Beauty

A Day at the Orchard

In the spirit of fall and my strong desire to escape the city for a couple of hours, I decided to go apple picking this past weekend. Granted, in the end I never even touched an apple, I still enjoyed my day out in the orchard.

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Apple Ridge Orchard in Warwick, NY was where we spent our day. Here, they have acres upon acres of apple trees, a pumpkin patch, some farm animals and a hayride that goes through the entire orchard. There is a small barn area where they sell delicious apple cinnamon donuts, apple cider, fruit preserves and honey, with a bee farm right next to display, so you know it’s real. Everything is reasonably priced ($1-$8) and for an apple picking bag, $29. In my personal opinion, it’s pretty pricey. But the apples are grown organically and if you have a big family, it may be worth it. Price definitely factored into the reason why we didn’t pick any apples. However, many families, mostly of 3 or more, definitely got their twenty-nine dollars worth, as they should!

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To the side of the orchard, surrounded by beautiful views, there is a small area filled with goats, sheep, cows and rabbits. The orchard sells a bag of hay for just a dollar so that kids can feed the animals. While many were terrified of the farm animals, plenty were more than happy to feed the hay to them. And the animals really enjoyed it.

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At the pumpkin patch, there were too many pumpkins to choose from! Perfect for this time of year, kids were very quick to claim their pumpkin of choice. The pumpkins are a great size to carve, just slightly bigger than a basketball. Also at the pumpkin patch are scarecrows, miniature houses and plenty of photo opportunities.

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My favorite part about the entire orchard was the fact that there were plenty of young kids working there. One at the entrance/exit, marking bags of apples and checking pumpkin tickets. Two young girls collecting tickets for hay rides, two young boys watching the animals (making sure no kids feed them anything funky) and a couple of older kids selling apple bags and tickets.

Traveling to Apple Ridge Orchard on a Sunday afternoon was a complete mission to say the least. If you have a car or have access to one, I 100% recommend you drive up there. From the city, it’s about an hour and ten minutes drive. But by transportation, expect at least a two hour commute. Spending multiple hours on a bus on a beautiful Sunday wasn’t ideal, but it made for great quality time and there is a lot of beautiful scenery along the way.

Would I do this all over again? Absolutely. But next time, I’ll drive!

A different kind of L.O.C Method

If you’re a curly girl like myself, you’re probably associating the L.O.C method with Leave-In, Oil, Cream. But my new version is a little different. L.O.C = Latina Owned Cosmetics. I was inspired by watching MakeupShayla’s B.O.M.B|Black Owned Makeup Brands Tutorial on Youtube. She explained in the video how something like this was long overdue and it made me think… I know there has to be Latina Owned Cosmetics out there, but where? And on top of that, I thought this would be a great post to end Hispanic Heritage Month! So during my month long celebration, I have been researching and trying out Latina Owned Cosmetics. Here are my faves so far:

Kat Von D Beauty

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The first Latina Owned Cosmetics brand I thought of was Kat Von D Beauty. You probably know this face and name from her TLC TV show, LA Ink. But what most people don’t know is that she is a Latina. Born in Mexico to Argentine parents, Kat von D was approached by Sephora in 2008 to create a makeup line. She originally had her heart set on creating four of the most perfect shades of red lipsticks. Little did she know her line would be such a success. On top of her accomplishments, Kat von D cosmetics are cruelty free and is something she is (and should be) extremely proud of!

 

beautyblender

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Okay, so I was SUPER surprised/ecstatic/hyped when I found out that the beautyblender was created by a Latina! In 2002, Ree Ann Silva made it 10x easier for us to blend out our makeup. The idea came to her while she was head of the makeup department for CBS’s Girlfriends and needed a small, light tool for makeup touchups for the cast. She invented and sold the beautyblender right out of her garage and used the funds help pay for her daughter’s college tuition! Today, seventeen beautyblenders are sold per minute and can be seen in tutorials all over YouTube.

 

Reina Rebelde

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Inspired by the telenovela Rosa Salvaje, Regina Merson created a cosmetic line for women that celebrates both the beauty of her Reina (Queen) and fierceness of her Rebelde (Rebel). Regina started this line to celebrate her Mexican roots and to pay homage for her love of the beauty routines of telenovela stars. She describes her brand to be reflect her “complicated identity as a Mexican woman embracing an amazing American existence.”

