Tuesday, May 31, 2016

LIGHTEN UP, BRIGHTEN UP (MAY 2016 MAKEUP LOOK)

I've always been a fan and practicing advocate of minimal, natural-looking, enhancing makeup looks. Living in the humid heat of Northeastern Brazil has kicked my love of these looks up to a whole other level. This is not a complaint, buuuut the heat makes me feel extremely unmotivated to spend much time on my makeup (and hair, as you can probably tell in the coming photos). In fact, most often recently I haven't bothered to wear any at all for fear that it will melt off of my face the second I walk out the door. The struggle of being a makeup junkie in a foreign climate is real, guys.




However, whenever I've mustered up enough energy to put any makeup on, I found myself cutting edges by mixing and combining products to use for multiple beautifying purposes. By doing this, I've managed to cut down my makeup application time to about 5 minutes, sometimes less. Who doesn't love a good time-saving hack?

As aforementioned, this makeup routine is fast and can be easily done by makeup gurus and newbies alike. It's super glowy, brightening and low-maintenance. I've called it "Lighten Up, Brighten Up" to capture the product cutting, brightening goals of the routine/look.

Also, to my delight, I've noticed similar looks (often labelled "non-touring") becoming popular in the mainstream beauty world. Yay to being accidently trendy!

Anyway, enough of my blabbing, onto the tutorial...

ALL ABOUT THAT BASE: 
THE IMPORTANCE OF SKIN-PERFECTING
Okay, just another little disclaimer before we get into the tutorial: the majority of my makeup routine is dedicated to skin-perfecting. My philosophy is that if you have a nice base, you hardly need any other makeup to look polished. This is also why I am a hardcore skincare junkie and suuuper diligent about following a skincare routine (more about that in an upcoming post!). Just think: the smoother the canvas, the better your "paint" aka makeup will look. 


GET THE LOOK:
STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL

Learn how to get the look by watching the video above or reading along below (or both!). 

STEP 1. RECIPE FOR AN ETHEREAL ILLUMINATING SKIN CONCOCTION.
 Mix a pea-sized drop of Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate Facial Oil  + L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation + L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator on the back of your hand (your body heat will help make the mixing process more seamless). For the most natural look, apply the concoction onto various areas of the face, starting from the outer edge of your face working into the centre, firstly by dabbing on different points of the face and blending with the BeautyBlender (if you don't have a Beauty Blender, fingertips will work just fine)

I like mixing these three products because I'm able to check off skincare (serum), priming (the L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator works as a primer), and evening out my skin tone (foundation) all in one simple step. Bonus: it makes me look as though I've had 12 hours of sleep annnd like I maintain a diet primarily of green juice and avocado, even though that's definitely not the case.


STEP 2. WHAT RACCOON EYES?  Hide those pesky undereye circles with Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer & blend with the BeautyBlender.

click on photo for higher resolution
STEP 3. DEFINE DEM BROWS. Never underestimate the power of eyebrows — they can completely change your face (a simple Google of celebrities photoshopped without eyebrows will further prove this). To me, any makeup look I try looks "off" if I haven't filled in my brows. I never skip this step.  

Anyway, eyebrow rant aside: next up, define your eyebrows whichever way you like. I believe that the dosage of eyebrow filling is very personal and not something can be prescribed to every set of eyebrows. Some people feel their best with super bold arches and others are cool with slapping on some tinted eyebrow gel and calling it a day —I say, do whatever you feel best in. I'm using the Anatasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown with a light hand to fill in my brows and add natural-looking definition.


STEP 4. HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT. I like to begin the highlighting process with a matte pencil highlighter Benefit Eye Bright is my all-time favourite. Apply your matte highlighter of choice to the inner corner of your eyes, browbone, bridge of the nose, cupid's bow and centre of your chin and blend with a BeautyBlender or fingers. Next up, add a more intense shimmering highlight (Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured in Pearl is my go-to) on the tops of your cheekbones. 

TIP: I often find that applying a shimmering highlight on points all over the face can make me look oily (especially in conjunction with an illuminating foundation). For this reason, I like to reserve shimmering highlighters for the tops of my cheekbones and the centre of my lips, simply because that is where I like my highlight to "pop." Using a matte highlighter still allows me to get the brightening, heightening effect all over my face without worrying that I'll come off as shiny.

