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May 22, 2018

DEVA CURL | MY NATURAL HAIR ROUTINE

As someone who washes their hair about once a week, I don't have too much of a fun story to tell when it comes to my curly natural hair. It does take me a while to get through a bottle of conditioner, and twice as long to get through a bottle of shampoo. My rule for the past 6 years has been to make sure my products are sulfate free. Sulfates make curly hair frizzy, curls need all the moisture they can get! I have pretty good results with Marc Anthony products, but Not Your Mothers also has my heart just based on the scents of everything!  
Deva curl sent me their new Decadence leave-in and it gave my curls so much moisture! It contains Quinoa Proteins, yes that quinoa-- it helps add shine. Pequi Oil which has a high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids for curl retention and frizz control. Have you heard of Chufa? Chufa helps provide intense moisture. After using shampoo and conditioner you use the Deva Curl decadence leave-in on wet hair. I have always had the habit of using a product on wet hair first. This one is not oily or off putting. I really like it and you don't need that much product for it to work. Where has this been all my life? I have been missing it. 



It even lasts though my second emo rock phase I am going through. If you have curls, I definitely recommend buying this!
LOVE, MARA
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May 20, 2018

CHI CITY


When you say CHI-CITY? Okay enough Kanye quotes. He's so problematic but I kinda gotta support him because you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Speaking of, I went to CHI-CITY for work. So of course, number one order of business, see the bean. I guess the real name is cloud gate? Regardless, we got maybe 3 group photos in and it started POURING. I read the weather before I left and it did warn of lightening and thunderstorms. Did you know people exist that didn't know thunderstorms means rain? Like always means rain? We came with rain jackets because I had to explain that. I never knew people thought thunder was its own thing. But anyway, it started pouring so we ran underneath the bean to take cover. You know, its made of all metal? Neededless to say, we all got kicked out. If that thing got struck by lightening we like, would have all died. It was also flooding really bad in the manner of 10 minutes. What a memory. Of course we took a bit of shelter in the nearest thing, a walgreens... so I bought a magnet. You know, I collect them when I travel. 
I really need to go back, we ate our way around Chicago but there is so much I didn't get to try. The trip started off on a creepy foot. The inside of our airbnb was cool, the outside was really sketchy. The host was SUPER sketch, but the exposed brick will forever be interior goals. 
The amount of murals is also pretty cool! Chi reminds me a lot of HTX but it gets WAY TOO COLD in the winter, so I could never live there. Visit? Yes for sure. 
Part of our food tour had us at Mahalos, Big star tacos and the famous Lou Malnati's. Is it weird that Ahi Nachos at Mahalo's was my favorite thing? I could eat it everyday. Unexpected fave, but I am here for it. 
I grew up with Six Flags but to visit the one at Gurnee Mills was still pretty fun. I rode maybe 3 things and ran to get a turkey leg. There is nowhere in PDX that I trust to get one, so I had to get my fill. I regret nothing, obviously didn't ride anything after eating which I kind of regret but my last job has be tapped out on amusements! I will be headed to Cedar Point when I travel to Ohio in July, so I will get my fill then. Overall, we managed to balance work and play very well. I thought it was going to be really rainy but luckily after our Monday bean incident everything else was fine!

LOVE, MARA
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May 13, 2018

ARIZONA

Did you know that Antelope Canyons have been on my bucket list for almost 2 years now? I was flipping through a magazine and the perfume ad for this scent caught my eye. When was the last time that ever happened to anyone? I was kind of drawn to how sweet it was, and I am somehow almost out of my Kim Kardashian Crystal gardenia scent. I wanted something with a little more staying power and I couldn't get this scent out of my head. Its perfect.
The story behind it is great too, Proenza Schouler released a little webseries around it. It is Proenza's first perfume ever.




LOVE, MARA

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May 7, 2018

CURRENT CRUSHES | BEAUTY ROUTINE

I feel like my beauty faves haven't budged much until the past 6 months. I have been trying new things and I am EXCITED to share my current crushes. Below I linked some current crushes, things I use, and things I think are close to what I am suggesting. I have everything from witch hazel to deodorant serum... It's ok. Let's get into it:



