Month: August 2014

5 tips on how to get Twitter responses from celebrities and big companies

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I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, but only recently became super-active on it. You can follow me @angelacruz! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing how the social media network gives you instant access to well-known celebrities and large-scale companies/organizations that otherwise you would have to jump through a bunch of red tape to contact. Even if you were to reach them the “old-fashioned way” through a personal letter, it could take weeks or even months to hear back from them, if they were to respond. Nowadays, you have a direct outlet to reach them on a public social media forum.

Here are 5 tips on how to get responses, whether it be a RT (“retweet”), a personal response (“reply”), or even just a star (“favorite”):

Tip #1. Get creative with photos. Whether it’s a selfie of you holding a photo of your favorite celeb with a thumbs-up, or maybe you tweet a photo of a company’s product shown in an interesting way (see below)– you’re more likely to get noticed in the online crowd.



Tip #2. Endorsements, AKA declarations of love confined to 140 characters, can motivate responses. Below is another response from smart USA, after I shared this Palm Beach Post article that talked about how much I love my car. It makes the company or celebrity look good, so they are more likely to RT or favorite, or reply like smart USA.

Tip #3. Use hashtags as short endorsements. It’s a spin-off of tip #2, but hashtags are quickie ways to let a brand or a celeb know you love them– and if you use a hashtag that’s trending, it can gain you more followers, more favorites, and more RTs, which can put your particular tweet on a company or celeb’s radar, increasing your chances of a response.



Tip #4. Tweet @ the celeb or brand, and also tweet @ another user, perhaps a well-known one. Good Twitter users retweet and tweet @ other Tweeters, and you are forming connections that, again, can lead to RTs and replies from your main prey… uh, I mean, the big-name company or celebrity you were hoping to reach.


Tip #5. My favorite tip: BE SINCERE! I adore Good Morning America contributor Tory Johnson‘s book, The Shift, and I let her know that in a couple of tweets that she retweeted and personally responded to:


I honestly didn’t tweet her just to get a response, but it was really rewarding to get that little acknowledgement of a personal reply and two RTs from her. 

Tip #6. (Little extra freebie) Don’t expect to hear back, but be pleasantly surprised if you do. I’ve tweeted The Today Show, JLo and Harry Connick, Jr. Still waiting to hear back from them. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Seriously, though, Twitter accounts with tons of followers are far less likely to notice your tweet. Be strategic when you post– I tweeted Tory Johnson about how much I love her book, and it comes out on paperback in a week. Good promotion for her to time RTs from fans, although I prefer to think she really was touched by my honest admiration. ๐Ÿ™‚
Don’t spam, don’t be a cray super fan and DO have fun tweeting at your favorite Tweeters. That’s the whole point!

Hopefully these tips can get your creative juices flowing, and you can get a response from your favorite celebrity or company! Have you ever been retweeted before like that? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading, and good luck,
~Angela~

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How to eat crawfish in 5 steps (for you Floridians), and where to snorkel in Palm Beach County (for all the rest of you)

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Mudbugs, crayfish, freshwater lobsters, CRAWFISH– whatever you call ’em, they’re DELICIOUS! Might I interest you in these crustaceans resembling small lobsters, which are a Cajun delicacy? 

#Crawfishcravings

Living in Louisiana, crawfish boils are a regular part of life. You look forward to crawfish season, which typically runs from March through June. Anytime outside of that is messing with nature… but we had to get some today right before the Cajun Fest at Johnny Longboats on Singer Island at the City Beach boardwalk. My husband Nathan and I haven’t had ANY crawfish this year, so we had to take advantage of this opportunity! I admit that they were a bit bland and of course they were super-expensive (we each paid $12.95 for only ONE POUND), but keep in mind this is Florida and shipping food from far away is not cheap.

To get down to the nitty-gritty, here are some tips on easily peeling a crawfish. They only *look* complicated to eat!

Step #1. Choose how many pounds you want. I always feel like it’s hard to get full on crawfish, so make sure you have some potatoes and corn in those trays, y’all hear me?! For a real meal, 5 pounds is the minimum. These one-pound trays were somewhat of a tease for us…

Note my husband’s Louisiana State University shirt… we represent the Bayou State!
#LouisianaLove

Step #2. Grasp the crawfish tail with your dominant hand and the head with your other hand, then pinch both and pull apart. Sometimes it helps to twist them a bit. They should separate easily.


Step #2.5. OPTIONAL — you can suck the crawfish head! But I just eat the tail meat, so no instructions for that here, LOL!

Step #3. Remove the tail meat from the shell by peeling off the top part from the underside section, one segment at a time. 


Step #4. When you have enough segments removed, you can grasp the tail and firmly, yet gently so it doesn’t tear in half, pull the tail out of the shell.


Step #5. Dunk that bad boy in some butter, or just eat it straight! ENJOY YOUR CRAWFISH!!!

All your efforts have paid off!
If you have a different method of consuming crawfish, lemme know in the comment section below.  ๐Ÿ™‚

We enjoyed our lunch after a fun snorkel at the Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park on Singer Island with my coworker Dale and her husband Alex (short for Alejandro, cool name). They had not snorkeled there before, so it was fun to introduce them to the glorious underwater world at the famous bridge. That’s always where we recommend serious snorkelers and divers to go!


The bad news was that we were ALL stung by jellies, although thankfully nothing intolerable. There were a million-bazillion tiny jellies, and also at least a couple dozen huge monster jellies.

No matter, I put together this fun CruzTube video for you, and I hope you enjoy it. I mentioned in this previous blog post that my used-from-Amazon hot pink underwater camera had broken, and I really missed it today. I filmed and took photos with my Nikon Coolpix, but that camera is not really meant to be underwater. I use a cheap $20 plastic housing case for it, which causes the underwater images to be blurry. 

Still, just like I say “bland crawfish is better than no crawfish,” I also say “blurry underwater images are better than no underwater images.” I can even extend it to “snorkeling with a jellyfish infestation is better than no snorkeling,” although that may not be true if I were to suffer a terrible run-in with a bad mama-jama jelly.


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Photo blog of Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

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I’ve been curious about the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for a long time, ever since I interviewed a lady in this old report at the park near the entrance. I saw here in the Palm Beach Post that its limited-time-only exhibit, “Samurai Culture: Treasures of South Florida Collection,” would be ending on Sunday. So my husband Nathan and I ventured out to Delray Beach on my lunch-break today. The only downside was that I couldn’t take photos of the samurai exhibit, it wasn’t allowed… but it was cool to see, let me reassure you. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Instead of writing a lot here, I just want to post these photos and link you here to the garden map, because it’s interesting! It was really HOT and I kind of rushed through it a bit since I was so busy and had to get back to work… but we did enjoy ourselves. ๐Ÿ™‚

Two necessities — a map and cold water
The “Ancient Gate,” or “Kodai-mon” made out of Japanese cypress is inspired by entrances of large mansions of high-ranking samurai during the Edo Period (1600-1868)
Love the Bamboo Grove
So much green– it was really restful and beautiful
Karesansui Late Rock Garden
 Nelson Family Memorial Garden
Morikami Memorial, which are traditional gravestones for George Sujaki Morikami, the park’s namesake. The marker beside it is in memory of Jo Sakai and Mitsusaburo Oki, founders of the Yamato Colony, Florida’s first Japanese colony. I never realized the major street in Boca Raton, Yamato Road, had this rich history…<–click  to read.
Bonsai garden…
Koi pond and waterfall…
The below photos are of the previous Morikami museum, and they show Japanese culture/life:
 Showing mass transit in Japan
 Typical school
 Are you a Japanese student?
Sample Japanese kitchen– note the noodles!
 Filipinos have rice cookers, too ๐Ÿ˜‰ 
Sliding doors
Someone should tell Nathan the sign says “Not a working toilet”
 Rocky Point
Waterfall
Tea house and traditional tea garden

The museum hosts an upcoming Sushi & Stroll event coming up on September 12, 2014… think you’ll go? Let me know if you are interested in Japanese culture in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,
~Angela~
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3 Reasons Why You Should Check Out the Sailfish Marina “Sunset Celebration” on Singer Island

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Our wonderful neighbors Don and Paula invited us to join them tonight for the mini-arts and crafts fair, “Sunset Celebration,” at the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island in Riviera Beach. I had never heard of it before, but attending reminded once again me of just why I love #FloridaLiving.

