A Valentine’s Day Reminder

A Valentine’s Day Reminder

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️

There are so many connotations about Valentine’s Day that really aren’t true.

1. You should be in a relationship. 👉🏼INCORRECT. You should be in a relationship if you’ve found the right person. You should be in a relationship if you’re ready for it in this stage of your life. You should be in a relationship if you’ve found the one who resonates with your soul. Otherwise, keep doing you! You’ll find your partner eventually, when it’s the right time for both of you!

2. If you’re single, you have to, instead, celebrate “Galentine’s Day”. 👉🏼 HAHA 😂 NO YOU DON’T! This just seems like a second cousin kind of version of a holiday that only single girls are segregated to celebrate, and also, where’s the Guy-lentine’s Day? What? Single guys don’t get their own holiday?

3. Valentine’s Day should be the most romantic day of the year for you as a couple. 👉🏼BULLSHIT! Every day should be fun and romantic. Hey, the second Tuesday of August could be the most special/romantic day because he brought home flowers and you cooked dinner (which rarely happens!).

4. Valentine’s Day is about love! It was created to show your love and appreciation for your partner. 👉🏼Okay, now this is VERY wrong. Valentine’s Day was ACTUALLY “created” from the history of when St Valentine married single soldiers even after Emporer Claudius II said the men would be better soldiers if they were unattached. Long story short everyone was killed. Now, it’s become so commercialized, that it’s not even about the love anymore, it about the gifts.

5. Valentine’s Day is the one day to show appreciation to your partner. 👉🏼 Hell no! You should show appreciation EVERY SINGLE DAY. ie: He takes out the trash, “thank you so much, I really appreciate you helping with tasks around the house.” ie: He cooks dinner, “Wow, this dinner is so amazing! Thank you! I really appreciate you always taking care of me and cooking dinner.” And I’m not joking, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Okay, so now you must think I have some affinity against Valentine’s Day, but I absolutely don’t! But I do want you to put it into perspective for the rest of your life.

Could you even imagine if your relationship was only romantic ONE day of the year? Could you imagine if you were only appreciate to your partner one day of the year? What would happen to your self esteem and theirs? What would happen to your relationship? 😳

This is your Valentine’s Day reminder to have an AMAZING, fun and romantic day today, whether you’re single or taken! (yeah, I said romantic 😏) But don’t put too much pressure on it, because there’s always tomorrow to do the same! ❤️

Today: Take Care Of YOU!

Today: Take Care Of YOU!

Today, I’m smiling. 🙃 I’m smiling because I finally turned off my phone for ALMOST the entire weekend. I’m smiling because, although I DID end up working about 4 hours for my day job and about 2 hours for this social account, I finally spent the weekend getting back to my roots and following through with a few passions I love…decluttering, cleaning & organizing.

YES, yes, I know…this month was supposed to be dedicated to decluttering; I wrote a blog about it, I created a free pdf for it, and I started off the month with the hashtag #declutterwithA…but do you want to know what ACTUALLY happened behind the scenes the past two weeks?

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been drowning.

Work stress from my day job has been at an all time high, while creating, writing, editing, scheduling, and engaging for A of all Trades, has been at an all time low.

It all started the 2nd week of January. I was focused, motivated and I created plans, concepts and content in an attempt to structure myself to be more organized and consistent in the following weeks. I planned out the days I would post, I developed what I would write about and by January 20, everything changed. I was suddenly hit with more projects at work, more tasks to do, and more meetings to follow up with, as well as less time and even less energy to work on my own goals.

I’m currently in a position at my day job, where I’m required to develop strategies, build content, and make a LOT of decisions at work, which in turn, feels like I have nothing left to give to myself at the end of the day. (If you haven’t felt “decision-fatigue” before, IT’S REAL!)

What really happened?

Cut to the evening of Monday, January 28. The declutter series would launch in less than 4 days. I’ve already announced this on stories, I’ve already written and promoted the blog, I’ve already created the pdf and sent it out to everyone who requested it, I’ve already committed to this project.

There was no turning back now, and I was like a deer in headlights. I had NO decision-making energy left inside me, but had to FIGHT with my brain to “man-up,” focus, and get this thing up and running by Friday.

What I needed to figure out, plan and execute were:

  • A countdown on IG Stories (with photos)
  • A story about each stage of the declutter pre-process (with photos)
  • A story video of me introducing the declutter series and what I’m about to do
  • A “declutter-with-me” video about “how” I’m decluttering
  • Before photos
  • During photos

All. Before. Saturday

…AND all of these photos had to be staged. Why you ask? Because instead of taking videos and journaling my journey from day 1 of the process (which would be Saturday February 2nd), I had a seminar I was attending all day that Saturday, that I had agreed to attend weeks earlier.

So, I stood there in the kitchen, with B helping me, and laid it all out. Tuesday morning I would wake up at 3:30am, he would go to the gym, while I got ready. I would then take videos of myself pretending it was Saturday and showing me declutter. After I completed all the “before,” and “during” shots, B would take photos of me pretending to do all my declutter prep, which I would post Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to get everyone excited and ready to start decluttering Saturday (even though I wouldn’t be starting that day anyway because I had a seminar to attend).

The following days, I continued to wake up at 4:00-5:00am every morning to plan and prepare my instagram posts for that day, before I would go to work and stay until 6pm. Not to mention what I gave up that week to work on this series, that I couldn’t even participate in myself!

You know what milestone I skipped? My 2 year anniversary with B on Friday night…yep. We didn’t celebrate our 2 years of dating because I had to stay in and edit fake videos showing me decluttering, when I literally only began the process for the camera, and had to leave all my clothes out in a pile in our bedroom, because I didn’t have time to follow through with the actual declutter process, something I love.

