Wednesday, August 3, 2016

ON THE DOT: JULY 2016

A few things that I felt were "on the dot" in July...


LINKS:
Matcha chia seed pudding recipe here
Bareminerals powder here
Original BeautyBlender here
ASOS pom-pom shoes here
Fio de Azeite located in Natal, Brazil here

What was "on the dot" for you in July?
Share your answer in the comments below.

-R

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

HOMEMADE EATS: SWEET SWEET POTATO BREAKFAST BOWL (2 INGREDIENTS, VEGAN)

Remember when açaí and smoothie bowls were all the rage? Every morning, like clockwork, my Instagram feed would explode with images of layered rainbow smoothie bowls and artfully-arranged açaí topped with airy coconut whipped cream. While these healthy staples aren't going anywhere, there's a new bowl in town (or shall I say, the interwebz?). Meet the sweet sweet potato breakfast bowl.



Yes, the double "sweet" is intentional! I've seen plenty of recipes for savoury sweet potato breakfast bowls, but only recently noticed sweet takes popping up on my feed, most notably by shutthekaleup on Instagram (follow her if you don't already!). There are only a few recipes online so far, so I thought I'd contribute and add my slightly different take.

Of the few recipes I read and tried, most people like to add bananas to the mix. While I love bananas, I find that their taste can sometimes be overpowering. When I tried the sweet sweet potato bowl recipes with banana, I found I could barely taste the sweet potato. So, I prefer sticking to sweet potato and almond milk. Occasionally I'll toss in some protein powder.

I know it probably sounds super weird to eat sweet potato as you would a smoothie bowl (I was very skeptical too!) but I honestly find it really delicious and very filling. It's been my go-to pre-workout meal of choice lately.



A little side note: I'm currently living in Brazil, where the sweet potatoes have a green-white flesh to them, rather than a yellow-orange hue. Hence the oatmeal-like colour. 

SWEET SWEET POTATO BREAKFAST BOWL
serves 1-2
10 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
ingredients
base
-1 medium sweet potato, boiled & peeled
-3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (any non-dairy milk will work too) 
+ a scoop of protein powder of choice (optional)

suggested toppings
+sliced fruit
+granola
+nuts & seeds
+nut butters such as peanut & almond
+natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup or agave

tools/equipment
-a knife 
-a blender or food processor

WHAT TO DO:
1. Cut the boiled and peeled sweet potato into small cubes for easier blending. 
2. Add the sweet potato cubes to a blender or food processor. Pour in 3/4 cup of vanilla almond milk. 
3. Blend until a smooth and thick mixture forms. 
4. Serve in a bowl and top with toppings of your choice. In the picture, I used sliced banana, kiwi, a nut and seed mix, goji berries, peanut butter and chia seeds. 

Will you give sweet sweet potato breakfast bowls a try?
Do you have any strangely good recipes to share?
Share your answer in the comments below.

Your breakfast-loving friend,
-R

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Friday, July 15, 2016

SUMMER LOVIN': POM POM SHOES



Statement sandals, adorn in colourful patterns and pom poms, are trending for summer. While I find them gorgeous, they simply aren't my style. These ASOS heels, pictured above, are a better fit for me. They add personality and fun to any outfit but keep my toes covered, legs elongated (gotta love pointed toes) and thanks to their colour, go well with pretty much everything in my wardrobe. Lately I've been rocking them most with distressed denim shorts and a plain white t-shirt.

What are your go-to summer shoes?
Would you rock the statement sandal trend?
-R

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

DAY & NIGHT RED LIP LOOKS FT. LEADING LADY RED (CHARLOTTE OLYMPIA FOR MAC COLLECTION)

Red lips are to makeup what LBDs (little black dresses) are to fashion: they're classic. Whether it's night or day, the 1940's or 2016, they can do no wrong. 


Below, two ways I like to wear red lipstick. One look for day, one for night. Also read on to the end for a review of Leading Lady Red, the lipstick featured in both looks. 

DAYTIME LOOK

ON MY FACE:
SKIN Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate Facial Oil + L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator (mixed), NARS Creamy Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, Benefit Eye Bright, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured in Pearl  //  EYES "Venus" from the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (inner corner highlight) // BROWS Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in "Medium Brown" // LIPS Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, "Leading Lady Red" lipstick from the Charlotte Olympia for MAC Cosmetics collection (dabbed on with finger)

NIGHTTIME LOOK

ON MY FACE:
SKIN Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate Facial Oil + L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator (mixed), NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, Benefit Eye Bright, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer in "Fair", "Naked 2" from the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (used to lightly contour cheekbones), H&M Pure Radiance Powder Blusher in "Cameo Pink", Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured in Pearl  //  EYES L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara in "Blackest Black", "Flower Child" from the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Palette, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in "Taupe", "Venus" from the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (inner corner & browbone highlight), Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in "Intense Black" (to tight line upper lashline & create small wing on outer corners), "Activist" from the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Palette (to soften wings on outer corners)  // BROWS Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in "Medium Brown", MAC Fluidline Brow Gelcreme in "True Brunette" // LIPS Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, "Leading Lady Red" lipstick from the Charlotte Olympia for MAC Cosmetics collection (applied straight from the bullet)



