Tuesday, December 23

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Well, once again, the epic story has come to an end. I realized that I too had an adventure just by going to see these films, and not how one would think. Each of these Hobbit film I have seen in different States across America. The first one was in California, the second was in Michigan, and the third was in Pennsylvania. Or as Aaron put it, "You went on adventures to see adventures!" So indeed I did, and I enjoyed it very much so. I even braided Aaron's hair, so he was definitely sporting an elven look. It was fun to see the movie with him, because he likes the franchise as much as I do, and we had a great time.

I saw The Desolation of Smaug in IMAX 3D, so I knew that I wanted to do that again because it was better than standard viewing. Unfortunately though, this time around, I didn't have a good time with the chairs. They were too tall, so I got to see a row of heads all across the bottom of the screen, which completely detracted from my experience. I was also wearing my glasses, which was the first time that I tried to wear glasses with the 3D glasses. Not a good idea at all, and I should have worn my contacts as usual, because I spent a lot of time readjusting them throughout the film.

Overall this final film was really enjoyable. It would have been nice to have read the book so that I knew what was canon and what was Peter Jackson, because I found myself pondering that many times. Smaug was resolved so quickly that it was surprising, and the duration of this film was based around the battle (I probably should have guessed that because of the title). I don't like war films, and nowadays I've grown to even dislike fantasy violence. So as I sat there and realized this, I thought to myself how much I've changed, and that I just don't find this sort of thing to be entertaining anymore. Perhaps a past, more immature, Claudia was aroused by the action and cool cinematography, but now I can't look past it anymore. War, gore, and violence sucks. So in future I will be more selective with how I spend my time, which is unfortunate because I rather do like Tolkein's world. 

On that topic, Aaron did have a theory about war and violence relating to food, and he was wondering if war coincided with people becoming more aggressive because they were not eating properly. Eating meat makes a person more aggressive and an imbalance in the brain occurs when one is malnourished with such food. It was an interesting parallel for sure, and I too wonder if my lack of interest in violent subject matters has anything to do with my improved brain health over the last few years. Eating cleanly and healthy surely changes the way one views the world.

Aside from that, the story was intriguing, and I found it to be rather unpredictable. I thought that some of the characters were narrow minded and shallow. Again, this made for an interesting story, but I didn't foresee that at all! Thorin was so power hungry and Thranduil was quite the Sass Master. Overall, it did wrap up rather nicely, and it was neat to finally see Bilbo sitting and recalling the story again at Bag End. I also appreciated the credit sequence brimming with concept art from Alan Lee and John Howe. Their drawings are exquisite, and it made me smile ear to ear to see their lovely work up on the big screen.

Happy movie watching!

Monday, December 22

A Guide to Seasonal Winter Produce

California grows about 80-90% of all fruits and vegetables in America, so one can see why these seasons are important. Even if you don't live in California or go to local farmer's markets, this guide can be helpful to anyone that purchases produce from the U.S. Not only does food taste amazing when in season, but purchasing these plants in season also helps sustain a healthy earth because the farming is in tune with nature.

So without further ado, these are some of my favorites that I like to eat in the wintertime. They nourish me, and I love going to the markets because I know when I'm suppose to be eating what. If it's at the market then it's in season, and this is also a great way to get the freshest, best-tasting produce year round. It also makes one's diet interesting, because I can't wait to have it again when that time of year comes around.


Here are my winter favorites:

Asian Pears - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, blended for a salad dressing, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin C, K, fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, and are high in water content. They're also amazing at healing wounds, maintaining strong teeth, and promoting healthy blood pressure levels.

Mandarins - Used in vitamin water, juiced in sauces, eaten raw, juiced in a salad dressing, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and are high in water content. They're also wonderful for weight loss, maintaining a healthy immune system, and improves the skin tone.

Oranges - Used in vitamin water, juiced in sauces, eaten raw, juiced in a salad dressing, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, niacin, and are high in water content. They're also good for the kidneys, fighting against viral infections, and keeping the heart healthy.

Lemons - Used in vitamin water, juiced in sauces, eaten raw, juiced in a salad dressing, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and grated for zest. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, and copper. They're also fantastic for maintaining beautiful skin, weight loss, and soothing toothaches.

Kiwis - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, niacin, and are high in water content. They're also fabulous for boosting the immune system, a sleep aid, and maintaining beautiful skin.

Cabbage - Used in sauces, chopped in soups, as a garnish, chopped in salads, and blended in smoothies. A great source of vitamin B6, C, K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It's also brilliant at preventing cancer, protecting the skin against aging, and keeping bones strong.

Dandelions - Used in sauces, eaten raw, chopped in salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and omega-6 fatty acids. They're also excellent for detoxify the liver, calming inflammation, and helping to maintain a healthy immune system.

Brussels Sprouts - Used in sauces, blended or diced in soups, lightly cooked, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. They're also outstanding for maintaining proper digestion, lowering cholesterol, and cancer prevention.

Celery - Used in sauces, eaten raw, chopped in soups, as a garnish, in salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, K, calcium, fiber, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and is high in water content. It's also incredible at lowering blood pressure, treating joint pain, and maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Carrots - Used in sauces, eaten raw, grated in dips, sliced in soups, lightly cooked, as a garnish, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, niacin, and omega-6 fatty acids. They're also terrific for whitening teeth, improving vision, and preventing infection.

Dill - Used in sauces, minced in dips, chopped in soups, as a garnish, in a salad dressing, minced on salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, calcium, iron, and potassium. It's also phenomenal for protection against aging, maintaining healthy bones, and strengthening the immune system.

Ginger - Used in sauces, in vitamin water, minced in dips, blended in soups, as a garnish, in a salad dressing, minced on salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin B6, C, E, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, and omega-6 fatty acids. It's also awesome for maintaining colon health, strengthening immunity, and reducing pain.

Check out these other guides as well:

♡ Claudia

Monday, December 8

Look of the Month :: Winter 2014 :: December

Oh the weather outside is frightful... but I love it! December is one of the only months that I really appreciate cold weather, because it makes the holidays better. It's nice to snuggle up with loved ones, and share our time together. So to celebrate that gratitude, I've created a holiday digital face chart for the month. This is something super simple that one can wear out shopping, or it's even sultry enough to sport at a fancy party. As always, have fun with it, and enjoy this festive time of year.

The current look is:
D E C E M B E R  2 0 1 4


Color trends for this month:
Meringue pink, red, ivory, black, and yellow gold

Current motivation for the look:
 Holiday glamour, the East Coast, and new-found love


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 4

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 4

M A R C H  2 0 1 4

A P R I L  2 0 1 4

M A Y  2 0 1 4

J U N E  2 0 1 4

J U L Y  2 0 1 4

A U G U S T  2 0 1 4

S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 4

O C T O B E R  2 0 1 4

N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 4 
 
Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Thursday, December 4

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate

Oh DOA, how I love thee. I remember playing the hell out of DOA3 when I was in college and I loved that game to death. It was the first 3D fighter that I actually had the courage to play. For some reason, I was intimidated by fighting games. Probably because I wanted to win, and it meant a lot to me. Obviously I've gotten over that, and now I can play without being so serious.

So Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate was awesome, and I had good fun with it, all though it's pretty much the same game. I didn't want it to change too much though, so I appreciated the nostalgic fun that I got out of playing the series again. It's something that simply can be enjoyed over a single weekend with friends.


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- I absolutely loved the new art direction. The realist take on things really suits the characters and I don't miss the anime look at all. Well done team, and it's the main reason that I wanted to play this game. The textures and models were incredible. Even the makeup and color palettes on the female characters were so appealing. It made me want to recreate a few of their looks for myself.

- Like most fighters these days, dirt and sweat are a must. So I loved that it was incorporated into the game this time. I always appreciate the little details that help bring a game to life.

- The new characters were awesome. Rig was surprisingly so fun to play. I liked his style, but Marie Rose was hands down my favorite from the new characters (she still didn't hold a candle to Kasumi, my main). I liked that they made her more "modest" as well, if you get what I mean. Oh, DOA girls, you're all ridiculous.

- The story was so bad that it was good. I mean it was really bad, even for a fighting game story. It's always the same too! I must confess though that I was thoroughly entertained, so it counts as a pro.

- The new stages were very cool. The interaction in DOA stages have always been a reason to play this series. I remember, aside from the sexy characters, that this was the main reason that DOA was appealing. It always feels so good to smash someone into a wall! 

- Helena's little French accent was awesome. Enough said. I would giggle every time I heard her speak, and then tried to imitate her. Oh, how cute!


Cons

- The DLC in this game was such a cash grab. I really felt like all of it was a little pointless. The days of all of the content being on the disc are over.

- I do love the realism, but Kasumi's hair almost looks brown. I wish that they pushed the carrot hue a bit more, because she's losing that iconic red. A small detail, I know, but it was missed.

- Most of the costumes in this game were terribly generic. They looked like cheap Halloween fetish costumes. There was so much room for improvement regarding this, and it's too bad, because there's a lot of potential for some amazingly fantastic designs. 

- I couldn't counter in this game to save my life! I know that this was my problem, but it seems like ever since they made the counter window in 4 smaller, I've struggled to pull of decent countering. Oh well, I don't have time to practice, so I just miss my easy counter system in 3.


There you have it! If you like the franchise, it's definitely worth picking up for a few months of solid fun. I really don't compete anymore, so for the most part fighting games are something that I'm just nostalgic about these days.

Happy gaming,
~Claudia

Wednesday, December 3

Why Is Eating Healthy at Restaurants So Challenging?

When Aaron and I were traveling across America together we knew that we would have to face some unique challenges regarding food. Like me, he's very healthy and sticks to a vegan diet (with the exception of holidays, our anniversary, and birthdays). We were excited to try new things, and stop into cool places during our travels. So restaurants were definitely an option, and it was fun while it lasted.

Then we realized that over time we weren't feeling so good. We struggled with low energy, and even started to breakout a bit. What was happening! Well, come to find out, it was the food. What we thought was fresh and vegan, truly was not. We ordered baked potatoes, only to find out that they were probably cooked in cheap oil. Soup that we thought was vegan clearly had sour cream in it, followed by frozen broccoli that looked decades old. Then lastly, the final straw that broke the camel's back, was a salad that we wanted to order with a lovely fat-free tomato basil dressing. Doesn't that sound fantastic? Well, we thought so too, but we knew that it was probably too good to be true.

We asked the waitress what was in the dressing, and she was kind enough to rip off the label for us. We were absolutely shocked! Take a look for yourself.

The dressing was laden with chemicals and processed ingredients. This isn't food.

Seeing this made us realize what we were doing. It was not acceptable, and gaping over the label was a way of removing the blinders. From then on, we stuck to buying raw organic produce from grocery stores along the way. It was definitely the best option because we could control what we were eating once more.

Our cells are created by the food that we give them. Think of it like building blocks, and whatever is given to the body will be utilized. For us, our bodies are a sacred part of who we are, and despite the fact that Aaron and I might have craved comforting cooked foods out in the cold, it just was not worth it. It takes 7-10 years for the body to completely rebuild itself. A whole new you, if you will. Who do you want to be? This is the question that we pondered while traveling, and it helped us to make better choices.

Now, there are some amazing vegan and raw food restaurants out there. We just didn't get so lucky as to find them during this particular adventure. It will take more research and planning regarding that, and I look forward to enjoying some better meals out there on the open road.

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living.
~Claudia

Monday, December 1

Across America with Claudia

Greetings! This is Aaron, and today I am honored to make my first contribution to the blog for you all.

Claudia and I first met online in early 2012,
and ever since that moment, we have both grown immensely. Through that, we have learned what we truly want in life, and I couldn't be happier to announce that the beautiful possibilities we see are founded on the love that has always existed between us; the Truelove that continues to strengthen with each day. Thank you for being you, Claudia. I love you.

Soon after Claudia and I began corresponding, we had discussed our shared desire to travel; how wonderful it would be to move freely and behold the splendor that Nature provides us all.

This past November, we finally had the opportunity to do just that. On the 11th, I flew out to the San Fransisco Bay Area to stand before Claudia for the first time without relying on an internet connection, and to begin a new chapter (a unified chapter that reflects the singular life that we now live together). That new chapter began with a celebratory visit to the San Leandro Marina, where I was able to experience a taste of the beauty Claudia had been enjoying for many years, but she had already decided that the time had come to turn the page. So before too long, we weighed anchor and began heading East.

As this was our inaugural journey, Claudia thought it best to remain present and in the moment by leaving the new camera in its wonderfully protective case for the duration, and I heartily agreed. We do plan on sharing images of our future ventures about the beautiful green and blue marble we call Earth, but this adventure was for us this time around. Our transcontinental path took us from the Bay Area to Pennsylvania via Interstate 80, until Davenport, which lies on the Mississippi River, between Iowa and Illinois. We then opted to take the more southern route to Wheeling, WV before heading to our destination.

The weather quickly became colder as we crossed out of California into Nevada, and on the plains of the Midwest it became downright bitter. Despite the cold, we completed our quest within a week's time as we had planned. In the future we will be allotting ourselves more time to take in the sites, as we now have a few places that we would very much like to revisit. There will always be more to see, and as fluid as life is, we will see where we find ourselves next. The world offers every one of us a wonderful abundance of experiences, and so we must embrace the courage to find as many as possible.

The paths that Claudia and I have been walking before may have been quite different, but they both led to the same door. Although that gateway may have represented a unique challenge for each of us, we chose to walk through it together, and we have been rewarded with the memories of a wonderful experience that we shared: A preview of all the potential in our new life.

- Aaron -

Wednesday, November 26

Look of the Month :: Fall 2014 :: November

Just like last month's digital face chart, I decided to celebrate another one of my favorite video game girls: Yuna from Final Fantasy X. I have very vivid memories of playing this game around Thanksgiving break. They are some of my most beloved memories, and I remember how obsessed I was with playing this game. It was my first huge JRPG, and I had absolutely no clue how to play, but I loved every moment of it. I even played for an audience, because I would totally take over the TV in my college girl's dorm. They loved when I would come and play, and would all chip in with advice or help when I was stuck, laugh at the bad voice acting, or choke up at the game's dramatic ending. It truly was good times, and one of the reasons that I went on to work in the video game industry for a few chapters of my life.

So, I just had to bring pretty little summoner Yuna to life. I absolutely adore her, and was totally in love with her look. She was one of the characters that got me interested in cosplay as well. Her makeup is quite simple too, and can be worn year round for a nice causal look. Just make sure to get some colored contact lenses if you want the full effect. That will totally make the look if you're trying to pull her of accurately.

The current look is:
N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 4


Color inspiration:
Indigo, light pink, canary yellow, white, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
 Yuna


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 4

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 4

M A R C H  2 0 1 4

A P R I L  2 0 1 4

M A Y  2 0 1 4

J U N E  2 0 1 4

J U L Y  2 0 1 4

A U G U S T  2 0 1 4

S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 4

O C T O B E R  2 0 1 4
 
Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Tuesday, November 4

Alicia's Firaga Sauce



This is a work of art commissioned for my dear friend Alicia, depicting her as a Black Mage from Final Fantasy. Special care went into recreating the look and feel of real video game artwork. Every detail is intentional. The logo uses exactly the same font from the game series, and the stroke and underline sizes are even replicated accurately. All of the fun ingredients are items that any fan would recognize, and the bottle itself is designed to be fully functional like something right off a store shelf. There are many hidden personal references. Some of which include a small Scorpio zodiac rune on her staff, special numbers in the barcode, and she's wearing her beautiful engagement ring on her left hand. The drawing is emulating the masterful style of Akihiko Yoshida, one of the main character designers of the Final Fantasy games throughout the years. It was an absolute honor and privilege to recreate his style, and I’m pleased with the finished result. It truly looks like something out of the world of Final Fantasy.

Happy Birthday Alicia. You are the most wonderful little Black Mage.
Painted in Photoshop in 22 hours.

"Alicia's Firaga Sauce" - Painting Steps
Level: Intermediate



Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Friday, October 24

Claudia's Halloween Tag!

Do it if you dare. BOOOOOO! This time I did my own Halloween tag.


Spooky Questions:

1. How long have you been celebrating Halloween?
Since as long as I can remember. I have pictures of myself dressed up like a little ghost when I was about two or three years old.

2. What do you love about the holiday?
Truly everything! The crisp autumn weather, colorful leaves, hayrides, corn mazes, carved pumpkins, fun music, spooky decor, trick or treating, dressing up, hot apple cider, and the candy candy candy!

3. Do you still go trick or treating? Why, if so or if not?
I don't actually. I used to love it, and I still have good memories, but I prefer to celebrate in different ways now. I really do try not to eat too much candy.

4. What's your favorite Halloween goody?
Hot apple cider for sure!

5. Do you like to be scared?
No! Not at all. A little fun here and there; something like The Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom is really awesome, but that's as scary as I like it.

6. What's your favorite Halloween icon: Ghost, Skeleton, Witch, Black Cat, Spider, Pumpkin, etc.?
It's got to be the witches and the black cats all of the way.

7. Surprise! You have unlimited funds to throw a Halloween party. Where and what would it be?
Oh my! I know that it's not a party, but I would want to go to Salem or New Orleans with my love. We would have a ball (and perhaps actually go to a ghostly ball) exploring and doing creepy fun things together. Like visiting graveyards, gallows, asylums, and real haunted houses.

8. Vampires or Zombies?
Vampires, hands down.

9. When you carve a pumpkin do you make it happy or scary?
Both! I like to mix it up.

10. What's your absolute favorite Halloween memory ever? 
Every year when late October would roll around my family and I would go to visit Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad in Mid Michigan. It's an authentic Great Lakes town from the turn of the last century, and for Halloween it's decorated in fun ways. We would go trick or treating, and explore the eerie village. They have the best Headless Horseman there too! Oh, how I do miss it.

Happy Halloween everyone; I tag all of you ghouls and ghosts out there.
Have a spooky holiday!
☠ Claudia

Wednesday, October 15

Look of the Month :: Fall 2014 :: October

I love October because of Halloween, and I always have fun doing something a little festive for it. So this year, I've decided to recreate the makeup from one of my favorite characters of all time: Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII

She is just so brilliant! I love her look and her tragic story. Her electric emerald eyes embody her connection to Gaia, her name contains the same letters as earth, and the soft pink she wears reflects her nurturing kindness. Pure and loving, she has always been an inspiration to me.

For this digital face chart, I specifically pulled reference mostly from her Advent Children and Crisis Core looks. This is definitely something that can be repurposed for other feminine Halloween looks as well, like fairies and princesses. I even wear the makeup year-round because it's super simple, and it's a fun way to pay tribute to the pretty flower girl from Midgar.

The current look is:
O C T O B E R  2 0 1 4


Color inspiration:
Emerald green, light pink, desaturated maroon, black, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
 Aerith Gainsborough


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 4

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 4

M A R C H  2 0 1 4

A P R I L  2 0 1 4

M A Y  2 0 1 4

J U N E  2 0 1 4

J U L Y  2 0 1 4

A U G U S T  2 0 1 4

S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 4

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Tuesday, October 14

100% Pure Black Tea Fruit Pigmented Mascara Review

 100% Pure Black Tea Fruit Pigmented Mascara - $21

So just like the Dark Chocolate Fruit Pigmented Mascara, my Black Tea Fruit Pigmented Mascara is going to be pretty similar. I received this one as a birthday gift as well, but it's a little different than the other one. It's actually taking me quite some time to get used to it.

Two coats of 100% Pure Black Tea Fruit Pigmented Mascara built up on the right side, in comparison
to two coats of my old favorite Maybelline Blackest Black Great Lash Mascara on the left side. 

I really want to love this mascara because it's all natural, cruelty-free, and vegetarian, but I'm having a very hard time so far. Overall, there are an even amount of pros and cons for both. I have been using Maybelline Great Lash Mascara all of my life and I really love it. Unfortunately though, it is made with harsh chemicals, and I found out that they test on animals. This of course is not good at all, and despite the fact that the mascara is amazing artistically, those are some pretty serious downsides.

The 100% Pure mascara is just not performing as good though. For some reason the Black Tea formula seems way different than the Dark Chocolate formula. The Black Tea one goes on way thicker and clumpier in comparison to the Dark Chocolate and Maybelline mascaras. It smells very nice though (much better than the Maybelline mascara), but not as dreamy as the Dark Chocolate one. It's like a soft fruity smell that disappears quickly. The wand is huge too, so I'm having difficulties applying it just right. I have to be cautious and build it up slowly. However, half of the time I'm not even happy with the results. I think I could get used to it over time though, like an artist getting used to new paints and brushes.

Both the 100% Pure and Maybelline products are equally very black, so that's cool. They both stay put for 10 hours, without any budging or flaking as well. I've never tried exercising in them before though, because I don't wear makeup when I work out. So I'm not sure how they would both hold up to sweating and such. All is well though for a day at the office or a night out. They both stay curled nicely too, and I've tried the hair gel trick for both as well for a night out on the town. Just curl the lashes and then coat them with a safe, natural gel. Let the gel dry and then put on the mascara. The gel will not only hold the mascara better, but it will also help keep your lashes curled tight all night long. Give it a try for that special date night!

Just like the Dark Chocolate mascara, the Black Tea one is removed easily with a bit of water. It glides right off without any oil for removing any excess makeup. Which is quite nice, because the Maybelline one is messy when removed and has sometimes burned my eyes because of the chemicals.

Lastly, this 100% Pure product is very expensive for such a small amount. I understand that these are lovely ingredients, but it's half the size of the Maybelline one and five times the price! This concerns me about the plastic packaging (the paper that it comes in is unnecessary too) because eventually the tubes will be discarded. So from a waste standpoint, over time, the Maybelline product wins that round. It would be nice to learn how to make my own mascara perhaps in the future, so then I could reuse the bottle and wand after cleaning and sterilizing it thoroughly.

So I'm definitely on the look out for another good natural mascara in the future, because I'm trying my best to replace all of my traditional products with ones that are safe and good for me. As a makeup artist though, it's very important for me to find quality products that do the job right. Chemicals in mascara are usually very bad, cause the lash hair to become brittle, makes them prone to breakage, and stunts their growth. It's important to me that I switch over right away, and stop putting chemicals on my body. I know that there are good beauty products out there that work great and are great for you, so I'll definitely keep searching.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Monday, October 13

100% Pure Dark Chocolate Fruit Pigmented Mascara Review

 100% Pure Dark Chocolate Fruit Pigmented Mascara - $21

It seems like 100% Pure has become synonymous with my birthday over these past few years, and last time was no exception. I received some of their Dark Chocolate Fruit Pigmented Mascara as a surprise gift, and oh my goodness I am loving it.

Two coats of mascara built up on the left side, in comparison to bare lashes on the right side. 

I always wanted to try a brown mascara; especially now since I have silver hair. It goes wonderfully with it, and it's a softer look that perfectly complements any skin or hair color. It's more subtle than black, goes on very smoothly, and is easy to wear lightly or built up for decent volume. Also, it actually smells like chocolate, because it's made with real cocoa butter and cocoa powder. I was so surprised by how long the heavenly scent lingered too, and it lasted for about 4-5 hours before the smell started to fade. This is perfect if one has a lover that gets to be really close, because it's so intoxicating. Chocolate contains serotonin after all, and studies have shown that the smell affects us the same way. Yummy!

Unfortunately, it's taken me quite some time to get used to the large wand. As a makeup artist, it's very important for me to find quality products that do the job right and I've been using the same mascara all of my life. So it's hard to learn something new! It's like a painter getting used to a new paint brush. It's going to take some time. This mascara is worth it though, because it's made with the most beautiful ingredients. They're all natural, cruelty-free, and vegetarian. I'm trying my best to replace all of my traditional products with ones that are safe and good for me. Chemicals in mascara are usually very bad, cause lash hair to become brittle, make them prone to breakage, and stunt their growth. So it's very important to me that I switch over right away, and stop putting chemicals on my body.

One thing about this 100% Pure product is that it's very expensive for such a small amount. I understand that these are lovely ingredients, but it's half the size of my old mascara and five times the price! This concerns me about all of the plastic packaging (the paper that it comes in is unnecessary too) because eventually the tubes will be discarded. Of course this is still a problem with any product, but I still wish that the tubes were larger so that less packaging was used.

Lastly, this mascara stays put! I tested it for a full day, which was about 10 hours. I even accidentally rubbed my eyes because I had forgotten that I was wearing makeup, and it only flaked off a little. I was impressed! I'm usually good about not touching my makeup throughout the day, and even though I rubbed on my lashes it still lasted. What was most impressive though is when I went to take it off in the evening. It slid right off with a bit of water because it's more of a thick stain than a sludgy goo. I'm so used to a sloppy-chemical mess that I have to clean up afterward. I always get, what I like to call, Tim-Burton eyes when I take off my mascara. It's a hot mess, and pretty for Halloween but not so much for sleeping.

So I'll definitely be purchasing more of this mascara in the future, because overall I absolutely love it. Give it a try and spread the word. There are good beauty products out there that work great and are great for you. It's definitely worth it in the long run.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Wednesday, September 24

DIY Beauty: Homemade Sugar Scrubs for Soft Skin

Homemade Organic Coconut Raspberry & Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrubs

For my birthday this month my sister Carin made me some of the most beautifully decadent sugars scrubs, and I was so delighted when I opened up her present to find two pretty glass jars (she even designed the labels!) filled with her homemade treat. Yes, they're both food grade, organic, and oh so fragrant.

Here's what she used to make them:

~~Coconut Raspberry~~
Coconut Oil
Sugar
Raw Sugar
Raspberries
Coconut Milk
  
~~Cucumber Mint~~
Coconut Oil
Sugar
Cucumber
Mint Extract
Olive Oil

I talked with Carin about her secret recipe, and she told me that it was more about feeling the measurement rather than sticking with rigid amounts. She always starts with the sugar first, followed by the oil, then the nut milk, and lastly the fruits, veggies, and herbs. These keep well in the refrigerator for about three months, and it's best to store them in a dark cold place because this will help to keep the ingredients fresh for longer. One could only keep them for about a month in the bathroom. So it's worth storing them properly.

Now, I've tried these both already and I must say that they're absolutely wonderful! I feel so pampered, and pick out the one that I want depending on my mood. It's easy to just scoop out a little bit, and gently exfoliate with it. Always exfoliate in the shower, because the warm water will loosen up dry skin and it will wash away easily without micro tearing or causing redness. These scrubs work wonders, and leave the skin feeling so soft. They both smell amazing too, and what's so awesome is that they can be eaten because they're all natural. I even had a tiny taste, and yes, they're oh so fun. The oils in the mixture left my skin so soft that I didn't even need to moisturize after I got out of the shower. I was really surprised by that, which was wonderful because then I didn't need to use any more oil.

So definitely try making your own. Be creative with different measurements until you get it exactly how you desire. One could also experiment with different fruits and veggies as well. The possibilities are endless!

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living.
~Claudia

Tuesday, September 23

A Guide to Seasonal Autumn Produce

California grows about 80-90% of all fruits and vegetables in America, so one can see why these seasons are important. Even if you don't live in California or go to local farmer's markets, this guide can be helpful to anyone that purchases produce from the U.S. Not only does food taste amazing when in season, but purchasing these plants in season also helps sustain a healthy earth because the farming is in tune with nature.

So without further ado, these are some of my favorites that I like to eat in the falltime. They nourish me, and I love going to the markets because I know when I'm suppose to be eating what. If it's at the market then it's in season, and this is also a great way to get the freshest, best-tasting produce year round. It also makes one's diet interesting, because I can't wait to have it again when that time of year comes around.


Here are my autumn favorites:

Apples - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, minced in dips, as a garnish, juiced for a salad dressing, sliced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin B6, C, K, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and copper. They're also amazing at controlling insulin levels, reducing intestinal disorders, and eliminating heavy metals like lead from the body.

Pears - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, blended in a salad dressing, diced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin B6, C, K, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. They're also wonderful for colon health, relieving constipation, and lowering cholesterol levels.

Grapes - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, blended in a salad dressing, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids. They're also good for the heart, the eyes, and keeping the brain healthy.

Pomegranates - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, blended in a salad dressing, diced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, and a healthy source of fat. They're also fantastic for maintaining eye health, cancer prevention, and maintaining healthy mucous membranes.

Persimmons - Used in vitamin water, eaten raw, chopped on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, frozen as popsicles, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. They're also fabulous for inflammation relief, keeping the skin beautiful, and maintaining healthy mucous membranes.

Radishes - Used in sauces, minced in dips, as a garnish, blended or diced in soups, eaten raw, in salads, blended in smoothies, and juiced. A great source of vitamin B6, C, K, calcium, fiber, sodium, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. They're also excellent for soothing a sore throat, protecting against cancer, and relieving indigestion.

Potatoes - Used in sauces, minced in dips, blended or diced in soups, mashed, baked, and sliced on salads. A great source of vitamin B6, C, K, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids. They're also outstanding for lowering blood pressure, cellular renewal, and maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Onions - Used in sauces, minced in dips, as a garnish, in a salad dressing, blended or diced in soups, on salads, and dried for a spice. A great source of vitamin B6, C, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. They're also incredible at regulating blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and healing infections.

Kale - Used in sauces, minced in dips, blended or chopped in soups, blended in a salad dressing, chopped in salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, and dried for snacks. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids. It's also terrific for easing lung congestion, detoxifying the liver, and strengthening the immune system.

Broccoli - Used in sauces, eaten raw, blended or chopped in soups, as a garnish, blended in a salad dressing, chopped on salads, and blended in smoothies. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, protein, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. It's also brilliant at preventing cancer, protecting the teeth, and keeping bones healthy.

Shallots - Used in sauces, minced in dips, as a garnish, in a salad dressing, blended or chopped in soups, minced on salads, and dried for a spice. A great source of vitamin A, B6, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. They're also phenomenal for strengthening the immune system, maintaining a healthy heart, and reducing a cold or a fever.

Rosemary - Used in sauces, in vitamin water, as a tea, chewed for fresh breath, in a salad dressing, minced on salads, blended in smoothies, juiced, and dried for a spice. A great source of vitamin A, B6, C, iron, and manganese. It's also awesome for improving blood circulation, cancer prevention, and enhancing memory.

Check out these other guides as well:

♡ Claudia

Monday, September 22

Emma Watson Discusses Gender Equality


Oh my goodness! I love her even more now. She speaks so eloquently about this matter, and I find it to be very important to pass along. She had me choked up a few times. So give it a watch, and remember you too have this power. We create our world. Be kind and fair to one another. Like she said, we are all human.


Love Claudia xx

Friday, September 12

My First Experience with Raw Chocolate

Chocolatl - Mystic Mint

This chocolate is alive. It says so right on the box, and that is a very beautiful thing. This month I wanted to pamper myself a bit because of my birthday, and get my first ever box of raw chocolate.

I picked out this product because it spoke to me, and let me tell you, it was worth it (I love mint by the way). What a wonderfully intoxicating experience and I truly think that it's magical.

See for yourself. Here are the ingredients:
Raw cacao beans, raw cacao butter, coconut sugar, raw cacao powder, 
5 mushroom blend (reishi, shiitake, mesima, poria, turkey tail), Sol Raiz Organics maca root, 
wild blue-green algae, vanilla bean, oil of mint, Himalayan salt.

Isn't that just amazing! I felt so good after it as well, and I don't think that it was a placebo because it actually stimulates serotonin, endorphins, and anandamide. These are the feel-good chemicals that are released when we're in love (and who doesn't want that! More please; thank you). Raw chocolate is so great because it hasn't been heated or processed. It's made with so much care, and raw cacao is also known to have five times more antioxidants than dark chocolate. It's also very high in lovely minerals like magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. All of which are amazing for the heart and brain.

So, if you haven't tried some yourself perhaps it's time. Make it special and savor it.
♡ Claudia

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