Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Gift Guide: Valentine's Day

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching I wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite Valentine's Day gift ideas.  All of these gifts are perfect for those in a relationship to ask their significant other for and they're also great gifts to give to your Mom, sister, and/or friends too.  With so many cute picks this is really a combination Valentine's/Galentine's Gift Guide!  As I'm sure you could tell I was looking for all things cozy with this bathrobe, these slippers, and these socks.  Then I also added a few sexier items like this flirty PJ set, this gorgeous bralette, and the best thongs in the world.  I've covered beauty lovers with this pillow case, this lip balm, and more, and the classic Valentine's Day jewelry with this necklace and these earrings.  Last but not least I've got two beautiful splurge items - this bag which gives a pop of color and these feminine chic sneakers.  No matter who you're buying for (or if you're the one receiving) anyone is sure to love any gift from this list!

Who are you getting gifts for this Valentine's Day?



Today I'm linking up with Midweek InspoOh Hey Girl!I Feel Prettyand Trendy Wednesday.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Winter Skin Woes: Battling Dry Skin

I've struggled with dry skin since I was a kid, but it got much worse when I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at sixteen.  The skin on both my face and body are dry, but I find the dryness on my body harder to deal with especially in the winter.  During my favorite season the skin on my body gets super flaky, can be nearly impossible to keep moisturized, and is almost always itchy.  

As you can imagine having crazy dry skin is not the most comfortable situation, but this year I've been adding some new products into my routine combined with a few products I've been using for years and have been having a much better time with my skin issues!  I know that I'm far from the only person who suffers from dry skin, especially this time of year so I wanted to share with all of you what's been working for me.  Below are the products I'm loving and the details of how I'm keeping my skin moisturized and feeling comfortable!

Exfoliating is important to remove the dead and flaky skin that accumulates on your body.  If you do not remove the dead and flaky skin the moisturizers you apply cannot penetrate it and do not get deep enough to fully hydrate your skin.  You can use both chemical and/or physical exfoliants to help you with this (check out this post to learn the difference between the two) and I prefer using a mix of the two.

Products I recommend:
Bath & Body Works Foaming Sugar Scrub- This is one of my favorite scrubs as it does a great job exfoliating, but isn't too harsh.  It also contain oils that are left behind on your skin to moisturize it.  I usually pick up several of these whenever they're on sale so I almost never run out of them.

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub- This is a grittier scrub that I like to use when my skin is super flaky as it really deeply exfoliates.  It also begins moisturizing your skin when you use it with shea nut oils and contains vitamin C to help keep your skin healthy.

DERMAdoctor KP duty Body Scrub- This scrub is a combination chemical and physical exfoliant.  It combines the benefits of a chemical peel and microdermabrasion in one.  This is particularly great if you suffer from keratosis pilaris (chicken skin).

Using moisturizer to hydrate your skin is the most obvious way to deal with dry skin.  I've learned though that not all moisturizers are created equally so when you're struggling with very dry skin it definitely matters which creams, lotions, and oils you choose to use.

Products I recommend:
Eucerin Intensive Repair Enriched Lotion- This cream combines moisturizer naturally found in the skin with alpha hydroxy acids to intensely hydrate, exfoliate, and smooth skin.  This cream is thick, rich, and deeply moisturizes.  With its combination of moisturizers and exfoliants I would say that this product has been the most important one I've added to my routine to help with my dry flaky skin.

Curel Ultra Healing Lotion (c/o)- This lotion is very moisturizing, but with a lighter feel.  It works to better maintain skin's barrier so it can better lock in and maintain moisture.  If you're looking for something strong that absorbs quickly this is that.

Kiss My Face Body Lotion (c/o)- This lotion uses natural oils and antioxidants to smooth and hydrate skin.  It has a thick feeling to it, but doesn't take as long to absorb as you would think it would upon initial application.  It's also great for anyone who has any issues with parabens and phthalates as it does not contain them.

Lush Dream Cream- This is my go to for dry and itchy skin.  It works to hydrate your skin, while also soothing it, which is so important when you have skin like mine.  It contains oat milk, lavender, and chamomile to soothe, and olive oil and shea butter to help with dryness.

