How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

‘Tis the season to be jolly–and to gain weight. You spend all year working out and eating right, just for the holiday sauce to come and smother your plan with fat. Don’t let those Santa cookies and powerful punch turn your hard work into the ghost of Christmas past! Use these tips to maintain your healthy diet and stay active through this time of temptation. Let’s begin!

Most holidays are associated with certain foods. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s green been casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus. Instead, throw yourself into the other rituals a holiday brings, whether it’s caroling or tree trimming. Focus on the fun and family, not the food. Drink lots of water so you won’t feel as hungry and will be more energized each day. 

Skip the store-bought cookies at Christmas, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your  special Yule log cake. Training yourself what to indulge in and what to skip is much like budgeting your mad money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere or on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually snap, and you’ll end up overeating. Making your own meals also allows you to remove useless sugars and healthify your treats.

The habit: Staying physically active during the holidays. The result: Gaining less weight over the years. The proof: A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. (That may not sound like a lot now, but it means having to buy roomier pants after a few Christmases pass.) The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight. This doesn’t mean drop talking to your relatives for the gym each day. Simply add in small exercises throughout the day. Crunches, squats, and back exercises can all be done in bed or near a bed.

You may be celebrating, but that doesn’t mean that that you should send your meal plan (and your judgment) on holiday. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass up. Plus make the office Christmas party one that you won’t, regrettably, be able to forget. 

 

Product Battles: Stila Primer vs. Almay Primer

Today I will be trying something different! I am introducing Product Battles where I will be comparing high-end beauty products vs. drugstore products to see which one is truly worth the money. The products being challenged will be nearly exact in formulas, but not in cost. The first Product Battle will be the Stila One Step Corrector Primer and the Almay Smart Shade Primer. Let’s begin!

The Stila Primer costs $36.00 and is a Primer that is a blend of green, white, and peach. The medley of colors is supposed to reduce redness and make your complexion clearer. It doesn’t contain Salylic Acid or anything that would actually work on blemishes.

It comes out looking like this and is semi-thick and mainly a green color than the white or peach. After a day of wearing it, it didn’t really correct anything but did a great job as a primer. It felt really light on my skin and did a good job, but it is also $36.00 for a primer that didn’t correct like it was supposed to.

The battling product is the Almay Smart Shade Primer and if you recall I actually referred to this in my Flawless Foundation Routine. It costs $9.99 and is a blend of a green and purple.

The solution comes out as a even blend of the two colors and is a bit more liquidy than the Stila. It blends in really evenly though, especially with the dark purple. After a day of wearing it, it has the same amount of primer powers as the Stila Primer. I usually wear my primer and foundation combo for 8+ hours, so they are both getting tested for long wear.

The product that won this was the Almay Smart Shade Primer! The mixture was really evenly blended and light weight throughout the day. The Stila Primer is still a great primer and will be used up, but the price and thickness took points off. Comment below if you have any specific products you would like me to do a Product Battle on!

My Nightly Beauty Routine!

Usually, I do this same infamous routine every night. It consists of fully removing all makeup, prepping my skin, cleansing, and moisturization. Some nights I may add a natural face mask or a gentle teeth whitener. This process does not include my shower though. I like to fill my evenings with relaxing music and good products. Let’s begin!

To begin, I take off both my eye makeup and face makeup with Clean & Clear Facial Cleansing Wipes. They are oil-free and do a great job of fully removing all makeup. I don’t typically use liquid makeup remover unless I have a lot of eye makeup, for example liquid eyeliner. If I have lipstick, I will make sure to remove all of it fully so that it doesn’t stain my lips overnight.

For my face I use the Dermalogica Oil/Normal Skin Care Kit. It can be purchased at Ulta and Sephora and comes in various sets according to your skin type. Within the stores there are skin-matchers who test your skin for free to find the perfect kit for you. Within it comes a Special Cleansing Gel, Multi-Active Toner, Skin Prep Scrub, Active Moist, and Total Eye Care. First, I scrub the Skin Prep Scrub with clean hands all over my face to remove any excess dirt or makeup from the day. I wash it off with a warm wash cloth and use my facial brush the gently apply the Special Cleansing Gel. I use a Face Secrets facial brush that I got from Sally’s Beauty Supply for less than $3.00. I rinse that off with the same warm rag and spritz my face with the Multi-Active Toner. While that dries I brush my teeth and then apply the Active Moist moisturizer.