In the past week since the Declutter series launched, I haven’t posted ONE THING about decluttering since that Saturday, Feb. 2. I had such high hopes, the first weekend would be clothing, the second weekend would be makeup and beauty, and so on throughout the weeks, but I didn’t get there. I didn’t plan. I didn’t schedule. I didn’t have the time nor the energy. I felt unproductive, worthless, and inferior. But you know what? That feeling lasted for about a day, because you know what I did about it?

I let it go.

I didn’t let my “shoulds” take over my life.

I didn’t let “shoulds” take control of my emotions. I didn’t give in to feeling worthless because of not following through on something I had originally created. YES, it’s important to follow through with your promises and YES it is important to follow through with your ideas, but if it’s affecting your health (mentally or physically), your sanity or your self worth, IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

It’s time to take CARE of yourself.

Take care of your health and your emotional well-being, because if you aren’t at your highest frequency and if you aren’t recharging the way your body and mind needs to, how are you supposed to help others? How are you supposed to help the people who depend on you? How are you supposed to live your life to its fullest, every single day?

Today, I want you to remember:

Your self worth isn’t determined by your status, your connections, or your comparison to your peers; your self worth is determined by how you feel about yourself on the inside, what moral compass you follow on a daily basis, the kindness in which you treat those around you (as well as how you treat yourself), and by how you are taking action every day to follow and achieve your dreams.

What action steps do you take to help yourself first? Let me know in the comments!

5 Life-Changing Tips to Help You Declutter Your Space For Good!

5 Life-Changing Tips to Help You Declutter Your Space For Good!

I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me, you like to organize…and organize again, then re-organize everything in an infinite cycle of organizing chaos, because it’s continually a mess, and there MUST be a better system.

Let me tell you, I’ve read A LOT of books, A LOT of blogs, and watched A LOT of documentaries, tv shows, and YouTube videos about decluttering, but only one book truly got into my head and made me discover the “why” behind the decluttering and organization.

The one book that finally inspired me to declutter regularly, the only book that I’ve ever re-read 8 times (or listened to on Audible) was also the book that taught me lessons about tidying, lessons about myself and lessons about life, that I had never known before.

If you didn’t guess it already, this book is called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it throughout the past several years, and now that they’ve created a show called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” on Netflix, I’m sure you are well aware of this tidying way of life.

So, the reason I am telling you all of this is because I am launching my #DeclutterWithA Series on Instagram and the blog, starting this Friday, February 1, which will continue throughout the month of February! I will be taking you on my journey of decluttering my space and minimizing my belongings while sharing tips and tricks along the way.

PS: Did you know that the decluttering process is SO much easier when you prepare first?

To make this process easier for you to start, I’ve created a FREE Declutter Prep Guide to help you this week, before you start the decluttering process in YOUR home!

CLICK HERE to get your own Declutter Prep Guide.

Since I’ve read and re-read this book SEVERAL times, I honestly think it’s a great one for you to pick up in store, online, or even download on Audible (I’m a HUGE fan of Audible’s audiobooks), so you’ll always have it in your arsenal, but I figured I’d list a few tips and tricks I learned from the book, that I found extremely beneficial.

A Few Helpful Tips I Learned:

  1. Every item needs a home.
  2. Pick up each and every item, one at a time to see if it “sparks joy” within your heart.
  3. For the items that don’t spark joy, you must thank them for what they have brought to your life.
    • This could be the knowledge of knowing you shouldn’t buy similar things anymore, since you won’t wear them, or it could be that this item lasted a long time with you, and has already proven it’s worth, so now it’s ready to bring joy to another home.
  4. I found that when I wasn’t using an item, I felt more of a desire to part with it than I had anticipated. This was because it started to make me think of the items as I would think of people.
    • I began feeling bad that they were made for a specific use that I wasn’t using them for. I want them to fulfill their purpose, and if I couldn’t do that, they needed to go help someone else who could or would use them.
  5. Going through your home by category, rather than by room, truly allows you to see and lay out EVERYTHING you have from one category.
    • ie: if you had 1 junk drawer in every room, but tidied only by room, you would think you had the right amount of pens, post-it notes, & scissors. However, when you tidy by category and put all your office supplies in one spot and then realize you had 12 pairs of scissors, 78 pens and unlimited post-it notes, you can easily keep the best ones, eliminate the ones you constantly reach over, and have only one or two office supply drawers rather than 9 junk drawers throughout the house.

I can’t wait to start my first decluttering journey of 2019, and I hope that you will join me in the process and start decluttering and minimizing your home too! If you do start your decluttering process in February, please tag #DeclutterWithA so I can see what items “spark joy” in your life!

Always, your constantly decluttering friend,

A



Comparison, Overwhelm and Handling It: My Story

Comparison, Overwhelm and Handling It: My Story

Yesterday started off on an interesting note. I finally expressed outwardly how I was feeling on the inside; feelings and emotions that I didn’t even know were fluttering on inside my head.

I was ready to run out the door for work, but started talking (or should I say disjointedly spewing) to B about how I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and just not good enough.