THOUGHTS ON LEADING LADY RED
Deep, blue-toned red / matte finish / $22.50 CAD
It was love at first sight when I first laid eyes on the Charlotte Olympia lipsticks at a MAC counter in Natal. The patterned packaging screamed "Charlotte Olympia," who is probably best known for her adorable kitty flats which Alexa Chung and other It girls regularly flaunt. Apparently, cute shoes aren't Charlotte's only speciality, though: her lipstick collaboration rocks! 

the shade, formula & wear time
Of the three shades in the collection (all of which are red), I was particularly drawn to "Leading Lady Red." I'd been on the hunt for cool-toned red to flatter my pale, easily pinked complexion. Most of the reds in my collection were very warm and orangey. I found they further emphasized, rather than counteracted, the pink tones in my skin. I wanted something that would balance out my natural pinkness. (Additional side note: apparently blue-toned lipsticks also make your teeth look whiter!)

All three shades in the collection are labelled as matte. While normally I'd be hesitant to buy a matte formula for fear of having dry feeling (and looking) lips all day, I find "Leading Lady Red" to be creamy and comfortable. Although, I wouldn't say it is completely matte: it seems to have a slight bit of a satin quality to it. The formula is highly pigmented, buildable and swatches without skipping. 


If a lipstick lasts for hours in the Brazilian heat, you know it's a good one. The wear time is excellent, especially if you use a blotting technique to apply. Keep in mind that this lipstick isn't marketed as being long-wearing, and while it lasts well for regular day-to-day wear, I'd recommend tossing it in your bag for touch-ups if you're going to be eating and drinkingFor the most comfortable wear and smoothest look, I like to apply a lip balm and allow it to sink in for at least 10 minutes prior to lipstick application. 



Leading Lady Red swatches straight from the bullet. Left: one pass. Right: two passes.


the price
I'm not normally one to invest in lipsticks. I seldom stick to a single shade for long, and therefore it's rare for me to finish a lip product (aside from my beloved Burt's Bees lip balm). I mainly invest in skincare and base products, and almost all of my lipstick collection comes from the drugstore. If it hadn't been for the hefty $22.50 price tag, I would've surely bought "Leading Lady Red" right then and there, when I first saw it. 

Have you ever regretted not buying something? Did that something appear uninvited like an annoying pop-up notification in your mind? Did it haunt you in your sleep and softly whisper "buy me"? If so, you'll know exactly how I felt after walking away from this lipstick! So, after countless annoying "pop-ups" in my mind, hemming and hawing and re-reading rave reviews for approximately two weeks, I decided to bite the bullet and get the dang lipstick.

In hindsight, it's an investment I'm sooooooooooo (extra o's for emphasis) glad I made. There is not a thing I can think of that I don't like about this lipstick. The colour is perhaps the most flattering I own. The simple, classic packaging is gorgeous I feel like a real-life "leading lady" each time I pull it out of my bag. As demonstrated above, the formula is highly versatile and comfortable to wear whether I want a full-on bold lip or more of a natural stained look. And of course, as earlier mentioned, red is a classic lipstick shade that never goes out of style. Dare I say I think this may be my all-time favourite lipstick?!


How do you like to rock a red lip? What's your favourite red shade?
Have you tried any of the Charlotte Olympia for MAC lipsticks?

-R

SHOP THE POST:
Charlotte Olympia for MAC Cosmetics lipsticks here

DAYTIME LOOK

NIGHTIME LOOK 
-"Naked 2" from the Urban Decay Basics Palette 
-"Flower Child" from the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Palette 
-"Activist" from the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Palette 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ON THE DOT: JUNE 2016

A few things that I felt were "on the dot" in June...


LINKS:
Zara slip dress here
Charlotte Olympia for Mac's "Leading Lady Red" lipstick here
"I Joined the Lob Club" post here

What things were "on the dot" for you in June?
Share your answer in the comments below.

-R

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

HOMEMADE EATS: BAKED BANANA NUT BUTTER FLAXSEED OAT PANCAKES (GLUTEN-FREE, REFINED SUGAR-FREE, VEGAN)

Healthy pancakes. Healthy. Pancakes.  I repeat: healthy pancakesThese two words coupled with each other in a single sentence sound like an oxymoron; as though they couldn't ever possibly go together. However, my dear (likely skeptical) reader, I promise I've found a delicious and easy way to make these two adjectives co-exist in physical form. Allow me to introduce you to the magic that is baked banana nut butter flaxseed oat pancakes.   


Pretty appetizing looking, aren't they? Annnd they taste as good, if not better than, they look. 

