Category Archives: Style

Safe-ing Face: What’s In My Makeup Bag?

I consider myself a makeup minimalist, who is a little obsessed with organization.  I used to maintain two makeup bags: one containing conventional products for my acting and modeling work, and the other containing green beauty products for my “off-duty” use.  This year, Melissa, owner of Citrine Natural Beauty Bar, introduced me to some ah-mazing non-toxic product lines.  So, I made it my mission to address all of my makeup needs in one green beauty bag.

Looking to “green” your makeup routine?  What you COULD do is toss out the toxic products, and replace them with safer substitutes.

The variety of green beauty options available now makes it easy to do a swap.

IMG_9660After searching for a travel-sized cosmetic bag to hold my brushes and makeup, I chose the Stephanie Johnson Grace Brush Case in Galapagos Grey. This textured faux reptilian case has 5 slots for makeup brushes on one side, with a protective flap to cover them, and an open compartment for makeup. Love. This. Case.

IMG_9664Face

Cheeks

Eyes

Lips

Tools

IMG_9665

The tools listed above stay in my makeup bag, so that I can grab it and go at anytime.  I also have a set of Ecotools brushes for at-home use.  Unless I need it for work or travel purposes, I apply my makeup at home and leave the majority of it there.  In my purse, I usually carry a smaller pouch with my lip color of the day, lip balm, and blotting papers inside.  I tend to change my lip color the most, depending on the time of day, my outfit, or my mood.

Which green beauty brands and products have you tried?  Which ones are your favorites?

Please comment and share!

XOXO

 

 

A Healing Oasis At Home

Me in my master bedroom on Mother’s Day 2014.

During the weeks prior to my surgery, I was in major nesting mode.  Seriously!  You would have thought that I was having another baby!  NOT!!!  Since I knew that my hospital stay would be short-lived, in comparison to my recovery time, I planned to create a “new and improved” environment  where I could rest and recover, while surrounded by friends and family.  Although I added extra errands to my pre-surgery schedule, I was quite pleased with the results.  In fact, I was so excited to get home to my sanctuary, that it motivated me to do whatever was necessary to be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.  Here are some things that I did to create a healing oasis at home:

1.  Add aromatherapy:  I purchased an aromatherapy diffuser and a “Calming” essential oil blend of lavender, bergamot, and clary sage from Desert Sage Herbs.  I plugged the diffuser into the wall and took my room from blah to spa!

2.  Plant placement:  What better way to liven up a space than with plants?  I visited a local nursery and brought home a Dracaena ‘Janet Craig.’  Low-maintenance, air-purifying, and health-promoting, I am loving it, and I look forward to adding more greenery to my mix.

3.  Bring on the bedding:  Knowing that I would be spending a lot of time in bed, I felt that it was important to make mine as comfortable and inviting as possible.  I managed to keep things budget-friendly by doing a “spruce-up,” as opposed to an “extreme bed makeover.”

4.  Clear out the clutter:  I believe that clutter to the eye is clutter to the mind.  So, I purged and organized my space before surgery because I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy to do it afterwards.  I’m so glad that I did because I am enjoying my space that much more.  For me, a clutter-free, organized space produces a calming effect.  Ahhh…

5.  Let there be light:  I sleep next to a large window in my bedroom.  Everyday, I open my shutters to let in sunlight and to enjoy my backyard view.  It’s so simple, and it [literally] brightens my day!

6.  Soothing sounds:  I have surround sound speakers in my master bedroom.  So, I asked my family to play smooth jazz, classical, and relaxation music for me to enjoy.  One of my favorite Internet radio stations is Calm Radio Om.  Sooo nice!

How do you create a healing oasis at home?

 

 

My Moroccan-Themed Birthday

So, what does a world traveler with a baaaaad case of wanderlust do to celebrate her birthday?  She picks a destination that’s high on her bucket list, and lives it up locally until her desire manifests.

