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Fashion, Food & Fabulous

Getting Rid of Water Weight

When it comes to the week leading up to the Victoria Secret Fashion Show – which aired yesterday and can be seen HERE – there are three things that you are almost guaranteed to see.

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1.) Instagram will be loaded with ‘no makeup’ selfies of Victoria Secret models. Which – let’s be honest – don’t really evoke body image and self-esteem like they are intended to do.

2.) Health and beauty blogs will be filled with articles such as “Victoria’s Secret Angels Reveal Their Diet Secrets”, Train Like an Angel: Victoria’s Secret Model Adriana Lima Reveals the Five Workouts Moves to get a Body Like Hers,and my personal favorite “BREAKING: New Victoria Secret Model Has Stretch Marks”

And, finally…

3.) Victoria Secret Angels confess that their number one – or, at least, one of their number one – priorities is to lose water weight. Aka, cutting out water days before the show, sweating it out in saunas, performing colonics, etc.

So, in honor of the 21st Annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show, here are some of the best ways for the average woman to shed some water weight. Because – let’s be honest – no one feels comfortable walking around with an extra ten pounds of water weight. Personally,  it makes me feel like a dish sponge…

Hyrdarting Smoothie

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Yes, I know. A hydrating smoothie sounds pretty counterprodutive for someone looking to lose water weight, but keeping properly hydrating is said to be one of the best ways to prevent your body from storing excess water. When your body is properly hydrated, it’s less likely to hold onto extra water as a survival source. The best way to do this – aside from drinking water – is by consuming a lot of water rich fruits and veggies, which can easily be consumed in the form of a smoothie.

Best Fruits and Veggies (water %)

  • Watermelon (94%)
  • Cantaloupe (90%)
  • Pinapple (87%)
  •  Cucumber (96%)
  • Celery (95%)
  • Spinach (92%)

Espom Salt Baths

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There’s just nothing better than a nice hot bath at the end of a long day to relax your body and mind. But espom salt baths are a cut above the rest. Not only are espom salt baths great for easing aching muscles (they help to reduce inflammation), but they are great for getting rid of extra water weight. The reason for this is because espom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, which is known for absorbing water, including excess water within the body. Just soak in a hot tub with 2-3 cups of espom salt for twenty minutes to enjoy the effects of it.

Disclaimer: Be sure to use an espom salt bath only a couple times a week. Constantly dehydrating the body can be very dangerous and this method should only be used when needed. 

Drink Some Tea

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I have never been- and never will be – a person who advocates for those Skinny Teas the Kardashians seem to drink buckets of. However, I am a HUGE fan ofusing  regualar – I can buy it in asian markets and organic stores – teas as homiopathic remedies. For quick water weight, the best teas for ridding yourself of excess water weight are oolong, blacktea, and pu-erh tea (a stronger version of black tea). These teas are the best for water weight because they have the highest concentration of caffeine, which has been shown to help the body shed extra water. Hint Hint: This is why you constantly need to use the rest room after having too many cups of coffee.

Bonus Tips

  • Sweat it out while working out
  • Take Magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Potassium
  • DRINK WATER.

Fruitcake Take Two

There’s no denying that fruitcake has built a bad reputation for itself over the last few centuries. And how couldn’t it? This festival ‘ye olde’ cake is known for being overly dense, tasteless, a way to hide the dried fruit no one likes and – excuse my amazingly creative description – just plain icky.

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And how couldn’t it? This festival ‘ye olde’ cake is known for being overly dense, tasteless, a way to hide the dried fruit no one likes and – excuse my amazingly creative description – just plain icky.

In holiday movies, the dreaded fruitcake is almost always featured as a sort of weapon – it’s dropped on someone’s head, someone slips on it like a banana peel, or it’s thrown like a football and knocks someone out – while in reality there are towns who make an event out of slingshotting day old fruitcakes.

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But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can end the horror that is the dried fruitcake. There is still a chance to make this festive disaster a festive treat.

