degree temps. I put it away in my give away pile - Winter came around, I was out of moisturizers, so I pulled this out - It is insanely great stuff. A little bit goes a long way and your face will thank you. Plus its got SPF 15 and all those anti-aging benefits.

Dr. Brandt Micro Dermabrasion Skin Exfoliant [$78]

I have never loved my IPSY beauty bag more than when a friend suggested this for all those dead skin issues I had this month. The price tag is painful , but thank goodness for samples in IPSY bags - if you can get over the price or get your hands on a sample - this sucker will work off the dead skin in under a minute with none of the side effects of most exfoliants. A little bit lightly worked into the face in slow circular motion for 1 to 2 minutes and you have got smoother skin in no time. Still not sure if the full size is an investment I will make, I am on the hunt for a significantly cheaper alternative - Will keep you posted.

Finger Paints Nail Polish in "Hue Brighten My Day"  [$6]

When glitter gets REALLY good, it's called "hue brighten my day". I know the holidays are over and normally me and glitter don't mix, but this nail polish is so beautiful, I could not resist. I started using it on my accent nail, but then I started wearing it on my other nails too (and it will be a sad day when I have to retire this till the holidays). It's perfect for every day with just one coat and two to three coats when you want that "wow" factor on your tips.

What beauty items have you been loving ?

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5 Things : Movies to watch in 2015

I have been very disconnected from entertainment - especially movies the last year and half - it was one of those things I made a point to do once a month, take a friday night, watch a movie, disconnect from studies, work, get out of the house and just relax. I caught a few minutes of the golden globe awards and from those best picture clips - I knew I had missed out on some good ones (sure it will eventually be out on Netflix, but some movies are worth seeing at the cinema - period !). This year I am trying to get back to watching movie (as part of my goal to R.E.L.A.X) - the old monthly routine may not hold anymore, but maybe one every couple of months - in line with that, here are five (six) movies, I am penciling onto my planner for the coming months.

Selma. This is a bit of a cheat, it was a limited release on Christmas day 2014 with a full release earlier this month. The movie captures the three months in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther king championed the cause for equal voting rights with a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. David Oyelowo plays Dr. Martin Luther King and from the previews - boy what a performance. (added bonus, the soundtrack for this movies - chills).

Kingsman - The Secret Service. This released in the U.K last fall, but its making its way state side next month. It tells the story of a scret spy organization that recruits a street kid into the competitive training program on the eve of global threat emergence from a crazy techy genius. Seems like a movie right up my street and then you have got Colin Firth - I rest my case. 

The Avengers: The Age of Altron. The Avengers are back !!! What can I say, I love a good comic book movie. This is a continuation of the Avenger series and the whole gang is back - so let defend the earth and kick some villan a**.

American Sniper. It was a limited release on Christmas day 2014 with a full release last weekend. This movie - based on Chris Kyle (the greatest American Sniper in U.S. history), his four tours in Iraq and his continued service when he returns state side - epitomizes Hero. This movie - goose bumps. One of the most compelling movies you will see this year.

I am gonna cheat a little bit with number five - I could not decide between these two movies so I am gonna group them into one group - comedy. Here they are Don't mess with Texas (with Resse Whiterspoon) and Mortdecai (ft. Johnny Depp). 

Are there any movies you are looking forward to watching this year ?

 

Source: Selma ; Kingsman ; Avengers ; American Sniper ; Mortdecai

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Create Before You Consume

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Create Before You Consume

Taking a wee bit of break from the usual beauty, food and style chat that happens on this space to talk about something that has made a tremendous impact on how much I get accomplished in a day.

Until recently, even before I am fully awake, my hand is reaching for the phone and instintively opening up my stellar, bloglovin , instagram or youtube apps to scroll through pictures, videos and post by other people and before you know it, I am an hour (hour and half) into my day and nothing has been accomplished , I have to rush getting ready for work which leads to forgetting to pack lunch (you know the downward spiral).

