Major Food Coma from The Melting Pot! (Weekly Vlog 8.5.14)

Take a look at the above video for your weekly dose of Lauren randomness, including date night at The Melting Pot (keep reading for specifics on that), some car time chit chat, and a gut reaction review to Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” song.

SO, like I said, the other night, Charlie treated me to a fancy date night dinner at The Melting Pot in Pasadena. It. Was. Awesome. I’ve been to The Melting Pot (at different locations) a few times before, but it was Charlie’s first time there. It did not disappoint.

We were tucked away in a back booth, which was really nice…made for a very intimate dinner, like it was just the two of us in the whole place (until someone knocked over what sounded like a shelf containing every single plate stored at the restaurant and reminded us that there was indeed a bustling restaurant going on). But anyhow…I digress.

We went all out and did the 4-course special. I mean, you’re going to be forking over a bunch of moola anyway for dinner, you might as well go big, right?! Here’s what we got…

  • Course 1 (one cheese fondue to share): Quattro Formaggio Cheese Fondue (Butterkase and fontina cheeses, roasted garlic, basil and tomato pestos, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesean) with veggies and bread for dipping
  • Course 2 (one salad each): California Salad (mixed baby greens, Roma tomatoes, candied pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, and raspberry black walnut vinaigrette) and The Melting Pot House Salad (crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, crispy croutons, and sliced egg, with ranch)
  • Course 3 (two entrees with one cooking style): We chose the Seasoned Court Bouillon as the cooking style and our entrees were The Classic (Angus beef sirloin, Memphis-style BBQ pork medallion, Pacific white shrimp, herb-crusted chicken breast, and teriyaki-marinated sirloin) and Land and Sea (filet mignon, herb-crusted chicken and Pacific white shrimp)
  • Course 4 (one dessert to share): I created a custom dessert by combining two of the desserts, the Turtle and the S’Mores, so it was dark chocolate, crush graham cracker, caramel, and marshmallow with a bunch of yummy goodies to dip (marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, brownies, goldies, pound cake, pineapple, etc.)

Dinner was amazing. A great thing about The Melting Pot, though, is that not only are you getting really awesome food, but it’s a super fun experience too. I’d definitely recommend it for your next special night out. Or, if you don’t wanna fork over all the dough for a big spendy meal, you can go in with some friends and share a cheese fondue or dessert. However, if you do go for the FULL meal, just know you will surely end up with a pretty major food coma. But it’ll be well worth it.

How To Make Homemade Banana Ice Cream (Quick, Easy, & Delicious!)

As you guys know, I’m doing a 90-day fitness challenge right now, which means lots of healthy eating and lots of working out. And less trips to get ice cream and fro yo. BOO. But I’ve figured out a little trick to be able to have delicious homemade ice cream – and it’s HEALTHY.

Here’s what you do:

  • As far as service size, I use one banana per person.
  • Choose bananas that are on the riper side for the best flavor.
  • Cut the banana into uniform chunks.
  • Arrange the sliced chunks evenly on a freezer-safe plate.
  • Freeze the bananas for about 2-3 hours.
  • Put the frozen banana chunks into a food processor and chop until the consistency is nice and smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

You can also add peanut butter, cocoa power, or cinnamon (or anything else really!) to the bananas while chopping them up to jazz up the flavor more. Once you’re done, you can top it with chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream – you name it!

(Another quick tidbit…potassium – there’s lots of it in bananas – is really good for sore muscles, so not only is this ice cream HEALTHY, but it’s good for your tired muscles! Another bonus!)

Epic Meal Empire Premiere at YouTube Space LA (Weekly Vlog 7.29.14)

Last week I got to see the premiere of Epic Meal Empire (brought to you by the dudes at Epic Meal Time) – it was great! These guys are hilarious, and they have a pretty awesome show. They started everything on YouTube four years ago, and now they have a deal with a network – pretty amazing to see what’s can happen all through YouTube!

The premiere was at YouTube Space LA, and it was my first time going there. It’s a really rad space and I can’t wait to go back for more events!

Oh, we also did tons of wedding planning…or rather, venue scouting. I’d say it was pretty successful. We didn’t settle on a space just yet, but we have quite a few good options to think about.

