Adding Beauty to Your Life

Your 10 Year Plan for a Remarkable Life

January 27, 2018

I’m sure everybody’s thought about what their future will look like at some point, but how much have you really, really thought about it? I mean in serious detail, like up to what kind of sheets you’ll have on your bed.

Most of us also tend to fantasize about our futures without a specific date in mind. We just kind of imagine our future as happening…in the future. But how would your answer change if you had to imagine this future on a specific date, like exactly 10 years from now? First off, just doing the math as to how old you’ll be in 10 years already kicks your ass a little bit. But a specific date sets your future at a measurable place in time, making it that much more real.

I found out about this little writing activity on the Tim Ferris podcast, from his guest for that episode, Debbie Millman (check it out here). An exercise that originated with Milton Glaser and is said to have a magical quality due to the way it tends to come into existence in the writer’s life, as a planner thumper I thought it sounded like fun so I transcribed the instructions as Debbie explained them. Basically, it’s a prompt that asks you to write out your future as it will be 10 years from now with no fear of failure in mind and with a level of detail I guarantee you’ve never attempted before. 

The usefulness of this activity is in how vividly it forces you to imagine your life 10 years from now. Creating a picture of what your goal looks like and setting it on a timeline is a pretty standard tool in goal achievement, but this writing exercise really takes it to the next level by having you imagine the most detailed goal post you possibly can. It’s going to shock you when you see how much of your future you haven’t actually given much thought to.

Besides the usefulness of this exercise for goal planning, it’s actually really fun to sit and think so deeply about what you want your future to look like. Just give it a try, you can literally just open Notes on your phone and start writing away at this; I think you’ll find it extremely illuminating and enjoyable. Good luck!

Note: Depending on your age, you can adjust the time length of the plan from 10 to 5 years. Generally, if you’re over 40, you can set the plan for 5 years.

10 Year Plan For a Remarkable Life 

Dream big. Don’t edit. Be careful what you wish for. Full paragraphs. Read it once a year. The more care you put into this, the more likely it is to be affirmed.

Lets say it is winter 2028. What does your life look like? What are you doing? Where do you live? What does your home look like? An apartment, a house, in the city or the country? What does your furniture look like? What does your bedroom look like? What kind of sheets do you have? Who do you live with? Tell me about your significant other. Do you have pets? Tell me about your pets. Do you have children? Do you have a car? Do you have a boat? Tell me about your career. What do you want? What are you making? What are you reading? What excites you? What is your health like? What kind of clothes do you wear? What does your hair look like?

Write this one day, from start to finish, 10 years from now. One day, in the winter of 2028; what does your whole day look like? Start from when you open your eyes, to brushing your teeth to when you tuck yourself into bed at night. What does that day look like for you? Put your whole heart into it and write like your life depends on it, because it does.

Let me know if you enjoyed writing your 10 Year Plan and whether you had any realizations from it in the comments! I found it so enjoyable and it really showed me that I wasn’t planning for the future as much as I felt I was.


Foodophiles, My Big Important Opinions

La Fresa Francesa – Miami Restaurant Review

September 12, 2017

la fresa francesa I think this restaurant is adorable. It’s just lovely. From every thoughtfully placed doily to the curated French music playing, this restaurant takes the work of conjuring up a French bohemian atmosphere more seriously than you might think such a subject would warrant. La Fresa Francesa is not here to play games like some other restaurants that serve vaguely French food within the average white table cloth, dim lighting, and an otherwise style-less atmosphere. La Fresa’s decor shows such effort and attention to detail that even your boyfriend might actually notice.

La Fresa Francesala fresa francesaLa Fresa FrancesaWhat really made me want to shed light on this spot was that it’s not actually a traditional French restaurant; La Fresa Francesa bills itself as serving a hybrid of Cuban/French cuisine, and it’s located right in Hialeah on Okeechobee Road, no less. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to find out if someone was truly doing God’s work right in my own backyard and yes, La Fresa Francesa really is as amazing as it sounds.

la fresa francesaLa Fresa FrancesaLa Fresa Francesa First, let me state, I do have to take points off over their complete failure to offer vegan options. The only already vegan dish was one item from the sides menu: sautéed spinach. Listen, I am extremely lenient with who I levy this judgment against; I’m not about to go to a steakhouse and say the place sucks because there’s not a wealth of vegan dishes.