STEP 5. ONE PRODUCT, 3 USES. You'd be mistaken to think cream blush can only be used for creating a pretty flush on cheeks. Au contraire, mon ami... Your cream blush can also be used as an eyeshadow and lip colour. 

First off, prep lips with your favourite lip balm (Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm is my go-to). Next, using your fingertips, dab your fingers in the cream blush and apply to lips with a dabbing/blending motion.  Do the same on your cheeks, but consider blending with the BeautyBlender for a more seamless, lit-from-within look. Last off, use a tiny bit of cream blush as eyeshadow, applying to eyelids and blending with fingers (or a brush, whatever works best for you).
click on photo for higher resolution

STEP 6. LASH LIFT. Using your eyelash curler of choice (I like the shu uemura Eyelash Curler & Tweezerman ProCurl Eyelash Curler), curl your lashes. Finish off with your favourite lengthening mascara. I'm using L'Oréal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara in Blackest Black.


(OPTIONAL) STEP 7. SIGNATURE SOFT EYESHADOW FLICK. This step is totally optional; I simply feel unfinished without a soft flick of brown eyeshadow on the outer corners of my eyes. It's my easier, faster & more low-maintenance way of achieving the cat eye look. Here I'm using "Smokeshow" from the Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Amazonian Clay Palette and the Sonia Kashuk #6 Liner Brush (from Deluxe Travel Brush Set).

STEP 8. SET IT. Seal in the look with a few pats of powder (bareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation in Fair is my fave) and a spritz of Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix (I also love the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray).



MENTIONED PRODUCTS:
-Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate Facial Oil 
-L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in Classic Ivory
-L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Ice
-Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla
-Anatasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown
-Benefit Eye Bright
-Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured in Pearl
-Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
-NYX Cream Blush in Hot Pink
-Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Amazonian Clay Palette
-L'Oréal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara in Blackest Black
-bareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation in Fair 
-Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix 
-Tweezerman ProCurl Eyelash Curler
-Original BeautyBlender Makeup Sponge
-Sonia Kashuk #6 Liner Brush (from Deluxe Travel Brush Set)



Would you wear this look? What are your thoughts on the "non-touring" trend? Were any of these tips useful to you? I'd love to know— share your opinion in the comment section below.

Happy non-touring!
-R
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

WAKE UP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BED: TIPS FOR A SMOOTH MORNING

The morning sets the tone for your entire day, and therefore, it's important to figuratively wake up on the right side of the bed. 

It can be suuuper tempting to hit the snooze button to catch more z's if you're dreading the list of things you have to do to get ready for the day. With this in mind, I'm a big believer in nighttime prepping to make mornings something to look forward to. Below I share some of the tips & tricks I use for making mornings (and thus the rest of my day) go as smoothly as possible. 


Two of my morning essentials: coffee & music
THE NIGHT BEFORE
PREP A HEARTY BREAKFAST. Food is a huge motivation for me to get up in the morning, and knowing that it's already made eliminates the dread factor of having to make an entire meal first thing in the morning. I look forward to having a ready-made breakfast every morning. Right now I'm into various overnight oatmeal and chia seed pudding recipes (here's an excellent list) with fruit, nuts and green smoothies (find one of my recipes here).  I prep smoothies by placing the pre-cut ingredients in freezer bags, so all I have to do in the morning is throw the bag of ingredients and a liquid of choice in the blender. Overnight oats and chia seed pudding recipes only require that you mix ingredients in a container the night before -- no cooking needed.

If you drink coffee or tea, complete whatever steps you can the night before (grinding coffee beans, getting a mug, etcetera) so that all you have to do is boil water or press a button when you get up.

Laying out your makeup & skincare the night before can save you major time in the morning
 (and also make for a cute flatlay for Insta)
LAY IT OUT. I pick out my outfits the night before. I find it extremely useful to lay out a couple of options suitable to how I may wake up feeling. For example, I choose one outfit for if I wake up feeling badass and another if I'm feeling crummy (hello finals season). Also lay out any workout clothes to avoid giving yourself another excuse not to go to the gym. 

To make my morning go even more seamlessly, I'll often lay out my skincare and makeup products in the order of use. If you take makeup with you on the go, I highly recommend keeping a travel-sized makeup bag next to your makeup setup and tossing the products you'll need throughout the day in the bag as you use them, rather than digging through your pile of products afterward. As soon as you finish your makeup, immediately drop the on the go makeup bag in the bag you'll be taking with you during the day to ensure you don't forget to do it later on!  


