Monday, December 15, 2014

Things to Remember in December

December is the time to celebrate everything you've learned in the current year, and prepare to make the upcoming year the best ever. As we say goodbye to 2014, I wanted to share some of the things I've learned and currently have on my mind.

1. Love Your Lips- A lot of you are going to be standing under the mistletoe this holiday season, so make sure your lips are on point! I found this great recipe for an all natural lip scrub that requires only three ingredients: brown sugar, honey, and coconut oil. Emma from "Crafting &" even includes an adorable template for stickers to add to your final product.

After getting rid of the dead skin, make sure you're keeping them moisturized. I currently can't get enough of my Burt's Bees Lip Balms in their regular sheer shade as well as their tinted variety.

Don't let your lips get dry and flaky. Show them some TLC, pucker up, then you'll thank me! ;)

2. File or Fail- Have you accumulated paperwork, bills, receipts, manuals, etc throughout the year? While I've mostly gone electronic, I still have a lot of things that need filing. As I sit here at my desk, I see a pile of paperwork that needs a home. I am pretty good about throwing away things I don't need, so I need to make the time to get all that remains into my filing system. 

If you haven't already invested in a shredder, this is the perfect time to add one to your Christmas list. Identity theft is at an all-time high, protect yourself.

3. Prevention is Key- Has it been a hot minute since you've been to the doctor? Don't feel bad, I'm on the same boat. I've been putting off the dentist, the dermatologist, and the gynecologist. Life gets busy, but you need to make your health a priority.

Many health plans allow for one full checkup a year, and it's December folks. Get those appointments in and ensure you're in tip top shape.

4. Don't Wait for January- Get a jump start on your health resolutions. Ugh...I know. That's another thing I totally slacked on in 2014 that I will not allow to continue. Life is busy, time is limited but it's important that everyone take some time for themselves. If it means waking up earlier, set that alarm--- and two others as reminders that you need to be out of bed.

I gave you some tips in my November post, for getting your fitness in. But with all the new year resolutions, there will be a lot of great deals out there including free introduction classes and sometimes even as much as a week free trial at a local gym.

If you rather stay indoors, I just visited a new T.J. Maxx location near home and found some great home equipment. They had yoga mats, resistant bands, kettle weights, and all kinds of other random things that can help you get a great workout. Check out stock at Marshall's and Ross as well.

Affordable and easily available. No more excuses.

5. Wash My Face When?- Speaking of exercising, I learned something pretty interesting today. Self Magazine posted an article about the most important time of the day to wash your face, and how it's not when you think it is. I would have guess it would be morning, but I was wrong.

“You’ve got to wash your face before you work out because if you don’t, then you’re sweating against all of the oil and dirt on your skin which can lead to clogging,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, M.D. “And more importantly when you work out and sweat, you wipe your skin. Well that just grinds all of the oil, dirt, grime and dead cells into your pores and makes you break out.”

Who knew?! I'm currently using Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser but I keep a pack of facial towelettes in my gym bag in case I don't have time to wash my face properly ahead of a workout.

6. Pay It Forward- I saw a story over the weekend on the news about these caring "layaway angels" who are going to stores and paying off balances owed on accounts. How amazing is that?! People who put items on layaway normally can't afford the items, so they make small payments towards their bill until they're all paid up. I wish these layaway angels could see the reactions they bring to people, because many times, this act can be life changing.

If you don't have that kind of money, there are still things you can do. One of my favorite acts of kindness during the holiday season is to donate toys for needy kids. Grownups can live without getting gifts but kids should never be burdened with financial woes.

I was raised by a hard-working single mom, and it was hard to make ends meet. I'll never forget one Christmas when things were really tight, we received a letter from the Miami Beach Police Department inviting us to visit. When we arrived, they had this enormous room filled with toys I could only dream of. My brother and I were allowed to pick any one item we wished for. There's no way my mom could've afforded that Cabbage Patch Doll I wanted so bad!

So many stores have great deals on toys right now. I've bought Barbie dolls for $5, and you can't imagine how happy that will make a child.

One of the biggest organizations is Toys for Tots and you can donate new items fairly easily. Check out their website to find a location nearest you.