 That just isn’t the case with La Fresa Francesa. Crepes could not be an easier item to veganize; these type of substitutions are Veganism 101. Make a vegan crepe, add fruit + sugar + agave syrup – voila! You now have a completely vegan, stand-alone menu option. It really is that simple. Considering the owner and chef spent time studying and working in L.A., lack of exposure to the needs of vegan diners just isn’t an excuse. Y’all should know better. 

la fresa francesa  That being said, if you aren’t vegan, but vegetarian, or have no dietary restrictions, you’ll have a great experience. The menu is beautifully curated, taking a foundation of traditional French recipes and introducing traditional Cuban ingredients. It’s a wonderful formula that culminates in the type of addicting dish that makes you wonder whether these two cultures weren’t always meant to join: La Fresa Francesa’s Guava Creme crepe. Just the existence of this dish is an achievement in itself, but they manage to improve upon even this by sourcing their guava fruit locally; the guava they use in this recipe is grown right in Homestead, Florida.

La Fresa FrancesaLa Fresa Francesa They have a menu for savory crepes too, the Champignons dish was one that my sister loved and has ordered more than once. I would advise that you not waste your money on the bread. Two mistakes are made here when there should really only be one, at max. If you’re not offering a complimentary dish like bread, at least make the dish you’re charging for great. If you’re going to offer nearly inedible bread, then at least make that dish complimentary. La Fresa broke both of these rules. They will charge for what was arguably the worst bread I’ve ever tried to consume.

la fresa francesaLa Fresa Francesa✯✯✯✯ (4/5)

 Disappointing bread aside, every other item I tried from the menu was enjoyable. They have enough variety that you’ll want to come back several times just to try different dishes. If you’re a tea drinker, they have a great offer of an entire tea pot of two different tea varieties for only about $4.50 (my preference is the chamomile but only over the green ginger by a bit). Regardless of what you decide to try, let me repeat, they have a guava crepe…guayaba in a crepe. It’s impossible to go wrong.

la fresa francesala fresa francesa Have you been here before or are you planning to try it out soon? Comment and let me know!


My Work, Photography, Wanderlust

A Week in Naples (The Other Naples)

June 28, 2017

NaplesI took a road trip by myself to Naples, where I stayed in a house that came with a little dog who, albeit suspiciously, tolerated my company. The house was tucked into a quiet gated community, where I quickly blended into everyday life, taking out the trash and walking the dog as if I wasn’t actually from the chaotic North Caribbean metropolis that is Miami.

NaplesThough it’s only about an hours drive away, Naples and Miami share mostly physical geography and that’s about it. The first sign that I was not in Hialeah anymore was the abundance of those simple flashing lights that save lives: turn signals. People actually used turn signals and moved out of the left lane after passing! I quickly got used to this foreign cultural custom. Now when I talk about visiting Naples, I always mention the regular use of turn signals as if it’s some famous local monument you have to see. Driving on the Palmetto just changes a person.

NaplesIn many ways, Naples is your stereotypical Florida beach town; lots of old people and postcard worthy beaches. It’s quiet, shiny and sandy, making it a popular vacation spot amongst Floridians. Naples has a strange secret though; it’s actually one of the richest cities in the entire United States. Little old Naples with it’s population of less than 30,000 people holds 6th place in highest per capita income and a lot of those 30,000 residents are living in some of the most expensive homes in the country, with some houses selling for upwards of $40 million. Now I understand why everybody seems so pleasant here.

NaplesReally though, the people of Naples are extremely nice and at the most basic level, they actually seem to give a shit about you. Being a semi-introverted inhabitant of a major city, friendliness beyond the reach of general social niceties makes me a little nervous. The people here were so outgoing and chatty it started to ware down my anti-social armor and I found myself being…friendly. I even caught myself stopping to help a family take a vacation photo. Luckily I had progressed to this serious stage only by my last day there and a quick drive through Miami Dade county restored my callous exterior.