Overwhelmed with writing blogs, taking photos, editing, scheduling, planning, creating for A of All Trades, all while ATTEMPTING to: clean, meal prep, organize, do laundry, and do the dishes at home; in addition to running errands, grocery shopping, taking time out of work to go to doctor’s appointments, the feeling of burdening emotional fatigue setting in, a sincere lack of motivation, the numbness of life creeping over me along with the reality of being out of town next week, (meaning having to plan, schedule and produce two weeks ahead for my day job), the constant running to meetings left and right without notice, along with all the daily brainpower my day job exerts. Oh, and did I mention this is THE year I finally get my own business up and running? Yeah, the business I created 2 years ago and keep letting down. The business that I really love and can see going far and helping people, but I just couldn’t follow through with, because there’s ALWAYS something more important?

That’s the feeling.

The feeling of slowly drowning in an endless, open body of water, in the pitch black sky (even the stars wouldn’t come out to watch me slowly suffocate), with breathy sounds of needy people ringing in my ears, asking me telling me to do things for them, thankfully drowned out by the eerie silence of the night, and OH, did I mention the cinder blocks bound to my feet? (There’s no amount of treading that could get me out of this one.)

I was overwhelmed because I thought I was the only one; the ONLY ONE struggling, and comparing myself to all the other girls out there. You know the ones. Those amazing, beautiful, caring and NEW blogger girls on Instagram, taking charge and looking like boss-ass bitches; posting beautiful photos everyday, maintaining and curating a gorgeous feed, consistently posting on their blog, commenting on everyone’s post, always engaging and being supportive with their audience, all while having a full time day job too.

So, yes. I was overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed because all these girls seem to have it handled. They are out there KILLING IT in the blogging world, AND the real world: being amazing Moms, Wives AND having a day job, while I’m over here feeling like I’m spread so thin I don’t have time to buy groceries, let alone actually cook the food.

Therefore, there’s no other reason than the fact that I MUST be weaker than them. I MUST be less intelligent, less driven, less productive, less creative, just LESS THAN.

But B reminded me, I’m not “less than,” I’m just dealing with a lot right now, and I’m in a “phase” of my blogging life where I am trying to find the right balance, the balance between Instagram-obsessed and all my other life priorities (girlfriend, employee, friend, daughter, healthy human being).

And this is true; I USED to be one of those girls KILLING IT. I was eager, consistent, focused, but always on my phone, and afraid to leave Instagram for more than 3 hours FOR FEAR everyone would forget about me. I was spending more time with my Instagram page than with my boyfriend, even when we were in the same room, and that is not a healthy balance either.

So, I’m coming to the realization that I need to set up a schedule for myself to stay on track, that’s realistically compatible with my lifestyle, in order to overcome the overwhelm. The balance was too heavy at the beginning of my blogging life to keep up long-term, and now I’m spending too little time on it due to my lack of planning and other life distractions, so I will be back to a moderate schedule that I can consistently keep up with long-term. And this is what I did:

How you can handle overwhelm:

  1. Stop where you are and take several deep breaths – breathe IN for a count of 4, HOLD for a count of 4 and breathe OUT for a count of 8.
  2. Write down a list of ALL the actions/tasks you are responsible for on a daily basis (at work, home, hobbies, etc.)
  3. Label each task with the emotion it makes you feel
  4. Examine your list and look at the responsibilities that make you sad, angry, irritated, or uncomfortable, and ask yourself “why?” “WHY” do those tasks make you feel that way?
  5. Fix or eliminate. Are you able to alter how you perform the uncomfortable tasks, or eliminate them completely? If so, devise a plan for restructuring those responsibilities.
  6. Categorize all your remaining tasks/responsibilities under the following 4 categories:
    1. Important AND Urgent (to-do today)
    2. Important NOT Urgent (plan to be done as soon as you can)
    3. Urgent NOT Important (delegate this task)
    4. NOT Urgent NOT Important (but does this make you happy?)
  7. Begin with the Important AND Urgent Category and go from there. As long as that category is finished, the rest can wait until tomorrow.

If you have any tips, struggles, or stories you would like to share about battling overwhelm, or any other feelings you are facing, let me know in the comments!

From your soon-to-be not overwhelmed friend,

A

Best of Beauty 2018 – Skincare

Best of Beauty 2018 – Skincare

To put it lightly, I LIVE for beauty products…and clothes and shoes and snacks…but today I’m talking about my favorite skincare products of 2018! 

If there’s any way to make my skin look younger, brighter, and more hydrated, I’m all in! (Unless it’s “all in,” in reference to gambling, then I’m ALL the way out! This one time my friend’s mom gave us each $20 to gamble with when we went to Vegas, and I wasn’t allowed to use it for anything except gambling. Long story short I lost it all to penny slots and could have bought one drink with that $20…yes, only one. Vegas is freaking expensive!)

Did I mention I get distracted easily?

Okay, back to the post.

I love beauty products and I use a LOT of them, so I thought I would list my favorites for you, including the prices, how to use them, and my tips for using each product.

MY SKIN & SKINCARE GOALS: I am 30 years old and have been using anti-aging moisturizers and serums since I was 16, first as preventative and now as maintenance. My skincare goals are to reduce dullness, even out my skin texture and tone (I have hyper pigmentation from popping blemishes – I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I just can’t stop), and to diminish any fine lines, luckily I don’t have any yet, but I’d like to keep it that way!

PLEASE feel free to DM me or comment on this post if you have any questions regarding any of these products and if they are good for you and your skin.

SERUMS:

  • NIGHT: Drunk Elephant – T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
    • What does it do?: This serum contains AHAs* as well as BHAs** that refine and resurface the skin. This serum evens out skin tone and texture, while brightening the skin and diminishing fine lines, wrinkles and pores.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (dry, oily, combination, normal)
    • How I use this: I use this T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum all over my face, right after I apply my Shaba Complex Eye Serum, but before I apply my Josie Maran Argan Oil or Acure Marula Oil.
    • Cost: $90 / 1oz. or $134 / 1.69oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: Because of its high amounts of AHA* (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA** (betahydroxy acids) that do wonders to resurface your skin, do not use this serum during the day, and please make sure to wear a sunscreen daily, because your skin will be more sensitive to the sun and UV rays.