Jojoba Oil + Coconut Oil- I love using both of these oils (separately) from time to time as a way to naturally intensely moisturize my skin. I will also sometimes add them to one of the other moisturizers mentioned above to give it a little added hydration power.  The great thing about these is that they're multipurpose and can also help with dry skin on your face, hands, and feet too!

-Exfoliate at the end of your shower so that any oils or moisturizers in your body scrub will stay on your skin.

-Always apply a lotion, cream, or oil to your body after showering to replace the moisture that your skin lost.

-After showering pat skin dry with a towel (being gentle is important) and immediately apply moisturizer.

-To lock in extra hydration apply moisturizer to damp skin after showering.

-For severely dry skin apply moisturizer twice a day, a lighter lotion like this in the morning and a more intensive one like this at night.

-Add any oil (almond, jojoba, coconut, baby oil, etc.) to your lotion or cream to make it extra powerful.

-Allow moisturizer to sink in for a few minutes before putting on clothes.

If you have any questions about any of this please feel free to ask in the comments or email me.  What are your favorite products or best tips for dry winter skin?


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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cranberry Crush + Faux Fur

Sweater: (similar here)  |  Vest: Eight Sixty (similar here)  |  Jeans: Paige  |  Boots: Sole Society (similar here)  |  Handbag: Chloé (similar here and here)

This was another look I shot a few weeks ago when I was in New York City that is perfect for this time of year.  It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of layering and winter is the perfect time to layer a faux fur vest over a sweater.  Wearing these pieces together is a great way to look stylish while keeping warm!  Fur vests have been big for a few fall/winters now and I hope that it's a trend that is here to stay.  While fur is always chic, I prefer to keep mine faux because of allergies.  If you try to avoid fur because of allergies or ethical reasons there are tons of good faux options available today.  I'm especially loving colorful faux fur right now and definitely need to add a blush faux fur vest to my closet!  Below I'm linking a bunch of different faux fur vest options that I'm swooning over so you can add one to your wardrobe too.

Do you wear real fur, faux fur, or switch between the two?



Today I'm linking up with Midweek InspoOh Hey Girl!I Feel Prettyand Trendy Wednesday.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Vogue 73 Questions Birthday Edition

Vogue's 73 Questions is a video series in which Vogue interviews celebrities by asking them 73 questions within a short period of time, kind of like rapid fire.  If you haven't seen one before I definitely recommend checking them out, you can find them all here.  I'm a huge fan of the series and when they first came out I did my own version of it here.  Well, today is my 26th birthday so I thought it would be fun to do an updated one with some different questions to celebrate!  Keep reading to learn more about me!

1. What is the last song you listened to? Supplies by Justin Timberlake

2. If you had a superpower, what would it be? To heal pain

3. What is your favorite fashion trend of all time? Leopard

4. What's your favorite junk food? French fries

5. What's keeping you busy these days? Getting ready for my trip abroad!

6. What's a book you plan on reading? Gone Girl, but I'm also looking for recommendations for after that.

7. A person you'd love to have coffee with? Meghan Markle

8. Blow-dry or air-dry? Air-dry

9. What's the best thing you've done so far this year? Booked a kind of spontaneous trip abroad.

10. It's brunch and you don't have food allergies, what do you order? Cinnamon Bun French Toast from Nudy's Café

11. Who is the last person you texted? My best friend

12. If you could switch lives with a person for one day who would it be? Gigi Hadid

13. What karaoke song would you sing without needing the monitor? Any Britney Spears song

14. What's the last thing you ate? Popcorn

15. Last show you binge watched? The Crown

16. What is your favorite birthday cake? Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting

17. What is something you can't do? Drive

18. Best advice for your 18 year old self? Everything will work itself out and college will be so much better than high school.

19. What is one goal you are determined to achieve in your lifetime? Getting a Masters Degree

20. Is there a dessert you don’t like? Anything with bananas, I don't think they belong in desserts.

21. What is your spirit animal? A white tiger

22. What do you usually eat for breakfast? A GoMacro protein bar

23. Cooking or Baking? Baking

24. Best fashion advice you’ve ever received? Save on trends, splurge on classics.

25. Who do you turn to when you’re sad? My Mom

26. What is your Kryptonite? Dogs

27. Best first date idea? Getting coffee because you can make it go longer or shorter depending on how the date is going.