Next, I apply Vaseline on my lips and eyelashes, Massaging Vaseline helps my eyelashes to grow longer and thicker. Every other night I will apply a hair mask to my hair. Lately, I haven’t found the perfect hair mask so if you have any recommendations comment down below.

Before bed, I usually french braid my hair down. In the morning when I undo the braid I will have big voluminous curls that were heat-free. If I want to wear my hair straight tomorrow, I will straighten it in the evening so that I don’t have to waste time in the morning straightening it. This process saves me tons of time in the morning.

After all of these facial steps, I lay in bed and apply Organix Coconut Milk & Hibiscus lotion. This lotion smells like the Carribean with a gentle scent of coconuts. I also like the Organix lotion with Cherry Blossom and Rice Milk. I apply this to my arms, legs, feet, and hands. This product isn’t greasy and dries quickly. I prefer lotions that dry quickly because they don’t leave my hands slippery.

And after a long day, I like to unwind with Tazo Calm Tea and either a good book or some good TV. With my doggies by my side, I know it will be a relaxing night!

Homemade Honey & Sugar Facial Scrub!

Glowing clear skin! It’s what we all crave, yet only few have naturally. Thankfully, this face scrub made of only honey and sugar cleans out the dirt from your pores and hydrates your skin. You can use this as a face scrub, or even a body scrub. It is best to fully exfoliate with this mixture 2-3 times per week. Mixing this up, putting it in the jar, and placing in the fridge is perfect to preserve the scrub. Let’s begin!

First pour a little more than a quarter size amount of honey into a small dish. Depending on the size of the area where it should be applied. Just regular honey is best. It doesn’t have to be 100% pure, just don’t use a honey that has something extra mixed into it.

Pour equal amounts of sugar into the mixture. In this picture it is exaggerated and if you put that much into the mixture it will most likely turn solid and be useless. Equal or even a little less than equal is great.

Scrub this mixture gently all over your face and especially in problem areas. Grab those cucumbers for the eyes and keep this on for 3-5 minutes to really soak into your pores. Massaging this scrub in little circles on your face will get the blood flow moving and keep you absolutely relaxed. This honey and sugar treatment is perfect for troubled skin because the sugar exfoliates and dries up any blemishes while the honey moisturizes your skin. Your face will be glowing after this. Which is perfect for keeping that summer glow in the upcoming fall months!

Rosemary Avocado Coconut Oil Hair Mask!

From 410 degree curling irons to ripping the knots out, our hair goes through a lot on a daily basis. We embrace so many beauty rituals for our skin, but what about the hair? Hair masks are the easiest ways to nourish your hair back to the way it was before months of damage. Using all natural ingredients, like this mask, brings hair down to the basic oils that helps it stay strong. This easy to make, deliciously rich hair mask is a great natural treatment for dry hair. The rich oils from the avocado and coconut oil make your hair feel soft and thick. The rosemary will also contribute to soft, shiny hair. On top of that it is a great scalp simulator, fights hair loss and also is anti-bacterial. Let’s begin!

Avocado Coconut Hair Mask @Rawmazing.com

For this mask you will need 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, a bowl, an applicator, possible shower cap, and 10-20 drops of rosemary essential oils. Scoop all of these ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy.  I use an old basting brush to apply the mask to hair but you can also just spread it on with your fingers. Make sure you massage it into your scalp, too. Don’t worry, it won’t turn your hair green!

Apply evenly and massage into scalp. Try to use all of the mask and any excess oils. If your ends are dry, apply an extra amount at the end on the hair from your ears down. Wrap the hair up in either a plastic bag or a shower cap for 30-60 minutes. For more damaged hair take the full hour.

Rinse it gently out of your hair and finger through the damp pieces to get all of the mushy goodness out. If you can’t get all of it out in the sink, hop in the shower and moisturize your hair with a conditioner out so your hair won’t have clumps of avocado in it.

DIY~ Destroyed Denim Shorts

Those rips and frays are okay nowadays! Destroyed denim has been very popular on the fashion scene. This DIY is very simple and can turn those unwanted mom jeans into adorable shorts! All you will need is a pair of jeans or jean shorts, scissors, an X-Acto knife, and if you want them to be ombre then bleach, a bucket, and gloves. I actually made this for my dear friend Natalie’s birthday vacation. So you will see her modeling them at the end. Afterwards you could stick studs through the fabric or hot-glue them for your own unique affect. Let’s begin!