 

Besame Cosmetics

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With roots from Argentina, Gabriela Hernandez immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve and once she graduated college, developed a beauty brand rich in historic details and romance. Her main goal was to help women feel passionate about their beauty routines again. Gabriela’s beauty brand is full with timeless shade and is inspired by Los Angeles’ golden age of cinema, which is why all shades of her products are named of years between 1920-1970.

 

Tata Harper

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Last, but not least, skin care is the most important part of beauty. Straight from Baranquilla, Colombia, Tata Harper developed a 100% natural, non-toxic skin care line. Her motive comes from her father who was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2005. Tata takes the time to build her line of all natural formulas from scratch while practicing environmentally sustainable practices at her farm and facilities in Vermont.

Of course there are plenty more Latina Owned Cosmetic brands out there that deserves more recognition! There are also many Latina Beauty Influencers that have brought these products to the light for me. In the end, I just hope to see more L.O.C Brands that I can add to my makeup collection and represented all across the board!!

Until then, PA’LANTE! And Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

 

Queen Crowned in Curls

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Circa Christmas time 1996 when big hair was always a part of me.

Growing up, I despised my big, curly hair. I had so much hair and no one in my family really has hair like me. No one knew how to take care of it, so I pretty much gave up on dealing with it myself. I’ve spent countless hours sitting on the floor between my mother’s legs while she detangled my hair and during my summers in Puerto Rico, it would be my grandmother dealing with my tresses. After spending an entire afternoon in the pool, she came across a huge knot in the back of my head. Tempted to cut it off, my abuelita drove me to a salon on the island and at just 7 years old, I got my first perm. Since then, I permed my hair every 6 months like clockwork.

I loved the idea that this “treatment” would make my kinks straight. At such a young age, I associated straight hair with beauty. People would tease me about my hair, saying that it resembles a brillo pad or a bush. Latinos, even the women doing my hair would say that I had “pelo malo” (bad hair). Then I would have older Caribbean women tell me how much they wished to have hair like mine. At the time I had no idea why anyone would want my kinks and curls. While I was trying to get rid of them, women were striving for them.

For years, my hair was never growing, never shiny, always begging for moisture and still I strived for straight hair. I never left my house without my hair being bone straight and absolutely refused anyone to see my hair in its natural state. My curls weren’t curls anymore, but I didn’t care. I felt beautiful with my straight hair.

It took me a long time to fully understand the damage these perms were actually doing to my hair. Today I would say that I was in denial about this treatment. By my sophomore year of college, I’ve decided to stop perming my hair but refused to give up the heat! I was still using my flat iron every single day, making sure there were no curls in sight.

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to ditch my flat iron, other than the fact that summer time was approaching and straightening my hair would be pointless with all the humidity in NYC. I went the entire Summer Sixteen without straightening my hair. Just with that, I noticed some length and my curls slowly coming back. I tested out products that my hair loved and products that my hair hated.

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There was a lot of trial and error and it took me forever to love my hair. Now that I’m older, I understand what it means to be satisfied with what was given to me and why all these women were dying for my hair. I can do pretty much anything with my hair. I can choose to do a wash and go and wear it naturally curly. I can do twist-outs or buns, big or small. If I want a change, I can straighten my hair and if I get tired of it, I can just go back to curly!

Don’t get me wrong… There are still days when I just want to shave my head off or go to the salon and get a wash and set! But I just put a little leave in conditioner, put my hair in a bun and conquer my day. Going natural, I had to accept that not everyday is going to be a good hair day. I had to accept that I have different textures in my hair. I’m going to have frizz. Some curls are going to be coily, kinky or loose. But the best part is seeing the transition. My curls are making a come back and I’m finally getting some length and hydration.

So if you’re thinking about going natural- DO IT! Love the crown you have. It’s irreplaceable.

Cha’s Empanadas

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One of my favorite things to cook (and eat) are empanadas. They’re honestly super easy to make even though there are many steps to it. I may sound biased but Caribbean empanadas are my absolute favorite. South American empanadas are slightly different, but still tasty. They use a corn flour dough and are baked. In the Caribbean, we fry everything!

Empanadas can be an appetizer or great finger food if you’re hosting a party.  They can also be stuffed with pretty much anything. Puerto Ricans usually fill them with beef, chicken, shrimp or cheese. Some fill them with a slice of boiled egg as well, but of course that’s optional.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of ground beef (or any ground meat you prefer)
  • 1 pack of Goya discs
  • 1/2 envelope of Goya Sazon
  • 2 table spoons of Goya Recaito
  • Adobo, salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheese and/or a boiled egg (optional)

Seasoning the meat should be first. In a pan over medium heat, let the recaito cook for about 2 minutes and let it cover the entire pan. Add the meat, sazon, adobo, salt and pepper and let the meat fully cook.

