Beauty, Health, Holidays

Beauty Gifts and Value Sets For the Holidays

November 30, 2016
Beauty gift and value sets

There are so many reasons why women love beauty. To me, besides the fact that beauty products brighten my completion and slow down aging, they just feel good. With all the things I do for others during a days, the few minutes I spend in front of the mirror each morning and night are all about me feeling good and pampered. And every year, as the holidays approach, I make a trip to Sephora and get a few gift sets which I give to my girlfriends, party hostesses, co-workers, and Alex’s teachers.

Now, I am lucky that I have a long list of amazing women I want to get gifts for, but I have to stay within a budget. I often break the gift or value sets down into several gifts which can easily be stacked together and range from $5 to $100! This is also a creative way to make the gifts more personalized; I actually have fun mixing and matching the sets! Click through the photo gallery below for my favorite beauty gift and value sets!

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx
gift setsvalue sets

Fashion, Holidays

My Must Have Apps For the Holidays

November 21, 2016
anthropologie sweater

Happy Monday loves! I cannot believe Thanksgiving is this week. I feel like I skipped a few weeks of the pre-holiday excitement. Life can get busy this time of the year. Last weekend, though, I took a break to go roller-skating with family, which finally turned it around for me. Happy endorphins and family time was what I needed! This week I hope to keep that positive attitude and plan working on my Christmas list and gift ideas. I found that there are quite a few apps for the holidays that can help me organize my holiday plans and gifts while keeping a happy and healthy state of mind. Two of my favorites are Santa’s Bag and Breathing app. 

1. Santa’s Bag – Christmas Gift List. I consider myself very lucky that I have a long list of people I want to get gifts for: family, friends, teachers, coworkers! But staying within a budget is tough, especially since buying ‘one for her one for me’ is seriously tempting. The Santa’s Bag app is perfectly organized and allows me to sort things by stores or recipients, just the way I like it! But the best part is that it lists how much money I spent on each item and adds it up for me. A great reality check, yikes!

2. Breathe App (for iOS) Stop Breathe & Think (for Android). Okay, don’t laugh. Even though I have always known how beneficial and calming breathing exercise can be, I always dismissed this app as silly… until I got an Apple Watch for my birthday from my awesome men. This app specifically would annoy me at first, but once I gave it a try, I loved it. I mean, being an overworked stress ball like me, this app is golden especially during such hectic holiday season. 

Do you use any apps to help you get through the holidays? Please share! 

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

anthropologie sweateranthropologie sweatermust have apps for the holidaysanthropologie sweater
Fashion

Beyond the Everyday Outfit Formula: Denim, Quilt, and Fringe

November 17, 2016
Rebecca Minkoff fringe bag

I often find myself reaching for the same pieces in my closet over and over  again. For years, these items have proven to be reliable and comfortable, and pair together perfectly (black dresses, grey sweaters, denim skinnies…).  But sometimes I stand in front of my wardrobe and feel that I am tired of the everyday outfit routine day in and day out, and crave to break free. When this happens, I look for colors, styles, and textures that bring up feelings of comfort, coziness, or old school attitude (thinking 70s, 80s, or 90s). I can never ignore the power of a good outfit.

Now during fall, I long for warmth and softness. And for today’s outfit I wanted to incorporate earthy tones to bring a sense of calmness and balance (I am absolutely obsessed with browns and blues this season). The soft suede and quilted jacket will keep me warm and cozy. And nothing adds a touch of a girl-boss attitude like long earrings and free spirited fringe.

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

fall outfiteveryday outfitfringeJ.Crew turtleneck
In this story:

J.Crew tissue turtleneck

Zara A-line skirt (similar by J.Crew, now on sale)

J.Crew quilted vest

Rebecca Minkoff fringe bag

Stuart Weitzman boots

Chanel aviators, old (love these Kate Spade aviators)

Michelle ‘Deco’ Diamond Dial Two-Tone Watch

Fashion, Holidays

Balancing My Social Calendar and Outfits This Holiday Season

November 14, 2016
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Pre-holiday times are very exciting. I feel so lucky to have great friends and family, and our get togethers, which are always so heart warming to me. I will be traveling for work quite a lot in the next two month (three red eye flights!), and to make sure I won’t miss out on any fun, we put together this holiday’s social calendar. Honestly, it really helps because otherwise, I would be staying in most of the holiday nights, exhausted from work, chores, and shopping (not necessarily in that order hehe). This way I balance work with fun.

