Wet N Wild 'Ticket To Brazil' Bronzer

Jan 27, 2016

In today's review post I want to bring to your attention wet n wild's - ticket to Brazil! What attracted me to this purchase initially was the rather large packaging. I love when I know I'll be able to get a ton of product to last me a good while. This is one of my favorite bronzers to use to add warmth all over the face and even the neck and collarbone area when necessary. It has more of an orange undertone, but it is still primarily golden-brown, so it gives off that true sun-kissed touch. It's light, but definitely buildable if you're seeking to contour. I think its perfect for the winter season! Another pro is it has SPF 15, so it has some technology to keep your skin safe from the sun while still giving you an awesome glow.
If you typically aim for a natural flush of color then this might be just right for you. 

Ticket to Brazil, $4 at drugstores


Styling Mensware

Jan 22, 2016

Styling men pieces is so fun to me! I'm constantly stealing my husbands shirts and wearing them out. These days, I tend to shoot for more of a boyish-chill look, than a girly one. It also gives the perfect excuse to dress in oversized and comfortable attire- my favorite. Here are some staple pieces I enjoy!

  • the boyfriend jean - I was in high school when I started paying attention to this style of pants and have been obsessed since then! They're so versatile! You can dress them up or down and still manage to look super chic. To dress it up, I love cuffing the ends and wearing some pumps. To relax the look, a good ol' tee and Nike trainers do the best job. If I want to jazz that up I'll throw an airy trench coat over! Ahh- just picture it! I should totally shoot an outfit like that.
  • the boyfriend tee - a tee shirt 2-3 sizes up from your regular size with a little pocket by the upper side of the chest. I love a good quality one that I can wear time and time again (let's be realistic here) and get the most use out of it! I especially love ZARA 'essentials' section for men. The tee's are pretty affordable and give off a relaxed fit. 
  • the button down - a white or black one is my favorite! Obviously 2-3 sizes up as well. This is also a piece you can do so much with! For a stylish look I'd pair this with super skinny jeans (may or may not be distressed) and heels. To dress it up some more I can also pair this with a pencil skirt! And honestly its my favorite cover-up at the pool or beach. The possibilities are endless!
  • the suit - a suit; entirely or piece by piece. The blazer, the slacks. Something about a woman in a suit... the sophistication, the boss vibes. Personally, I exude a certain kind of confidence when wearing a suit that I don't really have as strongly with anything else... you know just different vibes. I feel professional and of class.
  • chunky watch - one of my statement accessories- a watch too big for my own good! I love them. Especially paired with super minimal jewelry! Nixon has amazing ones at great price points.
If you've never experimented with guy clothing, I'd totally say give it a shot! Adding your personal touch is key. 


Anastasia Contour Kit

Jan 20, 2016

The hype revolving the Anastasia Contour Kit was something in the beauty community no one could miss. After this kit, brands like Lorac, Kat Von D, NYX (drugstore option) released their versions. Today I want to focus on the original palette which I have loved since purchasing. I remember it being nearly impossible to get a hold of this, as it was constantly sold out everywhere! When I found it at my local Ulta I had to grab it. I love all the contour shades and get use out of everyone for different reasons! I have the 'Light to Medium' kit as it works best with my skin tone. They have a 'Medium to Dark' option available as well!

From left to right - highlight shades
Vanilla - I barely use this shade, but its a great one to set under the eye for a brightening effect.
Banana - I love this for setting my concealer. The yellow tint goes will with my olive undertone.
Sand - a perfect, subtle highlight. I use this over top my cheekbones, tip of my nose, and sometimes over the arch of my brows for some highlighting balance.

From left to right - contour shades:
Java - this is the medium shade of the 2 contouring options. I use this all over the jawline and temples for warmth on the skin.
Fawn - my staple within the palette! It reminds me of my favorite contouring powder (Hoola, BENEFIT). I enhance the structure of my cheekbones with this shade. It has the best gray-ish undertone providing me with true bone effect.
Havana - I consider this shade more of an overall bronzer. It has more of an orange undertone which gives me that 'sun kissed' look, so I dust this lightly over my contour (cheekbones and temples) when I want more drama on the overall look. 
All shades blend well for the most part. Sometimes I have difficulty with 'Vanilla'. It tends to be patchy, but honestly I barely touch it so it doesn't matter to me. Overall, they are pretty light coverage, but with great pigmentation which makes it a great product for everyday.
Blends well
For all skin types
Everyday use

**You can also buy them in individual pieces, and customize the palette to your liking and full potential use which is a huge plus!