I think witch hazel is on top of everyone's list. Its relatively inexpensive and has worked wonders for my skin. I get mini breakouts but this stuff really has helped tame that. I used to have really big pores and I feel like my skin is looking great. I never had any form of astringent in my routine before and this has changed the game. 
There are a few ways to buy/use witch hazel. I recently bought this bottle that is just the liquid. I have cotton pads that I use to tone my face at night after I shower. I am always kind of shocked with how much is still on my face even after washing it multiple times before this step. Outside of this liquid they make sheets and presoaked pads for convenience. I personally prefer presoaked pads but I couldn't find them the last time I went to the store. Dickinson's makes a towelette that I swore by when I was on vacation. I have used both Dickenson's and Humphrey's and like them both. Thayers is also a pretty popular brand that you can find at target. 
This natural astringent helps reduce inflammation, decreases oil and redness, and speeds the healing of scars. This product is drying when left alone, so I follow up with a cocktail of serums. 
I still use Clarins double serum. At $120 a bottle I wanted to find a few serums that I can supplement in between Clarins. I wanted a ways to kind of stretch it out. I heard about the ordinary, which is linked in my shop list, but it's always sold out. While roaming TJmaxx I came across these bottles from Valjean labs in their beauty section (WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVE LIFE HACKS) and immediately scooped them up at $6.99 each for 1.8 oz. After about a month of use I am impressed. Valjean labs is at Urban Outfitters for $15. I already knew this was a steal but OMG this product is everything. OK. SO what do the colors mean? Why did I pick these? I wanted to target some of my major issues. 

HYDRATE (Green): Hydrate boasts a mix of Hyaluronic acid and B5. I love my Hyaluronic acid. It helps plump the skin. Don't let the word acid fool you. I could write a giant post on chemistry and the wonderful world of chemical naming convention but that is for another day. Hyaluronic acid applied topically helps improve elasticity and reverses free radical damage! I love it. B5 is also very moisturizing. It is sometimes called the "anti stress vitamin", it helps relieve fatigue and dullness. My secret pet peeve is dull skin. I get really distracted if I am speaking to someone with a dull complexion. IDK why. 

GLOW(Blueish): Glow is made of Vitamin C and Magnesium. These two potent ingredients help balance tone and fade acne scars. Vitamin C can also stimulate collagen production and treat UV photo-damage. Obvious why I bought this one. I put it on in the morning. 

RESTORE (pinkish): Niacinamide and Zinc are the main ingredients in this one to help blemish prone skin to restore and rejuvenate. I typically put this one on at night. Niacinamide helps diminish large pores, evens skin tone and counters dullness. 

My face responds best to serums. It always has, thats why I love my clarins double serum so much. What I typically do is apply one of the valjean labs serums after cleansing my skin/ toning with witch hazel. After I let Valjean sit for about 2 minutes I rub a small pump of Clarins into my palms and pat onto my forehead, around my eyes, and smile lines. Its a definitely decrease in the amount of clarins I used to pump on my face but this cocktail has really worked wonders in the past month. My wallet is also pretty happy. IDK how long valjeans will be at Tjmaxx but the ordinary makes serums with the same active ingredients, as well as many other brands. 
Valjeans has a couple other serums but this is really all that is needed to treat my skin conditions. 
Alright, time to puff pass to my next obsession:
KUSH MASCARA. It is formulated with cannabis oil. I have been in the market for a new mascara. My whole life I have never had a good drugstore brand mascara. Only high end brands work well for me. I definitely bought it for the gimmick, it retails $24,  but on their website I got 15% off and free shipping. This could have easily retailed for $35. The tube is solid metal! It came with really cute stickers and a cute pouch. I really like this formula, it makes my lashes very voluminous and longer. My lashes have been hydrated because of the CBD oil that is mixed in. My only complaint is the brush is really extra. It can get messy if I'm not careful with my bottom lashes or inner corners. I will go more in depth with this product next week! It deserves its own post, and an explanation of CBD/ cannabis. 
OKURRRR, remember when I mentioned colorism in the Philippines? This Nivea Q10 deodorant serum boasts "White and Firm" on the packaging. I have a bit of hyper-pigmentation on my underarms, so... here I am. Not only does this actually keep me smelling fresh, I have noticed a lighter/ more even coloration with my arm pits. This product is only available overseas and is manufactured in Malay. Yes it contains an alu-salt and that is ok. Again, this is advanced chemistry, but its OK. Do not leave me baseless comments or emails about cancer from alusalts and deodorant. Many researchers have debunked those claims. Regardless, I will be a bit sad when I am out. I have never seen a serum deodorant in the market in the US, its really similar to liquid roll-on. Its probably a gimmick... but I am here for it. 

I hope you guys learned a bit about my current beauty crushes. I definitely love how affordable this whole list is! You know I stay ballin on a budget and I want to share more broke bitch hacks. 

LOVE, MARA
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May 2, 2018

HELLO MAY


I don't know if I will get used to May not being hot AF. Its been gloomy for the past week in Portland. Since I got back from vacation I haven't really had a minute to keep my head above water. There are a lot of things changing around me at work, life, and I have a lot going on in my head with my side projects. I think on vacation I finally, after like 5 years, took a minute to just live. Isn't that sad? I kind of thought about what I wanted to do, what I would rather be doing, what I can do but don't. I was joking a lot about 2018 being the year of "Living my best life." but its kinda true.
I think its time to do more of the things I have always wanted to do but haven't. That is so vague... I promise it will start to make sense.




LOVE, MARA
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