August 2014 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


"When?" || A poem

Friday, August 29, 2014

We've all had those dreams
on what we wanted to do,
but when you look back
something went askew.
You asked yourself, "how?"
Then you realized "when?"
would be a better question
to ask now & again.
We get caught up
in all those nonsensical things
like Kim Kardashian
& how bad she sings.
Like celebrities & gossip
& complaining about life.
We must remember
that everyone has strife.
Nothing is perfect
& nothing will be,
just stick to the positive
& how to be a better "me."

By Carmen Varner


Thank you for reading my poem. It's really just about how we can start to feel so unsatisfied with our lives when we start to lose focus. We tend to think about famous people & want to be like them. We talk about the negatives in the world instead of using it as fuel to spread love & kindness. We spend so much time on our phone, on the computer, on some sort of device instead of turning it off & just acknowledging the life you have without it & what's going on around you.

What do you think? Do you ever get caught up in the moment? What are some goals you have but haven't done yet? :]

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DIY Trail Mix Recipe

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why buy trail mix when you can make it yourself? This DIY trail mix recipe is vegan, tasty, & nutritious. One serving has 16% of your daily fiber & 13% of your daily protein. Low in sodium. Low in carbs. But high in fat. This concoction is extremely easy to create. Even your dog can make it! Maybe. I don't know about that one actually. :p

diy trail mix
The variety of nuts offer you a heavy dose of protein, which is essential for everyone especially vegans & vegetarians. If you don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products, you must eat a plethora of protein-containing foods every day in order to get all the amino acids needed to make new protein, according to Harvard School of Public Health

Sunflower seeds are low in cholesterol & sodium. They are also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese & Selenium, & a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), according to Self Nutrition Data.

I've got a pretty severe sweet tooth, so the mixture of semi-sweet chocolate chips & cranberries add the perfect touch of sugary goodness.  I got mine from Trader Joe's. 

diy trail mix
Okay, so now that I hyped you up on this easy vegetarian recipe & got you all drooling, you need to know just how to make this delightful DIY munchie. It's super simple, I promise. This is ideal for a protein-packed, portioned snack. 

1 cup almonds 
1 cup peanuts 
1 cup pecans 
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds 
1 tbsp flax seeds 

Here's how it's done: 1. Measure & mix everything together. 

It's important to remember that nuts & chocolate are high in fat, so please portion these out. This yields approximately 20 servings with each serving being 1/4 cup. You can eat as many carrots as you want, but keep your trail mix intake to a minimum. Other than that, yes. It truly is that easy. Bon Appétit! 

Will you be making this tasty treat? Do you like to eat trail mix? Let me know, friends. :]

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Pacific Festival 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pacific Festival at the Dunes was awesome. You could feel the warm sand beneath your feet as the water lightly lapped. You could dance in the water as live bands played in the background. You could sit around in your donut floaty & sip on a brewski. Pacific Festival, held at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, grew as the hours went on. Festival-goers were sparse up until 3 p.m. when more people started to arrive. Oh it was gorgeous. The music was perfection. It was an all-around magical time.

pacific festival

pacific festival

pacific festival

There's something about music on the beach. I've never experienced it, but it was magnificent. You could watch Poolside perform while moving your body to the music, shuffling your feet in the sand. Guys were sporting tropical button up shirts, tank tops, & board shorts. Girls wore their bikinis, fringed kimonos, & I spotted a lot of metallic, geometric temporary tattoos. 

pacific festival

pacific festival

pacific festival
Cherry Glazerr was pretty rad. Although they didn't seem to enjoy it because they tweeted, "Just played the most unorganized festival EVER! Woo! We out! Fuck #pacificfestival". Yikes. I guess you never really know what's going on in another person's world. I had a decent time y'all.

pacific festival

pacific festival

pacific festival

Bikinis. Board shorts. Sand. Music. Dancing. Drinks. Water. Sun. Palm trees. It truly was your typical California experience. Next time I attend a beach music festival I'll know how to dress accordingly. Bikini, sunscreen, & flip flops it is. Standing & walking in the sand should only be done in certain shoes. Dun dun  dun. Now I know at least. 

pacific festival

pacific festival

pacific festival

There's always overpriced food & beverages at festivals. It just wouldn't be the same if you didn't have to pay $7 for a gross, watered down beer. From a business perspective, they know people are fiending to get drunk or feel like they're on some sort of level. But to be honest, the cool breeze as the sun set across the water whilst music boomed in your ears was better than any beer.

pacific festival

pacific festival

Me & my boo thang got something called "Drunk Tots" from one of the food trucks. It consisted of tater tots, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard, & cheese. It was an intriguing combination, & I'm pretty sure I know why it's called "Drunk Tots." This is something one would concoct in a highly inebriated state. One of my favorite moments was sitting in the sand with my boyfriend as the sun started to go down. The palm trees, the orange sky, the rippled water, & one couple in their canoe. Heaven.

