30 July, 2015

An Evening of Gelato and Macarons

Summer is the time for deep, bronzed tans, outdoor happy hours (assuming there's a fan here in Houston), maxi dresses, and loads of ice cream.  Since I've been on an ice cream kick, I decided to change things up and go for some gelato.
Gelato at Paciugo Houston
Paciugo Houston Gelato and Coffee
We went over to Paciugo, where we were greeted with rows of gelato and the tempting scent of cappuccinos.  I'm not much of a sorbet girl, so after tasting about 6 flavors, I naturally went for the dark chocolate and salted caramel.
Gelato Flavors at Paciugo
Gelato Flavors at Paciugo Houston
Because two large scoops of gelato wasn't enough for us, we strolled next door to Bite for some macarons.  Plus, after sitting outside for a few minutes, it was time for another dose of AC.  
Bite Macarons in Houston
Bite Macarons Buffalo Speedway Houston
Bite Macarons
Though the pink (rose) and green macarons looked cute and Instagram-worthy, I had to stay with what I know and get a dark chocolate and hazelnut.  I had enough willpower to save these until after dinner, and my mom and I LOVED them.  The dark chocolate tastes similar to my go-to Snackwells cookies as a kid, only much fancier and more decadent!
Macarons in Houston
Bite Macarons Houston
Bite Macarons in Houston
Definitely take a trip to Paciugo and Bite -- Go after work, treat yo-self, and skip rush hour traffic!
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28 July, 2015

Wild Heart Tour: Miguel in Houston, TX

I haven't been this excited for a concert since Spice Girls, who I saw when I was in kindergarten and was pretty obsessed for a while...and by a while I mean maybe 5 years.  I'm also usually in my pajamas all day Sunday, and I enter hermit mode around 5PM.  I was feeling extra rowdy staying out after 9:30, and it took my brain a few minutes to remember why I was putting makeup on on a Sunday evening.
Miguel Wild Heart T-Shirts
When I saw that Miguel was coming to Houston for his Wild Heart tour, I immediately grabbed 2 tickets.  Warehouse Live is one of my favorite venues for a concert in Houston -- It's pretty small, but the size allows you to really feel the energy of the crowd and the artist.  It also allows you to sweat as if you were in a sauna, but that's all part of the experience.

We waited in a crazy line that looped around two blocks, and I immediately put my freshly washed, curled hair into a high bun.  We walked in, bought a t-shirt, and made our way into the sold out, crazy excited ballroom at Warehouse Live.
Miguel Wild Heart Tour
Miguel Wild Heart Tour in Houston Texas
Miguel Wild Heart Tour
Miguel came on stage, and the next two hours were nothing short of amazing.  He puts on a hell of a show, and if you haven't seen him in the past, go catch him on his Wild Heart tour.  It's worth a road trip if your city isn't on the tour list!
Miguel Concert
Miguel Wild Heart Tour
Not only does he sound better than he does on his tracks, but his performance is spectacular.  He's a combination of psychedelic, R&B, and tons of emotion.  His guitar player is a badass and captures the crowd just as well as Miguel himself.
Miguel Concert
If you haven't bought a ticket yet, check out Miguel's tour dates here and get your credit card ready.  

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27 July, 2015

A Week of Food in Houston: Peli Peli and More

My stomach has had a pretty great week.  I tried two new places and visited one of my favorite burger places in Houston.

Since Gigi's closed in the Galleria, I've been wanting to try Peli Peli, the new South African restaurant filled with a million different sauces, marinated meats, and more meat.  I knew this would be my kind of place.
Peli Peli HoustonPeli Peli Houston
We started with their flat bread, stuffed mushrooms, and babouti, which looked similar to a mini Shepard's pie and was stuffed with different vegetables, seasonings, and was simply delicious.

I couldn't resist their most popular lunch dish, the Espetada.  The presentation might be intimidating if you're not a big meat eater or don't love garlic, but since I can put down some meat and love my garlic, I knew I made the right choice.  The skewer hangs from the top of the plate and has a small, hot plate of garlic above to slowly drip onto the meat and vegetables.  For my sides I got steamed spinach and sweet potato fries.

I didn't take pictures of the desserts.  Probably because I was already in a food coma and didn't want to admit it.  We gorged on cheesecake, caramel tart, chocolate mousse cake, and key lime pie.  I skipped the key lime, but I was a big fan of the chocolate plates and the cheesecake.  The cheesecake was one of the smoothest pieces I've had!

