Monday, August 21, 2017

Hand Lettering

As you might know I love all things crafting and art and have for as long as I can remember.  I feel like hand lettering, brush lettering, calligraphy, etc. has really made a big splash in recent years and it's always been something I've wanted to learn to do.  So, when I learned about Wildflower Art Studio  and they offered to send me one of their DIY Kits I was beyond excited!

Wildflower Art Studio is a company that hosts both in person workshops and creates DIY Kits that can be shipped worldwide.  Their mission is to "provide students with creative tools to embrace their own unique adventure" and they have "simplified the art of calligraphy, hand lettering and watercolor" to make it more accessible.  Their workshops can be found in Texas, across the United States, and even in Anthropologie stores.  They strive to help their students create their own unique works of art with their kits and classes.

They were so sweet in letting me pick out which kit I wanted to try so that I could create the artwork I wanted to.  I have to be honest, this wasn't an easy decision as I would love to have all of their kits and learn all of the different things they teach.  After taking my time thinking out which one I wanted though I decided on the Hand Lettering Kit.  This kit includes everything you need to get started hand lettering - step by step instructions, four hand lettering practice alphabets, a notebook, multiple writing utensils, watercolors, chalk, a chalkboard, and more (see above image).

The kit makes hand lettering super easy for beginners like me and it's so nice that you have everything you need in one place.  I followed the instructions and spent a decent amount of time practicing my phrase before putting it on to the included cardstock to create my final project.  I started out with a very simple phrase in order to make it a little easier on me this first time, but I can't wait to try a longer one for my next project.  I also can't wait to make a piece for my room and I will be sure to show all of you on Instagram what I made so keep an eye out for it!

If you've ever wanted to learn to hand letter, brush letter, do calligraphy, or do watercolor then make sure to check out Wildflower Art Studio so you can get one of their kits!  I already really want another one and now I just have to decide which one - I'm between brush lettering and watercolor at the moment and might just have to get both.  Now I'm just left hoping that they'll have one of their workshops in New Jersey one day so I can attend!

*I was given a Hand Lettering Kit by Wildflower Art Studio to facilitate my review, however opinions of this product are all my own.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chronic Illness Beauty Must Haves

I know for me that showering, doing my hair and makeup, and pretty much anything related to getting ready to go out is physically difficult for me even on a "good" day.  However, a bad day it makes it all about a million times more difficult and exhausting.  For as long as I've been sick I've pretty much always had more bad days than "good" ones, but recently the bad days are even more frequent and the the "good" days are few and far between.  As I'm sure you can imagine this all means that getting ready to go out has gotten increasingly harder for me, but looking good (or even just decent at this point) when I'm out and about is not something I'm willing to give up on.  It's no secret that I'm a beauty aficionado so it's probably not a surprise that I've found a few products that help me to get ready quicker and make it a little bit easier for me.  

Below I'm sharing the products that help me to streamline my routine and cut down on the time and energy used.  While these are all amazing for people with chronic illness they're also great for healthier people who need to cut down on their routine (like Moms or college students) or who are feeling lazy when getting ready!

I would have to say that dry shampoo is definitely the #1 beauty product you need if you're suffering from chronic illness.  For me washing my hair is one of the most physically challenging things I have to do and dry shampoo helps me to go days between washes and makes my hair still look (and smell) good.  Even on those days that I really need to wash my hair, but feel way too sick to do it this saves me from having greasy hair and leaves me feeling fresh! (Pro Tips: Apply at night before bed so that the product absorbs better and doesn't leave behind the look of residue in your hair.  Also make sure to use it each night before a day that you won't be washing your hair.)

Styling my hair after it's been washed (blow drying, flat ironing, etc.) is also incredibly difficult for me.  When I wash my hair and know that I don't have something coming up that I would want it "done" for (an event, blog photoshoot, etc.) I let it air dry, which in addition to being easier physically it's also so much healthier for my hair.  In order to allow your hair to air dry, but still look good you need some product to style your hair, especially in the summer.  I love an air dry cream like this or sea salt spray like this to give my hair a pretty, but super low maintenance, look.

There are so many uses for Aquaphor that it can be used in the place of multiple products, which is a great time saver.  You can use it as a lip balm, to moisturize your skin, to calm any skin irritations, to help with a cut, to remove makeup, to tame your eyebrows, and so much more.  Having this multitasking product is a necessity for me and I make sure to keep it close in case I need it.  If you would like a more natural alternative to Aquaphor though I absolutely love this from Farmacy.