Which photo is your favorite? Please let me know. :]

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Wholly Hemp Review

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Holy moly it's a Wholly Hemp review! Was that cheesy? I don't mind a bit of cheesiness once in a while. Hehehe. I was excited to receive this little care package courtesy of Wholly Hemp* Natural Skin Care. I'm a fan of hemp & what it can do. Plus, I was really intrigued that 25% of their profits are donated to provide micro-loans to women in developing countries like Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, & Uganda so that they can establish their own self-sustaining businesses. Awesome!

I received 2 bars of soothing soap, 2 jars of moisturizing cream, & 2 lip balms. That's 6 items total (in case you haven't taken math in a while). I really liked the simple packaging. Everything was wrapped in brown paper which makes it ideal to recycle. I like the idea of minimal waste. Plus, these items are not tested on animals. That's always a very good thing! Animal testing is horrid. 

wholly hemp

wholly hemp
I received the Euphoric Eucalyptus & Secret Falls Soothing Soaps. These pH-balanced cleansers each retail at $5 & comes as a 4 oz. bar. Euphoric Eucalyptus is a fresh eucalyptus scent & Secret Falls is a calming blend of lavender, lemongrass, & juniper berries. You can utilize these as a body wash, facial cleanser, or shampoo. Both of these genuinely rock! They smell heavenly. I'm honestly thrilled at how much they lather. The scents are gender-neutral, so my boyfriend can enjoy them as well.

wholly hemp

The Lavender Moisturizing Cream is my ultimate favorite product from this lot. The ingredients are completely minimal: shea butter, hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, lavender oil, & rosemary seed extract. In the jar, the cream is relatively solid. I say "relatively" because it's been hot, so it causes the oils to melt slightly. It blends perfectly on the skin & leaves you moisturized. It claims that it's 12-hour moisture, but I definitely wouldn't say it lasts that long. The orange one smells kind of like those chocolate oranges wrapped in foil which is not a bad thing. These are 1.5 oz. & $5 each. 

wholly hemp

Out of these two, I prefer the Peppermint Lip Balm. It's refreshing & cooling. I've never had an orange flavored lip balm, but it's better than I imagined. The balms are lanolin free & packaged in recyclable tubes with recycled paper. These do contain beeswax, so they are not vegan! The Wholly Hemp lip balms leave you with a slight sheen & they retail for $3.

Overall, I really enjoyed this brand. I would absolutely purchase the moisturizing creams again.  I'd love to test out other scents like the Geranium Rose. Everything is reasonably priced, so your wallet doesn't have to feel much pain. I highly recommend any & all of these products.

Which one of these items appeals to you most? Have you ever tried or heard of Wholly Hemp? What's your opinion on hemp products?

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* Disclaimer: These products were received complimentary from Wholly Hemp in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

My HARD Summer 2014 Experience + a photo diary

Monday, August 18, 2014

If you read my blog at all, you know I've been ranting & raving about HARD Summer. HARD Summer is a two-day electronic music festival held in Los Angeles. Due to the range of music, from trap to techno, it's not considered a rave. The music fest took place at the Whittier Narrows Recreational Area on August 2 + 3. It was the prime time to listen to your favorite electro artists, meet old & new friends, & just have a blast. I did just that.

Check out the photographic proof. I have 4 photobooth-esque collages to share with you. I'll do a tad of explaining so you're not completely lost on the pictures & why I chose them. If you're considering attending HARD Summer, HARD Day of the Dead, or any other HARD event, keep reading...or looking! :]

hard summer 2014
  • Root beer float + hot day + exhausted from dancing = a true miracle.
  • Here you can spot a number of bros. Proof this is not a rave, it's a music festival.
  • Front row witnessing Pusha T performing live.
  • Spending the event with a loved one makes it considerably more enjoyable.

hard summer 2014
  • Some typical rave attire. Tutus & fuzzy legwarmers galore. 
  • AMERICA! Because you can never be too patriotic, right?
  • Me & my boo thang. My shirt says "Don't hate" on the front & "Appreciate" on the back. 
  • Portobello mushroom burger with garlic Parmesan fries. 

hard summer 2014
  • The rides I never rode. Dammit!
  • HARD details one can only spot if they are able to make it to the front. 
  • Good music all day & into the night.
  • Me & the boo hamming it up ever so beautifully. 

hard summer 2014
  • I love when people get creative with their attire. "See" what he's wearing? 
  • Never wear new shoes to a music festival. These are not new, I'm just stating facts here.
  • Beer garden entry, kandi, & hands.
  • Thank you for coming. Kbye.

Hopefully my pictorial experience can satiate any appetite for knowledge about HARD. I saw so many great artists: Pusha T, Baauer, Disclosure, Snails, Valentino Khan, David Heartbreak, The Chainsmokers, & more. I had a splendid time with my boyfriend & I was psyched to meet up with one of my girlfriends on day 2. However, my tip is to JUST ENJOY THINGS AS THEY HAPPEN. Don't get too hyped in your head. 

Have you been to any HARD event? What's the best musical experience you've ever attended? :]

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Recent Purchases

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sometimes it feels nice to buy stuff. It really does. To be honest, this post is a couple months coming. I decided to keep tabs of my buys, so I could show it to you. Duhhh. Because it's so very enthralling & captivating. These range from face, hair, body, & home items actually. Anyhoo, so here it is. These are my ReCenT PurCHasEs! 

I got the Forever Midnight & the Coconut Lime Breeze Fine Fragrance Mists on sale a month or so ago from Bath & Body Works. Forever Midnight has notes of vanilla, jasmine, sandalwood, & gardenia. It smells like a floral musk. Dark & strong.

Coconut Lime Breeze is ideal if you want to smell like you're on tropical summer getaway. This smells fresh & light. I can't recall the price of them but they were $5 or less each. These fragrances are excellent as a body mist, because they don't last too long but leave a delicate scent.

I'm obsessed with the Desert Essence Australian Tea Tree Oil. I put a dab on my bug bites & they really helped cease the itching. It replaced the itchiness with a cool, tingly sensation. Tea tree oil can be applied to blemishes, insect bites or stings, or other minor skin irritations. It's also nice to add a couple drops to the shower to assist with throat or chest congestion.

I haven't really given the Equate Astringent a go, but it seems like a simple & straight forward enough product. You're supposed to use it to remove any last oil, dirt, or makeup. It's just a good way to get your face squeaky clean without much effort.

I really love a good wax melt. They work better than candles most of the time. They actually distribute a scent throughout a given area & end up being cheaper. Each of these wax melt packages were no more than $3 each. I'm glad that I got dual-scented & triple-scented cubes, so I don't have to commit to just one aroma. These packs should last me several months. I normally would buy one candle for $10+ & may never be happy with the scent flow. These all rock! 

I still need to try No Drought dry shampoo from LUSH. From what I can tell, it smells really good, like grapefruit & lime. I'd been looking for this actually. Turns out it was under the bed. Hidden! Very sneaky. I'm excited to test it out, hopefully I don't have to wash my hair as often or I can use this when I'm on the go.

Have you tried any of these items? What's your experience with them like? Do you prefer candles or wax melts? :]

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What to Wear at a Beach Music Festival

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer. Beach. Music festival. Well that sounds swell. Sign me up. Actually, I am going to a beach music festival & I'm pretty psyched because the California summer days shall soon come to an end. The typical summer music festival will soon change to a fall fest. I've never been to a festival where music & water combine. But what does someone wear to such a function?

beach music festival

Imagine a waterfront resort with live music, local grub, & art. Ah, heaven indeed. Alright. So what to wear at a beach music festival? I've got some answers for you. There's a few things to keep in mind. Due to the delightful California sun, it will be pretty sunny. Due to the beachfront bash, it may be windy, especially at night. Due to the hours, you'll want to be comfortable enough to move, frolic, & walk. 

Sun - Hey it's a nice California day. The sun will be beating down on you. You definitely want to protect yourself from the sun. Lather on your sunscreen with a decent SPF. Bring some darling sunglasses to keep your eyes sheltered. And obviously, you can't go wrong with a chic, black floppy hat. Wear your bikini under a geometric skort, so you can head in the water if you want. Hey, throw on some fab purple lipstick. Because, why not? 

Wind - There's one thing I know about life: expect the unexpected. Despite the obvious summer heat, it still has a tendency to get cool come night time. The beach can often be chillier than other places due to its waterfront nature. I'd recommend bringing a lightweight kimono to layer with your look. Since you're wearing a righteous bikini & rad skort, you'll want to have another garment to add once the sun sets or the wind picks up.