Friday we strolled over to Elevation Burger for a mild, not too heavy heart attack.  I got the classic elevation burger, which comes with two patties.  We got two sides of fries and made sure to make one of them cheesy.
Elevation Burger Houston
After lunch we went over to Hank's Ice Cream, a Houston classic.  Right outside the medical center, this ice cream shop has been open for years and is family-owned.  They have a small number of flavors, but they're homemade and you feel a little warm and cozy walking in.  I got the fudge brownie, which had large pieces of brownie in every bite and definitely satisfied my after-lunch sweet tooth.
Hank's Ice Cream Houston
On Saturday, we ventured out to the Woodlands for a concert and stopped at Morton's Grill for a quick bite.  I ordered a Raspberry Moscow Mule which was amazing.  I love a good Moscow mule, which is ironic because I typically can't stand ginger.  I also got a double cheeseburger (again...) and some more fries.  I'll definitely be getting a steak and some molten lava cake next time!
Raspberry Moscow Mule at Morton's Grill Houston
And because no week is complete without a large iced coffee, I had to get that too!
Starbucks Iced Coffee

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24 July, 2015

How To: Winged Eyeliner

Don't get me wrong, getting a good flick on your eyeliner is hard.  Like, really hard.  I've tried so many different brands and styles of liquid eyeliner to perfect my wing, watched countless tutorials, but at the end of the day, it's just practice.  You can get the perfect wing with any product if your technique is on point (pun intended).

My all time favorite product to get the look is the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner.  It goes on smoothly and is super pigmented, so you don't have to press hard on the pen.  It has a fine tip at the end to help with the sharp point, and you can thicken the line as you choose.
How to do Winged Eyeliner

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Taupe
 I always do my brows before my liner -- Here I'm using Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe

My tips for getting your best wing:
  1. Identify your eye shape.  I have almond shaped eyes, so I like to elongate them and draw a more straight line rather than curve it in line with my eye.  I draw straight down to my lash line from where I want the point to be.
  2. Find where you want your line to end, and draw a small dot or fine line to mark it.
  3. Draw from the point to the outer corner of your eye, and begin to connect to the middle of your lash line.  Connect this to the outer edge of your lash line to create that connected point.
  4. Thicken the line if you'd like, or you can keep it very thin and fine.  That's all up to you!
That's it.  Trust me, it won't be perfect or even close to perfect the first time (or first 100 times) you try.  Once you find the right product, you'll learn what looks best on your eye and will perfect your technique.  There are hundreds of tutorials all geared towards different eye shapes, and they all tell you something different.  Find what works for you and get your wing on.
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22 July, 2015

Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

This recipe is a no brainer, but I often find myself with recipe block and cooking the same thing three times a week.  Usually my idea of throwing a recipe together ends up resulting in some sort of a huge bowl of pasta.  I'm always looking for different ways to cook up chicken, and my go-to has been Stir Fry.
Healthy Chicken Stir Fry RecipeChicken Stir Fry Recipe
Stir Fry is so easy: All you need is a few vegetables and any meat of your choice (or no meat if you're about that life...I'm not).  I just use whatever I have in the fridge, chop it up, and get to stir fryin'.

For this recipe, I used 2 handfuls of baby carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and 2 chicken breasts.  I also like to add 2 eggs into the mix, but I've been told that this is a little weird, so feel free to leave them out.  It makes the stir fry feel a little more like fried rice, but I don't mind!
Healthy Stiry Fry Recipe
Cut your chicken into small pieces, cook, and brown.  While your chicken is browning, put your rice on the stove -- I always use brown rice.  Once your chicken is brown, add your vegetables and whatever sauce/marinade of your choice.  To lower the calories, use just a little bit of ponzu sauce or soy sauce and let simmer.
Healthy Recipe with Chicken and Rice
I always add my spinach last and then cover the skillet on a low heat.
Healthy Stir Fry Recipe
Easy Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
Once your rice is done, combine the two in your skillet and serve.  That's it!  
To amp this up, I occasionally add shrimp, or if I'm feeling really fancy, I'll do a combination of chicken, steak, and shrimp.  
Modify this with any veggies, meat, or sauce of your choice.

