Makeup Au Naturale

I have loved playing with makeup since I discovered my mom’s beauty kit at the age of 7 and applied her ruby red lipstick. By the age of 12, I bought my very first makeup. Since then, I have had a love affair with trying on makeup, even though I hardly wore any out of the house. I used to do my friends and my sister’s friends makeup for school dances, or just because. I would sit in front of my vanity and try to recreate Audrey Hepburn’s eyebrows for hours. Today, I appreciate makeup solely for enhancing what I have. Finding makeup that is not only pure, organic if possible, and does what it says, is one hard task! But through trial and error, I think I have found my holy grail of natural makeup that actually works.

We will start first with foundation. I have always used a powder foundation. I remember having a reaction to my friends MAC liquid foundation in high school, not to mention a cake-face, and ever since I have never liked liquid foundation. When looking for a natural face powder I was recommended to try 100% Pure but after a mishap in Myanmar when the makeup oxidized in the sun and I ended up with a black face, I quickly switched. Don’t get me wrong 100% Pure makes some amazing products and I still advocate for the purity of the products, but because the face powder is made from fruit enzymes, it goes without saying those enzymes turn brown when exposed to sunlight. So living in Singapore, I decided I needed something made from minerals. That is when I discovered Alima Pure. These products are by far the best. I grew up only using bareMinerals in high school and college, when the mineral craze began. However, I had to change because it contains bismuth oxychloride, which is known to cause skin irritation and sensitivity. Thank goodness for Alima Pure and the truly pure 4 ingredients! Seriously, I can’t say enough about how much I love this foundation. There are 6 different undertones and in each undertone there is a color scale from 0-9 to determine your most ideal shade. Flawless. Perfect.

As far as blushes and bronzers go, again you cant go wrong with Alima Pure. The colors are so highly pigmented a little goes a long way. Not to mention, the colors are universal and will look great on practically every skin tone. Personally, I don’t typically wear anything but powder and mascara most days, so the blush and bronzer are reserved for special occasions.

Alima Pure

Alima Pure

Moving on to mascara. Now this has been the biggest struggle, to find a natural mascara to make my blonde lashes stand out and withstand the humid rain forest in which I live. Enter Dr. Hauschka! Again, I do my research in finding an all natural product based on ingredients, reviews, and if it is animal friendly! Now this stuff costs a small fortune here in Singapore, but luckily my favorite skin care website Saffron Rouge ships internationally. Back to the mascara, the ingredients actually smell amazing and help your lashes stay healthy. Now, all you hard-core vegans, this stuff includes beeswax and carmine, both of which come from insects. However, it is so hard to find a mascara that actually works and is all natural in ingredients.


Dr. Hauschka

Lastly, I only wear lip balm every day and I have yet to find an all natural lipstick that stays put and is true to the color. My lip balm of choice is Hurraw Balm. There are so many delicious flavors and I have loved every single one. The balms are 100% natural and organic ingredients and so it doesn’t matter if you accidentally ingest, because the flavors are that yummy. I loved Lip Smackers growing up so this to me is an adult, all-natural version! Let me know if you have found a natural lipstick with true pigmented color because I would love to try!


Hurraw Balm

I know making the transition to natural makeup is difficult as we are creatures of habit, but these products make that transition easy and worth it! Let me know your natural beauty secrets!

Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

Trying to eat as clean as possible can be a daunting task with so much talk of ‘super foods’ versus toxic foods floating around. Today we know that eating organic food is the most healthful choice because these foods are grown as close to the most natural state as possible. Buying organic, especially for large families, can get expensive.

Since college, I started eating only organic, but travelling can make that commitment rather difficult. Some countries don’t label foods that are organic and some countries don’t have the funding to actually obtain the certifications, although the crops are grown in organic conditions. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with weekly farmer’s markets, then you should have no problem finding organic produce and the like. For those of us that have to visit a grocery store to shop for our food, then this list may be helpful.