FruitCake 2.0

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cup cake flour (You can use regular flour if that’s all you have)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted pecans
  • 15 ounce of undrained fruit cocktail (Rule of thumb when it comes to cooking. Never put in an ingredient that you wouldn’t be okay eating separately. So be sure to add a fruit cocktail that you enjoy!)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dried dates.

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Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • In a large bowl, whip together the eggs + egg yolk + light brown sugar + white sugar + salt.
  • In another bowl, combine the cinnamon + baking soda + cake flour.
  • Add the dry ingredients (which are included in the step above) to the wet ingredient and mix together until everything is fully incorporated (Do not over mix!)
  • Add the roasted walnuts + roasted pecans + dried dates and fold them into the mixture.
  • Add the fruit cocktail and gently stir it into the batter. Be sure to do this step slowly because we don’t want the fruit to break apart.
  • Pour the batter into a buttered 9×13 pan and cook for 40 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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Bonus!

For a little extra sweetness, add a simple icing to your fruitcake. To make the icing, simply blend together…

  • 1/2 dried coconut
  • 1/2 confectioner sugar
  • 1/2 evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

 

Traveling in Styl(ish)

There are many things that come with the holiday season. Stuffing yourself full of your aunt’s sugar cookies – which she just so happens to ONLY make during the holidays – and drinking more glasses of eggnog then you care to admit. Hey! It’s the holidays, after all. Trying to find that perfect winter coat that keeps you warm without making you look like a shapeless packet of fluff.

For those whose mothers made them wear puffer jackets as a child, you know what I’m talking about.

But the holiday season also entails traveling for many of us. A lot of traveling. Anyone who has ever been on an airplane or train for an extended amount of time knows that it’s no walk in the park, nor is it very nice on our appearance.

 

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If only we can all be so lucky.

 

And while I am one of those people who want nothing more than to wear my pajamas on the plane, I know I have to look somewhat professional while traveling.  Okay, I’m in my twenties and it’s no longer ‘appropriate’. Aka, I can’t get away with it anymore. But with these tips and trick for traveling, it makes looking and feeling presentable just a tad bit easier.

Wrap Your Hair

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When you are flying or traveling for an extended period of time, the best way to keep your hair nice is to wrap it. And I don’t mean that you need to wear a bonnet circa 1950s (we are still in public). Instead, invest in a good quality silk hair wrap. By wrapping your hair during your travels, it prevents your hair from getting dirty (remember, air is circulated in planes and most trains), while also keeping your hair in place. And don’t worry about looking ‘weird’. Most hair wraps today are beautiful and look like accessories.

Fruits and Veggies

Try to reduce your diet to only fresh fruits and vegetables. And when I say fresh, I mean it. I’m not talking about sauteed broccoli with breadcrumbs, EVOO, and garlic. Just fresh and raw produce. This tip is to be done one – preferably two to three – days before you travel. This tip is for the sack of both yourself and the passengers around you. As we know, the foods you eat have a tendency to reveal themselves in our scents. That’s why your breath may smell ‘strong’ when you eat to make animal proteins. According to a study done at Macquarie University, men who ate only fruits and vegetables had a more agreeable smell. So be a good co-passenger and eat your fruits and veggies!

Moisturize 

You’re not alone when you think your skin becomes drier on planes. Between the air cabin’s low humidity level, the same air circulating, and the increase in altitude pressure, the air found on planes is a recipe for dry skin. Even those of us who have oily skin – such as moi – are a little flaky by the first hour of the flight. But there are many tricks you can use in order to combat the dryness. The top three things you can do are

  1. Skip the powder foundation and use liquid or cream foundation.
  2. Apply deep absorbing moisturizers. I recommend coconut oil because it has a tendency to get deep into your pores without clogging them.
  3. Use an under-eye mask. They are amazing and my favorite is found at Sephora.

