My latest shopping spree: What I bought from TJ Maxx

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            Calvin Klein Candles:   (Originally $24, bought for $10)

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These two, robins egg blue candles from Calvin Klein have a subtle yet uniquely lovely meadow scent that was too good to pass up. In addition to the meadow scent, what made me pick these up were the packaging, the shape, the colors of the candles, and the fact that they are made in the USA.

I can see these in my bathroom, decorating each his and her sink. Their color will compliment the marble countertops and tiling.

OM SHE Aromatherapy Candle:   (Originally $14, bought for $6)

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This pearl white candle in a glass jar with a metal top looks sleek and elegant enough to brighten up any space. Just like the Calvin Klein candles, the milk and honey scent is relaxed. I prefer a more understated scent rather than something that leaves me with a headache.

Honestly I can see this candle in any room of my house, however, I love the look and the scent so much that I’ll probably place it in my living room where my family and I can enjoy it the most!

 

Fringe Alchemy Hand Soap:   (Originally $12, bought for $6)

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 Brace yourself for some of my mother’s wisdom: take advantage of every opportunity to pretty things up. Meaning, don’t settle for some ugly, cheap soap bottle when you know darn well everyone notices the hand soap bottle. Having an ugly soap bottle is a missed opportunity to brighten up a room (okay…an area of a room). But still, the effects are huge!

Anyway, why I chose Alchemy hand soap was mainly because of the stylish bottle, but the soap smells as good as the bottle looks! Yay! As an added bonus though, Fringe’s products are made in the USA. Whenever I can, I prefer buying my goods from our wonderful country.

To add to my mother’s wisdom above, if you can’t afford to keep replacing your pretty bottles, just buy a nice scented soap in bulk, store it in your pantry, and then refill the pretty soap bottle to save money!

 

As always, thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Crafting: What I get done before 9 a.m.

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            Scavenging around my Grandma’s house I found some great glass vases that weren’t being used and tons of Valspar sample paint.  I decided less is more and applied a band light sea foam green color to the bottom of the vase, and then a band of white to the top of the vase.  I sifted some sand from our beach and layered that with crushed seashells.  Voila!

            I’d love to hear what you think! Thanks!

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Fighting acne (and winning): My secrets and solutions

Confession time: Just like most teenagers I had my fair share of skin problems. Over the years I have experimented with countless cleaners, toners, moisturizers, concealers, etc.  However, over time I’ve discovered some of the best beauty products around.

Challenge one: Oils

My dermatologist strongly suggested any products that would be used on my face to be “non-comenogenic” meaning “no oils.”  Long story short: oil clogs pores, and clogged pores cause acne.  If you pick up any random bottle off the shelf of Target I will bet you a years worth of chocolate cake that it wont say the words “oil free” or “non-commednogenic” on it.

Solution one: CeraVe Foaming Cleaners, CeraVe Moisturizer, and CeraVe Sunscreen

All three of these CeraVe products are lifesavers.  The cleanser is gentle yet effective, the moisturizer is strong (and fights back the dry skin that your acne creams are probably causing…am I right?)  Additionally, the sunscreen also acts as a moisturizer, and allows me to enjoy summer fully while not having to worry about breaking out after spending the day at the beach.

Challenge two: Cover up

The best thing for girls who want to cover up acne is probably something like the Bare Minerals line.  However, as awesome as those products are (my mom raves about them) they don’t really help cover up the active acne and the scars…at all.

Solution two: Physicians Formula and L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

This line of liquid foundation, concealer, and powder is AMAZING!!! I love love love this brand and am so thankful for their fabulous products.  I have tried almost every one of their cover-ups during the worst of my acne.  While the products didn’t completely erase my problems they hid them the best.

I transitioned to L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream now that I no longer am dealing with acne.  It is extremely light and I barely feel like I’m wearing any cover up at all! To top it off I have continued to use my Physicians Formula powder.

 

Holistic Healing: Getting over strep throat sans doctors

            So I’ve been on island for the past week and a half and just my luck, I got sick.  I’ve had strep more times than I can count, thus I know all the signs and symptoms.  I also know a bit about biology and how bacteria work.  (I wont get into it, but the more times you go on the same antibiotic the more the bacteria adapt to the point where the antibiotics wont work anymore). 

            Aside from the fact that there is no doctor or pharmacy on island, I was not about to drug myself just to get over a swollen throat.  I mean, that’s what ice cream is for, right? Just kidding…sort of.

            Luckily, there are effective ways of treating strep throat that do not require a doctor, a prescription, or antibiotics.  Seriously.  So here’s how…

Apple Cider Vinegar: As disgusting as this stuff smells and tastes, it is wonderful and has some crazy voo-doo powers that helps cure swollen, infected tonsils.  I’ve been gargling with it three times a day (one cup of water for 2 teaspoons of ACV).  ACV has a ton of health benefits in addition to curing strep throat, so I may continue incorporating it into my daily routine even after I’m cured!

Cayenne Pepper: In addition to the ACV that I’ve been gargling with, I threw together some homemade chicken noodle soup and added in a few good shakes of cayenne pepper.  Boy was it HOT but it surprisingly soothed my throat, which was awesome. 

All this talk of food is getting me hungry for lunch…

My Yoga Mat: Why I love it and why you will too!

             This past year I began practicing yoga. I made my debut as a “yogi” at the Bikram Yoga of Ridgefield studio. For those who don’t know, Birkam yoga or “hot yoga” is a form of yoga where you do the same 26 poses over the course of 90 minutes in a VERY hot room (105 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact).

            My Birkam yoga streak was short lived however, as I had to return to college after winter break. Back on campus, I was not about to pay up the wazoo for Bikram yoga lessons, when regular yoga lessons were offered at my college free. (This is where I pause, text my parents, and remind them that I do know how to save money…okay back to my point)

            Not wanting to rush an investment, I did a lot of research into which mat would be perfect for me. I wanted something of high quality that was built to last, I preferred something with few harsh chemicals, and I needed something versatile. I needed a Kulae mat.

            So why is the Kulae tpECOmat perfect for me?

  • Length…At 5’5’’ I am not “tall” but I’m not short either. Kulae’s mats are a comfortable length, giving me some extra space so I don’t need to feel cramped while practicing.
  • Price…(around $50) Some companies boast about their “lifetime warranty” mats, or their “best mat ever,” however, you must be willing to drop a small fortune on a yoga mat. I feel that Kulae’s mats are fairly priced for their quality.
  • Material… Unlike mats that you would buy for $14 at TJ Maxx or Target, this mat is made of natural materials and real rubber.
  • Lightweight…Some yoga mats actually weigh a lot! However, my Kulae tpECOmat is lightweight, which is perfect for my lifestyle since I am constantly on the go.
  • Versatility…All Bikram Yogis know that no matter the mat you lay a hot yoga towel on top because of the ridiculous amount of sweat. That being said, my Kulae mat can function as my Bikram Yoga mat and my regular yoga mat. It’s like a two for one! (Let me point out that once again, I’m saving money. Yay me!)

         Before I send you on your way, I feel as if I should take a second to mention a few extremely minor details about the Kulae tpECOmat that I probably only noticed because of my excessive attention to detail…

         Since the Kulae tpECOmat is lightweight (which is awesome) I noticed that it does slightly ruffle along the long edges of the mat when I lay it down (especially if I have not used it for a few days). This ruffling says nothing about the quality of the mat, which is great, and it does not affect me while practicing. As I said, a tiny, itsy-bitsy detail that I noticed.

         One other thing that I shall mention is the strong smell that comes with almost any new yoga mat. I received my mat via mail while in college, and thus, was unable to hang my mat outside to air out. Therefore, it took my mat a longer time to lose the new-rubber smell (a few weeks). However, for those who lack the dorm-room dilemma I doubt the smell would stick around for any longer than a few days if you aired it outside for a day or so.

I hope my fellow yogis find this helpful! As always, I am thankful for any feedback!

