Sunday, August 21, 2016

Matcha Smoothie Goodness

I do love me some green tea. There is nothing better than a refreshing sweetened iced green tea during the summer to cool you down. In the winter, I'm partial to warming up with a green tea latte or even a simple, hot green tea at night before bed. When the matcha tea phenomenon took the world by storm, I knew I'd probably hop on the trend train seeing as I've always been a fan of green tea. The first time I tried matcha, I was immediately sold because the flavor is even more intense and delicious than any regular green tea I've ever had. So what's the matcha madness all about? And what's the difference between matcha and regular green tea? Well, I found that the difference lies in the way the leaves are processed and the way we drink the two are different. Matcha actually stands for "ground" or "powdered tea" and is therefore different than green tea, which is brewed or steeped in hot water. It's the only form of green tea in which the entire leaf is consumed, which is why it contains more healthful elements. Matcha tea is about 10x better for you than regular green tea because it contains catechin polyphenols- compounds rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants offer protection against cancer, cardiovascular disease, harmful cholesterol and also help to stabilize blood sugar levels among other health benefits.

Perhaps people are crazy about this stuff because of the unique feeling of well-being it gives to all those who enjoy it. I was interested to learn more about the history that matcha holds in Japanese culture. The preparation of it is actually the focus of the Japanese tea ceremony, which has been an integral part of Japanese culture for decades. The ritual requires precise hand movements and graceful choreography. Very interesting! I may never host a tea ceremony, but I definitely enjoy matcha in many different ways from hot or cold matcha lattes to matcha smoothies, which I've been having for breakfast quite often lately. If you have yet to try matcha, I recommend giving it a go in smoothie form as you could add a bunch of different fruits or vegetables you like. Below is the recipe for my version of a tasty matcha smoothie. I hope you enjoy it!

You Will Need:
  • 1 peeled, sliced and frozen banana 
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup vanilla coconut milk
  • 2 tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 cup frozen kale 

Toppings (optional):
  • Raspberries
  • Coconut flakes

Let's Do This:

1. Add frozen banana slices, pineapple chunks, coconut milk, match powder, kale and some ice into a blender or NutriBullet. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.
2. Taste for flavor and add any extra ingredients like more frozen banana or pineapple if desired. Consistency should be somewhere between scoopable and drinkable. 
3. Top smoothie with fresh raspberries and coconut flakes.
4. Drink up! Smoothie is best when fresh, but you can put into the refrigerator well sealed for up to 24 hours if necessary. 

xx JG
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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lifestyle Favorites: Anthropologie, Snapchat, The Night Of & More

There are always a few things that I become hooked on for a couple of weeks or even months and they can range from products or tv shows to shops and certain foods. It was kind of hard not to throw a beauty bit into the mix, but I wanted to keep this strictly about a random mix of things I've been enjoying recently. I also want to point out that this round-up is by no means revolutionary. But hey, maybe you'll find something below that makes you just as happy because it's the little things in life that can turn a bad day into a good one. Not to get all sappy and stuff. 

iPhone Reminders
I'm so bad at remembering to do simple tasks like picking up dry cleaning, paying a credit card or running to the supermarket for milk. Luckily, I haven't been forgetting about these mundane tasks thanks to the iPhone Reminders app, which has made me about 10x more productive. Why haven't I been using it for years?! Anything I remember that needs to get done goes straight into my phone with a deadline. Done and done.

And while we're on the tech subject, Snapchat is killing it right now. It's not even just about the puppy dog filter although that is a huge reason why it's so great, ha. What I enjoy most is the fact that I can watch my favorite beauty bloggers and vloggers do their thing on Snapchat similar to on YouTube, but in half the time. I do wish I was better about posting stories because I find I go on mainly to see what friends are up to or even to read the news at the top, which I've been enjoying lately.