What things are you guys working on this month? Any priorities I might have missed?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Get Glowing Skin: Win $100 Gift Card from Target

As the seasons change, maintaining the summer glow in our skin becomes tougher. I partnered with Target to help you get the right the tools to get you that radiant skin, no matter the season.

Summer Glow (Photo: Jinna Yang)

We're pretty lucky in Miami when it comes to weather. Aside from the occasional rainy day, temperatures average in the '70s during the winter. Even though the weather is nice, my skin changes as soon as Halloween decorations go up in stores.

As part of my partnership with Target, I was given a gift card to shop for my favorite products that help me achieve a healthy glow. Here is the breakdown of what I bought:

Olay ProX Microdermabrasion Advanced Cleaning System ($30)
29 by Lydia Mondavi Exfoliating Crush Facial Scrub ($16)
Shea Moisture Misting Toner ($10)
Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 ($12)
L'Oreal Youth Code Serum ($15)
Boots Botanics Gentle  Cleansing Cream Makeup Remover ($6)
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($6)
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($4)
Pond's Original Fresh Wet Cleansing Towelettes ($4)

It is the holidays, and Target wants to hook one of you up with a $100 gift card so that you can buy all these goodies. Check out the video below and let me know in the comments what your favorite product to use during the winter is for your chance to win. Good luck!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cayman Islands Escape

During my recent Princess Cruise, I visited Grand Cayman and Mexico. Visiting multiple ports during one trip is one of my favorite reasons to cruise. 

Snorkeling in Cayman Islands\\ Princess Cruises
Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands (Photo: Logan Fazio)

There are so many things to love about cruising, that it's tough to pick a favorite feature. But if I had to select one, it would be getting to see multiple cities and/or countries. Imagine having the time of your life while eating great food, meeting new people, tasting delicious wines, or getting a fabulous massage as the experienced crew takes you to new destinations

On day two of my Princess Cruise, we docked in the Cayman Islands. This was my first time visiting the island, but friends who had visited before mentioned how much they loved it. My friend Logan Fazio and I had already pre-selected our excursion, so we were pretty excited to spend the afternoon with stingrays and doing a bit of snorkeling.

Logan and I learned the hard way that there is a bit of preparation that goes into getting off the ship. Here are some tips I hope will save you from being late or missing our on your first choice of excursion:

1. Princess Cruises allows you to pre-select many excursions up to seven (7) days before your cruise date. You will get an email with log-in details after booking your cruise. I suggest checking out your options early because many of the most popular excursions will sell out.

2. If you did not book your excursion early, head to the designated excursion desk as soon as you arrive on the ship. This is imperative because again, the popular ones will sell out.

3. On the day of your excursion, wake up early. Not all ports can accommodate all the ships at once, so you might have to take ferries to get to land. This happened to me in the Cayman Islands. We didn't give ourselves enough time to taxi in, so we missed our excursion.

I didn't see stingrays, but I still managed to get into an awesome boat with two opportunities to snorkel. Should you miss your excursion for any reason, there are representatives from Princess Cruises to help get you a spot somewhere else.

4. When you dock into the port, confirm local time and ship time. Some countries do not participate in daylight savings. You don't want to get left behind due to lack of preparation. Follow my advice, and you'll have a great time!

Here are some photos of Logan and I checking out Grand Cayman.

Lunch in the Cayman Islands\\Princess Cruises
After a full day of snorkeling, we found Cayman Cabana. Order the conch fritters & rum runners! (Photos: Rosy Cordero)

Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands\\ Princess Cruises
I'm on a boat! Ready for my dive! (Photo: Logan Fazio)

Reef Dive Cayman Islands\\ Princess Cruises
We visited some cool fish during the reef dive (Photo: Logan Fazio)
Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands\\Princess Cruises
Brain Coral from the Reef Dive (Photo: Logan Fazio)

Shipwreck Snorkel Grand Cayman \\ Princess Cruises
Shipwreck Dive: Beautiful Colors (Photo: Logan Fazio)
Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands\\Princess Cruises
Logan gets a closer look at the wreckage (Photo: Logan Fazio)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Melissa McCarthy Launching Clothing Line for "All Sizes"

Melissa McCarthy is taking her love of fashion and talent as a designer to launch a sportswear collection with women of "all sizes" in mind. The "Mike & Molly" star is ready to make fashionable options available to the masses in the second half of 2015.