I love contour and highlighting! I'm not one to do it to an extreme, but a light contour to just give some definition to the face is something I could appreciate. The techniques upon use totally depends if I'm going out for lunch- I'll obviously keep it at a minimum- or if I'm going on a night out- which happens about 2-3 times per year (lol). The highlighting aspect adds youth to the look! It has become a staple in the simplest form.
Buy at Sephora,  Ulta or ABV site, $40

1st Year of Motherhood

Jan 18, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful baby boy, Noah Emanuel! It has been a year- a whole year since I've been in this mothering game. In yesterday's post I said I would share some lessons this journey has taught me along the way.

  1. Agape love - the highest form of love. The love of God to human, human to God. If I come close to understanding anything about God, it is how he can love us point blank- not less not more, the love just IS and will be, forevermore. There's nothing my child can do to gain or lose this love within me towards him. I love him, without boundaries, without conditions, infinitely.
  2. My best is the best - so many people would tell me, "Don't worry! It'll all come natural. You'll get the hang of it. You'll even learn to discern which cry means what." This is so true! I wish I panicked less while pregnant and believed more in myself and the nature of being a mother. 
  3. From selfish to selfless - if anything reveals how selfish we tend to be- its parenthood. Now I've learned to forgive myself for this because its natural. For 23 years I minded my own business and I was my only concern (essentially). Once this new life takes place it becomes all about them. I couldn't call the shots anymore about when I wanted to sleep at a certain time or have a photoshoot for the blog or go out and get a manicure. Everything revolved around my son's schedule, his nap and feeding times, etc. It took some months to realize adjustments needed to me made and a shift of priorities took place. Even though its hard,  I think we learn to accept it for what it is and to a certain extend not even want it any other way. I would stay home with my child 1000 x's over if it meant keeping him comfortable and providing his needs.
  4. Patience is a virtue - patience has always been a challenge in my life. Since I was a kid- I had always been a very eager one needing things to go 'now' and 'my way'. Personally, its a lesson gained over a lifetime, with every day and every passing experience. I am learning that patience is of the essence. It is vital for our well-being, for the peace if ourselves and those involved. 
  5. I'm capable - I'll never stop telling myself that. I have struggled with insecurity for a long time. I'm typically afraid of change and new beginnings because I always feel inadequate... I know, its a horrible way to think and feel. I tend to doubt myself more often than not. I can fault some events in my childhood that shaped me this way, but since becoming a parent I have taken charge and I have noticed that with every obstacle comes a situation where it is up to me to create an effect parallel to that cause which would result in a positive outcome. My son has taught me the impossible is possible if I just inhale, exhale, think, and believe. Believe in myself, believe in my action, and believe that when I put my best foot forward good things will come. 
Ahh- there to name a few! I will probably post more of these along the way. Now I will go enjoy the rest of this special day with my little nugget and make sure he laughs until he falls asleep tonight. I am ever so grateful for this position in life. 

Labor & Delivery Reflection

Jan 17, 2016

If ever I deviate from my posting schedule, I promise to explain why. This past week, my family and I went to Miami for a few days and during our much-needed getaway,  I did not open my laptop once! No e-mails, no browsing. That's huge! As I am on it every chance I get- usually reading or planning blog activities. When we got home, I decided not to blog for the rest of the week and be more present with my son. Tomorrow is his first birthday, and for the past 2 or so weeks, planning has become a drag. If you follow me on Instagram, then you might already know I've been feeling kind of blue.
I had always looked forward to planning my sons first birthday- what mother doesn't? But a specific guilt and sadness has also come along. I remember when he was tiny- I couldn't wait to see him walk or talk and I would express that to everyone, all the time! Now, all of that stuff is being realized in the blink of an eye. As most moms wish, I wish I can slow down the time.
I felt a lot better when I opened up on social media about this because I got a ton of support from fellow mamas, and one friend encouraged me to search articles on it because it was actually a common thing (some guilt has been relieved)!

Exactly a year ago today, I started experiencing stronger than normal 'cramps' around 5 pm which later became labor contractions. I held off up until about 1 AM and told my husband if I felt the intensity increase then we would head to the hospital. Noah was due on January 18, 2015 and we headed to the hospital at 2 AM on that same day. I didn't know you weren't suppose to eat during labor, but we stopped at McDanold's because I couldn't stop craving french fries (#thestruggle). At 5:33 AM I was admitted into my labor and delivery room due to the intensity of my contractions- not necessarily dilation. My contractions were off the charts at just 2-3 cm dilated. My delivery room was a DREAM. It was literally like a beautiful hotel, and my bed was directly in front of huge glass windows. After excruciating labor pain which were relaxed by an epidural, I was so incredibly calm, enjoying the sunrise and some coconut water. At around 11 am, the pain came again and it was so sharp I almost cried. I asked for another dose (I'm a wimp), and relaxed again. Near 1 PM I felt the need to go the "bathroom"- which signals delivery readiness and I felt so uncomfortable because the doctor was saying it was time and I would say, "no! I reallllly have to like... poop!" The doctor smiled as he and the nurses were getting everything ready and my husband was there at my side- supportive as ever. It turns out I didn't have to poop (lol), but my little love was ready to come out.

