Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites

Favorite Spring Trend Off the Shoulder
Right now I am really loving the super popular off the shoulder trend for spring and summer.  I still haven't purchased something yet, but I have my eye on this super cute dress from Cupcakes and Cashmere. (Sadly the one I have pictured here which I also love is sold out.)

Pasta or gnocchi with pomodoro sauce and mozzarella is one of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) meals.  I almost always order this when I go to Italian restaurants because it is just too good.  With this yummy recipe I can now recreate it at home!

Favorite Craft DIY Grad Cap
I graduate from college two weeks from today and am getting really excited to decorate my cap.  I've had my design for over a year, but am keeping that under wraps for now!  This Her Campus article has lots of ideas though if you're still undecided for decorating or just like looking at fun crafts.

Favorite Craving Cheesecake
I have been craving cheesecake like crazy for some reason lately.  The other day I pinned a few recipes for cheesecake and then all of a sudden my entire Pinterest feed was cheesecake recipes!  At that moment I was dying for a piece so it was torturous.

Favorite Place to Shop
I was looking for a few things for Senior Week and had a dress mishap with one of my graduation dresses so I did some shopping on asos yesterday and can't wait for my order to come in.  I was super excited about the fact that if you spend over $140 you get free two day shipping because that isn't something I've seen offered before.

What are your favorites this Friday?

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Skincare 101: Creating a Routine

Skincare is my favorite part of beauty.  The skin is our largest organ so I think that it's important to take good care of it.  I also think it's so great that if you take the time to take good care of your skin you'll be able to actually see the results.  Moreover, the best way treat and prevent a lot of skin issues such as fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and more is to establish a good skincare routine and to stick to it.

Developing a good routine can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  When putting together your routine think about what you want out of skincare and how much you're willing to put into it (be realistic!).  Do you just want to keep your skin clean and clear?  Stick with the basics.  Do you have small issues you want to address?  Go with an intermediate level routine.  Do you want your skin to glow, while taking care of any issues, and preventing further issues?  Go with a more advanced routine.

Today I'm breaking down how to create a skincare routine that's right for you.  Whether you want something super simple or something that rivals celebs I've got you covered.  I'm also teaching you how to layer products so they work the best because figuring all of that out can be a pain.  Read below to learn how to get your best skin.

This is the most basic routine around.  If you do nothing else make sure to wash your face, use toner, and moisturize.  These three simple steps will help to keep blemishes at bay and create a nice canvas for makeup.  (Two notes: Always take off your makeup before bed, and use a moisturizer with SPF in the morning!)  

CLEANSE: Cleansers are important to remove excess dirt, oil, debris, bacteria, pollution, and more from your face.  You can use a cleanser to address issues from acne to dry skin and choosing the right cleanser for your skin type is important.  Not sure what cleanser to use?  Check out this post with a breakdown of the different types of cleansers, and this post with recommendations from my most beauty savvy friends.

TONE: Toner is important because it makes sure that you haven't left any cleanser on your skin and it restores your skin's pH balance.  I recommend choosing a gentle toner without alcohol so you don't dry out your skin.

MOISTURIZE: In my opinion moisturizing is one of the most important things you can do for your skin.  Moisturizers come with a variety of different benefits and can help with with various skin issues.  Applying moisturizer plumps up your skin and makes it look its best.  When choosing a moisturizer it's really important to know your skin type so that you don't use something that can create an issue like clogging your pores.  Not sure what moisturizer to use?  Check out this post with a breakdown of the different types of moisturizers, and this post with recommendations from my most beauty savvy friends.

These are the steps to add if you want to upgrade your routine from just the basics.  These steps will ensure cleaner, softer, and better moisturized skin.

FACIAL BRUSH: Using a facial brush with your cleanser a few times a week can drastically change your skin for the better.  It gives your skin a much deeper clean and helps all of the products you use to better absorb.
Current Favorite: Clarisonic Mia 3

EYE CREAM: The skin around your eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face and therefore it needs special care.  Eye creams are important to address a variety of issues from aging to dark spots.  The best way to find an eye cream that's right for you is to think about what you want in an eye cream and then look into what the eye cream is formulated to do.

FACE OIL: Facial oils are important to all skin types.  Oils are particularly helpful to those with oily skin because they help to curb and regulate oil production and for those dry skin face oils help to moisturize and soothe.  Most facial oils also provide other benefits such as anti aging and antioxidants.   If you want more to learn more about oil check out Sephora's Buying Guide, which is filled with helpful information!
Current Favorite: The oil I love and am currently using was discontinued so when I need more I'm going to be buying Tarte Maracuja Oil

Adding these few steps upgrades you to an advanced routine.  With these steps your skin is sure to be super hydrated and glowy.  You can also further address any skin issues you may be facing.

ESSENCE: An essence is like adding an extra dose of hydration to your skin.  This watery treatment that is applied after your toner helps to plump up your skin and can also feature anti aging benefits.  I've been using one for a few months now and am totally hooked on it.
Current Favorite: Belif Hungarian Water Essence

SERUM: Serums are made to target specific skincare concerns.  They are super concentrated and lightweight to penetrate skin more deeply.  With a serum you can address issues such as aging, UV damage, dark spots, large pores, and more.

SLEEPING MASK: Sleeping masks are meant to be applied at night before bed and washed off in the morning.  They are typically meant to be used to moisturize and give your skin extra hydration; they help to seal in water that your skin typically loses at nighttime.  Sleeping masks are more hydrating than your typical moisturizer, but not as harsh as a traditional mask since they are meant to stay on the skin for a long period of time.
Current Favorite: Sadly my absolute favorite sleeping mask was discontinued so when I need more I'm looking to purchase First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask

FACIAL SPRAY: This is the newest addition to my skincare routine and my latest skincare obsession.  You can use a facial mist before moisturizing, to set makeup, and throughout the day to refresh.  Just lightly spritz your face with this and you're good to go.

This can be a part of any of the routines, but is necessary for intermediate and advanced ones.  Exfoliating is extremely important to your skin because it helps to remove dead skin and speed up cell turnover.  Exfoliating can help to unclog pores, prevent pores from clogging, get rid of dry patches and more.  Additionally if you exfoliate you're allowing your skin to better absorb the products you put on.  I personally like to alternate between the two types of exfoliants listed below, but only using one will work too.

PHYSICAL EXFOLIANT: Physical exfoliants have a gritty texture, which you gently use to mechanically scrub your face.
Current Favorite: Unfortunately the physical exfoliant I love and am currently using was discontinued so when I need more I'm going to buy Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Power C x 30 Vitamin C Brightening Cleansing Powder

CHEMICAL EXFOLIANT: Chemical exfoliants use exfoliating acids like glycolic acid to breakdown the barrier that holds dead cells to your skin.  They tend to be more gentle than physical exfoliants and help to change the texture of your skin.

This can be apart of any of the routines, but is necessary for intermediate and advanced ones.  In my opinion face masks are the most relaxing part of skincare - you just put one on and relax while it works it's magic.  They are meant to treat your specific skin type or a specific skin concern that you have.  Masks are a very important step to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

FACE MASK: These typically have the consistency of a cream and address everything from dryness to blemishes.  You cover your face with it and then rinse off after the amount of time indicated on the packaging.  There are countless masks on the market and they can address just about any skin problem you're experiencing.

SHEET MASK: Sheet masks are a huge craze that has come to the US from South Korea (aka the land of the skincare gods).  A sheet mask is a thin sheet with cutouts for your eyes, nose, and face, that is soaked in a serum that has different skin benefits.  You place a sheet mask on your skin and leave it on for the amount of time indicated on the packaging.  After you remove the sheet mask you do not rinse your skin, but instead massage the excess serum into your face.  The best part is, is that you can typically get sheet masks pretty inexpensive, especially from South Korean brands like Tony Moly.


Below is a guide to layering your skincare products.  Basically you just follow the steps with only the products you're using.  The whole idea of layering is to go from the lightest to the heaviest product, which is what I've done below.

If you have any questions about any of this please feel free to ask in the comments or email me.  I love talking about skincare so I would love to help you or answer any questions!

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!
Today I'm linking up with Tutu Tuesdays, Confident Twosday, and Style Sessions.

Welcome to Tutu Tuesdays a linkup with The Blush Blonde and The Fairy Princess Diaries!  Linkup whatever you'd like and make sure to do a little mingling - our goal here is to create a community of bloggers where we can all connect, find new blogs, and support one another.  We love new friends, supporting other blogs, and meeting fellow girl bosses!

There are just a few rules we ask you follow to join in on Tutu Tuesdays:

1. Please follow both Jordyn and me, your lovely hosts, on Instagram and/or Bloglovin.
Kristin: The Blush Blonde  |  Bloglovin'  |  Instagram
2. Link to your specific post, not your blog's main page.
3. Grab our super cute button or share a link to Tutu Tuesdays in the post you are linking up so everyone can know about the party!
4. Have fun and mingle with other bloggers that have linked up!  Like I said we want everyone to make new friends!

Monday, April 25, 2016

5 Ways to Use Baking Soda for Beauty

Baking soda is a very versatile ingredient when it comes to beauty.  I also love that it can be found in your kitchen easily, which makes it perfect for DIY beauty treatments.  If you've read some of my posts on natural beauty before then you know that I'm a huge fan of using food grade ingredients that you typically have on hand.  Not only do I think it's great to use products that are more natural, but I think it's more fun to make your own!  Below I have for you five simple ways to incorporate baking soda into your beauty routine.

1. Shampoo Alternative
I sometimes have issues with regular shampoos since my scalp is super sensitive.  A few years ago I went on a complete shampoo detox and only used a baking soda to wash my hair, which completely changed my hair and scalp for the better.  Since I started using this mixture I now use only sulfate free shampoos and then this a few times a month as a clarifier and my hair looks so much better than before my detox.

To make the mixture I use a bottle like this (but you can also use a water bottle) and put 4-6 tbsp. baking soda into 16 oz of warm water, and then shake to mix.  I then get in the shower pour it over my roots, scrub my scalp, and rinse.  It's important to make sure you rinse your hair very thoroughly to all the baking soda out of it.  Condition as usual.

If you're looking to use this as a clarifying treatment I recommend doing this no more than two to three times a month.  If you are planning on switching your regular shampoo for this make sure to only wash your hair every few days and condition generously to avoid drying it out; I also recommend doing coconut oil treatments to help keep hair extra soft.

2. Face and Body Scrub
With it's gentle, but gritty texture baking soda is perfect for scrubbing both your face and body.  All you have to do is take baking soda and mix it with water to make a thick paste; you basically just want to take a few tablespoons of water and add small amounts of water to it until you've reached the desired consistency.  Apply the mixture to wet skin (in the shower is best for your face and body!) and massage gently in a circular motion.  When you're done scrubbing rinse off all of the scrub, pat dry, and apply lotion for super smooth skin.

3. Spot Treatment
Applying a baking soda paste to a pimple overnight will help to clear it up and dry it out quickly.  There are several different mixtures to use, but my favorite, and the easiest, is just baking soda and water.  Mix 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1 tsp. water; you want a thick paste consistency so if it is too dry add more water, and if it is too watery add more baking soda.  Take the mixture and apply to clean skin, allow it to dry before going to sleep, leave on overnight, and rinse off in the morning.  You can repeat each night until your pimple has cleared up completely.  You can find other baking soda spot treatment recipes like a Baking Soda Tea Tree Oil Paste here.

4. Teeth Whitening
Using baking soda is a really easy and inexpensive way to whiten your teeth.  There's a few different ways that you can go about using baking soda to whiten your teeth depending on what you want to do.  The most simple way is to wet your toothbrush, dip it in baking soda, and brush your teeth like you normally do, not only will this whiten your teeth, but it will clean your teeth very nicely.  If you're like me and don't like taste of just brushing your teeth with straight baking soda put toothpaste on your toothbrush, then dip it in baking soda, and brush as usual for a better tasting way to whiten.  Lastly you can mix 1 tsp. toothpaste, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. hydrogen peroxide, and 1/2 tsp. water and brush your teeth with that, but only use this mixture once a week.

5. Face Mask
Face masks are probably my favorite beauty product to whip up in my kitchen.  Baking soda is a great ingredient to use in your DIY masks as it will help with blemishes and blackheads.  Mix 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. orange juice, you want it to have the consistency of a thinner paste so so if it is too dry add more orange juice, and if it is too watery add more baking soda.  Apply this mixture to your face and leave on for twenty minutes, rinse off, pat dry, and moisturize as usual.  This mask is meant to help with blackheads and the vitamin c in the orange juice will also help to brighten your skin.  For other baking soda masks you can find countless recipes on Pinterest!

Do you use baking soda in your beauty routine?  If so how do you use it?

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!

Today I'm linking up with #HowISpringHello MondayLet It ShineWeekending, and MIMM.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Favorites

I think that these are the cutest sandals for spring and summer!  They will go with just about everything and will add a feminine touch to any outfit.

Favorite Indulgence Sheet Masks
Lately I have been obsessed with sheet masks.  They're a great way to relax and can make your skin look amazing.  I'm especially loving sheet masks from Korean skin care brands like Tony Moly because they're inexpensive, but really great quality.

I'm kind of boring when it comes to drinks and tend to stick with plain water, but when I'm looking for something with flavor lemonade is my absolute favorite, especially this time of year.  This recipe for Frozen Strawberry Lemonade looks delicious and it will be a great way to cool down on a warm spring day.  I also feel like you could add a little vodka or rum to this drink for some serious fun!

This piece from Byrdie gives you tips from celebs with the most gorgeous skin.  These stars always look flawless so who better to turn to for beauty advice?!  Check it out to get beauty info from Olivia Palermo, Jessica Alba, Selena Gomez, and more.

Favorite Makeup Look Bold Lip
I found this look on Pinterest and am absolutely loving it!  A bold lip with a neutral eye and strong brows is a classic look that you can rock all year round.  Right now I would switch out the darker lip for a brighter one to make it feel more spring.

What are your favorites this week?

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April Style

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1. Big Earrings
Large earrings, especially ones that are long, are huge for spring.  I love them in pastels or bright colors to make them look extra spring-y.  Start incorporating big earrings into your wardrobe now and wear them all spring and summer.

2. Romper
In my opinion rompers are a must have for all year round, but they are even more essential in the spring.  They're super chic and make getting dressed really easy since they're just one piece.  Right now I'm really liking long sleeve rompers since the weather isn't that warm yet.  The one pictured above has a gorgeous watercolor print and is perfect to wear to dinner, brunch, a party, a date, and more! 

3. Neutral Bag
Neutrals are perfect for spring because they're light and brighten up your look.  The best way to incorporate neutrals is with your bag because it will go with everything.  Right now I'm rocking this tote that I picked up a few weeks ago and it already has me feeling more seasonal.

4. Stripes
Stripes are another big trend for spring and were seen all over the runways.  I think stripes are always a favorite and are so easy to work into your wardrobe.  You can rock anything from a striped top to a striped romper and more.  I'm especially loving striped tshirt dresses right now like this one.

5. Bright Lipstick
To me nothing says spring like a bright lip.  Matte lips are my absolute favorite and these lipsticks from Lancôme come in beautiful colors - my top pick is a hot pink called Drive to Pink.  Pair a bright lipstick with a neutral eye so all the focus is on your lips.  Also don't forget to exfoliate before applying lipstick, you can learn my trick here!

6. Lightweight Sweater
The weather in April can be super tricky, it's warm one day and cool the next, which can make deciding what to wear difficult.  I always like to have a few lightweight sweaters on hand for this time of the year when it's a little chilly out.  I am obsessed with the one pictured above from Madewell because of the fun tassel fringe on the hem, which is also a big trend for spring.

7. Lace-up Flats
Lace-up flats are seemingly everywhere right now and it's no wonder with how cute they are!  They're best to wear with skirts, dresses, rompers, and shorts so that you can show off the tied laces.  Right now get a pair in a pastel or neutral to make them feel even more spring-y.

8. Denim
Another big trend seen on the runways (and in real life) was denim.  Denim and chambray have been big for a while now and I'm glad they're here to stay.  Denim is super versatile and goes with just about anything, which means it's really easy to incorporate into your wardrobe.  To be super on trend wear a denim outfit like jeans and a chambray shirt or the adorable denim jumpsuit pictured above.

9. Wedges
Wedges are an absolute must have for me for the warmer months.  I tend to favor neutral wedges because I can wear them with just about anything.  Pair them with everything from jeans to a dress for a chic look.

10. Off the Shoulder
You've probably seen everything from off the shoulder tops to rompers to dresses all over Pinterest and Instagram because they are huge for spring.  I haven't bought anything off the shoulder yet, but am dying to purchase something!  Pick up a piece now so you'll be on trend all season!


What are your April style essentials?

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!