July 2017 Favorites

Ahh this summer is going by so fast! I can't believe it. I have been trying out so many new products/experiences/things this summer so I've been loving doing these favorite posts! Here's what I was loving in July:
Beauty
  • Acai Berry Sleeping Mask. I got this mask super cheap at Walmart and I was really impressed with the quality! I have never tried a sleeping mask until this one. You put it on right before bed and rinse your face off in the morning. My skin was so smooth and moisturized when I woke up!
  • Clinique Moisture Surge Moisturizer. I have super dry skin in the summer and this has been the only moisturizer that works for me. It is so thick and creamy and keeps my skin hydrated all day.
  • Foreo Luna Mini. I have been wanting one of these forever and my sister surprised me with one! I have been using it for about a week and I love it already. I feel like it does a really great job of cleaning my skin.
 Clothing
  • Victoria's Secret Makeup Bag. I am so obsessed with this makeup case. It is made from an awesome neoprene material and comes with three mini makeup bags inside! I love that the inside is lined with plastic so you can easily wipe up makeup spills.
  • Urban Outfitters Scrunchies. I love scrunchies of any variety, but Urban Outfitters has some of the best. I love having a different colored one to wear every day.
  • Old Navy Flag Shirt. These shirts were classic when I was growing up. This fourth of July, I got my entire family these shirts so we could match.
 Miscellaneous
  • Woven Wall Hangings. Wall hangings make every space better. There are so many beautiful ones out there, and it's hard for me to resist buying them all. Some of my favorites are from Etsy and Target.
  • Year of Yes. I haven't finished this book yet, but so far I love it. It is very inspiring!
  • Donating my hair! I've had long hair my entire life, and I recently decided it was time for a change. Donating my hair has always been on my bucket list, and there was no better time than now. I ended up getting 10 inches cut off. I donated it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and it made me so happy!
What were you loving in July?

8 Ways to Travel for Cheap in College

Ah, college. Four plus years of being broke and having to dig up change just so you can eat. I know the struggle first hand as a college senior. Don't worry though, I am here to tell you that you CAN travel in college! Here are some tips for making it happen:

Research

This applies to anyone, not just college students. Make sure you do research before you book any vacations. I do research for at least a month before I book to make sure I am getting the best deal. Figure out what the cheapest day to book your flight is (usually Tuesday) and book it then. Another smart thing to do is search for your flight on Google. Google is able to compare flights from all different airlines. They also have this awesome feature where they let you set an email alert. If you do that, Google will email you when the price of your desired flight changes, up or down.

 Save Pennies

It's so easy to spend money when you're in college. I'm not saying you have to cut out every latte you buy. But instead of getting one 4 times a week, try only buying it once or twice and make coffee at home the other days. Then save that extra $15-20 per week towards a fun vacation! It may seem like a big sacrifice now, but when you're laying on the beach somewhere tropical it will all be worth it.

Bring food/Grocery shop

Food is one of the most expensive parts of a vacation. Try to limit yourself to one meal at a restaurant per day (I usually do dinner) and go to a grocery store to stock up on breakfast and lunch foods. This is super easy if you have a kitchen in your hotel. I also like to bring some snacks with me in my carry on if I have room. This can help you save a crazy amount of money on your trip!

Don't check a bag

This one can be tough for some people, but it is such a good way to save money. Every time I go on a trip, I only pack my things in a backpack and a rolling carry on suitcase. By not having to check a bag, I save around $100 per trip! This is my favorite carry on suitcase!
Fly Frontier

Frontier is a really great airline if you're looking to fly for cheap. Along with Frontier, a lot of companies will run specials to get discounted flights. It's great to sign up for emails so you know when airlines are running a discounted flight promotion.

Use coupons

Groupon is a really awesome site to look for discounted vacation packages. If you can be flexible on the dates you go, you can score some really awesome deals! Another awesome way to travel for cheap are flight vouchers. I'm not saying to complain about every little thing that goes wrong, but if you have problems on your flight (like a super long delay or the flight is overbooked) ask if you are able to get a flight voucher. Sometimes the airline will give you voucher up to a few hundred dollars to use on your next trip!

