31 August, 2015

VMAs 2015 || What the...

I really don't love award shows, but I like to tune in because it gives me an excuse to pig out, veg on the couch, and relax.  My best friend made red beans and rice with cornbread, and I made brownies that ended up entirely too thin with Kinder Buenos inside.  Don't worry, thin brownies are still brownies, and they still tasted amazing.

If you were one of the millions who watched the VMAs last night, chances are you have some mixed thoughts.  I'd say my feelings could be summed up in a single "meh".  I wasn't very impressed by the performances (it seems that the VMAs are consistently the most disappointing), and I found the entire show seemingly scripted and tasteless.

Let's start with the pre-show -- I'm not sure who was speaking, but one of the girls kept bobbing her head and making duck faces which I found pretty distracting and just annoying.  There's so many talented journalists, spokespeople, and hosts...don't blow it with your need to be the center of attention.

Miley.  Oh, Miley Cyrus.  You might be thinking "where art thou brain"?  I on the other hand thinks she knows exactly what she's doing.  While Miley's busy smoking, sticking her tongue out, and shaking her ass in rap videos, we're all talking about her.  It works!  She's not stupid.  Should MTV have chosen her to host the VMAs?  I don't really care, and to be honest, I think she did a pretty decent job.  Yes, I hated her outfits.  I don't even consider them outfits.  But again, she knows what she's doing and knows that even negative attention is still attention in the entertainment industry.  I personally wouldn't choose to wear macaron-looking things over my nipples and nothing else, but hey, whatever floats her boat.  I thought she had some funny one-liners and did a good job at poking fun at herself throughout the show.

Miley Cyrus at the 2015 VMAs

Justin Bieber.  Not sure about that hair, but I'm a belieber.  He's damn talented.  Still not sure about the fit of tears at the end, but his voice continues to impress young and older fans, and he'll probably continue to kill it for a while.

Justin Bieber hair VMAs 2015

Tori Kelly.  YES.  Just yes.  I wasn't too familiar with Tori before the show, but I had heard her hit single and was impressed by her voice.  When I saw her on stage, fully clothed, beautiful, minimal makeup, curly hair, and smile, I was even more impressed.  This is how you showcase talent.  I thought Tori was the best act of the night.  She was able to display her talent and her beauty without strutting around naked or distastefully calling someone out.  Props, Tori.

Tori Kelly MTV VMAs performance

Nicki Minaj.  Eh, I don't really think her speech is worth discussing much.  I do think it was scripted, and for her sake I hope it was.  If it wasn't, I found her remarks distasteful and not classy at all.  Incase you missed it, Nicki went onstage to receive her award and while wrapping up, turned the mic back over to Miley and referred to her as "that b*tch who had some things to say about me last week".  Her mic was muted, and Miley commented about how they were both in the industry and know how interviews can go.  Nicki, or anyone in the music/entertainment industry, should be able to accept their award, thank whoever they want, and walk off.  No need to bring drama into a show that is attempting to recognize you for your achievement.  I thought she made herself look pretty bad.

Nicki Minaj Miley VMAs 2015

I also found the whole Taylor Swift and Nicki performance lame.  We all know that your Twitter drama was staged so that you could go out with a bang.  Again, not a fan of 2 talented women playing into publicity schemes to up the ratings.

Taylor Swift was yet again the face of the show.  When is she not?  Yes, Bad Blood deserved an award.  But I find the Taylor-obsessed culture annoying, and the fact that she's shown on camera throughout the entire show is a bit overboard for me.  There are hundreds of celebrities sitting in one room, but we find a reason to zoom in on Taylor dancing for every clip.  But then again, she did have a posse of VS models with her, and Gigi Hadid doesn't hurt either.

Gigi Hadid Makeup VMAs 2015
By far my favorite look from the night.  Will be recreating this look soon.

Taylor Swift VMAs 2015

And last but certainly not least, Kanye.  I'm a Kanye fan.  I find him hilarious, and we'd be lying if we said he wasn't a talented artist.  I love that he's able to show up to the VMAs in a t-shirt and sweats while being considered a fashion icon.  #KanyeForPresident.  Not really, but I'll roll with that for now.  I do find it funny that MTV allows him to talk for 20 minutes about essentially nothing.  I know he had a point to make, and I think after gathering some of his thoughts we understood, but it felt like he was trying to describe the taste of water or how it feels to be in love.  We kind of get it, but we kind of don't.  Overall, I think he was trying to spit out the fact that award shows are bologna and shouldn't measure the true success of an artist.  I agree.  He touched on MTV amping up his beef with Taylor Swift and how they made sure to have her announce his award just for more views and higher ratings.  We put too much emphasis on who wore what, who came with who, who won, who lost, etc. rather than focusing on the pure talent spread among different musical artists.  Kanye speaks the truth.

