A Lost Gesture: The Thank You Note

Hey Guys!

So I was just blessed enough to be invited to join my boyfriend’s family on vacation to Florida this spring break! As if I didn’t thank them enough during the trip (because I did just about 5 minutes), as soon as I returned home, I sent them a thank you note! Whether you were just invited on vacation with someone, had a job interview, or just received a gift, a thank you note is always the right move, and you know what? It’s a lost gesture!

Thank You Notes

So here’s some tips on writing a great thank you note:

  1. Don’t Skimp on the Stationary – when you’re sending a thank you note to someone, you want it to look nice so that they don’t think that the gesture is empty. Get a nice box of thank you cards, it’s not like you won’t use them ever so why not splurge a little on nice stationary!
  2. Make Them Feel Appreciated – it’s good to include mentioning how much you appreciated whatever the person did for you; whether that’s being included in their trip or taking time to interview you. Don’t just say “thank you”, say that you appreciate what they did for you and that you were happy to be getting to know them better.
  3. Get Personal – mention a specific detail that you enjoyed about your trip or interview, recently I had an interview for instance and through talking we discovered we had the same birthday so that sort of thing.
  4. Don’t Get Too Personal – however, you don’t want to come in sounding too eager or personal, because that can come off in the wrong way and you don’t want to scare off possible future in-laws or a future employer.

It’s that easy and whomever you send it to will really appreciate that you took the time to hand-write them something to show your gratitude!

Happy Note Writing! XO – B.

Teeth Whitening Trick!

Helloo Everybody!

So I just got back from a very wonderful, fun trip to Florida and man do I miss the sun!

I had been preparing myself for this trip in a multitude of ways – getting new spring/summer clothes, trying to perfect my skincare routine to prevent messy breakouts, and lastly whitening my teeth! I knew I’d be taking a lot of pictures on this trip, and I definitely did so I was glad I did the proper prep for my trip! So since I was so successful in getting my teeth sparkling within the two weeks I was treating them, I thought I would share my trade secret!

Here’s what you do: take about a half a teaspoon amount of toothpaste and put it into a small cup. Next, mix in one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, and last a half-teaspoon of water. Thoroughly mix those together and then brush your teeth with the mixture for two minutes. Do it once a week until you get the color you want, then switch to once a month to maintain!

Beware: the mixture does NOT taste good, it was sometimes hard to get through the full two minutes, but it’s totally worth it!

Hope this helps all of my lovely readers and anyone else who stumbles upon it! Good luck whitening! XO – B.

DIY Oatmeal Bath Soak

I am feeling very beautiful today, and I think it’s because of all the long nights of beauty sleep and pampering baths! Tomorrow I have a big date, so I wanted to pamper myself a little extra today and look extra pretty tomorrow! How did I do that? I took a glorious bath that I found online: DIY Oatmeal Bath Soak.

Now the person who originally created this blogged that they were sick and just needed to relax, so I didn’t really know what it did, so I went into research mode and looked up every last ingredient to find out what it did for me! So here we are, here’s what you need:

  1. Rolled Oats (Oatmeal) – 1 CUP Oatmeal has a couple of benefits when it comes to a soak; it fights dryness (which is awesome for this winter season!) and moisturizes your skin because the oats are filled with healthy, lubricating fats. It also cleanses the pores, because oats are filled with natural cleansers that gently remove dirt and oil from the pores.
  2. Baking Soda – 1/2 CUP Softens the water, which is why it is in most DIY soaks.
  3. Cinnamon – Softens and moisturizes the skin, as it gets rid of dead skin cells and restore shine and softness in your skin.
  4. Vanilla Extract – 1 TBSP Historically, vanilla was used as a wound healing, nowadays it is a great antioxidant, antibacterial, and source of necessary vitamin B which is a key nutrient in skin health.
  5. Almond Extract – 1 TBSP Almond extract has moisturizing and anti-aging properties for your skin, and it is also a rich source of Vitamins A, B and E which are great and necessary for your skin’s health.
  6. Epsom Salt (Optional) – 2 CUP Draws out toxins from your body and relieves bloat, I like to use it.

All you do is put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix them until a fine powder is made and then that should be good for 3-4 baths! It leaves the skin soft and smooth! I love it!

