Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vegan Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Kale Wraps

This super simple recipe can be adapted and flavored differently depending on personal preference. It only takes about 20 minutes to prep and 20-25 minutes to cook. If you're looking for a filling, healthy meal then this is it!

Some additions can be tabasco, smoked paprika on the sweet potatoes in place of cumin, sour cream (if you're not vegan), etc. Also, if you don't want to add this to a wrap you can just throw it over mixed greens. Warm, roasted veggies are delish in salads.

Vegan Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Kale Wraps

Serves 4-5
3 cups sweet potato peeled and diced (2-3 medium sized)
3 cups torn kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sale
3 tsp ground cumin (separated)
3 medium sized beefsteak tomatoes, chopped (3 cups total)
1.5 cups black beans (if you're using dried beans, this is the amount cooked; 15 oz canned is equivalent - rinsed and drained)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp cayenne (adjust according to preference)
4-5 Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas (available at Whole Foods by the breads in the freezer)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss sweet potatoes, olive oil, and 3/4 tsp cumin. Roast for 20 minutes, until soft and lightly browned.

Combine tomatoes, black beans, bell pepper, kale, cayenne, and 2 1/4 tsp cumin to a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes and stir often. 

Place the tortillas in the microwave for 15-30 seconds to soften and warm them. Spoon out equal parts of the sweet potato and tomato mixture onto each wrap.

To fold the tortilla into a burrito, fold the sides of the wrap in and then roll from bottom to top, keeping contents in the center - here's a picture tutorial that makes it super easy. 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Skincare Routine

I was going to make the title of this post something along the lines of "I'm a big girl now," but that just made me think of the wonderful line from Full House: "I'm a big girl, you're a big girl, yada yada yada yada ya." Just a fun fact.

Last weekend I was looking for something to do on Sunday (yes it was 9 pm on Saturday night..) and I attempted to book a facial, but none of the top spas in NYC had any availability. Then my suitemates and I got on the topic of our skincare routines and makeup. My routine is very simple, but I have a tendency to buy random products at Duane Reade, Sephora, Ulta, etc. and blow my money because I didn't research enough.

My skin has been a tad bit dry at night because (1) I wash my face with water that's probably way too hot, (2) it's winter and aside from yesterday and today, it's been 2 degrees, and (3) NYC water is different on my skin than the NJ water at home. I looked into a bunch of different options to get myself into a "big girl" skincare routine that I can follow through with for life. I didn't want anything crazy that would be great the first two nights and then just felt like a hassle after that. While I did do my online research to figure out what options to keep in mind, I went to Sephora the next day for a consultation regarding a BB Cream, moisturizers, etc.

All in all, it went well and here's what my current routine consists of. Not everything works for everyone, but it's a good starting point when thinking of different possible options! My skin is generally normal, very rarely oily but sometimes dry. I also have rosacea, but it's not bad at all. When my face gets flushed my cheeks get red and when I take way too hot showers (it's an issue I struggle with..) I get red and splotchy.

I have 2 different cleansers because as I mentioned, the water in NYC is way different than NJ's. At home I use philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser. I love it because it's light, has a fresh smell, doesn't leave any residue on my face, and works well with a Clarisonic! I'm not a fan of gel cleansers, so I like the consistency of this one. I bought the travel size one to try it out before I got hooked, which I recommend doing when you're thinking of getting any new beauty products!
At school I use Cetaphil, which I hated at home. For whatever reason, when I started this semester my pores got really red after I washed my face so I just decided to try this to see what happened. It's also a light cleanser with a decent scent. It comes off nicely and you don't have to use too much.

I went to the derm to have them confirm what I already knew (because let's face it.. I am always right. Only not really but I was this time!) - I have rosacea. There's nothing you can do about it, but certain things can minimize the redness (don't eat spicy foods, limit coffee intake to one-two cup(s) per day, don't use abrasive exfoliators, etc.). They did give me (aka I bought) La Roche-Posay's Rosaliac Anti-Redness Moisturizer, which was okay, but not $40something okay. It definitely didn't make any difference and sometimes my skin was still mildly dry after applying. Again, not everything works for everyone!
I switched to Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins and I'm a huge fan. I've heard a lot of good things, but I still talked to the skincare expert to make sure it would work for me. It has a light citrusy smell (which usually I hate - I can't sit next to anyone eating an orange.. or a banana) that's actually refreshing. It doesn't make your skin greasy or shiny - you just look normal! My skin isn't irritated, dry, oily, etc. I even use it in the am too. The whole trick to putting it on is use a tiny amount (you get so many uses out of one jar) and press it into your skin, then massage.

Tinted Moisturizer/BB Cream
I used to use my regular moisturizer (that I mentioned before) and then a powder to help cover up random splotches which makes no sense since my skin was still dry.. this is my lack of skincare/makeup knowledge kicking in. I wanted the Bobbi Brown BB Cream because people rave about it, so I went in and am so glad I had someone test the makeup on my skin because it was too yellow. I loved the way it sat, but the color just wasn't right for me. See a pattern here? New beauty products really are trial and error and this is the one time online reviews really don't help much at all. I tried Hourglass' Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint and it matches my skin well, sets nicely, and looks super natural. Just an added plus - it's vegan and Madonna and Margot Robbie both use it. It makes sense because the three of us are super pale, so the undertones of makeup are extremely important.

I wanted a face mask to use once or twice a week just because it sounds fun. After looking into different ones, the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask stood out for New Yorkers like myself who need to get all of the pollution and toxins off and out of your pores. I used it once and it didn't dry out my skin, irritate it, and it cleared my pores! I'm very happy with it and can't wait to use it again.

Overall, this last beauty purchase was a success. It took some time and effort, but was definitely worth it. It's super important to start really taking care of your skin in your 20s because you'll end up with wrinkles way earlier than you want if you're not careful. After the age of 19 I decided that being tan doesn't really matter to me as much as having wrinkles by 25 or leathery red skin when I'm older. There's nothing worse than that and there's no reversing the damage. At least thinking about starting a routine and talking to someone who knows (not the Sephora/blog reviews we all read) what they're talking about will take you a long way.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Gossip Girl Outfit Inspiration

Gossip Girl will forever be a guilty pleasure of mine. Like I Love Lucy, I could watch reruns endlessly and never get bored. I've been back on a Gossip Girl kick again because no movies seem to pique my interest and it's always a safe bet.

Aside from dreaming of my Upper East Side apartment in The Palace, the show makes me want to shop. Desperately. Eric Daman was the stylist for the show, and he did The Carrie Diaries as well. You end up with serious outfit envy after watching either of these. Last night I thought it would be fun to round up some of the countless amazing looks from Gossip Girl because, well, why not?

There are way too many looks to choose from - truthfully, you could put a potato sack Blake Lively or Leighton Meester and I'll want it - but I just picked at random. I might even make a whole inspiration board dedicated to GG inspiration. A majority of these are Serena & Blair, but there will be some Lily, Vanessa and Jenny thrown into the mix, too.

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