Conventional produce is sprayed with toxic chemicals and pesticides. These contaminants are harmful to the body and can create a whole slew of life-threatening health problems. The chemicals used on the food are also found in the soil which can then be absorbed by the crops. What’s more, some conventional produce are genetically-modified. Genetically-modified, commonly known as GM or GMO, actually decrease the nutritional value in foods and may lead to harmful side effects. If you want to look more into the scandal of GM foods I suggest the documentary King Corn. Anyhow, here are the highly sprayed foods that I strongly urge you to buy organic:

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The cleaner produce are sprayed the least and most have peels which at least protects the food a bit better. Here are the safer conventionally grown foods:

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So there you have it! Print out the list and take it with you grocery shopping. Every dollar you spend is your vote to what you want more of. If we can be more conscious of how we eat, then not only will our health benefit, but our environment will as well.

Understanding Nutrition Labels

I know how confusing nutrition labels can be. Unfortunately, I have a strong distaste for the way the Food & Drug Administration do things and nutrition labels is one. I have taken countless nutrition courses throughout my time at university, but the nutritional facts are something that I never enjoyed learning.

In high school, I understood calories and percentages of fat, but other than that I was a bit lost. Today I hardly, if ever, glance at the nutrition percentages and numbers. To be honest, the only thing I am reading on the label of packaged food is the ingredient list.

The ingredients list can tell me if I am eating something healthy or not. I am not trying to gripe on Dr. Oz, although he has been in hot water lately, but I remember him saying if the ingredient list has more than 5 items on it, don’t buy it. But here is my question, what if it has 10 different ingredients and surprise surprise you know what ever item is? Even better, every ingredient comes from a whole food?

This is where I feel people can really make a difference in their diets. I am not talking about diet with the intention of depriving oneself, but diet as in what a person eats on a daily basis. If we could understand what exactly are in those snacks we are constantly eating, and how those ingredients help/hurt our bodies, then I think we would all be better off. Think about it, what is the point of knowing something is low-fat, but the first ingredient is an artificial sweetener which sends hunger signals to our brain so we end up eating an entire bag? What is more, how many people actually eat only one serving according to that label? It just isn’t realistic.

The goal should ideally be to eat whole foods whenever possible. Realistically though, we need to purchase items from a bag or jar, and that is ok and can be done right, with some thought. I regularly use a jar of tomato sauce for my meals and there are close to ten ingredients, but most are veggies with the exception of some herbs. Most likely, if we are reading the ingredients list and know every ingredient, we don’t need to waste time checking those pesky numbers. After all, I know if there is partially hydrogenated oils, then there are trans fats. I know if there is salt, sodium levels might be high. If there is high-fructose corn syrup, then there are sugars. If we know what every ingredient is, we can make better decisions and understand where we are getting our nutrients.

Furthermore, the nutrition label is based on a universal percentage of fat, protein, and carbohydrate on a 2,000 calorie diet. But who does this percentage actually apply to exactly? Athletes need different requirements than someone who is more sedentary. Every body is completely different and unique thanks to genetics, so there isn’t one equation fit for everyone. I know I work best on higher carbohydrate percentages nearing 80% and low fat percentages sometimes at or below 10%, but what works for me may not work for you. And where is the fun trying to calculate those numbers at every meal, or keep track of calories? Keep track of the ingredients and I am sure the rest will work itself out. (If you really want to check what percentages you intake check out Cron-O-Meter to get an idea and adjust accordingly from there, but don’t make it your life.)

The point of my rant is that we can serve our bodies well if we just read the ingredients list. If you don’t understand an ingredient, we are in the age where most of us have portable internet devices and we can find out for ourselves. Do your research. There are countless scientific names for things like monosodium-glutamate (MSG), along with sugar and the like that also have different pseudo-names.

Takeaway message? Look for whole, plant-based ingredients, and keep in mind the list is in order of weight so the first ingredient is the one that weighs the most. Hopefully you will start to take notice of your grocery items and learn a thing or two about ingredients.

Run Faster and Jump Higher!

Growing up I had these cute pink Vans and my older brother had some in blue. He told me that they made you run faster and jump higher so we tested that out by racing each other. He would always win but I was convinced I felt faster in these “special shoes.”

Today, a killer pair of heels can make me feel special but on the track or at the gym, its all about the bare minimum. I was never brave enough to try out the five-toe Vibram variety, but I have a soft-spot for my New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail shoes. They are well, minimal, in support and cushioning allowing you to use the strength in your feet and legs to move you. As I have learned in ballet, there are 26 bones in the foot, and the lack of padding allows me to build bone density as I run.

The whole concept of the minimal shoe is to run striking the forefront, or ball of your foot, instead of heel first. I had to watch a YouTube video to really grasp the concept, but it feels like jumping rope. The idea is to be light on your feet and maintain a short but quick stride.

While living in San Francisco, a fellow fitness-fanatic friend recommended I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. The book was published in 2009 and is based on the author’s experience with a tribe in Mexico that runs ultra-marathons, or 100 miles, in thin sandals and sometimes barefoot. McDougall intertwines his story with the history of the athletic sneaker from Nike to Vibram. The entire book fascinated me and made me think twice about my ultra-supportive running shoes.

Since transitioning to the minimalist shoes, I feel like my running posture has improved, and my legs and feet are stronger. The shoes force me to use my core in order to balance on uneven terrain where conventional shoes might cause a sprained ankle. The shoes are are light and no-frills, but all-in-all I am completely hooked.

“Running was the superpower that made us human- which means its a super power all humans possess. You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.” – Born to Run


New Balance Minimus

Yummy Vegan Tacos

Bueno dias!

This post is dedicated to my sister as she keeps me in line regarding my blogging. I have so many ideas I want to post but I want the perfect photo or the perfect write-up and then I become overwhelmed and as a result my posting becomes infrequent. Trust me I want nothing more than to share everything I know. I think everyone has the desire to be a better version of themselves and my sister is the first to remind me of this.

This is one of my favorite meals, and although the picture may not appeal to your taste buds, I can assure you this meal is delicious! Try this healthy spin on the tacos that you may be accustomed to.

My meals are basically assembled and I rarely, if ever, use recipes. Below is basically what I use each time I make the tacos. So give this one a go and let me know what you think!


Taco shells of organic romaine lettuce leaves

Filling- 1 cup cooked brown or white rice

Salsa of choice (I use an organic, salt/sugar-free tomato sauce)

Pinch of Italian herbs and chili pepper

*You can also add some legumes (i.e. black beans)




Finding Inspiration

I am back! After going on a girls trip to Bangkok, I found myself in a rut. I couldn’t find the motivation to write, regardless of my journal full of ideas. I know most of my discouraging and negativity is all in my head, but I couldn’t help myself.

Considering I am in the best of circumstances with ample time, and no children or pets to cater to, I should easily be able to sustain my personal projects. So why couldn’t I just get the job done?

I am the type of perfectionist that is probably hard to live with because not only do I want to accomplish everything, but I want to accomplish everything perfectly. When I don’t have a post that is precise to my standards, the post won’t see the light of day. Unfortunately, that means so many projects don’t reach the final presentation.

Motivation can’t be obtained in the store, or taken in a pill form, but we can harness and successfully sustain our motivation through a few strategies:

1. Set detailed goals and visualize the end result.

2. Think of reasons why you want to accomplish the goal and write them down. Make sure you physically write the list by hand preferably with pen so you develop the mental memory connection and stick to the list. I just love making lists!

3. Set targets, and rewards. Break down each goal into realistic and achievable steps. Make each task manageable.

4. Eliminate distractions. If your goal is to finish a book, TV time probably isn’t the best way to accomplish that goal.

5. Maintain a positive attitude. Make the process fun to keep the momentum going.

6. Be prepared to change course, or approach. Don’t give up if you don’t succeed. Try a different route.

7. Get some help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when necessary. Share your objective and possibly gain some new insights. Your friends can also help keep you accountable.