I hope you enjoy yourself! Never be afraid to treat yourself a little or a lot like me! Happy days! Don’t forget the umbrella drinks! XO – B.

DIY Coconut Oil Bath Soak

Wow, I still can’t believe it is 2014, everyone! I’m gonna be writing “2013” in date boxes until probably 2015. But one thing I love about being on winter break is that I have really gotten to pamper myself: I am taking, like, a bath a day, I got a haircut, I’m trying all sorts of new beauty products that I got for Christmas as well as a ton of DIY soaks and facials that I have wanted to try for months! So expect a good few of these recipes upcoming this week because that has legit been all I’ve been doing. Let’s start it off with one of my personal favorites to do in the winter for its ultra-moisturizing properties and that is my DIY Coconut Oil Bath Soak.

I originally got this recipe from my best friend growing up, and she is a genius at all this beauty stuff. 80% of our time together is talking about our products, our DIY products, and all that kind of stuff. So this one goes out to my beautiful bestie, Annabelle, who gifted us this recipe of hers! It’s pretty standard all you’re going to need is:

  1. 3 TBSP of Baking Soda
  2. 3 TBSP of Coarse Salt (the flaky kind not the crystals, I used Coarse Kosher Salt from Trader Joes)
  3. 1 TBSP of Coconut Oil (maybe a little less, depending on how moisturizing you want it)
  4. “Splash” of Vanilla Extract

All you do is pick a mug or small container (for all my soaks I make and mix them in an old candle holder and small mason jars) and mix all the ingredients together! It’s that simple. That much should be good for 2-4 baths, depending on how potent you want the bath (this week, I was feeling particularly dry with the snow storms happening so I used it in 2 baths, but it can last longer)

A little note about this : **VERY IMPORTANT** after soaking for 30 min – an hour, you need to shower off the excess coconut oil because it does leave a bit of a film on your skin. HOWEVER, to be safe, you should get out of the tub, and clean it before popping back in for the shower. Because when the coconut oil leaves a film on you, it also leaves it on the tub which can cause dangerous falls, so that step is very important. Bonus of that? It gives your skin a little extra time outside of the bath to absorb the coconut oil into your skin!

That’s it! Soo simple and it leaves your skin feeling soooo soft! I highly recommend it! I’ll include pictures for the rest of my posts on these sorts of things, but this one just didn’t last long enough for me to snap a pic! Enjoy! Stay safe in the snow! XO – B.

How to Pack for 2 Weeks in a Carry-On

I’m in Chicago! My homeland!

I’m not sure if I have mentioned it but I was born and bred in the Windy City, and I love it when I get to visit. I will be here for 2 weeks, and I am so excited for all of the activities I am doing with my family (hint: it involves the beach and the amusement park).

I come here about twice a year for 1-2 weeks at a time, and I hate checking bags because you always end up just waiting forever for them and that’s not fun at all, I just want to get out there already! Plus, my dad always taught me never to check a bag. So I have become an expert at packing a carry on for long trips, the trick is just adding versatile items.

So since I know it’s tough doing this, it took me years to perfect, I thought I would share my wisdom and teach you! So here it is:

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I start off packing enough delicates and socks for a full week, as well as belts and accessories. Most hotels now have washing machines, so why pack more than necessary?

Along with those, I packed up 2 sets of workout attire. I really like going running outside when I’m on trips because it is a way to get exercise and explore the area that you are in. I also don’t own matching socks, so don’t judge.

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ps – doesn’t this sock pair totally look like a banana?

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Next, I get together a few pairs of pajamas. Thin ones because I roll all of my clothes to save space, but when you are rolling thick items, they just get HUGE and it becomes inconvenient. So pick tees and tanks with cotton shorts, or something equally at comfortable and snuggly. This is also when I pick a pair of flats, sandals, and running shoes to take with me depending on what I think I’ll be doing.

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After that, I start thinking about what I will be doing on my trip. Those activities will dictate what you wear and to be safe, I always pack at least one dress and one skirt (this trip I packed 2 dresses instead).

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Then, I pick shorts and jeans depending on the climate. I always bring 4 pairs of pants for a 2 week trip, and I wear one on the plane and pack the other 3.

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next you’ll want to pick around 6-7 tops. I like the even number so I always go with six, functional tops, that you can make a lot of different outfits out of.

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Then Voila! You are packed and ready for your 2 week trip with just a carry-on!

