January 2015 archive

Realistic Organization Tips

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Every New Year, many people make it their goal to get more organized. For those of us in college, a new year means a new semester. Every semester I swear I am going to get organized and then within two weeks papers are already flooding my bag and I am right where I was at the end of the semester. Since this always happens to me, I decided to provide some tips that have been helping me stay organized. Unlike many other goals that you may have set for yourself in the past, these goals are attainable and easy to follow through with.

1. Get a planner and keep up with it

I always tend to buy planners at the start of the semester and then let them sort of fade in the back of bag or on my desk. This year, I urge you all to do as I plan to do. I got one of the Lilly Pulitizer agendas to keep up with my school assignments. I got one of the larger ones because it included both school years. During the beginning of last fall, I only added my school work in the planner but that didn’t really encourage me to look at it because I never had anything to make looking at it urgent. I decided to add the planner to my bag every day and write down blog post ideas, my work schedule, birthdays, or even daily plans just to have the notebook accessible at all times. I always seem to forget my work schedule so checking it in the planner encouraged me to look at my school assignments as well as anything else I seem to have written in there.

2. Set a schedule

It doesn’t matter what it is: make it a habit. There is a reason that it is hard to kick bad habits, once you start doing something it is extremely hard to stop. If you start making good habits, you will find that you learn to do the things you do want to be doing. For example, make one day of the week your laundry day and no matter what, make it happen. After you do it so much, you won’t even notice.

3. Set realistic goals

Goal setting can be one of the easiest ways to accomplish things during the day. For most of us though, we tend to set goals that we have no way of achieving. Sure these goals are great for life-long lists but for day-to-day operations, add things that you simply know you will do. For example, adding something like “do dishes” or “walk dog” are really motivating because once you cross them off of your list you feel more motivated to do they things on your list. Just these simple goals will make things like “study for Anatomy” seem like just another tick on the list.

4. Make time for yourself

When you have so many things to achieve on your “to-do list” it can seem very easy to not do any of it because you want time for Netflix or hanging out with friends. What I have found works best is to include those things in your daily schedule. Include time for a bath or movies or whatever it may be. By doing this, you will feel productive and organized about having fun. This helps with avoiding stress as well, which can be a huge aspect to procrastination. By setting a limit to your free time, you feel like your goals are structured and complete.

5. Tell others you want to get organized

In high school, if I had a huge project I had to do, I would avoid telling anyone about it to almost make it go away. That is the least productive thing to do. Generally, you don’t want to appear like a failure to others but with yourself you can let things slide. Tell your friends and family about projects and encourage them to help you in staying organized. Significant others are the best at helping because you talk to them all day long.

So that’s it! Those are five easy tips to help you stay organized. Just by adding these few things into your life, you should see your productivity rise. I know I have! Let me know in the comments what you do to stay organized.

Philosophy Purity Cleanser: Worth the Hype?

IMG_4765Philosophy is one of those brands that you constantly hear about but never really know if the hype is justified or just simply hype.

One of their most popular products, the Purity cleanser, is talked about regularly on blogs and receives nearly 5 stars on most websites in which the product is sold.

For a complete description, I decided to use the one that is found on the Sephora website because they provided more in depth details than the actual Philosophy site.

The Claim

Sephora says:

What it is:
An award-winning, highly effective one-step facial cleanser to tone and hydrate skin.

What it is formulated to do:
Begin with the most basic step of all. Purity Made Simple one-step facial cleanser is an award-winning cleanser that melts away dirt, oil, and makeup. It tones and lightly hydrates in one simple step for skin that feels perfectly clean and comfortably balanced. Formulated for all skin types and gentle enough for the sensitive eye area, it deep cleans pores while natural oil extracts help condition skin.”

 

The Experience

I don’t naturally have problem skin, but I was feeling quite a few breakouts when I decided to buy this product. I purchased it on Black Friday and have been using it nightly ever since. I suffer from mostly hormonal breakouts and redness on my face. I also have a few dark spots around my chin that I normally like to use a toner on just for the added benefit. This product claims to have that affect.

I began with my normal makeup remover (more on that in an upcoming Skin Care Routine post) and then went in with the Philosophy cleanser. I started by massaging it into my face without applying extra water and it felt very creamy and gentle. After adding some water to my hands the product immediately foamed up. While I don’t have dry skin, I do have combination meaning that there are some spots on my face that are naturally drier than the rest. I normally avoid products that foam because these tend to dry the skin out. With this product, though, I didn’t notice any abnormal drying and my skin didn’t feel tight after using it. I liked how little of product I had to use and how clean and refreshing I felt afterward. While I don’t think this product would remove a full face of makeup, it did a great job of getting off what my cleansing oil left behind.

The Verdict

Okay, I am a convert. I was truly skeptical about the quality of the product due to how many people speak about it (yes, I am one of those people).
The next day my hormonal acne was completely cleared. I am not exaggerating a bit. I even applied a small amount to my chest and washed it off in the shower to remove a spot I had and by the next day it was completely gone.

The formula didn’t dry my skin out nor did it irritate my eyes. I have been using this cleanser daily and I have still barely made a dent in the product. I feel as though after I started using this product the spots on my chin are less prominent and that my overall complexion has drastically improved.

I will be repurchasing the product (and in a larger quantity) to use daily. I cannot believe the difference it has made to my skin.

Worth the hype: Yes

The Bob: Emma Stone Inspired Haircut

2014 was arguably the year of the bob. From Ashley Benson to Taylor Swift to Emma Stone (my hair inspiration), the bob was a hit. I had been wanting to make the cut for months but seemed to miss my last three hair appointments. Can you say dead ends?

Anyway, yesterday I snapped this photo of me as a “before” picture. You can see that my hair was slightly longer in the front than in the back from a previous hairstyle, but overall my hair was just a straightforward cut. I had been growing bangs out for a few months now, as you can probably tell in the photo.

IMG_4670 before picture fixSo this was my before! I was so ready to cut off all my hair and I have no regrets now. You can see from my before photo, the length of my hair makes me look pretty young.

And…….

TA-DA

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Here it is! This is my new haircut and I cannot explain how much I love it. I feel like I aged a few years as I lost a few inches. My haircut was inspired by Emma Stone’s Cabaret cut. I opted to go a little bit longer than her initial cut on my first go, but next time I feel like I will probably cut even more off. I also decided to let my bangs finish growing out before I cut them again, so I left that part of Emma’s hair out of my cut as well.

My hairdresser had her concerns when I showed her my idea but once she made the chop she couldn’t get over how much she liked it. She recommends going shorter next time. Let me know what you think below!

I am loving the light, easy look.

 

 

 

Music Monday: The Weekly Playlist

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And so the weekly playlist beings. Here are five songs for the week on January 5th. Make a playlist with these tunes and repeat it while driving because that is exactly what I will be doing. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Cage The Elephant: Cigarette Daydreams

Twenty One Pilots: Fake You Out

Young The Giant: Mind Over Matter

Bleachers: You’re Still a Mystery

Taylor Swift: New Romantics

2015 Aspirations

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Well, it is officially four days into the new year and I have finally decided what I would like to accomplish during these 361 remaining days. This photo of me above was taken at the Top of The Rock in New York City this past month. The trip was by far one of the best experiences of 2014 (and generally of my life so far) so it only felt proper to include it.

Honesty time: I have never made or followed a New Year’s Resolutions and I don’t plan on starting now. For this post, I just hope to make some general goals that I will try my hardest to keep up with. I find that when people set unattainable goals for themselves, they put more stress on their lives by trying to keep them. But, for 2015 there are some goals I would like to achieve (as I do every year, month, and day) and I thought what a better place to document these aspirations then right on my blog.

1. Be More Engaged

 I feel like sometimes we work, we go to school, we eat, and we sleep…and then wake up and do it all again. This year I want to be more engaged. See more, do more, live more. I hope to take more chances and break out of my comfort zone in this new year.

2. Work Harder

In 2014, I felt as though I made a lot of excuses. I tried to blog, but became too busy. I tried to be the best I could in school, but sleep prevailed. The list continues with little missteps that I hope to surpass this year. In 2015, I want to transfer colleges (as I will be finishing my AA this year), possibly move out, and work to maintain my relationships.

3. Be Creative

In 2015, I hope to write every single day. While in high school I found it easy to keep my notebook on me and scratch thoughts, stories, memories, anything really, to keep my creativity up. I was editor of the yearbook staff: constant writing was a must. After graduation my writing slipped to a few times a week, at best, and I can feel the repercussions of that fall every single day. I want to create, not only words, but ideas.

4. Love Wiser

It seems as though with every passing year a new insecurity comes along. In 2015, I want to shed myself of those doubts and make the most of my relationships (both romantic and platonic) and be a better friend, daughter, girlfriend, or acquaintance. Also, more dog kisses in 2015 (if that is physically possible).

5. Get Healthy: Mentally and Physically

Yes, this goal is the same one every human in the world will set. Yes, I still think it is one of the best goals to have. This year my mental fitness will also be a goal, though. In 2015, I want to clean up my diet, start light exercise, and be more physically active. In the same respect, I want to clean up my mind. I aspire to learn more, read more, and do more.

Dear 2014, for all of your beautiful and wonderful times, I say thank you. You truly held some of the most refreshing times in my life. But don’t you think I am forgetting all the challenges you threw my way.

2015, we’re coming for ya.

Lush Holiday Set: Winter Garden

IMG_4605As part of her Christmas gift to me, my best friend got me one of the Lush Holiday Sets. This one was in Winter Garden which was essentially full of rose scents and a few “Christmas-ey” bits.

The kit contained: Rose Jam Shower Gel, Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner, Ultrabalm, and a Snowcake Bar Soap.

I have already used all of these products so that I could offer a full review of the products and how they worked with my skin.

Rose Jam Shower Gel: Personally, I loved this shower gel. The scent didn’t draw me in because the rose scent is super intense. I’m not usually a lover of rose, but once applying it to the skin with a washcloth, the scent dissipated and didn’t linger with the outrageous smell of roses. The gel meshed with my skin and made it feel silky after only one wash. After I washed with this gel multiple times, I noticed my body holding the moisture in throughout the day.

Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder: This product was one of the only ones that I was particularly disappointed with. The concept sounds great: you dust this powder all over your body once you get out of the shower and instantly feel moisturized, but the execution was lacking. The powder didn’t stick to my skin as I hoped. It just fell all over the floor. What did make it on my skin smelled nice but didn’t provide any moisture. I am thinking of trying this product while still in the shower, just once the water is off, in order to avoid a mess and see if it truly does its job. As of now though, I don’t see me using this powder on a daily basis.

Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner: What a wonderful concept, a conditioner for your body! I really do love this product as it acts as a conditioner for after you use your usual shower gel (or in this case the Rose shower gel). Where as the Rose Jam gel smells very strongly of rose, the conditioner is slightly diluted and that made me love it even more. As someone who isn’t a rose fanatic, I find it hard to resist this scent. The subtleties of the scent make it smell like the perfect winter rose. When applied with the Rose Jam gel, it conditions the body smoothly. It leaves you with a bit of a tack that leaves you feeling moisturized all day long.

Ultrabalm Body Balm: This tiny tube claims that it is a slave for all of your “bits”. Upon reading that, my friends and I had to know more. Was this a universal moisturizer? To what bits were they referring to? Okay…enough with the nonsense. The bits are basically anything. Yep, that’s right. While this salve is perfect for elbows and lips, the package claims that you can even tame flyways with it.  On the lips, there was a bit of texture to the salve that made them feel very fresh in the morning. I can see myself using this before bed on both my lips and elbows.

Snowcake Soap: A concurrent theme in this package is that all of the products are very hydrating, which is perfect for the winter time. This soap lathered up very nicely but didn’t dry my skin at all. This combination really surprised me as bar soaps can generally be a bit more drying than those from the tube. Overall, I prefer the gel body wash that comes in the package more, but this Snowcake Soap really impressed me. The scent is a mild mix that really just pays off as a soft vanilla when applied to the skin. It was very refreshing and hydrating to use.

Those are all of my thoughts on the Lush Winter Garden Holiday Set! Have you tried any of these products? Let me know below!