Here are my five favorite activities for holiday nights:

1. Ice Skating or Roller Skating

2. Binging on classic holiday movies with a glass of wine, or two

3. Take a cooking class

4. Go art gallery hopping (in my case, we finally made reservations to the Broad museum in Los Angeles, and I am super excited!)

5. Game night

A few words about the outfit: when I dress for holidays, I often go for fun patterns and shapes. In this case, it’s high neck and ruffles. This Topshop dress is one of the most feminine dresses I’ve ever owned, honestly. I usually contrast the pale pink florals with brown suede over the knee boots and embellished the high neck and ruffles with oversized BaubbleBar earrings. I love all the dress’ details and sometimes wear it just as a top with denim (see three ways to wear this dress here).

How do you spend your holiday nights? Please share!

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

topshop dressTopshop dressover the knee bootsBaubleBar earringstopshop dress

In This Story:

Topshop dress, old (similar by Topshop Unique)

Stewart Weitzman over the knee boots

Kate Spade NY handbag, old (Love this Kate Spade handbag, now on sale!)

BaubleBar earrings, sold out (similar by BaubleBar here)

Fashion

Holiday Glamour: Workday to Night-Out

November 3, 2016
from day to night

This is it darlings, this year’s holiday season has arrived. The marathon has began and I am super excited. Beautiful decor and holiday music make me so warm and cozy inside.  I always pack my November and December with activities and gatherings, and sometimes have quite long days. To make sure I feel good on such days, I add a little bit of extra holiday glamour to my outfits. Having said that, these outfits are still super simple and can be easily and effectively transitioned from day to night.

Day Look: This Topshop jumpsuit can morph easily from a fab work look to a fancy night out look.  I love this jumpsuit, but for the longest time I wasn’t comfortable wearing it. I felt it would attract negative attention to my body. But when I thought thought of ways to shift the focal point from my body to my face, the problem was solved. I started accessorizing the outfit with either statement necklaces or statement earrings. Here I selected accessories in brown to add a little bit of earthiness to the formal  head-to-toe-black look

Night Look: The switch is pretty easy. For night, to brighten up my face, I substituted brown earrings for pearls. To add a splash of color, I switched brown bag for a bright red one. And faux fur vest is perfect to cover my body, keep me warm. It also elevates the look to a luxurious level and looks much more expensive than I actually paid for.

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

from day to night from day to night from day to night from day to nightholiday glamour

In this story:

Toyshop jumpsuit (similar by French Connection here)

Faux Fur vest, old (similar by Karen Kane here)

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 monogram canvas handbag

Michael Kors quilted corss-body bag (also love this Kate Spade New York bag)

Tory Burch booties, old (also LOVE these by Lauren Lorraine)

BaubleBar earrings (also love these needed earrings by Gas Bijoux)

Chanel aviators, old (similar by Ray-Ban here)

Food, Life

Fruits You Should Eat This Fall, Farmer’s Market Edition

November 2, 2016
farmers market

 Living a happy life goes hand in hand with a healthy living, something I got to understand and appreciate once I hit my 4-0 mark. I now try to do whatever I can to make sure I live a healthy lifestyle and teach my boys to live it and love it. And eating clean whole fresh foods is a major component of ensuring a healthy body. Eating seasonally is also such a great way to fall in love with the optimal taste and flavor of these foods.

As fall settles in, I usually start opting for frozen strawberries and blueberries for Alex’s daily smoothies, and buy apples, grapes, different types of squash and root veggies. I also go try to shop at the farmer’s market as often as possible. Usually, the owner of a stand at a farmer’s market picks the fruits and veggies at the peak of their ripeness, just before heading out to the market. Two of my go to fall fruits (besides apples, of course!) are very nutritious but pretty hard to come by any other season, so as soon as fall season arrives, I always buy them.

Pomegranate is a well known fruit but not as widely used as it should be. It is packed with fiber, Vitamins C, K, folate, and potassium. Try this and this Pomegranate martini recipes for your holiday party!

Persimmon Many don’t include these in their fruit intake because it’s just one of the lesser recognized fruits. Persimmons are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There are two varieties, fuyu and hachiya, both nutritious. I personally love hachiya persimmons. When extremely ripe (never eat them unless the entire fruit is super soft like a squishy tomato), this sweet treat is a must try. Fuyu persimmons is mildly sweet and makes a delicious snack a la carte,  in a salad, and a perfect addition to your holiday cheese plate. Try this Arugula Salad with Fuyu Persimmon, perfect for a fall/winter holiday dinner!

Do you shop at farmer’s market? What fall fruits and veggies do you usually buy?