In regards to shopping, I can't pass by an Anthropologie and not go inside. Lately, I've come to appreciate just how inspiring this place is despite how damaging it is to my wallet. I suppose Anthro's style can be described as somewhat of a whimsical fantasy- picture being in a cornflower field wearing a vintage floral dress with the wind blowing through your hair. Really though. What I like most about Anthropologie is the house and home section because the pieces are an eclectic mix of patterns, florals and other dreamy designs with gorgeous pops of color. Recently, I received a few gifts for when I move in with my boyfriend that I absolutely adore.

Lemon Water & The Night Of
To finish things off, my beverage of choice lately has been a big glass of ice cold water with a wedge of lemon squeezed inside. There is something about lemon water that I can't get enough of. It's not even about the fact that I'm trying to be healthy, I just simply love the taste. When you're feeling relaxed sometime in the evening, sit down and watch The Night Of on HBO. It's is an eight-part crime drama miniseries about a complex New York City murder case with cultural and political overtones. After binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix, I needed another show to fill the void of wanting more and this one will set you over the edge. Hope you're enjoying the rest of your weekend! 

xx JG
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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Easy On The Eyes

(Wearing Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Amber Haze)

Eyeshadow is probably my favorite makeup to shop for. There are creamy eyeshadows, powder eyeshadows and eyeshadow sticks, which are my current FAVS. Even though eyeshadow is my favorite makeup to wear, it's definitely the part I skip over when I'm in a rush to get out of the house in the morning. One quick swipe of mascara after applying some CC cream, powder, bronzer, blush and my brow pencil and I'm ready to go. Going all out on the eyes can be a bit of a time killer and that's why I love my eyeshadows sticks and cream eyeshadow pots so dearly. Mascara just doesn't do the trick most days because adding dimension to the eyes makes a huge difference! As much as I want to be a morning person, I'm just not unfortunately. And sleep will always prevail over giving myself more time to get ready. That's why these products are not only stunning on the eyes, but they're also super easy to apply when you have to be out the door in a few minutes time. That's basically my life everyday, so I got you. All you need is the product itself and a blending brush for your crease because blending is key. You can definitely use your fingers to blend as well, but I personally prefer using a brush. Color-wise, I went with bronze/taupe shimmery tones because I can't get enough of these shades. Say hello to my best eyeshadow friends and a new mascara that recently joined the club. 

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Bronzed Garnet. This eyeshadow color is technically for green eyes, but I think it looks great on brown eyes as well. The formula is so creamy and glides on super easily, which makes application a breeze. You can also smudge a bit of the color under your waterline, which can really pull the look together. Bronzed Garnet is also perfect for the fall season because of it's deep brownish/red metallic tone, so I'll definitely be getting a lot of use out of this one for the next few months!

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Amber Haze. This is another gorgeous eyeshadow color that was created for brown eyes and has a gorgeous golden shimmery finish. I find that brown eyes can sometimes be a bit underwhelming, but colors like this really help to make your brown eyes pop and appreciate what momma gave you. Once the formula sets, it's there for the whole day without any creasing, but I do want to note that I don't have oily eyelids. If you do have oily eyelids, I'd recommend putting on some eyeshadow primer to help the product last all day and prevent creasing. 

Tom Ford Cream Color For Eyes Spice. I've had this product for about 2 or 3 months now, but thought it deserved some of the spotlight in this post although I've mentioned it on the blog before. Tom Ford Spice is definitely a bit of a splurge as it's one of the most luxury products I own, but I think it's worth the investment. The packaging and the formula are super luxe, which almost makes me feel it should be reserved for wearing on special occasions only. The texture feels a bit wetter than other cream color pots, which makes layering super easy. You can put a light, even layer on the lid for a daytime look or pack it on creating a vibrant smokey effect for night. The shade is a warm brown color with an undertone of red that has golden sparkles (not chunky) that reflect unlike anything I've ever seen.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara. I've heard great things about this mascara and thought I'd give it a go myself seeing as I haven't found a mascara that could pull me away from Maybelline Lash Sensational. This mascara claims to lengthen, curl, volumize and condition the lashes to treat and protect them. It's considered a "push-up bra" for your lashes and has been dermatologist and clinically proven to increase the appearance of lash volume. Upon first time use, I can say that I'm definitely impressed! I have fairly straight lashes and this mascara really helps to curl them up and make them appear thicker. I can't say yet whether I like it more than Maybelline Lash Sensational, but I'll be using this one on the daily and will have to report back later!