 Drink Water

Water! Eau! Acqua! Wody! Vand! I can not stress this enough. Drink as much water as you can – but not if you’re sitting in the window seat because that can get a little awkward – and drink ONLY water. Don’t drink soda or juice. And don’t drink coffee or tea whiel trying to rationalize with yourself that it was made from water. When it comes to traveling and being in cramped dry places, water is the king of drinks. Not only will it help prevent your skin from drying out (see above), but it will also prevent you from breaking out and getting dark circles under your eyes, which are both common during flying due to a combination of dehydration (coffee and tea dehydrate you!) and toxins. So drink up!

 

100 Years of Beauty

The best thing about beauty is that it’s always changing. While one trend will be in fashion this month, another trend will surely be taking its place next month – perhaps, next year. Though we rarely think about politics while putting on our favorite lipstick, our culture and social surrounding have more influence on our fashion and beauty trends than we give them credit for.

Showing these trends are the popular “100 Years of Beauty” videos brought to you by YouTube channel WatchCut Videos.

Be sure to subscribe to them!

 

 

 

 

Seeds the Beauty

I was most definitely raised in a ‘waste not, want not’ sort of family. I have a mother who used to reuse coffee grounds two – sometimes three – times in a row. A nana and papa who used to save ingredients as little as a tablespoon of chopped garlic, which they would store in one of their many mini containers and stack in their overly stocked refrigerator. And I have a father who views leftovers as the best and most important meal of the day.

In other words, I was raised in a family were wasting is a big ‘NO NO’.

That mindset leaked over (Gives you an image of a faucet replacing a person’s ear, doesn’t it?) to my beauty mindset and gave me ideas on how to use these ‘wastes’ as beauty tools.

Avocado Pit

Rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, the avocado pit makes a great facial exfoliator. To make a facial exfoliator from an avocado pit, just dry the avocado pit (you ca do this by cooking it in the oven or by letting it sit ut in the sun for a week or two), grind the dried pit, and mix it with either a little bit of coconut oil, honey, or water. You can also use the ground avocado pit as a base for a facial mask. To make the facial mask, just combine the dried pit with a little bit of water, lemon juice, and dried clay (you can get the clay in most health stores), and apply as you would a regular clay facial mask.

Cantaloupe Seeds

When people think of roasting seeds they almost never think of roasted cantaloupe seeds. No, the roasting seed crown goes to pumpkin. But roasted cantaloupe seeds have a bunch of beauty tricks up their sleeves. Packed full of vitamin B6, cantaloupe seeds are great for your hair and help to restore shine and strengthen those tresses. They’re also rich in fiber, aka, the stomach flattener.

Pineapple Skins

There’s a reason why so many exfoliators and cleansers contain pineapple. Pineapples are filled with bromelain, which is a proteolytic enzyme that is used to digest proteins, and thus, has the tools to break down similar structures. For example, dead skin on your feet. With your leftover pineapple skins, you can make a great foot mask that will practically vanish any callous or dead skin on those little piggies. Just bend the pineapple skins with a little bit of water, apply the paste to your feet, wrap your feet in plastic wrap and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes before removing.

Coffee Grounds

We’ve all heard that coffee grounds can get rid of cellulite – something I still have trouble believing in but I deeply hope is true! – but have you heard about how coffee grounds can help under eye bags and increase hair shine? Due to its high concentration of caffeine, used coffee grounds can help diminish the look of under eye bags. Just apply a thin layer of coffee grounds to the under eye area and let sit for 10-20 minutes before removing. For adding shine to hair, it’s less about what’s in the coffee grounds and more about their grainy texture. Due to this texture, the grounds are able to rid the hair of build up that dulls the hair. By rubbing the grounds into the hair – and rinsing out! – you remove the build up.

Foundation Tricks

Forget about liquid eyeliner and contouring.  Foundation is the hardest makeup to apply— CORRECTLY. The reason for this is because there are so many ways for your foundation to get messed up during the application process. You can use a shade that’s too dark or too light against your skin tone. You can use powder on a humid day and get – dare I say it? – clay face. You can forget to blend out your jawline and look like you’re wearing a fleshy Halloween mask.

And we’ve heard all the basic tips.

Make sure your pick a color that matches your skin tone, never use powder if you have really dry skin, apply your concealer BEFORE you apply your foundation, etc.

But what about some lesser known tips to get you that photo ready finish?

Rose Water

After applying your foundation, use rose water in replacement of a store bought finishing spray. Not only is rose water cheap – you can make it at home – but it doesn’t contain the chemicals that are found in most finishing sprays, which have a tendency to dry out your skin.

  • Rose Water Recipe: Take two cups of dried roses and allow to steep in hot water for 15min. Remove from water and strain. 

Coconut Oil

Rich in omega-3, coconut oil is an amazing healthy fat (MUFA) that works wonders on your skin. So it’s no surprise that coconut oil and foundations seem to work well together. To use coconut oil, mix a few drops of the healthy fat into your foundation of choice (only liquid foundation!) and apply your foundation as you usually would. This will give you a dewy finish, even coverage, and smoother skin.

Beauty Blender

While this has probably – okay, I KNOW – that it’s been covered by bloggers and YouTubers, but here we go. When it comes to applying your foundation, always use a beauty blender. They use – aka, waste! – a lot less foundation. They give you a cleaner and more air touch finish. They prevent you from getting those ghastly streaks. Ladies, you know what foundation streaks I’m talking about. Plus, theses are usually much cheaper that any foundation brush.

 

Dying Hair at Home

Over the last decade, I’ve dyed my hair nearly every natural hair color in the books (Aka, I have yet to have the privilege of dying my hair a glorious pastel purple).

Moreso, aside from one time – it was the first time I had my hair dyed and I was a little unsure of my own dying abilities during that time – I have dyed my hair at home. That’s right. I have stripped, bleached, and dyed my hair without going to a hair salon and getting it professionally done.

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Now, there are multiple reasons for why I always choose to dye my hair at home.

  1. It’s a lot cheaper (Salon $150+ vs At Home $10+)
  2. I’m not a fan of appointments (Things come up. That’s life)
  3. You can get stuff done at home while your hair is processing, unlike having to sit in a chair in a salon.

So here are some tips and tricks to dying your hair at home and getting some amazing results.

Don’t Rush It!

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When lightening your hair – which will always require some form of bleaching – it’s best to lighten your hair over a period of 1-2 weeks. Personally, I feel that 2 weeks is the ideal amount of time, but we all know there are some people who are just a little impatient. So, when lightening your hair, be sure to lighten your hair a shade at a time every two days until you reach your desired shade. The time between dye days will allow the oils of your hair to help prevent damage.

Be Realistic

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Yes, I may have said that I’ve dyed my hair every natural shade under the sun, but I never said all of them looked good. For example, as a naturally pale woman with dark green eyes, a warm skin undertone, and dark brunette hair, going platinum blonde wasn’t my proudest hair moment. It didn’t look realistic and looked downright cartoonish. The best way to avoid this is by dying your hair only 4-5 shades lighter or darker than your original color.

Split Ends

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Whether you’re dying your hair a darker color or bleaching it a lighter shade, split ends are almost inevitable. There are multiple reasons as to why split ends form when you’re dying your hair. You could be using a hair dye with a high chemical concentrate, thus it dries your hair out more than the average hair dye. You could be too rough with your hair and pulling at it while applying the dye. So, the best thing to do – if you want a pristine finish – is to get those split ends cut AFTER you dye your hair. For some reason, people get their hair cut BEFORE dying it and – not only does that waste money because you are cutting off the dye – but you’ll only be left with split ends.

 

Ammonia Free

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When dying your hair at home, always be sure to use an ammonia free hair dye. For those of you who don’t know what ammonia is – don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was for a while either – ammonia is a chemical that lifts the hair strand, thus allowing colors to penetrate and attach to the strand. And while this allows the hair dye to last longer, it’s extremely damaging to the hair. However, today there are multiple companies who have create ammonia-free hair dyes that last just as long, but without the damaging results. My favorite is Garnier’s Olia!