Hope this was helpful! I spent years researching the perfect numbers of each item and changing things, and checking bags so I love that I now have this technique down pat! Best wishes! XO – B.

Creating a Workout Routine

Hello All!

I am back at university for my last year, as some of you may know, and what I always find hardest to do is to find time to workout and keep a steady regime of exercise throughout the semester. So I am starting early and jumping right into it! Got up about 4 hours and 55 minutes before I needed to (my first class is at noon and I give myself 5 minutes to get ready) and went to breakfast and then straight to the gym at 8 AM. Like a boss.

It was an excellent start, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about finding a balance and finding a nice rotation of workouts that I can do and want to do. Lately all I have been doing is running, last year all I did was elliptical. That’s not the best way of doing things, and I have learned the hard way. So here are some tips on creating a steady workout routine that revolves around your schedule:

Tip #1: Find Motivation

Troian Bellisario is mine. That sounds super weird, but I am just a little obsessed with the Pretty Little Liars actress. I liked her on the show and decided to follow her on twitter, where I learned about her other projects and discovered her instagram account.  She is so active and healthy! She posts super artsy pictures, which also makes me want to be more artsy, but she also posts a lot of pictures of her doing aerial workouts. I don’t know if you are familiar with aerial, but whether it is aerial yoga, aerial dance, or anything else like that: it is insanely impressive and something to take pride in if you can do it. She is the reason that I started back with yoga last year, which now is what I am wildly passionate about if any of you know me personally, and I find her very inspiring. She’s my motivation.

I also want a slammin’ bod. That’s motivation too. I want a two-syllable “damn” from someone on the street. Call me shallow.

Tip #2: Eat Healthy

This isn’t about weight loss, because I know everyone preaches eating healthy is the not-so-secret trick to that, but this is just so that you have normal body health and energy! You’d be amazed how much energy you will have when you eat balanced meals, and when you have energy you are more inclined to go workout. If you are tired and already don’t want to hit the gym, you will find an excuse not to. So don’t let yourself be groggy and eat a damn salad.

Tip #3: Rotate Exercises

As a friend, I am telling you that your body will get used to exercises if you do them repeatedly all the time, every workout, and it will start to have less of an impact. So mix it up and if you are a runner, take a yoga class or check out spinning. Lift weights. Ha ha I never lift weights.

But I totally will now.

Tip #4: Don’t Make Excuses

I am the queen of excuses. The QUEEN. I will use any old thing: broken nail, sore foot, homework, if my bed is super comfy that day not to go and workout and that’s not good. I’ve gotten a lot better with making excuses and I haven’t lately and I’m really proud of myself. Don’t be the loser on the couch watching your 7th episode of Honey Boo Boo. Don’t be that girl, cause you know what? Gyms have TVS now, you can still watch Honey Boo Boo there.

Those are just some short tips, there are many more in creating a regime that I will get more into in the future. Love you all! Thanks for reading! You da best! XO – B.

Nail Polish Can Change Everything

Hello Everyone! Been like a week and for that I send my sincerest apologies. I am on vacation, and so I have been very busy exploring and enjoying life in general, so I have a ton of fun stuff coming up for the blog so stay tuned!

With that, I want to talk about nails.

I am a compulsive nail chewer. It is a problem. I serious, longstanding problem that I have made several attempts to quit to no avail. My most recent relapse happened over this past weekend. I had quit for about a month, and they were almost real-people length! But I relapsed and now I have my little nubins again.

So that brings me to the power of nail polish. Without nail polish, there would be no hope for my nubins to be anything but. Without nail polish, there would be so many less pictures on Pinterest, even HelloGiggles has a “Nails of the Day” feature (which can be seen here).

There is power in nail polish. A swipe of color and your whole mood can change. I found this chart while doing some research (I like calling the stuff I do for the blog “research”) and I thought it was not only fun and thought-provoking, but I think it also can be really true!

credit from thismuseistaken.com

credit from thismuseistaken.com

 

The psychology of color is an incredible thing, and it is amazing the kind of power over your mood just the color of your nails, or something even more simple like a scarf can have. I certainly plan on using this as a reference from now on, not just for nails but for general color psychology next time I need a pick-me-up!

Best Wishes! XO – B.

DIY Hand Scrub!

Hello All!

