Natural energy without the jitters or stomach aches: 4 healthy alternatives to coffee

I’ll be the first to admit that coffee smells amazing, and that I’m guilty of indulging in some espresso-flavored gelato every now and then. But, between its bitter taste and its nauseating side effects, I’m definitely not a fan of the drink itself. Thankfully, there are so many healthier, energizing alternatives to coffee on grocery store shelves. So, for my fellow non-coffee drinkers, I put together this list of four natural options.

Green tea: Green tea is a super easy 0-calorie alternative to coffee when you’re craving that instant, early morning boost. Much like coffee, you can enjoy green tea hot or iced; plain or in different flavors. While green tea has significantly less caffeine per 8 oz cup than does coffee (25-45 mg versus coffee’s 100-200 mg), it kicks your metabolism up a notch, giving you natural energy that won’t make you jittery. Additionally, green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is known to improve brain function when consumed with caffeine. It also helps the body burn fat, and it reduces the risk of certain cancers, Alzthimer’s, Parkinson’s, dental infections, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Kombucha: I’ve been hooked on kombucha ever since I tried it for the first time in 2014! For those of you who are not familiar with the drink, kombucha is a fermented black or green tea that contains live probiotics. Because it is made from tea, kombucha does contain some caffeine. But, the live cultures help move food and harmful toxins through your gut, according to WebMD, and to boost your immune system; both of which will perk you up if you are feeling sluggish. Kombucha also works as a low-cal, low-sugar alternative to ginger ale when your stomach hurts, plus, its bubbly-ness and subtle sweetness make it the perfect cocktail mixer. My favorite kombucha is Health-Ade’s original.


Detox water: Sometimes when we think we’re tired, we are actually dehydrated. So, when that 3 p.m. slump hits, opt for a huge class of cold, DIY infused water instead of a sugary snack! If our bodies go without water for a long period of time, we tend to feel sleepy, irritable and confused; hydrating replenishes our systems, kicking our bodies and minds into gear. Adding lemon heightens water’s benefits by renewing the liver (which works its hardest overnight while we sleep), boosting the immune system, flushing the digestive system and fighting acne. It also aids in weight loss, or the maintaining of a healthy weight.


Not only do natural ingredients like lemon, fresh mint leaves and ginger taste great, they keep our bodies on-track. Add any of your favorite fruits, vegetables or herbs to a glass or bottle of water to make your own unique detox!


B-complex vitamins: B vitamins help the body to produce energy from fats and carbohydrates and to form red blood cells, according to They also protect the immune system, aid in the break-down of simple carbs, fight free radicals, boost HDL cholesterol (aka the “good cholesterol”), reduce acne and signs of aging (such as red spots and dark spots), help to produce serotonin and melatonin (which improve mood and sleeping patterns), protect against heart disease, promote healthy hair, skin and nails, reduce depression and memory loss and create the protein that carries oxygen and carbon dioxide back and forth throughout the body (hemoglobin).

Although we get a lot of B vitamins through our diets (from leafy greens to red meat), taking B-complex supplements (or a multivitamin that contains B vitamins) daily provides us with some of the nutrients we may be missing, so we can be more awake and alert during the day.



Glow-y bronze makeup tutorial for everyday glamour

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grad school can be hectic to say the least, but the right outfit definitely makes me feel confident enough to take on even the busiest of days; of course, no look is complete without some fierce makeup. Day or night, I love to rock a glow-y, bronze face like model Emily Ratajkowski (better known as Em Rata). In a world of Kardashian-wannabe women with drawn-on eyebrows and cake-y foundation, nothing beats letting your natural beauty shine through. Besides, who doesn’t want to feel like a glowing bronze goddess on the reg?

During the summer months, this sultry look is ideal for replicating naturally sun-kissed skin; it also creates the perfect amount of warmth for fall and winter. Obviously, I don’t have the time or the desire to wear makeup every day, but when I feel like I could use a little glamour, I go to this subtle, feminine routine.

unnamed-1 unnamed-2

The products I used in this tutorial are…


  • Eyelash comb
  • Eyelash curler
  • Eyeshadow brush
  • “Smudger” brush (for eyeshadow)
  • Kabuki brush
  • Contour brush
  • Medium fan brush


  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer
  • MAC Cosmetics eyeshadow in Saddle (side note: while Saddle is flattering on just about any complexion, it is the absolute best eyeshadow for bringing out blue or blue/gray eyes. For a less expensive drugstore dupe, try NYX Dance the Tides.)
  • Urban Decay eyeshadow in Dirtysweet (from the Naked Smoky pallette)
  • Maybelline Great Lash BIG mascara in Blackest Black


  • bareMinerals powder foundation in Golden Medium
  • NARS bronzer in Laguna (Benefit’s Hoola is another great option.)
  • Benefit boxed blush in Rockateur
  • Benefit Watt’s Up! highlighter


  • NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien (If I’m in the mood for a matte lip, I swap this pencil for NYX Lingerie liquid lipstick in Satin Ribbon. For evening looks I always wear NARS lipgloss in Orgasm.)

Step one: Prime eyelids with Primer Potion. Comb and curl lashes; comb brows.

Step two: Cover under-eye circles with Instant Age Rewind concealer. Blend upwards and outwards with the fingers.

Step three: Use powder foundation and the kabuki brush for light to medium all-over coverage on the face.

Step four: With the eyeshadow brush, cover entire eyelids in Dirtysweet, avoiding the brow-bone areas. To reduce product fallout (my biggest pet peeve!), use a business card or credit card under the eyes as a barrier.

Step five: Apply MAC Saddle to the creases with the eyeshadow brush. Then, bring a little Saddle to the lower lash lines using the “smudger” brush.

Step six: Apply two coats of mascara to the upper lashes; apply one light coat of mascara to the lower lashes.

