6.29.2015

NEW DISCOVERY: CREDO


I'm around makeup all day long at work. I talk about lipstick launches and the season best new eye palette. It's pretty much a girly girl's dream job (queue the Devil Wears Prada quote "Do you know how many girls would die for this job?") So you might think it's absolutely crazy that in my spare time, I would want to try more makeup and skincare. I can't help but want to try it all out and inform myself about all of the amazing products out there.

That's why I was curious when a newcomer to my neighborhood, Credo Beauty, opened their doors a few weeks ago. It's a natural makeup/skincare lover's dream. The vibe of the store is very fresh and relaxing (it also smells incredible!) It is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco, Pacific Heights. When I visited for the opening, there were so many brands that I had never heard of and was eager to try. The team at Credo was nice enough to send me a few of their favorite products to try out. Here are my thoughts on them...


They sent me Juice Beauty Nightly Brightening Pads, Kahana Aragan Oil, Intelligent Nutrients Renewal Complex Eye Gel, SW Basics Cleanser, 21 Drops in Focus, California Naturel Lip Balm and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask.

I've been using the Juice Beauty pads every night before applying my night cream. I like that they are in easy-to-travel with pouches. I haven't seen anything dramatic happen yet but I am going to keep using them to see if there are longer-term benefits.

The Intelligent Nutrients Eye cream comes with this crazy spoon applicator. It helps to get blood moving around the eyes as it spreads on the cream. The brand claims that wrinkles are less visible in 20 days so I'll need to keep using to see if there are any effects.


I was immediately attracted to the idea and packaging of 21 Drops. There are 21 different blends of essential oils that serve different purposes from headaches to strength. Focus is a refreshing blend of oils, primarily due to the peppermint but the rosemary and frankincense make it feel a little earthier. It's great to just throw in your purse for a little pick-me-up later in the day.


I have been a longtime fan of face oils (they can also be used in hair and on cuticles) because of how pure they are. There is literally only one ingredient--maracuja oil, coconut oil and aragan oil are the most popular. I have been wearing this aragan oil on my cheekbones in place of a highlighter to add a little glowy, dewy-ness to my skin. I find that it lasts longer than highlighter and gives a more natural (non-sparkly) glow.


While I didn't receive this in my bag, I did receive it at the opening party and just had to talk about it. I absolutely love this toner. It smells heavenly and it made my skin look beautiful after using for about a week. For someone with sporadic pimples, this is lifesaver. I also received their lip balm in my package. It is ultra nourishing but leaves behind a slight white tint (likely due to the SPF) I'll probably keep next to my bedside for nighttime. 


I'm not sure if you have heard of double cleansing but it is a new trend in skincare. Basically you wash once to get rid of makeup and then you cleanse again to purify the skin. This product is perfect for that second step. Once I use my Makeup Eraser to get rid of makeup (by just using water, no less!) I pour a little bit of this cleanser on a cotton pad and wipe over my face. It is astonishing (and a little gross) how much it picks up. I love the rose scent of it as well!


Hope you enjoyed my little product review. If you are in SF, make sure to check out Credo Beauty on Fillmore or visit them online at www.credobeauty.com



This post was in partnership with Credo Beauty. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on my blog! 


6.24.2015

OUTDOOR SUMMER VIBES


Truth be told even researching outdoor furniture makes me relaxed. I can feel the evening starting to cool down, the deck is wet with footprints from a few too many cannon balls, Dad has started the grill so there is that amazing summertime smell in the air. You feeling it too? I miss those carefree summer days and venture up to Seattle yearly during the summer to try and reclaim them, even for just a moment.

I love beautifully done outdoor spaces. I am constantly jealous of those people that get to live in year-round sunny climates. They can use their outdoor space more than a mere quarter of the year. This is all really dreaming for me because the closest thing I have is a 100 year old fire escape. But a girl can dream, right?

I've put together three very different starts to outdoor spaces. The first is kind of a glamorous bohemian approach. Still keeping it modern with the fire pit but with plenty of cozy accents. How incredible would it be to have that swing outside? The second look is mid-century modern. Imagine if Don Draper were to have his ideal outdoor space. You've got the requisite drink glasses, a beautiful wood chair and a touch of green to warm it all up. Lastly, I envisioned a classic space with a nautical flair. I couldn't resist that adorable banner. After all, I did teach sailing for 6 years during the summers growing up.

Which outdoor space speaks to you?