PACK YOUR STUFF. This tip ties in with the previous one, but gathering all of the items you'll need throughout the day (printed documents, books, laptop, pens, etcetera) and simply putting them in your bag will cut out a lot of time and stressful scrambling come morning. 

MAKE H2O YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE BUDDY. I'm obsessed with drinking water and feel anxious when I don't have access to it (I know it's strange). I carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere -- even to bed. That way, if I ever wake up thirsty or with a dry throat, I can easily access water without needing to get up and further disrupt those wonderful waves of z's. Staying hydrated without having to leave the warmth of your covers? Yes please.  

WRITE IT DOWN. Before you go to sleep, write a list of all of the things you need to do the next day. I keep a notepad & pen on my bedside table to easily jot down my to-do list nightly. You can also use the notepad on your phone. This clears my mind of any worry that I will forget to do something important the next day. 

SET MULTIPLE ALARMS. I like to set alarms to remind myself when I should be doing various tasks throughout the morning. For example, I set one to wake me up, another last call wake up (just in case I sleep in), another for when I should start applying my makeup, another for when I should be completely dressed and ready to go (usually I set this 10-15 minutes before I want to be leaving the house) and another for when I MUST be leaving the house to be on time. It may seem excessive, but it really helps to keep me on time. I highly recommend this tip to anyone who is chronically late. 

GET TO BED AT A DECENT HOUR. This is pretty obvious, but you can't expect to feel great in the morning if you only allow yourself to sleep for three hours. If your schedule allows you to, plan out how many hours you want to sleep, then get to bed and set your alarm accordingly. If you struggle with catching your z's, try getting yourself into the routine of going to bed at the same time every night and consider practicing restorative yoga before bed (YouTube has plenty of great video tutorials, like this one). 

GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE
GET UP RIGHT AWAY. This is the most difficult but crucial step of all: DON'T HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON, GET YO' BOOTY OUT OF BED.

USE MUSIC TO BOOST YOUR MOOD.  It's crazy how much music can affect your mood. Even when I feel like what I imagine a piece of gum stuck on the bottom of someone's shoe feels like, upbeat music can somehow make me feel like I'm Beyoncé/able to single-handedly conquer the world. Knowing this, as soon as my alarm goes off I put my morning jams playlist on and get bumpin' with my day.

SAVOUR YOUR BREAKFAST. Ah, breakfast... The best part of any morning. Take your time and enjoy your meal.

SWEAT IT OUT IN THE AM.  I have a difficult time finding motivation to work out after a long day when usually all I want to do is get home and chill. So, if time permits, I prefer to work out in the morning. I find that doing so makes me feel more energized throughout the day, plus it feels good to check something big off of my do-list early on in the day.

TIME YOUR SHOWERS. This tip is for anyone who gets carried away with the pleasure that is warm water and nudity. Set a timer for 10 minutes right before you get in the shower to avoid spending too much time having a shower singing session à la Olive in Easy A /contemplating every conversation you've ever had your life. I do this with every one of my showers to both try to conserve water (respect the environment, peeps!) and ensure I'm being efficient with my time.

Also consider skipping morning showers altogether by taking them at night or by using a few spritzes of dry shampoo (Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo is a game changer - especially if you apply it the night before).


MEDITATE.  The morning is the best time to meditate. You aren't tempted to fall asleep and can set yourself up to approach whatever the day brings with a calm and clear mind. I've only recently started meditating for 20 minutes every morning, and although I've yet to see any benefits beyond sometimes feeling peaceful in the moment, my pal science says it's a good habit to form that will only have long-term positive outcomes. 


What things do you do to make your mornings go smoothly? 
Will you try out any of these tips? 
Let me know in the comments below.


May your breakfast game be strong and your mornings be productive!
-R

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

WHEN IN RIO: MUST-SEES & QUICK TIPS

There's a reason why there are so many songs written about Rio: it's beautiful, it's ugly, it's hectic, it's calm. Basically, what I'm trying to say is: Rio is a huge, diverse city with a lot to offer. Despite having visited twice, I still haven't managed to check off all of the places on my list. 

As aforementioned, I've been lucky to visit this crazy wonderful city twice so far -- once in 2014 & again just a few days ago. Both times I was absolutely awestruck and in protest of leaving. I can't wait to go back again. 

