May Shopping

Earlier this month, I did a little bit of shopping – some of it was for myself (let’s be honest, most of it), but I also had to buy some gifts. I just wanted to share some of my recent purchases in case you’re looking for a gift for someone special or if you’re just in the mood to shop!

Gifts

This month, I had to shop for two very important people in my life – my mother and my boyfriend. I had a lot of trouble trying to find good gifts for them within my budget. Obviously, I’d love to give them the world, but we have to be reasonable here.

For my mom, I ended up gifting her the Daisy Rivet Coach Tension Bangle for Mother’s Day. I had debated between getting her a watch or jewelry, but I ultimately chose jewelry. I had previously gifted her a watch for her birthday, so I didn’t want to be repetitive, and I also wanted to give her something she wouldn’t necessarily buy for herself. She loves the Coach brand and was ecstatic to get this rose gold bangle.

My boyfriend’s birthday is also this month. It was so hard to shop for him this year. I always thought men were easy to shop for, but now that we’ve been together for a while, it’s getting much more difficult. In the past I’ve gifted him a watch, clothing, golf equipment, etc. This year, he hinted that his wallet was kind of falling apart so I got him a wallet from Leatherology. I had come across some really nice leather wallets from Ralph Lauren and Fossil, but I really wanted to make the wallet more personal. Leatherology came to mind because they give you the option to monogram your item – so shopping with them was a no-brainer. I ended up choosing the Thin Bifold Wallet in Chocolate Brown with his initials blind monogramed. His birthday is actually toward the end of the month, but he visited this past weekend, so I gave it to him then.

I’ve never shopped with Leatherology before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away with the presentation and leather quality. My boyfriend was extremely happy!

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Clothing

I bought quite a few items for myself during these past couple weeks. The weather has been warming up here in Chicago and I’ve also been working out a lot, so I felt like some things were missing from my closet.

One of my purchases was from Abercrombie & Fitch. I’ve shopped there for the longest time, since before I worked there as a teenager. I’ve gone from wearing their logo shirts and hoodies to wearing their jeans and basics. In my opinion they have great quality clothing at really good prices – and they always have sales or clearance available. This time, I just bought two items online: flip flops and a sweatshirt. I always have at least one pair of A&F flip flops, but I somehow lost my last pair (maybe during my last move, I’m not really sure) and my pair of Havaianas are at my boyfriends house in Florida, so clearly I needed another pair of flip flops for Chicago. Their flip flops are my favorite though. They’re soft, comfortable, and literally mold to the shape of your foot. I also bought a half-zip sweatshirt. I’ve been looking for something casual, soft, and lightweight to wear to the gym with leggings or shorts. I have a lot of zip-up sweatshirts and hoodies, but not enough quarter-zip or half-zip. 

Another A&F item I recently bought I actually found at Marshall’s. I was in search of some jean shorts because I don’t have many, but the ones I do have are in Florida. I ended up finding a high waisted pair of cutoffs that are super cute and the price was even better – only $11.99!

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Since I’ve been working out a lot recently, I realized I prefer to wear loose, somewhat oversized muscle shirts and cut off shirts. I don’t have many shirts I can cut into the shape I like simply because most are size small so they fit a little bit tighter than I like. While looking for some cute muscle tanks, I thought of BirdieBee, which is a brand started by two WWE wrestlers, Nikki and Brie Bella. I’m huge fans of them, so I decided to give their brand a shot and I purchased the Bee Happy Power Tank. The brand offers really cute clothing and most have great, inspirational messages. I’m going to start with the tank top, but I can definitely see myself purchasing more from BirdieBee.

This has easily become my favorite tank top. Again, this was something where I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the quality is amazing. I ended up ordering a few more items that’ll be in later this week. I’ll do a review/haul for BirdieBee at some point in the next couple weeks.

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The last item part of this clothing category isn’t so much clothing as it is an accessory – I ended up purchasing the Louis Vuitton 6 Key Holder in Monogram canvas. I’ve had the other key holder, or cles, for about two years now and I absolutely adore it, but I had way too much on it. I felt like my keys were getting tangle together and it just seemed messy and annoying to me. I really like how my keys have their own hooks in the multicles and I can still carry everything I need. I’ll probably end up doing a review or comparison post about the cles and multicles. 

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Miscellaneous

The absolute final thing I bought recently were two tickets to Fleetwood Mac in Chicago this October. I’ll be going with my mom to this concert – we’ve recently started getting tickets to big names. Last year we saw Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie, and this weekend we’re seeing Shania Twain. Going to shows has just been a really fun bonding experience for me and my mom. We both love Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, so we’re super excited for this show.

Those are just a few things I’ve bought recently for important people in my life and myself, because treat yo self. Hopefully you enjoyed this post – let me know if you’d like any details about any of these items. Thanks!