NaplesNaples is a strange mix of money, Florida and tranquility. The beach and sunset demand you take the time to really observe the gorgeous shows they put on everyday. My stay in Naples was so peaceful and the openness people exhibited towards me brought me to reevaluate how few words I use in my everyday interactions with others. Things move slower in Naples. At least, the people definitely do. Naples

Have you been to Naples before or are you thinking about going? Let me know what your impression of the town was or why you’re planning to visit in the comments! Start your search for the perfect Airbnb away from home here.



Top 5 Best Skin Care Products for Acne Prone Skin

February 3, 2017

best skin care productsFor as much as I enjoy make up, skin care is my first love. Since I was young I’ve struggled with acne, so skin care was my introduction into the world of beauty. As someone that has desperately searched for the best skin care products for acne prone skin for years, I’ve got a lot of experience to share on this topic. I’m so happy to be able to say that eventually I did find a great skin care routine that’s enabled me to have what is easily the best skin of my life.

best skin care products

I’m sharing a list of the top 5 best skin care products that I consider must haves in my routine. They’ve all made a world of difference in my skin in some way or another, but first…a non-product related skin care tip:

Do not squeeze pimples, blackheads or anything on your face!! Do not touch your face unless it is to apply or remove products – the end!!

When I stopped picking at my skin I noticed a change bigger than any product has ever made. You cannot pick at your skin and have clear, healthy skin. Now onto the game changing products to add to your routine.

Kiehls Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

best skin care products

 I try to do this face mask at least once a week and it’s always my go to mask as soon as my skin starts acting up. I would be careful not to over use it if you have dry skin, but this is a particularly great face mask for oily skin as well as combination skin. The price might seem a little steep, but this mask lasts forever I swear. It’s also a great product to have on hand for spot treating surprise zits. 

Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA Exfoliant with Glycolic Acid

best skin care products for acne

One of my main skin concerns as someone that has struggled with acne is pore size. Your pores stretch from being clogged and you get acne from having clogged pores. So this is a good product for dealing with the aftermath of acne that is enlarged pores. It’s extremely hard to shrink your pores without using some kind of laser treatment, but that costs thousands of dollars. This product has the most noticeable affect on smoothing your skin texture overall. A liquid exfoliant is the only type of exfoliant you should be using. Anything with little beads, sugar scrubs and the like are like grating sand paper against a flower petal to remove some dirt; dramatically harsh and damaging! Just one word: micro-tears. So please love yourselves and make this your one and only exfoliant and set fire to that Nutrogena Deep Clean scrub please!

Rosehip Oil

best skin care products

I started using rosehip oil in my beauty routine as a dual use tool to combat dryness that was becoming chronic on certain areas while also alleviating some of the redness that comes with rosacea. Rosehip oil contains vitamin A, E and essential fatty acids that are key ingredients in skin care. It’s not a fully proven claim, but because rosehip oil contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it makes it a possible remedy for controlling rosacea. A small bottle is cheap and it lasts forever as you only need a few drops. I honestly feel like it makes my skin much more healthy and bright looking; I’ve even started applying it to my neck and décolletage. Plus, I feel like it’s kind of a goddess move to lather yourself in rosehip oil before bed.

Elta MD UV Clear Board- Spectrum SPF 46

best skin care products

One of the most important and simultaneously overlooked tools in your skin care regime is a moisturizer/sun block. This lotion by Elta MD is a power product. It’s a significant SPF 46, so giving your skin great protection against early aging via UV rays. It also contains zinc oxide, which is both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, meaning it’s going to work to calm redness while also helping to prevent breakouts from bacteria that ends up on your face throughout the day. It’s an all around awesome product for normal skin, rosacea affected skin and sensitive skin. If there’s ever a product to splurge and invest in, it’s your moisturizer.