Purple Shampoo

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If you’re bleaching your hair, it’s all about the purple shampoo. It’s seen as the holy grail of bleachers. The reason for this is because purple shampoo is able to lift the brassiness from the hair. For those of you who haven’t dyed your hair blonde, it’s extremely common for hair to become a brassy yellow after the dying process (We don’t want that!). By applying purple shampoo/conditioner to the hair as a post-dye hair mask or adding purple conditioner to the bleach developer before the dying process, you can prevent and eliminate the brassiness from your hair.

Additional Tips

  1. Dye your hair when it’s dirty
  2. Apply a coconut oil mask after dying
  3. Mix your developer with conditioner
  4. Use oil based dyes
  5. Always buy two boxes

Brought to you by Vogue, check out Suki Waterhouse’s under 2-minute makeup guide. This look is great for a casual day out with friends and the techniques are simple enough that even beginners can replicate the look with ease.

 

Makeup Dos & Don’ts

When it came to makeup, I was a late bloomer. While my peers were perfecting their winged eyeliner, I was just trying to line my bottom lashes without poking myself in the eye.

While my peers were perfecting their winged eyeliner, I was just trying to line my bottom lashes without poking myself in the eye. While Jessica in the fourth period knew how to create a smoky eye like a professional makeup artist, I could barely apply one layer of dark shadow without looking like one – may I say pretty – raccoon.  And, while my sister was contouring her face into that of another person (seriously, the power of contouring. Look it up.), I was just learning the differences between BB cream and CC cream.

The moral of the story is this: Applying makeup is a learning process! You’re going to make mistakes and have those ‘what was I thinking wearing blue eyeshadow’ moments. Despite what many people say and those beauty videos on YouTude, applying makeup is HARD! Luckily, here are some Dos and Don’ts of Makeup, which I have personally learned the hard way.

Harsh Eyeliner 

When I say harsh eyeliner, I’m not talking about eyeliners that are applied too thick or crazy colored eyeliners. I’m talking about those eyeliners that stop half way across your lash line. For some reason, people think that they should only apply eyeliner to the outer corners of the eye. And – while that’s where you should be applying the darkest eyeliner- you must remember to blend it into the rest of the lash line. There shouldn’t be a harsh stopping point in the center of the lash line. Remember, BLEND!

Lips without Liner

When applying lipstick, be sure to always apply lip liner to your entire lip. Don’t just outline your lips. By applying lip liner to your entire lip, you’ll save yourself from having a case of ‘ring around the lip’ moments at the end of the day. This is due to the fact that lipstick has a tendency to wear off much faster that lip liner. Not only will it prevent a line around the lip at the end of the day, but the lipstick will stick to the lip liner and you’ll be smudge free for the whole day.

Blush vs Bronzer 

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in the last decade, blush and bronzer are seen as being interchangeable. Personally, I think it happened during the height of ‘Jersy Shore’ (For those of you who are unaware of ‘Jersey Shore’, it’s a reality show that gives Italians and people from NJ a bad name…). People seem to forget that bronzer and blush have completely different uses and placements on the face. While blush is supposed to ‘awaken your skin’, bronzer is supposed to give you a sunkissed look.  While bronzer should be under your cheekbone, blush should be on top. Repeat after me, blush is blush and bronzer is bronzer.

 

Additional Tips

1.) Don’t combine liquid and powder on the base of your face. That’s how you get cake face. Example, when you are using a liquid based foundation, don’t use a powder blush.

2.) If you have thick brows, fill them in with a pencil and not a pomade. Pomades on thick brows have a tendency to make thick brows look fake and overdrawn

3.) Don’t over contour your nose. I know it’s tempting, but just don’t. Unless your are a professional – and it’s doesn’t even alwaya workout with them – it nearly always looks fake.

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