MOISTURIZERS:

  • DAY & NIGHT: Drunk Elephant – Shaba Complex Eye Serum
    • What does it do?: This eye cream prevents signs of aging by reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles and tightening up the skin around your eyes.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (dry, oily, combination, normal and sensitive)
    • How I use this: I use this Shaba Complex Eye Serum right after I wash my face in the morning and in the evening.
    • Cost: $60 / .5oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: Pat this eye cream underneath your eye area and onto your eyelid using your ring finger. Your ring finger has the lightest pressure and won’t pull or tug at your sensitive eye area, which could cause fine lines and crepey skin.
  • DAY – Option 1: Drunk Elephant – Protini Polypeptide Cream
    • What does it do?: This daily moisturizer helps with uneven skin texture, loss of skin firmness and elasticity, dullness and dryness.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (dry, oily, combination, normal)
    • How I use this: I use this Protini Polypeptide Cream in combination with the B Hydra Intensive Hydration serum and my C Firma Day serum every morning, after applying my Shaba Complex Eye Serum.
    • Cost: $68 / 1.69oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: The reason I use this moisturizer in the morning that doesn’t contain sunscreen is because my foundation has a 50+ SPF. Also, because all Drunk Elephant products are formulated without silicones, you can pump them all together and apply in one step!
  • NIGHT – Option 1: Josie Maran – 100% Pure Argan Oil
    • What does it do?: This naturally sourced, cold-pressed oil protects your skin from environmental damage and skin-aging free radicals, all while improving dullness and dryness, firming and improving elasticity and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (oily, dry, sensitive, and normal)
    • How I use this: I first warm up 1-2 drops of this Josie Maran – 100% Pure Argan Oil in my hands, then gently press onto my face using my fingertips, after applying my Shaba Complex Eye Serum and my T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.
    • Cost: $16 / .5oz. or $48 / 1.7oz. or $96 / 4oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: I’ve been using this Josie Maran Argan Oil on my face, because I use it on my body (mixed in with my lotion, and I have a lot of it, but I’ve also used the Acure Marula Oil (listed below) and I like that one a lot as well. Personally, I love to buy the 4oz. deluxe sized Argan Oil from QVC, when it comes in a set with the body butter I love, but if there isn’t a set available (they sell out very quickly), you can also buy it from Sephora, which is 4oz for $96.***
  • NIGHT – Option 2: Acure Marula Oil
    • What does it do?: This oil is also cold pressed and unrefined (like the Argan Oil from Josie Maran) and will hydrate your skin, eliminate dullness and help with fine lines and wrinkles, while improving the skin’s elasticity.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (oily, dry, sensitive, and normal)
    • How I use this: I first warm 1-2 drops of this Acure Marula Oil in my hands, then gently press onto my face using my fingertips, after applying my Shaba Complex Eye Serum and my T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.
    • Cost: $16 / 1oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: I started using this cold-pressed Marula Oil instead of the Drunk Elephant one because it was less expensive and seemed to work exactly the same. Make sure to keep this oil out of the light, since it is in a clear glass bottle.

MASKS:

  • ANYTIME – Resurfacing: Drunk Elephant – T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
    • What does it do?: This mask is basically a facial in a bottle! It has extreme amounts of AHA, as well as BHA, to completely resurface your skin. This pro-quality formula dramatically smooths your skin’s texture, while minimizing the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (oily, dry, combination, and normal)
    • How I use this: I first make sure my skin is clean and dry, then I apply a VERY thin layer (about 1-2 pumps) all over my face, avoiding my eye area and leave on for 20 minutes. (I usually set a timer so I don’t forget and leave it on any longer) I rinse my face with lukewarm water and then apply either Josie Maran – 100% Pure Argan Oil or Acure Marula Oil by pressing gently onto my skin. The first few times it may tingle slightly, so leave it on for less time, if needed.
    • Cost: $80 / 1.69oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: I was hesitant to try this at first because of the price tag, but this mask is TOTALLY worth every penny! I’ve had this mask in my cabinet for a little over a year now and it’s still going! When they say use a thin layer, it really is a thin layer, only 1-2 pumps for your entire face. After washing it off, my skin has NEVER felt smoother or softer. Baby facial is literally the perfect name for this product because you have baby skin afterward.
  • ANYTIME – Purifying: Clinique – City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask & Scrub (wow that’s a long name)
    • What does it do?: This mask is exactly what it states; its both a mask and a scrub. It purifies and polishes the skin for an ultra deep clean in order to eliminate dullness, minimize pores and even out skin texture.
    • What skin type is this for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use this: Apply a medium layer of the Clinique – City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask & Scrub to a clean, dry face, avoiding your eye area. Leave the mask on until it turns to a pale blue (about 5 minutes) and rinse off with warm water while massaging into your skin in a circular motion to exfoliate.
    • Cost: $28 / 3.4 oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: Because it’s only a 5 minute mask, this can easily be used in the morning and rinsed off in the shower. (which is way easier cleanup than removing a mud mask in the sink…if you know the struggle!)
  • ANYTIME – Hydrating: Eve Hansen Collagen Sheet Mask
    • What does it do?: This mask restores dry and dull skin, reduces fine lines and improves skin elasticity.
    • What skin type is this for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use this: The Eve Hansen Collagen Sheet Mask is a lightweight material that has a protective film attached to help you apply the mask. Lay the mask, serum side down onto your face and slowly remove the white film from the other side. Gently adjust the mask to make sure your face is covered and stuck down to the high and low points of your face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, and once removed, gently press the excess serum into your face.
    • Cost: $21 / 5 masks
    • Tips/Tricks: Because this mask is so hydrating, I like to let the serum alone on my face for awhile and I don’t apply and skincare, but the directions from the company recommends to apply your skincare routine after removing the mask.
  • ANYTIME – Eye Treatment: Nature Republic Marine Hydrogel Eye Patches
    • What do these do?: These eye patches hydrate and smooth the area around your eyes to diminish fine lines, reduce puffiness and inflammation while also increasing elasticity.
    • What skin type are these for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use these: These hydrogel eye patches are ideal for those days when you wake up in the morning and your eyes are puffy, when you will be in front of the camera that day or when you’re looking for a weekend pick-me-up. The extra hydration around your eyes makes you instantly look awake.
    • Cost: $36 / 10 pairs
    • Tips/Tricks: Make sure you have time to spare in the morning, because these are a little more time consuming than a normal face mask. These you’ll want to leave on for 30-40 minutes to get the full effect.
  • ANYTIME – Eye Treatment: Deluxe Collagen Eye Mask Pads
    • What do these do?: These collagen eye mask pads quickly hydrate and smooth the area around your eyes to reduce daily puffiness and inflammation.
    • What skin type are these for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use these: These collagen eye mask pads are ideal for those days when you need a little pick-me-up in the morning. They add hydration to help you look more awake than you probably are, and are fairly inexpensive, so you don’t have to worry about using these several times a week, if needed.
    • Cost: $6 / 30 pairs
    • Tips/Tricks: I like to keep these collagen eye pads in the fridge to add a little extra boost while reducing inflammation and puffiness in the morning.

