Why I Respect Miley Cyrus

I’m a Miley lover. There. I said it. (This won’t be a shock to anyone who knows me.)

I’ve loved her ever since her Hannah Montana days.

But now I more than love her; I respect her for what she stands for as a human being.


Ever since Miley was able to shake the Disney-shackles she has been left to do what we all do in life; she’s exploring and discovering who she is at her core and the things that spark her passion.

Miley is controversial, real, unabashed, and above all a humanitarian. She has taken the power she was given by her fame to spread the awareness of less than ideal circumstances and intolerance happening all around us.

She has started the Happy Hippie Foundation to “rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations.” She believes in the power of the young generation to change our world so that millions of people can have a fighting chance at the comforts and dreams that so many of us take for granted.

The manifesto from the Happy Hippie Foundation website reads:

People who say WE can’t change the world ARE wrong. 

We will make some noise and cause a scene! 

We will challenge each other and the world & will stop pointless judgment. 

We know that the people sleeping on the sidewalk could have been us or our closest friends if our lives were just a little bit different.

And the people we see sleeping on the sidewalk COULD be our friends if we gave them the chance. 

It’s time for us to speak up for the people in our streets, our cities, our world. 

It’s time for us to grow our passion, shine bright and change the future.

John Lennon said it best: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.” 

It is essential to our lives to do good for others! 

The only way we can truly be happy is if we are making others happy! 

That is this Hippie’s goal! 

#HAPPYHIPPIE

This endeavor alone would garner my support for her. But beyond this she has been at the forefront of the #freethenipple movement, rocked a gender-neutral hairstyle, stood up for LGBTQ rights on countless occasions, supported women, men, and children affected by AIDS with her VIVA Glam campaign, publicly discussed her sexual fluidity, and has generally not given a flying f*** about what other people have thought of her while she did all these things.

Just give her Instagram a look over and you’ll see that she is actually quite weird, random, likes weed, is a beautiful singer, and most importantly, HUMAN. (She’s also doing an AWESOME photo campaign on the Happy Happie Foundation’s Instagram showcasing transgender and gender expansive individuals with the hashtag #InstaPride.)

Miley is an example of someone whose every move was controlled and calculated for her, and who is now free to be whatever she wants to be. And she’s decided to make a difference. She’s using her power to make an impact by helping those who did not get the same opportunities as she did. She knows that we are all equal and is spreading a mantra of love and acceptance while allowing herself the freedom to be true to herself.

Now if that’s not respectable, then I don’t know what is.

xoxo

Herbivore Botanicals Blue Clay Soap and Lapis Facial Oil Review


So if you haven’t heard of the cult beauty brand from Seattle, Washington then please do yourself a favor and go stalk their website here.  (It’ll be love at first sight, I promise.)

Herbivore Botanicals hand-makes all of their products and everything is 100% natural and free of any artificial dyes, preservatives, fragrances, and anything synthetic. What’s not to love?! Nothing excites me more than finding a company that makes products that are functional, beautiful, AND sustainable; they’ve hit the trifecta.

Herbivore started as an Etsy shop and now they’ve grown so much that they’ve partnered with Urban Outfitters to start offering exclusive products! Just what we needed, ANOTHER reason to stop by Urban Outfitters “just to look.”

So let me give you a little background info on my face. I have combination Irish and Japanese skin. That means I have large pores, an oily t-zone, and the strange ability to still be dry and flaky while slick like a slip ‘n slide. It’s been a pretty rough ride ever since puberty.

I had previously been using Lush’s 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion and their Enzymion Facial Lotion with alright results. You can find a more detailed review of my experience with these products here.

This review is after 2 weeks of use, 2x a day.

I’ll begin with the Blue Clay Bar Soap ($12):

from herbivorebotanicals.com

I. AM. IN. LOVE. It’s made up of saponified oils which gives you a great lather and 2 clays to get you a really deep clean. Oh and it also COMPLETELY purifies your face, as in I had a full face of make-up on and it removed every trace of it. Incredible. I’ve also found that it has made my skin texture ultra smooth and it is performing a disappearing act on my pores! Seriously, I’ve tried items like Clinique’s Pore Refining Correcting Serum and this soap has done a 10x better job than that stuff ever did! And at $12 it’s a STEAL. This bar is going to last at least 2 months if not longer!

The only issue I’ve had so far is that is has made my nose and the area around my mouth a little dry/flaky. I’m accounting this to my skin adjusting to the new regimen, and it’s nothing that a little extra moisturizer or exfoliation hasn’t fixed. Herbivore also makes this soap in a Bamboo Charcoal (super deep clean) and also a Pink Clay (more moisturizing) version.