Now, this is a recipe for a hand scrub that I will be using in another DIY in tomorrow’s post.

Here is what you will need:

  • A Jar or small container (I used an old candle holder that I was able to get the extra wax from the bottom out of)
  • 1/4 coarse sugar
  • 2 tbsp. of coconut oil
  • however much oil you like (argon oil, olive oil, etc., etc.) (I used olive oil)
  • Something to stir with

Here’s your steps:

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When you are finished making your recipe, apply generously to your hands and massage in for about 2 minutes. When your 2 minutes are up, rinse off with luke-warm water (NO SOAP!). Enjoy! XO – B.

15 Rules 20-Something Females Should Live By

Hey Girls!

I am only 21, I have just entered my 20s and I still have a long way to go before I am out of them. I am still in college, I don’t have a job or an internship, so I know I am probably not the first person that you would take advice from but here are some rules for any 20-something girl should live by, no matter what that second digit is!

  1. Guys are (at times) an amazing part of life, but they are absolutely NOT the all and end of life. If you are single, enjoy it while it lasts because it absolutely won’t be that way forever!
  2. Celebrate your success! If you are young and actually have a great job – or your dream job! – that pays well then don’t be afraid to show it and enjoy it! You are one of the lucky ones!
  3. It’s ok to be 22, 24, 25, 28, 30 even and not know what you want to be when you grow up! So don’t sweat it!
  4. Don’t let haters make you feel bad about how you live OR spend your money. Haters are gonna hate, and their opinion does not matter, it’s your money and time so spend it as you please!
  5. It’s time to make your own decisions, even if your parents don’t like them at first. They will come around and love you anyways.
  6. Life is short, eat the cheese fries.
  7. People will talk no matter what you do, so why not give them something to talk about?
  8. Going out for shots with your girlfriends on a friday or saturday night does NOT make you an alcoholic or have a problem, so don’t let anyone tell you that. You work hard during the week and you deserve to let loose and have fun! So party on, girl!
  9. Don’t spend time with anyone who makes you feel insecure, they are like poison and you will be better without them.
  10. If your Prince Charming got lost and is making a lot of wrong turns, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying kissing all the frogs along the way!
  11. Live your life for you and what makes you happy, not anyone else. It’s ok to be selfish when it’s your happiness in jeopardy.
  12. You are never too old to learn or do something completely new!
  13. Your friends are your soulmates, hold onto them because they will be the ones dragging your ass home when the party is over.
  14. Make mistakes! Chose the wrong job, the wrong club, the wrong boyfriend, go broke, do something adventurous and crazy because you will learn from those mistakes and they will make some hella awesome stories someday!
  15. Never look back and never regret. The past is the past, so don’t fret over it, just move on and continue being the awesome person you are!

There are your 15 rules to live by girls, and I expect you to start now! XO – B.

Pale Girl in a Tan World

Hey everyone.

So I am pale. I am petit, punctual and very pale. I also like alliteration, but that is besides the point. Yes, I am pale, and so while I love summer to death, it is a dreaded season because it’s when everyone darkens up to that perfect glow-y version of their skin and I remain about equivalent to Casper the friendly ghost.

So, in that light, I wanted to share some tips, if you too suffer from some serious #PaleGirlProblems

  1. Jergen’s Natural Glow — I know, I know everyone so-called “swears by Jergen’s” so you’ve probably heard this tip often and to an annoying extent but I promise 2 things. First being that it actually gives you a nice glow-y color to your already natural color and it is gradual so you won’t all of the sudden look like Snooki. You’ll just gradually look like Snooki. Secondly, they fixed the smell, now it smells actually kind of good. So yay!
  2. Comodynes Self Tanning Intensive — I used these last year and they were awesome! I have yet to re-purchase them for this season, but I have full intensions to. You get a giant wipe that you apply in a circular motion to your skin, and in a few hours, you have a nice real-tan looking glow. It was amazing. I wish I had them now.
  3. Application tips — It’s not rocket science to know that you need to apply self-tanner to clean, exfoliated skin. Always apply in a circular motion. If you can, apply it naked and give it a few minutes after application to dry and soak-in, that way your not accidentally getting it on your clothes and your not smudging it.

If you’re a pale girl living in a tan world, like I am, I give you a shout out! Happy safe sun-bathing! XO – B.