Take advantage of knowing the right people

Do you have a great aunt that lives in Hawaii? Or a brother that lives in Florida? If someone you know lives where you want to vacation, you could ask them if you can stay with them. You can offer to pay them, but more than likely they will let you stay for free. Saving on lodging will make your vacation so much cheaper.

Go with friends or family

If you go on a trip with someone else or multiple other people, generally you are able to split the costs on the hotel and sometimes even the food. Plus you will have so much fun spending time with the people you love!

I hope you enjoyed this post and are inspired to start searching for some inexpensive vacations for yourself. It's so important to treat yourself, and for me that is taking a vacation! Shop some of my travel essentials below:



June 2017 Favorites

June was an awesome but super busy month for me. I survived the first full month of my internship and spent a lot of time up north at the cabin with family. Even though I have been crazy busy, I am having an amazing summer so far. Here's what I was loving in June:
Beauty
  • Makeup Forever Step 1 Primer. I tried both the matte primer and the smoothing primer this month and I really liked them both! They both helped keep my makeup looking fresh for a 12 hour work day.
  • GlamGlow Volcasmic Moisturizer. I tried this out in June because my skin gets so dry in the summer it peels off in chunks. The moisturizer I'm currently using isn't really cutting it anymore, so I tried this one. I was not disappointed! It really does blur pores and make your face matte and it really helped with my dry skin. 
  • Boscia Luminizing Black Mask. This face mask has been all over youtube and blogs because of how well it works. It is known to be painful to peel off, but I didn't think it was that bad. I am really glad I bought this mask, I feel like it has helped my skin a lot.

Clothing
  • Old Navy Loafers. I got a pair of blue faux leather loafers from Old Navy and I am obsessed with them. I got them for work because I've been having such a hard time finding cute and comfortable shoes for work, and I finally found that in these shoes! They were on clearance for like $5 and the best part is they have a memory foam sole. Comfortable, cute, and inexpensive! 
  • Pac Sun Palm Leaf One Piece Swimsuit. I find it really hard to find cute swimsuits that are also flattering, but I hit the jackpot with this one! It fits so well and you can adjust the lace ups on the sides to make it fit perfectly.
  • Little Haven Crochet Coffee Sleeve. This obviously isn't clothing, but it's been my favorite accessory lately! If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'd know that I drink coffee a lot. This reusable drink sleeve ads a cute pop of color to my coffee.
Miscellaneous 
  • Day Designer Planner. This is my brand new planner that starts in July! I have been adding in all of my scheduled activities this past month so I am prepared to use my new planner when July came around.  
  • Smirnoff Red, White & Blue vodka. This has been my go-to drink for the summer. It tastes just like those bomb pop popsicles and mixes great with lemonade!
  • Teddy Grahams. These have been my snack of choice since I started my internship. I like to keep a bunch of snacks in my work bag to make sure I have something to munch on as I get hungry throughout the day.
There you have it, another month of favorites in the books! What were you loving in June? 