#Selfie of Peanut Island in the background, what what!
The festival is every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and it’s free other than the $5.00 parking. 
It’s so TROPICAL

Love that ambiance, y’all!
Another Peanut Island photo

Here are my top three reasons why I highly recommend you check out this fun arts-and-crafts festival:

#3. The “I’m on vacation” feel of it all. The festival is like a preview of the Caribbean islands, thanks to the Island-flavored tunes of the talented Clark Rodriguez (who sings the kind of music you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear on a cruise ship), and the scent of conch fritters mixed with ocean salt wafting through the balmy air.

#2. The wares for sale. You’re likely to find unique items, such as blown glass bottle spoon rests, handmade jewelry created from sea glass, and artwork that is decidedly beach-y in theme.

 I would love to one day decorate my house with beach-themed artwork
Beautiful necklaces for sale
Don said, “You post photos like that on Facebook all the time,” LOL! 
One thing that caught my eye was a beautiful photo of a baby sea turtle hatchling facing the ocean. It spoke to me of hope, longing and optimism for the future. OK, maybe it didn’t say all of that, but it *did* feel like that baby turtle was thinking, “I’m gonna conquer the WORLD! Or at least this big ol’ ocean!!”
So the second time around that we walked by, my sweet husband Nathan purchased it for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I <3 it so much!
I also struck up a conversation with the lovely vendor Allison, who said her fiancรฉ Lazaro Ruda of TheLivingSea.com had taken the photo. I all of a sudden felt a memory trigger, and I said to her, “Did he once review an underwater camera?!” She said he did, and I remembered I had read this article which quoted him as the “underwater wunderkind” when I was debating which underwater camera to purchase (side note: my hot pink used-from-amazon underwater camera broke this week. Not my fault. Gonna get a refund. So sad). 
Allison said Lazaro had found and photographed the sea turtle hatchling near the 7-11 at the City Beach on Singer Island. That’s where Nathan and I usually like to go hang out when we pick a beach, so the story was already cool to me… it gets better: when Lazaro found it, the baby turtle was going the wrong direction, away from the ocean. As a member of the Sea Turtle Conservation League of Singer Island, he put the turtle on the beach and snapped this phenomenal photo. Allison said the turtle picked up its head, looked at the ocean and immediately took to the water, where it belonged all along. One sea turtle saved– so many more to go.
Photo by Lazaro Ruda, TheLivingSea.com

 #1. Last, but not least, the top reason I recommend you check out this magnificent celebration of the sunset… is the actual SUNSET. Need I say more? I think not.

 Soak it in, people. The view is free!
Have you ever been to the Sunset Celebration before? Do you think you’ll ever make it out there? Let me know in the comments below! ๐Ÿ™‚ 
Love ya, 

~Angela~

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Mogwai, the amazing albino (leucistic) Pekingese!

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Happy #NationalDogDay! Oh, what joy these canine friends bring to our lives. I figured today was as good a time as ever to write a #dogblog!


Have you met Mogwai, my awesome/amazing/albino (well, technically leucistic) Pekingese? You can even follow him on his Facebook fan page. My dog had a fan page before I ever had one, and a talent agent (I never had an agent). Nathan nicknamed him “Mugsy Bogues” after the shortest-ever NBA basketball player.


When my friend Michelle stopped by from Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago, she met Mogwai. She said, “If I could have created a dog just to suit you, this is exactly the dog I would have picked.” Sums it up nicely, IMHO. ๐Ÿ™‚


The story of how I came to have him starts with a #throwback… way back to when I was a little girl, and we dog-sat a white Pekingese belonging to our Filipino friends, the Enriquez family. Cindy the Peke was sweet and cuddly. Nobody ever knew this before… #ConfessionTime… but once she got out of the backyard and ran down the street. I came out and called her, and she ran back to me! That stuck with me. Some cray-cray dogs would have just run away, never to be seen again… but sweet Cindy was domesticated.

So fast-forward to 2010, when I was co-anchoring with the lovely meteorologist Natalie Walters (who, incidentally, is a wonderful doggie-mama to Eevee). I adored Natalie’s mom’s white Pekingese, Mouse, so Natalie was aware of how much I loved Pekes. On May 22, 2010, she texted me this photo of herself holding a puppy for sale on the side of the road:


I wanted the dog, although I always preach “Adopt, don’t shop.” But LOOK AT THAT FACE!!! Nathan said no, because we were not married yet, we were only engaged. So time passed, and we still didn’t have a dog.

We got married in October 2010, and I managed to convince Nathan that we should get a dog for Christmas. We moved from Monroe, LA to Shreveport. I got a phone call one random night in November from my friend Julie, who told me that her friend was moving and wanted to find a good home for her white Pekingese. Julie texted me a photo of the dog, and I definitely wanted him, but Nathan was like, “He looks sad!” (Note: Sometimes Mogwai does look sad, that’s just his normal face if he’s not smiling– it doesn’t mean he’s a sad dog)

Despite Nathan’s initial “the-dog-looks-sad” assessment, I convinced him that it was a Thanksgiving present to ourselves instead of a Christmas present, since we were planning to adopt a dog for the holidays anyway. I went to Monroe, picked up Mogwai, and absolutely fell in love. He’s the sweetest little dog for us!

I eventually made contact with Mogwai’s original mom, Crystal, and it turns out that she bought him on the side of the road that day that Natalie saw him! So the dog in the picture was Mogwai!!! IT WAS MEANT TO BE!!


Now, he’s definitely a light in our lives. ๐Ÿ™‚ He knows lots of tricks: Sit, Stay, Up, Down, Spin, Bark, Shake. I try to teach him Roll Over but he freaks out, so that’s probably not happening. He’s not perfect, because he gets jealous if we dog-sit another dog and we pet that other dog. He’ll be all pushy, like, “Get out of the way, these humans need to be petting ME.” Totally rude, but hey, no dog is perfect!

I was throwing back my memory to all the times he’s been on TV and even in the newspaper. Here’s what I came up with, so click on the links to watch the videos:



KTAL — featured him in video for the Krewe of Barkus & Meoux pet parade

WPTV — featured him dressed like the Easter Bunny in 2013



KTBS 3 News — Hairy Potter” costume debut (I wish I had the video of morning anchor Ed Walsh’s reaction when first seeing it– I laughed at how he was blown away)

The Shreveport Times featured Mogwai’s profile when he was on a float during the Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Mardi Gras pet parade…

I totally talked about this newspaper photo debut when I was anchoring KTBS 3 First News… and I admit that I insisted the camera get a tight shot on his picture. ๐Ÿ™‚


The List TV Show national story with Ashley Porter covering how pet costumes fetch big business — and Mogwai loves his doggie costumes!



The List TV Show South Florida talking about how the Easter bunny everywhere, and Mogwai just happened to be the Easter bunny



The List TV Show South Florida features a sneak peek to the Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, and Mogwai is the biggest “Hairy” Potter fan.


Before anyone cries “puppy abuse,” let it be known that Mogwai actually is a rare dog (he’s after all a Pekingese, and anyone who has one knows they love things other dogs don’t like)… he gets excited when I pull out a purse, a costume, a shirt, etc. He WANTS to be in these things! Plus I give him lots of positive reinforcement, and of course I don’t have him wear these things for more than a couple of minutes at a time. 

I hope you love this little dog like I do– he’s such a wonderful part of our family! #DogLove

Watch Nathan’s tribute to Mogwai on this #NationalDogDay

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Ladies Night Out at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

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I work right around the corner from the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, so I was excited to get an invitation from my coworker/friend Pam to attend the center’s “Ladies Night Out” event last Friday night. It was a fun evening of entertainment with a science twist benefitting their Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) club. “Women tend to be underrepresented in science careers, and we want to change that,” said Kate Arrizza, COO of the Science Center. “We want to show girls today that they can be chemists, engineers, pilots and more, the options are truly infinite.”  

The event was targeted to female consumers. As we all know, I am definitely one of those! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

When we first walked in, we immediately received awesome freebie bags from Palm Beach Outlets.

Gonna use mine at the beach!

Another coworker/friend Amanda joined us, and the evening got started with the blue martini special drink from- where else?- Blue Martini at CityPlace

Lots of vendors tempted me to spend $$$…

Onli Beverages manufactured in West Palm Beach are enjoying a moment. I see them everywhere at functions! The hibiscus flavor is my favorite. Refreshing!

Art for sale by science exhibits.

Note the humidifier! Or is it a steam producer? All I know is that essential oils scents are dispersed in the air. That’s a good thing.

I loved that rack of Lilly Pulitzer-esque clothes on sale… But I resisted their magnetic pull.

One of the things I was most excited about was the homemade lip balm booth! We scored samples. Mine is flavored mango!

Amanda knows the secrets of the reefs…

Pam and Amanda were laughing at me at how intently I was listening to the homemade soap speaker. Hey, that stuff is fascinating! Amazing how these gourmet organic creations have their roots in ashes and lye.

The grand finale was LIQUID NITROGEN ICE CREAM, created right in front of our eyes. The demonstrator flavored it with Merlot, and it was the best ice cream I’ve had in a long time! 


Science is cool, folks. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Lake Worth Beach and a beach wedding

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I’m understandably obsessed with beaches, since I live near what I believe are some of the prettiest Florida beaches around. I am a #waterbaby and I first and foremost appreciate beautiful water! Although I admire the white sugar-sand beaches of Pensacola and the West Coast of Florida, NOTHING compares to the gorgeous ocean on this East Coast, IMHO.

Lake Worth Beach — notice the restaurant on the pier!
Lake Worth beach is my new discovery! I first went to the charming Lake Avenue a couple of weeks ago when I had to go to the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s headquarters for work. I was amazed at the beachy Main Street vibe, much like a mini-Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach a bit more south. So I knew I had to explore the beach…
My husband Nathan and I went there this weekend, and we enjoyed ourselves. Parking was reasonable, although I do prefer the free parking at Riviera Beach (we always go to the Two Drunken Goats strip mall there). I did like that it was a shorter walk to the beach in Lake Worth compared to Riviera, and I loved that there is an even better strip mall with a Mulligan’s restaurant and a KILWIN’S ice cream shop! Yes, I did get a scoop of cookie dough ice cream after the hot beach. ๐Ÿ™‚
The Lake Worth Casino is right there, and the pier has a restaurant on it. #Bonus
Best of all, we saw the setup of a beach wedding! So much fun!
I may have snapped a few photos while nonchalantly pretending to just walk by…
Very nice, very nice! They were lucky it wasn’t raining, you know how hit-or-miss our forecast can be!

The DJ was already putting out good tunes…

I admit I took this bridesmaids photo while they weren’t looking because I adored the seafoam-green, mint color palette they were working with. I almost snapped a photo when all 4 bridesmaids were together, but that would have been super-obvious and they would have known for sure that I’m cray-cray and nosy. Only you readers know that about me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

While I was out in the water, I had my goggles on and I saw a BIG OL’ FISH that made me jump and scream. Nathan flopped back because of my reaction. I’m told it was a tarpon (see below what popped up when I Googled tarpon– looks about right), but whatever it was, I SWAM AWAY. 

Scary big fish or no, I will definitely plan to return to Lake Worth Beach. I also see they have beach yoga there! I SO plan to try that one day! Here’s the website for I Love Beach Yoga.
I stole this photo from this webcam link.
Oooh, you know you wanna go! ๐Ÿ™‚ Note to self: invest in a better beach umbrella. Had to chase mine down once when it blew away, then I had to sit there all ghetto-fied and HOLD IT the whole time I was sitting under it. Rachet beach gear… But my friend Julia was right– she wrote on Facebook, “Nobody feels sorry for you, you’re ON THE BEACH!” #TrueThat #NoComplaintsAllowedOnTheSand
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Chef Challenge #4 for Feast of the Sea festival

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Last Sunday, my husband Nathan and I had a fun visit for the Maestro Del Mar Chef’s Challenge #4 for the Feast of the Sea festival, which is a FREE admission seafood festival coming to West Palm Beach on September 13, 2014. It will be on Flagler Avenue and Clematis Street, and the festival will showcase Palm Beach County’s best restaurants and their regionally-inspired seafood dishes. No dish will be more than $6, which is great!

Mahi poke with avocado puree, served with sri racha aioli and mango duck sauce, 
garnished with a crispy won ton from 3800 Ocean

Chefs Challenge info from the website:

To gear up for Feast of the Sea, we are hosting a series of Chefs Challenges throughout Palm Beach County. Five challenges are slated to take course over the next couple of months with 20 executive chefs from restaurants located throughout South Florida. Each chef will battle their opponent for the title of 2014 Feast of the Seaโ€™s MAESTRO DEL MAR and be awarded over $2000 in cash and prizes!

So basically I went to the Gardens Mall Williams Sonoma not quite knowing what to expect… but with a full appetite. That was a good thing, because when the doors opened and the food and wine started flowing– look out!

Bistro Ten Zero One served ahi tuna with coconut ceviche
Top Chef season two’s Carlos Fernandez emceed the event

I met a couple of people who didn’t eat seafood, so this event really was not a great decision for them, LOL! But for this seafood lover right here, it was culinary HEAVEN.

Aah Loi‘s fried cheesecake sticks with dipping sauce
 
Red snapper ceviche from Ian’s Tropical Grill — loved the unexpected fun of the POPCORN.
Nathan enjoyed it!

Umm, my bad that I didn’t take a good picture of the red curry with jasmine rice served by Talay Thai because I ate it too quickly — but I DID get a photo of these interesting juju (jujube?) fruits served by the restaurant. I’m not a huge fan of them, but they were definitely unique!

Banana and raspberry truffles
Chef Ambassador Roy Villacrusis from Aah Loi Thai & Sushi in Jupiter chatted with the tasting judges (how can I get that gig next time?)


It was definitely a fun event, and I am sure the Feast of the Sea festival will be even yummier! For more information about the upcoming event, email info@feastofthesea.com
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CruzTube video of a smokey eye makeup tutorial featuring the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette

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Check out my newest CruzTube video of a smokey eye makeup tutorial, featuring the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette!

I wish I had blended better, but I’m always so impatient that I don’t sit there and work the shadow brushes back and forth like I should. Next time I’ll try to do better! ๐Ÿ™‚ Meantime, just a quick line to say that I am aware that “smokey” in this usage should really be spelled “smoky,” but nobody on YouTube seems to realize that, LOL! #NerdAlert

I simply CANNOT WAIT for the Naked 2 Basics palette to come out! It’s supposed to go on sale August 19, 2014. I adore this first Basics palette for traveling since it’s so versatile. I also have the Naked 2 palette that my bestie Rachael gave me as a Matron of Honor gift when I was in her wedding (love ya, Raych!) and I use it all the time.

Products used in this CruzTube tutorial, which are all part of my travel makeup kit:
L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner in Black Noir
Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black
Cheap plastic travel eyelash curler
POSH mini brush set

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