My Favorite Things: Aveeno Tone Corrector

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'll be honest, I'm just hopping on the Aveeno bandwagon now. My friends have been telling me about their products for years and I just never strayed from my regular beauty routine to try them - it's very tough for me to abandon a product once it becomes initiated into the team. But after my successful Lush overhaul, I took another chance.


Aveeno's Tone Corrector is simply perfect for those of us who prefer an au natural look when it comes to make-up (sorry, beauty gurus). Since the beginning of my make-up career, I've never liked more than a dab of concealer to even skin tone, a brush of mascara for eyes that pop and a solid lip color to go with the occasion.

Using a tone corrector changes the game. I no longer have to use concealer all over - except for those pesky bags under my eyes - and my skin ends up looking much more radiant. There's some truth to the whole #RadiantWithAveeno thing, I suppose.

It's easy to put on (like a moisturizer) at night or in the morning, and it gives me that healthy glow that not even the best bronzer could match.  Needless to say, I'm hooked and happy to share the Aveeno love!

Still not convinced? Try it for yourself!

Have you tried the Aveeno Tone Corrector? What other Aveeno products should I try?

XOXO,
Em

I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

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My Favorite Things: Lush Hair Products

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Confession: I'm not huge on beauty products. I usually find something I like and stick with it until the brand itself discontinues - hey, I'm a loyal consumer, okay? 

Recently I've been trying to find a new routine for my hair because, like most women, I can never get it to look exactly as I'd like it. My problem is more in the range of not staying the same color, like ever. And yes, for those that don't know, I don't dye or highlight my hair like this, it does it on its own. Some days I love the whole multidimensional look, but there are some days where I am so multidimensionally over my copper strands. My go-to shampoo has been the John Frieda for blondes collection for a good two years now, and while it works like a charm in keeping my hair fresh but silky, it has also kept it lighter than I'd like. 

This summer, I decided to take the plunge and dye it. I used a temporary dye at first...and I fell IN LOVE. Dark hair is definitely for me. But before I make a more permanent change, I knew I needed to change up the hair care routine. So I took the plunge again and bought an entire new locks line-up from LUSH cosmetics. 



It was life-changing, seriously. Take a look at my haul & what I think of it all:

BIG shampoo
So first up was the pot of shampoo - I know it's weird, but I promise it's worth a try. You just scoop a bit out (however much you need for your hair length/density), lather it up and massage it through your locks. I was surprised at how easily it rinsed out with those big sea salt pieces! It definitely gave my hair the extra 'oomph' without that waxy feeling. 

Seanik shampoo
I've only used this once, but it was very similar to the BIG shampoo, except with pieces of seaweed for extra shine. My sun-tired hair felt a little more rejuvenated (and much more silky) after just one wash. And the fact that it's a solid makes it perfect for travel. I'm hooked!

BIG solid conditioner
I've never really been one to get the matching conditioner, but I'm so glad I did for this round. The solid conditioner is a little strange to get used to at first, but it's like a bar of soap. Lather on your hands with water, then work through hair and rinse. I'm mostly in love with this because of the smell it leaves with my hair the whole day - yum!

Sea Spray hair mist
After my family's vacation to Hawaii this past December, I became an avid fan of salt water...and the amazing things it did to my hair! I love how the natural salt gives all the right waves to my look, and this spray has a tiny bit of gel to help hold those waves in place throughout my day. 

Ocean Salt Scrub - the cutest sample you ever did see!
And even though this doesn't have to do with my hair, I couldn't pass up a trial of their famous cleansing scrub. It smells amazing and makes my skin so happy. 
Plus, free samples are always okay in my book!



Have you tried any of these (or other) LUSH products? Any recommendations for hair care routine additions? Also, any advice for dying my hair with a permanent dye is much appreciated!

XOXO,
Em

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La Mode & Moi: Weekend Edition

Saturday, July 19, 2014

La Mode & Moi (meaning 'fashion and me' in French) is a series on my everyday style to give you all a glimpse into my classic taste with a european flair, as well as how to make ordinary looks a little more fun! 

I absolutely adore getting all dolled up and wearing detailed outfits - I'm probably one in a million that doesn't mind having to fuss with a piece of clothing to keep it proper or to wear something that isn't exactly comfortable merely in the name of fashion. I blame all of my years as a dancer, where wardrobe malfunctions were a day-to-day thing, adjustments were constantly being made and sometimes you had to perform a piece in a costume that itched like a bad bug bite.

But there is something very kind to be said for weekends spent lounging around in clothing that doesn't require a single zip, clasp or strap...