IMG_3436

A day trip to Tangier, years ago, has me longing to return to Morocco; and I have yet to do so.  My birthday theme was driven by my desire to check out Joya Spa at the Omni International Hotel Montelucia Resort in Paradise Valley, AZ.  Joya Spa is the only Arizona spa to offer a hammam-inspired treatment.  So, I booked their “Hammam Experience,” and added 50-minutes of massage to it.  BAM!!!

IMG_3440

Before entering the spa, I had fun setting my intentions by placing three stones in the blessing bowl.  Unable to settle on just one, I chose rhodonite (work), rose quartz (love), and hematite (health).  What can I say?  I have a lot going on…

IMG_3441

Then, I placed my hand on the crystal just outside of the spa entrance and said, “Buh-bye” to any and all negative energy, as I made my way closer to bliss…

IMG_3446

Here, I was slathered with a soap that felt like melted butter, then scrubbed with a Kassa glove and black soap.  Afterwards, I was doused with 3 buckets of warm water.  My skin felt sooooo smoooooth…

IMG_3470

After doing a circuit from the steam room, to the cold deluge, then the sauna, I entered this room.  Here, my massage therapist worked her magic with a flower essence-infused oil that helped me to put things into perspective.  Zzzzz…

IMG_3465

Shhhhhh…this is the Whisper Room, where I luxuriated on one of these beds, underneath a cozy throw.  I need some of these linens in my life…

IMG_3501

“Cheers!”  The staff at Joya Spa offered me a complimentary glass of champagne, in honor of my special day.  How could I refuse?!?!  I graciously accepted, retreated to the spa terrace in my swimsuit, and “marinated” poolside.  I was able to soak up some much-needed vitamin D, while chatting with other patrons, and enjoying this view.  Ahhhhh…

IMG_3509

There…that’s MUCH better!  If you are in the Phoenix area, and looking for an exotic spa experience, with lots of amenities, then jump for Joya!

 

 

 

 

 

The Proposal

On August 16, 1997, my best friend and soul mate asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  The thought of that alone was overwhelming to me (Miss Independent here!).  But the way that he did it left me completely speechless (which is quite an accomplishment).  It was like a fairytale, and I felt very much like a princess.

Jerel had scheduled a double date with our close friends.  I was told to dress up because we were going out to a nice dinner.  My girlfriend and I were getting ready at my Oakland apartment, when the intercom buzzed and we were called downstairs.  When we reached the lobby, a red carpet was rolled out from the front door to a white limousine parked in front of my building (I could have passed out right then and there, but I didn’t).  The driver greeted us at the door, handed me a tulip, and read me an original poem by Jerel about a “tulip parade.”  When he escorted us to the car and opened the door, there was a HUGE teddy bear sitting in the backseat.  My girlfriend and I maneuvered around him, settled in, and headed to San Francisco to meet the guys.  Having anticipated an engagement for weeks prior to this, I could tell that it was going to be a special evening.  Still, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, in case it didn’t happen (Yeah, I’m guarded like that).

On our way to the Bay Bridge, the driver pulled up to the toll booth.  The attendant greeted me and handed me another tulip (What?!?!).  We crossed the  Bridge, made our way into San Francisco, and stopped at the St. Francis Yacht Club (Um, okay…what are we doing here???)  The driver parked in front of the building, kicked me out let me out of the car, and he and my girlfriend made me instructed me to walk down the path until I reached the water.  LONGEST. WALK. EVER.  It was windy and overcast too (Gotta love San Francisco in the summertime!).  I thought to myself, “This is so surreal!…What’s at the end of the path?…Where’s Jerel?!?…Does my hair look okay???”

When I finally reached the end of the path, my man was standing there waiting for me and smiling.  Jerel had placed two chairs on top of a blanket, and had soft music playing in the background.  He greeted me, then seated me in one of the chairs, and read another original poem entitled “May I.”  The poem chronicles our relationship, and culminates in the marriage proposal.

IMG_2410

I responded, “Yes,” and some of our closest friends emerged from behind the rocks, where they had been hiding and snapping pictures of us the entire time (Sooo sneaky!).

IMG_2413

IMG_2415

Afterwards, the limo driver picked all of us up and drove us to dinner.  At my seat, there was a framed copy of the poem that Jerel wrote and read to me, along with more tulips.  After our meal, we climbed back into the limo and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a magical evening that I’ll never forget!

