Oh Chanel!

August 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

I was scrolling through photos recently and found all of the photos from my birthday bash. Have you ever visited Chanel? You know Chanel, that ever iconic name we all know and love (and I don’t care who you are, you covet Chanel as much as the rest of us, even if you won’t verbally admit it!) Today, I’m not referring to the magnificence that is clothing, oh no. I’m actually here to discuss the beauty counter.

For my birthday, I was smart enough to book an appointment to have my make-up done — because as much as I like doing my own, sometimes you just need a pro on your side, especially when it’s a BIG night.

I met up with a few gal pals for a pre-beauty application drink, you know, to calm the “I’m thirty” nerves a bit.

Cosmo

 

Then I headed off to Brown Thomas on Grafton street to have the lovely and talented ladies prep my face for the evening out. And I was pampered like you wouldn’t believe!

The whole session took about an hour. (Unfortunately, photos of the products were not allowed, but don’t worry, I have a feature coming soon.) The application involved moisturizer, primer, foundation, highlighter, powder, bronzer, blush, a subtle smoky-eye, and my favorite part, the lipstick. VOILA!

Up close & personal with Chanel beauty: a bold lip to match the subtle smoky eye

Up close & personal with Chanel beauty: a bold lip to match the subtle smoky eye

 

Now, I’ve never done a perfect smoky-eye before, so it took me quite a minute to get used to the look….but every time I see the photo now I absolutely want to recreate the look! It really makes my eyes pop, which is something I’ve never been able to successfully do.

And of course, like Elle Woods, one of my signature colours is pink. So I opted for a bold, shiny, pink lip. (It was actually coincidence that my top matched my lip!)

Rogue Coco #80 - Suspense

Rouge Coco #80 – Suspense

 

Chanel - Suspense

The lipstick is undeniably amazing and lasts for hours and hours, even through who-knows-how-many cocktails! It glides on easily and is highly pigmented so a little goes a very long way. And if you want an extra bit of shine, opt for a Chanel tinted gloss on top. You won’t regret it!

Masquerade 30th

Have you ever tried smiling with a massive mask tied to your head? It is certainly no small task! And of course, a look at my birthday outfit.

Until next time. XOXO – K

August is a great time to holiday in Spain. All the locals flock from their city living ways to the holiday homes for a month (yes, you read that right. A MONTH) of relaxation, friends, family, and a way of life that is so completely different from anywhere I’ve ever been.

Valencia

The major cities are left quiet, almost uninhabited–except for the tourists on city breaks and those left behind working the tourism & restaurant scene. The first of August is not a day I’d wish to be traveling on any of the autopistas out of these cities, especially if that day falls on a Friday or Saturday!

Honestly, this is much what I imagine NYC is like as locals flock to the Hamptons during the summer. I can just envision the mass exodus of people from the city in my head; see the cars jammed onto the highways; see the umbrellas lining the beaches…but no, I’ve never set foot in the Hamptons, so I’m really going by what I’ve seen on TV & in the films. :) Leaving the New York visions in my head, let me spin back to the reality that is.

It’s August and in the coastal region of Valencia (map above!), which is where my holiday begins & ends, beaches are filled with noisy locals and visitors alike. The visitors stick to the major beaches, like Alicante or Benidorm; but I know better. I’m one of the fortunate visitors who has friends from the small villages of Benitatxell and Pedreguer and know the ins and outs of the beaches in the Marina Alta area.

These friends take me to small, rocky beaches where the water is bluer than blue, the food is fresh from the sea, and the days are filled with conversations & wine.

The rocky beaches

The rocky beaches

The cure for the blues -- the salty waters of the Mediterranean

The cure for the blues — the salty waters of the Mediterranean

A three hour, mid-day lunch with all of your friends to escape the sun is a must.

A three-hour, mid-day lunch with all of your friends to escape the sun is a must.

A heaping plate of fresh seafood paella

Direct from the sea: A heaping plate of fresh seafood paella (and I know the seafood is fresh because I watched it being caught!)

Black paella -- made black from squid or cuddle fish ink.