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20 July, 2015

How To Start A Blog

How To Start A Blog
There are hundreds of posts out there detailing how to start a blog, but I'm going to keep mine as close to "How To Start A Blog For Dummies" as possible.  This post is dedicated to my aunt who's interested in starting a blog, but hopefully it helps a few of you bloggers-to-be as well!  By no means do I consider myself even close to a blogging expert -- I'm still fairly new to this world.  But believe me when I say that the hardest part is just getting started.  The rest falls into place.

Starting a blog is so much easier than it looks.  When I was debating whether or not to start, I would stare into space asking myself how someone can actually create a website: "How on earth do you get pictures on it? How do you get the words there and put everything together?!  HOW DOES THIS WORK?!"  I came to find that it is actually so simple, and you really only need a few things to start a blog: a passion/topics to write about, access to a computer, the desire to do some research, and a little bit of patience (trust me, I probably have less than you).  I was so intimidated by the scary internet and HTML, and once I told myself to just do it, I realized that I really didn't need to be afraid of anything, and that the internet pretty much does all the work for you (except writing).

I also remembered that when I was about 10 years old I started a website dedicated to Spongebob.  If I could do it then, I figured I could do it now.

You have 2 options when it comes to hosting your blog: Wordpress or Blogger.  Blogger is owned by Google and is much more basic than Wordpress.  You'll have more freedom and ownership if you choose Wordpress, but with a few tweaks, you can make a Blogger blog look very professional and unique.  I went with Blogger because I knew it would be a bit easier, and I also knew that a few of my favorite bloggers use Google Blogger and are very successful in their craft.
Blogger's Template Screen: You can choose from the preset templates to start.  I recommend a "Simple" one.
How to Start a Blog in Blogger
Blogger's Layout Screen: Here's where you'll rearrange the look of your page.  Mine is the basic/standard appearance, where my header is above all of my pages, and my blog posts are in the center, while my sidebar has my photo, social media gadgets, and other links/photos.
How To Start A Blog on Google
The different tabs you'll have access to in blogger: I've screenshotted my Template screen and my Layout screen
Yay, now you've chosen a hosting website!  The next step is to think of a name for your blog: Think long and hard, because if you ever try to change the name, it will be a slight pain in the ass.  I debated for weeks on my name, and I originally started by calling my blog "The BFF Guide", where I intended to focus on beauty, fitness, and food.  I quickly decided to just go with my name, since I didn't want to limit myself to those 3 categories, and I wanted to be able to write about getting tipsy in NYC or going to the zoo if I wanted to...Even though beauty, fitness, and food are still the pillars of this blog, I wanted to make sure I had a place to write about other topics without feeling the need to file them.  I also knew that using my name would be easiest to translate onto social media.

Let's talk about social media: To increase exposure on your blog, you'll need to be active on at least one other platform.  More like 3-5 other platforms, but let's start with 1.  I promote all of my posts on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  I also joined Bloglovin to have my posts automatically upload into the network.  As for Facebook, I'm sure some of my friends have blocked my posts, but it's still a place for me to share my work with friends/family.  And guess what, some will actually care and read your stuff!  Some won't give a damn, but...bye Felicia!

Once you have your blog title chosen and hopefully a few social accounts, you can create the blog.  Enter all the required information, and voila - You'll have a blog!  You can work on choosing templates and adjusting the formatting.  I suggest keeping this simple for now unless you're the type who gets off on bright colors and shooting stars across the screen.  I just knew I'd get sick of it and wanted to be plain jane and keep it black and white.  You can always make this fancier later, but get it to where you want for now.

For formatting, there are tons of websites with free blog templates, but I recommend investing in one.  Go to some of your favorite blogs and see where they get their templates from.  I got mine from Pipdig for $50.  I wanted to invest into the design of my blog, and I knew it would motivate me more to write.

From here, all you have to do is start writing.  On blogger, you'll click the icon that looks like a pencil or the button that says "New Post".  You can add photos, change the font, add links, etc. very easily.  You'll either hit "Publish" to publish it immediately, or you can schedule it for a later date.

If you do decide to change your domain, you'll need to purchase a custom domain and tweak any links/pages slightly that you've created.  I worked with a representative from Google who guided me through the process and was so helpful.  Thanks girl, couldn't have done it without you!

Simple as that.  You'll hit some road bumps, but everything can usually be sorted out with a little research.  If you find yourself stuck, read forums or email other bloggers to see if they can guide you in the right direction!