These beauts have bananas to thank for their perfectly sweet taste. Unlike most pancakes, an accompanying drizzle (or puddle) of maple syrup or agave is not needed and completely optional. The sweetness of the banana is usually enough for me, and this is coming from a girl who loves to drown pretty much everything in a lake of maple syrup (is my Canadianness showing?). 

Also, I can confidently say I far prefer these golden pretties over normal pancakes. Not only do they taste better, but they're also much healthier and easier to make. Refined sugars and sweetener are out of sight. They're oven-baked - no pan flipping required! (Side note: I can't be the only one who despises and sucks at flipping pancakes... Anyone, anyone?)

I like to make a double batch of these once a week then refrigerate them in an air-tight container for an easy "reheat-and-eat" breakfast or a quick snack. They keep well for about 5-7 days in the fridge.  



BAKED BANANA NUT BUTTER FLAXSEED OAT PANCAKES 
serves 4
prep: 10 minutes
bake: 25-40 minutes (depending on the thickness of pancakes)
total: maximum 50 minutes 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
ingredients
-4 ripe, browning bananas
-4 eggs (if vegan, substitute with flax eggs)
-4 tablespoons of a nut butter of your choice (almond, peanut, tahini) 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
-1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats

tools/equipment
-mixing bowl
-spoon
-baking sheet
-parchment paper 
-oven

WHAT TO DO:
prep
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Remove peels from bananas. Mash bananas in your mixing bowl. 
3. Add in the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
4. Using a spoon, scoop mixture into puddles (usually 2-3 tablespoons works out well) atop the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

bake
5. Depending on the thickness of the pancakes, you'll need to bake them anywhere between 25 and 40 minutes. I'd recommend checking in on them at the 25-minute mark and adjusting your time accordingly. They're finished once they've browned and goldened, as pictured. 

finishing touches + add what you like
Enjoy plain, topped with your favourite fruit (I find blueberries and strawberries go especially well with these), popped quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts, whipped coconut cream, maple syrup or agave –whatever you like!

Will you give these pancakes a go? Which toppings would you choose?
Share your answer in the comments below.

If you do happen you try these out, I'd love know your thoughts!

Your breakfast-loving friend,
-R

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I JOINED THE "LOB" CLUB

The "lob" (long bob) hair cut is everywhere nowadays; it seems as though everyone and their mother got the cut. I suspect it's got something to do with the versatility and the fact that the cut can be tweaked to work for any face shape and sense of style.

For months, I had been hemming and hawing about chopping off my mid-back-length mane and going for the oh-so-trendy lob à la Jeanne Damas. I was getting annoyed at the amount of product I had to use on the daily in order to avoid looking like a shaggy dog (no offense, dogs) and felt like I was in a bit of a rut. It was time for a change. 

So, after months of contemplation (and a failed hair appointment), I'm happy to say I've finally joined the "lob" club. What does that make me, a lobster?


Terrible joke aside, I am really diggin' having a shorter 'do. As expected, my styling time has been cut down dramatically. Also, I feel lighter and cooler. Not Alexa Chung cool, but temperature-wise cool. I know that may not sound like the most exciting thing, but as mentioned in a previous post, I've been really struggling to adjust to the tropical climate of my new home, Brazil (and it's winter here!). It's nice to be able to feel the breeze on my neck now. 

Colour-wise, prior to my hair appointment, my hair was pretty messed up. (Tip: don't ever box dye your hair black!) I went from a strange shade of reddy-blonde-brown with a band of black underneath to a close match to my natural colour, an ashy light brown, with a few subtle blonde highlights (the attached photo doesn't show it very well). I'm beyond happy to have finally reached the colour I've been trying to achieve since October 2015. 

The only downside was that my hair was unavoidably damaged from all of the chemicals used to remove my stubborn, wonky previous colour. My hair was super dry and brittle, as to be expected with heavy doses of bleach.

To heal my hair, I didn't wash it until 7 days after my appointment in hopes of retaining the natural oils (don't worry guys, I still showered). Now, at the two-and-a-half-week mark, my hair health is making a comeback. The shine and softness have partially returned, thanks to scant washing (I try to wash it only every 3 days), abandoning heat styling and largely in part to the Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus Fortifying Hair Mask. The mask is typically used as a leave-in-then-rinse treatment, however, because my hair is so thick and dry I've been able to get away with using it as a leave-in conditioner, no rinsing. Oh, and it smells sooo amazing as well; like candy. Even though I love this product, I'm always down to find other great products for damaged hair, so if you know of any please share in the comments below! 

Before I go, I want to give a shout out and huge thanks to Nalva Lopes Hairdresser in Natal, Brazil. The team did such a lovely job on my hair and hit my idea, despite a language barrier, right on the head (errr.. hair?). It was quite possibly the best hair job I've had done to date. I highly recommend checking them out if you're ever in Natal! 


What are your thoughts on the "lob" trend?
Do you prefer having short or long hair?
What hair products do you recommend for damaged hair?
Share your answer in the comments below.

Your lobster,
-R

P.S. I just realised the above use of lobster could very well work as a Friends reference. YAAAAAS!

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