Melissa McCarthy in Santa Monica, California (Photo: Wire)

McCarthy, who attended New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, has partnered with Gerard Guez's Sunrise Brands for a line that will eventually include beauty and accessories. I'm so happy to hear that she kept all of us girls in mind when deciding what sizes to include. In an interview with WWD, she said, "I have experience dressing me as a 6, a 12 and more. And when you go above a size 12, you don't lose your love of fashion. I always said, "Why can't I find great stuff?"

Preach it girl! I can totally relate to what she has to say because my weight has fluctuated all my life. I have memories of sales women being downright mean to me as I walked around a store looking for clothes. This was a decade ago, but I bet things like this still happen. I'm so glad someone as powerful as Melissa McCarthy is doing something big to change things up.

The casual sportswear collection is set to hit stores in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. during fall 2015. Sadly you'll have to wait until 2016/2017 for the beauty and accessories.

Score one for curvy girls all over the world!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Princess Cruises: Take a Break, See the World

Taking a Princess Cruise is all about seeing the world though a customized experience at a great price. Last month they invited me and a friend to try out their Western Caribbean route, and what I discovered has me addicted to cruising.

Princess Cruises Western Caribbean
Countless Photo Opportunities (Photo: Logan Fazio)

My good friend and photojournalist Logan Fazio had never been on a cruise before. So when I was invited to hop on board the Caribbean Princess for five days, I knew she'd be the one I want to go with. I had only been on one myself previous to this, so I knew overall what I could expect, but I learned how different (and wonderful!) the Princess experience is.

I have to admit, my last cruise had the same itinerary as the one I recently went to but the experience was completely different. So don't be afraid to head back to familiar locations because there are so many options to check out that will make your current trip totally different from the last. 

Logan and I had two stops on our cruise: Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel. I'll be doing a series of posts documenting our trip, so keep an eye out for those. 

Why Princess?

From the moment we boarded the ship, everything from the customer service, to the food, the drinks, and amenities, was spectacular. Did I mention the food?! Wow, the food needs, and will have a post  of its own. 

Thanks to their 40 years at sea, Princess Cruises love meeting vacationers, both who have cruised before or are first timers, to ensure they have the ultimate experience. So whether you decide to stay onboard or check out the amazing destinations, you need only ask for tips on maximizing your vacation time.

So later this month when you're planning on shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, don't waste money on things that are disposable. Check out for cruise deals where you'll have an experience you can keep with you for the rest of your life. Princess Cruises has ships that travel ALL OVER THE WORLD! Sorry for yelling but that makes me extremely excited. Click here to see their destinations.

On our first day at sea, Logan and I were inspired to check out the ship and have an impromptu photo shoot. Check out the results below:

Catch up on good books like this one by Charlaine Harris in the library (Photo: Logan Fazio)

Classic Port Holes and Funky Wall Tiles make for a great backdrop (Photo: Rosy Cordero)
When making new friends, keep your bartender in mind (Photo: Logan Fazio)

Relax and get some rays from your balcony. Don't forget SPF! (Photo: Logan Fazio)

Outfit change for poolside cone? Why not? (Photo: Rosy Cordero)
***This is a sponsored post with Princess Cruises. All thoughts and compliments are my own***

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kendall Jenner: Shop My Estee Lauder Faves

Estée Lauder announced their newest face is Kim Kardashian's younger sister, Kendall Jenner. The social media sensation and reality star will appear in digital, TV, and print advertising campaigns for the luxury makeup brand.

Kendall Jenner for Estee Lauder
Kendall Jenner for Estée Lauder (Photo: Estee Lauder)
The 19-year-old has been making a name for herself as a runway model. She had tongues wagging as she made her big debut in a sheer top during the Marc Jacobs Fashion Show in February in New York City.

“Bridging the worlds of high fashion, entertainment and social media, Kendall is a modern beauty who represents a whole new generation of women who live, breathe and share beauty, fashion and life 24/7, on their own terms, in a visually compelling way,” said Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Global Brand President, Estée Lauder. “She is the ultimate instagirl, and we are excited to leverage her image, voice, energy and extraordinary social media power to introduce Estée Lauder to millions of young women around the world.”