My Crohn's disease makes my skin really dry so I am constantly looking for ways to help soothe and moisturize it.  This facial spray is a quick and simple way to add some hydration to my skin without the energy it takes to put on more lotion.  It also calms down irritations, can be used as a toner (and since it's a spray it's easier than using a toner with a cotton ball), and feels great to use when you have a migraine or headache.

After dry shampoo micellar water the #2 beauty product you need if you're suffering from chronic illness.  Micellar water uses molecules to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin.  It can be used to remove makeup or as an all in one cleanser/toner.  You just apply some to a cotton ball or pad and swipe it over your face, you don't have to scrub at your skin or rinse it afterwards.  I like to use this in the morning to wash my face; eliminating a traditional cleanser and using this in its place is physically much easier for me and it helps me to save energy.

Wet Brushes have super flexible bristles that don't get caught in your hair.  They make brushing your hair easier and help you to avoid tangles and pulling your hair.  This is great because it takes less energy to brush your hair and prevents it from becoming painful.  Since the bristles are so flexible they will also not pull out your hair, which is important if you're having issues with hair falling out (from illness, medication, etc.).

When I get a migraine I want my hair off my face, but using a traditional hair tie can make my headache worse.  I picked up these a few months ago at Sephora and was instantly hooked.  The shape of this unique "hair ring" was created so that it would not feel too tight or leave an indentation in hair.  However, I love it because the shape of this also helps to avoid headaches from forming due to having your hair up and I've found that it doesn't further aggravate my migraines either.  Additionally, I find these easier to use than a traditional hair tie and it doesn't feel like a wrestling match to put my hair up, which in turn uses less of my limited energy.

Many people with chronic illnesses take medication that makes their skin extra sensitive to the sun and in addition to taking several of those myself I have crazy fair skin.  To be honest the sun makes me feel pretty sick, but I do like to get out in it from time to time.  As you can imagine I always need to be careful when I'm in the sun and take the proper precautions.  One thing that has always deterred me from heading out in the sun was having to lather up in sunscreen, but this year I've found a solution to my problem: powder sunscreen.  This stuff is amazing you just dust it on and you're good to go sans that gross greasy feeling from traditional sunscreen and the loads of energy it takes to apply.  Now I don't use this when I go to the beach or pool because it would be insanely expensive to use on my entire body, but it's perfect for when I head out and need to protect my face, chest, shoulders, etc. (which is anytime I do anything outside for more than ten minutes).  It's been a major energy saver for me and has helped me to better protect my skin from the sun.

Above I mentioned that for me washing my hair is one of the most physically difficult things I have to do.  Shampooing and conditioning my hair is so exhausting, however I've found a way to cut down on that and use just one product without sacrificing the health of my hair.  dpHue ACV Hair Rinse can be used in place of both shampoo and conditioner to cleanse and condition your hair.  You just wet your hair and squeeze out excess water, use the bottle tip to create a few small parts in your hair and gently squeeze the product onto your scalp, scrub your scalp, leave on for a few minutes, and rinse thoroughly.  Using the ACV Rinse makes my hair super clean and soft and it also makes washing my hair so much easier for me.

This is handy for so many reasons and is a total game changer.  First off if you can't bend over to tie your hair up in a traditional towel hair wrap then this is your solution to that problem and it's very easy (read: not labor intensive) to use.  Next the microfiber material the towel is made of helps your hair to dry a lot faster which means if you want to blow dry your hair you'll have less work to do.  Lastly these are more gentle on your hair then a traditional terry cloth towel and that is important if you're having issues with hair falling out.  Since using this I've had less hair fall out and it also helps me to take better care of the hair I do have.

So I know that some people who have chronic illnesses are sensitive to scents, however if you are not one of those people this is a basic must have.  I am really sensitive to floral scents so I make sure to get fresh and sweet scented lotions and perfumes and you can play with what scents work best for you.  A scented cream is really important for days that you don't feel well enough to shower, instead apply scented lotion all over your body (use deodorant too!) and then put the dry shampoo in your hair and you'll smell like you've showered.  Lotions are also very helpful to those of us who get dry skin from their illness and I love this rich, yet easily absorbed option from Bath and Body Works.

Whether you're chronically ill or not are there products that you use to speed up your beauty routine?  If so share them in the comments below so I can check them out!


Today I'm linking up with Style Sessionsand Confident Twosday.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Simple Air Travel Necessities

headphones with marble caps: c/o Sudio  |  sunnies: c/o Charming Charlie

I love traveling by plane and try to do it as often as I can.  I just find flying to be so exciting because it almost always means that I'm heading somewhere new or fun or to see someone.  In addition to the absolute necessities (tickets, passport, etc.) there are a few personal necessities I always bring on flights with me and today I'm sharing them with you!  While I do tend to be a major overpacker and inevitably land up stuffing my purse with things before a flight, below are the four things that I absolutely have to have when I fly (other than my wallet and phone.)