Kanye West MTV VMAs speech running for president

To sum it up, I wasn't a huge fan of the VMAs last night.  I wish we were able to value talent in a more classy yet still comical way.  But I'll still probably tune in next year for pizza and beer!

What were your thoughts?  Feel free to share in the comments!

24 August, 2015

Skincare Routine for A Clear & Glowing Face

It's safe to say that I'm skincare obsessed.  I fall for all of the commercials and have been vigorously trying to get beautiful, glowing skin.  I spend at least 5 minutes before bed every night going through my routine and prepping my skin.  My boyfriend makes fun of me all the time, but I never fail to remind him that he'll be glad I did it when I'm 50!

I used to buy everything that I heard worked.  Constantly overdoing my skincare routine, my skin went completely ape sh*t and didn't know how to react.  My skin would burn, break out, or peel, and I'd just go look for another product to fix it!  I went through a very discouraging phase where I relied on products to fix everything, and the accumulation of thousands of ingredients was making my epidermis a very unhappy camper.

The one general tip that I have is to keep it simple.  I'm in my 20s, so I have started using a few anti-aging products, but there is no need to over-do the anti-aging ingredients at a young age.  You want your skin to stay clear, and you also want to ensure that it doesn't get used to any strong anti-aging ingredients.

I used to swear by Cetaphil -- I didn't break out from it and it was inexpensive.  But alas, I read an article stating that Cetaphil basically does nothing for your skin, so while you might not be breaking out, you're not cleansing it very well either.  ...I think there's good and bad articles about every product, but I did some research and decided to switch cleansers.  Here are the products I'm currently using that my skin is loving:

Shisedo White Lucent Cleansing Foam

Shisedo White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam: Amazing.  I first heard about this through Tati Westbrook, and since I'm completely obsessed with her baby butt-soft looking skin, I had to have it.  When I say a little goes a long way, I seriously mean a little.  Less than that...the smallest amount you can squeeze out of the tube.  I use this morning and night to cleanse my skin of any oil, and it leaves me feeling great.  It does leave an almost squeaky clean feeling, but not tight enough for me to dislike it.  At night, I'll wash my face with this cleanser and wipe it off in upward strokes with a damp washcloth (this serves as a light exfoliation).  

Pixi Glow Tonic

Pixi Glow Tonic: Acid-based toner that makes any skin look brighter and better.  This truly helps to balance my skin and adds a slight glow from the ginseng, and the aloe helps soothe any irritation that I may have.  You've probably read about this on any skincare junkie website, and the press is well warranted.

Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops

Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops: "L-O-L-O-L-O-L-O-V-E".  ...I just can't get enough.  I've been addicted to the Anti-Aging formula, which contains Vitamin A and Jasmine.  The smell is delicious, and I've noticed a serious improvement in my acne since using this.  The Vitamin A helps with anti-aging and acne, and I add 3-4 drops to my moisturizer every night.  My skin has looked brighter, clearer, and smoother since using these drops.

Best Damn Beauty Oil Nicole Guerriero

Best Damn Beauty Oil: Let's be honest...I had to have these because of the name.  Any company that has the best damn oil has me immediately sold.  I saw these on Nicole Guerriero's channel and couldn't wait another day to get this in my hands.  It's packed with a variety of natural oils, and I use it under my moisturizer at night or under a moisturizer if my skin's feeling dry.  It feels very lightweight but does the job of adding moisture and comfort to my skin.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair SPF

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair SPF:  Another product that I found through Tati.  I stopped using a high SPF for a few of the winter months, and I was on the hunt for an effective yet gentle SPF.  I wanted to incorporate a small dose of retinol into my routine, and this sunscreen has also helped keep my skin clear while preventing sun damage.  **Please note that if you're using any retinol product you MUST wear sunscreen.  Don't forget about your SPF...make it a point to apply every morning.  Retinol/Retin A exfoliates the top layer of your skin and exposes younger cells, and it also makes your skin much more sensitive to the sun.

If you're as obsessed with skincare as I am, just remember that what works for one person doesn't mean it will work for another.  Know your skin type, see a dermatologist if necessary, and figure out what works best for you.  Remember to keep it simple, and you can always add from there!


