Coffee Talks: Mentors and Support Groups

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With my business fraternity’s rush going on this past week it made me realize how important having groups in your life to support you truly are.  You need groups to support the different aspects of your life to encourage you and pick you back up if you fall down. Your closest group of besties are great for emotional support or stating that they’ll “light her on fire” about a random person who gives you a stank eye at a party but I want to focus more on academic and career support groups.

High school and college are hard. In high school you have to balance all of your extracurriculars on top of 7 hours of classes (including the hours of homework that comes along with each one), studying for SATs or ACTs, part time jobs, family and a social life. In college its a similar scenario but the class schedules are absolute wacko, you’re potentially hours away from family (so instead of spending time with them, that time is spent being homesick and missing them), and trying to find jobs or internships. Finding a mentor helps tremendously. Having a teacher or professor that inspires you, pushes you and who wants to help you succeed academically or in your career is so beneficial. Build relationships with them because they could help write that letter of recommendation that gets you that job or an acceptance letter from your dream school.

On top of having someone as a mentor, having a group of people to surround yourself with who are supportive is also super beneficial. I will use my pledge class (pictured above after we were initiated) and my fraternity as an example. Each brother is so driven, ambitious, motivated and dedicated that you can’t help but be inspired by them. They all want to be successful and help you succeed too. Building relationships with them and networking with them has opened so many doors and inspired me to accomplish things that I previously may not have thought possible for myself. They want to help me in my career and find an amazing internship for this upcoming summer that could lead to a job offer for after college. I want the same for them. We build one another up and help each other to accomplish our goals. They are more than willing to learn from one another and push one another to be the best they can. It doesn’t have to be in the business world. Whatever my endeavors they will be there by my side helping me through and encouraging me.

Coffee Talks: Having a Productive Morning

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The morning is my favorite time of the day. I hate when I sleep in and miss all of it because to me it is when I am most productive. I personally believe the way one spends their morning can be a determinant of how the rest of their day goes. If you have a good morning where you get a lot done then you have a great day, if your morning is rushed and hectic then the day is going to drag and be all over the place. Here are some of the things I love doing in the mornings to make sure I have a good day and maintain high productivity.

  1. Actually waking up early. On days off or days when my classes don’t start until late, I don’t want to sleep in. Sometimes I do, it’s always good to let your body get the rest it needs but on those days I usually act like a lazy bum and don’t get anything done. On those days when I do have things going on, I wake myself up with more than enough time to get ready and relax. Instead of waking up 30 min before I have to leave (and feeling rushed, unfinished, like I’m missing something all day) I try to wake up at least 1 1/2- 2 hours before I have to leave. That way I can take my time to make sure I’m completely ready and have everything.
  2. Listening to music. Music always puts me in a good mood when I’m getting ready for things. It can amp you up for the day or help you relax if you’re feeling stressed out over something. Just be sure not to wake the roommate up with it.
  3. My coffee. Caffeine is my addiction but I honestly cannot get my day started without it. A day without coffee is usually those lazy bum days when I sleep in. It wakes up my senses and helps me clear my head from the dreamy haze I had during sleep.
  4. Writing a daily to-do list. Most mornings I like to double check my calendar and agenda and write down everything I have to do that day. I put the list in my agenda that I keep with me during the day so I can use it as a reference and cross things off I get done. I write down everything from assignments, to meetings, to important emails that I have to send, phone calls to make, etc.
  5. Attempting a morning workout. I don’t go to the gym or workout every morning but on some mornings it’s good to get your body moving, blood flowing and energy up. Whether its a few yoga poses to an intense hiit workout, you can go throughout your day feeling good about having already got your exercise in. That way when you’re tired at the end of the day you don’t have to feel guilty for watching Netflix instead of hitting the gym.
  6. Browsing news headlines. I like having a general sense of the things going on. If an article headline interests me then I’ll read it but most of the time I just scroll through to get an idea.
  7. Eating a good breakfast. Breakfast and brunch are my favorite meals. If I eat a good healthy meal in the mornings then I feel clean and energized for the rest of my day. Heading to class on an empty stomach is just going to leave me feeling distracted thinking about what I’ll have for lunch instead of focusing on the lecture. Fueling your body and brain can lead to better concentration in class so studying for those exams later on isn’t such a drag.

As much as everyone gives me grief for waking up at 5:30 every morning to do all of this. I really do believe it helps shape the rest of my day. I like taking my time focusing on myself and getting ready. Having a routine that makes you feel good will only help make waking up for work or class that much easier since it becomes something you look forward to. If you’re someone who doesn’t like waking up early to do all of this, maybe have a nightly routine that is similar so you prepare for your day in advance. It also makes getting up and ready easier since almost everything is already done.

