Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Autumn Nail Polish Edit

I aim to polish my nails every Sunday afternoon or evening with a fresh coat in preparation for the upcoming week, but I have to admit that I rarely stick to this routine. I've never liked the way my nails look bare and therefore always try to have them done, but don't care much for the actual process of polishing my nails. I find it to be a tedious task as opposed to a relaxing one because I feel like there are other things I'd rather be doing with my time. You'd think I'd love this part of my beauty routine seeing as I do a pretty good job of not getting nail polish all over my cuticles. Recently I put away all of my pastel summer shades in exchange for my favorite autumnal shades- think deep burgundy, mauve and dark gray. You can certainly wear whatever color you want anytime of year, but I'm the kind of gal who coordinates her nail colors with the seasons. What can I say? 

My two favorite salon brand nail polishes that are sold in drugstores are Essie and OPI. I just find that they offer the best range of color options and my manicures usually last a full week and sometimes longer when I use either of the two. OPI polishes have a wide, thick brush which can be easier or harder to apply depending on your nail shape. I quite like a full, thick brush as I find it takes less effort to get your nail covered with just the right amount of polish. Essie polishes have a shorter and smaller brush, which works for all types of nails. When comparing the two brands, I'd say Essie offers even more unique seasonal shades for an affordable price than its counterpart. 

Two other nail polish brands I love are Kiko Milano Power Pro Nail Lacquer and Ulta Salon Formula Nail Lacquer. The quality of these two brands really surprised me when I used them for the first time given how affordable they are. Definitely give them a go, I promise you won't be disappointed! You can pick up Kiko Milano nail polish at Garden State Plaza if you live in the tri-state area or shop them online. Don't forget that the secret to a long-lasting, salon-quality manicure is a good base and top coat. Whether you're using a Revlon or Deborah Lippmann nail polish, this important step is always necessary. For my base coat, I swear by Butter London Nail Foundation Priming Basecoat and top coat, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. You can't go wrong ;)

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hello October :: Fall Fun Activities

Autumn is not just one of my favorite times of year, it's my only favorite time of year. There's something so calming about the leaves changing color, the chill in the air and the promise of cozy evenings inside with cups of hot cocoa and pumpkin spice candles. Bomber jackets, sweaters and socks are slowly making a comeback into my wardrobe and I couldn't be happier about it. This season calls for some of my favorite activities, which involve binge watching my current favorite Netflix show (Bates Motel), indulging in comfort food like grilled cheese and tomato soup and going on long walks for fresh air. I also find that there's a spike in my productivity during the fall. It's likely a combination of the fact that there's three more months left in 2016 to achieve goals and also because cracking down on work is a lot easier when you don't have the option of spending the day by the pool or beach. Ya know...

October kicks off the holiday season, which really is the most magical time of the year for obvious reasons! From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, we all have amazing memories to make and good times with friends and family to look forward to. But before we begin our holiday trifecta, let's make the most of this month because it's such a fun one to participate in all the fall activities you possibly can. I have a few really exciting weekends planned including a wedding and a trip to a haunted house in Pennsylvania in late October. I've rounded up ten weekend activity ideas you can put into your calendar now because this month will fly by and you'll be disappointed when November rolls around!

1. Go pumpkin or apple picking

2. Rent a cabin by the mountains or a lake to getaway for a weekend

3. Visit a haunted house or go for a hayride

4. Tailgate at a football game 

5. Bake your favorite kind of pie (pumpkin for me!)

6. Drink hot cider and eat apple cider doughnuts 

7. Spend a relaxing night in carving pumpkins (YouTube will help with ideas)

8.  Enjoy a pumpkin ale with cinnamon sugar on the rim at your local bar

9. Watch your favorite horror movie on or before Halloween

10. Make s'mores by the campfire 

Hope you're all having a great weekend and planning some fun activities this month!

xx JG
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Five Minute Makeup Essentials

I could easily spend about 20 minutes or more doing my makeup in the morning if I had the time. In reality, I spend about 10 minutes on an average weekday morning and always use the same couple of products. On the rare occasion, I leave myself with only five minutes to spare for makeup after hitting the snooze button on my phone far too many times. We've all had those mornings and I can't say they're any bit of fun. It's a nauseating feeling when you get up realizing you only have time to brush your teeth, put clothes on, slap product on your face and comb your hair if you're lucky. My perfect morning would allow time for me to read in bed for at least a good half hour before going about my day. But who honestly has time for that? I've rounded up seven of my go-to products for a super speedy five minute makeup face. Let's get started.