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

farmers market farmers marketfarmers marketfarmers market

Fashion

Dressing Up Your Monday Grind

October 31, 2016
Monday

As a transition day from play to work, Monday is not always a welcomed weekday. But Mondays have a lot of positives too. It’s an opportunity to start fresh, get lots of work done, see people I haven’t seen since Friday (usually that’s a good thing). To make me feel that the Monday grind is not all-work-no-play and bring some relaxed feeling, I dress casually whenever possible, and always try to add some extra sparkle.

This outfit is one of my new favorites, especially because these violet chinos are the softest pants I’ve ever owned! They come in different colors, but I love this violet color. It is one of this season’s it-colors, so refreshing and so unexpected for fall!  These pants can be easily dressed up and down. Even this outfit, just add heels, and  it becomes an entirely new look. I also love mixing styles and adding sneakers and sparkling necklace to the mix. The outfit makes me feel cozy casual and girly fancy at the same time.

♡ Zuma A. 

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

Monday casual outfitMonday outfit Anthro pants Anthropologie Nadri necklace

Anthropologie Pilcro chinos 

Anthropologie Asbury button-down

Adidas ‘Superstar’ sneakers

Nadri necklace

Chanel aviators (also here)

Fashion, Life

Reminding Myself to Stay Present

October 28, 2016
J.Crew vest

As soon as fall arrives, time starts moving so fast that I can barely catch my breath. From work to homework to bills to errands, my work and life to-do lists take over! We haven’t even had Halloween yet, but my mind is already somewhere in the middle of December. And I’ll be there in a flash, but what about being present?! Why is it so difficult to be present?! I always try to pace myself, work on one thing at a time, take time to unwind periodically, and yet, before I know it, I start zooming through my days faster than ever which, in turn, reduces the experiences to almost nothing. Interestingly, when I try to analyze why I forget to take a moment and check in with myself daily, all I see is that I just do too much, mostly because I think I have to or because I don’t delegate. Nothing, except for me, stops me from cutting my long work-life todo list in half… okay, maybe a third.

So this holiday season I want to challenge myself to be present. I am setting up reminders on my phone a few times throughout the day… and it is not weird at all.

6AM ~ be mindful of how many things you do today and have a beautiful day!

11AM ~ Take more than 5 minutes to enjoy your lunch.

8PM ~ It is time to turn your phone off. Have a good night.

I think that as time goes on, these reminders will change, but the idea is the same. Reminding myself to be present and enjoy this beautiful season.

Do you sometimes find yourself speeding through your days? How do you stop it? What do you do to be present?

♡ Zuma A. 

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx
being present Stay Present J.Crew vest J.Crew vest J.Crew vest

In this story:

J.Crew Excursion quilted down vest (the warmest and comfiest ever!)

Zara Turtleneck (similar by J.Crew here)

Madewell Cali Demi-Boot jeans

Boots, old (similar by UGG here)

Chanel Aviators (similar by J.Crew here)

Fashion

Why You Should Have Basic Turtlenecks in Every Color

October 25, 2016
turtlenecks

A turtleneck is like a friend who is always there for you. Can’t beat that philosophy and, even if you are not a fan of turtlenecks, you need them in your life. Here’s why:

1. Turtlenecks fit every body type.

I’d think that the most flamboyant turtleneck is white, especially if you are bigger than a D Cup (I am somewhere between 3D and 4D, agh!). But if the Kardashians can wear it, so can the rest of us, as long as there is a good bra in the drawer. Try to go white on white, so chic!

white turtleneckwhite turtleneck2.  Turtlenecks are an inexpensive way to add colors of the season to your look. 

These J.Crew tissue turtlenecks are $34 a piece,  and they come in every basic color as well as colors specific to the fall and winter season. This turtleneck in the color ‘spice’ is perfect for the fall season, year after year.
J.Crew tissue turtleneckJ.Crew tissue turtleneck

3. Turtlenecks add a layer to keep you warm during colder months.

You can wear it a la carte or  layer it under a jacket, or a vest, or a sweater, or a dress, or a button-down.
J.Crew tissue turtleneck

4. Turtlenecks are versatile.

I’ve owned this black turtleneck for more than five years and never got bored of it. It has  the ability to complement and morph with different looks depending what you pair it with. From classic to modern to casual chic to boho, black turtleneck is like an empty canvas that keeps me warm.

black turtleneckDo you wear turtlenecks? Ho do you style them? Would love to hear from you!