When the meat is done cooking, you’re ready to make the empanadas! Starting off with one disc, you can fit about 2 tablespoons of ground meat on to the disc. If you decide to add an egg or cheese, you will put it on top of your meat. For this post, I used boiled eggs.

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Next, you’ll fold over the disc in half and press down the edges and seal it with a fork.

 

Once this step is all done, heat up a frying pan with oil and begin frying the empanadas until they are golden brown on each side. Drain the oil out by placing the cooked empanadas on plate with a paper towel. When all are done, the only thing left to do is eat and enjoy!

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Product Review: Blueberry Bliss Curl Collection

Being a curly girl requires plenty of trial and error. Sure, we didn’t ASK for curly hair, but it’s what we got and we have to take care of it, right? Right. Throughout my transition, I’ve tried multiple products from brands that claimed to work with all typed of curls. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t fall in love with anything. There are some products that worked really well for my hair type (3C/4A), but I always knew there was something better out there for me.

And of course, I was right!

I first heard about Curls while watching my favorite talk show, The Real. Mahisha Dellinger, CEO, was a guest on the show to talk about Curls’ new Blueberry Bliss line. Then one day while I was at Face Values, I took a look at the natural hair care aisle and saw a couple of the products from that line on the shelf. Each product from the line is less than $25. I bought 5 products and after my first use, I immediately fell in love!

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Products from left to right: Reparative Leave In Conditioner, Twist-N-Shout Cream, Curl Control Jelly, Reparative Hair Mask, Reparative Hair Wash

The entire line smells AMAZINGGG! Like, good enough to eat, amazing. The Blueberry Bliss line is designed to soften and hydrate the driest curls and help promote growth. This line of hair care includes products like a leave in conditioner, hair mask and growth oil. Even though I didn’t try everything from the line yet, I’m sure I will love the rest of it. But in the mean time, let me share with you what I did try.

 

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Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave In Conditioner

For the longest, all I ever wanted was a leave in conditioner that wouldn’t make my hair feel weighed down the next day. This reparative leave in helped me to achieve just that. On wash day, this is the first (and sometimes the only) product I put into my hair after cleansing. And when I have day 4 or day 5 hair, my curls are still soft and I can always add more leave in into my hair for moisture. I also love using this leave in to detangle my hair. It makes combing less of a hassle, making my comb and fingers run through my hair smoothly.

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Twist-N-Shout Cream

I’ve just started doing flat twists to my hair and I have been liking the results before I tried this product. I never used anything special in my hair specifically for my flat twists… until I found this cream. Typically, I let my flat twists sit over night, or if I’m in a bit of a time crunch, I let them sit for a couple of hours. On the packaging it says to use the cream and release your flat twists once your hair is completely dry, but I find that I love my results if my hair is damp.

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of using gel in my curls. I only use gel if I’m doing any bun hairstyles. This jelly definitely defines my curls and controls my frizz. It is super lightweight and doesn’t feel sticky or leaves white flakes. Once I’m done putting all my products into my hair, I finish off with this for my go-to wash and go style.

 

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

I never really had a go-to shampoo for my curls, only because I never really found one that really cleaned my hair. So that’s why I decided to give this one a try. Usually I’ll wash my hair twice. The instructions on this bottle said to work the shampoo into the scalp and during the second time, to comb through the hair and leave it in for 10 minutes. I’ve never combed my hair with shampoo so I was skeptical to try it. It was a little hard the first time because with the shampoo, my hair has no slip. But once I rinsed my hair out, it felt so clean!

 

 

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Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask

This hair mask is meant to be used as a conditioner but can also be used as a deep conditioner. I’ve mostly been using it as a deep conditioner and it has been working wonders for me. Already, I’ve seen a small amount of growth and the driest areas of my hair are loving the hydration!

 

 

 

 

Long story short, this Blueberry Bliss line by Curls is the truth! It smells good, works phenomenally and definitely gives great results. Check out curls.biz where you can find products for all curls, kinks and waves.