1. Snacks and Water
No matter how long my flight is I always have to have snacks and water with me.  I get thirsty really easily from my medication so I usually buy a big bottle of water once I get through airport security to bring on the plane with me.  If my flight is longer I'll try to grab two bottles that way I have some extra.  Since I also have crazy food allergies bringing snacks with me is always a must so that I know I'll have something to eat on me in case I need it.  Gluten free pretzels and peanuts are two of my go-tos, but I also love to get some fun treats like candy or chips and since I don't eat those things often it makes my flight even more fun!

I typically put together a playlist for when I'm traveling so I have to have my headphones with me on the plane to listen to it.  I'm a big fan of popping on music when I want to sleep and then putting on my headphones to block out all of the noise around me.  The Regent headphones from Sudio are perfect for that because they do an amazing job at blocking out noise with their studio quality sound and feel super comfy on my ears (the leather they're made of is butter soft, I'm obsessed with it).  They also fit in so easily with my everyday life and fit into my aesthetic really well, I was even able to get marble caps to make them truly perfect for me.  If you're in the market for a new pair of headphones for travel or everyday needs head to Sudio's website to check out their selection (they offer smaller, more compact options too) and use the code THEBLUSHBLONDE for 15% off your purchases!

3. Sunnies
Sunglasses probably seem like a weird thing to bring on a plane, but I always make sure to have them to use as a sleep mask of sorts.  I don't love traditional sleep masks as they feel very restrictive and can ruin your makeup, but sunglasses do neither of these things and also serve as a little "do not disturb" sign when you're sleeping.  If you see me with my headphones and sunnies on on a plane chances are I'm sleeping 😉 !  They're also important for me to have in case a migraine strikes since I am super sensitive to light when that happens; I can just pop these on to soothe some of my discomfort though, which is always much appreciated.

4. Reading Material
For as long as I can remember I've always enjoyed reading while I'm flying.  I usually grab a few magazines once I get through security and this is something that I look forward to when I'm flying.  I am a huge fan of fashion magazines so getting a new crop of them to read while I fly is a ritual that I love!  If the flight is longer I'll also try to bring a book with me or download one on my iPad so that I have a few different options with me.  If it's a long flight I'll also alternate reading with watching movies and I like to have lots of different choices with me so I can go with my mood.

These are the few things I have to have with me when I fly to make my flight more enjoyable, what items do you need to bring when you fly?

*I was given Sudio Regent Headphones by Sudio to facilitate my review, however opinions of this product are all my own.


Today I'm linking up with Midweek InspoOh Hey Girl!WIWWI Feel Pretty, and Trendy Wednesday.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Family Fun

My shirt is c/o Jill of All Trades.  |  All photos taken by Vera Zibilich.

The week before last my Mom and I headed down to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to visit family.  My cousin and her three daughters were in visiting from Hong Kong (where they live) and were staying with my Aunt and Uncle who live in Rehoboth.  I was lucky enough to get to spend some time with my cousins when they initially got in from Hong Kong and were staying in NYC so I was super excited to get to see them a second time.  My little cousins are seriously too cute and I absolutely love getting to play with them and spoil them.  

We were there for three days and these pictures were taken the first day we were there.  The oldest of the three girls, Vera, isn't actually in any of them because she was behind the camera and took all of the pictures!  She did such a great job and I'm glad she was able to capture such fun memories.

It was insanely hot while we were in Rehoboth so we spent most of the time at my Aunt and Uncle's house.  However one day we did get to grab breakfast at my absolute favorite breakfast spot, Café Papillion, get henna tattoos, and walk around the adorable town a little.  It's such a fun beach town to visit and I'm so glad that I got to spend some quality time with my cousins while they were in America!

Have you ever been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware before? For more information on spots I like there check out this post I did after my last trip there.


Today I'm linking up with Hello Monday, #HowISummer, and Weekending.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Skincare 101: Pre and Post Botox

I started getting botox injections to help with my chronic migraines in February.  I now go every twelve weeks to get them as they've been a very successful treatment for me, which I am so thankful for.  Prior to my first experience with botox I didn't know that I was going to need to make skincare a top priority pre and post injections.  You need to do this because you cannot touch the injection sites (in my case the ones in my face are in my forehead and temples) with anything other then a very light touch for a few days after you get them.  I've now developed a whole routine that I do before and after I get injections to both prep my skin for it and carefully take care of my skin for a few days post treatment.  No matter the reason you get botox (health or cosmetic) you need to make taking care of your skin pre and post injections a priority too.  I've put together this post detailing my routine for everyone who gets botox to use next time they get injections. (If you want to learn more about botox check out articles here and here.) 

