Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beginner's Guide to Brows

Ever since I started watching all of those YouTube beauty tutorials, I've become obsessed with my brows. Knowing what I know now about brows, I am ashamed to admit that for years, I literally did NOTHING to my brows aside from waxing them. I had such a weak brow game.

Since watching these beauty tutorials, I have come to realize that, to have a strong brow game, one has to follow a few key steps. From what I've gathered watching Lauren, Jaclyn and Chrisspy, here is the beginner's guide to brows.


  1. Shape and Tint
    • Ever since some jerk in 6th grade called me "hair forehead" (seriously, what a lame diss), I have been waxing my brows. A few years ago, I stepped up my game by adding tinting into the mix. I was afraid at first, worrying that my brows would come out too dark. However, that has only happened once in the past 2-3 years and was resolved by me washing my face extra carefully for a few days.
    • The reason why tinting is so effective is because the dye grabs the finer baby hairs in your brows, resulting in fuller-looking brows.
    • Most beauty salons should offer this service and if not, Benefit does an amazing job as well.
  2. Fill
    • While tinting your brows is a good start, you still need to fill them in with some product.
    • Anastasia Brow Wiz seems to be the undisputed favorite among YouTube beauty vloggers. Available in 9 shades (I use the Taupe color), the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil is easy to use and so so effective. The ultra-fine brow tip mimics brow hair naturally and it's smear-proof, so it stays all day. A real dream if you ask me.
  3. Volumize and Hold
    • A brow pencil will do like 80% of the work, but I like to also add one more product just to make sure my brows are totally filled in (bc they are pretty thin naturally) and stay in place.
    • I use Benefit Gimme Brow (in Light/Medium) to thicken and hold my shape.
  4. Carve (OPTIONAL)
    • When I am getting all dolled up for a fun night out, I will take the extra time for the final step of carving out my brows. I included a tutorial in this post, but to give an overview, "carving out the brows" refers to using concealer around the brow to clean up and further define the shape. This step takes a little extra time, but boy does it make an impact. Highly recommended for when you have the time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fur + Florals

I'm having a moment with floral blouses this winter with this being the second one (here is the first) I've bought in the past month. They're so airy, feminine, and pretty. I love that they work for both the office and the weekend, and are also perfect for date night. This it how I paired my floral blouse for a recent weekend outing.

Joie Floral Blouse, Fur Vest, Prada Sunglasses, BDG Jeans,
Rag & Bone Booties, Prada Bag (similar), Gorjana Alphabet Coin Necklace, Gorjana Laurel Bangle

All photos by Dena Smith.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Girl Crush of the Week: Emmie Cosser of The Top 10 Girl

I am excited to share with you this week's girl crush, the uber cool, Emmie Cosser. Emmie, a Sydney-born Londoner, spends her days as the Editorial and Social Media Manager of Covetique, an online destination for buying and selling pre-owned luxury pieces. 

By night, Emmie is the force behind the incredible blog, The Top 10 Girl, where she shares her curated, you guessed it, top 10 lists for fashion, food and lifestyle. Please join me in getting to know Emmie a little better as today's Girl Crush of the Week.

Style icons? Kate Hudson is my ultimate girl crush, she’s so effortlessly fabulous (we will be best friends one day…) I also love Anine Bing’s rock-bohemian-model-off-duty style. Plus all the editors of French Vogue! 

Favorite style trend of the moment? Sneakers with EVERYTHING but especially some leather pants & a white tee.

Favorite book? I recently finished Arianna Huffington’s Thrive; what an inspiration.

Favorite perfume? I’m obsessed with Le Labo & the one I’m wearing at the moment is Ylang 49, it smells of cosy winter days by the fire…

Interior design philosophy? White walls, a colour pop couch, some Dyptique candles & you can turn any space into a Pinterest dream!

Your go-to shopping destinations? I work at Covetique, so it’s pretty hard to have self control when the most amazing handbags come through our doors at half price & I like to find my jewellery at a little market stalls on Portobello road in Notting Hill.

Must-have beauty product? I have just discovered the Nars Sheer Glow foundation, where has this been all my life? It is amazing, stays on all day & gives you a natural dewy look.

Secret addiction? It’s not such a secret but my biggest addiction is coffee, without it I would be evil.

Motto/quote to live by?
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Favorite drink? Frozen Margaritas, champagne, aperol spritz or all three together!

Favorite meal to prepare? Courgetti with brazil nut pesto (it’s the only thing I know how to prepare).

Favorite piece of jewelry? A light blue topaz ring my boyfriend gave me in Sicily last summer, every time I look at it it reminds of me of the most amazing holiday.

Best way to unwind?
A long bath with candles & some jazz music.

Favorite workout?  I go to this bootcamp class where they turn all the lights off & give you glowsticks to hold.  You feel like you’re in a night club in Ibizia & it is so much fun.

Favorite fitness apparel brand/item?
Nike hands down.  Come Saturday I am glued to my Nike Frees, I want them in every colour now.

Isn't Emmie the coolest? Follow along for her adventures via her social media channels: Blog // Instagram // Pinterest 

Xo J

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Habanero Marinara Recipe

I like to play this game with people where I ask, if they could only eat one cuisine for the rest of their life, health implications aside, what would it be? My answer to that question, without hesitation, is Italian. Pizza, pasta, I love it ALL.

Of course, health implications are real, so I get creative with Lavash Pizzas, Grilled Vegetable Lasagna and Zucchini Spaghetti. The key to all of these great dishes is a killer marinara and, if I don't say so myself, I make a mean one. My recipe is adapted from an Ina Garten recipe, but I've tweaked it to suit our taste buds aka made it SPICY! If you are looking for a good marinara recipe and like things hot, then this recipe is for you.

Habanero Marinara Recipe
Makes 3.5 Mason jars worth (how's that for a measurement system?)

1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, diced
1 small habanero pepper, diced (if you just want a hint of spice, use 1/2)
2 x 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: I don't always include fresh basil but I recently that was about to go bad so chopped it up and added it. Nice addition.

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet (the biggest one you have). 
  2. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and habanero pepper and cook for 1 more minute. You're going to want to open a window or have the fan going. things are going to get spicy in the air.
  4. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 5-6 minutes. Perhaps this would be a good time for you to pour some wine for yourself, no?
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Add the basil now if you have it. Stir well.
  6. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and let cool before serving/jarring. Place your leftovers in the fridge or freezer to have on hand anytime an Italian craving strikes :)
Xo J

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pretty in Pink for Valentine's Day

In preparation for my birthday, I ordered several hot pink dresses from Revolve. I ended up choosing another dress for the occasion, but really loved this one too and thought it would be perfect for Valentine's Day. I played around with both casual (braid + earrings) and dressy elements (heels + clutch) for this look and like how it turned out.

BLQ Basic Long Sleeve Dress (only $81!), Jimmy Choo Heels,
Kendra Scott Earrings (non-clip-on version), Gigi New York All-in-One Clutch

All photos by Dena Smith.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Girl Crush of the Week: Jessica Edmunds of J Petite

As promised, I am starting up my Girl Crush of the Week series again! While it may not be a weekly occurrence, I will be sharing tons of new fabulous ladies with all of you as I meet them. First up is Jessica Edmunds of the blog J Petite.

Jessica and I came to find each other over our love of Rocksbox over Instagram (where like 95% of my new friendships begin). Jessica is an itty-bitty little thing who shares her adorable style with the world on her blog J Petite. I love her style and... her hair? I can't even. In addition to blogging, Jessica is an instructor at Pure Barre, amateur photographer, wife and puppy mom. Please join me in getting to know Jessica even better as today's Girl Crush of the Week.
  • Style icon? Blake Lively 
  • Motto/quote to live by? To be irreplaceable one must be different - Coco Chanel 
  • Favorite drink? As lame as it sounds I only drink water.
  • Favorite meal to prepare? Spicy Thai Shrimp Soup. It's low in calories and super yummy. 

  • Favorite piece of jewelry? I go through phases but currently it's all my JCrew statement necklaces.
  • Best way to unwind? Take a Pure Barre class.
  • Favorite workout? Running and Pure Barre.
  • Favorite fitness apparel brand/item? Oh gosh it's like asking me who's my favorite child (if I had any). My favorite brands are Lululemon, Splits 59, and Beyond Yoga.

See what I mean about the HAIR?! To follow along with Jessica's adventures, check out her social media channels: Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Facebook

Xo J

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Layering Game

Over the past few weeks, the temps in SF dipped into the 40s which was way colder than most of us here were prepared for. I mean, it's constant fall here, not winter! 

To deal with the cold, I kicked my usual layering game up a notch with this massive scarf and hat. Both are super old pieces, but when paired with my new Forever 21 (yes, you read that right) moto jacket, they work in a whole new way.

Forever 21 Moto Jacket, Black Hat (old, similar here), Gap Cable Knit Scarf (old, similar here or here), Monrow Tank, Madewell Coated Moto Jeans (sold out, similar style also from Madewell), Rag & Bone Harrow BootiesGorjana Alphabet Coin "C" Necklace and Super Star NecklaceGivenchy Lipstick in Daring Fuchsia

All photos by Dena Smith.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Zucchini Noodles

In my continued quest to be healthy, I have come to know the zucchini as a major ally. Zucchini's texture makes it a perfect substitute for so many other elements in cooking. I use it to substitute lasagna noodles in vegetable lasagna, beans and meat in enchiladas, and now my newest obsession is to substitute it for noodles!

Using a spiralizer (I tried this spiralizer, but I've heard this one is also great), I've turned my beloved zucchini into pasta-like noodles- zoodles! I've played around with subbing them for spaghetti and asian noodles to make a couple of really good dishes. Here are the dishes I've tried.

Asian Fried Zucchini Noodles - Recipe here.
Modifications: I used egg whites and cooked the zucchini for 3-4 mins.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce - Recipe here 
Modifications: I made my own marinara and added mushrooms.

I plan on experimenting even more with these cool zoodles but am on the hunt for more recipes. Any suggestions?

Xo J

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Golden Globes Style Recap

Award season style began with a bang at last night's Golden Globe Awards. All of the ladies brought their A-game for the first official awards show and did not disappoint. I wouldn't say yet that there were any clear cut trends this season, but the old favorites (sparkle and elegant) reigned supreme.

In the glitter/sparkle category, Julianne Moore, Kate Beckinsale (always one of my favorites), Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez rose to the top for me. All in very different dress styles, the ladies all exuded glamour without being too over the top. Well except for JLO, but that's par for the course there. 

The next crop of favorites were Sienna Miller (nice to see her back in the rotation), Diane Kruger, Amy Adams and Katherine Heigl. These ladies all dressed in shades of silver or blue and all of the dresses were so so pretty. Can we also discuss Katherine Heigl's waist? THAT THING IS TINY! Holy cow.

Then there were the risk takers- Naomi Watts, Kate Hudson and Emma Stone. Naomi STUNNED in her canary yellow number and that snake necklace- amazing. Kate Hudson, while I'm not super into the dress itself, made her body look even more amazing than usual. And finally, the adorable Emma Stone, who sort of could do no wrong anyways, stepped her game up with her look. Incredible.

And lastly, let's not forget Gwyneth and her surprise hot pink dress. Homegirl always brings it HOME, I mean we all remember the cape.

So those are my votes for best dressed. Who did you all love?

Xo J