Sunday, December 18, 2016

Makeup Brush Cleanse.

If you wear make up, you're going to want to read this. This is my personal PSA about the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes regularly! I've fallen victim so some of the plights that come with not cleaning my makeup brushes, so I'm writing this because I really don't want others to have to experience it!

I'm sure most of you avid makeup users/artists already know about this and clean your makeup brushes anyway, but for someone like me who is just getting into doing more elaborate makeup and watching tutorials and using all the brushes in my kit, I didn't realize what happens to not only your brushes but to your skin when you don't wash the brushes regularly.

1. First, and most obviously, your pores could get super clogged up from dirty brushes when they are used over and over again and it could cause some serious breakouts on your face. This is what happened to me and I kept wondering why. The dirt spreads from your face to your makeup and back and forth again! Washing the brushes you use closes some lanes of that bacteria highway from your makeup to your face.

2. Next, it is not unlikely that you could get a staph infection from a dirty makeup brush! Gross. Makeup brushes accumulate oils, dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria, and that all goes right on your face and into your skin. It is a possibility so its better to be wary of it.

3. It affects the way your makeup turns out on your face! Think about can the brand new pigment you bought look like its supposed to when there are weeks of loose makeup still on your brushes? They blend into other colors and you never get the color you intended to.

4. Aside from breakouts, your skin can get easily irritated from dirty makeup brushes. When dirt builds up on them, they become more abrasive and stiff, which can cause them to be rougher on your skin when used.

5. Brushes that are well taken care of last longer! If you want to save your money in the long run, clean your brushes. A few dirty bristles ruin the whole brush and will need to be replaced faster.

6. You can risk getting wrinkles! Dirty brushes can expose the skin to "oxidative stress", which causes a breakdown of collagen and result in premature aging.

Now that you know why to clean your makeup brushes, I'll share with you how! You really should be doing this every 2 weeks. A lot of makeup brands sell their own brush cleaners like these:

I, personally, like to use Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. I like that there's more of it in the bottle than the other makeup brush cleansers and I like that the chemical content of it is low. It leaves the bristles on my brushes extremely soft.

I treat the brushes I use for different products separately. I use two different methods: one for my brushes I use with liquid/oily products like foundation and pigments and one for my brushes I use with powder products like eyeshadow and blush.

For liquid/oily product brushes, the leftover makeup really builds a crazy amount. And since it's liquid product, it clings onto the brushes. So to get it all out, I first start by dropping a nickel size drop of olive oil onto a paper towel. Then before the brush even touches water, I rub the brush into the spot of oil on the paper towel and brush it back and forth 4-5 strokes then I continue brushing it on the areas of the paper towel without oil. I repeat this until most of the product is out and when I stroke it on the paper towel, there is not much color coming out of it.

Instead of using a paper towel, you can also invest in a silicone makeup cleanser pad that has ridges that help to get everything out of the bristles. This one, for example, is a really great product:

After I do this, I fill a shallow bowl with lukewarm water, enough so that when you vertically put the brush in it, the metal part of the brush that holds the bristles doesn't get wet. **This is super important! Make sure the metal part holding the bristles doesn't get wet because it causes the glue holding them to wear down and can cause rust on the metal**

So when I fill the dish, I squeeze in 2-3 drops of the baby shampoo. Then I place the brush in the water and swirl it around to mix the shampoo but also it releases the dirt and grime from the bristles. I keep swirling it and stroke the brush onto a clean paper towel and alternate between the two until there is no color coming from the brush.

With the brushes used for powdery products, don't use oil at all! For these, begin by running the brush bristles under lukewarm water to get rid of as much product as you can. Remember again to not let the metal part of the brush touch the water! After this, repeat the same thing as before by placing 2-3 drops of baby shampoo or brush cleanser in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water and swirl each brush in it until the brush comes out clean and doesn't leave residue when you stroke it on a paper towel.

This is all the makeup and dirt that came off one brush, which I use for eyeshadows.

It's wise to dump and refill the water+cleanser solution every so often (maybe like after cleaning 2-3 brushes at a time) so that the excess dirt and makeup doesn't end up back on your brushes.

After you're done cleaning all the brushes, you want to make sure they dry properly and are the same shape as they are started out as. While they are wet, reshape the brushes with your hands to the shape they are supposed to be.

To dry them, place them on a kitchen tea towel in a well ventilated area and place the brushes over the edge so they are sort of hanging. Just like this:

This will give the bristles air ventilation to dry and it won't stay damp and build a funky smell.

I again cannot stress how important cleaning your makeup brushes are! If you can't do it every 2 weeks, at least do it once a month...your skin will thank you, your wallet will thank you!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wedding Vibes.

