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What inspired you this year?

When I was younger my father would drive my brother and me to the closest rock climbing gym to San Antonio, an hour and fifteen minutes away in Austin. In 2014, for the first time in fifteen years, and with a dear friend by my side, I put on the climbing shoes and harness and found myself learning an important lesson that I have since applied to the my life and experiences off the rocks and outside the gym: you are never stuck, even when it feels like it.

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I found myself confronted with this thought many times at the beginning; when my grip didn’t feel strong enough, or I didn’t see the next feasible move. I would freeze, but then realize I had two options: move forward or let go, and that either way I would be fine, and supported, and so I would take a deep breath and propel myself up. Every time, I made it to the top, and every time, I felt more and more empowered.

2014 presented some big challenges, some that at times left me feeling momentarily defeated, but rock climbing inspired me to never tell myself “I can’t”; it taught me to try, and to find the strength through that effort.

I asked some of the Alima staffers what challenged and inspired them this past year to help propel them through 2015. Here’s what they had to say:

Sara F.: My sister. My younger sister recently got divorced, and while she is now learning to support herself entirely on her own while going to school and maintaining a job, she stays infectiously positive throughout everything. She’s owning herself, and gives me the strength in my own life to see that not only can she endure anything, but thrives while doing so.

Alyson: Finding swimming holes with my “Aqua Posse”. This summer we explored the Umpqua River. These outdoors adventures with my friends invigorate me every summer and set the tone for the rest of the year.

Candice: It was a big year for me – I turned thirty and my father passed away, two monumental milestones that have caused me to reflect on who I am and all that encompasses. For the first time I am finding myself looking deeper, into myself and into the future, and while the unknown is unsettling it is also incredibly empowering.

Charlene: My friends, and the strength they have given me to overcome any obstacle.

Ashlee: My niece and nephew, who constantly remind me to embrace the youthful imagination and playfulness we so often forget thrive in each of us.

Kat: Exploring the outdoors, forcing me to recognizing the beauty surrounding us and truly appreciating it.

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Tips to Stay Healthy this Holiday

The lights have been strung, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” is playing in any store with automatic doors, and the Christmas cards and invitations are piling up. ‘Tis the season, and with the hanging of stockings and wreaths soon come the holiday parties, families, endless cooking, and feeling as though you don’t have a moment to simply breathe. So how does one get through the holiday season? By doing just that: breathing; and if that’s not quite enough, here are a few healthy tips this holiday!

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1. Find a holiday run or walk in your city, or see if your local yoga studio is offering a special donation based class. Gather your willing friends and family, release some stress while supporting local charities and encouraging healthy balance during the holidays.

2 . The best gift you can give to yourself, and others, is to ENJOY yourself. We often become so overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending holiday to-do list that we are taken away from the moments that are the most precious. So put down the spatula, or the credit card, and take a moment to sit down with your loved ones to embrace the true meaning of the holidays.

3. Stay hydrated, of course. Throw a little mint in your water to make it festive!

4. Cut yourself some slack. If you are someone who is mindful of what you eat, don’t deprive yourself of the most delicious time of year. Find the balance to your meals, or perhaps alternative ingredients to those beloved holiday classics.

5. After a long day spent in the kitchen and around the table, put on your coat and end your evening with a walking tour of a neighborhood donned with Christmas lights, engulfing yourself in the season.

6. Healthy eggnog via My New Roots!

7. Above all, the most important health tip I can give you is to laugh – with your loved ones, by yourself, while relaxing and watching holiday classics. (Home for the Holidays, anyone?)

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Get the Look: Glimmer

Celebrate the season with Glimmer, part of our Gilt Collection for Winter 2014. Filled with naturally gorgeous metallics, the Glimmer set offers a modern take on a classic look. It features Lamé, a shimmering golden eyeshadow; Stella, a bold garnet Velvet Lipstick; Burnish Highlighter, a rose gold highlighter; Patina Natural Definition Eye Pencil, a smoky taupe; and Brown Natural Definition Mascara. See how to get this naturally gorgeous look in a few quick steps.

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1. Apply Lamé all over the lower eyelid just above the crease with a #39 Large Eyeshadow Brush

2. Tight line your upper and lower lash line with Patina Natural Definition Eye Pencil to compliment the Lamé

3. Pop a bit more Lamé into the inner corners of the eye to really brighten up the eyes with a #35 Eye Detail Brush.

4. Apply a light dusting of Burnish Highlighter to the upper cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, and on to the forehead with a #23 Kitten Brush.

5. Apply your favorite Alima Pure blush to the apples of the cheeks. We recommend Melon Satin Matte Blush with this look!