Time - You'll be at the beach music festival for several hours. You'll want to be comfortable enough to last. I suggest sandals. They are flat shoes that you can stand in for hours at a time, but you can take them off to take a dip in the beach. I love the neutral color of these strappy sandals. They are versatile & can go with almost any outfit.

Now that you're all prepped for what to wear at a beach music festival, you can get your look together. Which of these items is your favorite? What is your summer music fest essential? :]

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5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Apples

Monday, August 11, 2014

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, that's what they say anyway. But is it true? I like apples. I definitely wouldn't say I adore apples. They're not my favorite fruit, but I like 'em. I can say that for sure. Why? Well, they have an abundance of health benefits. They come in a variety shapes, sizes, & flavors. There's sweet ones. There's sour ones. What's not to like about apples, really? So without further delay, here are 5 reasons why you should eat apples! :]

1. So much variety - There are many kinds of apples. Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, the list goes on. Apples can range from a gorgeous blushing red to neon green. Big, small, lumpy, you name it. I like sweet, crisp apples. Sour ones are not my cup of tea (Here's lookin at you Grammy Smith! Sorry!). But I enjoy the fact that there are several to choose from. For those of you who are picky eaters, apples are your friend. You have many to pick from, so you can too can reap the benefits.

2. They're filling - Don't have time to finish your breakfast? Hungry once you hit that 2 o'clock slump? It's too early for dinner, now what? Chomp on an apple. I can always rely on an apple to temporarily fill me up without being too much. One large apple has around 116 calories. Why buy those dumb 100 calorie packs, when you already have a great munchie in your fruit bowl? Chop it up and toss over yogurt or just add cinnamon. Or here's a thought: eat it plain. :]

an apple a day

3. Yummy ingredient - They taste divine baked into a delicious pie, cake, tart or scone. It's got something to do with how cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, & other spices simmer & saunter with the apple to create heaven on my taste buds. You can make applesauce, apple butter, caramel apples, apple pancakes, apple turnovers, the list goes on. Bake 'em. Slice 'em. Brew 'em. Cool 'em. Boil 'em. Skin 'em. Juice 'em. Apples are very versatile!

4. Health benefits - Noshing on an apple may be better for you than you ever thought. Apples may help prevent chronic inflammation which can lead to cardiovascular disease, according to the Institute of Food Research; they also cited that eating five or more apples could be linked to better lung function. The phytonutrients & antioxidants in apples may reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, stroke, dementia, diabetes, & heart disease, according to Medical News Today.

5. Nutritional value - Apples are rich in antioxidants, flavanoids, & dietary fiber. They also contain minerals such as calcium, potassium, & phosphorus. That's a lot of stuff. Apples seem like the miracle fruit!

As I researched for this post, I found out apples are REALLY good for you. So the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is not far off. Obviously an apple won't solve all your problems, but it certainly won't hurt. In honor of apples, go grab one and eat it! Cheers and bon appétit!

Do you enjoy apples? What's your favorite kind? Which of the 5 is your favorite reason why you should eat apples? Do you have a favorite recipe? Be sure to leave a comment & share your thoughts. :]

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Coconut Bliss Review + Date Night

Friday, August 08, 2014

My boyfriend & I have been together for a little over a year & a half. Sometimes we just like to stay in, watch a movie, make some popcorn, & relax. It's nice to spend time together in a casual way. It's not all about fancy dinners & limos. We usually are homebodies anyway. We go out once in a while but prefer to save time, money, & energy by having a good time at home or somewhere local. :] 

We watched "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. " My boo has never watched any of the films! Can you believe it? We made the commitment to watch the 3 hour movie & he quite liked it. The night was unknowingly sponsored by Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss*. My friend Jordan told me about the brand a year or so ago. She's vegan & pretty vigilant about eating as clean as possible. After that, I'd always wanted to try it because she hyped it up so much!

I received 2 coupons for 1 free product each. After scouring the selection, Bae & I chose the Naked Coconut & the Chocolate Walnut Brownie ice cream pints. There were Bliss Bars as well, but we preferred the flavors that were in pint form. These ended up being $6.19 each, which is pretty pricy when it comes to ice cream. Coconut Bliss ice creams are soy free, gluten free, & vegan. Okay, so despite the price, these were delightful. We tried a bit of each to get a good taste. #NoRegrets!! 

