DIY Spa Night


If your week was anything like mine, you must be exhausted at this point (which is made worse by the fact that I won't actually have a weekend this week). Be it due to work or school or anything in your life that tires you out to the verge of tears, we need a night to just relax and unwind. Trips to the spa can hurt your wallet (and time), so for times when you want or need to pamper yourself at home, here are some ways to make it as luxurious as a fancy trip to the spa.

Create the Mood

To be able to fully relax and unwind, you need to create an atmosphere. Light some scented candles, play some soothing music, grab a glass of wine, and pull up your favorite show on Netflix (which spas don't have). Now that you have the spa ambience down, let the pampering begin!

DIY Beauty Treatments

There is a whole host of beauty treatments that you can whip up yourself, using ingredients that you already have on hand. You can make face masks from bananas, oats, yogurt, and honey. You can make hair masks from egg whites or coconut oil. All you need to do to find these recipes is hit up Pinterest or even Google. There really is no need to splurge on expensive beauty products (unless you plan on having spa nights on a regular basis, in which case you might prefer more luxurious, store-bought options).

Teeth

Our teeth are often forgotten about when it comes to pampering even though it is also an integral factor in how we look and even how we feel. One way to pamper your teeth is to whiten them. You can incorporate this step into your spa night by just looking for the best whitening strips for you.

Hands and Feet

One of the most popular pampering activities is a mani-pedi. These are rather expensive to get at a salon, especially considering how easy it is to create the same look at home for much cheaper. To do so, start with a good hand cream. Then, file your nails and cut your cuticles. Finish off with nail polish of your choice, including a base and top coat. Then, you're good to go! If you're looking for more complex designs than just a swipe of color, there are cute nail designs that you can try. While you're doing your nails, you can even pop your feet into a foot spa. If you don't have one at home, you can DIY it! Just fill a large bowl with warm water and essential oils. It's that easy!

How do you prefer to pamper yourself?
Read More

Weekly Reading | August 14, 2016


Fashion

Last week, I found some helpful tips on shopping sales. Then, once the hauling is done, it will be time to break in those new heels and plan a new wardrobe.

"4 Ways to Wear Heels Without the Pain" via Career Girl Daily
"How to Plan a Minimal Wardrobe" via The Private Life of a Girl

Fitness

I also found more compelling reasons for me especially to get off of my butt and exercise more.


College

Once again, I did not plan for all three articles to be from the same source. Society 19 just pumps out more college-related articles than any of the other blogs I follow.

"10 Tips for Moving into Your Dorm" via Society 19
"15 Reasons to Consider Community College" via Society 19
"Money Saving Tips to Help You Travel on a College Budget" via Society 19

For travel, career, and home posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
Read More

My Everyday Makeup (but with Glasses) ft. GlassesShop*


Here is a fun fact for you: I posted my last makeup tutorial three years ago! It was a pink eyeshadow look for a wedding. Believe it or not, not much has changed since then except that I now have a better relationship with my eyebrows.


This is not going to be a tutorial post. I will just be discussing my favorite makeup products and how I incorporate them into my everyday look.

For my face, I start by priming with the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer and use the Catrice 12H Matt Mousse Foundation in Soft Ivory, set with the ELF High Definition Translucent Powder. Then, I lightly bronze with the Benefit Hoola Bronzer and add some Benefit Dandelion Blush to my cheekbones.

Then, I fill in my eyebrows with Sleek from the TheBalm Nude'tude Palette and the lighter shade from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown. For my lips, I first buff with the ELF Clear Lip Exfoliator, then apply a generous amount of the Peripera Peri's Tint Jelly.

For my eyes, I first prime with the Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion and just sweep Sin from the Urban Decay Naked Palette all over my eyelids. The cat eye is achieved with the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper as a base and sharpened with the ELF Liquid Liner in Jet Black. I then tightline with the Wet N Wild Color Icon Kohl Eyeliner and finish with a couple of coats of the Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara in Very Black.


Not only do I love this routine because it is easy to do, but I also love it because I have the option to slap on my glasses and completely change the look of my outfit for the day. To be completely honest, I like that it makes me look older and thus more credible when I teach.

This pair that I have on is from GlassesShop. My eyesight is terrible, so my prescription tends to make it so that the lenses in my glasses are super thick and, as a result, super heavy. However, these ones are lightweight, which I really appreciate because, as you can see from the picture above, the bigger frames that I prefer always end up resting right above my nose stud, so heavy glasses like my previous pair sometimes pull on it, which obviously hurts.

GlassesShop is the way to go if you are looking for some new prescription eyeglasses or just cheap glasses in general. They even stock prescription sunglasses!

As a bonus, you can take 50% off your purchase of glasses or sunglasses, which also come with free lenses! Just use the coupon code GSHOT50 at checkout.

How do you do your everyday makeup?

*This complimentary product was provided for review consideration.
Read More

Weekly Reading | July 31, 2016


Travel

With the summer coming to an end soon, I caught the wanderlust bug and spent last week reading about packing for vacations as well as about places to visit for the noms.

"Pack Your Carry-On Like a Pro" via World of Wanderlust

Career

However, the voice in the back of my head still nagged me about the imminent fall semester when I have to return to full-fledged work mode, so I also looked through a few articles on work wear.

"How to Wear Denim to the Office" via Helena Martins

Home

At the same time, I'm moving into a new apartment in a couple of days, which means it's time to come up with a brand new game plan for tackling home cleaning, and I also get a clean slate to decorate on.

"14 Easy Decluttering Tricks that Will Transform Your Life" via Her Campus
"Household Cleaning Schedule for New Renters" via Money Can Buy Lipstick
"Bedroom Tour: Office" via Alicia Tenise

For beauty, lifestyle, and food posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
Read More

My Dream Festival Lineup ft. TickPick


Today is the last day that Warped is in the Midwest, which means that I have yet again missed the tour. It's especially devastating this year because the lineup is amazing! Mayday Parade, Oceans Ate Alaska, and Tonight Alive are only a few of my favorite bands that are in Warped this year. As a coping mechanism, I threw together my dream festival lineup.


At first, I was going to embed here videos of my favorite songs from these bands, but I figured that would slow down the load time of the page, so I'll just be linking to those videos.




I Prevail: Scars

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows: Graveyard Dancing

Versus Me: (A)tension

Halestorm: Mz. Hyde

In This Moment: Sex Metal Barbie

Oceans Ate Alaska: Drunk in Love (Beyonce Cover)


Conversely, you can play these songs from my Spotify playlist below.


If you live in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, or Oregon, Warped is headed your way! You can buy your tickets from TickPick.

TickPick is a website where you can find and buy concert tickets, NFL tickets, and even tickets to theater shows! There are no fees, and there's even a feature that lets you place bids on tickets, so if there's a ticket on sale that's too expensive, and you have a different price you'd definitely pay for, you can place a bid for the seller's consideration.

Let me know if you're going to or if you went to Warped so that I can live vicariously through you!

What is your dream festival lineup?
Read More

Influenster Ole Henriksen Voxbox Unboxing*


I have finally tried all of the products that came in my Influenster Ole Henriksen Voxbox. This is my first brand Voxbox, and tbh, I am still on the fence about whether I prefer it to theme Voxboxes. Either way, here is a list of the products:

1. Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation, $38 (1.7 fl oz) at Sephora.com

2. Ole Henriksen Complexion Sponges, $6 (2 pc) at Ole Henriksen

3. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, $48 (1 fl oz) at Sephora.com

4. Ole Henriksen Power Bright, $55 (6 pc) at Sephora.com

I will start with a description of the Power Bright, which is the three-step skin brightening system because there is more to cover.