Review: Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser

A couple of weeks ago I posted to you all asking about cleanser preference to remove makeup that work well with Clarisonics.  After a while of research and reviewing different cleansers I ended up purchasing the full sized Origins Checks and Balances cleanser.

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The ones I mentioned in the last post were Philosophy Purity Made Simple, Fresh Soy Cleanser, Clarisonic Daily Gel Cleanser, and this Origins one.  I love Purity but it didn’t get as foamy as I wanted (I know I’m weird, a lot of people don’t like it when they get super foamy but I do) and I had tried the Fresh Soy Cleanser before but didn’t care for it as much. I liked the Clarisonic cleanser but knew that it would be drying on my skin after a while of daily use. I liked it a lot but it was only one that I am able to take with me on small trips or overnight since it does have that drying tendency on my skin.

Origins for me has been the one. It makes my skin feel clean without feeling stripped and hasn’t dried it out in the slightest. If anything it has balanced my skin out more (I had noticed some dryness around my mouth and chin that has now disappeared). A teeny tiny bit (no bigger than the size of a pea) goes a long way and gets super foamy. For the price and the amount you get its great because one tube will last you a while since you only need a little bit. I was previously using about a nickel sized amount of the purity for one wash to remove my makeup so I would go through bottles relatively quickly. The foaminess of this cleanser is perfect particularly for those with oilier skin. Those with drier skin may want a more of a cream cleanser like the Philosophy one.

I’ve been impressed with a majority of the Origins products I’ve tried throughout the years and look forward to seeing what others I fall in love with as well!

College Talk: Why I Joined a Professional Fraternity

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I’ve mentioned being in a social sorority before and have several posts regarding formal sorority recruitment.  I loved being a part of Greek life!  Freshman year it meant everything to me to be able to escape everything going on in life to go hang out with my sisters at the house.  It was so convenient when I lived on campus and wasn’t as involved in other organizations to devote my time to it.  Now that I’m a few years in, my time had started to divide between it and other things.  I’ll be the first to admit that I probably was a little more focused on the social aspect of college my first year rather than working or studying as much.  By my sophomore year, I hard started to focus on classes and a future career more than being the ultimate social butterfly.  Back in the spring I tried rushing a business fraternity (there are a lot of professional fraternities that are co-ed) just to try it and see what it would be like.  I didn’t get in at the time but the experience really helped me shape what it was that I wanted to do.  It also gave me an invaluable look into the professional world.  Any professional fraternity will give you a taste and help develop you as a young professional in your field.  Similar to social sororities or fraternities, they may be for you or they may not.  I always, always suggest at least going to a rush event or two before deciding its something you want to do or not.  One of the nice things about them is that they tend to have rush every semester so if you change your mind or don’t get in the first time you have another chance. By the time the fall semester started, I had a clear plan of exactly what I needed to do to get where I wanted to go.

With professional organizations you don’t rush multiple at a time like with Panhellenic sororities.  I didn’t have the choice to visit every business fraternity’s rush events and then go through a process of elimination with every round.  You rush them individually meaning that there isn’t a guarantee of a bid at the end of it all.  For many of the members, it took them two or even three tries rushing to get a bid.  It isn’t uncommon or should make one feel bad if they didn’t get one.  The members will think very highly of you for improving yourself and going back out there to try again.  After receiving a bid the pledging process begins.  It’s nothing like what you hear about pledging in movies and TV shows I promise!  It is tiresome and time consuming (my pledge class had a surprisingly large number of juniors so we all knew the struggle of trying to manage pledging with intense course loads, jobs and obligations to other organizations we were a part of) but we weren’t hazed in the slightest.  We had the opportunity to meet all of the brothers in the chapter and learn about the fraternity and its history during the pledging process.  Since the beginning of the semester, I have seen how much I’ve grown not only personally but as a young woman preparing for a career in business.  I love my organization and everything that it has given me and will continue to give me.

The End of an Era

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Could it be that we have finally reached the end of an era?  A few years back Kim Kardashian posted an Instagram of her face covered with dark and light lines while her makeup artist was working on her. Thus the age of the contour was born. Before we knew it, everyone was obsessed with having perfectly smooth and sculpted cheekbones. Even I jumped on board back in high school and would brush my too-orange bronzer in the hollows of my cheeks in hopes for that Kim K. ferocity while instead making my face look streaky and ruddy (hey, I tried right?). So many companies came out with contouring kits, thousands of tutorials and YouTube videos popped up and classes were even offered specifically on the subject. I took the class at Sephora for Beauty Insiders two summers ago to try to perfect my technique.