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Now Trending: Dip Powder Nails

As of recently, my Instagram feed has been filled with beauty gurus sharing videos of nails being dipped into colorful powders and magically becoming beautifully polished claws. Since I’m obsessed with having perfectly polished nails at all times, I had to find out what this was all about and how I could try it. So now I’ve researched it, I’ve tried it, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

Surprisingly, this “trend” isn’t new as dip powder nails have been around since the 80s. The name basically describes the process in which the nail color is applied. It starts with applying a base coat of bond and dipping the nail into the desired color – this is repeated a couple times depending on how sheer or opaque you want your color. Then, an activator is applied to the powder, you smooth it out, and apply a top coat to reveal smooth, glossy, beautiful nails that will last 3-4 weeks.

Dip Powder vs. Gel vs. Traditional Acrylics

Dip powder falls somewhere between gel nails and nail extensions because they’re all made of an acrylic base. Gel manicures are like pre-mixed acrylics and are cured with a UV lamp. Nail extensions, or traditional acrylic nails, are formed by combining the liquid acrylic and acrylic powder to form a gel. Dip powder is different because the powder is very fine, but it’s still bonded using a glue. Overall, they have a similar effect because they have similar ingredients, but with dip powder you can avoid UV lamps and inhalation threats from the acrylic powders.

Removal Process

Like gel manicures and traditional acrylics, dip powder does have to be soaked off. The longer you leave the color on, the longer it will take to soak it off. The minimum suggested soaking time is usually 15 minutes, but you’ll likely have to soak longer. You definitely don’t want to remove the dip powder by peeling it off because it will damage your nails and it will hurt – A LOT. Some people reserve dip color for special occasions because of the removal process, but so long as you care for your nails and don’t rush removal, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Sam Tip – I found these soak off caps by Kiss Nails at my local drugstore that have been a life saver when it comes to removing nail color.

My Experience

I managed to come across a dip powder starter kit called Serendipity by Color Club at my local Walmart – it was around $25 and I’ve already used it several times. I bought the Classic kit which comes with a light pink (New-tral), classic red (Regatta Red – my personal favorite), and dark red (Feverish). As for the other starter pieces, it comes with a bond, activator, top coat, and buffing block. The instructions are on the box, so it’s pretty easy to follow.

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In the past few months, I’ve gone back and forth from natural nails to acrylics and back. Dip powder is a really good middle ground for me for a couple reasons – the application process and the staying power. When I apply regular nail polish or when I do my own acrylics, it takes forever – I’m either waiting for the polish to dry or I’m shaping my nails for hours. As a side note, I do my own nails because I’m too lazy and cheap to go to the nail salon. I basically only go for my birthday, but I digress. Dip powder dries so fast and it lasts at least a few weeks. With this process, I’m able to protect and grow my natural nails because the product is strong, kind of like an acrylic overlay. The color doesn’t chip, unless you bend your nail and crack the hardened product, which I’ve done and it hurts like breaking a nail. It really does last a long time. The only con I would say is there can be lifting, similar to acrylics, but I think that just comes with the territory.

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My nails in Regatta Red after a week of wear.

Overall Opinion

If you’re interested in trying dip nails, definitely go for it. It doesn’t pose anymore risks than getting a gel manicure or traditional nail extensions. I’m honestly still amazed with the process every time I do it, it’s just so cool. There are quite a few companies that sell starter kits, like Color Club and Kiara Sky, but if you’re nervous about doing it on your own, definitely head to your local nail salon to inquire.

2018 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

You guys! Mother’s Day is in less than two weeks now, and if you’re anything like me, you haven’t yet found the perfect gift. It can be so difficult to find the perfect gift for someone who’s given you so much of their time, love, and energy, but as their children the least we can do is try to show how grateful we are for the strong women in our lives. Whether you’re shopping for your own mom, your wife, sister-in-law, or any mom to be, here are some ideas I’m sure the lovely ladies in your life will appreciate.

Jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, and watches are all great gift ideas for Mother’s Day. In the past, my brother and I would gift our mom charms for her Pandora bracelet, but this year I’m considering getting her a watch from Fossil: ES3713_main.jpg

Jewelry, like watches or pendants, can often be engraved for free or for a small fee making it much more personal and more of a keepsake.

Spa day. Treat your mom to a day at the spa or salon. The relaxing, quiet atmosphere will make her feel recharged and renewed. Services and packages vary, but often include facials, manicures and pedicures, and massages. If you don’t have that type of cash on hand, you can always have a spa day at home by purchasing candles, masks, and playing relaxing tunes.

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Brunch or dinner. Whether you go out to a restaurant or simply stay at home, getting the family together for a meal honoring your mom is a great way to spend time together. 

Flowers. No matter if you’re near or far, flowers always make a great gift to show your mom you’re thinking of her on Mother’s Day. There are numerous companies that deliver flowers if you don’t live close enough to gift her the flowers yourself.

Something sentimental and personal. Like engraving a watch or jewelry, gifting your mom something personalized can be extremely meaningful. Creating a scrapbook or buying a photo album and filling it with memories of you mom can be a great way to show her you care. I’ve bought my mom a personalized jewelry box in the past that brought tears to her eyes, and I’ve also given her a picture frame with a picture of her, myself and my brother that she hangs in her home.

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These are just some ideas I have for Mother’s Day gifts – the way I see it, things are just things, but the relationship you have with your mother, while trying at times, is such a unique and beautiful relationship. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you spend time with your mom this Mother’s Day.

Beauty Benefits of Castor Oil

It’s hard to not be influenced by celebrities and Instagram models who have flawless skin and perfect hair, but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to chemical treatments to achieve that look. There are many natural ways to get glowing skin and great hair, one of which is castor oil.

Castor oil is a pale yellow liquid derived from castor seeds and it’s extremely rich in antioxidants that can solve your beauty woes. This oil is full of Vitamin E, proteins, and Omega 6 and 9 that are essential for good hair and skin. It is also known for it’s anti-bacterial properties and a variety of medicinal benefits. Here are just a few of the ways castor oil can help you achieve your beauty goals.

Dry skin. Because castor oil is rich in fatty acids, it makes for a great moisturizer when the air is dry. It can be rubbed into cuticles, dry heels, chapped lips, and more.

Clears acne. Speaking of dry skin, a lot of beauty products, even acne products, can dry out your skin. When you skin is stripped of it’s natural oils it tends to overcompensate in oil production which causes acne. When you apply castor oil to the skin, it helps restore your skin’s moisture balance.

Castor oil saved my face last month – I had some pretty gnarly acne that surfaced and it seemed like my usual acne regiment wasn’t cutting it so I decided to try something new. I massaged a little bit of castor oil on my spots and because of the nourishing fatty acids and antibacterial properties my spots became smaller over night and disappeared within a day or two. I’m not saying it’ll work for everyone, but it might be worth a shot.

Healthy hair. Whenever you use oil on your hair, it give it external nourishment and shine. Castor oil, on the other hand, is really great for your scalp. When massaged onto the scalp, it can help increase blood circulation and improve hair growth overall while also conditioning your hair naturally.

I’ve recently been using castor oil on my eyebrows to stimulate hair growth. At first I was really skeptical of everything I’ve read, but I can say I’ve noticed some hair growth in patchy areas.

There are so many uses for castor oil, for both beauty and health, but these are just a few ways it can help you achieve great skin and hair.

As with any beauty solution, some people see results while others don’t. Just because castor oil is an all natural solution, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Definitely check with a health professional before trying a new skincare or health regiment. While I was learning about the benefits of castor oil, I did a patch test on my forearm before putting it on my face to make sure I wasn’t allergic to it.

Also, in case you’re wondering, I use cold pressed castor oil by Home Health found at my local Fruitful Yield.

Do you incorporate castor oil in your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite beauty oils?

Weekend in South Florida

This past weekend, I flew down to South Florida to spend some time with my man. I booked this trip when I saw him back in February – we try to see each other every 4-6 weeks, but we decided to skip March due to spring breakers and spring break flight prices.

For this flight, I booked a bare minimum round trip on Spirit – which means I was bringing myself, a personal item, and nothing more. I arrived Thursday night and left Sunday night, so I had a good three days there. Thankfully it’s been extremely warm there and my boyfriend planned our entire weekend which made packing a whole lot easier.

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When I book a weekend bare minimum flight, I typically use a large tote/purse with a packing cube and my makeup case, along with a few random items. The last couple times I’ve used my Longchamp Pliage and my smallest packing cube.

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I learned about packing cubes after watching one of my favorite fashion vlogger’s (Elle be or Lisa) YouTube videos. Packing cubes have made organization so much easier! I use them all the time now, whether I’m packing my tote or suitcase. It allows you to put outfits together or keep certain items together. I especially love using them when I pack for short trips because they keep my clothes together instead of a shirt floating around my bag with the possibility of popping out if I open it.

I found my set of three packing cubes by Sharper Image at Marshall’s for about $15, but you can easily find them on Amazon.

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Since I bought a few new items for this trip, I thought I’d share with you what I brought along for my three days in paradise. I’ve also included links so you can add some of the pieces to your closet.

Friday – Pool day & Miami

Palm leaf bikini | O’Neill bikini | Black bodycon dress | Single strap heel

Saturday – Horse Track

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Tank top | Similar pants | Tory Burch Miller sandals | Similar watch

Despite the trip being short, it was a really great time and I’m always thankful to spend time with my boyfriend.

Let me know if you have any packing tips or travel hacks in the comments and let me know if you have questions about my trip or my outfits!

Thanks!