Tips for Shopping Skincare

ALWAYS get samples.

Not every product will work for everyone, so you’ll want to try out a few different products by sampling them at your local Sephora, Ulta, or department store. This way you will weed out any products that may irritate your skin, before actually purchasing.

Don’t feel bad for returning.

Okay, okay, I KNOW what you’re going to say. YES I worked retail and YES people do abuse the system, but I’m not talking about taking the store for granted.

  • I’m NOT encouraging you to use half the bottle and then return the product.
  • I’m NOT encouraging you to return the item just because you had second thoughts or buyers’ remorse after you’ve already started using it. (This is because once you return an open product, the company is losing that money since they will have to discard the item due to sanitary reasons, and that isn’t fair to them, just because you “changed your mind.”)
  • What I AM telling you is that if you did purchase a full-sized skincare product before getting a sample, and it started irritating your skin, or you found out you were allergic to any of its ingredients, please don’t feel bad returning it.
  • What you SHOULD do, is let the beauty representative know your issue with the product, when you make the return, and see if they are able to give you any recommendations for something that will be better suited for your skin.
    • The beauty reps at a makeup store, like Sephora or Ulta should all trained in the different skincare lines and should be able to offer you a better suggestion based on your skin type and skincare goals. (However, if a brand vendor is in the store, usually on a weekend, they will be extremely knowledgable about the line they work for, since they attend multiple trainings each year and with every new product introduced in their line.)
Do your research.
  • Check the reviews before buying.
  • Review the product descriptions and preferred skin types for that specific product.
  • Check out one of my favorite resources, Beautypedia. This site helps explain exactly what is in each product and if it really works, or it’s just expensive because of hype, marketing or the brand name.

My Tips for Shopping Drunk Elephant Products

I know I’ve mentioned A LOT of products in great detail, but I wanted to make sure I was giving you as much information as possible. I was actually going to make this “Best of Beauty” only one post (including hair care, nails and makeup), but I quickly realized it would be WAY too much information for you to process (and for me to write) into one blog post!

I hope you got value out of these beauty favorites. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled, because there are going to be more beauty favorites launching this week!

From your favorite Type-A, Lazy Girl, I’m signing out!

Glossary:

*AHAs: water-soluble acids, made from sugary fruits, that help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place.

**BHAs: oil soluble acids that can get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum.

***I only recommend buying the 4oz. Josie Maran Oil if you will use it up within 2 years. It usually takes me about 2 years to use it all up, but I also use it on my body. (This could be a good option for you if you have multiple people using it in your home, or want to spread the wealth and give some to your friends! I recommend buying dark amber glass refillable bottles to split it up, since the oil should not be exposed to blue and ultra-violet light, which can break down the oil’s beneficial compounds and nutrients, which reduces it’s effectiveness and potency.)