Step 1: Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask

This is an exfoliating mask that feels like a lip scrub on your face, which is terrible for someone with sensitive skin like me. Needless to say, it felt harsh even though I tried to apply as little pressure as possible. However, it did make my skin brighter and tighter, and I think it even removed some of my blackheads and tightened my pores. It wasn't worth it for me, though, because some more sensitive areas were left red.

Step 2: Truth 25% Vitamin C Concentrate

I was expecting this to have a liquidy, serumy consistency, but it was denser and had a creamy texture that almost feels powdery during application. It forms a matte film on your face and kind of soothed the irritated areas from Step 1.

Step 3: Pure Truth Melting Cleanser

This product is very aptly named because it does "melt" when you apply it. You're supposed to apply this over the product from Step 2, and it turns everything into a lovely, light gel texture. The instructions said to expect tingling. Mine was clustered around the dry, irritated areas, which I'm not entirely sure is a good thing in my case. Afterwards, my skin did feel softer and firmer, so this system definitely works. The only caveat is skin irritation for people with sensitive skin, so that's something to consider.

The complexion sponges that came in the Voxbox were to be used to remove the product after Step 3. They came in two dried, compressed wafers that you run under water before using. This was probably my favorite part of the whole thing because the sponges literally puffed up once they touched water. I wish I'd taken a video of it! They also dry hard, but they're not compressed anymore.


This is the Sheer Transformation moisturizer that's supposed to even skin tone. I've only used it a few times, so I'm not sure if it actually does the trick. It's also a creamier product but with a gel-like texture.


This is the Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, which is exactly as it sounds. It's a vitamin C concentrate serum that's supposed to boost collagen in your skin and in turn tighten it. I stopped using this after the first try because it's too harsh for my skin. It might be from the vitamin C, but I'm not sure.

Overall, these products do do what they claim to do, and you can see instant results. The only thing to consider is that if you have dry or sensitive skin, this might not be for you. On the plus side, everything (except the Sheer Transformation) smells of citrus!

What is your favorite skin brightening product?

*I received these complimentary products for review consideration.
Read More

Weekly Reading | July 17, 2016


Beauty

I am slowly getting back into wearing lip color again, so last week, I read a couple of posts about lipstick. Also, I found some summer beauty hacks.

"Lipstick Finishes" via The Small Things Blog

Lifestyle

I am a huge proponent of online shopping, so I dug up some helpful articles about online shopping. On a more serious note, I found a post about maintaining friendships.


Food

Last week, I found recipes for three of my favorite foods: guacamole, egg yolk buns, and southern food (I guess this is more of a cuisine). As the cherry (Food pun intended) on top, the third post features healthier versions of the most popular southern foods.


For fashion, travel, and health posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
Read More

July Drugstore.com Haul


Another month has come and gone, and we are now past the midpoint of 2016. Can you believe it? I actively try not to because that means that I have less and less time to finish writing up my current research. I'm also teaching a course in the fall that I've never taught before, so lesson plans need to be written up for that. Also, this stress reminds me that I still have an IRB application to finish, since I've started equating that with stress.

Anyway, retail therapy always helps, so here is my Drugstore.com haul for the month:

1. Garnier Skin Active Clean Plus Purifying Oil-Free Cleansing Towelettes, $5.99 (25 sheets) at Ulta.com

I usually buy the Pond's Original Fresh Wet Cleansing Towelettes, but this Garnier one was on sale, so I decided to give it a try since I don't think Garnier has ever let me down.

2. Pantene Pro-V Color Revival Radiant Shampoo, $3.84 (12.6 fl oz) at Walmart.com

When I started coloring my hair in 2012, I started using the Tresemme Color Revitalize Shampoo and its corresponding conditioner because I had recently discovered Tresemme and loved it. I haven't ever stopped using that shampoo and conditioner because they work and they last me a good while, so I never saw a reason to switch brands. Four years is a long time, though, right? That's why I decided to break out of that routine and try this Pantene shampoo, which I've heard good things about.

3. Jergens Naturals Extra Moisturizing Liquid Hand Wash Refill, $3.49 (21.3 fl oz) at Walgreens.com

I bought the Jergens hand wash in May and was instantly hooked. It cleans well but still moisturizes your hands, and that signature cherry almond scent is delightful!

4. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara in Very Black, $8.99 (0.22 fl oz) at Ulta.com

You can never own too many mascara. That's all I have to say about this, lol.

5. Palmer's Night Renewal Cream, $7.02 (2.7 fl oz) at Drugstore.com

Do you remember the fail in my June Drugstore.com and Walmart haul when I accidentally bought the Nivea Creme, thinking it was night cream? Yeah, it's currently sitting on my office desk, being used as hand cream, so this month, I decided to continue the search and found this! My Influenster Ole Henriksen Voxbox came, and I'm trying those products out at the moment (Stay tuned for the unboxing post!), so I've only tried this Palmer's night cream once since I bought it. The scent is not the best. It smells like how cocoa butter naturally smells, I'm guessing, so it's not necessarily a bad thing. It'll just take some time to get used to, especially after the Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream's heavenly smell. Anyway, this Palmer's night cream has a gel-like cream consistency that doesn't apply easily, but it feels great on the skin!

What is your go-to facial towelette, shampoo, hand wash, mascara, or night cream?
Read More

Weekly Reading | July 10, 2016


Fashion

Last week, I learned about the proper way to try on swimsuits, different ways to style yoga pants (Spoiler alert: you can wear them to work!), and how the clothes we wear impact the environment.


Travel

Here are some more reasons to travel, along with tips for first-time and seasoned flyers alike.


Health

Did you know that there is such a thing as headphone safety and that many common maladies can be attributed to dehydration? Although these are true, there are many health tips that are myths.


For more fashion posts as well as blogging and food posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
Read More

Vegan Chocolate Pudding*




This is going to sound strange, but I never expected chocolate pudding to be this easy to make. I always just buy them whenever I feel like having some, but it turns out that all you need to make chocolate pudding is probably already in your kitchen.

I was sent an e-cookbook to review, and I figured I might as well try out some of the recipes to see if they work. I'm not the best in the kitchen when it comes to dessert, so it would give me the perfect opportunity to test how foolproof the recipes are.


Sam Kuma created this cookbook because he believes that veganism shouldn't stand in the way of enjoying chocolate. The book is divided into ten sections: Breakfast; Bakes and Cakes; Cookies; Candies; Fruits and Chocolate; Handy Snacks; Ice-Cream; Shakes and Smoothies; Sauces, Syrups and Frostings; and No Bake Desserts. With my horrendous dessert making skills, of course I opted to go with something in the No Bake Desserts section. Here's the recipe of the vegan chocolate pudding I tried:


The next line was pushed onto the next page, but all it says is "it cools...Enjoy!" It's followed by brief nutritional information.

Love Notes

What I like best about 101 Chocolate Vegan Recipes is the sheer amount of recipes. from Chocolate Mug Cake to Chickpea Blondies and from Dark Chocolate Truffles to White Hot Chocolate. All of the recipes also come with nutritional information, which is great if you track your calorie consumption!

Sad Faces

My biggest gripe with this e-cookbook is the style and formatting. From just this recipe, you can see that there are issues with formatting. The headings don't actually head the content, and text floods onto the next page in a way that doesn't make sense.

Apart from that, the "procedure" is incomplete, I think. It reads like it should've gone through another round of edits before publication. Using this recipe as an example, nowhere in the recipe does it say the mixture in the sauce pan needs to be heated, but the sixth step mentions letting it cool, so I crossed my fingers and hoped it meant I had to heat the mixture and went ahead and did it.

Final Verdict

Overall, though, it's a decent e-cookbook for vegan chocolate recipes. I'm not vegan, but I appreciate that there are options out there for people who are. These recipes, at least the one I tried, are simple enough to follow and easy to make. To order your own copy of 101 Chocolate Vegan Recipes by Sam Kuma, click here.

What are your favorite sweet treats?

This complimentary product was provided for review consideration.

Read More