It is safe to say I believe in love at first sight. I experienced it deeply the very second I felt my body deliver my son. I pushed for about an hour and at 2:15 PM he was here! I remember the last 2 pushes ever so vividly...
The second-to-last: I felt his head
The last: I felt his little shoulders break through me along with the rest of his tiny body squiggling through.
6 lbs 14 oz. Nothing in the world has made me as strong as delivering my child. I have been strong since then- but I've experienced a new strength... one entangled with weakness.

I met a young woman last month who is pregnant, and I recall telling her I feel as if I have learned more in my first year of motherhood than I have in all of my 23 years. Tomorrow I will share some of these lessons. This mothering journey has been one if the hardest yet most rewarding journey's I have ever been on.
Till then!

Elements of My Style

Jan 8, 2016

I always strive for this matter to be timeless, adding class in an effortless way. I have always been a creature of habit and routine, and this also applies to my style and attire. If you've read my post on the essence of what style means to me, you will note that I'm all about having an minimal appearance that represents who I am and how I am feeling internally.
These staples cultivate a chic and effortless vibe the majority of the time. The idea of 'less is more' is ever so present.

in no specific order...

  1. the boyfriend jean - this is such a versatile piece! It is definitely a staple item if I can dress it up, or dress it down just by swapping details. Bf jeans look stylish regardless of what its paired with in my opinion! Heels, ankle boots, trainers, & sandals are my favorite footwear to go along with loosely-fitted jeans. 
  2. the striped tee - talk about timeless. Striped tops just never get old and I never get tired of them. My favorite would have to be black/white, or white/navy. Long or short sleeve, preferably a bit over-sized.
  3. oversized - personally, theres something about clothes that isn't too tight or revealing. I really like buying tops (when appropriate) 1-2 sizes larger than my regular size to go for a slouchier look. Especially light sweaters! It's obviously more comfortable anyway, which is what I strive for 24/7 as a mom!
  4. the ankle boots - I've worn some ankle boots from H&M for like the past 2 years- year round. They literally go with everything and are so incredibly comfortable! Recently, I purchased black, faux leather ankle boots with a short heel. Just for a little lift and some dimension.
  5. the manicure - well-kept hands are a must in my life! I don't know what it is, but I feel like new when my cuticles are out of the way and I have filed, glossy polished nails! 
  6. the laced bralette - this has become a signature item for me. It doesn't perk up the boobs or anything (unless they're wired for more support), but in its most simplest state it is so sensual. I think what I love most about it is how natural it lets everything be.
  7. minimal jewelry - for the last 3 or so years, I have kept my jewelry at a minimum. I literally only wear my wedding rings, another ring on my other hand, my Nixon gold watch, and diamond earrings. Every now and then I'll switch things up.
  8. fragrance - right now my go-to is the Chloé perfume. The original, which I should have a post about soon! 

Urban Decay Naked Basics 1

Jan 6, 2016

From the moment I first saw this product in person (about 2 years ago), I knew it would be a staple piece in my collection. The Urban Decay Naked Basics 1, has everything you need to achieve a natural or a smokey look! I love its compact packaging, making it easy to gather and bring with me in my travels. 
Its a neutral palette, consisting of 6 shades; 5 being matte, and the lightest being a shimmer. My most used shades are Foxy, which I consider the perfect yellow-base for all over my lid, and Faint which I love to use in the crease to bring more definition to the shape of my eye. I have also used Faint as a contour shade! Venus, the shimmery piece, can be used to highlight or to add a pop of color in your inner eye corners. It works wonders! The mirror within is wide enough for eye-makeup application which makes the whole process a lot smoother. The quality of UD products always blow me away. These are all buttery smooth and stay put all day long! They're quite pigmented, so a little on the brush and tapping off the excess amount goes a long way. 

UD released a part 2 to this beauty, which is a warmer set. So Basics 2 is filled with more blush and grays (romantic) tones. I always go with this one because I feel its a more diverse palette! I've gotten a lot of use out of this gem as this is my second purchase... and when I hit pan, I will purchase yet again!


NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Jan 4, 2016

I finally gave in to this NARS concealer hype! This product is a whopping $29 at Sephora. Nars released 2 shades (custard, vanilla) in travel size, each for $12.  I bought the shade 'custard' in this mini version to simply test out the formula and application feels of the product. The packaging is extra cute and its perfect for a makeup bag on the go. Custard is a yellow tone for light to medium complexion which brightens under my eyes perfectly. I am definitely going to invest in the standard size, but will be going for the shade 'ginger'! Ginger provides a golden undertone for medium complexion. As far as concealing goes, that shade will suit me better.
This product is so true to its name; it is so creamy upon application! It is buildable medium-to-full coverage and doesn't feel thick at all.  It claims to be long-lasting and crease-proof, so I put it to the test and wore it on a night where I would be dancing away and potentially even sweating (New Years Eve). I applied my makeup at around 7 pm and when I got home at 4 am my full face- especially under my eyes, everything was still fully intact! I was amazed at the longevity and quality of this product! Here's to looking more awake :)

2016 Goals

Jan 3, 2016

This year, I wanted to list my goals differently. I have came up with a few goals in different categories of my life. I have made them realistic and achievable, with the intension of my making the days go on smoothly.


  1. Luxury Makeup - when I first discovered makeup (probably around 17/18) I began with drugstore options as thats all I could afford. I have found gems at the drugstore that I know will remain in my collection forever! I seriously appreciate when I find an amazing product keeping myself and my wallet happy! Somewhere in my 20s, when I landed on a decent job, I started to explore with higher end makeup. Brands like Benefit, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Lorac, to name a few. I loved finding a mid-range price product and even finding an alternative to it at the drugstore for half the cost! Then there's luxurious products... Chanel, Dior, YSL, Estee Lauder, Armani- where a foundation can cost you a whopping $60. Crazy, I know. But I want to experiment further in these options. Compare them to the higher end brands and even the drugstore items. Not only will these little tubs looks great sitting on my vanity, but I want to test if their claims are real and how worthy it is for the price. 
  2. Luxury Skin Care - the same concept as my last point. 
  3. Create Skin Care Routine - For years I've had a pretty basic skin routine that consisted of nothing further than a gentle cleanser (like the Cetaphil - amazing stuff) and a moisturizer. This year, along with the exploration of products, I want to step up my skin care regimen! It is never too early to maintain the skin and keep those wrinkles as far away as possible for as long as I can!
  1. Edit - I have been meaning to commit to this for a few months, and now, it is time. By 'edit', I do mean rid of most things in my closet. I want to donate 90% of what I own. If I haven't touched it in 3 months, if it doesn't fit, if it doesn't reflect my style now, its going. 
  2. Invest - As aforementioned in my beauty goals, I have never really invested in higher quality clothes. Throughout the years, I got most of my basics at common stores like H&M and Forever 21. Simply because to me spending more than $45 for a simple t-shirt seemed absurd. However I am realizing that investing in basics is actually important in saving money long term. It's always fun when I find an awesome top for $12.99, but I'm so over just getting 2-3 uses out of it because the quality is so poor- hence why the price point is so low. This year, I will shop at Zara, Asos, J Crew, and Topshop more often and get a better long term deal for my buck. 
  3. Simplify - Simplifying my wardrobe goes hand in hand with the process of edition and investment. I am no longer going to hoard items/products or buy buy large amounts at a time. 2-3 necessary items is more than enough, especially with a wardrobe concept I might share with you all soon- but I want to point out that less it more. For years I've had multiple closets packed with clothes and shoes, while only wearing like 5 items! The clutter everywhere and stress when its time to get ready really discourages me and I end up going with something I'm constantly using or already comfortable with. That is how it should be. There's just no need for me to have 2 walk-in closets filled to the top. I even want to have a color palette and stick to shopping to a certain color range (like white, black, blush, and neutrals), so that everything can look smoother. Timeless and iconic pieces are key!
  1. Health - Eating better is always on the back of my mind, and I try hard to recall all the reasons why I should when I'm craving a soda or french fries (my weakness). Health is such an imperative portion of how we look in the outside as well as on the inside. 
  2. Routine - I actually am a creature of habit at heart, but with such new roles in my life (mother, wife) I lost a little bit of myself and was everywhere as I had felt I had been shoved in 32485762 directions. It's time to come back to my tidy, organized self and create routines for my son, husband, and home for an easier lifestyle and less stress. No rush, no last minute things (as long as it could be avoided).  I have found that structured routine add comfort and assurance regardless of where we're headed. 
  3. Read - Reading gives me sooo much joy. These days I'm into some listestyle books, but mainly I'm addicted to reading and keeping up with blogs and digital magazines! 
  1. Cook - I need to cook more often! We've gotten take-out far too many times this year. 
  2. Outdoor Activities - Our son will be one this month- I can't believe it! I am so excited to have fun in the sun with him and do more outdoor activities. He actually loves being outside and when we are home he enjoys looking out the window and feeling the breeze. Its so cute! He gets so excited. I can feel this year will be very exciting as we try new things as a family.
  3. Pray.

I encourage you to reflect and refine your lifestyle! To better improve areas of your life, break down goals in different categories to better achieve them or visualize a plan to overcome certain obstacles. 

© Gentle Maven.