Paella Negra — made black from squid or cuddle fish ink.

The Market  Don't forget to pick up your supplies to bring home from the local market! Meat, cheese, fruit, you name it.

The Market
Don’t forget to pick up your supplies to bring home from the local market! Meat, cheese, fruit, you name it.

Late July and early to mid-August is not only for the beach, but a time that each town & village celebrates its roots & origins. The towns more or less shut down for a solid week as locals take to the streets for festivals and parades, that carry on well into the night and it’s not common to see everyone from the town out and about at 2 am–from the young children shooting fireworks to the grandparents taking a spin around the middle of the road as a local band plays on a make shift stage on the town square. Each town has their own festival so it’s possible to attend more than one during your stay as well!

Denia Festival - a four hour parade celebrating the history of Denia with tributes to the Moors and to Christianity

Denia Festival – a four-hour parade celebrating the history of Denia with tributes to the Moors and to Christianity

I personally don’t think a person has experienced life until they’ve experienced the local way of life in August in Valencia. As if you didn’t believe me from the photos above, the sunsets alone are worth the trip! (And no, I do not have Photoshop, so outside of playing with a little contrast in the Microsoft platform, what you see in the photo is what you actually SEE in Spain.)

Sunset in the hills of Alta Marina

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight: Sunset in the hills of Marina Alta

Until next time. XOXO – K

Bring your brain up to speed, because I’m finally getting around to the third part of my health series. Previously, I brought you The Conscious Health Decision and For Your Health: Why You Want More Fruits & Veggies.

Let’s pick back up where we left off and bring the health journey full circle: The Complete Journey.

A little over a year ago I met my friend Lorna, who has not only become an amazing friend, but an avid supporter of me, my health, and my life. When I first joined her and the Dublin Lunch Time Runners, I was a bit lost having no real friends in my new city & life in Ireland. I had signed up for the Dublin Half Marathon and hadn’t run in months. I was terrified! I met Lorna & Lauren (another American!) on a rather warm July day and the three of us started my half marathon training journey. The two of them kept me talking (and more notably, running) 30 whole minutes. I met these wonderful ladies every Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday for a quick 30 minute run and our group slowly built as we incorporated more runners into the mix. After a few of our runs, the three of us would go for coffee and a chat at one of the nearby shops.

Lorna & Lauren had been connected upon Lauren’s move to Dublin as both were distributors for Juice Plus. At the time, I had no idea what Juice Plus was and neither of them really pushed the envelope with it, but they did answer my questions when I asked. Eventually (and by eventually I mean about 8 months later) I attended an informational event Lorna hosted. I had been extra cautious of my health decisions leading up to the event as I was not happy with my over-indulgences during the Christmas holiday the previous month. Lorna’s passion for her health and her life was undeniable during that presentation and I realized quickly that I was striving to have the health she was discussing. The few things I remember vividly and hear in my head constantly are this:

  • Our bodies are one of the most expensive things on the planet and yet we were given one for FREE. Why is it that most of us wait until it’s too late to appreciate it?
  • Health is a way of life. Diets don’t work. If they did, we’d all be thin and rocking tiny bikinis at the beach.

It’s true that more often than not we take a reactive approach to our health rather than a proactive approach.  You know I’m not saying don’t eat the chocolate cake because life’s too short to not eat the cake! What I am saying, is maybe we could think twice about hitting that McDonald’s drive thru 4x a week. It might be cheap NOW, what about later in life when the high cholesterol and/or heart disease could settle in.  If you are reading this right now, it’s not too late to change your approach and you too can bring your health full circle.

After Lorna’s presentation I was more focused on my health & fitness than ever before and after my failed attempt at a fad diet juice cleanse, she and I discussed incorporating Juice Plus into my own life to bridge the nutrition gap. She and I discussed the importance of not only balance but of whole nutrition from REAL food. We talked about the multivitamins I was taking as well as me walking her through a food log (from memory) of what I’d consumed for the last three days — and I mean every little thing from the milk in my three cups of coffee to that Caramello I really didn’t want to admit.