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6.23.2015

WEDDING GUEST READY MAKEUP


I went to an absolutely amazing wedding this past weekend. It was one of those weddings where you get so swept up in the wonderfully emotional aspect of it and before you know it, it's over and you didn't even take any pictures. I so wish I had some photos to share with you. Everything was so special...they handed out wildflower seeds as favors, the groom brewed beer especially for the occasion, there were heartfelt speeches (and some even dancing and lyrics) It was such an amazing day for the couple and all of the guests.

As I was getting ready, I just couldn't decide what kind of makeup to do for the wedding. I went over to my Pinterest beauty board for some inspiration. I love these looks below. They fall into two camps: the smoky eye with rosy cheeks and the natural eye with a bold lip. Each of these are perfect for a wedding and go with nearly every dress in your closet. I ended up going the smoky and rosy route because my dress was pretty colorful. You can decide just how smoky you go, depending on the time of day. I loved my look. Which direction would you choose?


6.22.2015

SATURDAY MORNING RITUALS


Saturday mornings are my favorite. The whole weekend lies ahead of you but you don't feel guilty snoozing a little longer in bed or wearing pjs past 10am. I love to sip coffee and catch up on blogs. This weekend, I added another new tradition, making bread. Along with the macarons, making bread has been on my list of almost-impossible-but-still-sort-of-doable baked goods. I found an incredibly easy recipe using a Dutch Oven and couldn't have been happier with the results. The bread was so delicious.

This weekend, I also tried out a new coffee system (two new things in one weekend!). I really love using the pour-over method. For a single gal like me, it is a great way to make a single flavorful cup of coffee. You just put the ground coffee in the filter and pour hot water over, right above the cup. And voila you have your very fresh coffee. Being from Seattle, I have always been loyal to Starbucks. The smell of the beans when you open the bag reminds me of Saturday mornings growing up. I love many of the blends, but this weekend I tried the Caffe Verona which is a dark roast with rich chocolatey taste. It went perfect with my homemade toast.




Can you believe this bread? It came out of MY oven.


There isn't a sight better than coffee in the morning!








What a perfect breakfast set-up!


This post was in partnership with Starbucks. Thank you for supporting brands featured on this blog. 

6.19.2015

HEALTHY SUMMER PICNIC


Guys, we made it to Friday. Hip, hip, hooray! This week flew by because I was so busy (but it also seemed like there weren't enough hours in the day!)

Even though this week has been so busy, I tried to focus on incorporating healthy elements throughout my day. I've gotten into a good little routine recently. When I wake up in the morning, I just clip on my Jawbone UP MOVE. Then throughout the day it tracks all of my exercise from running out to get lunch to filling up my water bottle. I find that when I am wearing it, I'm a little more likely to take that extra trip upstairs or go a little further to grab lunch. My competitive side comes out and I want to go further than the day before (or at least keep up) The truth is that all of those little trips add up. I feel much better knowing that I am keeping moving and not just slumped over at my desk for hours at a time.

Since I have been wearing my Jawbone UP MOVE, I have also been tracking all of the food that I eat with the handy app. It's really easy to see how you are tracking with calories in and exercise out. They say it's all about balance and I've found that to be completely true. I've been really making a conscious effort to increase my veggies and focus on healthy proteins.


When I am really stressed I love to walk. Something about the fresh air instantly calms me down One of my other favorite de-stressors is sitting in the park with my book. Being outside chills me down and helps me unwind. While I love a good fruit and cheese picnic in the park as much as the next person, I thought about how I could make it a little healthier to align with my new healthier eating plan. I came up with these lovely ideas to add a few more veggies to your spread. Feel free to add alongside your cheese plate too ;-) Because remember I said it was ALL about balance.

First up we have these lovely cucumber rolls. Using a mandolin, slice the cucumber into thin strips. You can put whatever goodies you want inside but I kept it super simple with avocado and microgreens. I love to serve the rolls with peanut sauce and a little squirt of Sirracha.



Next up is mini grain toasts with beet hummus and feta. I love this nutty bread that they have at Trader Joe's (it's called European Style Bread). I just cut the larger pieces into small squares. I spread beet hummus (recipe here) using the back of a spoon onto the toasts. Then I added a square of feta cheese to add a little creaminess. Last, I garnished with a sprinkle of Mediterranean herbs and a few leftover microgreens. 




I love the idea of bringing whole fruits like apricots and plums to snack on with nuts and toasted coconut. Minimal but totally delicious.


For a relatively healthy dessert, I layered berries in a cup and put a little dollop of creamy marscapone on top with a drizzle of honey. The berries with the marscapone are totally heavenly and a delicious treat. 