Jenner, who found out the news during Paris Fashion Week, confesses it was tough to keep mum until this weekend's big announcement. "It honestly feels like a dream to represent such an iconic beauty brand — it is an incredible honor and quite humbling," she said. "I am so excited to share it now and be part of Estée Lauder." "

You can already shop all of Kendall's favorite products via their website here. Check them out below:

Kendall Jenner's favorit Estee Lauder Products

Beyoncé: Steal Her Maid-of-Honor Look for $350

Solange Knowles celebrated her wedding to Alan Ferguson in New Orleans last night, surrounded by 200 close family and friends, including superstar singer sister Beyoncé and hubby Jay Z. I can easily say, this is one of my favorite celebrity weddings thanks to the couple's unique style.

The photo above show the newlyweds ahead of their nuptials, with Solange rocking a stunning Stéphane Rolland pantsuit featuring a plunging neckline and cape. She honestly could have married in this ensemble and I would have loved it just the same as her stunning Humberto Leon for Kenzo. Also, the simplicity of their arrival in vintage bikes is so much nicer than the overdone limousines, horse and carriage, or anything of that sort. Don't you agree?

With all eyes on the bride, Beyoncé kept her maid-of-honor look simple-yet-stunning. She rocked a Torn by Ronny Kobo Maggie Lasso Diamond dress. At $350, I can bet the dress will be sold out by lunch. Right now, the site shows only extra small and medium left so act now!

Are you a fan of this celebrity wedding style?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Exclusive: Jinna Yang Talks "House of DVF," Jersey Boys, and Kier

Jinna Yang \\ House of DVF
Photo Courtesy of Jinna Yang
Sunday nights are so jam-packed, I didn't think I'd be able to find the time to take on a new TV show. Then I saw this advertisement for an upcoming reality competition series entitled, "House of DVF" and I knew it would be a must-watch.

As the third episode is set to air tonight on E! at 10pm, I had a feeling viewers would want to know more about the contestants. I reached out to my favorite,  Jinna Yang this week, to learn more about her experience on the show, her issue with Jersey boys, and who she think Diane Von Furstenberg will hire.

Why do you think you’d be the perfect brand ambassador for DVF? 

The brand is about positivity, sisterhood and I think I have the qualities that Diane is looking for to continue just that - inspiring women around the world to be confident, and that no matter where you're from, you are capable of achieving your dreams.

You mentioned DVF herself was an intimidating presence. What was it like being around her during shooting? (What the cameras did and did not see) 

I was often conflicted because one one hand - here is a woman who seems so loving and affectionate at times, and on the other hand - the businesswoman who we are technically trying to impress and remain professional around. She was always poised and extremely busy so it's difficult to get one on one time with her to allow her to get to know you on a personal level. As expected, the contestants all have big personalities.

I loved the scene last week showing you and Tiffani grabbing drinks. Have you maintained any of the friendships since shooting wrapped? 

Absolutely - we talk to each other all the time whether it's through group text, Twitter, Facebook or everyone's favorite - Instagram. Through the up's and down's we all know that this experience has bonded us and we hope to uplift one another and always want the best for each other at the end of the day.

Speaking of that scene, you turned away a hottie because he’s from NJ! What’s wrong with Jersey boys? 

Ha! Sometimes I just like to have a little fun. It's ironic though because I'm actually dating a boy from New Jersey now. :)

Kier. She’s obviously there to win but is not a favorite amongst viewers or the cast. Is she just being portrayed as the baddie because every show needs one or was it really that bad in real life? 

Kier is who she is - and she doesn't apologize for it. But she is absolutely that way in real life.

With all the fighting going on between the contestants, did it make things more difficult for you when trying to complete challenges? 

It was the worst. It's not professional, especially during business hours. I hate people who are passive aggressive. I also think it's a bit naive when people don't know when to let certain things go. There's a way to approach people and there's a time and place to do it. I felt like I was babysitting at times, and it distracted me from trying to do what I came there to do - put in work.

If you do not win, who do you think deserves to the most? I don't think this is a question of who deserves it most. 

This is a question of who Diane wants. Plain and simple.

When you’re not competing on fabulous reality shows, what do you do? How can we follow you? 

I travel the world, take photographs and write about my life experiences on my blog, I dedicated my life to inspiring people to live with purpose, act without fear, follow their dreams and remind them to never lose hope. I also post daily updates and inspirational messages on Instagram.

Here's a preview of tonight's episode: