Astrid*Stars: January 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Paula Dorf Cosmetics Review


*This post was sponsored by Brandaacker & Paula Dorf Cosmetics, but all opinions are 100% my own*
 If you need to know anything about me when it comes to makeup, it's that I love eyeshadows, and really any sort of eye makeup. It is my first love, always. So when I was given the opportunity to try out and review this Paula Dorf Aztec City Palette and Mascara, I got very excited. Aside from my excitement to add more eye makeup to my collection, I was also excited to try out a new-to-me cosmetics line.


Paula Dorf Cosmetics have actually been around for a while and are hailed as industry favorites. Much of the love can be due to their innovative additions to the beauty industry such as Transformer® a product that goes from eyeshadow to liquid liner (um, really why hadn't I heard of this?! I need it in my life) and Clean-Up Stick® which helps get rid of makeup mistakes (I really need this!). 

The palette comes with 5 eyeshadows and a double-sided brush. On one side you have an eyeshadow brush and on the other an eyeliner brush, which allows for versatile application. It also comes with a mirror, which I like since I can take it with me when I travel or just if I need to clean up my makeup throughout the day. The eyeshadows are soft and build able, which is great especially if you work in a more conservative office setting, which I sort of did. I must say though that the two more neutral colors (the browns) are the most pigmented of the five, while the others are much more subtle. But those are probably the two I'd use the most, along with the lightest (white silver color) shadow as a highlight. 


Along with the palette, I also received their mascara in teal. I was excited when I first read that I'd be getting a colored mascara since I love using that to add some color to my look. The teal however is very subtle and only gives a hint of color. This is great for the office, but if I might as well have gotten it in black. I like my color mascara to be slightly bolder. Then again, my lashes are pretty dark naturally so that may have played a part as too why the color was very subtle. In the sunlight however, it is slightly more noticeable.



So here's the look I created using the palette. It is very natural as you can see and doesn't come off to heavy which is great for the everyday look. I did use some of the blue and purple shadows to give hints of color, but mostly stuck to the brown neutrals. I would recommend really using this palette for interviews since it's not overwhelming or harsh.


Here's a better look with my eyes closed. I must admit, I am just now noticing that the mascara does make my lashes look subtly fuller/longer. The shadows blend well (although I should have done a better job LOL). I love how they look with my skin tone and really, they seem very versatile with any skin tone. Overall, I am happy with the shadows and will continue to use them for everyday looks as well as a staple in my handbag.

I hope this review was helpful. If this seems like something that should be a staple for your own everyday look, click here and use the code TEAL to receive a free Paula Dorf Teal Mascara with purchase! And let me know in the comments if you have tried it or any other Paula Dorf Cosmetics out. Also feel free to request anything else you'd like me to write about.

Love,
Astrid

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kiss Me Organics: Matcha Green Tea Review


*This post is sponsored by BrandBacker and Kiss Me Organics, but all opinions are my own*
I am sure I am not alone in making one of my resolutions every year be to eat/be healthier. It is probably one of the top resolutions everyone makes every time New Years' comes around. One year its coconut water, another year it's kale and this year it seems Matcha is making a comeback as one of the trendiest foods of the year. So when I was asked to try out Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Organic Matcha, I said sure I'll join in on the fun.

Now chances are you may have heard of Matcha (it was all the craze a few years ago too). Even so, you may still be wondering what is it exactly.  In the simplest terms, it is a powdered form of green tea. It comes with the benefits of green tea, but since it is a more concentrated form, there are even more benefits to it, so they say.

Kiss Me Organics healthy foods trends of 2015

The benefits include help in boosting energy and concentration as well as boosting your metabolism to help support weight loss. It also has 137x's the antioxidant of regular brewed green tea. Because it is a powder, it makes it easy to use in lattes, baking (yes, baking!) and my personal favorite, post-workout smoothies!

 As a tea lover, I do like enjoying it as tea, but I LOVE adding it to my smoothies! I just put some almond milk, a banana, some vanilla protein powder and then a teaspoon of Matcha powder in a blender, blend and voilá, pure healthy yumminess! I like enjoying it in one of my many mason jars (cuz it makes a lot LOL) and add this cute green straw that my friend sent me.

Kiss Me Organics healthy foods trends of 2015

Now, like I mentioned before, I've had Matcha lattes before, but the thing with Matcha is that it can tend to taste bitter. I'm not sure what brand the local coffeehouses use, but I get weary of them at times because sometimes they add too much or don't blend it well, or maybe it's the kind they are using, but I end up with a really strong (read bitter) Matcha latte. Luckily, Kiss Me Organics Matcha Powder doesn't give me this issue. In fact, I can honestly say it is one of the better ones I've tasted, even in a regular Matcha tea. 

If you want to try Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Organic Matcha for yourself you can purchase it on Amazon if you live in the US, the UK and Canada. I'm curious to know if any of you have tried out this trendy food and if so what do you love about it. Please share in the comments and let's make this year a healthy one :)

Love,
Astrid



Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Wishes #13


Can you believe its the last Monday of January? Wow does time go by quickly. It's also Monday and I am posting Weekly Wishes well at the beginning of the week AND it's my second post of the day! I'm on a roll LOL! But honestly, after weeks (er, months?) of being out of sorts and having a bit of writer's/blogger's block, I finally feel like I'm back. Which lead's to me to last week's goal. Let's see what I got or didn't get done:

1. Sort through the rest of my Magazines.- Yea didn't even pick one up. Oops.

2. Choose a project from my Pinterest Boards- Honestly, I just kept pinning. I didn't actually get to one because I soon realized I just can't afford to buy art supplies right now since I'm still on the job hunt. BUT I did choose this one and this one to do once I have the funds.

3. Figure out a Blog Schedule from now until March- I haven't figured it out all the way to March, BUT I at least have the next two weeks more or less figured out. I just need to get the calendar out and write it down.

Now here are this week's wishes:

1. Blog Schedule-  I've already explained this above, but my goal is to get it down on paper and come up with some other post ideas.

2. Hike More- I love to hike, but I seem to get lazy to do this. But I want to take at least 3 hikes this week, with and without the dogs. I love that this requires no money and can also be a great way to relax. Plus if I invite friends, it becomes a nice social activity.

3. Finish two books- Now I actually believe this is possible this week. Since participating in the National Readathon Day with some book club friends this past Saturday (we pledged to read from noon to 4pm), I got the ball rolling on my reading goals. I got 145 pages of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (love this series) done in that sitting and read even more that night. So since I'm halfway done with it, I know I can finish this and another book by the end of the week. Plus I'm trying to read before bed since it helps me curb electronics from distracting me. This means a more reasonable bedtime.

What are your goals for the week? Share them in the comments below and as always remember you can join in on the Weekly Wishes link-up by heading here:

The Nectar Collective

Love,
Astrid

Make Up Mondays: Argan Oil Hair Mask Review


Insta Natural Argan Oil Hair Mask
*This post is sponsored by BrandBacker and Insta Natural, but all opinions are my own*
Make Up Mondays are back! I'm so happy to be doing this year's first post in the series. To start it off again, I am happy to be reviewing Insta Natural's Argan Oil Hair Mask. With winter here (yes we have winter in Los Angeles), my normally oily hair gets rather dry. In fact, lately I've been using a lot of heat on it. I've been using the blow dryer a lot because it's too cold to go out with wet hair and have also been using the straightener a lot. Therefore, my hair needs some extra care.

That's where Insta Natural's Argan Oil Hair Mask comes to the rescue. The mask is a deep conditioning treatment to help transform dry and damaged hair to beautiful healthy shiny hair. Like with other Argan Oil based products, it is super moisturizing. But it is not the only ingredient that helps revamp your hair. It also contains Japanese Green Tea, Amino Acid Complex, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil & Vitamin B5 to help penetrate hair and provide it with the nutrients and hydration it needs. It also helps protect it of other external elements such as heat (i.e. blow dryers). Best of all the ingredients are organic so you can be assured you're not putting junk in your hair.

Personally, I use this product once a week and really love how soft it leaves my hair. I will first wash my hair with a deep cleansing shampoo. After making sure my hair is nice and clean, I will get a generous amount of Insta Natural's Argan Oil Hair Mask and leave it in my hair for about 10 minutes. If I have a shower cap handy, then I will put it on and continue with my shower while I let the mask do it's work. Then once the 10 minutes are over, I rinse it off and finish my shower.

After my shower, I will towel dry my hair before I blow dry it. I cannot even begin to describe how soft my hair feels after this. And best of all, it doesn't feel oily, it just feels soft and clean and healthy. Now I have tried other hair masks and I didn't like them very much because my hair would still feel oily or just not as soft as I'd expect. But with Insta Natural's Argan Oil Hair Mask my hair truly feels rejuvenated. Like I said, my hair has been taking a lot of heat (HA!) lately, so it really does need this extra care and hydration at the end of the week. And it leaves my hair smelling really good.

Hope this review was helpful. If you'd like to give your hair some extra care as well, you can purchase your own jar here. Also let me know in the comments what you do to combat the effects of winter and the winter blues.

Love,
Astrid

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekly Wishes #12


Yay for this post going up earlier in the week :) What actually helped was that I spent Sunday night working on different possible pictures for this post, while trying to procrastinate other blog duties. I know I am terrible, but sometimes my mind just works productively counter-productively (does that even make sense?) Anyway, I like that it helped me not procrastinate this post.

So let's review last week's wishes first:

1. Organize Files, Papers & Mags- I did slow down on this task, but I got rid of sooo many papers and magazines. And I can also now open my singular desk (it's actually a bookcase) drawer. But it's far from over.

2. Clean out/Organize my closet- Um I bought a sweater organizer and hangers. That counts right? But seriously this needs to get done.

3. Start Planning my Road Trip- So obviously this will take a while to accomplish but I did figure out it takes about 20 hours to drive from Los Angeles to Seattle, I've figured out some of my stops (San Francisco and Portland for sure), and I'm starting to find things I want to do along my stops. I should probably start a Pinterest board just for this, yea that seems like a good start.

Looking at what I accomplished, I feel good. But still I need to get more done. So this week, my wishes are to:

1. Sort through the rest of my Magazines.- This one is pretty self-explanatory. Also I need binders to organize the articles I saved.

2. Choose a project from my Pinterest Boards- So a while back I mentioned that I wanted to start a Pinterest project and challenged myself from making my pins a reality. Well, after that things got busy and I have yet to recreate a project. This week however, I am feeling really artsy (that's why I choose this post's pic :)) so I want to keep organizing my boards (i.e. make pins for my likes) and choose one of my pins to recreate. Nothing crazy, but I just want to create something.

3. Figure out a Blog Schedule from now until March- I feel this is dire! I really need to figure out what I want to post and have a guideline so that I can keep doing what I enjoy and share that with you.

Now I am curious to see what your wishes for the week are. Share in the comments below and let me know if they are at all similar to mine.

And as always, you join the link-up here:

The Nectar Collective

Love,
Astrid

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Weekly Wishes #11


As always, my Weekly Wishes posts comes a bit late and by that I mean not on Monday LOL. But I won't bore you with too much introduction since last week's Weekly Wishes post was quite lengthy (and yes I realize it's more resolutions, than January wishes). Also, I am back on social media, but honestly now its-GASP- eh to me! Yes I still use it because it is useful for communicating and all, but I feel myself being able to set it aside more often, so yay me. Anyway, before I ramble on, here are this week's wishes:

1. Organize Files, Papers & Mags- So I am sort of consolidating these since they are all papers and take over my room in stacks LOL. That and they are all sort of put together. Plus they require filing. I've actually already gotten through a lot of them already (YAY Me!), but there is still much to do.

2. Clean out/Organize my closet- So I could have just said my wish is to organize, but I had to put them into separate wishes because organizing my "paper" stuff is a whole different thing than trying to tackle my closet. I do this almost on a bi-annual basis (did that make sense?), but this year I am planning to be a lot more realistic about what to keep, plus I will be implementing a bit of a different method than usual. Let me know if you want a post on this FYI.

3. Start Planning my Road Trip-  So in last week's wishes post I talked about wanting to travel a bit more and in that mentioned my resolution to take a road trip to Seattle (ahem up the West Coast, oh yeah!). Well in order to make that happen I need to start planning it and figuring out the costs so I can give myself a date and also see how much to save up. I'm already on it, but still have a ways to go.

I will leave it at that since I tend to over do it, and then I accomplish nothing LOL. But you guys know reading will always be there, and I'm happy to report I just finished Paper Towns By John Green (I'll review it if you want).

Now it's your turn to share your wishes for the week in the comments :) If you'd like I mean.

And remember, you can always join the link-up:

The Nectar Collective

Love,
Astrid

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Weekly Wishes #10: January Wishes || Resolutions



OMG everyone!!! It's 2015!!! Yes I cannot believe it is a new year already. I remember being so excited to fly in for New Years Eve last year in order to ring in 2014 in L.A. I'm also excited to get back to blogging. I didn't plan on taking a 2 week+ hiatus, but with the Holidays and trying to wrap things up at work before my last day. Anyway, the point is that I am back and have some good post ideas planned and my blog revamp is coming along nicely. So since it is the New Year and since I am trying to get back into the swing of things, I thought doing my usual annual Resolutions post as part of Weekly Wishes was a good idea, so here they are:

1. Be More Present- So given the ups and downs of last year and looking back on how I could have gone about things, I wish to be more in the moment. I want to live more, laugh more, explore more and appreciate more and the only way to achieve those things is to be more present. For me this means spending more time with friends and family and just fully enjoying my time, no matter what I am doing. One step I've taken so far is taking a social media break.

This week I've decided to partially give up social media. The only use of it I am allowing myself is posting about new posts, such as this one and posting a daily check in of my workouts for my third year doing the Love Your Body Challenge on Instagram. Oh and Pinterest, but only because I use it for blog ideas and to plan some much thought about DIYs while I'm not working. But even with Instagram, I haven't really been on it much so yay! I just really felt I had to do this and may even plan  a once a week social media free day for myself from now on.

So far, this has allowed me more time to spend quality time with friends, more time to organize and more time to do other things I'd been wanting to do, such as play video games and spend time with my dogs. Plus, I'm not as attached to my phone and finally caught up on Revenge lol. And it is just really liberating and has allowed me to start letting more positivity in (since I'm not comparing my life to others).

2. DeClutter my Life-  So this will be shorter than the above LOL. Basically, since moving back from New York I've realized I've got too much junk. I use to be a bit of a sentimental hoarder. Not that my room was filled to the brim with stuff, but I held on to things that have just been taking up room. Some of these things are tons of old magazines and years old files. So I just want to be more of a minimalist and declutter stuff that is no longer useful to me. In the past year, I have gotten rid of stuff, but work and school slowed me down, so now that I've got free time, it's time I get to it. Plus it will allow me to fulfill my first resolution and redo my room :)

3. Work on Time Management- This is self explanatory. But basically I want to stop being late to places, get more s@&! done and get more sleep.

4. Improve on my Blog & Channel- Over the past year, I've really worked hard on getting this blog to where it is and I am so proud of that. But this year, I really want to take it further and improve on my blog management. I also want to start committing to my YouTube channels more.

5. Travel More- Last but not least is the most specific of them all LOL. What I mean by this is that I don't just want to travel more, that is always a goal of mine, but I actually have places to go and more importantly people to see. With my friends being spread out across the US (so to speak), I really want to make this year special by going to see some of my favorite people. One of them is Tuyen, my bestie/roomie I had in NYC. She resides in Seattle and down in Portland live another friend from the Exchange program.

My goal is to take a road trip (my first ever) up the West Coast (gotta represent!) to go visit them. For one, hello ROAD TRIP, and two, I get to see my friends in some really cool cities. Another friend I want to see is my other bestie from NYC, Ashley. I miss her a lot too and she is just so sweet. Her and Tuyen are like my soul sisters. Plus it'd be nice to visit the Big Apple again. And last but not least is one of my closest friends from High School who just transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. She is just the most down to earth girl I know and always knows how to have a good time.

Sorry for that super long post, but hey, I'm just excited to be blogging again after that long hiatus (and a bit of writer's block). And yes I also have the other usual ones like working out and paying off debt and setting off my career and all that, but I wanted to highlight these ones since they are the ones I've given the most thought to.

How about your resolutions? Are they similar to mine? Do you have any or are you going without them this year? Let me know in the comments and also share anything you'd like me to blog about.

And remember, you can always join the link-up:

The Nectar Collective

Love,
Astrid