How to Use Your Planner

 Hey guys! For the longest time, I have been using an academic style planner that runs from July-June. My XO Planner just ended last week, so I wanted to show you how I used the planner throughout the last year. I finally found an awesome system that works perfectly for me.
I am a huge sucker for planners, and I love seeing how other people use theirs. I have done another planner post before, but this one is a little more in depth on how I actually stay organized. The planner pictured in this post is by XO Planners, but I also have a Passion Planner that I use sometimes. I love the simplicity of this particular planner. So here's what I do with my planner:
Supplies you should have:
  • Lots of different colored highlighters
  • Fun paper clips
  • Something to mark your page
  • Colored pens
  • Various different sized sticky notes
  • Scissors
  • Cute Stickers
  • Sticky note flags
Here's how I organize my planner.
1. Monthly overview. Here I write everything in black pen. Then I go back and highlight each event according to my color code.
    • Green Highlighter = work
    • Blue Highlighter = photography business
    • Orange Highlighter = fun stuff
    • Yellow Highlighter = bill and appointments
    • Pink Highlighter = school/school events 
2. Day by day pages. I use different colored pens to write down the event and the time each day. I tried to match the pens with the highlighters of the categories above. When something is done, I like to cross it off with black pen. I feel super accomplished when I see things crossed off!
    • Pink Pen = school/school events
    • Blue Pen = photography business
    • Purple Pen = work
    • Orange Pen = fun stuff
    • Black Pen = everything else
3. Here's where the sticky note flags come in. I have one for each bill due and I move them around each month. They're bright and catch my eye when I'm flipping through my planner so I am sure I don't miss a bill. I wrote on mine with a fine tip Sharpie. I keep the flags on the inside cover of my planner when I'm not using them or don't know the due date of a bill yet.
4. Now for the bigger sticky notes. I use these to keep a running to-do list. Usually it's pretty long and takes up more than one sticky note. I stick these on the inside cover of my planner and cross off things as I go. I also use these to make grocery lists and to write down important reminders.

5. The back pages. There are a bunch of blank pages in the back of my planner, and here I write down every single username and password I might ever need. There's nothing more annoying than when you go to login somewhere and you can't remember your username and password!

So now that we've talked about how to effectively use your planner, here are a few that I recommend trying out. My next planner that I am about to break into is the Day Designer! I am pumped to start using this, so stay tuned for posts on that! What planner do you use and what are some ways you stay organized? Let me know in the comments!



Travel Guide & Photo Diary: Navarre, Florida

Navarre really holds a special place in my heart. My great aunt has a condo here on the ocean and I have been visiting her over spring break every year for three years. I figured by now I know the area well enough to put together a comprehensive travel guide of things I love in the Navarre/Pensacola area.
I fly in to Pensacola airport and then we drive to my aunt's condo on Navarre. It's about a 45 minute drive. The flight from Chicago is only a few hours, which is nice!
Food:
Hemingway's Island Grille (Pensacola): This is one of my all time favorite restaurants in the area. They serve seafood, which is not my thing, but they also have good burgers and steaks. Their alcoholic cocktails are amazing, and the atmosphere is upscale with a casual beach vibe, which I love. They have amazing onion rings as an appetizer and their fried plantains are my favorite dessert! Overall I'd give this place a 10/10. I eat here at least three times every year on my trip.
Margaritaville (Destin): This is one of my favorite chain restaurants in the world. Every time I travel somewhere tropical, I am sure to visit one of these restaurants. I love the beachy laid back atmosphere. If you haven't figured it out yet, cheeseburgers are my favorite food. The cheeseburger here is one of my favorites. The view from the restaurant is beautiful. It sits on a cove area with some sandbars in Destin so you can enjoy the beautiful turquoise water while you eat.

Johnny Huston's (Navarre): The atmosphere and food here are amazing. The restaurant is not too far from my aunt's condo and is located off a main road in Navarre. They have the most amazing mac and cheeseburger I've ever had and their skillet cookie dessert is to die for. It has a sports bar atmosphere and the staff are always so friendly. Their menu has a ton of great options that are sure to please anyone!
Tropical Smoothie Cafe (Navarre): This is a chain smoothie place that has stores all over the country. I am a huge fan of smoothies, so I got one almost every day on this trip. They have a large variety of smoothies, and they also offer lunch. The smoothies do only come in one size, which is pretty large, and they are filling enough to be a whole meal.