(L-R: Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Amber Haze, Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon Bronzed Garnet, Tom Ford Cream Color For Eyes Spice)
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ready, Set, Refresh

These past few weeks have been a bit of a blur if I'm being honest. When life starts moving too fast, I almost start to feel like a robot going through the same motions day in and day out. I forget about all of the things I normally love to do on a daily basis mainly because my brain compartmentalizes what needs to get done from what I want to get done. All of my energy during the day is focused on my day job especially when things are particularly hectic and I find myself working hours that are definitely nowhere near your normal 9-5. When my schedule finally calms down and I start to feel a bit more like myself, I like to spend my time doing a few mind-numbing activities before I get back into the normal swing of things. This past weekend has been solely dedicated to hitting my recharge button. And I don't feel bad about it. I've slept in, binge-watched the best show on Netflix and enjoyed PizzaHut on a stormy Saturday afternoon. Sometimes the best weekends are the ones where you don't have any set plans, but know that you're up for doing a whole lot of nothing. Here are some ideas to help re-boost your mind and body before getting back to your normal routine because this kind of laziness is definitely necessary from time to time. 

Binge watch a show on Netflix
You may or may not have heard about a show called Stranger Things. And if you haven't, get on the bandwagon now because I'm positive you'll thank me later. Stranger Things is a Netflix-original drama that's about a little boy who goes missing in a small Indiana town during the 80's. It falls into the sci-fi horror/thriller/mystery genre and features a pretty incredible soundtrack. Another thing about this show- the kid actors are basically adults trapped in small bodies. There's some serious acting skills going on here.

Bake or cook a new recipe
I really want to get into baking because I think I'd really enjoy it, but my mom never baked much when I was growing up. Therefore, I just never really got into it myself. I know it's a very comforting hobby for many people, so I thought I'd include it here. Cooking on the other hand, I do quite often. One of my favorite cookbooks at the moment is Lean in 15 by Instagram star, Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach. Lean in 15 has so many delicious, easy recipes that are perfect for a relaxing weekend in with a friend, roommate or signifiant other. 

Have a clean-out or run a few errands 
Your bedroom may be getting a little out of control and if that's the case, it might be a good time to have a clear out. I should take my own advice because I'm way overdue for a spring cleaning session and we have one more month left of summer. Oops. Alternatively, you can run a few errands that you've been putting off for a few weeks now. Nobody loves doing laundry, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. 

Get 8 hours or more of sleep 
Don't make any early morning plans because your alarm should not be waking you up. Let your body get up when it wants to even if that means noon. I don't have any trouble sleeping, but if you do, take some melatonin about 30 minutes before bed. Happy catching Zzzzzz's...

Plan some time off 
Because you deserve it. It's always nice knowing you have a vacation or even a few personal days already marked off on your calendar. When things get crazy, it's comforting to know that some much needed R&R is around the corner. It will keep your energy up and make you feel better about having to work your butt off during busy season. 

xx JG
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Sunday, July 17, 2016

What's In My Makeup Bag?

I definitely like to switch things up in the beauty department seeing as I wouldn't deny the fact that I'm a bit of a beauty junkie. In an effort to not use the same things over and over again, I make it a point to try new products I've been hearing about or rotate a few bits from my beauty stash that haven't received any love lately. Despite my best efforts, I often do wind up reaching for the same foundation, liquid lipstick or eyeshadow palette that I've been using on a regular basis for the past few months. Right now my makeup bag is filled with a few tidbits I've been alternating between since the beginning of summer. Think glowy CC cream, bronze eyeshadow and a drugstore contour and highlight palette I'm a big fan of. On the plus side, getting ready in the morning has become a more streamlined process since everything I need is in one bag. And I'm all about keeping things quick and easy during the summer anyway. Curious to know what's inside? 

