Made :: Dakdoritang

Since we've been back I've seriously been craving Korean food. It's flavorful, fresh, and healthy. The foods I enjoyed the most were the soups and stews with tasty broths. Seriously, you could just drink the broth and be happy, happy, happy. Needless to say I came back happy and ready to try my hand at cooking Korean food.
After scouring the web, checking out Korean cookbooks at the library, and hitting the Korean market, I was ready. First dish Dakdoritang.

Results: my husband who's Korean gave me a 90%. Not bad for the first time, right? It could also be because he loves me :) Next week, I'm going to try an all time favorite meal called Samgyetang.
xo, jen

Beautiful Jeju Island

Every couple of years or so we take one big vacation. This year our spot was Korea and Japan. It was an incredible trip. Our friends even came to spend time with us while in Korea and then we all flew to Japan. so much fun. People keep asking what were the highlights of the trip and I can't really give them a good answer. There were so many things about the trip that were amazing. For instance, I loved spending time with my sister-in-law and her family, loved just being with our friends and their son, walking around in the rain, exploring places I've never been before, shopping, the museums, and of course, THE FOOD!
However, the place I thought was the most beautiful is Jeju Island. Although I've been to Korea before, I never got the chance to visit Jeju Island. It's like an untapped Hawaiian island. It's off season right now so it's not crowded with too many tourists. We explored, hiked, and ate really, really good food. The seafood we ate was the freshest I had ever eaten. This is a place I definitely want to visit again in the near future. If you're planning a trip to Korea be sure to try to make it to Jeju.

  xo, jen

Eight Years

Today is our wedding anniversary.  We've known each other for 18years and have now been married for eight. wow, wow, wow!
If someone would have told me ten years ago that I would one day marry my best friend, go through the toughest years of our lives to date, but would one day be happier than we could ever imagine, I would have said "you're crazy."
If someone would have told me that I would marry my best friend and after eight years love him more than I did the day I married him, I would have said "that's not possible."
If someone would have told me that I would marry my best friend, give up all my years of being "miss independent" and become a partner that allows someone else to take the reigns sometimes. I would have laughed...ha ha ha.
Well, I am happier than I imagined, I do love him more now than when we got married, and we are partners in this marriage and life.
Good thing no one told me these things because I probably would have resisted more and got in the way of my future.
xo, jen

Jet lag

For the first time ever, I experienced extreme jet lag and it was not fun. We spent a little over two weeks in Asia and have been back just over a week. My body did not want to adjust back. It actually took a whole week to finally feel better and sleep through the night. How do people that travel for work all over the world do it? They're like super humans. Anyway it's good to be back and getting into the swing of life.
xo, jen 

Unfinished Project no.3

This is the last of my unfinished sewing projects and boy was it rewarding to finish. It really felt like a little load had been lifted. hip hip hooray.
The sweet little baby bibs were fun to finish. Currently I have a few friends that are having babies so this project came right on time. I can't wait to see them on one of the babies.

Actually there was one more project, but I couldn't find all the pieces or any more of the same fabric. It would look strange if I worked in a different fabric so rather than look strange, I scrapped it. I'll cut down the fabric pieces I do have and use them to make coasters or something small. Now that the unfinished projects are done, I can move on to something else. I have so much fabric. I thought about getting rid of some of it, but I don't think I'm ready to let go. There are still a few projects I would like to make, so if I can get through those, maybe then I can let go of what fabric is left over.
xo, jen

Unfinished Project no.2

Yay, another project completed. I started this particular project before we moved to California...years ago. crazy. Even though a majority of the work was already done, it still took two hours to complete. This bag is from a pattern by Amy Butler called Frenchy bags. not sure how I feel about my fabric choice for this bag, but think I can make it work. It is very detailed and probably not a good beginner sewing project.
It's amazing how freeing it is to complete unfinished work. Just a few more projects in my sewing pile and it'll be cleared.

xo, jen

Simple, but Really, Really Good Oatmeal

Oatmeal is probably one of the easiest breakfast foods to cook. it's a pantry staple. Not only is it easy and inexpensive, but it's really good for you and fills you up. Over the summer we didn't eat it much because the weather was too hot. Now with the weather cooling down, we've eaten it like 5x in the past week and a half. Here's a quick and easy recipe that I use. I think what makes this oatmeal so good is that it's cooked in some milk and you're adding toppings. Oh and maybe the vanilla makes it so yummy too. My favorite toppings are blueberry and granola. What are yours?

xo, jen

Unfinished Projects no.1

Lately I've been thinking about all the sewing stuff I have in the closet. mostly fabrics. I really enjoy sewing, but feeling busy with other things, it's hard to make the time to just sit and sew. Unfortunately now I have a few sewing projects that have been started but never completed. So in order to alleviate  the unfinished projects and clear my mind, I've decided to work on an unfinished sewing project every Monday until they're all completed. I will not start a new project until the "unfinished's" are completed. I'm not sure that this is the best way to deal with this or not, but at least it's a start. Hopefully, after the projects are finished, I'll have a better idea of what fabrics I want to keep and what I can give up.
The first project completed today is a headband. The pieces were already cut and edges sewn. It took all of an hour to finish because I messed up and had to take it apart and re-sew. The results are great and I love it. More than anything it feels good to finally complete this project. Do you have any incomplete projects? How do you tackle them?

xo, jen 

I Thought it Would Be Easy

Silly me. Walk 10,000 steps a day, no problem. "I got this," I said. Oh, how wrong I was. It takes a lot to get to 10,000 steps. A few months ago I bought a Fitbit because I wanted to track and see how active I was. 10,000 steps daily is what seems to be the recommended number. What I found is that in the course of my day it's nearly impossible to hit that number. In order to make it, I actually have to go out for a walk or go for a run. It's not easy. Wearing the Fitbit has been a reality check. I love seeing my daily progress, and getting my weekly report. It helps keeps me accountable.
Another feature of the Fitbit I recently started using is the food tracker. It's helpful to see how many calories I'm actually consuming. Alarming. By simply keeping track of my steps and food, I've begun to think more about what I'm putting into my body, reduced my caloric intake, and have spent less time sitting and more time moving.
Even if you don't have a Fitbit or pedometer, you can still get up and move/ walk more and you can keep track of your food by writing in a journal or if you have a smartphone, download a fitness app where you can keep track of your food. myfitnesspal seems to be a really popular site.
We only have one body, that means one shot to get it right and these are just a couple of simple, although not necessarily easy, ways to get us going.
xo, jen

Four Months

It's been four months since I've been to this area (the blog) of my life. When I think four months, it doesn't sound like a lot of time, but looking back,  so much happened. Here's a brief snapshot of my last four months:
  • We took our 1st family vacation since we've been married. 8yrs. This is HUGE because of what we went through the day we got married and the five years following. It's nothing short of a modern day miracle. Thanks God.                                                                                                
  • Traveled back to the New York Tri-State area...literally going to CT, NY, and NJ for an aunt's funeral, a wedding, and fun. Sometimes I miss the east, but every time we come home to Southern California, I quickly get over it. 
  • The daughter, Tiare Kiilani, of a friend passed away after a terrible accident while hiking. It still seems very surreal. Kii is an amazing girl that comes from an amazing family. She loved and inspired so many people and led a life that many of us only hope/ strive for in our lifetime. Kii was only 18yrs. old                                                        
  • My co-workers and I collaborated together on an artist book and to date our book has been in three exhibits. more about our book to come. Last month I went to San Francisco to speak at one of the Artist Talks for the Pacific Center for the Book Arts exhibit at the SFPL Skylight Gallery. It was an amazing experience and I'm happy to say that it went extremely well.
That's a teeny snapshot! Now, however, it's time to move forward. As we all know moving forward can mean different things, depending what's going on in our lives. For me, right now, it means spending more time here
xo, jen

Made :: Healthy Snacks

Do you guys ever get hit by "snack attacks?" I do all the time. Eating unhealthy snacks has been my downfall for many years. Last month we decided to do the My Fit Foods 21 day challenge. My Fit Foods makes life easy, you meet with a nutritionist, they come up with a meal plan based on you and your desires, and you pick up your fresh meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 2x a week. Snacks are also provided. There's absolutely no thinking on your part and you're truly set up for success. It was great, but I missed cooking. that's why all my post last week were food related. And although the challenge is over for us, eating healthy snacks is something we decided to adopt into our lifestyle. So last week and this week we've been preparing our own healthy snacks. Easy, but it definitely takes time and planning. worth it though. We're making veggie and fruit packs.

Some with almond butter, hummus, walnuts, cubed chicken, etc. Not only are we eating better, but saving money as well. Do you pack your own healthy snacks? and if so, what do you pack?

xo, jen
p.s. pressed juicery is having a special on their juice cleanse, may 8th-may14th. it's a great opportunity to try it out. my thoughts about it.

Cooking this Week

This week I've had the time to cook everyday and have enjoyed it. My husband has really been loving it, not once did he call and ask "what are we doing for dinner?"Starting next week though my schedule is back to normal so not as much cooking will be happening. Here's a a few more dishes I made this week:

Sesame Turkey Meatballs and Smashed Chickpea salad:
This meal was amazing. The meatballs are incredibly easy and quick to make as was the salad. Both recipes are from Smitten Kitchen. I highly recommend trying these. Next time I'll make extra meatballs and freeze them.

Individual chocolate cakes with dulce de leche and fleur de sel
This was my first time making chocolate cake. Honestly, I don't even know why I did since I don't even like chocolate cake. I was taken in by the beautiful pictures in the cookbook, it was something new to try, and I wanted to share them with the neighbors and a good friend that loves chocolate cake.

Healthy chicken salad sandwiches
Yesterday was really hot and I did not want to turn on my oven/ stove top again so we had sandwiches. These sandwiches are super easy, healthy, and yummy. The original recipe is from a magazine so this was made based on my memory.

Healthy Chicken Salad
1 c. or so chopped chicken (we buy whole cooked chicken at the grocery store, cut some up for our protein snack packs and the rest was used to make this chicken salad) the chicken breast is best and skin removed.
1/2 c. or so Greek yogurt, plain, low fat or nonfat
Seedless Grapes- a handful sliced in half
1/2 c. walnuts or almonds chopped
4 slices of bread of your choice. Wheat, squaw, whole wheat sandwich thins, etc. are great choices
a sprinkle of flaxseed or chia (optional)

Mix the chopped chicken with the yogurt. Next add the grapes and nuts. Mix. Spread half of the mixture on one slice of bread and then top the sandwich. Do the same with the other two slices of bread. 
This recipe is very flexible, adjust it to your liking. I used a little less yogurt because I don't like chicken salad that is too creamy and added mixed greens to my sandwich. Enjoy.

Have a great weekend.
xo, jen

p.s. Unique LA is this weekend

Made :: Almond Cakes and Green Beans with Snail Butter

Okay, I'm slowly recovering from my "missed meeting David Lebovitz opportunity." Cooking from his new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, is helping, plus it's a lot of fun. So far I've made Green Beans with Snail Butter (no snails are involved,) Almond cakes with browned butter, Croque-Monsieur, and tonight Individual chocolate cakes with dulce de leche and fleur de sel. gotta share these with the neighbors though, too many sweets in my house is no bueno.
Everything has been delicious. My husband can't stop eating the mini almond cakes. I think I may have browned the butter a little too long, but they really are the perfect little tea or coffee cake.

The green beans though are my favorite... so far. The recipe is simple and can easily be adapted to your liking.

Green Beans with Snail Butter (adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz)

1/2 lb. or so of green beans, tips removed
2 Tbsp of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp of kosher salt
ground pepper (fresh if you have it)
any other seasoning you might like, just try not to over season

Put a steamer basket that fits into a saucepan. Add enough water so that it reaches the bottom of the steamer basket. Cover and heat until the water is at a low boil. add beans and steam until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the beans from the basket and allow them to drain on a kitchen or paper towels.

In a large skillet melt butter over medium to high heat. Add garlic and cook until it begins to brown, 2-3 minutes. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper. Add green beans and stir until the beans are cooked to your liking (I like mine a little crunchy still, so this part was very quick) and coated with the garlicky butter. Serve and enjoy.

xo, jen
note: according to david the snail butter simply refers to the garlicky butter that is often used when baking snails.

David Lebovitz Was Here... and I Missed Him.

David Lebovitz was in Santa Monica this past weekend and I missed him! totally beyond my control. This was a huge disappointment. Almost two years ago a couple of girlfriends and myself went to Paris and a lot of the eating portion of our trip was planned based on posts read on David's blog. It was amazing. He was spot on. We had so much fun trying to find our way around the city, trying new things, and relishing in every delicious bite. That trip was so special for us and for part of it, we thank David. I'm so sad we missed him.
However, I do take comfort in the fact that I was able to check out his new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, at one of the local libraries. This is another one that will be bought.

It's a beautiful and fun cookbook. David is a wonderful storyteller. The book is not only filled with mouth watering recipes and some gorgeous photos, it's David telling us a story. The story of his life and adventures with cooking in Paris. He brings the reader to his Paris. This could easily be your night time reading material. I mean who doesn't want to be transported to Paris before they fall asleep. So far I've tried two recipes and will share them here tomorrow.

xo, jen

p.s. if you're in the bay area you're luckier than you know: David will be there this weekend and throughout the week doing book signings and dinners.

Learning New Things : Watercolor

Do you enjoy learning new things? I love it. Online learning is huge and although I wasn't a huge fan when working on my Masters, taking creative classes online is great. It's nice to be able to work from home, at your own pace, and also have instructor feedback. Now there are a lot of great free video tutorials online, but again, having instructor feedback and available to answer questions is so valuable.
Since watercolor is something that I find beautiful and would like to dabble in, guess what I did today? Signed up for an online class through Nicole's Classes! finally I can use these watercolor items a friend gave me. The class starts next month and I'm excited to learn something new.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!
xo, jen

p.s. nicole's classes has 30% off classes until the end of April.
p.s.s. Tillamook is on tour and giving free ice cream all weekend. See if they're at a location near you.

Sherman Oaks Ralphs is Now Open!

Last week a handful of bloggers, including myself, were invited to tour (and post about) the new Sherman Oaks Ralphs which is now officially open! The community is happy and with good reason. This store is like no other Ralphs you've been in or will ever be in. Imagine the best of Whole Foods, a cool modern designed space, and any of your other favorite local fresh marketplaces all rolled up into one and you have the new Ralphs. It's an experience.
As you enter the store the produce department is right in front of you and it's large. There's even a new fresh herbs selection. Not only was it big, but it actually looked fresh. You know how sometimes when you're looking at produce, the selections look like they came from the bottom of the barrel? Well, not here. Fresh, extensive organic selection, locally grown, and sourced! beautiful
Sometimes we get so busy and thinking of what to make/ have for dinner can be daunting. You don't want fast food, don't want to sit at restaurant, don't want to cook, you just want to go home and have a fresh meal. This Ralphs has you covered. Fresh prepared meals you can bring home, heat, and eat. There's also a sushi station where you can order fresh sushi. bonus: they also have seating so you can chat with friends, have a cup of coffee, go over your grocery list, etc.

The bakery and deli is pretty impressive. They've partnered and brought in Murray's Cheese and Rustico Soups and Artisan breads in addition to La Brea Bakery.

There's even a healthy selection of gluten free and vegan baked goods. very important nowadays.
Most mainstream grocery stores have limited shelf space for "ethnic" foods, including kosher items. Until now I've never seen such a large selection of kosher deli, kosher bakery, kosher kitchen, etc. The store even has a Mashgiach! If kosher is what you desire, take a look here.

The meat department is my fave. As you know, when time is on my side, I enjoy cooking and trying new dishes. When I grocery shop I go to a couple of stores because the meat quality and selection at our neighborhood stores are not the best. Meat quality is very important in my house and we pay a little more at WF because the quality is better. Now this Ralphs offers the type of quality and variety we're looking for. One stop shopping, love it! oh and i love that they call the butchers "meat professionals."

What can I say about the flower department other than it is beautiful. It's like being in a "proper" flower shop. The variety and vibrant bouquets do not look like your typical  grocery store bouquets. translation: men and women it's okay to buy flowers for your loved ones here.

Expanded wine selections, gourmet food items, great parking, friendly staff, oh my! There's so much to this store and if you're local to the Sherman Oaks area, stop by sometime and experience Sherman Oaks Ralphs for yourself.
xo, jen
As a thank you for my participation and post, Ralphs provided me with a Ralphs gift card and gift bag. All content and opinions are my own.

Flower Power

Sometimes in life we stop to smell the flowers, but have you ever stopped to think about how powerful flowers are? Flowers have the power to make us smile, can change the whole look and feel of a room. Flowers have the power to make one person forgive another. Now that's a lot of power!

One workshop offered at Craftcation was Fresh Flower Accessory. Although unable to attend, I did reap a benefit. One of the ladies, Mary, that I met gave me one of the accessories she created with fresh flowers. It was a hair clip made with lovely yellow baby marigolds (?)  I vowed to wear the clip each day until the flowers died. Everyday that I wore the barrette, I not only received countless compliments, but I got to meet and connect with women I may not have otherwise met. It was a real conversation starter. The flowers are now dead, but while they were alive and being worn, they possessed the power to connect people. Thanks Mary!

xo, jen
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Craftcation 2014

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Craftcation in Ventura, CA. It was my first time in Ventura and attending the conference. BTW,Ventura is beautiful.
Craftcation is for crafters, creatives, makers, of all sorts, from hobbyists to professionals. There were many crafty type of workshops and business classes, a little something for everyone. I chose more of the business track classes. These classes/panels were led by professionals in specific areas. A lot of great information, trends, tips, how-to's, insight into having a creative business were shared. My head is still spinning, but in a good way. The conference was pretty amazing and fun. It was really cool to see and connect with so many creatives in one place. This is definitely a conference I'd love to attend next year.

xo, jen
p.s. highlights from the conference later this week.

Happy Birthday to the Eiffel Tower

Happy 125th Birthday Eiffel Tower! So many wonderful memories come to mind every time I look at you. So glad they didn't tear you down after the 1889 World Fair. Stay beautiful and as fabulous as you are. See you in a couple of years (hopefully.)
xo, jen

Milk: Marshmallow Cornflake Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are ridiculously delicious. I've made them twice in the past two weeks. The recipe comes from the cookbook Milk by Christina Tosi. It's amazing and I will be buying it after returning the library copy. The recipes are crazy, brilliant, but may not be for those afraid to try something a little different. Never would I have thought to put cornflakes or marshmallows in my chocolate chip cookies. There's even a recipe for corn on my to bake list. So glad to have found this treasure. And as excited I am, there is a little fear of overindulging in baking such wonderful treats. When it comes to baked goods, moderation is something I need to practice.

xo, jen
p.s. the cookie dough itself is incredible. I'm one of those that doesn't mind tasting raw cookie dough... don't judge.

The Music in My Head: Fragile

For the past several months the only thing playing in my car has been audiobooks. I wanted a break from the radio and hearing the same thing over and over again. It's been great for the most part because a lot of places you go to have music playing in the background. it may not be your favorite kind of music, but you still get your fill of music. The downside to this is that you miss out on hearing some new and fresh music. Take me for instance. I recently finished an audiobook and am waiting to get the next book in the series so I've been listening to music in the car. As I'm flipping through the channels, I come across the near end of a song that I'm really liking. I have no idea what the title of the song is or who sings it. yes i do know there are apps that can help out with this, but i don't have one, plus safety first, no phone when driving. The girl's voice on the song is beautiful, soulful, and haunting almost and then it's over. I did catch a word repeated in the chorus and put it into my memory bank. Over the weekend I used my vast researching skills and found the song! It was a great moment and was not disappointed one bit when I heard the song in it's entirety. it's on repeat. So without further ado here is Fragile. i think it came out last year.

via YouTube
xo, jen

Fun and Inspiring Library Loot

Look what goodies were discovered and checked out at my local library. Paper to Petal by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell is a beautiful, beautiful book, filled with incredible handmade paper flowers. Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe feeds my desire to grow my calligraphy skills. I've actually completed a few of my own projects since checking these books out. Both of these books have been fun and inspiring, but I must return them tomorrow so that they can work their magic and inspire someone else. What inspiring books have you checked out lately?

xo, jen

Highly Recommend: 20 Feet from Stardom

Have you seen this documentary? Last summer when we were having dinner out, our friendly server commented on my hair and proceeded to tell us about this great film she had seen, where one of the singers had hair like mine, and suggested we see it. I've kept the title in my mental notes and finally checked it out at my local library. Last week I watched it and absolutely loved it. The film is about backup singers, who they are, and how much they contribute to the music industry. These singers are truly unsung heroes. Music artists and the songs they sang/ sing would not have the power to move us without the backup singers. Their vocals are the final piece of a beautiful musical puzzle. Amazing. If you're interested, you can probably find the film on Netflix, Amazon, or even your local library.

Happy Monday 
xo, jen

As Promised...Margarita Recipe

Here's the recipe I promised to share, regardless of the results, a week or so ago:

1/2 cup of tequila
1/2 cup of grand marnier
1/2 cup of simple syrup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeds removed
a few slices of cucumber

Mix everything together and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or longer. Shake and pour over ice. This drink has a really nice kick to it... not for the faint of heart :)
Okay, the results were good, but here's what I would do differently:
Next time I would cut down the simple syrup to maybe a 1/4 cup or so, the drink was a little too sweet. I didn't actually use cucumbers because I accidentally bought a squash instead of a cucumber (crazy.) I do imagine that the margarita would have been very refreshing with the cucumbers. next time.
I haven't made the Lavender Margarita yet because I just picked up some lavender at the farmers market. I'll infuse the lavender in a simple syrup and use it when making a classic margarita. This weekend is supposed to be warm and this might be a perfect treat.
xo, jen

A Little Cooking Help, Please.

Have you heard about it yet? No? Well...wait for it, wait for it...The Kitchn has a brand new "cure." Yay, it's the Cooking Cure. For those of us that enjoy cooking, but get "stuck" sometimes and need a little inspiration, this sounds like something that may be fun.
I found after doing the juice cleanse and part of the food lover's cleanse, I just haven't been as motivated to do much cooking. It's been much easier to pick something up for lunch and dinner. The downsides to that are: I haven't been sleeping as well and just feel kinda blah. everything in my life is the same except for my eating habits the past couple weeks. Why is it so hard? When you cook you're more in control of what goes into the body. It's easy to substitute and use portion control. The food is fresh and tastes better. These reasons alone should be enough motivation, right? Well, at this point and time, I need a little help so I've signed up for the Cure and am looking forward to starting.
If you're interested you can find the details here, but hurry it starts Monday, March 3rd.

Happy National Margarita Day!!!

That's right this Saturday, February 22 is National Margarita Day. it's really a day. And guess what y'all? My favorite adult beverage is a well made Cadillac Margarita on the rocks.
In order to celebrate I thought it might be fun to make two types of margaritas. The first will be a Jalapeno Margarita and the other a Lavender. I've never done this before so I won't post a recipe yet since I'll be making it up as I go. Now if I'm successful, I'll post the recipe here on the blog. Hmmm... what the heck, I'll post it regardless then that way you'll know what not to do.

Have a great weekend! xo 

Student Projects: a Handmade Book and a Broadside

Today I wanted to share the work of our students. The class is Introduction to Letterpress. The first project is an "Alphabet" book. Each student was assigned a letter of the alphabet and then had to come up with an alliteration for that letter. They printed their letter with wood type and the alliteration was handset with metal type. After printing they bound the book with a french link binding. The books are beautiful and fun to read.

Yesterday the students did this broadside. I love it. They worked really well together in coming up with words, choosing colors, setting-up the presses, printing, and cleaning the presses. It was a whirlwind. we had 3 presses running. They did it though and the print is awesome. I love how both projects turned out and am excited for their next.

xo, jen

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's day! Today we're keeping our plans simple. My plan is to write my husband a love note just to let him know how much I appreciate and love him. A nice dinner at home with fabulous cocktails and maybe stream a movie. since it's Valentine's maybe a romantic comedy. Just thinking about our simple evening makes me happy. Hope all of you have a happy day and great weekend.
p.s. here's something else that's making me happy everytime I hear it:

via youtube
xo, jen

Valentine's Week : Beauty

Hi everyone, Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Are you ready? When I was younger one of my favorite things to do was to play dress up. Now that I've grown-up, "playing dress up" is just as fun and Valentine's is the perfect occasion to "play." You get a chance to treat yourself and the special person in your life by simply looking your best!
Below I've put together an easy Valentine's Day look using the ever popular Naked Palette (version #1) by Urban Decay.... 
Whether you're going out with that special person or getting together with the girls, this look is perfect for a night out on the town. 
So without further ado, let's play....
Step 1: As always start with a clean face...wash and moisturize. Prime your face as a base in preparation for your makeup.  Here I'm using Clinique's Superprimer and Color Corrector for Deeper Skin tones.  Clinique is my go to skin care source because their products are non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic which for makeup junkies like me simply means it won't make your skin worse!

Step 2: Prime your eyelids up to the eyebrow to make sure your eyeshadows are both vibrant and long lasting.  I am using Soft Ochre prolong wear paintpot by MAC Cosmetics.
YouTube is a great source for eyebrow tutorials if you need one.  Just type in "eyebrow tutorial" and you will open a window to hours of videos!

Step 3: Fill in your eyebrows because they frame your face. (There is more than 1 way to put on your makeup...some people do their foundation & then their shadow& then whatever is most comfortable for you.)

 Step 4: Start by dipping your MAC 239 brush (or equivalent) in the color Virgin and applying to your brow bone as a highlight.

Step 5: Using a MAC 224 brush (or equivalent) dip into the color Buck and blend into your corner crease using a windshield wiper motion. Then with the same brush dip into the color Darkhorse and blend into your corner crease in a v-shape.

Step 6: Use your MAC 239, dip it back into Virgin and place on your lid. Look in the mirror and if the colors aren't vibrant enough just use the same brushes and add more. Clean up any fall out with a wipe. I love using MAC's makeup remover wipes or Neutrogena wipes to clean up the fall out from under my eyes.

Step 7: Add eyeliner (I used ELF's eyeliner pen in black) and false lashes (I used MAC 34s.)

Step 8: Put on your foundation and blend with a beauty blender sponge. I'm using Kevyn Aucoin's Sensual Skin Enhancer SX12 & Laura Mercier's Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer.

Step 9: Contour and highlight to give definition to your face. I'm using  MAC blush in Clove & Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Shape the Future (limited edition.)

Step 10: Add blush to the apple of your cheeks. Set the look with Makeup Forever HD pressed powder. The for added, I spray on NYX's Matte Finish setting spray.

Step 11: Add a vibrant red lip. Here I'm using MAC's chromographic liner in Basic Red and MAC's popular matte red, Russian Red. Done!

Go ahead, admire your handy work in the mirror and then go have some fun! Hope your Valentine's is as fabulous as you look. 

Tiffany Nelson is an LA Based makeup artist specializing in special occasion makeup and makeup for the "everyday woman on the go."  You can follow her on Instagram @TNEL_MUA.