Holiday Gift Guide for Treatin' Yo'self

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I'm one of those people who stress about getting the perfect gift for family and friends, not just for the holidays but also for occasions like birthdays and parents' days. I know that you can show appreciation in other, non-material ways, but I've always used gifts as like a grand gesture to supplement the little things.

One person I always miss out on, though, is myself. I can't even think of the last time I bought something nice for myself. I'm a major Scrooge McScroogeface when it comes to spending money on myself because I get hella anxious about buying things I don't absolutely need, mostly because I worry about things like, "What if I need this money for something lifesaving in like three days from now?"

This year, because I have that sweet, sweet raise from switching jobs, I've decided I'm gonna treat myself with something nice, so I compiled this list, mostly for myself but also for you as a reminder that every now and then, you should pat yourself on the back. Note, though, that when I say "gifts to treat yo'self," I don't just mean throw ten grand down and take yourself on a trip to Europe. Sure, that's one way to do it, but this list is more so treatin' yo'self in the sense of managing your wellness.

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1. Lauren Ralph Lauren Further Lane Woven His Shirt in Navy Dot
2. Gap Hooded Sherpa Union Suit
3. Charter Club Cotton Printed Flannel Pajama Set in Candy Red Dot

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7. Pier 1 Imports Patchouli Collection Filled 3-Wick Candle
8. Target Galvanized Container Sugared Birch Candle
9. Spice Decor 3-Piece Wine Bottle Candle Set

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13. Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Full Face Mask Sheet
14. Manefit Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask
15. Peach & Lily Original Glow Sheet Mask Set

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16. Borghese Restorative Eye Mask
17. Skin Republic Gold Hydrogel Under Eye Mask
18. La Pure 24k Gold Eye Treatment Mask

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22. Fizz & Bubble 9 Pack Spa Bath Truffles
23. My Spa Life Everyday Indulgences Bath Bomb Advent Calendar
24. Latika Bath Bomb Gift Box

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28. The Big One Supersoft Plush Throw in Donuts
29. North Pole Trading Co Velvet Plush Fringe Throw in Lazy Diamond
30. Pottery Barn Cozy Pom Pom Throw in Light Khaki

How are you treatin' yo'self this holiday season?
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Weekly Reading | December 6, 2018


College

Last week, I found some posts for those of you in college riding out the rest of the Spring semester. I found a post about the dos and don'ts for the night before an exam. I also found a post for how you can make the most out of your Winter Break once you get through those exams. Then, for those of you graduating this semester, I also found a post about what to expect in terms of your post-college expenses.


Lifestyle

Speaking of post-college expenses, here's a post about money principles to keep in mind. Then, for those of you moving to a new city, here are a couple of posts about what to do.

"Money Principles You Should Know by 25" via The Carly Collective
"How to Make Friends in a New City" via Written with Love

Blogging

With Winter Break coming up, you might be considering using the time to start a YouTube channel. Here's a post about questions to ask yourself before making the plunge. Along the same line, just because you have more free time, it doesn't mean you should take up every opportunity that comes your way. Here's a post about when to say no to blog opportunities and a post with scripts for saying no.


For more college and lifestyle posts as well as fashion posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
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Weekly Reading | November 22, 2018


Blogging

I have a list of blog post ideas that I turn to whenever I'm stuck on what to write about, but there are still those times when I'm super uninspired and nothing sounds fun to write, and I'm strictly of the belief that if you're not feeling what you're writing, you need to write about something else because boredom and apathy show very glaringly in writing, so last week, I read a post about wtf to write about when you're just blah about the topics at hand.

I also used to take hella pictures whenever I had the time to so that I'd have a cache of pics to use for blog posts, so I also read a post on how to edit images easily and quickly but still get amazing results. Nowadays, I mostly rely on royalty-free stock photos from sites like Pexels and Pixabay, but here's a post about how to make the best use of stock photos.