Now for the Lapis Facial Oil ($72):

from herbivorebotanicals.com

from herbivorebotanicals.com

Let me start with the packaging is ULTRA LUXE. The bottle is nice and heavy and the dropper allows you to get as much oil as you need without contaminating the rest of the product. And, the gorgeous blue color from the Blue Yarrow and Blue Tansy make this a product I want to display front and center in my bathroom.

Using a facial oil when you already have oily skin seems counterintuitive, but I have officially become a convert. This stuff is not greasy in the slightest and absorbs really quickly. It calms any redness I may have from picking my face (I know it’s a bad habit but I think I can safely say that this is a guilty pleasure for most of us) and I have had far fewer breakouts since beginning this regimen. Any zits that I do get now are really short lived and heal super quickly. BONUS: it has smoothed out my complexion and the fine lines on my forehead and my neck have been noticeably reduced!

I really love that with the dropper you can adjust how much oil you use. I use about 8-10 drops for my entire face and neck and again this bottle is going to last a long time! It is a bit pricier at $72 a bottle, but I’m justifying the splurge with how inexpensive the cleanser is and how long these products are going to last!

There you have it! Two products that I may ACTUALLY stick to for the long-run! (That’s saying a lot for a product junkie like me.) After seeing results like this after just 2 weeks I can’t wait to see how it transforms my skin in another month!

I hope you found this review helpful and let me know how you like their products if you give them a try! xoxo

(This is NOT a sponsored post.)

Current Dance Obsession: Valtari

Welcome back friends!

This post doesn’t require much talking from me; I’m more interested in what interpretations you all experience!

The piece, in my opinion, is simply exquisite.

The notions of initial connections (visual, physical, emotional), trust, “oneness”, equality, and romance all swirl together in a visually stunning work. It is a piece that has me watching it over and over to dive deeper into the story as it pulls my soul in tighter and tighter. The superb dancing alone is reason to watch; the combination of music, cinematography, and movement make it a film to love.

Enjoy, Valtari.

 

Written & Directed by Christian Larson. Choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Music by Sigur Ros.

Danced by the lovely Nicola Leahey and James O’Hara.

Let’s get a discussion going and leave your interpretations in the comments below!

Lush Review: 9 to 5, Ultrabland, and Enzymion


If you have ever been into a Lush boutique you KNOW how addictive their products are. I absolutely adore that they stand for no animal testing, all of their packaging is recycled or non-existent, and most of their products are vegan!

Some of my favorites are: Rose Queen bath bomb, Mint-Julips lip scrub, Sunnyside bubble bar, and the Charity Pot lotion.

Bonus tip: if you bring back 5 clean black tubs (they’re clearly marked which ones qualify) you get a free face mask of your choice!

I had always loved their body products, so I figured why not try out their facial skincare!

I’ll start with the Ultrabland Cleanser ($30):

from lush.com

from lush.com

This stuff is RICH. It’s a super thick formula that you massage onto dry skin and then wipe off with a washcloth or cotton pad. It was a serious adjustment getting used to the indulgent nature of this product. I will say that it was a lifesaver during the harsh winter here in London; it gave my skin a protective barrier that locked in moisture like a pro. It also didn’t make me break out or make my oily zones any worse.

It removes makeup fairly well and I would highly recommend for people with really dry skin in need of replenishment.

Pros: moisturizing, calming, indulgent, 1 tub lasts about a month.

Cons: a bit heavy, doesn’t give you a “clean feeling”

9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion ($22):

from lush.com

from lush.com

After using the Ultrabland cleanser I wanted to try something lighter as the weather got warmer in London. The 9 to 5 cleanser uses the same method of cleansing by massaging it into dry skin and then removing with a cotton pad. This formula is much lighter and almost disappears into your skin after you massage it. The fragrance is lovely and light and again it didn’t seem to make me break out but still gave my skin a bit of hydration.

However it DOES NOT remove makeup very well i.e. I had to cleanse 2x and then swipe my face with witch hazel before it got everything off.

Pros: light, hydrating, good fragrance.

Cons: doesn’t remove makeup well.

Enzymion Moisturizer ($40):

from lush.com

from lush.com

This was one of my favorite facial products from Lush. It is light but still gives my skin a ton of moisture without feeling heavy. It  did a great job of healing any zits that would pop up and I did feel like it brightened my complexion. I also loved that it included ingredients like fresh lemon and papaya juice, tangerine oil, and cocoa butter.

My only qualms with this bad boy is that my face did get pretty slick by mid-day and the tiny tub doesn’t last very long if you use it twice a day. At $40 a tub that adds up pretty fast.

Pros: light, moisturizing, clears complexion.

Cons: mid-day grease, expensive, doesn’t last long.

There you have it! I hope you found these reviews helpful in your quest for your perfect skincare routine.