If you are using jean pants, then put them on and make a marker with white crayon or pencil where you want to cut and slice them. Using another pair of shorts as a guide will help you get the angles correct. Start by cutting at a longer length in case you want them shorter. This will insure they won’t be too short! For the shape of mine, I cut them diagonally so they were higher on the sides (I like the look it gives when they are on). I also made the back slightly longer and rounded that way there is more coverage and they are more comfortable (I don’t like anything showing)!

Open a pair of scissors part way and run them back and forth along the bottom edge of the shorts. White threads should start to appear. Do this repeatedly on the back and front until lots of white threads are hanging down. Keep in mind that more will appear and they will be perfect after washing.

To begin, start by finding a picture of a pair of shorts that you want to base your rips off of. You definitely don’t have to do this, but it will help to give you a little more guidance. Fold a magazine, and place it inside of the shorts when you are using the X-Acto knife. To prep the shorts for distressing, apply an X-Acto knife’s blade at medium pressure diagonally across the areas of the shorts you want to distress. Make sure the entire area has been scored by your X-Acto knife.

To rip/destroy the shorts, take the X-Acto knife, and again applying medium pressure, run the blade repeatedly straight across the area you want to distress. This is going to take a little while, but as you continue to swipe the fabric with the blade, white threads will begin to show and little clumps of blue will form. Repeat this in all sections you have scored and want distressed.

Very gently separate the clumps of white threads by pulling them apart with your fingers (thread by thread). Be very careful, as you don’t want to rip the threads (they should be still attached on both sides), but you want to separate them from the blue material. This will help to define the distressed/ripped areas.

If you would like them to be light wash (like mine), put on gloves to protect your hands, fill up a large bucket with warm water, and and pour around a cup of bleach into it (depending on how much water you use, it could be different amounts. I put in too little at first and had to add a lot more. Go slow to find your correct amount.) Submerge the shorts fully in the water and let them sit, stirring often with a wooden spoon. If they are not lightening after 5-10 minutes add more bleach (1/4 cup at a time). Continue to stir and let them soak until they have lightened to your desired color (a note: they will be even lighter after you wash them). If you want to dip-dye them, then just dip the ends of the shorts into the bucket for several minutes. Or fill bleach into a spray bottle and spray the ends of the shorts and let it sit overnight.

Your dip-dye should look like this afterwards. Rinse well or hand wash the shorts in the sink to get the excess bleach out. Wash them again in a wash machine. I would recommend washing them alone if you want to be on the safe side, though because I hand washed them first, I was able to wash them with a dark load of laundry. Dry them completely in the dryer. This will help to soften the shorts and define/fluff the rips.

I decided not to dip-dye just because of the timing. But here is Natalie’s darling shorts. I used high waisted jeans and just cut them and completed this process. Good luck!

Flawless Foundation Routine!

Foundation, the magician of makeup. It can makeup your blemishes, redness, and dark spots vanish in thin air! Well, not literally, but it does a great job in covering it all up. I usually wear this foundation routine daily, with the occasional quick swipe of concealer when I am rushing. This routine is truly for people with problem areas, but if you just enjoy the even coverage then you can just switch a few steps around. All of my products used are from the drugstore, but you could substitute your own precious products where needed. Let’s begin!

First, you have to use a good primer. Lately, I have been using the Alway Smart Shade Primer. I started using this because my old primer ran out and just wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore. So I went to the drugstore and saw that there was only one left of this and it looked a lot like the Stila primer so I bought it. It comes out with green and purple swirls that are supposed to cover and correct your skin. I don’t really notice it, maybe it does do that. Using a makeup wedge, put about less than a dime squirt onto the wedge and rub it all over. If you get really oily in your T-zone then apply a little extra there.

Now this step can vary depending on your skin. If you don’t have many blemishes or unwanted areas, then just skip to foundation and apply concealer if necessary. But I do have troubled skin, so I apply this concealer to my unwanted areas and blend them in with my middle finger. Applying concealer first will allow you to not use as much foundation.

For foundation it is of course the beloved Revlon Colorstay for Combination/Oily Skin in the color 110 Ivory. Yes, my paleness is verging on transparent lately. I usually apply this with the same makeup wedge that I put the primer on. I prefer makeup wedges because they are cheap, blend well, double sided, and keep everything clean. For more coverage, apply with a makeup brush. This will apply the most possible product without using too much. I typically save using the brush for special occasions or where pictures will be taken. Apply, wait for it to dry which takes about 10-15 seconds, then apply any extra concealer. This is mainly for spots you missed or the under-eye area.