Murad Clarifying Skin Cleanser 

best skin care products

 Straight up: I’ve been using Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser for over 3 months now and I barely ever break out anymore. So it’s an obvious win. However, keep in mind that this is a product formulated for acne prone skin, not just normal skin. I actually only use this cleanser once a day, to wash my face in the morning, while at night I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap. You really only need maybe less than a dime sized amount when washing your face because this product. is. strong. Used in conjunction with a great moisturizer, this product is the equivalent of sending your out of control child to military boarding school.

Honorable Mention

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater 

best skin care products

This facial spray by Mario Basescu is just plain pleasant to be totally honest. The ingredients are definitely useful; aloe and rose water are wonderfully calming ingredients and for skin that is easily irritated or redness prone, this spray is a perfect way to keep your skin refreshed and calmed. It might not be the most necessary product, but it’s just so fun to spritz your face in the middle of a hot day with this cooling mixture. And yes, I photographed an empty bottle for this post because that’s just how much I use this.

best skin care products

These are basically all the products in my bathroom cabinet that I’m regularly using as of late, aside from a few masks and other treatments. I genuinely think these are the best skin care products for acne prone skin; I truly love them and have seen them help my acne affected, redness prone skin to look it’s best. I’m really excited to share this list with you guys and I’d love to hear which products you’ve tried or what tips you have for keeping your skin under control!



My Favorite Lip Colors from Colourpop

January 16, 2017

Colourpop Best Fall Lip Colors Swatches

Before I show you some of the best lip colors that Colourpop has to offer, lesson time: Colourpop Cosmetics is a brand that has grown rapidly in popularity since releasing their first line of Lippie Stix in 2014. Yes, they have a line called Lippie Stix. Owned by the parent company Seed Beauty, Colourpop is entirely self contained from the development of products to their manufacturing, keeping costs competitively low and giving the company a unique ability to create and roll out new products in as short a time as 5 days. This short production time is part of what keeps the brand at the forefront of innovation and trends in beauty, like they were for the resurgence of popularity in liquid matte lip colors, with their Ultra Matte Lip products.

Colourpop Best Fall Lip Colors Swatches

The owners of the company have chosen to let the products speak for themselves, which has given rise to a lot of speculation that culminated in a particularly scandalous rumor that the Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits ($17) are actually repackaged Colourpop products ($6) with a boosted price tag. Refinery 29 tackles this rumor in a rare interview with Colourpop’s founders.

At this point I have a box full of Colourpop’s different lip products, some of which I never use and others that are my go-to lip colors. The company has a great range of shades to choose from, so I decided to pick out my favorite lip colors and swatch them for you all. 

Colourpop Best Fall Lip Colors SwatchesSome of the colors swatched are from the Lippie Stix line and others are Ultra Mattes or Ultra Satins.Colourpop Best Fall Lip Colors Swatches

All of the lip colors swatched in the photo were done so over Colourpop’s Lippie Primer. Below are the links for every lip color that’s still available at the time of me publishing this:






Calypso (my top favorite!)

Echo Park



Frick n’ Frack

colourpop lip colors Let me know your favorite lipcolors from Colourpop in comments or what your overall thoughts on the brand are! Colourpop Cosmetics has become so popular over the short span of time they’ve been around and it doesn’t seem like interest in them will be slacking anytime soon.



Apple Spice Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

November 30, 2016

apple spice cinnamon rollsThis apple spice cinnamon rolls recipe somehow manages to make one of the most delicious desserts even more delicious. Cinnamon rolls just make me unreasonably happy so biting into one and tasting the thick, sweet apple cinnamon sauce squeeze out of it is an experience closer to pure bliss than anything I can imagine. Yes, I mean it. This dish is such a show stopper, it makes the perfect addition to any dinner table.

apple spice cinnamon rolls

This recipe is easily made vegan, as the main substitution you’ll need to consider is eggs. Check out this site for a list of all the different egg substitutions you can pick from.