What Lush products are your must-haves?

xoxo

(This is NOT a sponsored post and I received no compensation from Lush.)

10 Kick-Ass Ways to Eat More Kale

I’m sure you all know by know that you should be eating more kale right?

Kale is one of those magic superfoods that contains an incredible amount of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorous, and magnesium, just to name a few. 😉

So it’s no wonder that you should be sneaking this wonder leaf into as many meals as possible!

Here is my list of 10 kick-ass ways to eat more kale:

  1. Kale Chips
    • That’s right. Kale chips. Kinda like potato chips, but WAY better/healthier. Simply tear your kale into chip-size pieces and toss with some olive oil and pink himalayan salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Kale Smoothie
    • This is probably the most obvious way, but also one of the easiest as you can drink it way faster than you can chew! Add about 1 cup of chopped kale to a blender along with 2-3 cups of almond or rice milk or coconut water, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. Blend until smooth! (optional add ins: any fruit such as blueberries or raspberries, ground flax seed, soy yogurt.)
  3. Kale Salad
    • Kale can be a little tough when eaten raw. But if you spend 5 minutes and massage your kale with some extra-virgin olive oil it will soften the leaves up and make your salad so much more pleasant to eat. Add in some chopped nuts, tomato, thinly sliced onion, bell pepper, and whip up a dressing of fresh orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil and you’ve got yourself a super salad!
  4. Tofu Kale Scramble
    • This is an amazing way to get some veggies and a ton of protein at breakfast or lunch time! Drain your extra-firm tofu and press between some paper towels. Meanwhile heat some coconut oil in a pan and sauté some onions, mushrooms, peppers, and kale until softened. Crumble your tofu into the pan and add in some spices such as turmeric, garlic, salt, chili powder, etc. and stir until well combined and warmed through. Serve!
  5. Soups
    • You can add kale to just about any soup! Simply add chopped kale about 10 minutes before you’re done cooking the soup. Voila! Your soup just got way more nutritious and hearty. (I like to add kale to tomato soups, chowders, and curries.)
  6. Juice
    • Add whole kale stalks to any juice recipe to get some added green power!
  7. Kale Slaw
    • In any cole slaw recipe, just replace part or all of the cabbage with finely sliced kale! Kale has way more nutrients than cabbage does and it makes an awesome side dish to some baked tofu! (add fresh lemon juice for a fresh twist)
  8. One-Pot Pasta
    • One pot-pasta is one of my favorite meals because it’s so freaking easy to do! And when you add kale you’re sneaking in some veggies with your pasta! Sauté 1 chopped onion in some coconut oil in a large pot until soft, then add 5 cups veggie broth, one package pasta (spaghetti or linguine), 3 stalks of kale chopped and stems removed, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 can of drained artichoke hearts, 1 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and stir to mix everything together. Bring to a boil then simmer with the lid on for about 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve!
  9. Sautéed Kale
    • Just like sautéed spinach, simply swap it with kale! Add in some coconut oil, fresh cracked black pepper, pressed garlic, and even some mushrooms to make this side-dish a hit!
  10. Cake
    • That’s right you heard me, CAKE. WHAT?! It’s crazy. It’s obscene. IT’S DELICIOUS. This is a game changer folks. Find the recipe over at Veggie Desserts.

There you have it! I hope this list helps you find the kale monster we all have hiding inside of us!

Being Perfectly Imperfect

Let me begin by saying that this post isn’t just for gays, ectomorphs, straighties, giants, Asians, women, transgendered people, Muslims, etc.; it’s for EVERYONE.

Everyone is affected by body image in this era of Instagram, plastic surgery, selfies, and “who wore it best” competitions. The “perfect” body and beauty ideal is constantly thrown in our faces in order to get us to buy this celebrity-endorsed face cream or this fat blocking pill or this piece of gym equipment that will give you abs in 2 weeks. And it’s no wonder that with the LUDICROUS amount of money that the beauty industry is worth today, producers of all these products are going to do their absolute best to get you to buy EVERYTHING.

And I get it, we all have someone that we look up to for fashion, beauty, health, or fitness inspiration. And it is a wonderful thing, in my opinion, to have goals that you can work toward. After all what is the point of life if not to advance ourselves in different ways.

But when it gets right down to it, too many people are faced with depression, self-hate, and low self-esteem from this incredible pressure to be flawless. And that, is where I have put my foot down.

I am someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, a face full of acne, weird body proportions, unruly hair that never cooperates, crooked teeth, and feminine facial features in a world and culture that rewards masculinity. Some of those things can be changed, while others cannot.

But what I have come to understand is that the people, things, and experiences in life that have made me the absolute happiest, are the ones that have not judged my worth as a human being on my appearance.