Man, these were sooooo yummy. The Chocolate Walnut Brownie was very rich & chocolaty. You could spot little brownie chunks as well as walnut bits. This one is perfect for any chocolate lover. The Naked Coconut was my favorite though. It was creamy & dense. I'd definitely say it's something to splurge on. I'd be willing to spend $6.19 simply because it's so rich that you'd want to eat it sparingly. P.S. coconut is high in fat! 

Hopefully my boyfriend isn't annoyed of this photo of him. Sorry babe! This was from said date night. I gave him a nice spoonful of Naked Coconut. We watched Lord of the Rings & we had a wonderful time together. I was worried that he wouldn't like the film, but he did! He liked the action, the effects, & basically the whole thing. 

Have you watch the Lord of the Rings films? What did you think? Oh, have you ever tried any Coconut Bliss products? Any favorites? Hope you have a tasty day. Thank you for reading! :] 

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* Disclaimer: These products were received complimentary from Luna & Larry's in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

Music + Beach = Pacific Festival

Thursday, August 07, 2014

I'm a sucker for music festivals. There's something about spending the day (or the weekend) just listening to music. It's exciting to hear artist after artist, experiencing how they perform live. That said, I'm thrilled to head out to Pacific Festival at The Dunes* on Saturday August 16 in Newport Beach. My boyfriend & I are both cruising over, separately covering the events. Pacific Festival goes from 1-9 p.m., so it's not totally exhausting. Phew. 

I'm most excited to see Holy Ghost! & Miami Horror. Their music is fun, engaging, & gets your toes tapping to the beat. I can't wait to make the journey to Orange County, my old stomping grounds. The fest at The Dunes hosts 360º beachfront views along with waterfront stages & beach activities like lounge rafts & paddleboards. Say what? Time to relax to the max. I doubt I'll get around to paddleboarding, but the fact that it's an option is awesome.

Plus, there will be live art & local foods. I'm always down to support local businesses & artists. I usually get mad munchies at music festivals due all the dancing, walking, & movement. Pacific Fest is an 18 & over event, which I am very happy about. There will be no hoodlum 14 year olds running or people with their kids. #ThankYeezus. Apparently, guests who are 21+ may enjoy their alcoholic beverages freely throughout the venue. That's normally unheard of because you're restricted to a beer garden area. How exciting.

You can view the event trailer here:

The countdown begins. I'm glad it's less than 2 weeks away because it gives me something fun to look forward to. I yearn for the sun on my skin & the water lapping against my ankles. Perhaps I can do an outfit post on what to wear to a beach front music festival...hmmm. I'm giving myself ideas. Haha. Anyway, it doesn't hurt that I get to spend the day with the one that I love. 

Have you ever been to a beach front festival? How was it? I'd love to hear your experience. :]

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*Disclaimer: I received a ticket complimentary from Pacific Festival. All opinions in this are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

3 Shades of Green // a California style post

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Hello my dear friends! Sorry I've been MIA for the last few days. I went to HARD Summer music festival this weekend & have been recuperating. The temperatures were so hot & humid it was nearly unbearable. Thank goodness it was cloudy, so that helped...slightly. I just wanted to share a quick outfit post with you. I'm still so tired from the journey. Spending 8+ hours per day dancing & standing & walking is pretty tiring. How do you retain energy at a music fest?

My favorite color is green, as you may or mat not be able to tell from the 3 shades of green I'm sporting.: neon green, green green, & olive green. This was unintentional, but the mind works in mysterious ways. The above shot was an outtake but I liked it. We don't have to look prim & proper in every photo. We are human after all! :]

Shirt: Rue 21 // Shorts: Can't recall, they are like 5+ years old! // Shoes: TOMS, studded by me // Anklet: Rue 21 

Overall this look is for surviving in California during summer. I want to remain cool obviously, but I wanna look somewhat cute & have it be functional at the same time. This casual outfit is ideal for running errands. Always on the run. #girlsweruntheworld

I love the little neon green stripes on this grey crop top. I also like that it's not too cropped. It's subtle, shows just enough skin but not too much. It kind of gives me a sporty vibe even though I am the opposite of sporty.

My veins get SUPER veiny when it's hot. The veins in my hands, arms, & feet get really large. I looked this up one time because I wondered why that happened. Apparently it's your body's way of cooling down. The blood goes nearer to the surface so when you sweat, it can lower your body temperature. There's your random fact of the day. Did you know that? :]

These are TOMS shoes that I studded myself. Cool huh? Nobody had them quite like mine. If you're wondering, I bought studs on eBay & just arranged them how I saw fit.

What's your summer outfit look like? Do you get veiny in the heat too? Please tell me I'm not alone! :]

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