When using powders you truly need to look at how much coverage you need. I prefer a loose mineral powder because it covers without caking makeup on. I really like Physicians Formula Mineral Loose Powder because it works great and is exactly like Bare Minerals. Using a powder brush just dab this across the face. Powder is used to set the face and without it the whole thing would just melt off and be pointless.

On occasions, I will apply this shimmery powder from Physicians Formula only to highlight my face more. It adds light and natural-looking shimmer. I don’t typically use this as a highlight because it does have a brightness to it that isn’t meant for every day wear. I wouldn’t recommend this for full-face wear or you might look quite odd.

Now your complexion is completely flawless! Not that it already wasn’t 😉 Just add contour, blush, or a matte highlight of your choosing to finish it off.

My Morning Routine!

As the morning sun slowly gleams itself through my window every morning, I most likely roll over on my other side to catch more z’s. My morning routine is very simple, yet worthy enough to be completed most mornings. This routine is just the steps and reviews of the products that I use. Let’s begin!

When I wake up in the morning, I like to wash my face to help awaken my senses. I prefer using this Clean & Clear Fruit Infusions because it smells amazing and it is a light cleanser that doesn’t dry my skin out throughout the day, but does control the oil production. It has strawberry seeds in it so it is kind of like a scrub, yet I wouldn’t recommend it to be an exfoliant. In the past I would use cleansers full of acne fighting chemicals, and my skin just produced more oils through the day since it was ripped free in the morning. Once I switched to this as my morning cleanser my skin feels better. Afterwards I mosturize with my Dermalogica Normal/Oily Active Moist and then brush my teeth using Crest Whiting toothpaste.

For my breakfast, I like to start out healthy. Many people say that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight, but I have to kill this myth. Eating breakfast is probably one of the best things for your body. The glucose and energy fill your body and turn your metabolism on so you can start burning fat naturally. I mix Quaker Oats with either blueberries, cut up apple, etc. and microwave them. Fun Fact: If you mix oatmeal with household ingredients, you get a natural facial softener that helps clear up red spots and get softer skin. Comment below if you would like a DIY on this.

Depending on what the day entails, I like to keep it simple for my makeup. I apply Revlon Colorstay Foundation with a pressed powder to my face. Accompanied with Benefit’s They’re Real mascara and a little bit of Covergirl Pencil Liner. This mascara is new to my collection and a bit pricey. So far it has been well worth the money though. If I am feeling peachy, I will take an angled brush and apply a light blush to my cheek bones. Spray a little setting spray and my makeup is done for the day. For the lips, I usually just apply either a colored lip stain or a moisturizing lip balm.

Usually I wash my hair at night and braid it into either a french braid or side braid. In the morning it will have lovely waves. I simply spray Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray to enhance the curls. This spray smells amazing and adds an enhancement to my waves. If I didn’t braid it the night before, I will most likely just put it in a top knot.

My go-to outfit consists of colored or patterned pants or jeans, arm candy, sandals or flats, and a simple blouse. The colored or patterned pants bring a pop of color, as opposed to regular jeans. On more dressier days, I will probably pair a skater skirt with colored pumps and a chiffon blouse.

How To Have Perfect Pink Lips!

You can enhance your beauty with a lovely smile. When your lips are pink, your smile also becomes charming. But there are many people who do not have pink lips and color of their lips have become dark and pale which are not appealing at all. Pink lips are also a sign of youthfulness, rather than pale, unfriendly lips. There are many reasons behind dark lips, such as hectic lifestyle, ignorance towards health, change in weather, some kind of illness, chewing tobacco, chemotherapy, excessive use of fluoride, excessive smoking, regular use of low quality cosmetics, not removing lipsticks from your lips at night, less blood circulation in the lips, too much stress, exposing lips to direct sun rays, humid temperature and so on. Nevertheless, these lips can be transformed into soft, inviting pink lips with a few steps. Let’s begin!

The first step is to avoid direct contact of dark liquids to your lips. That includes coffee, dark tea, red wine, and certain juices. Instead of never drinking these again, simply use a straw. This may sound silly drinking coffee or wine from a straw, but there are also certain cups with small holes that won’t stain the lips. Not only do these affect your lips, but also they stain your teeth.