Here, I share my must-sees and quick tips (so far!) for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

MUST-SEES...
 One of many stunning views of Rio from the top of the Pão de Açúcar.  Note the "bondinho" and faint Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue in the distance to the left. 

PAO DE AÇÚCAR (SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN) - The best view of Rio (and perhaps the best view I've witnessed in my life, to date) can be found at the Pao de Acucar. In order to reach it, you must purchase tickets and take a cable car ride ("bondinho") from another nearby mountain called Morro da Babilonia (Babilonia Mountain). Don't forget to bring your camera! 


Imperial palm trees in the Jardim Botanico

JARDIM BOTANICO (BOTANICAL GARDEN) - Fellow stroll-lovers, this is the place for you. The Jardim Botanico is the perfect place to take a walk. Bonus: you'll be surrounded by pretty plants the entire time.  Points of particular interest: the cactus garden, Friar Leandro Lake (it's filled with Amazonian giant water lily pads called Victorias), and the imperial palm tree rows. 

Up close & personal with the Museu Do Amanha

MUSEU DO AMANHA (MUSEUM OF TOMORROW)Though I didn't get a chance to enter the Museu Do Amanha itself,  and therefore can't speak for the inner content, it was worth stopping by to set my eyes on the building and appreciate the design. The building, which resembles a sort of massive futuristic space ship I'd imagine seeing in the Independence Day sequel (note: I'm aware that this description definitely isn't doing it justice), and the surrounding area are stunning. Architecture porn, if you will.


Graffiti of the iconic yellow tram in Santa Teresa

SANTA TERESA - This quirky neighbourhood is filled with colourful colonial architecture, endless walls of graffiti art, and artisan shops (hint: a souvenir goldmine). The core of Santa Teresa is located on a giant hill, so be sure to take the free (and super iconic) tram to get there. 

PRAIA IPANEMA (IPANEMA BEACH) - Beach culture is a huge part of the Brazilian lifestyle and therefore, in my opinion, a must-have experience while in Rio. Ipanema Beach is one of the most popular beaches among both local Cariocas and tourists;  the never-ending stream of beach-goers makes it a prime location for people watching. The stunning views of the Morro Dois Irmãos in the distance are one of Rio's most well-known. Also note that you can purchase everything from towels to jewelry to food and coconut water from passerby sellers. Imagine enjoying a breathtaking view while relaxing with a fresh coconut water in hand. Sounds good, doesn't it?  


QUICK TIPS...
A wide range of cachaça at Academia da Cachaça
LANGUAGE
I was fortunate to have native Brazilians (and therefore Portuguese speakers) around to assist me with ordering food and any other communication needs. If you don't have this luxury, try to get a grasp on the basics of the language before your trip. I saw many tourists get flat-out ignored by counter staff at juice bars and food stands when speaking English or bad Portuguese in attempts to order food.

The Duolingo app is a great place to start. Also consider printing out hard copies of useful translations for every situation (ordering food, asking for help, etc) before your trip.

Also note that many restaurants carry English menus and generally waitstaff are more understanding.


SAFETY
-Be mindful about everything from your surroundings, what you wear and how you carry yourself.

-Avoid wearing jewelry, handbags and exposing your electronic devices (phone, camera, etc). It is best to only bring the essentials with you on outings. If needed, wear a crossbody bag.

-Do not explore favelas without the assistance of a trained tour guide.


GET THE "CARIOCA" FEEL: 
-Go juice bar hopping. There are juice bars with seemingly endless varieties of juice to be tried at nearly every corner in most areas of Rio (noteably Copacabana). Order a drink, take a seat or stand, and people watch.

-Do nightlife on a budget. Every Monday night, you can join in on a free live samba party (called "roda" in Portuguese) at the Pedra do Sal.

-Eat Brazilian cuisine. Don't be afraid of the food; Brazilian food is amazing. Trust me, you don't miss out on açaí, coxinhas, feijao, farofa, pao de queijo, churrasco and more. (If it's any indication, I'm currently working on an upcoming post all about Brazilian food titled "A love letter to Brazilian food") If you're into experimenting with alcohol, be sure to check out the Academia da Cachaça. It's basically a bar and emporium dedicated to Brazil's native alcohol of choice: cachaça.

Have you ever been to Rio? If so, what're your top picks? Would you visit Rio if you had the chance? If not, where would you go? Let me know in the comments below.

Tchau!
-R

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