If for any reason you're nervous about starting a blog, don't be.  It's a great way to meet like-minded people, network, put your energy into something you created, and brush up on your writing skills.  After finding myself working in the beauty industry, I wanted something where I could write.  I think we forgot how valuable writing skills are, and we lose sight of spelling, punctuation, and our individual flow in a million text messages and brief emails.  I don't plan on writing a book, but my blog is great for now!

As for people who don't support you, screw them!  Just like any other life choice you make, job you take, person you date, or outfit you choose to wear, you'll have some haters (My brain pictures the meme "Oh hey, it's just me blockin' out the haters"!)  If blogging about something you love pisses people off, who cares.  Do what makes you happy, and the rest will work itself out.  You'll meet some really cool people along the way.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer!  Happy blogging!

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18 July, 2015

YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector and Blur Primer

Ah, YSL Touche Eclat...the eye-catching packaging, luxury, and gorgeous products.
YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer and Perfector
To add to the lusted after Touche Eclat line, YSL recently launched their new Touche Eclat Blur Perfector and Touche Eclat Blur Primer.  Each is different but has a common purpose: To blur large pores and illuminate the skin.
YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer and Blur Perfector
YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer and Perfector
YSL products
The Blur Perfector has such a fine, silicone texture that feels smooth as silk on the skin.  It immediately smooths out the complexion and creates the perfect canvas for makeup.  This can also be used to mattify the skin slightly or blur pores after applying your makeup.  The key to the YSL Blur Perfector is to tap if using it to blur post-makeup.  If using the Blur Perfector to "replace" your foundation (I wouldn't replace it just yet, but I would use it under makeup), sweet softly from the center outward.
YSL Touch Eclat Blur Perfector on Pores
Pores with and without YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector: Left side is bare, right side with perfector (Excuse the close up of my nostrils)
YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector
The Touche Eclat Blur Primer is slightly different -- This looks more similar to the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer and has a similar texture.  The Blur Primer has slight gold flecks infused within, but these almost disappear after applying to my face.  I did notice just the smallest amount of gold when I moved my hand in the sunlight, but it's nothing that would bother me.  The Touche Eclat Blur Primer also smooths the skin and is beautiful as a primer.
YSL Touche Eclat Blur PrimerYSL Touch Eclat Blur PrimerYSL Touche Eclat Primer
Have any of you tried these yet?  If so, do you expect it to become a holy grail primer?

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14 July, 2015

Ruby Rose Inspired Makeup

If you don't have a girl crush (or crush) on Ruby Rose...have you seen her?  Ruby's beauty is a flawless combination of edgy, yet classic and androgynous features.  Her big, pillowy lips and green cat eyes are only a few attributes that make her pretty irresistible.

By the way, yes, I am wearing my nightgown.  I do my makeup in my pajamas 99.9% of the time.
Ruby Rose Inspired Makeup
Although I look nothing like Ruby Rose, I was inspired to create an inspired look after watching videos from Kandee Johnson and MakeupByEvon.  To emulate Ruby, the trick is emphasizing and elongating the eyes, slightly overdrawing the lips, and creating very, very sharp contours.

I quickly applied a small amount of Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Stromboli to cover any areas of redness on my face.  I then went in with my Mac Prolongwear Concealer in NC20 to conceal my dark circles (they were HUGE this morning), and set my concealer with the yellow powder from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit.

For the eyes: As shown in Eman's video, I took 2 eyeshadows from the Urban Decay Naked Palette -- That's it!  I used sin on the lids and toasted in the crease.  Also, for the record: The original Naked Palette will forever be my favorite.  I've trysted with Naked 2 and Naked 3, and they just don't do it for me like the original does.

Urban Decay Naked Palette Sin

   Urban Decay Naked Palette Toasted
To finish the eyes, I used my trusty Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner and Rimmel black kohl liner on the waterline.  I finished with a couple coats of Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara.  I defined my brows with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown.
Ruby Rose Makeup Look
For the lips, I kept them pretty simple: I lined with Too Faced Lip Pencil in Perfect Nude and put then went in with a small dot of the Loreal Infallible Lip 2 Step in "Neverending Nutmeg".
Ruby Rose Eye Makeup
That's it!  I felt like a slight badass with this makeup and forget the power of a little eyeliner.
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