8. Think ahead. Exhaustion and setbacks are bound to happen so plan for these moments and how to conquer the hiccups.

9. Give yourself a pep talk. Watch a motivational speech on YouTube, or, or even find a motivating speech to keep you going.

10. Check yourself. Continually chuck-out the criticism and give yourself praise for your progress.

Now I plan to utilize these steps for personal projects and hopefully I will maintain the motivation. Here is to list making and conquering goals!


Coco for Coconut

Coconut oil has been a staple for me, but I don’t consume the oil. I don’t cook with oils, and who am I kidding? I hardly cook at all! I use coconut oil for nearly everything but cooking or consumption. I use it every day as a body moisturizer, face wash, and weekly mixed with baking soda as a body scrub.

Coconut oil benefits the skin in numerous ways when applied topically:

  • Improves acne
  • Heals fungal infections
  • Heals eczema
  • Heals keratosis polaris
  • Improves psoriasis
  • Improves rosacea
  • Kills candida fungus
  • Kills bacteria and viruses
  • Contains natural SPF 4
  • Kills yeast infections
  • Stimulates hair growth when rubbed into the scalp
  • Helps reduce appearance of varicose veins
  • Speeds healing of sunburns
  • Prevents stretch marks and cellulite
  • Soothes itching from chicken pox or poison ivy
  • Softens and shrinks wrinkles
  • Contains antioxidants to prevent cellular aging
  • Contains antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties

Additionally, coconut oil conditions and strengthens hair. I use coconut oil as a hair mask once a week to penetrate the roots. It is also capable of improving dandruff and killing lice!

Coconut oil has been used in tropical climates for thousands of years. The lauric acid, which helps fight pathogens, found in coconut oil is nature’s most abundant source. Unlike conventional moisturizers that contain water or petroleum as a base, coconut oil is absorbed through the derma immediately. As a bonus, the oil has a long shelf life and melts at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. I only use extra-virgin organic unrefined coconut oil by the gallon!

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Coconut Oil


Mood Board

It is no surprise that I absolutely love Pinterest, magazines, and blogs. I love the pictures, the articles, and the endless inspiration. I simply can’t stop thinking about it all.

Living in Singapore, I don’t have a study or office space so I keep my beautiful and inspiring clippings locked up in a folder. Unfortunately, this doesn’t get a second look and can eventually turn into the despised clutter problem I try so desperately to avoid. So what is the remedy? An inspiration board, or mood board, or vision board, whatever you want to call it, is the perfect solution.

If you have no clue what I am talking about, a mood board is basically a collage of cut-outs, quotes, colors, people, anything that inspires you, pinned onto a board. I have heard so many influential people use mood boards, but yet I haven’t put it to use. The idea sounds lovely and easy, so my goal is to find one that won’t look like a forgotten bulletin cork board from the 80’s. I remember when I was a little girl I had a binder full of cut-outs from my mom’s J.C. Penney catalogs of things I wanted for my future home. Luckily my taste has changed substantially, but the creativity is still there.

Some people simply collect images and plaster to the board with no rhyme or reason, but I want a clear focus and theme to my board. I have such a clear vision of what style I want. I am so very obsessed with Scandinavian design and aesthetic, but I have a fear of my home being too cold and unwelcoming. This is where design boards can give direction and guidance. So here goes nothing. I am going to attempt my first mood board and put those Pinterest pins to use! Once I have one ready to show, I will be sure to post pictures. Wish me luck!

board 3

board 2

Inspiring Boards

Stretching is not just for Yogis

Who knew stretching is just as beneficial to your body as exercise? Well, growing up I certainly didn’t. In fact, stretching before track meets and soccer games consisted of social time while lifting your legs here and there. Today however, I long to be more flexible and limber. I have the tightest hamstrings and when I stretch it hurts, but that’s no excuse to simply give up stretching altogether. Stretching is beneficial to everyone. Young or old, fit or sedentary, stretching can do wonders.