In this story:

Zara white turtleneck $15

J.Crew tissue turtleneck in ‘spice’ and ‘dark forest’ $34

Splendid fitted black turtleneck $58

Fashion, Holidays, Life

Shop My Closet, Halloween Office Costumes

October 21, 2016
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This year Halloween falls on Monday. What a perfect match! I mean, adding a bit of fun to my Monday grind is a good thing. As much as I love Halloween, I never give its preparation enough thought or time. This year I set up a super cute candy bar and decorated the entrance door, but did not think of my Halloween office costumes (or party costumes!). This year, once again, I will be shopping in my own closet for my halloween office costumes. 

1. Minnie 

AnnTaylor button-down (similar), Topshop flare skirt (similar), Tory Burch booties, black tights, Minnie ears.

halloween office costumesHalloween office costumes halloween office costumes

2. Good old witch

Zara top, Anthropologie tulle skirt, Nadri ‘skull’ necklace black tights, booties, and a witch hat.

halloween office costumes halloween office costumes halloween office costumes

3. Catwoman (Maybe not for office, but works for a party!)

Zara turtleneck and faux leather leggings, Tory Burch booties, Pompom charm, and a cat woman mask.

halloween office costumeshalloween office costumes

Need more inspiration on Halloween office costumes? Check out these creative ideas from Popsugar!

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx
Fashion

How to Select Fabulous Fall Wardrobe Basics, Seven Must-haves

October 19, 2016
fall wardrobe

I have always been a firm believer that a woman can look and feel fabulous no matter how little money she has and how small her wardrobe is. As much as I love fashion, I have a quite small wardrobe, but it’s enough for me. The reality is that besides work, home, and occasional outings, I don’t get to do much else. Of course, no matter what I do, looking great is very important to me, so whatever clothes I do have, I selected thoughtfully and carefully.

A minimal wardrobe requires a strong solid foundation. The usual, tees, shirts, sweaters, jeans, skirts, slacks, jackets… Besides comfort and functionality, though, to set my basic wardrobe apart from others, I look for unusual detail that catches the eye. Here I am mixing seven fall wardrobe basics that mix and match with everything (EVERYTHING!) in my closet, that I can wear to work or play, and that has something that separates them from other basics. Also, besides this Zara jacket, I’ve had these items in my wardrobe for years, and I’m sure this jacket will serve me for years too! Always modern, always relevant. Here are a few details I look for when I shop for basics.

1. Look for the details.

Stitches, zippers, buttons, buckles, trims… All these details what really make the look! When shop for basics, I look for details that enhance the garment beyond basic basic. The jacket: the stitches and the zipper get rid of monotone feel of mostly all black look and add the feel of youthfulness; the ruffles along the zipper add a touch of femininity, and the faux fur adds the lux. This black jacket definitely caught my eye! Coupled with the bag’s quilt stitching and chain and bootie buckles, this outfit feels and looks modern classic and chic to me.

fall wardrobefall wardrobefall wardrobe

2. Think of colors, from basic to contrasting pops.

One of the ways to make inexpensive clothes look fabulous is choice of color. The basic black, beige, white, and grey. They always work so well together and a la carte, can’t go wrong. Then, of course, there are pops of red, or yellow, or any trendy color of the season. In this look, black, grey, and red is my combo.

Black: if I say that black dominates my wardrobe is an understatement. Black is slimming, looks amazing whether I am a  brunette or a blond, and hides the imperfections of the quality of clothes. Grey: is always cool and sophisticated. Lighter colors are much less forgiving when it comes to quality, so they require a bit more investment. And the pop of  red attracts the eye and adds energy into the look. Red is amazing and wears well in combination with every color and during every season!
fall wardrobe

3. Look for shape that stands out.

Extra long sleeves, oversized, disproportionally puffy or bare shoulders, flares, and tube midi skirts… I always try to look for unexpected shapes. In this outfit, three items are of somewhat different shape. Oversized sweater vs. fitted, flares vs. skinnies, round oversized glasses vs. all other glasses hehe.

fall wardrobe fall wardrobe

What details do you look for when shop for your fall wardrobe basics? Please share!

♡ Zuma A.

In this story:

Zara quilted faux fur jacket

Theory sweater, old (similar by Topshop hereby Zara here, by Halogen here)

Topshop tube skirt, old (new design by Topshop here)

Mother’s flare jeans, old (also by Paige, now on sale!)

Tory Burch booties, old (similar by Vince Camuto here)

Michael Kors cross body bag, old (love this cross body bag by Tory Burch here)

Wildfox oversized round glasses, now on sale!

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