I have had to make a shift in my everyday thinking and attitude towards myself and the things that I put value on in this life.

These have included:

1. Let it go. *insert cheesy gif of Elsa*

Becoming aware of judgment, determining if it is positive or negative, and allowing myself to simply let it go. Beating myself up over how my eyebrows didn’t look like Kim Kardashian’s this morning is in no way productive nor condusive to having a great day.

2. Take a look inside.

There are certain things about my body that I cannot change, i.e. my nose, ears, jawline, etc. and that is OKAY. All of the outward structures that make up our bodies and faces are what makes each of us unique and interesting (after all if we all looked like Cara Develigne we probably wouldn’t find her as beautiful as we do). Shifting the focus inwards to our hearts and the things that spark our passion is key to building happiness and self-confidence. Happy, confident people are always the most beautiful because they simply radiate! Adopt the mantra ‘beauty comes from the inside out.’

3. Surround yourself with love.

My mom always told me to surround myself with white light as a form of protection (I know, hippie Asian mom right?) but that principle absolutely applies to all areas of life. Surrouding yourself with people who love you unconditionally, with activities and work that bring you joy, and with surroudings that make you thrive will no doubt bring happiness and self-love into your life.

4. It will get better.

I remember a few years ago there was a big campaign to bring awareness to teens who were being bullied and pushed to commit suicide. The slogan for the life-saving campaign was ‘It gets better.’ And it does. Like anything in life you have to keep taking steps towards your goals. There will be moments of back tracking, but those are not failures. Humans are imperfect beings; we are in a constant mode of learning and the experiences that cause us pain and suffering are often the ones we will learn the most from.

By creating a culture that values the differences and nuances that each individual brings to the table, we are fostering an environment that will allow our children, our loved ones, and ourselves to be free in our own skin. Acceptance and tolerance are qualities that need to be at the core of all humans, without them we are only allowing hatred and ignorance to remain prevelant. We don’t need any more people telling us that we as we are are not enough. We need people screaming from their rooftops that they are perfectly imperfect. So don’t give up the fight, keep looking up.

DIY Lavender-Mint Deodorant

Hello lovely people!

Today I have this awesome and super simple DIY for all you people out there trying to cut out chemicals from your daily beauty routine and for those of us who simply can’t afford to spend $10 every time you need deodorant. SERIOUSLY. What’s up with natural deodorant being so freaking expensive?!

While I was in London a few months ago I was looking around Whole Foods for a new deodorant. Now I sweat A LOT due to the nature of my work so I need something that actually WORKS. I decided to splurge (10 pounds, which is practically $17!!!!) and bought the honey and milk Lavera spray deodorant.

This stuff smells awesome and it actually makes putting on deodorant kinda fun, but unfortunately it was not the most effective product I’ve ever used. If you don’t do much physical activity during the day, it would probably work just fine for you.

But the take away from this trial and error was that I discovered I much prefer spray deodorant to a roll-on, and also John-John would kill me if I kept spending $17 on deodorant ;). So I decided to make my own version so that I could customize my scent, save a ton of moolah, AND still have a luxurious experience with something as mundane as covering up body-odor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. 1/2 cup Witch Hazel
2. 1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gel (or juice)
3. 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (or more if you want it to be stronger)
4. Essential Oils of your choice (I used Lavender, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus)
5. Spray Bottle (bonus: I re-purposed the old Lavera bottle. At least that softens the blow of the price tag a bit.)

Instructions:

1. Combine the witch hazel, aloe vera, and baking soda in a cup with a spout for easy pouring later (you could alternatively use a bowl and a funnel).
2. Add around 5 drops of each essential oil to your mixture and adjust to your preference. (I find the Eucalyptus is what makes the fragrance really fresh.)
3. Pour into your bottle and DONE!

Seriously I don’t think it gets any easier than this.

And not to mention that all these ingredients are totes natural, good for you, and pretty household standard. The witch hazel is anti-bacterial which will help keep odor causing bacteria at bay, the aloe will soothe your underarms as it’s an anti-inflammatory, the baking soda neutralizes odors, and the essential oils also combat bacteria and make you smell oh-so-nice. Plus the spray aspect gives a wonderful cooling sensation on those hot hot days.

All together this product cost less than 5 bucks! What a steal!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Note: This is NOT an antiperspirant. I am a firm believer that our bodies know how to take care of themselves and I am not about to get in the way of a process that cleanses and detoxifies our bodies.

UPDATE: Today I put this deodorant to the ultimate test. I went for a 2 mile run in 95 degree weather (call me crazy) and then did a full ab workout with lots of pushups and some weight lifting. I was completely drenched by the end and guess what? I was B.O. free! This stuff is serious business and I am SO happy with how effective it is!