15-Minute At-Home Workout (No equipment needed!) PLUS 90-Day Challenge!

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a bit of a fitness rut. A few months ago I transitioned from working full-time in an office to launching my own freelance consulting and design business (more on that later), so now I make my own schedule and work in a home office. I absolutely LOVE it. But, even though I have complete control over my schedule and how I’m spending my time, not having the same rigid routine that I used to have is something to get used to. And it’s been a little tricky to get into a solid workout and eating cycle because my schedule is much more unpredictable. I’ve also been having a lot more lunch, happy hour, and dinner meetings, which is great because I’m eating great stuff, but less great because usually it’s not as healthy as what I’d have at home.

SO, I decided it was time to reign things in and get everything back on track. To do this, I’m putting myself on a 90-day fitness challenge. Here’s what I’m going to do, every day, for the next 90 days:

  • Drink half a gallon of water each day
  • Take all my vitamins each day
  • Only allow myself 2 cheat meals per week
  • Do the same set of exercises (below) each day

For me, the exercises I’m going to do are not intended to replace my normal weekly workouts. I will do them every day, even if I’ve worked out that day. I wanted to create a 15-minute series of effective exercises that I can do from anywhere without needing any equipment. So, that means I have no excuses to getting it done. I wanted to set something up to ensure that I get my body moving and work on my strength and fitness a little bit every day – even on those long, busy days where all I want to do is get in bed and watch Netflix.

Here are the exercises I’m going to do:

  • Tracy Anderson Arms (7 minute arm workout with no weights, get the workout HERE)
  • 1 minute forearm plank
  • 1 minute side plank on each side
  • 15 push ups (5 with my hands close together to focus on triceps, 5 with my hands wide apart to focus on pecs, and the last 5 back close together – substituting girl pushups if needed)
  • 15 squats with narrow stance
  • 15 squats with normal stance (feet at shoulder or hip width)
  • 15 plie squats
  • 15 clams with a resistance band, on both sides*
  • 15 straight leg raises with a resistance band, on both sides*
  • 15 angled leg raises with a resistance band, on both sides*
  • 50 sit ups

*if you don’t have a resistance band, you can do those exercises without one. You can also have a workout buddy apply pressure to your leg to add resistance.

Anyone is invited to do this challenge along with me – it’s basically a create-your-own-adventure type thing. So, choose workouts and diet guidelines that make the most sense for you. The important thing is to choose something that you can commit to EVERY DAY for 90 days. You’re more than welcome to do the same thing as me. If you’re going to do the challenge too, comment and let me know what you’re going to do! I’ll be posting regular updates about it on my facebook page:

Broke Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Last weekend, my cousin Kelsey got married!!! The wedding was in Monterey, and it just so turned out that my friend, Kaitlin, had a wedding to go to in San Francisco. So, we carpooled…which turned into quite an adventure. About 3 hours into the drive, our car broke down! And of course, as luck would have it, we broke down on the one-hour stretch of the 101 between Santa Barbara and Salinas where there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No gas stations, no rest stops, no stores, NADA. Thankfully, we only had to wait in the car for about an hour before getting picked up by Triple A. We were towed to Salinas, and then my mom picked me up and took me to my Aunt’s and a friend of Kaitlin’s also happened to be passing through on their way to SF. So it all worked out.

The weekend was really fun. Lots of work prepping for the wedding, lots of running around from place to place, and lots and lots of family time. It was awesome. The wedding was beautiful, and it was SO fun. Hope you guys all had a great week!