51 Reasons to Be Grateful Today

51 Reasons to Be Grateful Today
  1. Your physical health that helps you live a long life
  2. The time you’re able to spend reconnecting with those you love
  3. Your friends: the family you choose
  4. Your family and the support they are able to give you
  5. A safe place to live; a place where you are warm, protected and able to sleep in peace
  6. Your legs that help you walk, jump, run and explore life’s adventures
  7. Your creativity; the imagination only YOU have
  8. Your eyes that help you to see the vast world around you
  9. The ability to do anything or be anyone you want to be
  10. Your ears that help you hear the wind, the ocean and the music around you
  11. Your mental health that allows you to function easily in the world
  12. Your ability to make a change in your life if you aren’t happy
  13. Your arms that help you carry all of life’s necessities
  14. Your hands and fingers to help you write down your passions
  15. The childhood that made you into the person you are today
  16. The unique traits that make you, YOU
  17. The freedom you should never take for granted
  18. The kindness of humanity that resonates within your soul
  19. Your heart, the constant beating that reminds you that you are alive
  20. The inner peace you are able to channel when you are alone
  21. The excitement you feel when things are going well in your life
  22. The miraculous sound of the rain as it cleanses the world around you
  23. The restlessness in your soul, that keeps you always moving forward
  24. The ability to learn from your mistakes
  25. The abundance of love inside you, radiating from your core
  26. The emotional release you experience when you laugh & when you cry
  27. Your shoulders that support you, even when you feel like you’re holding up the world
  28. The consistency of time, to help you form a routine and prioritize your passions
  29. An incredible fear that drives you to succeed
  30. The support system you are able to reach out to when you feel like you can’t do it on your own
  31. The helping hand you receive, even when you’ve hit rockbottom
  32. The resources that always seem to be there, even when you least expect them
  33. The resiliency you have to pull yourself out of the low points in life and create a better path for yourself
  34. The ownership you have over your life and career
  35. The quietness your soul feels when you are happy and content in your life
  36. The ability to ask for help when you are struggling
  37. The freedom you feel when you’re creating something meaningful
  38. The passion you experience when you are doing something you love
  39. Your ability to see the world, to experience this entire planet
  40. The faith you have, knowing something out there is bigger than us
  41. The decisions you were able to take, that led you to where you are today
  42. The lessons you learned and the guidance you received in order to create this beautiful life for yourself
  43. Your endless pursuit for knowledge, and your ability to learn 
  44. The acceptance of Mother Nature’s wrath, amidst all her glorious beauty
  45. The ability to forgive, along with the ability to not forget
  46. The knowledge that you’re only one decision away from changing your entire life
  47. The bravery to follow your dreams
  48. The lightness you feel when you fall in love
  49. The ability and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in
  50. The memories you can return to instantly, just by closing your eyes
  51. The endless possibilities that await you

4 Ways To Spice Up Basics

4 Ways To Spice Up Basics

There are so many ways to spice up basics you already have in your closet, and here are 4 different ways to update your everyday look (so no one thinks you’re wearing the same outfit everyday!).

For all of these outfits, I started off with a basic long sleeved turtleneck, staple black jeans and finished with a black belt. Everything in these looks is just added onto this same outfit.

Cozy Winter Vibes

Stay warm while looking cool.

For this look, I added a fluffy shawl collared cream vest* underneath an oversized leather jacket* to create an edgy Winter vibe, without adding too much bulk to the look. I’m carrying my staple black handbag that can be worn as both a shoulder bag or a cross body, and completed the look with black leather hiking-look booties with cream faux fur accents. Wear this look walking around the city during the day or out to happy hour or date night in the evening, while staying warm and looking cool.

Edgy Casual

When you have comfy shoes and a backpack, you could go anywhere!

For this look, I started with a fitted leather jacket* (this one has a faux hoodie insert, but feel free to just add a regular black or colored hooded jacket underneath). I added a pom beanie to stay warm and a backpack to carry all your essentials easily, all day long! I completed the outfit with leather combat boots for an edgy yet comfortable look, perfect for all-day wear. Wear this outfit to an amusement park, or anywhere really. When you have comfy shoes and a backpack, you could go anywhere!

A Pop of Color

I can say, I do wear a TON of black, but sometimes I need something with a little more LIFE to it!

Who doesn’t love a little color in their wardrobe! I can say, I do wear a TON of black, but sometimes I need something with a little more LIFE to it! I added a red wool peacoat* (I got this one several years ago, and it zips off into a cropped jacket, but I’ve attached a similar one) and decided to go with warmer neutrals for this look. I’m carrying a leather camel shoulder bag* and wearing camel suede heeled booties with cream faux fur accents. This is one of my go-to looks for date night in Winter, and I seriously love wearing this out at night. But feel free to wear this anytime you want a little pop out of the ordinary, there’s really no wrong place to wear this outfit!

Urban Ski Chalet

Making my way downtown, walking fast to the coffee shop, not the ski lodge.

With this look, I aimed for warmth, but also something appropriate for the city, since I live about 2+ hours from any snow. I’m wearing a cropped down jacket* with a large hood and fur trim detail, a basic black beanie, a cross body handbag* ideal for all day wear or an evening out when you don’t have a lot to carry. I completed this ensemble with some of my favorite buckled booties for a little extra metallic accent! (who doesn’t like bright silver buckles, right?) Wear this look walking around downtown with a hot coffee or to a casual evening dinner!

I hope you enjoyed these easy tips to spice up an all black basic look! Which outfit is your favorite?

*These items are unavailable, so I’ve tagged similar items.

DIY Christmas Gifts

DIY Christmas Gifts

Some years I go crazy with the gifts during Christmas, and end up with a lot of debt in the new year, but this year is different. I love my friends and family so so much, but my “love language” is definitely spending time with my loved ones or spending time making them something they will truly enjoy, rather than just giving them random useless things because “it’s the thought that counts.”

I thought I would share some tips for gifts you can make for your friends and family that they will love, as well as some that are budget friendly!

