beauty portrait: from makeup to business

14.10.14

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Let’s talk about beauty priorities for a second, shall we? As I’ve gotten older, my taste, outlook and appreciation for the practice of beautifying oneself has evolved drastically. Over the years, makeup has become my pick-me-up friend – the one who tells me you still got it, let’s be fun, girly, flirty, vampy or sexy. It’s also that friend that reminds me that I need to take care of my skin if I want my look to be flawless and that all I need to do is add a touch here and there to enhance my own natural beauty. Sometimes it protects me from looking utterly exhausted, which is what this here post is about (sort of). I spend a lot of hours working in front of a computer and the wear shows on my eyes at the end of each day. My word of advice for something like this would be take moments to breathe, drink lots of water, eat well and try relaxation techniques to help soothe eye strain. My second word of advice – if you need to go out but don’t want to look like you’ve never slept – is to learn a few simple yet very effective makeup tips.
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I give a full breakdown on Latinamom (Oh yes, there’s a before shot in case you wondered), but you only need a few products and about 15 minutes to go from tired to refreshed (well, on the outside at least. Get your sleep!). When I’ve been working for a long time, and need to make an evening work event or PTA meeting (I chair an arts program at my son’s school), I do a few basic steps to get ready. I exfoliate my face and moisturize (you can use a BB cream), apply my foundation, add my concealer (in a v-shape for better coverage on those big eye sockets of mine), dab a bit of neutral light shimmer on the inner corners of my eye and brow bone. I use neutral tone (a shade darker than my skin) on my eye crease and a lighter color (a shade lighter than my skin) for the eye lid. This basically gives the very subtle illusion of a refreshed eye. For your makeup, all you need is a simple cat eye and a bit of liner on your lower lid (stay away from the water line for this one and let your upper lid liner do its job). Lightly color in your brow, add mascara, blush and gloss. These basic products should be separated from your makeup case, and placed in a convenient spot so you can do it quickly with no fuss.
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Like I said in the beginning of this post, my relationship with makeup and beauty has changed so much over the years. And I often wonder why many beauty brands don’t work with women of all ages as much. As a 41 year old woman, I can tell you that I love to look and feel just as beautiful as I did when I was 25. I can also tell you that I’m a much smarter consumer today than I was back then and I know what suits me and works for me way more than I ever did. I would also like to share that most of the hits to my blog come from two slideshows I did – Style Blogs for Women Over 40 and Beauty Blogs for Women 40 and Up. Yet, brands are using their budgets for the younger demographic (for the exception of a few beauty bloggers I know, who have a huge following because readers trust their knowledge). It was a point I briefly brought up in this month’s issue of iBlog magazine. I was asked about the obstacles a style blogger (or any niche, really) faces when trying to create a business out of it. Here’s what I said …
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The blogging business is a booming one. In fact, it’s why my eyes are so tired most of the time. There’s room for everyone but not every path is the same and not every brand is going to ‘get’ it right away. Marketing traditions are very hard to change. But I have seen a huge evolution online and am honored to work with and for campaigns that focus on women empowerment. We’re getting there, and I commend all the women out there who have used their platforms to change old ideals about aging, beauty and the way brands view women in this age of technology.

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Black Jumpsuit

12.10.14

blackjumpsuit barII
I think I may need to just do some sort of romper/jumper/jumpsuit haul. I can’t get enough of them. The other day, I wandered around Macy’s looking for some sort of beach wrap to no avail (summer clothes are all gone despite the heat wave weather), and ran into this jumpsuit. I was totally distracted by it so I tried it on. It’s beyond perfect for so many things and can be worn during the winter with a leather jacket or blazer. Total win/win. Because I like a minimal look, I just wrapped an Anthropologie belt I have from a few years ago, and done.
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I was sent this beautiful lipstick from Bésame Cosmetics called Tahitian Pearl. The color is inspired by Lincoln’s new MKC in deep purple. I think this is a great outfit and lip color for a bit of Halloween fun for those who don’t really do Halloween but wouldn’t mind pulling off an inspired look for work, school or meeting.
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Hope you all had a great weekend!

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gamora

09.10.14

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GAMORA, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXYgamora12
This pretty young lady is my friend’s daughter and one of my son’s closest female friends. They’ve pretty much grown up together and he is now kind of like her big brother ‘protector’ at the High School. When my son was looking up Star Lord costumes for himself, he said “You know who would make a great Gamora?” At that moment, the wheels started turning as I have been talking to the awesome people at Fandango to recreate something for Halloween. And here you have it, Gamora. If you’d like to recreate this look, I list the products I used here but I break it down on Fandango.
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I used KRYOLAN’s green (from the Rainbow Color Wheel) with a makeup sponge applicator, Ben Nye’s Misty Violet as the base eye shadow, Artiba Liquid Eyeliner, and Katy Perry’s pre-glued Pretty lashes by Eylure. This was a bit trial and error for me as face painting is not really something I do often. Well, the last time I did it was actually a year ago. It seems like it’s the only time of year I get to do some sort of painting (my poor canvas and brush set has been waiting for me on my desk) and I really need to change that (it’s on the bucket list).
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Gamora has designs on her face so to create the lines, I used L’Oreal’s Silkissime in silver instead of white. For the lips, I used  L’Oreals’ Silkissime Green Ivy eye liner as the lips and  Shea Moisture eyeshadow in Taylor  for the eyes. I felt it needed a bit more drama.
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For the hair I used 16″ color strips by Pop in purple.
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day of the dead tween

08.10.14

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My sister was here in August so I was planning way ahead when I did this Day of the Dead sugar skull look. But it’s something that I really wanted to do with her since I saw her recreate the look I did for NBC Latino last year. There was no time better than the present.
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It was one of those long work days where I just had enough. I could not bare to be in front of the computer anymore. I looked over at my sister and said “Do you want to do a Day of the Dead face painting with me?” She immediately lifted up her head from her phone (these tweens and their phones, I tell ya) and gave me the biggest smile ever. I took that as a yes so I grabbed my face painting supplies (and my enormous collection of gems) and got to work.
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I used Ben Nye clown paint and Kryolan’s Rainbow Wheel for the heart. For the eyes, you can use regular eyeshadow. For the nose and designs I used Ben Nye MagiColor in black.The hair flowers and gems are from Michael’s Arts & Crafts.
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I think a half face is perfect for a kid, especially if you want to add gems and small details. It can take a quite a bit of time, and most kids may not want to sit for that long … Or if you feel like you must spread your face painting wings, you can torture your child like I did last year – Full face, gems, the works. You can see my son’s Day of the Dead look here. It was a three hour ordeal but my son was super cooperative. He really wanted to see the finished look, and it actually was a really great time (albeit long). In general, anything art related is fun to do with your kids. And if it’s tied into cultural, even better.

If you’d like a more how-to version of this post, check out my breakdown on Latinamom.me.

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The tostones love affair

07.10.14

hispanic heritage month tostones recipe
So. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month. And with all of the things I could have written about to cover this month, look what I chose. Tostones. I always have food on my mind. I can’t help it. But, this delicious little plantain delight is more than just a snack or side dish for me. They represent the moments my mom had a little bit of extra time in the kitchen (between working and going to school). It was like “Oh! Mom’s making tostones! It’s about to be an awesome day!”. They were also the addition to her a-ma-zing sopa de camarones, which is what she makes me whenever she visits.
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After moving out of my mom’s home, I can’t say I made tostones for myself. I may have ordered them at Latino restaurants once in a while, but my palette started changing and the world of international dishes opened up for me more and more as I got older. My son has eaten these at the home of family and friends (which was also his introduction to Mayo-Ketchup – a dip I actually did not grow up with because my family typically served tostones with garlic), so at least he has been given the savory gift of the almighty fried plantain. It was the forgotten side dish that only made an appearance when mom was in town, and that’s just sad. It wasn’t until my guy moved in with us that these were introduced back into my life. With each bite, memories of my family (mom, grandmother, aunts, uncles) and the local neighborhood restaurants from my childhood (Caridad, anyone?) started to resurface. It felt like home. They say a way to man’s heart is through his stomach. Does it count that my friends tell me my personality is more like a guy? Because I certainly caught a bit of love-jones when these were whipped up. 

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The Fall Memo

06.10.14

slouchysweater fall
What on earth am I doing wearing a sweater when it’s 100 degrees in Los Angeles? The weather here is so not cooperating. It gave us a hint of Fall last week, lured me into a comfy sweater and then decided it was going to be summer again. Come on, LA. Stop playing these mind games. It’s Fall!
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In the meantime (as I sit here with the AC on and a glass of ice water), allow me to share my love for the slouchy sweater and the cross-body bag. As much as I love a large satchel or tote, it’s not always the best option when you have neck pain or a ton of errands to run. You know me, I’m all about that comfort.
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“If you’re so into comfort, then why are you always in heels?” (Cue in Jim Gaffigan voice). I have no idea why my skeletal system prefers them. I actually get more back pain in flats. I wear them a lot as well, but after a few hours my lower back starts complaining. With heels (preferably a kitten heel) I’m actually fine. And I just could not resist dressing up my slouchy sweater with a pair of animal print pumps. I think they’re a staple shoe for this season.
steve madden leopardWait. I thought this was supposed to be style post. Instead it sounds like an ad for someone who needs help with aches and pains. Gosh. I can be such an old lady sometimes.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend. After spending Friday night simply relaxing with a bottle of red and our favorite Asiago cheese, we spent Saturday with friends cooling off and celebrating birthdays in Malibu. I’m totally over the summer but there’s nothing like being at the beach during sunset but … (Psst, LA, waiting for that cool breeze again).