 

Wash Day: Makeup Brushes Edition

DSCN1539Just like my hair, my makeup brushes have a wash day. I wash my brushes once a week, but if I’m feeling lazy, I can stretch wash day for 2 weeks. But I do not recommend doing that! Washing your makeup brushes is a tedious and time consuming task but it has to get done for flawless application. So, put on some music or listen to a podcast and let’s get to work!

Why do we need to clean our makeup brushes anyway? Aside from poor makeup application, when you don’t wash your brushes, you are contributing to bacteria build up. You’re hoarding all the eyeshadow, foundation, concealer, etc., in your makeup brushes. Dirt, oil and dust can be found in them too, which can and will lead to breakouts and irritable skin. AND… If you happen to share makeup brushes, whether it be with your sister, mother or roommate, you are now making yourself prone to viral infections. If you are going to share makeup brushes, please, please, please, be careful! Taking care of your brushes will increase their lifespan and each fiber on each brush will surely thank you!

There are many cleaners out there made specifically for make-up brushes. I’ve tried a couple of them but haven’t found one that I really loved. I happened to be talking with a freelancer at Sephora and she told me she washed her brushes with baby shampoo. My initial reaction was, “Baby shampoo?!”. But then it really all made sense in my head. There are no parabens, no alcohol and if this stuff is safe to use on babies, it sure is safe to wash my makeup brushes. There is sulfate in it, but that’s totally fine since we need to clean all that makeup build up.

A bottle of baby shampoo would last me about 6-8 washes and leaves the hairs of my brushes feeling super soft and looking good as new. Since using baby shampoo, I find that my brushes last longer throughout the week. In addition to using baby shampoo, I also use a brush cleansing palette by Real Techniques. It has textured surfaces to clean in between brush bristles for a deep cleaning. The surfaces on the palette are made to thoroughly clean small, medium and large brushes. I purchased my palette at FaceValues for $14.99 and it can be found anywhere Real Techniques is sold.

Cleaning time:

If you have any beautyblenders or makeup sponges, run them under water and scrub the shampoo into it. Keep adding shampoo if needed and squeeze it underneath running water to ensure that all the makeup and shampoo suds are out of there. Do not use the cleansing palette for your beautyblenders, as this can ruin them.

For brushes, rinse them under luke warm water first, then add a drop of baby shampoo to your brush cleansing palette. Repeatedly, make circular motions on the palette using the textured surfaces according to your brush size. Squeeze out all the suds and excess water. If you see the water coming out of your brush is not clear, keep scrubbing until it is! Once all your brushes are clean, lay them flat to air dry on a towel overnight and when you wake up, your brushes will be all dry and ready to go!

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What’s your method to washing your makeup brushes? Share in the comments below!

3 Ingredient Cookies

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Up until recently, I’ve been trying to maintain a healthy diet. Keyword: trying. Not going to lie, I could eat like there’s no tomorrow. But I also know that summer is right around the corner and losing weight starts in the kitchen.

If I had to pick one snack to eat for the rest of my life, it would be cookies. Oreo cookies,  wafer cookies, chocolate chip cookies, rainbow cookies, sprinkle cookies, Italian cookies… You name it, I eat it. But I had to find a replacement for all those unhealthy cookies and tried to make a healthy cookie that can be my everyday snack. Once I found something easy and tasty, I wanted to share it with you. So, here it is!

This is a recipe for a 3-ingredient cookie that will take you no longer than 30 minutes to make from scratch. Not only that, but you won’t feel as guilty eating it! If you’ve ever had banana bread, this cookie tastes just like it! My favorite way to eat it is if its warmed up, but you can have it cold too. I like to take some cookies with me to work and enjoy it with my midday cup of coffee.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 cup of Oatmeal
  • Raisins

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and then you’re going to start by mushing the bananas until they have about the same consistency as baby food. I started with a spoon and later on used a fork to break down the smaller banana pieces. Next, add your one cup of oatmeal. I use cinnamon flavored oatmeal and add just a little extra cinnamon for flavor. You can use any oatmeal flavor you’d like for this recipe. Last, but not least, add just a little less than a handful of raisins. I know not everyone is a fan of raisins, so you can always replace it with walnuts or chocolate chips!

Scoop your cookie dough out with a spoon and shape them into semi-flat circles. Place them on to a cookie sheet or a pan layered with butter or cooking spray and pop them into the oven for 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them cool off completely. Once they’re cooled, enjoy!

 

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? I love to try out new recipes. Leave them in the comments below!