  1. A Statement-A-Day Jar: This year for B’s birthday I made him a jar filled with 365 notes that included different sayings, things I loved about him, things I wanted to do with him, and memories or funny anecdotes we shared throughout the past year. This really is such a great gift idea, because they will have something to open every single day until the next year.
    •  What you’ll need: 
      • 1 large jar (I recommend this 64oz. jar for the size)
      • Ribbon (I used this to put at the top of the jar so it looked “finished;” you may have this laying around your house, or you can pick up from the 99c store)
      • Gift Bag (A gift bag is easier to wrap the jar with, than wrapping paper, but you can do either; you can pick this up from the 99c store)
      • Tissue Paper (I use this to fill the gift bag with; you can pick this up from the 99c store)
      • Stationary Paper (I chose this Christmas one, but they have so many other decorative papers online or at Joann Crafts or Michael’s)
      • Pen (I love these felt tipped pens with different colors, but a regular pen or Sharpie works just fine too!)
      • Scissors (I cut the paper into strips 1″ x 3″, so you will get 12 strips for every sheet of the 6″ x 6″ paper I linked above)
      • Time! This project took me several hours, making sure I had enough topics to write down as well as counting and re-counting the papers to make sure I had 365
  2. Hand Made Photo Album: I made this gift for my parents a few years ago for Christmas and it was so simple and appreciated! We all have our phones attached to our hips, which means we always have our cameras with us at all times, THEREFORE, you probably already have a ton of candid photos of your family and friends. To make this album, I took scrapbooking cardstock, printed out my favorite photos of them and glued them on the pages. I secured the album with ribbon and it was so simple. 
    • What you’ll need: 
      • Scrapbooking paper or Craft Paper (This will make up the pages of your book.) 
      • Glue-stick or Washi Tape (to hold images down; if using washi tape, I recommend sticking the corners down on a diagonal, or taping only the top and bottom with smaller strips.)
      • Photo paper & printer (or you could have this printed at a photo developer like CVS or online)
      • Hole puncher (use this to punch three holes in the side of the paper and thread with twine or ribbon to create a binding.)
      • Ribbon or Twine (to secure the book together, I’ve linked thin satin ribbon, because that’s what I prefer, but you could use curling ribbon instead (it just needs to be small enough to fit through the punched holes.)
      • Scissors (to cut photos out)
      • Sharpie (to write words, or make designs around the photos)
  3. Personalized gift cards: When I was younger, I obviously couldn’t work, which meant I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts, but I could gift “acts of service.” An act of service is a practical gift that enables the recipient to basically get time back for themselves. (and who doesn’t need more time?!) Since this gift is really up to you, I am going to list a few things you could “gift” your friends and family. However, in making these certificates, you could either create them on your computer using Photoshop or Word, online through a program called Canva, or by hand on nice cardstock.
    • Some examples could be: 
      • Washing their car
      • At home manicure/pedicure
      • Picking up their mail, groceries, dry cleaning, etc.
      • Running errands for them
      • Walking their dog
      • Bathing their dog
      • Pet-sitting
      • Cooking a nice dinner for them
      • Their sober chauffeur for the evening, instead of Uber
      • If you have experience: Wardrobe Styling, home organization, makeup application, hair styling/blowout
      • If you are knowledgable on a subject they are interested in, you could give them a 1 on 1 lesson
      • The list could really go on and on…

I hope these few ideas gave you a little DIY gift inspiration this year, especially if you’re short on time! Let me know what DIY or low budget gifts you have planned this year!! 

Are Leggings Real Pants?

Are Leggings Real Pants?

Well, kind of yes, and kind of no. Today, I am featuring 5 different ways to style your favorite leggings, from the office to GNO in a way that no one can contradict you on the whole “real pants” issue.

So, you may not know this, but I LOVE wearing leggings. There for awhile, I would wear nothing but leggings: to the gym, at home, running errands, to the bar, even on date night with B 😳…until I started my current job. Working in an office, instead of telecommuting, meant I needed to look a bit more “office appropriate” by wearing “actual pants”; but in my everyday life, I still LIVE in leggings! 

I have dozens of leggings from multiple different brands, and they are all amazing, but one of my favorites has to be the High-Waist Moto Legging from Alo Yoga. 

I own these moto leggings in 8 different colors, and receive compliments EVERY TIME I wear them!

Today, I am featuring both the “Black/Black Glossy” and the “Black Performance Leather/BlkG” and I have shown a few different ways to wear these leggings, although there really is NO LIMIT (Thanks, Cady Heron) to where you go, how you style, or what you are doing in these super comfy leggings.

Edgy Street Style

Ashley putting on grey tweed coat wearing black alo yoga moto leggings and a grey tank top and dr. martens pascal boots in black
Edgy Street Style

For this look, I wanted to build an outfit that was both effortless and comfortable for weather in the 60s – 70s (ie: California Fall/Winter). I started with the Moto Leggings, of course, and paired it with a black vintage looking tank top from Target.  I added a long, grey tweed coat from TopShop for added warmth and completed the look with my “oh-so-comfortable” Dr. Martens Pascal Boots. Now we are ready to hit the streets in style and comfort! (the grey coat I’ve tagged is not the one I’m wearing, but it’s similar)

  • Feel free to add another layer underneath the coat, like a hoodie or a textured cardigan and top off the look with a beanie to keep you extra warm on those cool Fall evenings! 

Athleisure – Chic

Blonde girl sitting on terra cotta steps, wearing grey off the shoulder sweater, black alo yoga moto leggings and black booties with buckles. She has a leather jacket over one shoulder and quay australia sunglasses on her head.
Athleisure Chic

For this look, I was going for my everyday uniform during Fall; “Athleisure – Chic”.  I love adding edgy pieces to my wardrobe, because that’s truly what makes me feel like my most CONFIDENT self. I started with the Alo Yoga Moto Leggings and paired them with a light grey, off the shoulder sweater (this is not the one I have, but it’s similar) and a free people bralette, so when my straps showed, my look didn’t fall short. I added a leather jacket and faux leather buckled booties (that I am currently wearing with EVERYTHING!). Wear this outfit everywhere from the office to date night without anyone batting an eye.