The next step is very important: exfoliation! Exfoliating your lips once a week will get rid of the built-up dead skin cells and make them softer and brighter. This can be done by taking a toothbrush and gently scrubbing in circles on your top and bottom lips. Be careful not to scrub so hard that your skin starts to bleed. If you don’t want to do this, then mixing either honey or extra virgin olive oil with sugar will work just the same. Mix small and proportional amounts of honey or extra virgin olive oil with sugar and scrub this across lips with your finger. You can either lick the remaining mixture off or with a wipe. Apply a soothing lip balm to the lips for moisturization after exfoliating.  Both of these processes will help get the blood circulation back and bring the natural color in.

This step is probably one of the easiest and most practical. Staying hydrated not only helps your skin, hair, and overall health, but also the color of your lips. Each day you should drink at least half of your body weight in fluid oz. For example, if you weight 120 lbs then you should be drinking about 60 fl oz. If water isn’t your favorite, then adding a drink enhancer, like Crystal Lite, can get you the same low calorie hydration but with more flavor. Adding fresh lemon juice to water can also help speed up the metabolism.

The final step is to make sure when you apply deep lip products, you fully remove all of the product. This includes lipsticks, lip-stains, and thick lip glosses. The chemicals within these products can permanently stain your lips and demolish their natural luster. To fully remove these products, sweep a makeup wipe across your lips until you see nothing coming off onto the wipe.

Following these simple steps can ensure that your lips stay plump, pink, and perfect!

Dazzling Buns!

No.. not the buns on your backside.. The Bun in your hair! Women across the country are taking part in a “boring” bun rebellion. Arm yourself with bobby pins, grab the hairspray, and ditch any previous attachment to the uninspired hair-do’s of yesteryear. Buns are the craze and can be seen anywhere from high fashion to on the streets. I feel like I am constantly looking for alternatives to the pony-tail, as a solution for second day hair. This tutorial will show different ways to wear a topknot, sock or donut bun, and the infamous messy bun. Most of these hairstyles can be accomplished with medium to long hair, but if you have short hair you can try as well. It might need some adjustments though. Let’s begin!

Instead of a plain pony, why not try the top knot? You will need: elastic hair band, bobby pins, hairspray, and two hands. We have all seen the celebs, like Miley Cyrus, with those adorable little buns. This style is probably one of the easiest to create and can be worn anywhere. I wear topknots everywhere from the gym to a night-out. To create this, start with taking your hair and holding it above your head. Start to twist downward until your hair is a coiled up. Slowly roll it down and create a small bun on the top of your head. Secure the look with an elastic, clip in bobby pins for support, and spray with hairspray to secure the look. And yeah, that’s it! For a more formal look, incorporate braids into your hair before you wrap it into the bun.

 

 

`hm-sock-bun

The donut or “sock” bun has been used by people everywhere. It is called the donut bun because at local beauty stores they sell a hair implement which looks like a donut and creates this outfit. They are available in light or dark colors.  If you don’t want to purchase this donut, then you can create it out of a sock. Take a sock and cut the toe section off. Roll it into a small donut and it works the same. In order to build this bun, start with either putting your hair in a high pony or gathering your hair above your hair. I prefer to put it in a pony for more security, but in the picture below of my roommate she just holds it at the top. Slide the hole of the donut or sock through your hair. This part is very difficult to explain. Push it down while pushing hair into the hole of the donut. Try to turn the donut inside out each time. This will create the bun. If you have layers, keep pushing those layers in and use bobby pins afterwards to secure any loose hairs. For a more formal bun, tease the pony before putting the donut through for a more voluminous bun.

IMG_4953

 

 

Finally, the bun that women for years have had trouble with: The messy bun! This bun is so versatile that every year it gets incorporated more and more into high fashion. To start, gather your hair into a low pony around the nape of your neck, but don’t secure with a hair elastic. Instead secure the hair into a small bun with a small rubber band elastic. No special type of bun just a small bun. Now, slowly piece apart the bun letting strands poke out. Bobby pin it down to secure, and hairspray the look. For a more formal look, tease the crown of your head before creating the bun, or curl the pieces that poke out with a curling wand.

 

To add a special touch to all of these looks, you could simply just add accessories. Adding a sparkly headband or floral bow will add the perfect touch. My bow below is from Topshop. Whenever I want to enhance my bun I also add a french braid in below the bun. Tilt your head down and french braid or inside-out braid (where you just french braid but go under instead of over) from the nape of your neck to where you want the bun to start.

      

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