Cold temps, hot products: Favorite moisturizers from head to toe

It’s that time of year when I regret my decision to go to a college in the Midwest! But only a little bit. The Midwest is awesome. I just miss being able to walk outside without crying.

There is one positive to negative degree temperatures, though: Beauty. When it comes to cold weather, the beauty industry has you covered. Dry skin? There’s a product for that. Dry hair? There’s a product for that. Dry hands? A million, gazillion, bajillion products that will make you wish for cold weather just so you have an excuse to put on lotion.

So I decided to have my weekly Spa Night with more emphasis on moisturizing everything. But moisturization isn’t just for a spa night: It’s something you should be doing pretty much all day. Which sounds like a drag, but if you get the right products, it’s amazing. Here are my favorites in each category!

And P.S., you get the best results when you combine these products with drinking a ton of water. I mean a TON. Like be a camel.

Okay, here we go:

Favorite Moisturizing Products

Hands

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Hand cream: Victoria’s Secret PINK

When the weather gets cold, my hands are the first to go. Once everything starts to crack, I know it’s time to get it together and start using hand cream. I have three of these Victoria’s Secret hand creams and I keep one on hand at all times– it’s easy to stash in my backpack, purse, nightstand, wherever. They’re gorgeous, they smell gorgeous, they’ll make your hands gorgeous. Or at least, less like you’ve just punched something.

Hair

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Hair mask: Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment

This. This is THE best hair mask I have ever found, and I’ve used it for the past two years. If it weren’t for this magical tub of happiness, my hair would be sad and limp and dry all winter. What makes it so special, you ask? If you use it once a week, it makes an actual difference in moisturizing and strengthening your hair. But the real selling point for me is that it still repels dirt, making it easier for me to go between washes. Hallelujah.

Face

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Moisturizer: Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

My skin is oily, but it also gets angry and even more oily when the cold dries it out. So I keep my skin happy by moisturizing with an oil-free moisturizer twice a day, at morning and at night. I love Clinique products because I trust the brand and the products on my crazy sensitive face, and the Moisture Surge is luxe AF. It’s more expensive, yes, but it’s something I use twice a day, and nothing makes my skin glow more. If you’re still on the fence, try the travel size for a lot less, and I promise you’ll feel the difference.

Lips

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Tinted lip balm: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm

Chapstick is boring. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm is not. I’ve been on the hunt for a good lip balm for a while, since my lips are constantly chapped, but it’s tough to find a lip color that looks good and stays on but doesn’t dry you out. Enter Burt’s Bees, champion of all lip balms. They have a tinted lip balm that you’ll actually want to wear year-round, not just when it’s cold. It comes in different everyday colors, and it’s sheer, so you don’t feel like you’re caking your face with the stuff. Plus, you’ll look like a goddess that thrives in cold temperatures when inside you’re really just ready for a day above 20 degrees.

Body

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Body butter: Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butter

You really can’t beat the classics like body butter. They’re classic for a reason. And Bliss does body butter best. The Lemon + Sage is my all-time favorite, and I’ve made it a habit to put it on every night after I shower. And then I put on my bathrobe and watch Netflix, and I don’t know if there is a time in the day that I feel more stoked on how I’m running my life. Anyways. Buy the body butter. Live your best life.


 

How do you stay hydrated and moisturized when it gets unbearably cold? I hope my suggestions helped! ‘Til next time, goddesses.

XO,

CC

Seeking Simplicity, Part I: Creating a minimalist closet

Welcome to Part 1 of my blog post series on finding simplicity! In my mission to start simplifying my life, in everything from my career to my wardrobe, I’m writing a new post each week on how I’ve started keeping it simple. This first week might be the hardest: Simplifying my closet.

Less is more. Less is more. Repeat this to yourself, and you just might be able to get through the emotional experience of purging your closet.

Well, it kind of worked for me, anyways. Which was nothing short of miraculous, considering the circumstances: I’m a total pack rat with too much sentimental attachment to my clothes. But this was precisely the reason that I wanted to start with cutting down on my closet. That, and also the basic fact that I’m just literally tired of having all this stuff. There is such a thing as too much stuff, and if you’re feeling what I’m feeling, I think you’re ready for a good old wardrobe overhaul.

We’re going to be shooting for what some call the Capsule Wardrobe. Various lifestyle bloggers have managed to cut their closets down to 40, even twelve pieces. A capsule wardrobe is basically a closet with your favorite versatile pieces that you mix and match. Sounds easy enough, right? Except not, because it totally sucks getting rid of clothes.

Or does it?

Here are the benefits of reducing your wardrobe:

  • You use less time choosing what to wear and more time on things that matter, like actually spending time with your friends instead of being late because you couldn’t decide on a damn outfit
  • It gets easier to define your style and what’s important
  • You can invest in quality pieces that you absolutely love
  • Selling or donating clothes you don’t need is awesome for you, the community, and the environment. Everyone wins.
  • SPACE.

Okayy, so that’s all fine and good, but what about the actual hard part of reducing your wardrobe? Here’s where I step in with my real experience and real advice on making those tough cuts.

Creating your capsule wardrobe

Step 1: Grab a laundry basket and start filling it with the first round of cuts. 

These will be the easy things to get rid of: Tops that are out of style, old t-shirts, underwear you never wear, sweaters that you like in theory but actually hate.

Step 2: Count the number of items you have in your closet. Then decide on a goal. 

My number was unspeakably high when I started this experiment, and decided I’d try to get it down to 50. That was ambitious of me, but you have to shoot for the moon, right?

They say the magic number is 37, but I currently go to college in Missouri and that number just is not fair with the number of coats and jackets I need. So I made a compromise and decided that coats don’t count, since this is really about my outfits and not what I’m throwing on over them. Choose whatever goal works best for you, but remember: Less is more. Less is more. Rinse. Repeat.

Step 3: Choose wisely.

Here comes the hard part. This time, start with the things you love: Your absolute favorites that you are obsessed with and would grab in a fire (note: do not grab clothes in a fire). These should be a combination of versatile, tried-and-true basics that you can always count on (your favorite jeans, a plain white tee, the LBD) and the more fun, fancy pieces you can’t live without. My list looked a little like this:

“Basics”:

  • Black leather jacket
  • DKNY Denim jacket
  • Blazer
  • My favorite flannel
  • Plain black Topshop t-shirt
  • Blush & black lace camisoles
  • Black dress
  • Dark skinny jeans
  • Distressed jeans
  • Leggings
  • Cable-knit sweater

“Fun”:

  • Fur vest
  • Vintage pink bomber jacket
  • Urban Outfitters jumpsuit
  • Striped culotte Loft pants
  • Graphic concert tees
  • Floral kimono
  • Metallic workout jacket (Victoria Sport, my latest obsession)
  • Bodysuits
  • My entire cardigan collection

You’ll be surprised at how fast you decide what your favorite things are and what you can live without.

Once you’ve zeroed in on what you are obsessed with, it’s time to tackle the things you’re less obsessed with.

Step 4: Make the deeper cuts.

Alright, we’ve had our fun pretending this whole minimalism thing will be a breeze. But then we look at that old Charlotte Russe top and think, “But what’s the harm in keeping this crop top?” I hear you. I am with you. I, too, think it is unjust to ditch the going-out tops. But going-out tops are trendy, and you can always invest in two trendier tops to replace the five you threw out.

Are you keeping that cashmere sweater because it was expensive and you keep telling yourself you like it but you haven’t worn it once in the past three years? Pitch it. Do you still have that dress from high school that you share fond memories with, but you don’t seem to be making more memories with it? Time to let someone else love it.

BTW, the more you get rid of/sell, the more money and space you have for sushi. Just saying.

Keep cutting down. Figure out what’s most versatile, that you wear most often without thinking about it. Think about the classics versus the so-yesterday-trends. And remember: LESS. IS. MORE.

Step 5: Enjoy your newfound freedom.

Even if your experiment seems like a complete failure and you’ve only managed to get rid of three things, I consider this blog post a success because I got you to reduce your wardrobe! Well, you got yourself to. I just gave you the moral support.

For more expertise on building a capsule wardrobe, Unfancy has the ultimate guide with beautiful resources and pictures.