Organization made pretty:

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My mother always like to say, there’s nothing wrong with being over dressed, over prepared, and over organized. Maybe in the future I’ll blog about the first two, but for now I’m going to give you my opinion on the latter.

            Organization and cleaning go hand in hand for me. It’s easier to organize when everything is clean and it’s easier to clean when everything is nice and organized. Boom. Mind blowing. It’s almost like I have everything figured out (not). Anyway, moving into a cramped 12×13 college dorm room (with a roommate…don’t even get me started on my roommate) challenged me to take my organizational skills to the next level. I’m talking about making every square inch of that cramped, claustrophobic space count. In autumn I plan on doing an article (or a few) covering how to get the most out of your dorm room space, but currently it’s summer; I’m staying in my Grandma’s beach house, I have my own room, my own closet, and my own bathroom, so rather than focusing on saving space, I’m going to focus on making organization extra pretty.

            After looking around my Grandma’s house I found four of these great bins. What I love about them together is that they vary in size and material. That being said, I’m super stoked that they are all the same shade of red, giving the baskets something in common. When I organize, in order to make my organization pretty I organize in what I like to call “collections” or “cluster.” This not only effectively allows me to consider functionality, but it also allows me to consider design

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            For my organization projects I always keep these things in mind:

  • Size (Take into consideration the space you’re working with and the size of what you’re organizing before purchasing organization tools such as shelves, bins, etc.)
  • Number (I usually group no more than five things together, and five is pushing it. Organization is about simplifying and de-cluttering so keep it simple, less is more.)
  • Material (What are you organizing? If it’s your old ratty towels that you use to wash your puppy then don’t go out and buy clear bins. On the contrary, if you’re organizing your collection of Jack Rogers choose an organizational tool to show them off!)
  • Space (Where are you organizing? If it’s in your bedroom closet you can get away with those cheap-o drawers from Target, but if your organizing knick-knacks under your coffee table you want to splurge on something cute.)

I’d love to see how you organize so snap a pic and post below! Cheers!

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How I achieve my signature style each season:

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(From left to right Essie colors are: Mademoiselle, Rock the Boat, and Sunday Funday)

So for the past few seasons I’ve been finding easy ways to refine my signature style. Diving into the summer season I’ve picked out three Essie nail polish colors (Mademoiselle, Sunday Funday, and Rock the Boat) that I rotate through depending on the occasion, the outfit, and my mood. I also chose two basic necklaces that I switch out daily based on my outfit choice. By having signature colors and signature jewelry pieces, I find it much easier for me to transition from season to season and refine my style.

My three signature colors

Sunday Funday… At first glance this Essie polish looked like the five other coral nail polishes I have at home. Thankfully some higher power moved me to pick up the rectangular, glass bottle anyway. What is special about “Sunday Funday” is the hot-pink polishes’ distinct hints of orange and intense shimmer, landing it on my signature color list for the summer season.

Rock the Boat… This shade of ocean, horizon blue made the cut for my summer polish collection is because it relaxing and reflective. I’m kicking off my summer in the Outer Banks at the beach. What better way to enhance my style than with a nail polish color that is totally relevant?

Mademoiselle… I ran out and bought this polish right after seeing the movie “The Other Women” where Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann, play the role of two strong, successful, independent, attractive women. This color obviously made it into my collection because I’m kicking off my summer single and ready to mingle, and what better way to do that than having Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann inspired nails?  By the way, Leslie Mann is my new girl crush.  I hope I can rock my red locks like she does when I’m her age!

My signature jewelry:

Silver side cross necklace… This subtle, lightweight, classy necklace was a must for my summer wardrobe, and a steal for only $10 at Kohl’s. Since it is a tiny piece it is versatile with almost any outfit, and works with my jewelry collection (which is mostly silver).

Matte gold bar necklace… There are so many variations to the gold bar necklace that all the celebrities are sporting these days. I chose to go with a thin gold bar necklace bought off of Etsy that was a matte finish rather than shinny. I’m excited to get tan so I can start wearing this more often! (Note to self, gold is not super flattering on pale gingers like moi).