My 15 Minute Makeup Routine

I wanted to share my go-to 15-minute makeup routine. This isn’t my “barefaced minimalist” makeup or my “full-face going out” or “photoshoot” makeup, but it’s my go-to face when I have a lunch meeting, happy hour with friends, and most other activities.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start with a clean, moisturized face. I clean my face with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser using my Clarisonic Mia 2. I use Burt’s Bees Tomato Toner, and then I moisturize with Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15.
  2. For foundation, I mix together Tarte Amazonian clay BB tinted moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen (shade medium) with L’Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup (shade nude beige – W3) and apply it using a large stippling brush, like the Sigma F80 – Flat Kabuki brush.
  3. After applying foundation to my whole face and neck, I touch up any blemishes that are still visible by applying more True Match with my Bare Escentuals Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush. I then use my BeautyBlender to blend it in completely.
  4. Next I take care of my eyelashes, by first separating them with my fingernail and then curling them with my Revlon Cushion Grip Lash Curler. I really prefer eyelash curlers with springs as you have more control over the pressure you apply to your lashes while curling. It’s important to apply and loosen pressure when curling, rather than holding firm the whole time. “Pumping” the curler like this will prevent you from leaving a crease in your eyelashes.
  5. I stick with two main mascaras: Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara, Very Black and Benefit They’re Real Mascara. Unless I’m in a rush, or really want to wear minimal makeup, I do my mascara the same way…very messy! I get it EVERYWHERE to make sure I get each and every single eyelash from base to tip.
  6. Once I’ve made a mess with mascara, I clean it up using some Q-tips and Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly. (Super weird pro-tip: I swirl the Q-Tip in my mouth before getting vaseline on it to tame any fuzzies…trust me, it makes a difference! I only use vaseline on one end of the Q-Tip and then do another wipe after just with the wet end to clean up any excess vaseline.)
  7.  Next, I use my Bare Escentuals Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush to apply some foundation using my Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick under my eye and on my eyelids to brighten up my eyes.
  8. Now I use a large, soft powder brush, like Bare Escentuals Handy Buki Brush, to lightly apply Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder all over my face, neck, and chest.
  9. Next I do some basic contouring using an angled powder brush, like Sigma F40 – Large Angled Contour brush, and Hoola. I apply the Hoola in the hollows of my cheeks at a diagonal line extending to my hairline. I also apply some near my temples, under my chin and jawline, and on the sides of my nose.
  10. I blend the Hoola in with a soft powder brush, like the Sigma F50 Duo Fibre brush. Blend, blend, blend!
  11. Now I apply Benefit Cosmetics CORALista Blush in a diagonal line from the apples of my cheeks up to my hairline using the angled brushed I used to contour. I also put a touch of the blush on the tip of my nose and bottom of my chin.
  12. I have very thick, dark eyebrows, so I rarely do anything to them. On a typical day, I just brush them with some Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara for Brows and Lashes to make sure everything’s under control. I always wipe most of the gel off on the edge of the container before putting in my brows – a little goes a long way!
  13. For eyeshadow, I use my Bare Escentuals Full Tapered Shadow Brush to apply a light, neutral shadow to my lids. This is not the exact shadow I’m using, but it’s really similar: REVLON Colorstay 16 Hour Eye Shadow Quad. Next I use Bare Escentuals Tapered Shadow Brush (a smaller brush than the one I just used) to apply Hoola to the crease of my eyes. Rather than wearing eyeliner, I apply a little Hoola to my lower lash line to warm up my eyes. I use a brush like this Sigma E65 – Small Angle brush.
  14. Now for some highlighting. I apply Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer to my brow bones, underneath my eyes, down the center of my nose, above my cupid’s bow, and at the center of my chin. I blend with my concealer brush and then blend further with my BeautyBlender.
  15. I set my makeup with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder using the Laura Mercier Velour Puff. I apply the powder to any areas I want to highlight or any areas that might be prone to get oily, like under my eyes, my forehead, my nose, and my chin. It’s important to press the powder onto your face, not wipe it.
  16. And LAST step…I curl my eyelashes one last time and apply a second coat of mascara.

It seems like A TON of work, but once you get the process down, it really doesn’t take too long. Let me know if you have any questions!

Weekly Uncut Blog: World Cup Final!


Last weekend, Germany won the World Cup Final against Argentina. It was a really good game, going into extra time, with Germany securing the win with an amazing goal by Mario Goetze. Honestly, his shot was GORGEOUS. The game was competitive, and fun to watch, but it would have been really nice to see an Argentine (specifically a Messi) goal and a bit more high stakes game-play. But like I said, very good game. Did you guys watch the World Cup? How about the Final?