Prop's Bar and Grille (Fort Walton Beach): This is a really fun bar and grille. My favorite thing to get is their Buffalo Mac and Cheese. They also have a really great selection of locally brewed beers.
The Tin Cow (Downtown Pensacola): As a burger fanatic, this place was a must on my list. The restaurant is located in downtown Pensacola. They have spiked milkshakes that I've heard are amazing and a build your own burger menu. They allow you to create a burger that is one of a kind and they offer so many more topping choices than other burger places. I got a mac and cheeseburger and it was so good! Plan on a wait if you go to this place because it's that good.
 
Activities:
Beaches: Obviously the gulf coast is known for its emerald white sand beaches, and that's one of my favorite parts of the area. I am definitely a beach girl at heart so there's nothing I love more than spending my days lying on the beach in Navarre. Most days, the water is pretty calm and is so clear you can see the bottom. I've also had pretty good luck finding some cool seashells!
Jet Ski Tour (Pensacola): I grew up on a lake with jet skis, so I have always loved riding them. I had never ridden them on the ocean though until one of my visits to Florida. Jet skiing on the ocean is much different than a lake, and it was really fun! I think they gave me an hour with the jet ski. It was kind of cold when I did this, but I still had a great time. One thing to note is that the jet skiing is in the Santa Rosa Sound, not on the actual ocean.
Destin Outlet Mall: On rainy days, it's really fun to drive down the coast and stop at cheesy gift shops. After awhile, the cheesy gift shops get old, and that's where this awesome mall comes in. It's an outlet mall so they have awesome deals. They have so many stores, you could easily spend a whole day here!
Parasailing (Pensacola): I have wanted to try parasailing my entire life and I finally took the plunge in Florida. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life. The day I parasailed, it was a little cold so I was wearing a sweatshirt and leggings, but it was still fun! I think on warm days, they can even dip your feet into the water while you're up there. The company I parasailed through was Key Sailing, and the experience and customer service were amazing. I felt very safe and comfortable the entire time. 
Hotel:
Margaritaville Beach Resort (Pensacola): All I have to say about this place is WOW. The decor is beautiful, the staff was so kind, and the pool/beach areas were to die for. This is a very high end beach themed hotel, and I felt like a princess while I was staying here. The pool area has a bar and comfy chairs to sit in with a beautiful view of the ocean. There's a really fun gift shop inside of the hotel too, which I stopped at a few times.
Caribbean Beach Resort (Navarre): This is where I have stayed every time I have visited Navarre. My great aunt owns a condo in this building, so that's where I stay. It is high up in the building so the views are incredible! I know that there are several condo buildings near hers where people rent out their condos to vacationers, so I definitely recommend renting in this area!
I highly recommend visiting the Navarre area. I have always traveled here alone, but it would also be a great place to travel with your spouse or your family!

5 Ways to Destress After a Long Day

Work is hard, school is hard, being a parent is hard, some days are just really hard. When I come home after a long, stressful day, there's a few things I love to do to unwind.  It's so important to take care of yourself so you don't get too burned out on life. Me time is so important! Here are five super awesome ways to destress after a long day of school, work, or parenting.

1. Do a face mask. I can't quite figure out why face masks are so relaxing, but they are. There are so many great facemasks on the market. I love all of Lush's facemasks, all of Glamglow's facemasks, and Sephora and Ulta also have some great ones. If you're on a budget, Walmart has some inexpensive ones that are awesome too! Doing a facemask will make you feel fresh and ready for whatever life throws at you tomorrow.

2. Read a book. Reading is such a good way to unwind and center your thoughts. Not only is it relaxing, but it's free! I'm all for doing things on a budget or for free. Personally, I love self-improvement books and also personal finance books (I guess that's the finance major in me). Find a fun book to read that's not too serious and easy to page through and it will help melt away your stress!

3. Lay down and watch a movie. This is definitely my favorite way to relax. I love crawling into my cozy bed at the end of the day and watching a movie or a show on Netflix. I feel so refreshed after having that time to myself and I am recharged for the next day. There are so many awesome shows on Netflix. Some of my favorites are Grey's Anatomy, Jane the Virgin, Private Practice, Friends, and How to Get Away with Murder.