These are the steps I take after I remove my makeup.

I use an anti acne cleanser that detoxifies my pores.  Since I will need to be very gentle on my skin the next few days I want to make sure that my cleanser deeply cleans my skin and eliminates anything that might cause blemishes or clogged pores.

I typically exfoliate my skin three days a week, but this won't be possible in the week after botox.  The night before botox I use a strong chemical peel that removes all the dead skin from my face so that won't build up and cause acne or dull skin over that week.

I use these every night after cleansing.  They tone and exfoliate to reveal brighter, more even looking skin and give you that "glow" that everyone wants.

In this step you will use whatever treatments you use in your typical skincare regimen.  I use this oil which is a retinoid oil that moisturizes, shrinks pores, reduces wrinkles, calms redness, and improves skin smoothness.  I've noticed a huge difference in my skin since I started using it and I recommend checking it out (Pro Tip: Go to Sephora and ask for a sample of it!).

Keeping your skin hydrated is always important and the night before botox is no different.  I use this cream which provides a dose of high-potency, advanced vitamin C.  This vitamin C works to "visibly repair the effects of aging, environmental stress, and pollution-induced damage."  This moisturizer is high in antioxidants and will also help to brighten skin.

The products I use...
Since I used such a strong cleanser the previous night that could potentially dry out my skin I use a much gentler moisturizing cleanser the morning of my appointment.  I wash my face using my Clarisonic since I will not be able to use this for at least a week after the injections.  You cannot touch the injected areas for a few days in order to avoid spreading the botox to other muscles and since the Clarisonic uses sonic technology to really deeply clean your skin I personally like to wait at least seven days after my injections to use it again just to be safe.

You need to not only hydrate your skin, but make sure to use a moisturizer with SPF to protect it from the sun as well.  I use this lotion which is very moisturizing, but also lightweight.  It also contains vitamins and antioxidants to further protect and nourish skin all day, creating the perfect canvas for botox.

4. No Makeup
I don't wear makeup to my botox appointments and I recommend doing the same.  The sites of injection on your skin with be cleaned with rubbing alcohol, just like for any other injection, and it will remove your makeup.  Additionally, taking off your makeup that night will be difficult since you can't really put any pressure on your skin or rub your face.

The products I use...

I bring a facial spray with me to use after my appointment.  I do this because the alcohol they use to prep your skin for the injections is drying so I want to gently hydrate my skin.  I typically do a quick spritz of this when I get back to the car after the appointment.

The products I use...

I use the gentle cleanser mentioned above and wash the areas of my face that were not injected (the lower half of my face: cheeks, nose, chin) with my hands.

To cleanse the areas that were injected I use this micellar water.  I pump some of it onto a cotton pad and extremely gently (applying no pressure) wipe my forehead, temples, and between my brows.

I use the same toner pads as mentioned above.  For the areas that were injected I again extremely gently (applying no pressure) wipe over them.

Since rubbing alcohol was used to prep your skin from botox and that can be very drying it is really important to use a rich moisturizer to hydrate your skin.  I again use the same one I mentioned above because it does a great job of restoring moisture to my skin.  To apply it to the areas that were injected I am very, very gentle and do not use any pressure or massage it in.

The products I use...

My skin is very dry so I prefer to use micellar water in the morning, not to mention it is the best way to cleanse the injection sites post botox as you can do it extremely carefully.  I use the same one that I mentioned above.  For the areas that were injected I again extremely gently (applying no pressure) wipe over them.

I use the same toner pads as mentioned above.  For the areas that were injected I again extremely gently (applying no pressure) wipe over them.

I use the same moisturizer as mentioned above.  Again to apply it to the areas that were injected I am very, very gentle and do not use any pressure or massage it in.

The products I use...

I repeat the steps in "Night After Botox" and "Morning After Botox" for five to seven days just to be safe and not disrupt the botox.  One adjustment though is after the first night after botox I again include a treatment like this or this (or even both in combination) before moisturizing my skin.  I also make sure to be extra gentle with the injection sites during this entire time.

These are all of the steps that I take to care for my skin both before and after my botox appointments and I hope that if you decide to get the injections that you follow a similar routine.  Have you ever tried botox before?

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!
Today I'm linking up with Hello Monday, #HowISummer, and Weekending.


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Fine Print: 
This is open internationally, pending shipping laws/restrictions. You must be 18 or older, or have a parents permission to enter. This giveaway is open for exactly one week. Winner must respond within 48-hours or a new winner will be chosen. Your form of entry will be double-checked.