Also, if you’re interested in any of the outfit items in my video, here are a few! Unfortunately, I bought some of these things a little while ago, so they’re not longer available, but I’ve posted similar ones below.
Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.31.30 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.00.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.00.38 PM2383747-p-MULTIVIEW

  Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.21.15 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.21.39 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.26.39 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.10.49 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.10.57 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.11.04 PM

How To Be Instantly More Confident

I am a very naturally confident person. I don’t often doubt myself, my abilities, or my beliefs. I’m very grateful for this, and I know that I owe a lot of that to how my parents raised me — to always believe in myself and to believe that nothing is out of my reach.

For some people, though, confidence is really hard to come by. And even for those of us who are really confident, sometimes we’re faced with things that make us uncomfortable and fill us with self-doubt.

There are a lot of things you can do to develop true internal confidence, but there are also a few tricks you can do to instantly appear more confident on the spot.

1. How You Sit and Stand — Good posture is key. Don’t slouch. Sit or stand up as tall as you can, put your shoulders back and down, and hold your head up. Not only does good posture make you appear more confident and help you assert yourself as a strong person, but it’s good for your body. 

2. How You Speak — Enunciate. Pronounce your words clearly. Project your voice so people can hear you, and don’t speak too quickly. When we get nervous, our tendency is to speak very fast. In those situations, try to speak more slowly — it will probably feel like you’re talking in SLLLOOOWWW MOOOTIOONNN, but out loud it’s probably just fine. Being able to deliver what you’re saying clearly and intentionally — not fumbling around with your words — presents a much stronger picture than if you’re using filler words like “um” or “like.” Another thing, confident speakers are comfortable with pauses — don’t worry that if you need to take a moment to think about what you’re going to say next that you’re going to appear weak or dumb or something ridiculous like that — if you’re talking with someone, taking an intentional pause is much better than saying  “ummm…” Oh, and a huge pet peeve of mine…don’t start sentences with UM. Just start saying what you’re actually going to say, amirite?

3. SMILE! Not only is smiling good for your health (it’s science!), but it will make the other person more comfortable, which will likely make you more comfortable — even if you’re feeling a bit terrified inside. Now, obviously if you’re having a serious conversation, don’t smile too much, that could be really inappropriate. Also, avoid the creeper smile or a forced smile. Real, genuine smiles, folks.

4. Eye Contact. Eye contact is a HUGE sign of confidence. When you meet someone and shake their hand, look them in the eye! When you’re talking with someone or listening to someone, look at them! It’s the grown up thing to do. I feel like people are getting worse and worse at making eye contact these days, and most of the time, a lack of eye contact does not translate into something good — it signifies discomfort, disrespect, nervousness, you name it. (Now, I realize that’s not true in all cultures, but in the U.S., eye contact is generally GOOD). Of course, if you feel like you’re going to burn a hole in the person you’re talking to or make them burst into flames by the power in your eyeballs, scale it back a bit.

5. Get out of your own head. Don’t over-think things; don’t doubt yourself. Get all that crap that’s making you feel less than how you should OUT, and replace it with more empowering thoughts…I’m awesome, I am SO funny!, I’m going to kick-ass today, I am THE best…I mean, maybe not those words exactly, but you get the idea. 🙂

Hope this helps you when you’re feeling like you need a bit of a confidence booster! I believe that the whole “fake it ’til you make it” mentality works in a lot of areas — and this is one of them! Inside, you may not feel more confident immediately, but if you practice the things that I just mentioned, over time you will become a more naturally confident person.

If confidence is something you struggle with, take a look at the following books. I haven’t read them, so I can’t personally recommend them, but I’ve heard good things about them from other folks, so check them out!

  1. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know
  2. Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt
  3. Confident Heart Devotional, A: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself (A Confident Heart)

jpeg-2     jpeg     jpeg-1

(And if you’re interested… my kick-ass coral/orange lipstick is Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Creme, in Siren topped with some Dose of Colors Lipstick in Coy in the middle of my lips.)

Weekly Uncut Vlog: Fourth of July Weekend!

Fourth of July is one of my absolute favorite holidays!!! I love everything about it…BBQs with friends and family, being outside, fireworks, and being able to wear an inordinate amount of flag clothing without having to explain myself. 🙂 Obviously the most important part is the reason WHY we’re celebrating. For me, the Fourth of July is not only always filled with heaps of fun, but also profound appreciation and reflection on all the amazing things that make this country such a wonderful place to live, and I’m grateful to call it home. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.

1 2 3 4 5 8