Step seven: Contour the cheeks and hairline/temples according to the chart below.

Image from

Image from

Step eight: With the fan brush, apply Rockateur boxed blush to the apples of the cheeks.

Step nine: Highlight the cheeks, brow-bones and cupid’s bow using Watt’s Up! according the chart above. Blend with the fingers.

Step ten: Apply the lip pencil, liquid lipstick or lipgloss slowly and evenly.

I absolutely love to pair this makeup with tousled bedhead-style hair or big, undone curls to add to the old school bombshell vibes (think: Gisele Bündchen during the early 2000s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows). Current beauty trends have a tendency to look harsh and unnatural, which is why I opt for gentler, more effortless looks, like this one, that work better when they’re slightly messy.

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen backstage at Victoria's Secret

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen backstage at Victoria’s Secret. Image from


DIY Kendall Jenner-inspired t-shirt

Recently, Kendall Jenner was spotted in a dope, bra-exposing cut-up t-shirt; a far cry from the average do-it-yourself teeThe 20-year-old starlet snipped a deep v-neck into her oversized t-shirt so that only the collar remained to hold the sleeves in place, and the result definitely turned quite a few heads–including mine.

Image from

While I am by no means a Kardashian/Jenner fan, I won’t deny that this is a totally badass way to spice up a tired, old t-shirt. In a casual, vintage-inspired ensemble complete with light-wash mom jeans and white booties, Jenner looked smokin’ hot. This steezy (i.e., stylish and easy) outfit is perfect for early autumn, and I can’t wait to rock my own version of it to class and beyond. Follow my steps below for reworking your own baggy tee:

Image from

Step one: Turn the t-shirt of your choice inside out, and with a permanent marker draw a deep v-neck that hits right above the navel. Cut along the lines you just drew, making sure to avoid the collar and sleeve seams. If you don’t already have a t-shirt you are willing to cut up, check the boys’ or men’s sections of local secondhand stores; they are sure to have some hidden gems!

Step two: After the v-neck has been cut out completely, use your hands to gently stretch the freshly cut edges. This will cause the edges to curl inward, hiding any jagged imperfections.

Step three: For even more distressed details, add a couple slashes and small holes to each sleeve and the bottom hem of the shirt.

Step four: Machine wash and dry your reworked t-shirt at least once before wearing it so that the raw edges appear worn-in.

Step five: Layer the tee over your favorite bralette and mid- or high-rise jeans, then polish it off with some heeled booties and sparkly necklaces.



Meet ARE YOU AM I, my newest obsession

When Rumi Neely launched a luxury women’s label in 2014, the fashion industry changed forever; the San Fransisco-born blogger-turned-designer created a collection of sexy and feminine separates that is clean, simple, understated and modern.

Based in Downtown Los Angeles, ARE YOU AM I is “FOR GIRLS THAT GET IT,” according to the homepage of the store’s website. Neely and her team sell the upscale clothing, lingerie and accessories almost exclusively online, however AYAI’s loft is available by appointment to those shoppers lucky enough to find themselves in LA. At the loft–a white, sunny and aesthetically pleasing space–AYAI customers can “see the full collection and preview upcoming pieces” during a “never rushed, truly special personalized experience.”

Image from

But the impossibly chic loft, with its picture windows and its minimalist baroque-inspired decor that embodies the company’s essence, is not the only aspect that makes AYAI unique. Thanks to social media outlets like Tumblr and Instagram, Neely is not only able find her customers (aka GIRLS THAT GET IT), but cultivate and inspire them as well.

“Girls that get it” in and of itself is a vague term, but after studying AYAI’s social media feeds, it obviously implies a degree of je ne sais quois. A “girl that gets it” is somewhat mysterious, effortlessly stylish and devilishly angelic. Most importantly, she is contemporarily elite and contemporarily posh. She always appears to be just over the threshold of what’s attainable.

Image from

Worn by influential It-girls and models like Bella Hadid and Martha Hunt, AYAI is versatile enough to be both edgy and sophisticated, either separately or at the same time. Personally, I love to wear my delicate AYAI pieces with tomboyish basics like plain white or vintage t-shirts and torn denim.

Wearing the Ambrosia Velvet Choker in Blush


Gluten-free, vegan chia “pudding”: super easy superfood recipe

Full of fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and essential nutrients like calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, chia seeds are definitely a must-have superfood in any kitchen. Virtually tasteless, I love adding these tiny seeds to smoothies, juices, hummus and smashed avocado. Lately, however, I have been chowing down on a bowl of gluten-free and vegan chia “pudding” every morning before class.

This summer I learned that I am allergic to all dairy including eggs, so since then I’ve maintained a mostly vegan diet with occasional lean meats like chicken or fish. Thankfully, chia pudding is just as delicious as it is filling. Not to mention, it is very simple to prepare and a cool, refreshing treat for these hot, humid final weeks of summer.

Chia pudding topped with blackberries, raspberries, half a banana and a drizzle of honey for breakfast

For two servings, you will need:

1 1/4 cups almond milk

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 tablespoon honey (honey is another superfood! It is packed with antioxidants and natural energy, it improves mood and sleep and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Toppings: fruit (I love bananas and berries), nuts (almonds are always good), nut butter, cacao nibs (for all you chocolate-lovers), coconut shavings, honey drizzle

  1. Pour the chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla extract into a medium or large serving bowl and mix well; chia seeds have a tendency to clump together.
  2. Combine the coconut sugar and cinnamon in a smaller bowl or ramekin. Once mixed evenly, add these dry ingredients to the serving bowl and stir.
  3. Add the honey to the serving bowl and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture for four hours or overnight, stirring every now and then until it forms a pudding-like texture.
  5. Serve with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!