This weekend, I was so honored to share in celebrating the wedding of two great people, Nelson and Sherri, who I met through my boyfriend. Being Armenian, most of the weddings I've been to have been Armenian, so I was very thrilled to be able to see the different cultural side of a Chinese wedding. Everything was so beautiful and the food was so good.

Since it wasn't a typical Armenian wedding, I wanted to take a bit of a risk with my dress. I had been eyeing this dress from Lioness for so long, but every time I tried to buy it, it was always sold out! So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I saw the exact same design ready?...Forever 21! It was in a color I don't usually wear, but I'm all about taking risks in my wardrobe and I think it paid off.

I put this whole look together from head to toe for under $100. The dress from Forever 21 was $30, the choker necklace is from Burlington for $3, which is very similar to this necklace by Jules Smith, my heels are from H&M at $30, and my rings are combinations of baubles I picked up in various stores.

I accentuated my dress with gold details in my look from my necklace to my rings to my nails. P.S. I'm obsessing over my nail color, it's Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Terra-Coppa.

And what's better to match me in this dress than my handsome man.

Remember that the devil's in the, timepiece, and all.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sephora Play!

I love subscription boxes and I've tried a few ranging from beauty products to even food. I've tried boxes that deliver healthy snacks, boxes of candy from Japan, and boxes of different hair and makeup products. They were all great, but when I heard Sephora was going to jump on the subscription box train I had to get my hands on it!

Its called Sephora Play! and because Sephora is my favorite place to test out and buy makeup and hair products, I was pretty excited about the news. I had to stand on a waitlist for a while, but I think the option to subscribe is more readily available now.

Like with most subscription boxes, when I signed up for Sephora Play! I had to fill out a quiz asking things like what type of skin I have, the texture of my hair, and my skin tone. I filled out that I have fair skin that's normal to oily and that one of my main desire from skin products was age defying and anti wrinkle creams. Then you get a box filled with Sephora goodies that are tailored to you and what you like. Getting the box in the mail was like an exciting surprise gift.

And when I opened it, it got even better! Here's what I got in my October box...

Nude Stix Intense Matte Lip+Cheek Pencil in Belle
All-In-One Egg Mellow Cream (firming moisturizer)
Smashbox Lip Gloss
Verb Leave In Mist (hair conditioning spray)
Ski Inc. Pure Revival Peel
Tom Ford Orchid Soleil Perfume

The best part of all of this is the card that comes with the box, which you can take to any Sephora store and get a free one to one tutorial on how to use each product!

This is what, in my opinion, sets this subscription box apart from other beauty boxes like Birchbox. And for $10 a month, it is practically a steal! Who wouldn't want this, honestly? And its a great gift to consider giving someone this holiday season.

I absolutely cannot wait for my November Sephora Play! box!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Treats!

A lot of people know that Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. I love everything about it from pumpkins to costumes to candy and more, this holiday is so much fun. I went to a few costume parties this weekend, but I'm planning on spending my Halloween watching scary movies and giving trick or treaters candy with some of my friends.

My unicorn pumpkin and my boyfriends driving skeleton pumpkin.

To spice the movie night up, I made a few really spooky treats, because what better way is there to celebrate Halloween than with Halloween themed snacks?

Starting out with these simple take on cheese and crackers with these string cheese witches broom sticks.

I simply took sticks of string cheese and cut each one into 3 equal pieces. Then I cut each piece vertically to look like strands on a broom. Lastly I cut into those pieces twice horizontally to make the piece of cheese look frayed and more like an actual broom. I added a pretzel stick on top for the handle and voila, a broomstick!

The next snack on my party list are these super cute jalapeño popper mummies!

Find this recipe at the bottom of this post.
They're made with roasted jalapeños, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and olives for the eyes.

Finally I made these adorable and extremely delicious spider cookies! They're basically snickerdoodle kiss cookies, but with a mini Reese's cup instead of a Hershey's kiss. 

Recipe at the bottom of this post.

However you are celebrating today and even if you're not, these snacks can be altered for any occasion. Cook away!

Mummy Jalapeño Poppers


  • Crescent rolls or puff pastry
  • 10 jalapeño peppers halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • Black olive slices for eyes
  1. Halve and seed the jalapeño peppers.
  2. Combine the two cheeses and green onions and mix well.
  3. Fill the mixture into the jalapeño pepper halves.
  4. Use a pizza cutter to slice strands of the dough. Wrap the strands of dough around the jalapeños to resemble a mummy. Leave space for the olive eyes.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately press olive slice eyes in the spaces for the eyes.

Spider Snickerdoodle Cookies

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)
  • Mini Reese's cups, frozen
  • Candy eyes
  • Melting chocolate or frosting in a tube
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together shortening, peanut butter, egg, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and milk.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture and beat until blended.
  5. Form into 1 inch balls.
  6. Roll in sugar and place a couple of inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.
  8. Immediately, gently press an upside frozen Reese's cup on top of each cookie and move to wire rack to cool.
  9. After placing and moving all the cookies on the wire rack, put in place the candy eyes while chocolate is still slightly soft.
  10. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow cookies to firm.
  11. Melt chocolate in a bag and cut the corner to pipe the spider's legs on to the cookie. I used frosting in a tube.
  12. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow legs to set.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Buzz Button.

When you go to a bar, do you peruse menu to find a cool cocktail created by a "mixologist" or do you have a go to cocktail that you always order? I kind of do both, it really depends on my mood, but when I'm in Las Vegas, a culinary creative mecca, I always want to try specialty cocktails that I can't find at home.

One of my favorite bars in all of Las Vegas is the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan hotel and I'm a big fan of their Bloody Mary, but this past time I was there, I wanted something more fresh and light for a nightcap. I asked the bartender what he could recommend to me and he let me in on a drink that's on their "secret menu". I'm letting you guys all in on the secret, because it's too awesome not to share! And trust me, you will love it.

The drink is called the Verbena and it is only served on the second floor of the chandelier bar. It is a basic margarita, but with a little extra something...a small flower resides on the surface of the margarita and its not just for show. The flower is a Sichuan flower and in the culinary world, its also referred to as a the buzz button.

When he served it to me, the bartender mentioned that this drink came with instructions. The instructions were to drink the margarita and get a good taste of it, then to put the whole flower in your mouth and chew on it for 15-20 seconds making sure to chew on both sides of your mouth and swallow it, and then to finally drink the margarita again. I didn't know what to expect, but I definitely could not have anticipated what happened.

It's called a buzz button for a reason. In the first 5 seconds I began chewing it, my whole mouth started to tingle, then that tingle turned into a prickle, until my whole mouth was buzzing and numb. After I ate the flower, I took another sip of the margarita again and the taste was completely different! I could definitely taste the flavors and ingredients in it a whole lot more, and this is exactly what the flower does. It speeds up your salivary glands and makes you a supertaster. 

Its unlike anything I've every tried and its an absolute must if you're in Vegas! It was so cool that I'm actually considering buying some of those Sichuan flowers and seeing what else it could open my tastebuds up to. But take it from me, this is a drink on a secret menu you'll be happy I told you about. 

Page, AZ.

Some of my followers may have noticed that I've taken a small hiatus from writing new posts and it's because I've recently been under a lot of stress with some personal things so much so that it has affected my moods and creativity. I was in a creative slump from the stresses I was under so I thought a change of scenery and a new experience would make me feel more at peace and start up my creative flow again.

Growing up, I had gone camping a few times through the girl scouts group I was a part of, but I never really grew a penchant for it. I hate being dirty and sleeping on the ground, but I thought that it might be just the thing I need to be one with the Earth and relieve some stress. It was time for me to try it again. Reluctant at first, I really took my time deciding where to go camping, but ended up deciding on a little place called Page, Arizona.

I had heard so many great things about it and seen amazing pictures so I landed on that! Many parts of Page are on Native American reservations and a lot of the sites to see are lead by Native Americans, which I think is so cool.

From LA to Page is an 8 hour drive...yes 8! Due to an appointment I couldn't miss in the morning, we ended up leaving late and arriving to the campground at 9PM. Pitching a tent in the pitch dark of the wilderness was such a struggle!

The campground was called Wahweap and it was directly on the border of Arizona and Utah. You could be sitting on one side of the campground in Arizona and walk over to the other side of it in Utah. What was even more interesting was that the time jumped one hour from Arizona and Utah, so it was kind of hard to keep track of what time it was. But it was a really nice campground, with clean bathrooms and showers and everything. It was right around the banks of Lake Powell, which made for a great view to wake up to in the morning. After setting up our tent, we just made a quick campfire dinner and ate under the stars, which was so relaxing, and went to bed.

Page is a place that, fortunately for us and our timing of arriving so late, has activities that can all be done in 1-2 days. We started out in the morning by going to Antelope Canyon. There are two canyons: upper and lower Antelope Canyon. The upper canyon is the more popular, touristy one and requires reservations a day or so in advance. The lower canyon is just as beautiful but less crowded. There are a few companies that offer tours tours to the canyon. We didn't have reservations, but luckily we found some spots with one of the Native American guides. I was told that the lower canyon was much easier and less expensive to get into, but the upper canyon is the most recommended one. It was so awesome to be lead by a Native American guide who explained every aspect of the canyon and what each turn and lighting effect was about.

To get to the canyon, the guide drove us 10 minutes in an open air vehicle through sand and dunes, and if you didn't keep your mouth closed on the way there, you were sure to get a mouthful of sand.

Upon getting to the canyon, I was in literal amazement of what beautiful things nature can create. The canyons were formed and are constantly being altered by wind and water that flows through it.

Entrance to the canyon.

"Sitting Bear". There are so many shapes and colors that are formed by the sunlight that hits the canyons, the interpretations are endless.
Another Bear.
The literal "Heart" of the canyon. 
Different interpretations of this rock: a mummy, angel wings, or a butterfly.

The canyon runs about 15 miles total, including the lower canyon, but the upper canyon was about 0.6 miles and with the guided tour, and took about 1 hour. Unfortunately, you can't go into the canyons without a guide because a few accidents have happened there during flash floods.

After we finished this trek, we were starving so we headed over to Big John's Texas BBQ, a really popular spot in the area. I highly recommend it, I haven't been to Texas to know if it compares, but I know it was really yummy.

One of the other sights to see in Page is Horseshoe Bend. It is an overlook of a giant rock that the Colorado River circles around. The river runs through the Grand Canyon and goes all the way up to Horseshoe Bend and it's the most amazing view.

It is a bit of a hike to get to the view, about 1.25 miles, but it is a really easy hike with gradual inclines. It took us about 25 minutes to get to the bend, but that's because we were rushing to get there before sunset.

We did both of these in one day, because we were on a schedule but you could stretch it out over 2 days. In fact, I kind of wish we took more time to enjoy the camping experience and hang out at the campground more, so I think 2 days is better than 1. Either way, though, the whole experience was so calming and it really gave me a chance to assess what is going on in my life and really relieve my stresses about them. I am strongly recommending this experience, camping and all not only for being at peace, but also for just having some fun in the desert. That said, I think my creative juices are starting to flow again and I am planning more new posts in the upcoming weeks! Thanks for bearing with me, followers.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall 2016 Obsessions.

It still feels like summer in LA, but it's officially fall and I cannot be more excited for my favorite season! The first day of fall was last Thursday, and I honored it by ordering my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. If that makes me basic, then I'll take it because PSL's are just too good to not have. Along with PSL's, there are some really awesome styles in clothing and accessories that I've recently become obsessed with that I think are perfect to rock during the fall season.

This season, I've compiled 6 cool trends into 1 super chic look that is the perfect day to night look for a crisp fall day. I guess us spoiled with constant warm weather here in LA will have to wait a month or so to start with the layering of sweaters and outerwear, but it's good to be prepared with them in your closet anyway.

Here is my fab fall look, with 6 fall things I'm obsessed with...

1. Marble: All marble everything! I'm loving the look of marble whether it's on my furniture, dish ware, or my phone case. It's a very simple pattern, but there are so many different colors and variations of it that you can rock and still keep it super elegant. I recently love the marble look on phones, nails, and as wall accents.


2. Dark and Glossy: Don't get me wrong, this girl loves her matte lips, but I think the gloss look is a good change of pace for the fall. Especially as the air is getting drier and colder, lips become more dried out and matte lips dry them out even more. Ditch the pinkish matte lips for darker hues and be a gloss boss.

3. Geometric Earrings: I think fall is a time to play with hard and soft looks and textures and geometrically shaped earrings are a good alternative to super girly earrings. Simple gold shapes really compliment any outfit and are different enough from ordinary studs and hoops, but still modern and classy.


4. Dusters: Dusters are called just that because they are long enough to almost graze the floor and "dust it". I really love how their length is a median look from the short, light jackets of summer and the thick peacoats of the winter. I like them in fall hues like olive green and dusty orange, but this grayish rose colored one is to die for.


5. Mid Calf Boots: All of the boots I've ever owned have been either up to or above me knee or at my ankles. I'm obsessing now over these boots that go up to the mid calf! They give me a cool New York street style vibe and I think it looks awesome with a sweater dress paired with a duster.


6. Phone Pouches: Maybe its because I've been carrying around a big ass purse all summer long, but I'm really over them. I like the simplicity and minimalism of smaller purses, like these ones that fit only your essentials: your phone, your cards, and a lipstick. If you're going out for the night, what more do you need? Its so much easier on you (and your back) to carry these small phone pouches than a really big handbag.

What I love most about fall, though, is that its a really good time to experiment with different pieces and looks. The weather permits for you to mix and match short and long pieces and I just love the level of creativity it can bring out in people's styles. I hope you all take this thought and run with it...experiment with your looks! I'd love to see all the outfits you all put together.