My favorite outfit for easy-going weekends has & will most likely always be my patterned, crepe cloth pants and a comfy, cotton shirt. I got these pants from a small village market just outside of Istanbul, Turkey (for about $7 - unheard of, I know). I bought them last summer during my time in Turkey because the heat called for lightweight clothing and while I had that covered for tops, I was lacking in breezy bottoms.



Ever since I bought them, I've kept them tucked away in my pajama drawer - they feel like pajamas, okay? - for days when I have errands to run, but still want to stay comfy. The best part about these is that I can wear them barefoot with no jewelry (heck, no make-up either) or I can pull them together a bit with some simple gold bangles and nude flats.


 And, if we're being honest, I just love how they bring out my world-traveler side and make me look a little more exotic!


What is your favorite lounging outfit? Do you own a pair of crepe cloth pants?

XOXO,
Em

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Foodie Review: Summer House Santa Monica

Friday, July 18, 2014

Confession: This isn’t the first time I’ve been to Summer House. But the first time I went, I was too captured by the light & breezy atmosphere to remember to take pictures to show you all. Oops.
It’s happening now though, so that’s what counts, right?

Let me start by saying I was as impressed the second time as the first - this establishment is doing everything right!


The decor is white on white. There’s giant greenhouse-esque skylight in the main dining area. Hanging plants are suspended from the ceiling. All the servers don a gingham button-down and denim. Making reservations yet?

Well, you should, because the food is amazing. Granted, I’ve only had their breakfast/brunch (is there any other meal really?) but from what I can tell, you can’t go wrong.

My favorite dish is the lemon-cottage cheese pancakes and you will have heard me talk about them at least a handful of times if you know me. I can’t get over them! This time, they were all sold out (boo!) so I had to settle for the orange-chocolate chip pancakes - rough life, I know. And I treated myself to the sugared grapefruit as well, mostly so I could pretend I was being healthy. They were the perfect pair!

The coffee is strong enough that you need that extra sugar packet (maybe that’s just me), the fresh-pressed orange juice is sweet & tangy in all the right ways and I’ve heard rave reviews about their brunch cocktails - one more month until my 21st and I’ll test them out for myself ;)

If my ranting hasn’t made you want to go just yet, take a look at the photos I snapped below:


The whole atmosphere is very laid back with white & blue/green tones
My friend, Isabel, let me snap a pick of her eggs benedict - it tastes as good as it looks!



And just for old time's sake, here's a throwback to my first encounter with cottage cheese pancakes...it's a wonder I got a photo before digging in!

Ugh. Cue drool.

Have you been to Summer House Santa Monica? What is your favorite brunch spot in the city? 


XOXO,
Em

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My Favorite Things: Nakd Bars

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm a city girl through and through, but when it comes to summer, there's something in me that wants to explore nature and get out into the middle of nowhere. This usually results in me going on hikes a handful of days out of the week.

There are some great hiking trails near my house since I live out in the rolling hills. Some mornings I'll spend a couple hours getting lost in the trails and others I suit up for a calculated run on my favorite path. Either way, I have to bring a snack along with me - anyone else a diva about low blood sugar levels?

I always struggle to find a good granola bar. Whether they're too sweet, too crunchy, too bland, too protein-packed or even too tiresome (I've been known to become obsessed with certain breakfast bars for a month and then not be able to stand the sight of them after), it's tough to find the right mix of variety and tasty.

And this is why I am so excited to tell you about *cue the drumroll* Natural Balance Foods' Nakd bars!


I'm seriously obsessed, but in the best way. At first, I'll admit, I was a skeptic. Rhubarb custard? Caffe mocha? Pecan pie? But then I tried one. YUM.


Nakd bars have the chewy/crunchy ratio down to a science! And there are so many flavors to choose from that I can't see myself ever getting sick of them.  I absolutely love throwing one of these in my pocket - did I mention they're small enough to fit in a pocket without being annoying? - and heading out to explore. They tide me over until I'm done with my hike, which is no small feat for someone with a high metabolism. The best part? They're gluten-free, dairy-free & 100% natural with no added sugars or syrups, so you don't have to pretend you're being healthy - you actually are. There is no catch, it's literally fruits & nuts squished together in the best way.

Even my health-food-fanatic of a mother was impressed, so you know it's real.


The Cocoa Mint is my favorite, in case you were wondering...

Oh! And the packaging that the bars come in/with is just darling!



A company that believes in positive validation, healthy eating and delicious flavors is unheard of these days, so go check them out and try a case (or two, or three).