FACE: Pop one pump of the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream 50+ on the back of your hand and use a foundation brush to blend it all in. You can even just use your hands if you prefer doing it that way. Follow up with the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer, which is a weightless, full coverage concealer that hides any imperfections underneath the eyes. Apply Benefit Hoola Bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks and high points of the face followed by the Benefit Dandelion Blush for a sheer ballerina-pink flush of color on the cheeks.

EYES/BROWS: Work Benefit Hoola Bronzer into the crease to give your eyes some added definition. Follow up with the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara to lengthen, curl, volumize and condition the lashes all in one. Fill in your brows with the Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil to darken any sparse areas. 

LIPS: Use a nude, natural shade that is quick and easy to apply. I love wearing MAC Velvet Teddy, which is a deep-tone beige color that looks great with any makeup look.

And that's all, folks! Some of you may think that using seven products is far too much for a five minute makeup routine, but that's as little as it gets for me! Because I'm always testing and discovering new products, I would say that I definitely tend to put more on my face than most people. I do want to note though that makeup should be used to enhance your features, not cover them up! I've never been a fan of looks that use heavy contouring, full coverage foundation and bold lips and eyes. When there's too much going on, makeup can disguise what you really look like. And I think it's important to have confidence in yourself with or without makeup. Not to be cheesy, but you're beautiful the way you are and makeup should be fun, not something you rely on to feel good.

Hope you're having a nice weekend guys! 

xx JG
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Good Reads To Check Out

I'm back on the book reading grind guys. I feel almost ashamed with myself for completely failing at one of my goals for 2016. Back in January, I aimed to read one book a month for the rest of the year. Yup, just one. That's not a lot to ask of myself seeing as my morning commute is the perfect time to fit in some good quality reading time. Let's just say I did everything, but read. And trust me, I love to read books mainly because of the place they take my imagination and because I'm generally a lover of language, grammar and great writing. I just found that reading blogs, writing for this blog, watching my favorite YouTube channels and getting my Netflix fix were all in constant competition with reading a good old-fashioned book. I left it to the summer season to turn things around because there's nothing better than reading a book you're really into while catching some rays on the beach or by the pool. It's the definition of relaxation in my book- ha, no pun intended. 

With just a little over three months to spare, we'll soon be saying goodbye to 2016. Weird, I know. But it's better late than never to get back into a hobby you love or work on a personal goal you've been pushing aside. With that being said, I've been excited about getting my hands on a few books that have been hyped in the blogging community and social media. Lately, I've been reading the likes of Gillian Flynn to get excited for my favorite time of year- Autumn/Halloween. You may know Gillian Flynn as the writer of Gone Girl, a #1 New York Times Bestseller that was turned into a psychological thriller film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I recently finished her debut novel, Sharp Objects, which is about a newspaper journalist who returns to her hometown in Wind Gap, Missouri to report on a series of brutal murders. Her writing style is incredibly unique and just kind of sticks with you in a very unsettling way. It's brilliant the way she manages to reveal that "a-ha" moment when you didn't even see it coming.

In keeping with the thriller/murder/mystery theme, I'm currently reading Dark Places, which is also by Gillian Flynn. The story already has all of my undivided attention and I'm not even that far in. Dark Places is about a woman who confronts the childhood memory of the murder of her mother and sisters as she investigates the possibility that her brother, who was convicted of the crime, may in fact be innocent. If thrillers aren't really your cup of tea, a few other lighter suggestions may be better options to consider. For example, Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic has been talked up recently and I took an interest in reading after learning that it was essentially a self-help book for creatives or people who aspire to live their lives creatively. You may know Elizabeth Gilbert from her novel Eat, Pray, Love, which was a 2006 memoir that was adapted into a film starring Julia Robert and Javier Bardem.