(Banana Republic pullover, crossbody, Steve Madden leopard pumps, Zara jeans similar)

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the vegas dining experience

03.10.14

BELLAGIO
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If you’re going to Vegas for the weekend (arriving on a Friday night and leaving Sunday afternoon) with a full Saturday to yourself but overwhelmed by all the Vegas dining options, here are three great places you should try: Bellagio for breakfast, Yusho for lunch and Heritage for dinner.
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The Bellagio is a beautiful luxury hotel with an equally exquisite dining experience, especially for breakfast. I suggest you start your day nice and early and take advantage of their huge buffet, which incorporates several cooking stations and beautifully presented fresh fish, fruit and savory meats. Whatever your preference, you will be covered with Italian, Japanese, Chinese, seafood and American cuisine options … and champagne for that mimosa you will want to drink as you gaze at the gorgeous fountains outside.
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YUSHO
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You will be full from breakfast, which is why I suggest indulging in Bellagio deliciousness as early as possible. You will want to save room for lunch at Yusho at Monte Carlo, which was just voted Best New Strip Restaurant. But be warned: This place is for the serous foodie. You will not find Teriyaki salmon or a California roll here. Dishes include octopus with haricot vert, egg yolk and enoki mushrooms and pork shoulder steamed buns with kimchi and cilantro that will set the tone for a fabulous, flavorful day. The portions are perfect so you won’t feel too full while you enjoy a day of Vegas fun. As you can see, your dishes will be served like works of art … and I promise, your service will be top-notch.
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HERITAGE
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I suggest you end your day with a delicious steak or shellfish (I certainly enjoyed my Spice-Roasted Lobster) at Tom Colicchio’s Heritage. The meats are prepared entirely over an open flame (wood-burning ovens to charcoal grills) which are antibiotic-free and humanely raised for the discerning steak loving patron. Not only will you enjoy every single bite, but the ambiance is perfect for a romantic evening. Known for their contemporary sleek design, the restaurant is designed by Bentel & Bentel and sits in the atrium of the resort. It’s a perfect contrast from the more traditional decor of the Bellagio.
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Well, there you have it! If you head to Vegas and eat at any of these places, tell me all about it! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I won’t be eating this well, but we have a few fun things lined up. Be back here next week!

Thank you so much MGM Resorts. We had an amazing time.

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What happened in Vegas …

24.09.14

delanohotelDELANO HOTEL, LAS VEGAS
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If you were on my blog a few days ago, you probably noticed that I switched up this post. Long story short, a few things will be changing and resuming around here but more on that later. I really want to tell you about my recent visit to Las Vegas.
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As I mentioned in the post (before this here revision), I’m a Vegas Virgin. I can’t really count a trip with a friend to help her with work and a conference a bona fide Vegas experience. But what does that mean anyway? What is a Vegas experience? With everything at your fingertips, I think it’s what you make it to be. In this case, the MGM Resorts invited me to see all the different facets of Vegas, which included fine dining, swimming with dolphins, shows, concerts and luxurious comfort by way of the Delano Hotel.
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The Delano Hotel had been open just a few weeks before we stayed, and it was totally my kind of hotel – Intimate, stylish and modern with beautiful designs throughout. The hotel echoes the tropical, chic design of the Delano in Miami’s South Beach (with a desert touch of course), which I’m all about (I have a thing for Miami). The entrance is super chic with a stone entry, wood-slatted gate and a beautiful boulder from the Nevada desert. But what I loved most about the hotel was the personalized experience, amazing service and that a 24-coffee bar, lounge and café were minutes from your room with lots of tasty dishes and beverages to choose from. When I travel, I typically stay at massive hotels that don’t make grabbing a quick cup of mojo in the morning convenient. It typically requires a 100 story trip down to the lobby, which leads me to an escalator to another lobby that leads me into a corridor … You get it. It’s just pure torture for a person who needs a morning coffee to function.
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Aside from the pillows, which are better suited for propping up to watch TV or read, the bed was fantastic. I slept like a baby and felt well-rested in the morning, which I needed to be because we had quite a full itinerary. But don’t feel bad about my busy schedule. One of my stops between wining and dining was the Delano’s Bathhouse Spa, which included a hot desert stone massage (o-m-g that was divine). Poor me. But I do have to admit that I was a bit nervous at first because the massages I get are therapeutic for treating TMJ disorder (hello, trigger point therapy and the stretching of my SCM muscle). But this was relaxing and gentle, so it all worked out just fine (one bad massage can set me back).
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… But back to that suite I had the privilege of staying in. I love that the decor was all neutral colors with white linens and gold accents throughout the room and void of floral carpets and generic wall prints. The rooms feature large (ahem, sexy) photography of underwater scenes while the flooring is completely covered in a really pretty soft gray geometric print carpet. You can’t see it in this picture, but opposite of that couch hung a nice sized flat screen TV.
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Urban Outfitters top and necklace, Zara skirt and heels

The day before our trip, I just looked at my closet aimlessly. The itinerary was full so I had no idea what to pack and I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough time to change in between events. Thank goodness I had a few old faithful rompers/jumpers that are easy to throw on quickly. I also made sure to pack comfortable tops that could go with jeans or a pencil skirt. Although Vegas was bordering on a 100 degrees, I had to wear my white faux pencil skirt with a slouchy tee for one of our dinners. It’s a silhouette that works for my body every time. I was ready to go but my packing wasn’t complete without lots of statement pieces to dress my outfits or to switch a look from day to night.

Stay tuned for a tasty post coming up, which will include my fantastic Vegas dining experience. Thank you so much MGM Resorts!

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