After our discussion, I began on the Garden Capsules and also ordered the Complete Shakes. After 30 days I was noticing I was shredding pounds, had double the energy, slept better, and all around felt better. Perhaps the biggest difference though was that I no longer needed my daily multivitamin, because my body was absorbing the nutrition of whole, natural foods, from the capsules. At the time, Lorna had loaned me a month’s supply of capsules, so I actually noticed even more of a difference once I received my own shipment as I had ordered the Premium Blend Capsules, which incorporated the berries as well as the fruit & veg.

Juice Plus Capsules - Premium Blend

I don’t own a scale – I didn’t then and I don’t now. Honestly? I probably weigh more now than I did in February when I started my Complete journey, but that’s because muscle weighs more than fat. I assure you I’ve lost inches because my clothes are falling off of me – even ones that I bought in April, and that was a mere three months ago. My friends have noticed; My family has noticed; And everyone wants to know my secret.

Juice Plus Complete Chocolate

Juice Plus Complete Chocolate shake with banana, peach, blueberry, & unsweetened almond milk.

 

Juice Plus Complete Vanilla

Mean Green: Juice Plus Complete Vanilla Shake with honeydew, coconut water, banana, flax seed, wheatgrass, spirulina, & unsweetened almond milk.

 

Gang, I don’t have a secret, because HEALTH is not a secret and ANYONE can do it! All you need are the right tools to help you get started, the right motivators (the Lorna’s of the world), a little bit of dedication, and YOU. And trust me, as long as there is you, the rest of it is a battle worth fighting!

I’ve come full circle on this health journey and now that I’m armed with the right tools, my own motivation, & a lot of dedication I don’t see that changing any time soon. There is too much out there worth living for to stand back and take a reactive approach to life – at least for me! What do you think? Isn’t it time to start living?

XOXO – K

 

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about any of the products in this post, please do not hesitate to get in contact via twitter or facebook.  I’m sharing my story so maybe some day you’ll have one of your own to share back!

July 8, 2013 marked the official start of my Dublin half marathon training; at which point in time I could barely run a mile without stopping. After a 12 week training program, a lot of motivation from my running group, and loads of support from my friends, I was able to run a mile, easily. I certainly wasn’t fast, at an average 12 minute mile for the half and the best average I had on any training run (a short one!) was probably around 10:45.

Having been a gymnast and a sprinter, I never thought distance running was something I could physically do – at least not continuously for 13.1 miles. Now, I still haven’t continuously run 13.1 miles, but I’ve proven to myself time and time again that I CAN be a distance runner, because a mile is a mile, no matter how fast or slow.

And now, here we are a little over a year later, and I’ve surprised myself yet again! Now, not only am I a distance runner, I’m a distance runner who’s knocked crazy time off her runs – proving to myself that anything is possible with a little dedication and a lot of practice.

7 MilesYou know what? I can run a mile. I can run 7 miles in just over an hour. (My watch was being dumb and had issues finding satellites, so add approx 3.5 minutes and another .38 miles because I actually did just over 7 total that day)

This run was on a rather warm & sunny summer day in Dublin. I started from my office in Ballsbridge and ran down Merrion road to Booterstown Park. It was a simply gorgeous day and the Irish Sea happened to be in my favour!

Booterstown looking towards Dun LagohaireThere is nothing more motivating than running along the sea, with a little breeze at your back and the sun shining down on your face. It’s exceptional, and so very motivating.

At one point along the journey I realised how happy I was; how much energy I had; how amazing I felt. And that was around the five-mile mark! Who knew a year ago, when I started my journey that I wouldn’t hate myself after 5 miles; that I could still have energy and motivation to keep going, even on one of the hottest days of the year in the mid-day sun, sans water bottle!

This was about the same time I was headed back towards my office on the Sandymount Strand, when the random fog started rolling in. It was almost like it was raining it was so thick. And the wind was blowing something fierce and you could feel the sea and the salt in your hair and it was even more motivating! (The photo really doesn’t do it justice, but just ahead of me in the picture you can’t see ANYTHING. It really just looks like a cloudy day here….) 