6. Apply two coats of Brown Natural Definition Mascara, a rich brown that brings out all eye colors.

7. Finish the look with Stella Velvet Lipstick for the perfect festive holiday lip!

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Velvet Lipsticks

Have you tried our Velvet Lipstick? It’s truly THE lipstick where you can have it all as it’s high-pigmented, glides on smoothly and provides a long lasting velvet finish. It has a subtle delicious vanilla scent and (most importantly!) is brimming with pure, moisturizing ingredients that are hydrating, healing and soothing to the lips. All six shades of Velvet Lipstick were created with you in mind as they’re wearable for all skin tones and suit whatever style you’re feeling like channeling for the day. All month long we will be introducing each shade to you here on the blog and would love to hear your feedback along the way.

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Key ingredients:
Candelillia and carnauba waxs protect lips and deliver long lasting wear
Shea and cocoa  butters keep lips hydrated and supple
Jojoba, coconut, and sunflower oils nourish and moisturize delicate skin

Contains NO:
Parabens, artificial preservatives, sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, dimethicone, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, nano particles

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Holiday Travel Essentials

The holiday season is upon us and with loved ones down South and scattered about both coasts, I have a lot of miles, frequent flier or otherwise, on the horizon.

I love to travel, and even with the bustling airports and seemingly endless lines, the unspoken but imagined stories and destinations of my fellow travelers fill me with appreciation and excitement for my own. Traveling, unfortunately, is not always easy. Those aforementioned lines? The personal space you relinquish as soon as you sit down on the plane? Climate and time zone changes? Traveling can take a toll not just physically, but mentally. It’s important to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself even when you’re thousands of miles from home with a routine and diet that might not align with your typical one.

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How do I get through the holiday travel season? With a continuous reminder to breathe, yes, but these accessible travel essentials are the real trick:

1. These homemade bars packed with proteins, whole foods, and simple, delicious goodness, give me the boost of energy I find I often need on a day of travel.

2. Serial, the addictive new crime podcast from This American Life contributor and producer Sarah Koenig follows her investigation into a murder case from 1999 as she searches for answers to questions that no one seemed to ask fifteen years ago.

3. Comfort on an airplane is key, which is why I always like to pack a light, but warm, blanket.

4. I often use my travel time to catch up on books I’ve been eyeing but haven’t quite had the time to read. Lena Dunham’s bold and humorous Not That Kind of Girl has been on my holiday reading list since the book was first announced.

5. While I’m sure the flight attendants appreciate my constant requests for water, a reusable water bottle equipped with a charcoal filter is now with me almost everywhere I go, traveling or not.

6. Patina Natural Definition Eye Pencil is a smoky brown eyeliner that goes with most eye shadows making it the perfect travel companion. It’s one of my favorite holiday additions because it’s so versatile!

7. Tata Harper’s Natural Skincare Try-Me Set is also perfect for travel as it provides  samples containing one or two uses of their products. Tata’s Resurfacing Mask is perfect when I need a little brightening and refreshing.

8. I try my best to only pack a carry-on so I can avoid the hectic whirlwind otherwise known as baggage claim, and Everlane’s Weekender Bag is my favorite.

Happy travels!

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Brows that Wow

Create smooth, defined, and naturally gorgeous shaped brows with our Brows that Wow kit this winter! Each kit contains a full-size brow shade along with all the tools you’ll need to get the job done in three simple steps.

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Step 1: With your Brow Brush + Comb, brush through the brows in an upward motion.

Step 2:  Dip your #33 Angle/Liner Brow Brush into your preferred brow shade. You don’t need much powder, so be sure to tap any excess off of the brush! With a light hand, begin by creating smooth, angled strokes to the brows to fill in the brows to your desired shape.

Step 3: Brush through the brows again with your Brow Brush + Comb. This helps blends everything together, creating the illusion of natural brows with less harsh lines.

 

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Content 2014

For the past four years, Ace Hotel in Portland has offered their second floor guest rooms to twenty eight local designers and granted each one free reign to transform a room.  We were thrilled to be a part of this inspirational event and chat with some of our favorite local designers.

Where to begin? That’s what I thought when I entered the second floor hallway and that’s what I’m thinking now, so I suppose I’ll start where I did that Saturday, with Betsy + Iya.

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Stepping into the Betsy + Iya room was like walking into their notebooks, literally. From the floor to the ceiling and then everywhere in between, the room was wallpapered with notes and designs from Betsy + Iya’s inception to three weeks before Content. It gave us a sense of the chaos that accompanies the design process, while also showcasing the beauty that comes with, and from, that grittiness. There was such candidness conveyed in their display, a clear extension of the warm and genuine brilliance of Betsy and Will, her husband and business partner.

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We continued to wander in and out of rooms; I blindly scribbled notes while trying to absorb every ounce of creativity surrounding me. Embarrassingly, when we were in the Portland Garment Factory room, I only managed two words, though I feel those two simple words express everything that I feel about PGF, their room, their designs, and the ladies who run it: COOLEST GIRLS. Truly. Britt Howard and Rosemary Robinson are some of the most fun, welcoming, interesting, and accessible ladies I have met and that fully translates into their contemporary designs.

I thought Alexa Stark had won my heart when I saw her lookbook featuring Glenda Goldwater earlier this year, but then I walked into her room and was met with Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast from 1946 projected onto a sheer backdrop as sudden flashes of light exposed dancers moving silently behind the curtain. In the style of Butoh, a form of Japanese dance based in the individual dancer’s reaction to where they are feeling in the space, Alexa evoked the idea of negative space and shadows to represent the sense of movement in her designs.

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Every part of the Olderbrother design process is met with such intention and awareness towards the future, not just of their garments, but of the environment. Sustainability is a driving force of this gender-neutral clothing line, figuring out the line (and if there has to be one) between eco-friendly and fashion forward and in my opinion, succeeding. Each piece, if subtle in its unique quality, somehow seems perfectly crafted to any given body type, regardless of type or gender. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse into the organic indigo hand-dye process in their room at Content. Some even luckier winners were later able to take home shirts dyed that night.

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One of the final rooms I visited also happened to be one of my favorites; Ancliffe. Rachel Ancliffe hails from New Mexico, spent five years in New York, and has now called Portland “home” for the past ten years. Her travel and experience is evident in all of her fresh and wearable pieces. Beautifully hand-dyed clothes are all designed to carry over into different outfits and different years; they are classic while still being unique; and they all need to find a place in my closet.

While I have only highlighted a few of the designers from that weekend, believe me when I tell you that each and every designer is one to follow. I feel so honored to live in a city that is able to not just boast such talent, but support it. By the time I left Content, the halls of the second floor were overflowing with people, all buzzing with excitement. The rooms were inspiring, yes, but so was the effect of a community coming together. It was not an event to miss, but if you did, then I encourage you to look further into the designers, and if you’re not already, keeping your eyes open to the creativity flowing in your own city, and perhaps even yourself.

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Kate’s Notes: What’s Playing on your Mind?

Most of us have a collection of ideas about ourselves which we believe. Some of them are not so nice. We have listened to them so often, one way or another, that they have become like a familiar sort of playlist. These stories about things that happened in the past, things that may or may not have been true, do not help anyone. It’s old, useless stuff.

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What do we do with all that?

Replaying them all and proving them untrue is a lot of work. It could take forever, or at least seem like it could. What about creating some new ones instead? Things you know to be true. Things you can remind yourself about when those old songs start playing again. Listen to the new stories and let them slowly evict the old ones. Patience, love and a little creativity are all you need. What beautiful stories are resting inside your heart. What loves and joys have been patiently waiting to be heard? Let’s listen to those for a while.

Need a reminder? Here’s one – maybe put it somewhere where you can see it from time to time:

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ – Mary Oliver

Blessings,

Kate

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Yoga pose of the month: Goddess

Just this morning I was asked by a coworker what my favorite yoga pose was, to which I responded with not one, or two, but five beloved poses. I couldn’t choose just one, as all poses benefit and influence our body and mind differently depending on the day, hour, mood. What then followed was a discussion of what it was that drew us to a particular pose, and a common answer we both shared was not only the feeling, but also the visual of strength and empowerment. I find that when I visualize myself in a pose, I am able to harness that energy of what the pose represents to transform and deepen my practice and then carry that with me out of the studio.

 

One of the poses that has a strong visual impact on my practice is the Goddess pose, or Utkata Konasana, which literally translates into fierce angle pose. For me, it allows me to awaken the “goddess” within by channeling that feminine force and experience the powerful energy that encompasses the grounding pose.

A great pose to open up your chest and hips while also strengthening your lower body, this pose also allows you to take a moment to bring back awareness to your breath and to observe any discomfort or disquiet physically and mentally.

1. From mountain pose, bring your right foot out so that you are standing with your feet about three feet apart, turned out to a 45 degree angle with your heels facing in. Raise your elbows so that they are actively at shoulder height, bent, and with your palms facing in.

2. Exhale, and bend your knees into a squat, pressing the hips forward while your knees press back to create a deep hip opening. Focus on your shoulders, removing tension from them by dropping your shoulders from your ears and rolling them down the back as if pressing the shoulder blades together, creating a gentle heart opening of the chest.

3. Hold for three or four full rounds of breath, before releasing on your inhale by guiding your hands above your head and then bringing them down to Anjali Mudra, or prayer hands, in front of your heart.