Recently, I picked up the IT Cosmetics Travel Size Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF +50 to see if I'd like it just as much as everyone else does. I figured going with the travel size version was the safe option seeing as the normal size is a bit pricey and well, what if I didn't like it as much as everyone else? Turns out I'm definitely not in the minority with this one. Surprised I'm saying this, but I think I might just like it a smidgen more than the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, which was a staple of mine last summer. I've been alternating between those two in terms of foundation because I only like light to medium coverage on my face during the summer. A new addition to my makeup bag is the L'Oréal Infallible Pro Contour Palette, which is a perfect no fuss contour/highlight duo that's small and compact for traveling. I love the professionally defined look this product gives my features and the best part is how affordable it is. Lastly, my Benefit Hoola Bronzer goes just about everywhere with me. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

There's not much going on around here that's new except for the NARS Isolde Duo Eyeshadow, which I've been loving wearing recently. Apart from that, I've gone back to a palette that I bought this past winter because I knew I'd get a ton of wearability out of the shades. It's the Tarte Tartlette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette, which I've mentioned numerous times on here. I've only started wearing a certain shade recently called rocker that rocks my world. No pun intended, ha. It's a gorgeous shimmery taupe shade that I've been using by itself all over my lid during the week for work. It's managed to make me stray away from funny girl and firecracker- two shades that I'm a bit obsessed with. On the mascara front, I've gone back to using the travel size version of an oldie but goodie - Benefit Roller Lash. My eyelashes are quite straight and this mascara does a great job of curling them even without the use of my eyelash curler, which I'm practically glued to. 

I'm still all about liquid lipsticks and haven't used an actual lipstick in several weeks I'd say. My favorite combo at the moment is pairing two Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick shades together- Lolita and Bow N Arrow. I put a light, even layer of Lolita on my lips and then top it off with Bow N Arrow. Those two combined create probably the best shade I've ever worn. Other than those two, I've also been alternating between two different ColourPop shades- Midi and Trap. Safe to say I've been on a bit of a nude/brown train lately. Occasionally, I do really enjoy wearing a red/orange shade like NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, which is a perfect summery red shade. I've also been keeping my lips super moisturized by using the coveted Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream before bed about 3-4 times a week. And that's all folks. 

xx JG
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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Five Ways To Stay Motivated

Even the most driven people loose energy and commitment every now and then. At the start of the new year, most people are at their peak in terms of staying motivated to achieve their goals or minor changes that can impact their lives for the better. The start of a brand new year instills within us a sense of hope that we can achieve whatever we set our minds to with a little kick up the butt. I'm sure you've noticed how many people hit the gym at the start of the new year, but start going less and less with each passing month. Hey, I get it. We're only human. I think summer is the hardest time throughout the year to stay motivated. The sun is out and we'd rather be hanging out with friends at the beach or lounging by the pool as opposed to working hard to reach our goals in whatever form they may be. Here are some tips that I find help me to stay motivated when I'd rather just be eating pizza in bed re-watching episodes of The Vampire Diaries. Because let's face it, that sounds like the perfect lazy weekend scenario to me.

Determine what drives your motivation
What is your passion or vision for the future? In order to stay motivated, you must determine a clear reason why you want to succeed and why it is so important for you to do so. Will you look back with regret if your passions are not fulfilled? Use your vision to give you extra motivation on those days when achieving the end goal seems nowhere in sight. 

Think positively
It may seem difficult to always think positively, especially when failure can get the best of you. But without failure, there'd be no success because you wouldn't learn from your mistakes. Accept that there may be minor bumps in the road to get to where you want to be. Try not to worry about problems before they exist or "anxious thinking" and just take each day at a time.