"Photoshop 101: How I Edit My Images" via Atlantic-Pacific
"Complete Guide to Stock Photos" via She Bold Stock

College

Moving on, I also read college-related posts. I'm not in college anymore (Class of '14 for my B.A. and '17 for my M.A.), but I still enjoy reading and sharing these posts because I've learned and grown so much throughout college that a lot of those skills are still relevant to this day for me. No joke, I've considered rebranding ExtraExtravagant as a college blog, but I'm not as in the know-how as I am with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics, so I've never been brave enough to take that leap. Maybe when I start more seriously considering a Ph.D... 😛



Relationships

Another pretty dominant part of college (apart from stress eating) is relationships. Of course, not everyone wants to or has the time to (or any other myriad reasons) pursue romantic relationships in college, but many do, so here are some posts on red flags to look out for. There's also a post on how to tell your partner (romantic or just casually sexual) when you find out you have an STI. Plus, a post on tips for meeting your significant other's family, just in time for the holiday season! 😉

"5 Deal-Breaker Personality Traits & 4 to Give a Second Chance" by Margeaux Biché
"How to Tell Your Partner You Have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)" by Jen Bell
"10 Tips for Meeting Your Boyfriend's Family" via Eyeliner Wings & Pretty Things

For more blogging posts as well as beauty and fashion posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What are some relationship red flags that are deal breakers for you?
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5 (Seemingly Innocuous) Reasons You're Breaking Out


In my younger years, even throughout high school, I had beautiful, clear skin. Then, one day, that all changed dramatically. I don't remember if there was anything going on in my life at the time that could've contributed to the decline in my skin health, but I started breaking out like crazy. My skin became dry in some areas. It developed redness and blotchiness. Everything about it was terrible.

To this day, I never fully recovered, not even when I was on hormonal birth control, which clears up some women's skin. My skin is still red and blotchy and dry, and I break out frequently, especially in the week or so after my period. Of course, that's hormone-affected breaking out, but throughout the years, I've read and heard about and even seen and experienced for myself seemingly innocuous habits that can cause your skin to break out: everyday objects, picking and popping, skin (over)care, skin (under)care, unhealthy foods, unhealthy drinks, and a lack of post-workout skin care.

In this post, we'll take a look at these bad habits and talk about how you can break the cycle.

Everyday Objects
Think about the things that come into contact with your face on a daily basis: your cell phone, pillow, and hair, for example. Imagine how much bacteria is on your cell phone from all that use, then imagine all of that being put on your face when you talk on the phone, and if you're like, "I don't even talk on the phone. My phone comes nowhere near my face," then another culprit to beware of is your hair. If your hair is like mine and gets greasy quickly throughout the day, then it's best to keep it out of your face, i.e., avoid having bangs, because greasy hair on face equals greasy face equals breakouts. Basic math, right? 😛 Along the same lines, change your pillowcases frequently because it's not just greasy hair that dirties pillowcases, and bacteria-ridden pillowcases plus face also equals breakouts.


Picking and Popping
This is something I am definitely, abso-fucking-lutely guilty as shit of. I know it's terrible for me, but I still do it, and I can't help it! I wonder if there's like a support group for face pickers or something. 😂 Anyway, picking at your face and popping zits is a sure way to leave scars. That's why if you've ever seen me sans face makeup, you'll feel inclined to hand me a flyer for Face Pickers Anonymous. Most advice I've seen just say don't do it, but us face pickers, we know not to do it; we just can't help ourselves, so what I've been trying to do is to stop myself whenever I catch myself doing it.

Skin (Over)Care
Overzealous skincare might actually be one of the reasons my face ended up betraying me. Around the time when I started this blog, I started exploring more beauty brands and trying more skincare products, and that was unfortunately the same period of time when alcohol in skincare products was super in vogue, so what I suspect happened was that using too much alcohol-based products stripped away the important oils in my skin and seriously dried it out, causing irreparable damage that I'm still suffering to this day. Of course, that's just a theory, but experts do suggest staying away from alcohol-based products and use, for example, witch hazel instead.

Skin (Under)Care
I feel like this is something people more so do out of laziness. At least, that's why I do it. You get home late, especially after a night out, hear your comfy bed calling your name, and just think, "Fuck it." For me, I always feel like one night won't hurt, but it actually does. Makeup and your skin's natural sebum can clog pores, and clogged pores tend to turn into breakouts, especially when left to their own devices overnight, so think twice before going straight to bed without washing your face. Similarly, don't skip washing your face in the morning either because your skin still produces sebum while you sleep, even after you wash it before bed. An easy alternative to days and nights when you just can't is to leave a pack of face cleansing wipes next to your bed. It's not a recommended long-term solution, but it's at least something.


Post-Workout Skin
I used to do this all the time until I found out that it's really, really bad for your skin, not just your face but the entire rest of your body as well. It's along the same lines as not washing your face before and after bed—your body's own secretions can stab you in the back. Stab you in the face? Excess oils and sweat from working out can settle in your skin and clog your pores, and as we've learned before, that's not a fun time for your pores, so once again, it's cleansing wipes to the rescue! I always have a pack of them in my gym bag so that I can kind of clean my face after toweling off the sweat. That removes the excess oils and sweat and dirt temporarily until I hop in the shower or wash my face for realsies.

What other reasons do you know of for breaking out?
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Weekly Reading | November 15, 2018


Beauty

Let's get down to business basics this week. I feel like I've been neglecting this category lately while I read up on other topics, so it's about time I reacquaint myself with some beauty basics like at-home gel nails, eyebrow products, and skin care.

"Eyebrow Essentials on Fleek" via A Pint-Sized Life

Fashion

It's back to basics with fashion as well, and last week, I found a post about sweater dresses for all budgets. I love sweater dresses so much, so it was a great roundup for me, at least. Another basic is how to mix patterns for fall style. Then, Elizabeth of Lizzie in Lace wrote about transitioning one of the hardest patterns to work with: tweed.

"Pattern Mixing for Fall" via Sunny Side Cecilia

Blogging

For blogging basics, I found a roundup of free courses and webinars for creatives, e.g., bloggers. I also found a list of important info for us to include in our Instagram bios. As for the last post, it's something that resonates with me a lot because it's something I've always believed in: blogging is a community, not a competition. People tend to wonder why I have so many posts and series where I show other bloggers' content, like my Style Ideas by Bloggers series or this Weekly Reading series. My answer is always, "Why not?" As much as I love getting my content out there, I still feel like hey, we're writing about the same stuff. We should acknowledge one another's work and share it instead of competing to get more views on posts about the same topic. But that's just me. 🐸☕

"The 4 Best Free Courses and Webinars for Creatives" by Emily Hester
"5 Things Every Blogger Should Have in Their Instagram Bio" via Kayla in the City
"Why We Need to Remember that Blogging is a Community" via Creatively Lauren

For more blogging as well as lifestyle and fitness posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What are some of your favorite beauty, fashion, and/or blogging basics?
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Makeup Mistakes and How to Fix Them


There are many reasons people wear makeup, and regardless of the reason, it is possible to do it--that is, applying makeup--wrongly, and I know I talk about mistakes a lot (I've even previously covered common makeup mistakes) but it's only because I'm guilty of so many of them, so it's fun for me to share my mishaps and misadventures with y'all to maybe get some commiseration.

Anyway, I bring up reasons because I don't want this post to be misconstrued as being one about how your makeup is making you look older, or it's making you look trashy, so ya need to cut it out. I bring up reasons because some people, women especially, do wear makeup for the sole purpose of looking older. There are some industries (ahem, education, ahem) where your apparent age can dictate how you're treated.

Therefore, the mistakes that I mean in this post are those that detract from your makeup, regardless of reason.

Wearing the Wrong Foundation

The wrong foundation, then, is not foundation that makes you look older or that draws the color from your face because, again, there are people who wear makeup for the sole purpose of looking paler, and I'm not going to go into detail about this because I can legit write an entire post about it.

The wrong foundation is foundation that feels uncomfortable on your face. If it makes you break out, if it makes your face extra oily, if it dries out your face, it's the wrong foundation. We tend to think if it's the right shade, it's the right foundation. I can just blot my face or spritz water on it throughout the day, right? I mean, yeah, but why put yourself through all that trouble?

Buy instead a foundation that's already right for your skin type. Not sure if it is? Try a sample out first. Sephora especially is pretty generous with their foundation samples. Ask for some and try them out for a few days. This'll also help with determining how long it'll take you to put it on because no one wants to wake up hella early just to make sure you have time to get your foundation just right.


Wearing the Wrong Blush

Like foundation, blush can also be uncomfortable to wear, but another thing that's easy to mess up with blush (probably even easier than with foundation) is the color. When you choose to wear blush, chances are you want it to have some sort of effect, but sometimes, the blush doesn't even show up on your face! This is something that I especially struggle with because I tend to play it safe when buying blush and end up choosing one that's way so light for my skin tone that it doesn't even look like I have blush on.

A rule of thumb that I've since found out is that pinks and peaches work well on fair to medium skin tones, while corals and oranges work well on medium to dark skin tones.

Skipping Brows

Here's another cliché for you: brows frame the face, so when you don't do anything with them, it looks like something's missing. You can do as little as brush them down with some transparent gel or as much as draw them in and define them with pencil, so long as you don't leave them as they are. It takes a lot of getting used to if filling in your brows isn't something you do on a regular basis or any basis at all, but they're so worth it because, since we're on the cliché train, practice makes perfect.

For some of my favorite foundations, blushes, and brow products as well as a look at how I do my everyday makeup, check out my everyday makeup post.

What are your favorite foundations, blushes, and brow products?
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Weekly Reading | November 8, 2018


Lifestyle

I know I've been throwing hella unpopular opinions at y'all, but here's another one: I loved my morning commutes. Yes, you read that past tense right. It's not that I don't love morning commutes anymore; it's that my new job is literally less than ten minutes away by foot, and that's from my literal doorstep (on the third floor) to the staff room door (on the ninth floor) and factoring in elevator wait times and stoplights.

Anyway, yes, I loved my morning commutes because it's 15 to 30 minutes (depending on which office I was going to) of pure nothing. It was time I had to myself to just sit and relax and prepare myself mentally for the day, and since I tend to zone out, I just listened to music, but here's a post about how you can make the most out of your commute. Then, there's a post that explores podcasts more specifically. Finally, if your morning commute isn't enough to destress you, here's a post about packing your very own stress emergency kit.

"7 Lifestyle Podcasts to Start Your Day" via The Scalloped Edge
"The Stress Emergency Kit" via Blush and Fairy Dust


Fitness

I had a health scare around two years ago during my last year of grad school (makes sense, right?), which forced me to take a good, hard look at how I was treating my body. Of course, at the time, working out was next to impossible with my schedule, so I opted to eat healthier instead. That worked pretty well, and when I finished grad school and started working again, I managed to keep eating healthy and also to work out, but I have to admit: I'm really falling behind on both of those things right now, so these posts have been super helpful and motivating.


Blogging

For how much I'm blabbing about my life in these Weekly Reading posts, I feel like I should rename them "Weekly Reading and Rants" or something. 😂 I say this because I was gonna go into another spiel about how I'm trying to get back into blogging more regularly even though I talked about that exact thing at least twice in two separate Weekly Reading posts that contained this category, so Imma just let y'all do your thing.

"How to Run a Successful Blog Giveaway" via I Can Build a Blog
"10 Blog Contest Giveaway Ideas" by Susan Gunelius

For more lifestyle posts as well as fashion and food posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

How do you spend your commutes?
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Celebrity Style Inspiration for Any Age: 40s


Another installment of Celebrity Style Inspiration is here! Previously, we've looked at celebrities in their teens (Elle Fanning, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Bella Thorne), 20s (Selena Gomez, Emilia Clarke, and Emma Roberts), and 30s (Krysten Ritter, Rose Byrne, and Meghan Markle). In today's post, we'll look at celebrities in their 40s: Lucy Liu, Sofía Vergara, and Tyra Banks.

Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu is one of the first Asian American actors I remember seeing on TV, and I'm so excited that she's back in the limelight. Her Joan Watson on Elementary is one of my favorite characters, not just because of the gender swap but also because she's a female Asian character who isn't a sidekick even though canon John Watson plays the sidekick role. 

Source: @lucyliu
Sofía Vergara
The mere mention of Sofía Vergara's name brings to mind the image of Modern Family's Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, and although Gloria is also one of my favorite characters, I hate that the role has reduced her into the "loud and feisty Latina who butchers the English language." I hate it so much that I used her as a prime example in a sociolinguistics paper I wrote about language and identity. The basic premise is that multilingual celebrities portray themselves differently in their different language environments. If you Google Sofía Vergara in English, interview videos pop up about her mispronouncing shit or being a spicy Latina, but try Googling her in Spanish. She suddenly becomes a poised, ex-TV host who can speak on important issues.

Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks is one of the first celebrities who made teenage me think, "Wow, I want to be just like her when I grow up," because it was America's Next Top Model where I first saw her, and she was always looking gorgeous af. Plus, her job was literally making dreams come true, and she was always coaching women and inspiring them and, despite the competition that can sometimes get toxic, she showed me how rewarding it can be when women support one another.

Source: @tyrabanks

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1. ModCloth Stargazing Splendor Blazer in Floral Chambray
2. SheIn Polka Dot Open Front Blazer
3. Boden Bramley Blazer

Who would you have liked to see featured in this post, or who are your celebrity style icons?
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