As 2016 came to an end, so did contouring. Granted, it is still widely popular but it is on the slow decline. More and more beauty gurus and makeup artists are opting for more natural looks. Strobing became a trend a couple of years ago as an alternative to dark contouring. One simply blends or sweeps a shimmery or dewy highlighter onto the high points of the face. When the light hits it, it lifts the face creating a natural looking contour without the pigments. It didn’t take off quite as much at the time but now it seems to be in higher demand in the beauty world. I never was a fan of using highlighters everyday as much as I am now because I thought they would make my face look greasy. But about a month ago I set down my Anastasia cream contour palette and just used blush and a bit of an illumanizer when I was in a hurry that morning. The result? Absolute love. All day I loved how fresh and bright my face seemed. I felt like I looked mature, classic and still youthful.

I will never fully give up my contour. I still love it for events, going out or days when I want to feel a little more oomph to my look (again who doesn’t want to have the perfect facial structure of Kim K.?). I also still use bronzer sometimes as a replacement for blush to give my face for of a sunkissed look but I don’t use it to contour on a daily basis. I am loving this trend so far and hope it continues to take off. I am also excited to see what other trends become big in this upcoming year!

Another Semester

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For a lot of you in school, this is usually the week when the Spring semester gets started.  It’s always great to get back and see all of your friends (maybe show off a tan if you were one of the fortunate ones to go someplace warm and sunny over break) but there’s also a lot of dread that comes with this semester.  The Fall semester is football season, everyone is either getting to campus for the first time or at least for the first time in months, the weather is warm and sunny, you get to open and use your super cute school supplies for the first time, move into a new apartment or dorm, overall it’s just an exciting time but before you know it, it’s over.  Spring semester you have to come back (and maybe deal with something you hoped to have left behind in the last semester), the weather is cold, the excitement wears off a bit quicker, there aren’t as many sport events going on, your bank account is a lot lower at the start of this semester than the last, and being completely honest this is the one that just seems to drag on. It feels longer and the cold weather certainly doesn’t help keep spirits up (unless you absolutely love the cold).

What I am about to say may seem a little corny or overachieving but use that beginning excitement to get a head start on classes and getting organized.  My roommate and I are cleaning our house, getting a jump start on assigned readings, filling in all dates and assignments in our planners, printing out class notes and syllabi, anything we can that would be drudge work later on down the road.  If we use the renewed energy doing those things, we lighten ourselves up to be able to have more fun down the road when things get really boring/mundane/annoying.  Being proactive can make things so much easier and allow more room for fun (even if they aren’t necessarily fun in the moment). If you’re a junior or senior planning on going to grad school (or in high school planning to go to college) start cracking open those entrance exam prep books and develop a study plan. If your bank funds were a little lower than you hoped, start seeing what places to apply to (if you get those applications in before everyone else gets back to campus you’ll increase your chances of having something right off the bat). If you’re a blogger like myself who wants to really better the experience for their readers and grow their blog, work on a business plan or media strategy or running content idea list.

I know that a popular resolution at the start of every new year is to get back in shape or lose those holiday pounds before spring break. That’s wonderful! We should all be working on treating our bodies well! But for those of you on a college campus who want to start hitting up the recreational center after classes I would find a different time. Workout first thing in the mornings or later in the evening when the gym isn’t as crowded to optimize your time there. There are also some really great online workouts you can do at home or subscribe to. I personally get emails everyday with a workout for me to do that day right in my very own living room that are challenging but fun.

So let’s go out and tackle this semester with as much force and energy as we did last semester!

2017 Kickoff

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The new year of 2017 has officially started!  I’m sure you’ve all seen posts online and throughout social media of funny images, gifs, and videos about how much 2016 was a stinker.  That’s the truth for every year.  Bad things happen but so do many wonderful things!  That is something I need to try reminding myself as we head into another year so I can remember to focus on those wonderful things instead of letting myself be dragged down by the bad ones. I am so extremely excited for everything this year has in store for me and I am glad I was able to celebrate the beginning of it with some of my old close friends and my family.

I know that this is the time of year everyone goes on about resolutions. We all make them, even if we tell ourselves and others that we don’t have any, we all secretly have those things that we want to change or improve upon. It’s hard to stick to resolutions and can be very disappointing when that dream body or that dream job is “put-off” until the next year, or month, or week, or day.  Why is it that we always make resolutions and don’t keep them? I think it’s because we make excuses for ourselves (I’m guilty of that almost daily). We are our biggest hinderances, not time, not anybody else. Having the right mindset can help you achieve so many things that you may have never thought previously possible.  There have been numerous studies on the effects of approach and avoidant mindsets. It sounds silly but if you tell yourself you can’t do something, chances are you won’t be able to do it or do it well at least. We tell ourselves that we can’t do something or make up excuses as to why we are unable to do it.

Take a deep breath, tell yourself you can do it, and go conquer something that you haven’t done before or that you’ve always wanted to do. If going full-steam ahead doesn’t work for you then break it down into baby steps, set long- term and short-term goals to get whatever it is accomplished. Don’t get discouraged if it gets to be more of a challenge later on down the road. A new year isn’t about making a resolution that will create a whole new you. It’s a whole new set of 365 days worth of opportunity. Take advantage of it.

“She believed she could, so she did.” – R.S. Grey

Cleanser Curiosity

I first got my Clarisonic Mia 2 brush before my freshman year of college.  I used it religiously for a while and then stopped for an extended period of time, then picked it back up then stopped, and the cycle continued.  While in New York a few weeks ago I finally pulled it back out.  I wanted a little extra something to help scrub the city off my face at the end of the day and haven’t been able to put the brush back down.  However, I have found myself facing a little problem.  I don’t know what cleanser I want to use with it anymore.

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When I first bought my brush I used the Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser that came along with it for the first month just to try it out.  I also had purchased the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Gel Cleanser to use after that first month trial run.  I loved the original cleanser that came with it but it was only a sample size so when I realized I didn’t like the Purity Gel Cleanser as much I just kind of toughed it out.  It was recommended to me because of my oily skin but it seemed to be a little too drying (I was also using this combo on top of the Proactiv original 3-step system which was already a little drying itself).  Once the gel one was all used up I went out and got the original Purity cream cleanser.  I love this cleanser so much because it does such a good job of cleaning my skin without stripping it.  I love using it but not as much with my Clarisonic brush since it didn’t foam up any (I secretly love the foaminess).  Now that I am nearing the end of my current bottle, I am left to wonder if I want to try a completely different one or stick to the one I know.

I did a bit of looking online and asking around to see what other people prefer to get a sense of some of the other potential cleansers to try.  Some of the top three were the Philosophy Purity Cleanser, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser and Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser.  I have never used two of the three people preferred so I am going to get a few samples of each and see which I may prefer.  They’re becoming cult cleansers so I feel like I need to at least try them at some point in my life.  In the meantime I would love to know what cleansers those of you with face brushes similar like to use.  I always love suggestions of things to try!

 

 

OOTD: Work Look for Less

I have another fun business casual work look for you guys for today!  Finding nice pieces for work on a budget can sometimes be difficult.  For a college student or someone who is just starting out in the career world and trying to build a more professional wardrobe, budget shopping for those pieces is a must.  Here is a look I put together and actually wore to work yesterday.

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A lot of the pieces in the photo are designer pieces, but they’re also pieces you can find for a whole lot less.  The blazer I wore was identical to the one pictured above but from H&M.  Its a subtle hint of color to the outfit and fits phenomenally. I wore a basic white blouse underneath.  Simple white blouses can be found all over the place (Marshall’s, Old Navy, Target, etc.).  To add a fun little print to the outfit I wore cropped pixie pants that were black with a bit of a white plaid pattern. I was able to get them on a really great deal at Old Navy.  For shoes I wore flats but I think I prefer a simple black pump with this outfit. My bag for work was a large taupe colored tote. I love browsing online sites like JustFab for shoes and bags. It’s a monthly subscription type of website but you can skip any month you choose.  It’s roughly $40 a month and you can choose from such a wide selection of shoes, bags, clothing and accessories. Its where I got my bag and plan on looking for a pair of black pumps (for some reason I realized I don’t own a pair yet and so I’ve got my eye on a pair of black suede ones). I love picking up multiple pairs of faux diamond studs from Charming Charlie’s every time I go since I always have a horrid habit of losing my earrings. They’re so inexpensive that I am able to keep multiple pairs at a time.

Hope you guys enjoyed and if you have any favorite places to find cute pieces for a steal, I would love to hear them!

2016 Beauty Favorites

With the end of another year quickly approaching and a lack of favorites posts for the past few months, I just combined a slightly longer list consisting of beauty products I have either loved or was introduced to this year.

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Starting with skincare:

There are two masks in particular that I have loved this year.  The first is one that I was obsessed with in high school but haven’t used or gotten in a long time.  The Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask is wonderful for anyone with a troublesome breakout.  It not only helps heal but also to help prevent future breakouts and is only $3 from the drugstore.  It is a little strong however so if you’re one with sensitive skin I wouldn’t use this as often, it also has a really strong minty smell.  The other mask I’ve really come to enjoy is the Glamglow Flashmud Brightening Facial.  It has a delicious citrus scent (again for those with sensitive noses, the scent may turn you off some) and brightens up the skin after only about 20 minutes.  Bright, radiant skin is something that I’ve really started to fall in love with this year as you’ll come to find out.  Another Glamglow product that is now my ride-or-die is their Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser.  Its $38 from Sephora and although may have a steeper price tag, it is an absolute magnet treatment for breakouts like their mask.  I did a review on it earlier this year and although for some it may be a little drying, with my oily skin and using it once a day it has been perfect!

The moisturizer I’ve been turning to the most this year has got to be the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.  The gel is perfect for my skin type and sinks right in without making my face feel slightly tacky or still dry afterwards (something moisturizers in my past had done).  Its light enough for the summer months but still moisturizing enough during the winter so I can use it year round.  To go alongside dry or dead skin is a product I have no doubt mentioned a few times before, the Peter Thomas Roth Peeling Gel Exfoliant.  It rescued my skin last summer when I was getting weird texture bumps along the bottoms of my cheeks and my jaw.  I had no idea how essential this exfoliator would be in my life after going so long with just a basic face scrub that wasn’t doing the trick.  Whenever I feel like my skin is a little dull or needs a good scrub I just pull this bad-boy out.  Another great moisturizing/brightening product that I’ve come to love is the Mario Badescu Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream.  I may seem young to use any sort of anti-aging eye cream but this stuff has done wonders for my eye area.  Its really thick so I mainly use it at night and either a super small amount or the Origins GinZing Eye Cream in the mornings.  I always get the worst under eye dark circles and this cream has made those virtually disappear.  It’s also super moisturizing to that area and doesn’t burn or sting the eyes.

To finish up skincare I’m going to talk about some sunless tanners.  You all know that I love the LovingTan 2 Hr Express Mousse but when it gets down to it, that tanner isn’t practical for regular use.  It’s my go-to for events when I have plenty of time to prep and let the color develop but for my everyday glow I prefer to use a daily sunless tanner from the drugstore.  I got the Banana Boat Summer Color Self Tanning Lotion on a whim because I was sick and tired of the L’Oreal Sublime one making me sparkly and sometimes too orange if I used too much.  I adore it!  It goes on similar to the Jergens Daily Moisturizer but the color payoff is so much better.  After one or two nights of using it I have a relatively dark and glowing tan that lasts for about a week.  Instead of going through it in a month like other sunless tanners that I constantly have to keep up with to keep the color, I can use this for about twice as long with better results.  The only downside to it being more of a lotion is that you have to let it soak in for a few minutes longer.

And now for makeup:

I don’t have too many products because I honestly haven’t spend the year as into makeup as I have skincare.  Like I mentioned earlier I have been all about radiant, glowing (and clear) skin which is caused more by skincare than makeup.  Two makeup products that I love to go alongside the glowing skin are the Becca Backlight Priming Filter and the Hourglass Ambient Light Powder in Luminous Light.  The Becca primer is one that can be worn alone or underneath makeup to give skin a luminosity that is absolutely gorgeous.  For my personally it isn’t ideal for making my makeup stick all night long but I love the way it looks regardless.  As for the Hourglass highlighter, I use that just to highlight my face for an everyday look.  It produces just the right amount of glow without looking too shimmery.

And to try to finish off this post because I know its a long one I’ll try to be brief with the others.  I was never a fan of cream products and would steer clear of them until I tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour kit.  It’s the only thing that actually makes my contour last despite being a cream on oily skin.  For cheek color, I was recently introduced to the Benefit Dandelion Brightening Face Powder.  It is the most perfect girly-pink and has a yummy floral scent to it without being overpowering or long lasting once applied.  For lip colors I’ve been really loving Gerard Cosmetics lipstick in the color French Toast (it’s a sort of creamy brown with a hint of red).  I bought it earlier in the year and didn’t wear it a whole lot because it wasn’t matte.  One day I put it on with a bit of lip balm already on and loved the result!  It sheered it out while still remaining super pigmented and while lasting for quite a while.  The last two products I’m going to mention are mascaras.  Typically I am totally fine with a drugstore mascara but there are two higher-end ones that have captured my heart.  The first is the Lancome Hypnose mascara and the second is the newer Benefit Roller Lash.  They both separate and lengthen my lashes beautifully without getting clumpy and they don’t transfer or smear to underneath my eyes throughout the day like some mascaras tend to do.

Okay guys!  I know that was a really long post but these were all products that I have fallen in love with this past year.  A few of them I don’t know if I could live without!  Definitely let me know if there are any products you guys have loved that I should try out!