Apple Spice Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 12
Write a review
Total Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  3. 1 package yeast
  4. ½ cup non-dairy milk of choice (heat until bubbles appears on the edge of the pan. Cool until lukewarm)
  5. ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 4 cups all-purpose flour
  8. vegan replacement for 1 egg (I used 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp white vinegar)
  1. 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  2. 5 granny smith apples (peeled, cored, and diced)
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  5. ½ cup sugar
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Add yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar to lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add scalded milk, remaining sugar, salt, the egg and mix on until combined.
  3. Add in half the flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Add in yeast mixture and combine.
  5. Gradually add the remaining flour and mix.
  6. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
  7. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside to let it rise until it's doubled in size (2 hours).
  1. Meanwhile, begin making the filling. Heat sugar and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet, then stir in apples. Sauté until the apples begin to caramelize. Then remove from heat and set aside.
  1. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and remove from the bowl.
  2. Roll out on a floured surface into a wide rectangle and spread the remaining 2 tablespoons butter all over, except the edges.
  3. Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar then sprinkle evenly across the dough.
  4. Spread the apple mixture over the dough.
  5. Roll into a cylinder shape.
  6. Using a sharp knife, gently cut 2 inch slices with a slow sawing motion so as not to pinch down the dough.
  7. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Then lay the cinnamon roll slices facing up on the pan, not letting them touch each other.
  8. Cover with foil and let them rise until they're doubled in size (2 hours).
  9. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  10. Bake for about 20-23 minutes, watching that they stay soft.
  1. Mix vanilla, butter and powdered sugar together.
  2. When cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, spread the glaze over the top and serve.
  3. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top afterwards as a garnish.
Luna Gemme

apple spice cinnamon rollsSo far this is the best recipe for cinnamon rolls I’ve worked with. The addition of slightly caramelized apple bits really upgrades this classic dessert. This is one of those recipes that people will ask you for again and again. She (or he) who has the cinnamon rolls makes the rules. apple spice cinnamon rolls If you’re as obsessed with sweets and cinnamon flavored food as I am, this recipe is going to be one of your favorites quickly. Let me know how it came out for you in the comments!


Fashion Files

Politics in Satin Pajamas

November 8, 2016

silk pajamas

It’s election day and as a Bernie supporter, I’ll just be relieved when this circus is over and we’ve officially chosen the significantly lesser evil who actually has political experience.

In the meantime, I’m not stressed or pressed because we have to make an effort not to let all the madness wear us down. So I’ll continue drinking jasmine tea, singing along to Solange and wearing these satin pajamas through the afternoon.

I recently decided that I needed to upgrade my lounge wear game and bought a ton of new pajamas. Responsible adults wear actual coordinated pajamas right? I bought the satin pajamas I’m wearing in the photos in size US 0-2 and the color “claret”. So far I’m loving the silkiness of the fabric and that it comes as a set with high waisted shorts and a halter top. There’s something about satin pajamas that just says “I’m living right.” Also, here’s the necklace I’m wearing.

satin pajamas set

satin pajamas setHow are you feeling this election day? Let me know if you voted and how you’re feeling about the state of this election in the comments! Also, if you snag these satin pajamas, what color did you decide on? I’m seriously considering buying them in every color at this point.



Best DIY Hair Mask Recipe for Dry Hair

October 19, 2016

diy hair mask recipe for dry hair

It’s definitely not hard to find a DIY hair mask recipe for dry hair on the internet, ranging from overly complicated (I’m supposed to be able to Do It Myself, remember?) to straight up nasty (spare me the speech, I’m not putting eggs in my hair). As someone with thick, course, curly hair I’m always ready to try something that will bring shine and moisture to my locks and trust me, I’ve tried a lot. This recipe however, is so refreshingly simple that I was shocked to see a noticeable difference in my hair afterwards. This DIY hair mask recipe will actually have your hair looking shiny and feeling soft after one application. 

diy hair mask recipe for dry hair 


Half an avocado

2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Scoop out the inside of the avocado and mash it into as smooth a paste as possible. You can also put it in the blender if you’re not lazy like me.

2. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the avocado and olive oil are thoroughly mixed.