As we age, our range of motion decreases as well as our flexibility. Add a sedentary lifestyle to the equation and we are doomed for tight muscles and a hunched spine. Most of us are working at a desk and sitting all day. Additionally, we are hunched over at the computer. This causes havoc on the thoracic muscles and the hip flexors.  How can we remedy this? Simply consider the importance of stretching and add the following tips to your routine.


  • Improves flexibility
  • Increases range of motion in joints
  • Lengthens muscles and tendons
  • Decreases risk of injury
  • Increases blood circulation to muscles
  • Prevents soreness of muscles
  • Aids in workout recovery
  • Enhances balance and coordination
  • Corrects posture and assists in proper body positioning
  • Calms your mind
  • Improves energy levels
  • Releases tension in muscles
  • Reduces stress


  • Stretch after a warm-up or exercise to ensure your body is warm
  • Focus on the tight muscles
  • Try working on flexibility and mobility for 45-60 minutes per week (take yoga!)
  • Flexibility depends on the duration of holding a stretch position- aim for at least 30 seconds
  • Change positions slowly and gently- don’t bounce
  • Seek symmetry- equal flexibility on each side of your body
  • Aim for tension, not pain
  • Don’t stretch if you suffer from joint sprains, fractured bones, or acute muscle strains

Energy Fix

Finding energy when you need it can be quite challenging. I remember the days when I couldn’t consider myself awake until I had a large cup of coffee, or two. Even in high school I would pop energy pills in exchange for all-night study sessions. Admittedly, I have learned the error of my ways. Now, I confidently wake up without an alarm clock and without the need for any stimulants. I have energy throughout the day and I feel like my mental stamina has steadily improved since eliminating stimulants. Granted, I find myself struggling here and there to stay focused and energetic. On these occasions, all I need is a quick energy boost.

If you feel completely depleted every morning when you wake up, or need another cup of coffee at 3:00 pm just to make it through the day, maybe now is the time to look at your health. Understandably, time is of the essence and unfortunately we can’t rejuvenate on a week-long vacay to the beach whenever our energy levels are low and stress is high. Luckily, here are some quick tips to keep your exhaustion and stress from deflating your energy.

Instant energy fix:

  • Sip peppermint tea- inhaling the scent of peppermint decreases tiredness by up to 25% and stimulates nerves in the brain linked to alertness
  • Add some spices to your food or drink- garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, and cloves, all revitalize by warming up your body, increasing metabolism, and improving circulation
  • Pamper yourself with a massage- ask your loved one for a foot or back massage to increase circulation and release tension while delivering oxygen throughout the body
  • Rest your eyes- try not to focus on the computer screen for longer than 20-minutes straight and whenever possible use a cool or warm compress over your eyes for 10-minutes
  • Splash your face with cold water- the sudden temperature change activates your brain leaving you alert
  • Get some exercise- mix up your workouts to stimulate different systems in the body. Try cardiovascular exercise like walking, and meditative forms like yoga to improve the lymphatic system and reduce stress.
  • Dry-brushing- increase circulation and replenish the detoxifying properties of the skin
  • Practice deep breathing- regenerate energy levels and fight drowsiness by inhaling deeply through the nose and then exhale in 20-30 short breaths
  • Take your meal outside- enjoy nature and feel more alive and intuitive while outside
  • Surround yourself with serene items- keep a potted plant at your desk and if possible a calming picture or photo
  • Listen to relaxing music- aim for music that is soothing, but won’t put you to sleep or give you a headache
  • Welcome the light- open those curtains and let in the natural light to reset your body clock to be awake in the morning and sleepy when its dark
  • Take a bath- add some essential oils to a hot bath before bed to ensure a good night’s rest
  • Pick some flowers- instantly increase happiness with some flowers

Instead of picking up a sugary fix, or cup of coffee give these suggestions a try and experience instant energy!