March 21, 2018

10-Minute Me-Time Routine



Whenever I'm feeling particularly stressed or anxious (which let's be real, can happen a lot!), I make the conscious effort to put aside ten minutes for some me-time. For me, that means unplugging, turning my mind off and focusing on anything but the actual task or thoughts that are causing my discomfort.

But it's not always easy to commit to giving myself the time to actually stop - so I've created a sort of routine. It involves using a one-minute face mask, spending some time journaling and listening to my go-to mellow playlist. I do this usually once or twice a week depending on my level of stress, but it's the easiest way to stop me in my tracks and kind of bring me back down and out of my own head.

In the past, I realized that I would sort of rush through my "me time", and not truly give myself the time my body and my mind needed to relax, rest and rejuvenate. So I changed up my routine, and I introduced Bioré strips. I know - that's weird, right?


For me, it was a win/win. I could commit the ten minutes that it took to clean my pores, while still being able to do everything else I enjoyed in my routine.  Plus, I get to get rid of blackheads - so honestly, it's a good plan.

I've used Bioré products basically all my life, so when I saw their new charcoal collection, I knew I had to try it. My go-to products? The Bioré Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips and the Bioré One Minute Self Heating Mask. 


YALL! These babies WORK! I don't know what kind of magic they put in that mask, but it pours out feeling all cool and then warms the minute I apply it to my face. Plus, it doesn't harden and it takes only ONE minute.. which is a serious game changer for me. I've tried my fair share of charcoal face masks - and you know those viral videos of the girls crying peeling it off? Yep, that's me. I cannot do it and the masks that harden always end up making my face feel stiff and dry after. Not the case with the Bioré mask.. so seriously cannot recommend this one enough!


I can't lie to tell you.. I've been using pore strips since I saw Anne Hathaway's infamous scene in the Princess Diaries. Bioré re-introduced their classic pore strip with a twist, infusing it with a natural charcoal to get deeper into your pores and get rid of those nasty blackheads. We don't want any of that!


The best part about it all is that using the strips take only 10 minutes, and the mask only takes a minute, so if you're looking for a quick unwind like me.. OR if you're just trying to do skincare without sacrificing time or money, then these bad boys should be a staple in your routine!


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January 29, 2018

101 in 1001 | Take 2


So, earlier last year, I finished my 101 in 1001 list. No, by finished I don't mean that I completed it, but more so that the 1,001 days had passed. And out of those 101 things, I completed a whopping 28.

Yep. Twenty. Eight. I failed, simple to say. Honestly, I was disappointed, but I realized that when I wrote the list back in 2014, I didn't really know what to write - and I created some weird, unrealistic goals - and some that looking back, I just knew I'd never accomplish.

We've all heard the saying that life is fragile and time is fleeting, but 2017 has really showed me that we have to live each day like it's our last, because we don't know if it will be. After some deaths in my family, and the death of my good friend Ben last year, I'm more determined than ever to live a life that's fulfilling. And so, I'm starting again.

I actually originally wrote this post in October, and I had spent all of September really thinking about the list and what I wanted to accomplish. And then, I took a blog break (unwillingly, cause of a crazy busy time at work). But, I started the list on time and kept at it, determined to make it through.

Some of the list is trivial, some is stupid and some really may not happen, but I committed these 1,001 days to making sure I do as many as possible.

STARTED October 20, 2017
ENDS July 17, 2020

July 17th, 2020 is one day before my 26th birthday, and so I'm ending this list the day before I start a new year and a new chapter in my life - so here's to hoping my early twenties treat me well and that when I start my late twenties (vom), I'll be 101 things greater!



PERSONAL:
  1. Come up with 101 things and write them down. (October 2017
  2. Sort through my wardrobe, donate or throw away things I don't wear. 
  3. Once a month after initial cleanse, donate at least 1 item. 
  4. Read 30 new books (for fun!) 
  5. Learn how to do makeup professionally (take a course with a MUA!) 
  6. Fall in love. 
  7. Learn how to make five new recipes (and perfect them!). 
  8. Build up my closet full of all the basics. 
  9. Pay for the person behind me in line. 
  10. Have a New Year's Eve kiss. 
  11. Get to my goal weight once and for all. 
  12. Volunteer at and give back to my old school. 
  13. Find a cause/charity I'm passionate about and give of my time (+ money). 
  14. Invest in great pairs of jeans. 
  15. Re-decorate my space at home so it feels more "me". 
  16. Do one thing that's totally out of character. (November 2017
  17. Write a letter to myself to open on July 17, 2020, when my 101 in 1001 list is over. 
  18. Create and stick to a budget and savings plan (+ build my savings account). 
  19. Create a 5 and 10-year personal and career plan, and compare it to my freshman year of college Personal Success Plan. 
  20. Save $100TTD for every item I complete on this list ($10,100). 
  21. Inspire myself again.