3. Rub the mixture into your hair until your strands are fully saturated with it. If your scalp and roots tend to get oily, avoid putting in on your roots.

4. Leave the mask on your hair for as long as possible, but at least an hour. 

5. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual and enjoy your shinier, softer locks!

diy hair mask recipe for dry hair I’d love to hear how this mask worked for you and if you noticed a difference; let me know in the comments! If your hair is more on the damaged side from coloring or heat styling, pleeease read my review on Olaplex because it’s a game changer. I’m a big fan of any DIY hair mask recipe for dry hair but I’m also willing to give a great product a try too; share some of your favorites with me and I might give them a try for myself!




Travel Guide: 5 Things To Do In Chicago

October 11, 2016

things to do in chicago

Cleaner than NYC and less polluted than LA, Chicago is a beautiful city with a rich and unique culture that deserves a little more recognition. If Chicago wasn’t lovingly referred to as Chiberia during the winter, I would seriously consider living there. There’s no shortage of things to do in Chicago. The brick buildings remind you of it’s history as one of the first major industrial towns in the US. Chicago has everything a city needs to make a trip worth it; great food, famous museums and tons of entertainment. I put together a list of my top 5 things to do in Chicago so you can enjoy the city as much as I did. Plus, as Kanye’s hometown, how could I not show Chi-town some love. chicago

things to do in chicago things to do in chicago

Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge

No, I’m not recommending a Chicago style pizza place for your restaurant pick, I’ll leave that to another writer that actually likes that style of pizza (no offense don’t come for me!). What I will recommend though is possibly the best sushi in the city, plus some perfectly crafted drinks. Niu offers a dish I’m still searching for back in Miami; sweet potato tempura rolls. Everything I ordered was delicious including all three types of mojitos they serve. The location is perfect; you can grab something to eat and easily get somewhere else in the city afterwards. They have a beautifully decorated upscale interior as well as an outdoor patio that’s a prime people watching spot. You really can’t go wrong eating at Niu. 

things to do in chicagothings to do in chicagothings to do in chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the oldest museums in the US. The Art Institute of Chicago’s collection spans over 5,000 years, containing African and Amerindian pieces to modern pieces by Cy Twombly and Jackson Pollock. One of the largest museums in the US, it has about 300,000 pieces housed in eight buildings that cover almost one million square feet; so wear comfy shoes and be prepared to spend plenty of time during your visit. 

things to do in chicagothings to do in chicago

Navy Pier

 Navy Pier is on the Chicago shoreline over looking Lake Michigan and makes for a gorgeous spot to catch the sunset. I almost wanted to find a random date just to take advantage of the scenery. After nightfall the city lights reflect off the water and there’s usually live music at the outdoor cafe. I spent my last night in Chicago watching an amazing fireworks show that’s put on during the summer every Friday totally free. Yes Chicago is in major debt but free fireworks shows are a totally legitimate use of tax dollars in my opinion.

things to do in chicago

 Taste of Chicago Festival

 Luckily my trip happened to coincide with the Taste of Chicago and though I didn’t get to spend much time checking it out, it’s a great idea to plan your trip to overlap with this festival or some of Chicago’s other awesome events like Lollapalooza or Pitchfork Music Festival. It really feels like you get the most out of your trip if you also get to see an artist you’re into while you’re there. Spending my first day in Chicago watching The Roots perform was the perfect start to my trip.


things to do in chicago things to do in chicago

Chicago’s Architecture

 Chicago is full of interesting architecture from the mid to late 1800s to now. Even if you’re not that interested in architecture it’s impossible not to notice and appreciate the unique styles of buildings throughout downtown. You’re visiting the perfect city to get introduced to the beauty of building, so take advantage of it. Here’s an awesome list of buildings that deserve some attention.

things to do in chicago

Do you have any of your own lesser known recommendations for things do to in Chicago? I had such a great time visiting the city and I feel like it’s honestly an underrated trip. Even though I’ve been several times because I have family there, each time is better than the last. I’m already excited to plan my next trip to Chicago!