Finally, I picked up a few other must-reads that I should have read awhile ago- yes, I know I'm a little late to the book party. Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is finally part of my growing book collection. I figured this cult favorite will give me the motivation and inspo I need to keep my bedroom tidy - a daily struggle I can't seem to conquer. And of course I have to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because why not? Harry Potter was a big part of my childhood as it was for countless others. I get far too excited when any of the Harry Potter films are on Freeform (ABC Family channel). Who else can relate?! And because I can't get enough of thrillers, I couldn't leave The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware behind. It's a story about a travel journalist who goes on a cruise for an assignment and believes she witnessed a woman being thrown overboard - talk about a twisted plot. Well, it looks like I have A LOT of reading to do. I'm curious to know which of the above interests you most - let me know!

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

August Beauty Favorites

How is it time for August Favorites already?! I knew summer would fly by, but geez this was definitely a quick one. This summer has been filled with some great memories, but I can't say getting badly sunburned on Memorial Day weekend was one of them. Although I'm sad to see summer come and go so quickly, I'm way too excited for the fall season. There are a few things in life that I like better than fall, so let's just say I won't be sobbing too hard about the weather getting cooler and nights shorter. As I've mentioned before on here, I've been all about minimal makeup this summer as I tend to not put too much on during the summer months. I've been sticking to using the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream as my base and following up with concealer and powder foundation to set everything in place. Then onto bronzer, blush, minimal eyeshadow, mascara and my nude color of choice. Yup, that's pretty much it. I've added one new product into my everyday routine, which is featured below. Speaking of fall, I'm excited to use a few heavier products as it gets cooler and am especially looking forward to wearing a berry-toned lip! But until then, I've been enjoying having a fairly easy get-ready situation in the morning because who doesn't love to sleep more? Anyways, let's get to it...

Starting with skincare, first up is the Fresh Rose Face Mask, which is actually a sample I received from Sephora. I will definitely be repurchasing the full size because this has to be one of the best masks I've ever used. I hate when masks dry on your face making your skin feel super tight and uncomfortable. Ugh, it's the worst! Because this mask is a hydrating and toning gel mask, it's unlike a clay mask, which can feel a bit icky. One of my favorite scents is rose- whether that's in fragrance, soap, lotion or candle form. So the fact that this mask is infused with real rose petals, rosewater and algae packed with moisture is just the icing on top of the cake. Another skincare favorite is the Tacha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, which is basically a miracle potion in a bottle. Guys, this stuff does everything it claims to do. It's a pretty luxurious spray-on moisturizer for it's price point, there's no denying that. However, the bottle will probably last a long, long time. That's the reasoning I gave myself when I was trying to decide whether it was worth purchasing anyway. I have combination skin with certain areas that are extremely dry especially during cooler months, so I have no doubts I'll be getting a lot of use out of this gem in the months to come. Recently, I picked up a drugstore moisturizer on a whim because I had left my moisturizer at a friends house. The Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Moisturizer ended up being a pleasant surprise. It moisturizes my skin really well without being too greasy and the scent is amazingly citrusy and fresh. So far no breakouts or skin reactions and I've been really enjoying using it everyday this month. It's also not too heavy, which I prefer when it comes to face moisturizers.

Now onto the product I've introduced into my everyday routine. I'm no stranger to using MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter, which I've been faithful to for about a year I'd say. I convinced myself that I needed to get Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat because I heard so many great things about it. One thing I always try to minimize is my uneven skin tone, especially the skin underneath my eyes as it can be a dark bluish color. This highlighting pen instantly brightens the skin under my eyes and really gives me more radiant-looking skin. It's especially great for those days when I'm lacking in the sleep department and need a little pick-me-up. I do use it everyday for the most part though because it definitely makes a difference in my overall makeup look. It's on the pricier side, so I'd recommend giving MAC's a try first if you're looking to invest in a highlighter pen. If you're a highlighter pen maven and can't go a day without it, definitely consider YSL's. And lastly, my nude of choice this month has been the Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick Nude 43, which I picked up in the UK during April. Rimmel is a great drugstore brand for lipsticks as I find they last a decent amount of time, have great pigmentation and a nice, creamy formula.

Are there any products you've been wearing consistently throughout the summer?

xx JG
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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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© jeanine guzman

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