IMG_2416

For your viewing pleasure, here is the AMAZING poem that changed my life:

IMG_2421

16 years later, I am humbled, grateful, and honored to be married to the man of my dreams!

 

 

Spring Into Action!

Do you need to drink more water?  I do.  But our tap water is gross; and our reverse osmosis water is stripped of everything: bad contaminants and healthy minerals.  And I would rather not buy bottled water since it’s not eco-friendly, the sources are questionable, and it leaves a plastic aftertaste in my mouth.  Ugh…

Harding Spring

Harding Spring

For a healthy way to quench your thirst, what you COULD do is find a natural spring near you.  Find A Spring is a resource dedicated to helping people locate springs worldwide, many of which have been tried and tested by others.  Spring water is cleaner than drinking water, mineral-rich, tastes great, and…wait for it…FREE!  So take your jug, bottles, canteens, and go get some of this cool, refreshing, deliciousness.  Your body with thank you, and beg for more.

Me filling one of my Eastar BPA-Free 1-gallon jugs at Harding Spring.

Me filling one of my Eastar BPA-Free 1-gallon jugs at Harding Spring.

Personally, I go to Harding Spring near Sedona, AZ.  When my family retreats to this area for some R & R, we make collecting spring water a group activity.  It’s fun for all of us, and we savor every drop.  We always meet locals there, who have been collecting spring water for years.  If we lived closer, I’d be there EVERY. SINGLE. DAY…TRUST!  In the meantime, I add fruit pieces, fresh-squeezed citrus, or other supplements to our reverse osmosis water; and I look forward to checking out other springs during my upcoming travels.

Another view of me collecting Harding Spring water.

Another view of me collecting Harding Spring water.

Stay hydrated, my friends!

A Moment in Hairstory

As a child, I had long thick hair.  Friends, family, and strangers alike often commented that they wanted my hair; and some even threatened to steal my pigtails!  They had nooooo idea what I went through.  I remember my mom, literally, breaking a comb while trying to detangle my “wig,” and how I dreaded getting my hair washed.  Eventually, my mom arranged to have my aunt relax my hair just before my 7th birthday.  Once I was “straightened out,” my mom and I both exhaled, and thus began my 22-year “addiction” to “creamy crack.”

After I subscribed to a holistic lifestyle, it seemed natural to address my hair care regimen.  Why spend all of this time, effort, and money to cleanse the inside of my body, yet continue to put toxic chemicals on my head so that I could have straight hair???  So, I embarked on a natural hair journey.  I read books and online forums, and I did a LOT of people watching accosting.  I literally stopped natural-haired women in the streets of downtown San Francisco to grill them about their hair.  “How do you like your natural hair?”  “How long have you been natural?”  “Who cut your hair for you?”  “How do you maintain it?”  Those poor women!  To say that I was on a mission is an understatement.

Since my hairstylist refused to give me the “Big Chop” *gasp*, she referred me to a natural hair specialist who was happy to cut my hair.  My appointment was scheduled for the day before my husband and I were set to travel to Spain for a 2-week vacation.  This would allow me to adjust to my new do in the presence of strangers.  On the big day, the stylist gathered my hair into a ponytail, told me to take a deep breath, then cut it off.  When she finished trimming, I rose from the chair a new woman.  I felt weird not having any hair, yet oddly liberated at the same time.  For the first time in a long time, I saw ME.  Look at the difference:

1079          Cropped Short Hair

It has been almost 18 years since I went natural, and I am thrilled to have reclaimed my health in this area.  And although I admire various styles worn by my fellow naturals, my super short hair suits my personality and active lifestyle.  As a mom, I want to encourage my daughter to embrace her hair and to take care of it…naturally.  To that end, I am constantly seeking ideas and advice from others who are more proficient in longer natural hairstyles.  I found more than enough natural hair info on curlynikki.com and naturallycurly.com to keep any natural-haired beauty or would-be natural occupied.  If you or someone you know are having a bad hair day, you’ll soon be loving your hair!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: