Wearing With Pride

Little things make me so happy…like the victory my school won in getting a sweatshirt with their name on it.  The overarching brand generally doesn’t allow it, but I think we – the students – asked enough collectively that our instructor was finally heard by the powers that be.

We all have a sense of pride surrounding the quality of training, instruction, and of students who attend, so in a way this is like a show of support to sport the hoodie.  For a Martial Arts school, you always hope that’s the case – the friendships forged there are meaningful because you are in the thick of it together.  Even if you don’t hang out with everyone all the time, you know you can count on mutual respect and feedback when in the dojo.  Since it isn’t ALWAYS the case, it’s a special thing to find that kind of environment.  And as a result…wearing our name out an about puts a huge smile on my face. 🙂

BJJ Gracie Hoodie

BJJ Gracie Hoodie

More Martial Arts fun!

The Brilliance Of Riced Veggies

The riced veggie trend is one of my favorite things to have happened to grocery stores yet.  Sure, I appreciate the sugar-free products, absolutely.  And I LOVE that there are “natural food” aisles with non-monster brands (once nigh impossible to find.)  But while riced veggies are a cinch to make yourself – if you have a food processor at home – there’s a massive convenience in being able to snag a pre-made bag at the store.  And when a trend hits, that’s what you get – convenience!

I don’t use riced vegetables as the base for my meals all the time – sometimes the larger pieces are a good thing because it feels like you are eating more.  More bulk = feels like more substance.  


Riced cauliflower, for one, is a fabulous substitute for rice, pasta, or even mashed potatoes – you get the volume, and a similar texture, without as many calories or carbohydrates.  So it’s a perfect swap for a dinner side (“healthy” fried “rice,” anyone?!) or base, as an example, and can even work for a base for doughs and baked items. 


What recently came my way was an announcement about Green Giant’s Riced Veggies – not just the cauliflower, but mixes.  What on EARTH has taken companies so long?!  

The glitch for me is that I have never actually seen Green Giant’s Riced Cauliflower in-store – I’ve had to buy other brands.  So I don’t know if I will have the best luck tracking these down, and desperately hope other companies follow suit (they’d be wise to!) Or…of course…that someone near me jumps on board and ups the stock levels!

The doubly-awesome news? GG is also offering a whole bunch of other mashed and roasted options so definitely check them out (store location link highlighted in the paragraph above.)


Illamasqua – SOPHIE Anti-Bullying Campaign

If there is one thing I don’t like to do, it’s engage in political diatribe, or proselytize my own views.  While I’m not opposed to important discussions, I have found that one or the other can often turn out heatedly, but generally not with good resolve. I try to keep my opinions about such things to myself, and simply listen when others care to share (or ignore the vehement postings if I must.)

That said, I am really big on anti-bullying, and because I work with children in Marital Arts, I like to encourage education about what seems to be more and more prevalent these days. Having been the subject of several forms of abuse from partners in my past, I can safely say it is a topic that some have a hard time speaking up about, particularly as the victim.  Bullying in and of itself is a very primal act…and one you might expect humans would have the wherewithal to override.  While dominance is oft exerted in the animal kingdom, I feel that the deliberate taunting is something human beings have added to the mix. 

I like that Illamasqua – a brand that stands apart in a multitude of ways – is so outwardly supporting this cause.  I can’t say that I was outrageously divergent aesthetically, but I got to a point where I was enough so, that I got teased, talked about, harassed too… That wasn’t the “abuse” in my own life so much, but it was pretty terrible.  While I managed to sidestep most of it (mainly I was distracted by worse!) I understand what it’s like.

Illamasqua has been honoring the memory of Sophie, a young lady who was the horrifying subject of bullying gone to the extreme, since her passing in 2007.  Each November they run a campaign to spread the word, and to take proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause. 

I have no affiliation with this company in any way, and in fact learned about Sophie some years ago through them.  But again, I respectfully share because it’s important that no one is alone in their suffering.  

Mizon At Target

I am a huge fan of Asian skincare (a topic I am sure I have exhausted at this point.)  I personally love the approach that the Asian cultures have taken towards their skincare, and love how the brands are always ever innovating to keep up.

One of my favorite brands is Mizon (their snail cream is phenomenal) and I am delighted to say it has just shown up on mass marketer Target’s website.  



Back in the day I had to rely on the DutyFree shops at the airport in Honk Kong to buy up my stash of goodies.  When I left the Fashion industry and stopped heading to China all the time, I had to resort to eBay scouring… Nowadays, you can find more of these brands in our own USA retail shops – thank you for making Life easier!

New from E.L.F.

Elf seems to keep the skincare coming!  

The brand has just rolled out five new products including:

  • Hydrating Gel Melt Cleanser
  • Cleansing Duo Face Brush
  • Pore Refining Brush and Mask Tool
  • Bubble Mask
  • Facial Massager

I can’t help but see the distinctly Asian influence here – frankly with all five products!  In my mind, that’s a wonderful thing – the Asian market is always innovating, bringing to market new and exciting ideas.

Prices here range from $4.00 to $24.00, so you are looking at more mass market pricing than the back-in-the-day-everything-for-$1.  That said, I wouldn’t necessarily trust a mask that cost only $1.00 so I’m not really complaining!  *LOL*

Thoughts on the new goodies?  Have you tried any of the other new skincare pieces?


Winter 2016 – Nars Matte Velvet Skin

There isn’t much about this out there as yet, so thanks to BritishBeautyBlogger for sharing what she knows, as well as her own review.

Nars is an incredible brand, and one near and dear to my heart – I could enumerate the products I used in Ballroom at length!  The pigmentation and formulas is always spectacular, so I wouldn’t be surprised if these Velvet Skin Tints have built up quite a demand by February 1st when they launch.

It sounds like this product manages to stay matte while maintaining a healthy glow – not an easy feat, but one highly sought after! The tint will come in the following 12 shades:

  1. Terre-Neuve
    • LIGHT0 – Lightest with neutral pink undertones
  2. Finland
    • LIGHT1 – Lightest with neutral yellow undertones
  3. Alaska
    • LIGHT2 – Light with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
  4. Groenland
    • LIGHT3 – Light medium with a neutral pink/ peachy undertone
  5. St. Mortiz
    • MEDIUM1 – Medium with a neutral yellow undertone
  6. Cuzco
    • MEDIUM1.5 – Medium with a neutral pink /peachy undertone
  7. Annapurna
    • MEDIUM2 – Medium with a neutral peachy undertone
  8. Cuba
    • MEDIUM3 – Medium with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
  9. Malaga
    • MED/DARK1 – Medium dark with warm caramel undertones
  10. Seychelles
    • MED/DARK2 – Medium dark with golden olive undertones
  11. Martinique
    • MED/DARK3 – Medium dark with warm red undertones
  12. Polynesia
    • DARK1 – Dark with warm chocolate undertones

It doesn’t sound as sheer as its name implies, packaging lid trickery aside (that is a point of contention in the review, at least for her samples), the formula sounds wonderful.  Any Nars fans?

J.Cat At Ulta

Ulta has added yet another new brand to its already-hefty list (yay!)  – J.Cat is a new company…as in it was launched just three years ago in 2012.  It’s aim is to provide “quality fashion forward products with not just vivacious colors, but also provide skin benefit elements in each collection.”

I’ll be honest, I’m not incredibly familiar with J. Cat, but it certainly looks like a wonderfully fun product line!  The colors are incredibly happy and young, but it is so affordable that even if you aren’t generally saucy, you might splurge on a whim! 




Fresh Cocoa Does A Body Good

I’ve always really liked the brand Fresh, finding their formulas to work nicely for my skin.  I haven’t tried this new body scrub – Cocoa Body Exfoliant – but I LOVE scrubs, so I was eager to check it out.

This product is formulated with crushed cocoa and cocoa butter, as well as coconut shells for natural exfoliation.  The texture is velvety (and looks rather luscious, dare I say edible!) and it boasts a “seductive scent.”

I see the “proof” on the site, though I’d take it with a grain of…er…coconut shell…  Naturally a body scrub will deliver (at least on some level) decreased roughness, overall polished skin, softer touch etc…  That said, I didn’t see any ultra hefty claims so it’s more like “Hi! I’m 240g of cocoa polishing goodness for $45.”  Fair enough.

Since I’m particular about scents…even chocolatey ones…I might want to run by a Sephora and test it out beforehand. But it does look delish!

Black Up For Women Of Color…Finally At Sephora!

Well Hallelujah!  I LOVE seeing brands that cater to different ethnic needs and tones – my thesis back in college was about cosmetic companies expanding into Asia…WELL ahead of the surge we are now seeing (*cough* *cough* Ahem.  THANK YOU! 😉 ) 

We all have unique challenges and base tonalities for one ethnicity can look HORRIFIC on another.  Certainly there are mass market brands for ladies of color, but there aren’t as many HIGH END ones… So, I was excited to see this brand crop up at Sephora.

Black Up is a Paris-based line that began in 1999, founded by an African makeup artist – amazing that we are only now seeing it show up at Sephora – then again, better FINALLY than not at all.  Thrilled to see it, and loving the gorgeous shades.