19 August, 2015

How To Have Confidence In Spite of Social Media

It's almost too easy to compare yourself to others.  We're constantly submerged in social platforms, scrolling through images of beautiful people, and are seeing plastic surgery at younger and younger ages.  We read terms like "on fleek" and "baddie" and often feel the pressure to look like the other women we see.

I was about 2 years late to the Instagram life.  I was happy not having one, because I knew that the moment I created one, I would find myself aimlessly scrolling through beautiful women and end up on their cousin's brother's page, having no idea how I ended up there.

I was recently having a conversation with my friend, and we were talking about how we follow much more women than men on Instagram.  We're not scrolling to see man candy, but we're searching for makeup, fashion, and sorting through gorgeous girls that we begin comparing ourselves to.  I work full-time in the beauty industry, and I do have an interest in makeup, fashion, and fitness.  I enjoy following many of these pages, but I know that these are only for inspiration and entertainment.

Here are a few of my top tips to keep things in perspective and to not compare yourself to others on social media or in everyday life:

Try not to compare yourself to others - This sounds easier than it is.  As women, I think we automatically compare ourselves to others.  It's almost a natural selection in process 24/7, but there's a big turn when comparing yourself becomes unhealthy.  We walk through the aisles of the grocery store subconsciously comparing ourselves to others, at the mall, constantly thinking "Her butt's bigger than mine, her legs are more toned, her waist is smaller, her hair's better".  We scroll through Instagram and gaze at other women's beauty wondering how they look seemingly perfect.  It's ridiculous.  These other women are not you.  They have qualities that you don't have, and you may never have them.  Be OK with that and keep it pushing.  If you find yourself constantly measuring yourself against others on social media, get off of it.  If you're comparing yourself in person, make a conscious effort to view yourself as your own, separate, unique woman, since that's exactly who you are.  Plus, keep in mind that we put our best face on social media 99% of the time.  I probably won't post a picture after doing 45 minutes of cardio (but let's get real, that rarely happens anyway).  I've posted plenty of photos without makeup, but the majority of my photos are of myself when I feel most put together.  Many women on social media go through a lot to take the photos you see: lash extensions, false lashes, a wig, lip injections, makeup, tan, the whole shabang.  Of course there are thousands of women who are naturally blessed with fantastic qualities, but always remember that we don't look our best all the time, but we're able to capture our best with photos and put those out there for the world to see.

Natural Makeup for Green Eyes

Find qualities that make you you - This is one of my favorite pieces of advice, because I found that once I started doing this, I wasn't constantly comparing myself to others.  Find a few physical qualities that are unique and make you feel most yourself.  What's something that others have always known you by?  For me, it's my hair.  When I was young, I had Shirley Temple ringlets, and people would always ask to touch my hair and would tell me how beautiful it is.  I hated it, and I made it my mission to straighten my hair throughout middle and high school.  I refused to accept that my hair was curly, and rather than embracing what I had, I wasted hours, dollars, and energy on hating my hair.  Now I rock my curls quite often (it might also be because I actually know how to do my hair now), but I wouldn't change it.  My hair is a quality that makes me me, and I see the positives rather than the negatives.  I'm able to straighten it one day, wear it big and curly one day, and I have a warm blanket in the winter.  Find at least one quality that differentiates you, and when you're feeling down about your appearance or being hard on yourself, remind yourself of the qualities you're lucky to have.

Dark Curly Hair and Natural Makeup with Kylie Jenner Lips

Accept your "flaws" - You should be used to yourself without makeup.  All of this "sorry, I'm not wearing makeup" BS needs to go.  Never apologize for looking like the most pure version of yourself.  Another helpful tip I've found is to accept your "flaws".  The reason I have flaws in quotation marks is because often times other people don't see these as flaws at all, and you're probably just being too hard on yourself.  If there's a quality that you don't love about yourself, get over it!  Accept that it's a part of you.  If you accept your own flaws, others won't be able to use them against you.  I used to hate my nose, and I would do everything in my power to take photos from certain angles to have it look the way I thought was best.  Not very surprisingly, nobody really noticed a difference, and in fact, my friends and family love my nose.  It's something that yet again makes me myself.

Natural makeup look with Anastasia Beverly Hills and Mac

Natural eyebrows foundation and makeup

Workout - Get off your ass.  Move around and get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and muscles workin'.  I find that I feel my best when I'm in the middle of a good workout or when I'm leaving the gym satisfied.  I feel strong, powerful, and know that I'm doing something to better my body and mind.  Don't wear makeup.  Let your skin breathe and de-tox.  Take some time to yourself and hit the gym, go for a run, or get a group together and workout together.  Working out also releases more endorphins, so you'll naturally be in a better mood and will see yourself in a better light.