Sporty Spice

Blonde girl wearing red sweater, black nikes, and black alo yoga moto leggings, holding pinecone and laughing.
Sporty Spice

Feel both sporty and put together in an outfit that allows you to shoot that touchdown or dribble that ball into the endzone! #gosports 🏈

For this look, I paired the Moto Leggings with a red oversized pullover sweater, that I tucked in to create a more defined waist. *If you’re going into the office, I recommend leaving the sweater untucked so you don’t show off your bum to your coworkers at the water cooler. Add some sneakers to keep it comfy, and you’re ready for anything! (The sweater and sneakers are not the exact ones I’m wearing, but they are similar.)

  • To elevate this look for a holiday party or date night, swap out the sneaks for some heeled booties, and add a black peacoat or leather jacket and you’re good to go! 

Sunday Morning Coffee Run

Blonde girl walking along a sidewalk in a residential neighborhood, sipping coffee wearing sunglasses, alo yoga leggings and black booties with buckles.
Sunday Morning Coffee Run

I don’t know about you, but when it’s Sunday and I have to leave the house, I want to wear the coziest clothes I own, along with looking put together too.

This look is cozy enough to wear to the farmer’s market or to the nearest coffee shop ☕️ to pick up your daily caffeine fix, but it’s also stylish enough to wear out to Brunch with the family…or to bottomless mimosa Brunch with the girls 🍾,  however YOU do Sunday Brunch is up to you!

I paired the Moto Leggings with a white, long sleeve tee from Aerie and added a long grey cardigan on top. Grab your favorite oversized sunglasses and booties and you are Sunday ready!

  • (the exact tee I’m wearing is THIS, but they are sold out of the color I’m wearing, and the one I’ve tagged is great too! I own that one in 4 different colors!)

Morning Hike in LA

Blonde girl sitting on large boulder, wearing aviator sunglasses, aloyoga moto leggings, a green hoodie and green nike air max sneakers.
Morning Hike in LA

Are you an outdoorsy person? I love working out and lifting weights, but running and excessive cardio is NOT my thing, which is why I love hiking; it’s fairly slow, but intense depending on the hills or trails you take. I really enjoy being out in nature and working up a sweat while surrounded by fresh air and incredible views.

I figured for the fifth outfit, I would show you something a bit more “workout friendly”. Just because you are working up a sweat doesn’t mean you can’t dress at 100%, right?

I love upping my workout clothing-game by wearing cute clothes that make me feel confident, strong and supported for my workouts.

I paired the Moto Leggings with an olive hoodie that is cozy enough to keep me warm at the start of the hike, but roomy enough to keep me cool toward the end. Complete this look with sunglasses and hiking sneakers, and you’re totally Runyon ready!

  • (the sneakers I’m wearing in the photo aren’t the best for hiking, so I’ve tagged another pair that would be more appropriate and stable for hiking.)

Did you learn any new ways to style YOUR leggings for work or date night? How do YOU like to style your leggings? And what’s YOUR take on leggings as real pants? 🤔 I would LOVE to know in the comments!

-A


4 Tips for Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

4 Tips for Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

Whether you work from home, at an office, or as the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, maintaining a work/life balance is always a difficult issue we deal with. When you’re at work, you’re worrying about your home life, and when you’re at home, you’re feeling guilty for not working. 

I decided to make a list of a few tips to help you more easily maintain a work/home life balance.

  1. DO NOT multi-task at work: Did you know you could finish the same amount of work in 30 hrs (or less) that normally takes you 40 hours to complete? This is because you are multi-tasking, which is not efficient long term. When you’re at work, focus on one task at a time, and complete it before moving onto the next.
    •  When you’re trying to focus on the task at hand, while having 30 tabs open on your browser, and checking your email, during a weekend conversation with your coworker, you aren’t able to complete the one most important task at hand, but instead, you feel like a chicken with it’s head cut off bouncing from one screen to the next, not knowing what you’re doing or why.
    • When each project has a deadline associated with it, do you usually focus only on that project until it’s complete? This will free up 10+hours in your week to spend with your friends or family. Maybe that helps put it into perspective?
  2. DO NOT multi-task at home: When you are home with friends or family,  don’t spend your quality time with them checking email or texting your coworkers about a project you could’ve discussed at work. Doing this makes your family feel like a second priority, and you won’t be able to get the time back that you wasted talking to a colleague about an “emergency” that we BOTH know is not a life or death situation (unless you’re a doctor, then please, take the call).
  3. DO set a “phone free” time: When you are with loved ones, set aside a time to be “phone free”. This allows you to be truly present with your partner and to enjoy the time you spend together without being distracted by irrelevant issues.
    • When B and I go out to date night, or spend time at home at night, we have a specific time where we leave our phones in the other room and are completely present with each other to give one another our full attention. This allows for each of you to share your day, laugh a bit (or a lot in our case) and really bond on a deeper level, everyday.
  4. DO use your vacation time: If you have a company that compensates you for vacation days (or even if you don’t) take a vacation with your partner. Whether you are taking a “staycation” together or actually getting out of town, take the time off work to disconnect with the trials and tribulations of office drama, and reconnect and rekindle that fun or intimacy you had when you first started dating.
    • This is when you want to engage in “phone free” time too. 

I hope this helps you more easily navigate a work/home life balance! If you have any tips or tricks you would like to share, please let us all know in the comments! 

-A