Tip: If you find that you are having difficulty creating a straight spine, try this pose with your back up against the wall for added support.

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Layering for Fall

We usually think of layering for fall in terms of clothing, but layering eyeshadows can evolve a look in a naturally gorgeous way too! Especially lovely together are two By Night shades - Flashback Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow, a radiant shimmering bronze, and After Hours Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow, a soft charcoal black flecked with gold shimmer.

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Get the look by prepping your eyes with a base shade to even out any redness on the lids. We love Fleur or Vanilla Satin Matte Eyeshadow for this! Next, dampen a #39 Large Eyeshadow Brush and pick up a small amount of After Hours to apply all over the lids and up to the crease. Since this pigment will be quite intense, let eyeshadow dry and blend out with a #37 Blending Brush for a more smoked look. Next, with your finger or a clean and dry #39 Large Eyeshadow Brush layer Flashback right on top of After Hours. Top it off with a coat of Black Natural Definition Mascara.

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We encourage you to layer some of your favorite shades for fall to create something new, different, and naturally gorgeous!

 

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Eyeshadows for Blue Eyes

Blue eyes naturally have a calm intensity complimented best by warm tones in a variety of hues – not just your typical shades of brown.

As a blue-eyed gal myself, I have over time, and with a little trial and error, come to understand the best shades to enhance and brighten my baby blues. Since blue is a cool tone, choosing warm colors on the opposite side of the color wheel, in shades of orange and neutrals as example, will bring out the depth and vibrancy in your eyes.

Need a little help? I’ve compiled a little cheat sheet with my favorite recommendations for all you other blue-eyed beauties out there.

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Grey tones: Flattering and versatile, grey tones allow for additional depth and dimension without being overpowering or distracting. Try Zen Pearluster Eyeshadow and By Night’s After Hours Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow for a smoky look.

Orange tones: Colors such as peach and rust contrast with your enchanting blue as they fall on opposite sides of the color spectrum. Try Silk, and Cimarron Pearluster Eyeshadows and Auburn and Mohair Satin Matte Eyeshadow to bring out the vibrancy and coolness of the eyes.

Gold tones: These reflect and highlight a subtle and playful glint in your irises. Vertigo Pearluster Eyeshadow from the By Night collection is insanely gorgeous and also Chai and Pyrite Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadows as well as Camel Pearluster Eyeshadow.

Brown tones: Shades of brown are alluring on just about everyone and brilliantly emphasize your blue tones whether worn strong or subtle, smoky or soft. Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadows in Tigereye and Brown Sugar as well as Cappuccino Pearluster Eyeshadow are perfect for an everyday look. If you gravitate towards mattes try out Cocoa Satin Matte Eyeshadow and I promise you won’t regret it!

Purple tones: Purples add a pop of color while accentuating and brightening the eyes. Orchid and Lilac Satin Matte Eyeshadows are perfect shades to add femininity to your everyday look.

Wildcard: Labyrinth Pearluster Eyeshadow is a deep teal shade that actually suits blue eyes like you wouldn’t believe. It’s bold but is a dusty green perfect for a night out that looks so naturally gorgeous.

P.S. To finish off your blue eyed look, finish it off with two coats of Brown Natural Definition Mascara.

Have fun!

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Get the Look with Vertigo and Cranberry

We’re seriously crazy about By Night’s Vertigo Pearluster Eyeshadow. We like to think of it as the little black dress of eyeshadows because it’s incredibly flattering on everyone. Vertigo is an antiqued bronze shade with subtle shimmer. It is officially our #1 Fall staple. Pair Vertigo with Cranberry Lip Tint for a quick and easy look – perfect for date night or a cocktail party. Get the look in six simple steps below.

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1. Begin with freshly cleansed and moisturized skin. Apply Satin Matte Foundation in your favorite shade with a #25 Foundation Brush.

2. Brighten your cheekbones with Carnation Satin Matte Blush. Apply to the apples of your cheeks with a #17 Blush Brush and blend outwards.

3. With your #39 Large Eyeshadow Brush apply a wash of Vertigo Pearluster Eyeshadow all over the base of your lid and into the crease.

4. Line your upper and lower lids with Ink Natural Definition Eye Pencil. For a soft look smudge the eyeliner with a #33 Angle Liner Brush.

5. Use your #33 Angle Liner Brush to define your brows with your brow shade. Our lovely model is wearing Mahogany Satin Matte Eyeshadow on her brows.

6. Coat your lashes with Black Natural Definition Mascara. This mascara will lengthen and add volume that is long-lasting.

7. Time for ruby lips! Apply two coats of Cranberry Lip Tint for a gorgeous red gloss that also keeps your lips moisturized throughout the evening.

 

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