Women's boxing workout

The most important tip I have is to just be a good person!  Be you.  If you feel good about the type of person you are, that's what people will see.  Make a name for yourself and have your looks just be a perk.

18 August, 2015

Alabama Alphi Phi Controversy:

This post is going to be pretty different from my others -- You won't see any beauty or fitness tips here, and you won't see any pictures of carb-loaded food.  Quite the opposite!

The main purpose of this blog is to share tips and inspiration, but I never want to be limited or to forget about important topics that are worthy to write about and share.

17 August, 2015

At-Home Pampering on a Budget

I'm a big believer in lazy Sundays, especially when it's cloudy and grey.  If it's sunny, I feel a little guilty staying in bed all day.  It's happened a handful of times, though!

As the summer comes to an end, my hair has something to show for it.  I over-processed my hair this summer with the intentions of going lighter, and my poor ends suffered.  I like to take time on Sunday to prepare myself for the week ahead and give myself a little at-home pamper.

at home hair mask for dry hair

I suck at doing my nails, so you'll probably never see a DIY mani/pedi post here.  But I'm all about my skincare, face masks, and hair masks!

My favorite products to treat my hair and skin are plain old olive oil for a hair mask and the Aztec Indian Healing Clay face mask.  Most likely, you have olive oil sitting in the kitchen, and you can pick up the Aztec mask at Whole Foods or online here.  It's so inexpensive and is the most effective mask I've tried.

Aztec Indian Healing Clay Face Mask

Hair Mask with Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar

Pour some olive oil into a bowl -- I have tons of coarse, dry hair, so I used about 4 table spoons.  Heat it up for a few seconds to warm it, and then begin applying it to your hair.

Olive Oil Hair Mask

I dip my ends into the heated oil to saturate them, and I then apply the rest to my ponytail.  I don't apply to the top of my head, but I do take a teeny tiny amount of oil and massage my scalp.

Olive Oil mask for dry hair

To really let your hair mask process, put on a shower cap.  Or you can be like me and channel your inner old lady leaving the grocery store in a rainstorm - Tie a plastic bag on your head.  Easy!

I leave the oil in my hair for as long as I can -- I'll do the dishes, do some laundry, do some lunges if I'm motivated, and just relax.

Organix coconut water shampoo and loreal total repair conditioner
I've been loving the Oranix Coconut Water Shampoo and Loreal Total Repair Conditioner

Once it's processed, hop in the shower.  You'll want to shampoo your hair twice to get all of the oil and olive-y smell out.

I apply my face mask after the shower while my hair is drying. Mix 1 part of the clay with 1 part water or apple cider vinegar.  I always use ACV and find that it gives me the best results to really clear up my skin.  You'll feel your skin vibrate after about 5 minutes, and you'll look like a sad puppy as it tugs at your forehead.

Rinse off the mask with warm water and apply your regular toner and moisturizer.  I like to apply tons of moisturizer -- Your face might look like you spent 3 hours too long at the beach, but the redness will go down in no time.

Put on your pajamas, make some tea (or a drink), and enjoy the rest of your lazy day.  If you're more talented than I am, give yourself an at-home manicure, and you're ready for Monday.

14 August, 2015

Lazy Girl's Guide: How to Depot Mac Eyeshadows

I'm a bit of hoarder when it comes to makeup.  

How to Depot Mac Eyeshadows

When I first started to develop an interest in cosmetics, I was obsessed with buying the single shadows from Mac.  I remember shopping one day and a makeup artist telling me about the Pro Palettes and refills, and I had no idea why someone would buy those.  I liked having 20 individual shadows floating around and taking up tons of space!  Looking back, the dude was just trying to save me some cash, and I wish I would have started purchasing pro refills years ago.

How to depot eyeshadows

At the time, I didn't want a palette of many shadows.  Now, I could care less how many single shadows I have laying around -- In fact, I prefer none!  Having all of my shadows in palettes is much easier, and it's still easy to travel with.  If I don't want to lug around my whole Mac palette, I'll just grab a smaller palette and I'm ready to go.

Enough with the ramble -- If you want to save space and have some shadows laying around, depot them!  I purchased a Mac Pro Palette from the store, but you could also go for a Z Palette.

This is pretty simple to do, but it did leave my room smelling like burnt plastic and I slightly burned my thumb.  Don't be clumsy like me!

How to Depot Eyeshadow

All you'll need is a straightener or a lighter (I used both), and 
a flat edged tool (scissors, screw driver, letter opener, etc).  I found that I had the best luck with a small screw driver.