Fog on the Sandymount Strand
 When I sat out on this run, my goal was actually only five miles. I ended up taking a wrong turn and making a rough 1.5 mile loop and ended the day just over 7 miles. And with the views that day, this is about as close to Seventh Heaven as you can possibly get! Keep on running friends. Runners’ High is a real and honest thing and I hope each and every one of you know what I’m talking about at some point in your life (be it after 1 mile or 15!).

Until next time: XOXO – K

**Sidebar: I’m not sure I deserve such amazing followers I just sat down in front of the computer to write for the first time in what I’m now realising has been almost 45 days. YIKES. And you are STILL reading my blog? Please, high-five yourselves right now. And do it again, just one more time. You are amazing. (No excuses, because the why’s are a topic for another day!)**

The old saying goes, “if it tastes good, it must be bad for you”. (Or some variation of said saying, anyway).

This saying no doubt referred to sweets and savory foods, loaded with sugars, refined who-knows-what, & sodium. Does it really have to be so?!

You don’t have to sacrifice taste for health, you just don’t. And here are a few ways I’ve managed to bring together healthy & delicious:

Lemon pepper salmon fillet with a side of potato & broccoli mash & asparagus

Lemon pepper salmon fillet with a side of potato & broccoli mash & asparagus

 

Here’s a REALLY simple meal that only takes about 30 minutes to prepare and serve (yes, I really mean 30 minutes from fridge to table!) and is perfect for on-the-go. busy weeknights as it is packed with Omega-3’s & loaded with veggie goodness.

Recipe:

2 Salmon Fillets
2 lemons, squeezed
Fresh black pepper
Fresh green beans
Garlic, minced
Small amount of a good quality olive oil
Baby new potatoes, chopped into quarters
Fresh broccoli, washed & stems removed

For the Salmon: Marinate in lemon juice for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with fresh pepper to taste, and pop into the oven (200C) for 10 minutes or until the salmon easily flakes with a fork.

For the Mash: Boil the potatoes & broccoli until tender & mash. (If you need to add liquid for fluffiness, try water or unsweetened almond milk); Season to taste with black pepper

For the Green Beans: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a sautee pan and sautee beans about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

 

Scrambled eggs with spinach & baby greens with a basil creme fraiche

Scrambled eggs with spinach & baby greens with a basil creme fraiche

 

I honestly wish I could take credit for preparing this, but, I was actually at 37 Dawson for brunch and they made this amazing concoction. I’m still attempting to replicate the sauce at home, but it’s really simple to scramble some eggs and serve over spinach!

 

Italian Chicken with a side of potato & broccoli mash & green beans

Italian Chicken with a side of potato & broccoli mash & green beans

Here’s another REALLY simple meal. Again, depending on how you like your asparagus, you can have this meal on the table in about 30 minutes. Protein, healthy carbs, and veggie yumminess.

 Recipe:

2 Jamie Oliver, Italian Style chicken breasts
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Fresh asparagus
Garlic, minced
Small amount of a good quality olive oil
Baby new potatoes, chopped into quarters
Fresh broccoli, washed & stems removed

For the Chicken: Jamie Oliver makes a MEAN chicken and it is easy to snag from the stores here in Ireland. All you need to do is buy the package, pop in a few extra cherry tomatoes, and bake according to the tin’s instructions. (approx. 15 mins @ 200C). The chicken is all natural, with fresh tomato sauce and a few italian seasonings. EASY.

For the Mash: Boil the potatoes & broccoli until tender & mash. (If you need to add liquid for fluffiness, try water or unsweetened almond milk); Season to taste with black pepper

For the Asparagus: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a sautee pan and sautee about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

BOOM!  As the mythbusters team would say, this myth is BUSTED. Hungry Yet?

And if you are interested, I’ve recently joined a new revolution in the healthy movement, called the Healthy Living Rules, that should help me focus on healthy options no matter where I am in the world with a few easy, and absolutely 100% simple guidelines and a whole community of support.

Bring on the healthy!

XOXO – K