Then I stumbled on this post and video by Marie Forleo a little while ago and she talked about a C to C ratio aka create to consume ratio. Essentially are you taking in more information than you are creating ? That got my attention. I (we) spend most of our time consuming before we create - whether you are reading a news article or scrolling through your instagram feed - precious times of our day are spent on things that don't move us or propel towards our goals. 

I chose to look at creating from the perspective of getting through my to-do list and accomplishing something and I began to make a concious effort of setting the phone aside once I turn off my alarm - get to my morning devotion and check something off my to-do list before flipping through instagram or youtube. It does not have to be anything major, I have scheduled loading/unloading the dishwasher, packing lunch, clearing the bathroom countertop, sorting out laundry, writing a blog post etc. I get that thing done before I allow myself to catch up on what others are doing and accomplishing. It has been a major productivity booster because I don't stop at just the one planned task - once I get started then one or two other things get done. That hour and half before getting ready for work has become one of the most productive hours of my day. 

I still have lazy mornings - but those are few and far between. I am constantly reminding myself to create (get a task accomplished, check something off my to-do list) before I reach for the instagram / bloglovin / youtube feed. In this new year, I want to challenge you and continue to challenge myself to accomplish/create something before consuming - make your to do list and plan to check something off it before you go to blogs , facebook or instagram feed.

Do you create before you consume ?

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Favorite Winter Products

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Favorite Winter Products

favorite winter products

Dry and breaking hair; Dry itchy skin; Chapped lips - These are all the things I deal with during this time of year. Thankfully, I have found a good mix of products that help manage (and fix the issues). These products have been tried and tested and winter will be significantly unbearable without them

For the Hair. Between the frigid weather and the dry heat from the heater - my hair cannot get a break in winter. To keep it moisturized and limit breakage, I use a combination of Amir Argan Oil Leave In Treatment and the Shea Moisture thickening and moisture spray. I use the argan oil in the morning and evening and I use the spray throughout the day  (and on lazy morning and nights). It makes a huge difference and breakage is limited.

For Skin. Oils are an essential part of my winter skincare routine. I use a combination of baby oil and Johnson's baby oil gel everyday and they work great. However the difference makers in winter are the Josie Maran Argan cleaning oil for body. I use this in the shower to fight chapped and flaky skin. On the go, I reach for the Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion + (for very dry to dry combination skin).

For Lips. I am never without my ELF Lip Exfoliator which is just the best, it works off the dryness and grit of chapped lips and leaves lips smooth and soft. Then I go over it with Smith Rosebud Salve during the day or the My favorite Night Balm (8 hour overnight recovery) for night time (or when my lips are having a moment.

For Face. These two products work overtime to keep moisture in without leaving me greasy. The Lumene Age Defying and Repairing Day Cream SPF 15 which is just all kinds of amazing. It has a thick consistency, but smooths onto the face easily leaving it really soft (amazing stuff, I tell you). Then the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask - oh boy, this stuff is amaze, slather it on the face just before going to bed  and it works while you sleep to moisturize and brighten the face. You wake up to a super hydrated face.

Do you have any winter time beauty and skincare essentials ?

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My Goals for 2015 ...

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My Goals for 2015 ...

                                                                                                                    Image via here

                                                                                                                    Image via here

I am not a fan of resolutions - the concept and idea of them just seem counter intuitive. The start of a new year does not seem like the time to beat down on one's self and pinpoint the flaws - I think that is part of why resolutions always seem to fail (for me at least). I like to have a positive attitude about the new year and I set goals around learning and experiencing new things that help me grow as a person. I have been able to follow through on those goals because they were made from a place of "I want to improve/gain a skill" versus "I am complete rubbish at XYZ and must change". 

In the last month of 2014 and since the beginning of the year, I have really been thinking about some goals for this year, things I hope to accomplish. I started out with an insane (unattainable list) and I have managed to whittle that down in the last week (Pshew). Today, I thought I would share with you, a few things I hope to accomplish this year

  • A new blog name, design and more diverse content
  • Clear out and revamp my closet
  • Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
  • Reduce my soda intake by half
  • Be consistent with my 3x /week workouts
  • Connect with other bloggers 
  • Travel to four places this year
  • Read more - Hoping to read 8 books by end of 2015
  • Try something new 
    • Food 
    • Activity (In-door sky diving - Argh) 
    • Hair (I have had my hair in braids for the better part of 4.5 years, I think it's time for a change)
  • Take a cooking class
  • Be better with lightroom and photoshop
  • Actually stick to my budget
  • Learn to R.E.L.A.X

There are a couple of other things on my list that I am keeping close to the vest (for now). I already started on my goals - so far, so good. 

What are some of your goals this year ?

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Work Wardrobe Essentials

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Work Wardrobe Essentials

One of my goals this year - streamline my closet. I don't want to buy new pieces (just yet), I want to work with what I have currently. I am going through my closet over the next month or two and getting rid of pieces that are not working for me, items that don't fit or are out of style. Then, I am rebuilding my wardrobe around a few statement pieces. Kicking things off with my work wardrobe. In line with that, I created a list of work wardrobe essentials to use as a guide for decluttering and rebuilding my work wardrobe.

  • Pencil Skirts in Black, Grey or Camel (Tan)
  • Cardigan 
  • Crisp White Shirt
  • Neutral Colored Dress
  • Silk Blouse
  • Blazer
  • Trench Coat
  • Black Dress
  • Classic Handbag
  • Black Pumps
  • Ballet Flats

Over the next few months, I will be sharing some style boards around my statement pieces. Be sure to check it out.

What are your work wardrobe essentials ? 

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Top 15 Dinner Ideas for 2015

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Top 15 Dinner Ideas for 2015

Along with setting goals at the start of a new year and making resolves of changing things, habits etc. At this time of the year, I am  also compiling my top dinner ideas for the year (a meal plan if you will). I do this because the 2nd week of the year marks the beginning for my busiest, insane 4 months of the year for me. It is filled with a  lot of unhealthy eating habits, unhealthy snacking and a lot of eating out which ultimately leads to a 15 to 20 pound weight gain that I spend the rest of the year trying to lose. Getting my meal plan in order helps me do better with grocery shopping and meal prep. I usually select recipes that can be tweaked and work in a variety of ways, recipes that are great for leftovers and "bulk" cooking. These are the recipes I go to when I cannot be creative and when I want something quick to put together. If you find yourself with not enough time or if you have days when dinner inspirations are hard to come by, I hope you find these helpful.

1.  Creamy Chicken Salad (recipe via table with a view blog). 

2. Chili Garlic Beef Stir Fry with Coconut Jasmine Rice (recipe via howsweeteats)

3. Spicy Carrot and Chicken Pasta (recipe via iamafoodblog)

4. Simple Herb-Roasted Chicken with Mixed Vegetables (recipe via Bloggingoverthyme)

5. Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup (recipe via myrecipes.com)

6. Greek Salad Fritatta (recipe via table with a view blog)

7. Baked Pasta with Squash and Kale (recipe via Vintage Mixer)

8. Chunky Beef Chilli (recipe via BBC Good food)

9. Sausage and Bean Soup (recipe via table with a view blog)

10. Mushroom and Pea Orzo Risotto (recipe via iamafoodblog)

11. Trader Joe's Low Calories Citrus Chicken Salad (recipe via popsugar fitness)

12. Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon (recipe via howsweeteats)

13. Healthy Turkey Bowls (recipe via stay at home Susie)

14. Chicken Pot Pie with Carrot, Caramelized Onions and Shortbread (recipe via adventures in cooking)

15. Baked Salmon in Spinach and Caper Sauce (recipe via table with a view blog)

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New Year, New Things

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New Year, New Things

Here we are in a New Year. Glad that 2015 is here and that I am here. 

Over the last few months, I have been working through my vision for this blog, what it is, where I want it to go. I have some major plans and collaboration in the works - It is likely going to take all year to get the full picture, but as the year progresses, you will begin to see snippets of it. I am trying to build this into a true Life + Style blog with sprinkles of everything to make your days (and mine) a bit more effortless. I have been working on new content and you will start to see those unfold on the blog here in the coming weeks.

Staring, the week of January 5th. I will be posting twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There will be a wednesday inspiration quote and an occassion 4th post. The 4th post will fluctuate to give me some flexibility while I juggle studies, a full time job and a second blog.  In addition the existing content, some new content coming to the blog.

The Style Edit. One of the major personal projects on my list this year - clearing out my closet and using statement pieces I already own to build a closet. I will be documenting my progress and sharing some style boards once a month.

The Food Diaries. If you missed the announcement, I lauched a food blog a few months ago (hint. click here to check it out) where I talk about food to my heart's content four days a week, so the food posts on R.D.R.B will significantly reduce. You will see the odd simple, ready in 30 minute recipe and also a monthly roundup of 10 easy to make recipes that should come in handy on those days when deciding "what's for dinner" becomes a pain in the you know what.

Wednesday Inspiration. I love quotes and this will be a way for me to share some of my favorites. Wednesday is one of the hardest, stressful days of the week - so a little pick me up in form of an inspiration quote.

The Fitness Plan. Not sure the frequency of this yet, I am thinking monthly or every other month. I will share portions of my fitness plan (including meals, workout, gear, even workout play list) and discuss how those are working (or not working for me). Will also have some fitness expert share some fitness thoughts.

Categories. You will see that condensed a lot in the next few weeks to reflect the new direction of the blog. I will also be updating the pages and revamping those a bit.

Some additional content that is launching (or relaunching) later in the year (and I will talk about this more as they launch). The DIYs; The Book Club; Career and Finance Notes (tips on budgeting, staying on budget, dressing for interview, writing a resume) and Entertaining Notes (tips for planning a shower, sharing details from actual events planned etc)

I am excited (so should you). 

Cheers to 2015

 

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Winter Wardrobe Essentials

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Winter Wardrobe Essentials

My love hate relationship with winter has been documented once (or twice) on the blog. There are a few wardrobe items that I pull out for this time of year, they are my winter wardrobe staples and every winter they come into rotation and make this season bearable.

  • Knitted Jumper Dress (Sweater Dress) in a neutral color so you can accesorize
  • Blazer for those off days that the temps pick up. I live in TX so those days do happen.
  • Winter Coat. I have a fitted jacket and a belted one.
  • Scarves. This is an every season essential for me. In the winter, it is a great accessory and it keeps me warm, win/win.
  • Leggings. The only way I can wear dresses and skirts this time of year.
  • Booties. Some days you dont want to bother with the knee highs, this is perfect (for winter and all seasons , really.
  • Onesie. Don't judge. temperature drop and the onesie comes out. Something about winter and onesies just make perfect sense to me
  • The knee high boot. Everything in the winter with dresses/skirts and over jeans.
  • Loose fitting jumper (sweater). This is a new addition this winter. I usually go for the form fitting sweater, however, I tried this on recently and I was sold. It is warm and cozy.
  • Hooded Cardigan. Another new addition this winter, I cannot even describe how amazing it is to have a hooded cardigan, it is everything. I cannot go back to my non-hooded cardigans.

What are your winter wardrobe essentials ?

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What to wear to New Years Eve Party

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What to wear to New Years Eve Party

Over the last month, I have been working on a style project for a friend of mine. We are revamping her closet and creating style options with pieces she already owns. It was going great until I got  a call from her over the weekend, panicked over what to wear to a New Year's eve party. I created a style board with three options for NYE party. I think any of these will be flattering on anyone.

NYE Style.jpg

The first option is a black jumpsuit or white jumpsuit paired with leopard print shoes and a red clutch. The cut of these jumpsuits leave the neck bear, so adding this statement necklace or something similar will complete the outfit. Option 2 is something similar to this black sequin dress. The dress makes a statement on its own, so keep it simple with stud earringsblack pumps and a black clutch. Finally (and my personal favorite), a pair of black jeans with a simple sequin tank top. It is simple yet chic, paired with a killer statement black sandals and clutch. Also maybe add a chunky bracket.

What are you wearing for NYE ?

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