28. Favorite type of flower? Peonies

29. What's the best part of living in New Jersey? Being so close to New York City, Philadelphia, and the beach.

30. What do you miss about college? Having all my friends around all the time.

31. Favorite pizza topping? Extra cheese

32. Favorite ice cream topping? Whipped cream

33. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Milk chocolate

34. Jogging or swimming? Swimming

35. When was the last time you cried? Last week I slipped on the throw rug in our kitchen and hit my back and bad arm really hard on the countertop on my way down.

36. Do you like your handwriting? Yes

37. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? How hard I am on myself.

38. What is your most favorite thing about yourself? How (mentally) strong I am.

39. Favorite smell? Vanilla

40. What is the farthest you have been from home? Greece and Hawaii, they're about the same distance in either direction from New Jersey.  That's about to change soon though!

41. Where were you born? New Jersey

42. Sweet or savory? Sweet

43. Lipstick or lip gloss? Lipstick

44. Who is your girl crush? Blake Lively

45. Cupcakes or cookies? Cookies

46. What's your favorite season? Fall

47. What’s your New Year’s resolution? To eat healthier.

48. You are stuck on an island, you can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it, what would you eat? Pasta with red sauce and melted fresh mozzarella

49. Favorite superhero? Wonder Woman 

50. What do you usually order at Starbucks? Hot Chai Tea Latte with skim milk

51. If your life was a song what would the title be? What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

52. What’s one cause that’s dear to your heart? Dog rescue

53. Who would you want to shoot a love scene with? Zac Efron

54. What’s your favorite thing to wear? Right now it's definitely joggers.

55. What is something you always travel with? Magazines

56. Biggest pet peeve? People standing too close when you're on line at a store.

57. If you could only dance to one song for the rest of your life, what song is it? Crazy by Britney Spears 

58. What are three things you look for in a man? Kindness, humor, and happiness

59. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be? Grace Kelly or Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - I can't choose between the two!

60. Would you rather fast forward ten years and be rich or be able to redo your life with all of the knowledge you have gained over the years? Fast forward, I think it's better to look ahead and not dwell on the past.

61. What could you give a presentation on with no preparation? Skincare 

62. What do you wish you knew more about? The human body

63. Who was the president when you were born? George H.W. Bush

64. What is your favorite chain restaurant? P.F. Changs

65. Would you rather always be ten minutes late or twenty minutes early? Twenty minutes early

66. Lauren Conrad or Kristin Cavallari? Lauren Conrad

67. Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton? Paris Hilton

68. Snow or sun? Snow 

69. If you could learn a instrument what would it be? Guitar or piano

70. Would you rather have to live without your laptop or your phone? Laptop

71. What's something you like to do the old fashioned way? Handwrite thank-you notes

72. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live? New York City

73. Would you rather scuba dive or skydive?  Scuba dive

What do you think of 73 Questions?  Answer one of the questions in the comments - I'd love to learn more about you!


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

Friday, January 19, 2018

How I Took My Hair From Brittle & Breaking to Long & Strong: Part II

In Part I of this post I discussed how for years I struggled with hair loss that eventually progressed into hair loss combined with brittle and broken hair.  I then explained that I became committed to healing my hair and in about nine months I was able to take my hair from falling out and breaking to quickly growing and the healthiest it has ever been.  In that post I detailed each step I took to rehab my hair and explained how I got it to grow and get to the point I'm at now (you can read that post here).  Now that I've shared all of that information, today I will be sharing with you how I now take care of my hair to keep it healthy and continuing to grow.  Below I'm breaking it all down for you!

I don't like using sulfates in my shampoos for numerous reasons, they can irritate skin (which they do to mine), completely strip your hair of its natural oils, dry out your hair, and more.  Sulfate free options are better for the overall health and condition of your hair and skin as they are much more gentle at cleansing.  As I mentioned in my last post I make an effort to really "baby" my hair and be as gentle on it as possible to keep it at its healthiest and sulfate free shampoos really help me to do that.  A few of my favorite sulfate free shampoos are this, this, this, this, and this.

In addition to using a sulfate free shampoo another way to gently wash your hair is to only shampoo your roots.  When you shampoo only your roots you are cleansing the source of the oil (your scalp) and leaving alone the drier part of your hair, the ends.  Your ends will still get cleaned too when you rinse the shampoo from your roots and it washes out down through your ends, they are just cleaned in a way that is much easier on them and less drying.

After shampooing your hair you absolutely need to replenish the moisture you just removed by using conditioner.  You need to find a quality conditioner that fits your hair's needs - fine, thick, curly, straight, etc., as this will supply your hair with the correct nutrients to keep it healthy and looking its best.  Some of my favorite conditioners are this, this, and this.

When you condition your hair you want to only apply conditioner to the bottom two-thirds of your hair, avoiding the roots.  After you apply the conditioner then use a wide tooth comb to brush through your hair and evenly distribute the conditioner.  By doing this you're ensuring that the ends of your hair are being evenly conditioned and nourished.  You absolutely have to use a wide tooth comb or Wet Brush when doing this though because as I explained last week, when your hair is wet it is in its most fragile state and very prone to breakage and if you use a regular brush on it it will definitely cause damage to your hair.

Whether you color your hair or not it's important to take care of your hair color so that it looks its best, especially when you're blonde.  I don't dye my hair, but when I started this journey I also started using purple shampoo once every one or two weeks and I could not believe how much better my hair looked.  I didn't realize that the water in my shower had been making my hair look very brassy and I love how much brighter it looks after washing with the purple shampoo.  I really love the dpHue Cool Blonde Shampoo 
(c/o) and dpHue Cool Blonde Conditioner (c/o), and they make shampoos and glosses for other colors too.

Try switching out your shampoo and conditioner for an apple cider vinegar rinse.  An apple cider vinegar rinse is a very, very gentle way to wash and condition your hair and it also saves time!  I am completely obsessed with dpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse (c/o) because it cleanses and conditions my hair in one step; it also calms down any scalp irritation I might be having and leaves my hair incredibly soft.

Using deep conditioner, hair masks, and oil treatments is so important to the overall health of your hair.  I aim to use one of these at least once a week.  These go beyond your normal conditioner to deeply nourish and hydrate your hair.  They also help to prevent further damage, strengthen your hair, soften it, and improve its overall appearance.  Deep conditioners I love include this, this, and this.  I'm also a huge fan of natural oils, like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and DIY treatments, like this and this.

Both alcohol and silicone are bad for and cause damage to your hair and should therefore be used only in moderation.  Alcohol is very drying, which can lead to breakage, so I try to limit or not use products that contain it.  Silicones make your hair look healthier, but in actuality are damaging it.  Silicone creates a buildup on hair strands that isn't broken down by shampoo, and conditioner cannot penetrate this buildup.  Conditioner instead sits on the surface of you hair, which makes hair brittle and can cause frizz and breakage.  I avoid all products with silicones on my hair and have seen a major improvement since I began doing this.  You can learn more about silicone in hair products here.

Since a big part of rehabbing my hair was using less heat on it I needed to learn to style my hair while air drying it.  There are so many great air drying products on the market now and you can get them anywhere from Sephora to the drugstore.  I use this product to smooth and nourish my hair, this one to help my hair grow and also smooth it, and this to add waves and texture to my hair.

Another big part of rehabbing my hair was washing my hair less and in order to do that I needed to be able to extend my hairstyle.  To extend my style I use a combination of baby powder and this dry shampoo.  To learn more about how I use them read the post I did on it here.

This is how I take care of and continue to rehab my hair!  You can find Part I of this post here.


Today I'm linking up with Friday FavoritesFriday Favorites, and Fab Favorites.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Capes for Winter

Cape: BP.  |  Boots: Sole Society (similar here)  |  Handbag: Louis Vuitton

I have had a serious obsession with capes for the last few winters now.  I think they're so chic and I love how they keep you warm too.  They're also great because they can be worn alone on a warm winter day or layered under a coat when it's super cold out.  I know you can't see it, but here I have this cape over a simple long sleeve black dress so that the cape and boots could be the stand out pieces of this outfit.  I got this cape last year at Nordstrom and they don't have it anymore, but below I've linked a bunch of different capes that I'm loving.  There are so many cute options that you can wear all through winter to keep you stylish and cozy!

Do you love capes for winter too?