4. Take a bath. I know I don't have to tell you how relaxing baths are. They're 100 times more awesome when a bath bomb is involved. Lush makes the most amazing bath bombs and they are only like $4 each. Light a candle, run yourself a warm bath and throw a bathbomb in. You can even read a book or listen to a podcast or music while you are in the bath to step up the stress relief!

5. Treat yourself! I can't stress how important this is. Some of the small ways I treat myself are getting a coffee from Starbucks, going out for ice cream with my boyfriend, or buying some new home decor at Target. You don't have to spend a lot of money to treat yourself!

The key to making sure these activities actually destress you is to make sure you are not multitasking. Turn your phone off, close your laptop, and focus on the task at hand. You should be making yourself a priority!

What are your favorite ways to destress after a long day?

5 Ways to Buy High-End Makeup for Cheap

I'm super excited to write this post. I am obviously very passionate about makeup and most of the time I can't hold back when it comes to buying new stuff for my collection. No, I don't need 50 lipsticks, but I feel like a more well-rounded person when I have enough lip colors to wear a different one every week.
Okay, so I bet you're wondering how I can afford all of this makeup while paying for tuition, books, fuel, rent, and food. I have some super exciting ways you can nab some high-end makeup for your collection at a fraction of the cost!
1. Hautelook
I always find great deals on Hautelook, you just have to make sure you mark your calendar and get on the website as soon as the event goes live! Basically they have sales from popular brands like Stila and Tarte, and the products are on sale for almost 80% off. If you have never signed up for Hautelook, you definitely should, and you can do it here.
2. Nordstrom Rack
This is basically the same as Hautelook, but you might have an actual, physical store near you. I just recently discovered Nordstrom Rack, where I bought an $800 Alexander Wang purse last week for only $250 (!!!!). Basically they have major discounts on "designer" brands of clothes and makeup. I was so excited to find they have a makeup section with brands like Stila, Smashbox, Urban Decay, and Tarte. Most of this stuff is marked down almost 50%. If you don't really have a specific product in mind but are looking to add some high-end makeup to your makeup collection, I would definitely start here.

3. Shop Sales
This one is kind of obvious, but it's something a lot of people look past. If you are looking for a specific makeup product, wait a little while to see if it goes on sale. I know that Ulta always mails out coupons for members of their rewards program. I always get a $3.50 off of a $10 purchase one. These are generally only good on products that aren't high end, but if you don't care about the brand of your makeup, you can save quite a bit with these coupons. I know Ulta also runs their "21 Days of Beauty" promotion. During this promotion, every day they have a brand name, expensive makeup product on sale for half off. HALF OFF. This is another awesome way to score that lipstick you've been eyeing.


4. Join Rewards Programs
For example, I have a Sephora Beauty Insider card (which gives me points and a free birthday gift every year), Ulta Beauty rewards card (earn points with every purchase as well as a free birthday gift every year), and a Plenti card (this is not specifically for makeup stores, but it works at Macy's, which is where I buy all of my Mac products). These are all free to join, so what are you waiting for? Get 'em and start earning points that you can redeem for free makeup.My favorite makeup rewards program would definitely be Ulta. I am a Platinum Member, and I always get coupons for 20% off my total purchase and tons of e-mails for free sample products to try.

5. Get Samples
Okay, so this isn't really "buying high-end makeup for cheap" but it is a way to be able to add some high-end makeup to your collection without spending a dime. I didn't know this until recently, but you can get a sample of almost any product at Sephora to take home with you for FREE. I personally like to get samples of GlamGlow products because they are really expensive. Typically, you only get enough for one or two uses with each sample, but if you go there often like I do, you can really stock up on some great products! I know you can also get a few samples when you order online from Sephora, but you have to spend money to get those.
I love makeup so much and I love that I am able to still buy makeup without spending my entire paycheck on it. I hope I helped some fellow makeup addicts out there with these tips. Let me know your secrets for buying makeup on the cheap!
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