How to Depot Mac Cork Eyeshadow

Find the line between the two pieces of plastic -- Stick your tool right in there and wiggle it around a bit (...yes, my mind is dirty too), and your shadow should pop right out!

Mac Cork Eyeshadow Depot

You'll have 2 parts now -- The plastic with the shadow shade name on the bottom and the shadow itself.  Take your shadow with the plastic and place it on a heated plate of your straightener or you can heat up the bottom for about 30 seconds with your lighter.  I'd do the straightener method.

How to Depot Eyeshadow with a Screwdriver

After about a minute, remove the shadow and clamp the side with tweezers.  Gently push through the back of the plastic with your scissors, knife, or whatever sharp object you're tinkering with.  The shadow should pop out with a bit of glue on the bottom.

How to Depot Mac Eyeshadow
Now I have a reason to buy a few more...

I then went ahead and placed mine in my palette -- If you want the name of the shadow on the bottom so you know what you're working with, take your lighter and hold it under the label for about 10 seconds.  A side of the label will begin to peel -- Grab it and peel the rest off.  Put it on the back of your shadow, and pop it in the pan.  I didn't care enough, and ain't nobody got time for that over here.

That's it!  Save the plastic from your shadows and take them back to Mac for a free lipstick or lip gloss: You just need 6 to trade in!

Now just light a candle to remove the weird odor from your room, wipe off your straightener, and enjoy some more space on your desk!

13 August, 2015

A Night in Ibiza

No, not the island.  But I wish!
Ibiza Wine Bar Houston
Instead of hopping on a few planes, we drove downtown to have dinner at Ibaza in Houston.  Oh, how I wish we were on the Mediterranean.  The Gulf will have to do for now!

I've heard people rave about this place, mostly about their fish.  I'm not much of a fish person, but I knew I'd be able to find something(s) on the menu, as I always can.
Ibiza Menu Houston
I couldn't not order the Parmesan Fries with Truffle Oil -- I've been on a serious truffle oil kick lately.  I'd wear Truffle Oil perfume if they made it.  My mom and sis got the Snapper Ceviche with Thai chilis, lime juice, and citrus caviar.  Theirs was gone in about 2 seconds and was a favorite at our table (luckily, I got to devour most of the fries)!
Ibiza Food and Wine Bar Menu

Ibiza Houston TX
After everyone at the table ordered fish, I decided to go with the Six Hour Braised Lamb Shank.  Our server reassured me that it would be great, and he didn't let me down!  It was served with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.

Ibiza keeps the menu short and sweet, and I find that sometimes with small menus I take forever to decide!  I was tempted to go with a pizza, but since we were at Ibiza, I wanted to get something fancy and sophisticated-like.

Surprisingly, I didn't spill any of the lamb on my white dress.  I knew my luck with cleanliness would change when dessert came around!

Since we were celebrating my sister's sendoff to college, our server brought over the large, overwhelming mound of cotton candy.  I think this is a classic in some of the Clark Cooper restaurants (owners of Punk's, Coppa, Brasserie 19, and Salt Air), and I love it.  I can only eat a few bites before I start feeling like a sugar-laden kid at a carnival, but it's something different, and extremely Instagram-worthy.
Ibiza Houston

Ibiza Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy Dessert
We can never have enough sugar, so we ordered a warm Nutella brownie with salted caramel ice cream.  Honestly, I can't ignore anything with the word "nutella" in it.  Mix it with "warm" and I'm completely sold.
Nutella Brownie Dessert at Ibiza
My boyfriend couldn't resist the peach cobbler which was another big hit at our table.
Peach Cobbler Dessert at Ibiza
I'm still itching to fly to Ibiza, but a taste will do for now!
Cori and Sydney


07 August, 2015

Beautiful Things at Central Market

I could go on for days about how much I love Central Market.  If you're from Houston, chances are you know about it or frequent this heaven.  I can be spotted there at least once a week to grab my essentials, a sandwich, a smoothie, or some dark chocolate-covered caramels.

Where to Buy Roses in Houston

Central Market Wine

To end the week on a good, rosy note, here are some photos taken this week in Central Market, featuring items I often overlook.  I'm always amazed by the floral arrangements here, and I really need to start picking some up to refresh and brighten my space.

Central Market Houston Macarons

And those macarons (said in Jack Black's voice from "The Holiday")...they're just so damn cute.  I'm obviously a dessert fiend, but I like to marvel over the gorgeous assortment rather than buying a bunch -- I'm not one to justify spending $1.25 on a couple bites.  OK, maybe sometimes.

Roses at Central Market
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