Have you ever tried Nakd bars? What are your favorite go-to snacks for exploring? 

XOXO,
Em

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That Time I Had A Panic Attack

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I like to put on a very calm, level-headed face for people, even those most close to me. But I can't hide the OCD I inherited from my father and the planning gene from my mother.

Spontaneity scares the heck out of me. There, I said it.
Sometimes, I have slight panic attacks when I think of all I have ahead of me. For example, moving to Paris. It's exciting and wonderful and inspiring. But it also requires a boatload of paperwork, e-mails, forms and, my least favorite part, money. There are days when I'm checking things off my to-do list one after the other, and there are others where I stare at my ceiling and let the amount of tasks I need to do float through my head while I lay motionless. Anyone else have these moments?

Over the years, I've acquired a habit of repeating calming mantras to myself so my crazy, adventure-filled, on-a-whim life doesn't get the best of me. Here are a few of my favorites:

Via Pinterest
via Women on Fire

via Everything Fab
via Venspired
via Remain Simple
And although I've never been particularly religious, the song 'Be Still' by The Fray, derived from a bible verse (Psalm 46:10), has an ability to make me stop & take a breath during even the most hectic of times. 

via Tumblr
Actually, my entire Pinterest board "Because inspiration is rare" is pretty much dedicated to anti-panic mantras. I get the most amazing calming feeling after reading through a few of them.

And they work, for the most part. I used to be very uptight about things and hold them internally, but my form of meditation - in addition to the tips & tricks from my favorite Buddhist teacher - have made a world of a difference in my life. Remember when adults used to tell us to fake it until we made it? I guess it's kind of like that. I repeated the mantras in my head, pretending that they would calm me down until, eventually, I was whispering the words subconsciously. It could be because I have a constant conversation going on inside my head - seriously, it's like a never-ending extended family dinner, except with just myself - but I have found so much peace in being able to shut up the differing opinions with a simple phrase that they all can agree on.

Alright, I'm making myself sound crazy.

In a nutshell, my rational side can no longer question the decisions that my heart makes, because they've both kind of fallen in sync. At the end of the day, I know that everything I do is going to benefit me in some way. And even though the mounting pile of things to do seems like Mount Everest at times, there's a strange reassurance within me that I'll get it done, not only because my track record says so, but also because it is something I need to do.

So although Paris has already given me the run around and I haven't even arrived, the high I get from traveling and the insane wisdom it imparts on me is something I could never trade out, even for a life sans panic attacks.

Anyone else have a panic attack when they look at their to-do list? What works best to calm you down after a moment of panic - mantras, exercise, etc?

XOXO,
Em

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Foodie Review: Eataly

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This post has been a long time coming, but I finally ate at Eataly this past weekend (& crossed another item off of my 101 in 1001 list)!


And yes, it was everything dreams are made of. Think Whole Foods meets the farmers’ market meets food fair meets Italy.

The place is gigantic, but something about the atmosphere makes it so inviting. You walk in and are greeted by crates of fresh produce under market-like tents. Then you pass the dessert (with all of your strength of will!) and head up the escalators to the different sections. In between the 'ristorantes', there were deli-like stations for each type of food, as well as areas for drinks - anything from wine to beer to espresso!

The most impressive fresh pasta bar, ever
There's nothing better than a fresh espresso
A sweettooth's dream

Vegetarian, pizza, fish, pasta, meat, oh my! There were so many choices, but my mother & I decided upon the meat “ristorante” in the back corner. We got a seat next to the window overlooking Wabash and immediately were served some of the best olive oil/bread I have encountered. Yum!

In case you forgot what real olive oil tastes like...it's AMAZING
My lovely dinner date!
My mother ordered the short ribs, which she claims were a meat lover’s dream. I went for my traditional option: the chicken. I was a little skeptical at first because chicken thigh isn’t exactly something I’m familiar with, and I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to order it at any other restaurant ...only because it was so dang good! I’m obsessed. We also split an order of the cauliflower, which was doused in a lemon vinaigrette sauce, capers and a light layer of breadcrumbs. I could spend all day telling you how amazing the food was, but I won’t waste your time, take a look for yourself!






Before we left, I simply had to snag a small dessert. Instead of the famous Nutella bar, I wandered to the pastry area and found a rendition on my very favorite sweet concoction: salted peanut tiramisu! It was gone in ten seconds flat, if that says anything to you.



Have you been to Eataly? Which ‘ristorante’ would you want to eat at?

XOXO,
Em

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