So what do you think? Could you go for a healthier picnic? 


This post was sponsored by Jawbone. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on this blog. 



6.17.2015

ELLIE'S SF GUIDE: FERRY BUILDING


I know that over the years, I have provided SF recommendations here and there but I wanted to start to aggregate them so it was easy to find if you ever visited this fair (and foggy) city.

So many people ask me how I got Ellie from Lauren because it's my Instagram handle. My middle name is Elizabeth so my first two initial are L and E, therefore you get Ellie. Get it? Cool. So here is the first official installment of Ellie's SF Guide.

Our first stop is the Ferry Building. Although there are lots of tourists mulling around, it is a local favorite spot as well. Here are the must-stop places at the Ferry building.

Stop by Frog Hollow Farms for their Orange Marmalade. I seriously can't keep a jar of this stuff for more than a few weeks. It is insanely good on toast and pairs nicely with a creamy cheese as well!


The mushrooms are pretty to take a look at Far West Fungi.


Love the home goods at The Gardener, which is way more than just gardening supplies.


Grab a ticket on a ferry to Sausalito for an inexpensive ride across the bay.




If you are getting hungry, stop at Cowgirl Creamy for a refreshing Arnold Palmer and the best grilled cheese you've ever had.






Need a non-tacky souvenir to bring back home? I love to stop at Heath Ceramics for the perfect SF present that doesn't scream SF. Their pottery also makes lovely wedding presents.




The flowers at the Village Market look like they've just been harvested from the field. I had a hard time not picking up more than one bouquet.



If you want the perfect place to sit outside and people watch, Gott's is the place for you. Although they specialize in burgers, my favorite is the ahi sashimi tacos.


I hope you enjoyed your tour of one of my favorite places in SF. Any places that I missed in the Ferry Building? Which place should we discover next?!


6.16.2015

YES YOU CAN MAKE: ROASTED PINEAPPLE CUPCAKES WITH COCONUT FROSTING


Yesterday I posted about walking all over this city and today I'm posting about cupcakes. It's all about everything in moderation right? Right!

This idea came to me as I was thinking about my favorite summer flavors. Of course this lead to me thinking about vacations which ended up making me thing of pina coladas. Mmm just imaging yourself with a frosty, creamy pina colada in hand on a Hawaiian beach. Ah, I digress. I love the idea of roasting the pineapple to caramelize the fruit before putting it in the cupcake. The tart acidity of the pineapple is the perfect compliment to the sugary sweetness of the coconut frosting.

You will notice that I used packaged cake mix because you are roasting the pineapple, toasting the coconut, whipping up the frosting and the last thing you want is to make the cake too. So I bought the cake mix. Probably not what I should be doing because I'm supposed to be making the recipes BUT it is easy and I'm all about making this easy for everyone. Plus the cake mix was gluten free (it was the only kind they had) and it was really good, so these are unintentionally gluten free. Yay!

Ingredients
One pineapple (you will have extra roasted pineapple)
One package of yellow cake mix (plus eggs and oil that the cake mix calls for)
1 small can of pineapple juice
3 Cups Powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Coconut extract


Step No 1

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the pineapple by cutting off the rough sides of the fruit.



Then slice in half and cut around the core.


You should have six big slices of pineapple. Slice in thin 1/4 pieces. Lay flat on tray with covered with parchment paper (it will make the clean-up way easier)


Step No 2

While the pineapple is roasting (about 20 mins) mix up your cake according to the directions on the cake mix. If the mix calls for water, use pineapple juice in it's place.




Step No 3

Prepare the frosting but combining butter, powdered sugar, coconut extract and milk in a bowl and beating until combined. You will want your frosting to be stiff so gradually add the milk until the desired texture is reached.


Step No 4

Pull your pineapple out of the oven as the edges begin to brown. Turn down the oven to 325 (or whatever temperature it denotes on the cake mix)


Using your fingers tear the pineapple into small pieces and add to the batter. Depending on how much pineapple you want in your cupcakes, add anywhere for 1/2 - 1 cup of the roasted pineapple.


Step No 5

After the cupcakes bake for about 30 minutes (again, follow the directions on the package) pull them out of the oven and allow them to cool.

After they have cooled spoon frosting into a pastry tube fitted with a large star nozzle (I like to use a Ziplock freezer bag for easier cleanup) Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Decorate with toasted coconut and a small piece of the roasted pineapple.




Enjoy your tropical treat!