Surround yourself by hard-working people
People who are motivated, hard-working and goal-orientated will influence you in the best way possible. We receive positive energy and inspiration from other human beings in the form of thoughtful conversations, examples of creative work or simply by being in the presence of people we admire. 

Have a strategy or plan in place 
Getting from Plan A to Plan B may seem incredibly overwhelming and stressful to say the least. The bigger picture or end goal needs to be broken down into smaller, achievable pieces. A project can't be completed in one whole chunk, but rather broken up into sections with deadlines. If you look at your end goal the same way, it will be easier to set a strategy or plan in place that can make achieving success seem more realistic.  

Get organized 
And I don't just mean organized in the sense that you have a planner with all of your to-do's written out. That's great too, but getting your thoughts organized is more important because your brain has 100 ideas and different strategies you want to put into action as soon as possible, right? Many entrepreneurs tend to get pulled into so many different directions when it's best to focus on one single idea or strategy at a time. 

Getting my thoughts organized is probably the hardest tip I struggle with when it comes to staying motivated. Which motivational tip is most helpful for you? Are there any other tips you would recommend?

xx JG
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Four New Beauty Buys You'll Love

Summer Fridays have been great for some much needed relaxation time, but also for new beauty discoveries. Who doesn't like to do a little shopping on their day off? These four new products I picked up this past month are the equivalent to my June beauty favorites because I'm just not able to pick out which product I like most out of the bunch. They're all so good! I thought I'd put a little post together to share these tidbits with you all in the hopes that you might find something you like just as much. Recently, I stopped in Sephora while the Benefit beauty advisors were introducing shoppers to the new brow collection and holy crap there are SO MANY new brow products. One of the lovely Benefit ladies filled in my brows with the new Goof Proof Brow Pencil and yeah, I was sold. She filled them in thicker than I normally do, but I was definitely a fan of the finished results. If brows are your thing, I highly recommend checking out all of the new Benefit goodies. Other items I picked up include a gorgeous bronze eyeshadow duo, the easiest contour product ever and a great summer CC cream that really is your skin but better.

Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil 
I think what sold me on this eyebrow pencil right away is its unique teardrop tip that easily shapes, defines and fills in your brows. I don't know of any other eyebrow pencil with that particular shape, which is what makes this one really unique. I found the color to glide on naturally and it lasted on my brows all day. I've been using the pointed tip to outline my arches and define the rest of my brow with the wide base.

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour
This product is ideal for anyone who wants to give contouring a try, but doesn't want to start off with something like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit or Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette mainly because they're both a bit of a splurge. Personally, I've always been perfectly happy with bronzing up my face normally, but recently I've been contouring on days when I have something more exciting going on as opposed to just an average day. Glide the Clinique Chubby Stick over your bare skin after foundation to the hollow of your cheekbones, jawline, upper forehead and other areas as you wish. Easy peasy.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

One of my favorite beauty bloggers, ViviannaDoesMakeup, raves about this stuff. I usually stick to using my beloved Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in the summer, but I wanted to find another product that I could love wearing just as much. It's good to switch things up every now and then. I bought the travel size version to see how I'd get on with it first. Yup, I'll be going back to Ulta for the regular size as soon as this one runs out. I love that you can build up the coverage pretty full, but also pop on a bit on a day when you're not feeling like wearing any makeup. This cream makes my skin look ridiculously healthy and glowy, which compliments the bronze eyeshadow looks I've been loving lately. If you have oily skin, I'm not too sure if this would be right for you because I find it's better for dry/dehydrated skin.

NARS Isolde Duo Eyeshadow
What more can I say about two colors that are perfect for all of the bronzed makeup looks you could ever imagine? I may have worn this duo everyday for the past week or so. Maybe I'm overdoing it? Nah. I like to wear the shimmering copper shade all over my lid and then smudge the frosted ginger shade underneath my eye with a pencil brush. If you're feeling up for it, finish the look off with some false lashes. So so pretty.

xx JG
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© jeanine guzman

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