    FAMILY + FRIENDS:
  22. Send 25 handwritten letters to friends or family. 
  23. Interview my grandmother about her life and preserve her words. 
  24. Give five 'just because' gifts. 
  25. Send a surprise care package to a friend. 
  26. Go on a girls trip with each of my friend groups. 
  27. Go on a trip with my entire family. 
  28. Plan a trip with my blogger friends. 
  29. Have my tita (grandmother) teach me how to make an Arabic dish. 
  30. Send flowers to someone one day out of the blue.

    BLOG + BIZ: 
  31. Unsubscribe from email lists I no longer want to be part of.
  32. Start my own company.
  33. Step into a more creative role for work. (February 2018)
  34. Blog three times a week for three months.
  35. Start a new blog series.
  36. Re-design my blog.
  37. Publish three "how to" posts on my blog.
  38. Write at least one personal post a month.
  39. Travel for the blog.
  40. Build my blog email list.
  41. Attend a blog conference.
  42. Make the switch to Wordpress.
  43. Be featured on a website I admire.
  44. Write a book/e-book.
  45. Build my name in the industry in T&T, and be known for my work.
  46. Speak at a conference or panel discussion.
  47. Create my dream office space.
  48. Grow my Instagram following to 10K.
  49. Be featured in a magazine.
  50. Establish and stick to my editorial calendar.

    HEALTH + WELLNESS:
  51. Unplug for a full 24 hours - no iPhone, laptop, TV, etc.
  52. Go to bed at 10 pm every night for two weeks.
  53. Give up all sugar for a month.
  54. Journal every day for an entire year.
  55. Become a morning person.
  56. Learn to play a new sport. (December 2017, squash)
  57. Work out five days a week for three months.
  58. Drink only water for three months.
  59. Go one month without shopping.
  60. Read for 30 minutes every night for one month.
  61. Run a half-marathon.
  62. Make my bed every morning for a month.

    EXPERIENCES: 
  63. Go to a Taylor Swift concert
  64. Go to Italy.
  65. Watch the sun rise and set in Hawaii.
  66. Visit Charleston.
  67. See a TED talk live.
  68. Have a real Christmas tree.
  69. Visit the West Coast/California.
  70. Travel to a new continent.
  71. Go to Disney World.
  72. Host a murder mystery party.
  73. Hike to 5 different waterfalls/sights in T&T.
  74. Visit 5 other Caribbean islands. (1/5: Barbados)
  75. Go on a solo trip.
  76. Play Carnival again. (February 2018)
  77. Walk a red carpet.
  78. Go skydiving.
  79. Go on a real picnic.
  80. Pop champagne off the top of a building.
  81. Fly in a hot-air balloon.
  82. Drive in a convertible with the top down.
  83. Learn how to ride a bike.
  84. Have a white Christmas.
  85. Take a staycation.

    JUST FOR FUN: 
  86. Learn sign language.
  87. Buy an iMac.
  88. Buy myself one expensive handbag I'm lusting after.
  89. Learn how to dive.
  90. Have a font of my handwriting made.
  91. Create my own Lightroom presets.
  92. Leave a 100% tip for great service.
  93. Brush up on my calligraphy skills.
  94. Design a collection or product for a company.
  95. Design a section for a carnival band.
  96. Plant a tree.
  97. Send a message in a bottle.
  98. See a shooting star. (October 2017, ddi on a clear night!)
  99. Read the dictionary cover to cover.
  100. Get my initials engraved on a beautiful leather notebook.
  101. Hide a note inside a book in a library or bookstore.
COMPLETED: 4/101

Do you do your own 101 in 1001 list? What's on your list?

August 31, 2017

How To Get Confident, Clear, AcneFree Skin

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and AcneFree. All opinions are mine alone. #AcneFreeSummer #CollectiveBias

Listen, having flawless skin is not something that comes naturally to me. In fact, quite the opposite. I suffered with my fair share of breakouts growing up, but it wasn't really until I graduated college and my skin did a total 180 and I started experiencing horrible breakouts all over my face that I realized I needed to put some more effort into taking care of my skin and treating my acne.

Enter AcneFree. I had heard horrible things about acne regimens, but couldn't really find anything negative about the brand so I figured I'd give it a shot. I mean.. my skin was already bad, so what could I possible lose, right?


ONE // STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE: 
This is hands-down probably the number one thing everyone does without even realizing. But when I saw the huge changes my skin made and knew I needed to fix it, I made the extra effort to ensure my hands were always clean, my skin was always clean and that I wasn't touching my face unnecessarily. The amount of dirt and germs stuck on your hands that we don't even see, and then touching your face - it's no wonder we break out so easily!


TWO // LET YOUR SKIN BREATHE:
I am alllllll for makeup. Trust me, I love makeup just as much as the next person, but it's soooo true what they say that makeup can be so bad for your skin. It clogs your pores and makes your skin a breeding ground for imperfections (which then, in turn, you need to use makeup to cover up - the cycle!). I really started to realize that wearing makeup for 12+ hours every day was taking a huge toll on my skin, and I made the pledge to try to go with as little makeup as possible. Now don't get me wrong, I still beat my face when I'm ready, but for work or going for lunch, a little moisturizer, concealer and lipstick go a long way rather than my heavy foundations, powders and products.

THREE // MOISTURIZER IS YOUR BFF: 
I've said it before and I'll say it again.. you need to be moisturizing! Despite the fact that it makes your skin appear so much smoother and more hydrated, it also helps to keep your skin healthy and happy. When I first experienced my breakouts, I went to see a dermatologist who told me that I wasn't moisturizing nearly enough, and so my skin was producing twice as much oil and clogging my pores. Moisturized skin keeps your pores open and healthy, meaning less clogs and less breakouts.

FOUR // INVEST IN ACNE-SPECIFIC PRODUCTS:
Every face wash on the market claims to do a million and one miracle things, but to be honest, the only thing that really made a difference in my breakouts was investing in acne-specific products. Introducing AcneFree - they have tons of different products specific to whichever problems you may be experiencing, from body acne to spot treatment and more, to create the perfect regimen for your skin.


During a particularly bad breakout this summer, I ordered the AcneFree 24 Hour Acne Cleansing System from Amazon (God bless Prime shipping, am I right?). The system has three steps: Oil-Free Purifying Cleanser, Renewing Toner, and Repair Lotion and can be used in both the mornings and nights and even on your chest and back for those who suffer with body acne.

I wash my face with the Oil-Free Purifying Cleanser first, clean my skin using a cotton pad and the Renewing Toner after and end with applying the Repair Lotion all over my face. For someone who hates following instructions, it was surprisingly easy and I saw results really quickly.


FIVE // USE THE RIGHT OVERNIGHT TREATMENTS: 
I know (and hate!) the feeling of going to bed with a horrible breakout, or even one really gross spot, on your face and just hoping, wishing and praying it goes away by the morning, and running to the mirror first thing in the morning only to find it... still there!


When I saw that AcneFree had a medicated prescription-grade spot treatment (complete with micro-benzoyl peroxide), I added it to my order instantly. The Maximum Strength Terminator 10 is my go-to now for that one pesky spot you want gone overnight. I put a little bit on the exact area, and just let it work its magic. It has all of the power of prescription medication while still being incredibly affordable and easily accessible, two of my favorite things. They say you can use it multiple times throughout the day, but I found that even using it at night was enough to make a difference and in 3 days, all of the spots I used it on were completely gone!

If all of this sounds like it's up your alley or exactly what your acne-prone skin is looking for, then you should participate in the #AcneFreeLife Sweepstakes and see visible results in as little as 3 days!


AcneFree is launching a 4-week sweepstakes from August 14th where 3 grand prize winners will win $1,000 spending money and AcneFree Supplies for a year. Plus, they're giving away 10 AcneFree 24 Hour Acne Clearing Systems every week for 4 weeks. No purchase necessary. To enter, simply enter your name and email address here. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook for even more entries, and see all of the full rules and instructions here too.

AcneFree products are available on Amazon and in both Walmart and Walgreens too, so whether you're an online shopper or you see it while you're strolling down the aisle in your local store next time, you'll want to pick this up!

In the mean time, if you're ready for AcneFree products right now, you can hover over this image and shop them directly so you don't have to wait for amazing, confident, AcneFree skin!



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August 24, 2017

Skincare Secrets Under $20



It should come as no surprise to anyone reading my blog that I love makeup. But while I love makeup and have grown to invest in products that I love and swear by, it definitely does some damage to your skin. I've always had a complicated history with my skin and I'm definitely not one of those people who are naturally #blessed with perfect skin, no pimples or amazing texture. In fact, I work twice as hard to get my skin to look clear, beautiful and healthy. I have used everything under the sun for my acne problems, but I realized that no matter how many regimes I've used, skin health really starts with ensuring you're getting your skin clean - especially after wearing makeup. Yes, we take off our makeup - but are we really taking it all off?

I'm a firm believer in #ballinonabudget and skincare is no different for me! Back when I was in college, I really couldn't justify spending $100+ on high-end skincare products, and there was always a new product out that claimed to be life-changing and I just couldn't keep up. So I stopped trying to, and I turned to drugstore brands and tried just about everything until I found something that made my skin feel amazing regularly.

In fact, my go-to for skincare is less about using cult products, and more about listening to my skin and making sure I'm focusing on what it needs. And luckily for me, my skin only needs about $20 worth of product, all of which I've picked up from Walmart - and chances are, yours does too!


// Simple® Cleansing Wipes: This is the first step in my makeup removal process. I've tried just about every makeup remover for my super-sensitive skin, and nothing took my makeup off quite as well as these! They're gentle on my skin and even more important, they're incredible gentle on my eyes, so they manage to take my ultra-waterproof mascara off without me having to scrub them. Which means cleaner faces, less wrinkles from less scrubbing and happier skin, thanks to Simple's commitment to not using any artificial perfumes or colors or harsh chemicals. Win, win, win.. am I right?

// Noxzema® Classic Clean: I've tried just about every everyday face wash under the sun, and this is hands down one of my favorites! It's dermatologist tested and proven to deep clean your skin without totally drying it out. It's one of the few cleansers that doesn't leave my skin feeling tight after washing (you know the feeling..) and instead feels super soft and smooth! Plus, it removes dirt, oil and makeup, so it's definitely an important step before I go to bed to make sure my face is 1000% clean.

// St. Ives® Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub: Chances are by now you've heard about this scrub, and for good reason: it's AMAZING! I don't use it every day, usually 3 to 4 times a week when I feel like my skin needs a deeper cleaning and some exfoliating, and it seriously works! It really gets deep into my skin and leaves my face looking super healthy and GLOWING! It's honestly a must-have in EVERY home because it works for just about every type of skin - and at that price point, you really can't go wrong!

// Pond's® Dry Skin Cream: This definitely isn't a super popular opinion, but I love to moisturize my skin before I go to bed. I always moisturize in the mornings too, but after I clean my skin out at night, I put a small amount (I say small because a little goes a super long way here!) of this cream and head to bed. I started doing this like 10 years too late, only last year when I graduated college and my skin did some super weird freakout and I broke out 10 times worse than usual. After a visit to a dermatologist, she explained that my skin may be over-producing oil because I'm not moisturizing enough, causing my breakouts to get even worse. I added this step into my regime and it's been a game-changer. Plus, I wake up with super soft and hydrated skin.


And plus, like I said, I got all of these at Walmart for $20, which is less than I spend on just about anything, and these last so long, so you're definitely getting your bang for your buck. Let's put it this way: I haven't ran out of product yet and I've been using these things for months!


So, I've let it all out. All of my skincare secrets, and I'm so happy to share. My skin has never felt as amazing and as healthy, and I find my skin looking more glowing (and not in that shiny way either!). And while I still get a breakout or two, my skin bounces back faster than ever.

Have you ever used these products before? What do you think of them? 

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