Have you ever tried to create a capsule wardrobe, or make your closet more minimalist? Let me know how your experiments turn out!

XO,

CC

Low-calorie coffee drinks that are still 100% delicious

Coffee is a magical thing, but it’s easy to forget that we love coffee for the coffee, not for all the other stuff we put in it. With drinks coming out like the Unicorn Frappucino, we lose track of what made us fall in love with coffee in the first place, and start racking up a scary 600 calories per drink. I’m not normally one to count carbs, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and it starts to get problematic when half my dietary intake for the day comes from a Starbucks order.

As some of you may know from my Instagram, I often drink my coffee black. This is partly because I don’t always have it together and I run out of milk and creamer. But I also just learned to like coffee better without all the sugar. This has not always been the case for a massive sweet tooth like me. I used to be the biggest Frappucino fan on the planet. There was one point in my life that I got my caramel Frap once a day. I’d grab my grande Frappucino with caramel drizzle on top and head to class, feeling happy and caffeinated and just way too sugar-loaded. It had to stop. So I eventually switched to a vanilla latte, and then a skinny vanilla latte, and finally mostly iced coffee.

I picked up a few tips along the way:

  • Hold the whipped cream
  • Order it nonfat
  • Ask for sugar-free syrup
  • Use skim milk or almond milk (you can also do soy milk but I personally can’t stand soy in much of anything)
  • Order the “skinny” version (e.g., a grande skinny vanille latte at Starbucks)
  • Order the smallest size

General rule of thumb: Remember that the more flavoring and dairy you put in, the more calories build up. Keep it simple!

Okay, it’s time to give you what you came for. So without further ado, here’s how to keep it 100 (and under) in your favorite coffee orders. Please note that these are all approximations!

10 coffees under 100 calories

  1. Regular brewed coffee: 0 calories (boring but effective)
  2. Americano with cream: 20 calories (10 calories without cream…I find that Americanos don’t normally need much cream)
  3. Iced coffee with nonfat milk: 20 calories (60 with classic syrup flavoring)
  4. Nonfat cappuccino: 60 calories
  5. Flat white (a shot of espresso with steamed milk) using skim milk: 70 calories
  6. Iced macchiato (a shot of coffee with milk) using skim milk: 70 calories
  7. Skinny vanilla latte: 100 calories
  8. Cold brew with cream:100 calories
  9. Tall Caramel Frappucino Light:100 calories
  10. Skinny caramel macchiato: 105 calories (technically over 100 but WHATEVER it’s fantastic and deserves to be on this list)

Other resources:

Dunkin Donuts DDSmart Menu

Starbucks Delicious Drinks Under 200 Calories Menu

McDonald’s McCafe Nutrition Summary

Have you discovered any coffee orders that taste amazing without robbing your calorie intake for the day? Please spill the beans!

XO,

CC

Keeping it positive in 2018: How to bring a new attitude to the new year

2018 is coming. Are you ready for it?

I know I am. After what might have been the hardest year of my life, I am so ready for a new start. The funny thing is, 2018 isn’t a new start. It’s just a new number that I have to remember to write when I write the date. But it somehow represents a new chance to change something about your life for the better.

Not that we need an excuse to do that, but New Year’s gives us an excuse to do that with style. It’s not every night you can celebrate life changes with champagne. Or maybe it is. Shoot. I’ve been doing it wrong.

But anyways. My point: New Year’s is a perfect time to think about having a more positive attitude.

How do you know when you need an attitude adjustment? Is it when you wake up and realize you can’t remember the last time you woke up excited for the day? Is it when you break down into tears from one small setback (which may or may not include broken escalators)? Or is it when you just have this general feeling that you’re just not giving enough, to your job, to your friends, to the world, to your life?

Maybe you feel this. Or maybe you don’t, and you just want more ways to feel positive. Whatever your situation, I’ve been there, and I know the power of positive thinking sounds cheesy, but hear me out: It’s legit. Your mind is a powerful thing, and once you believe in that power, you can honestly do whatever the hell you want. This includes eating ice cream for breakfast, and having a positive attitude. Both very important priorities.

And as usual, I’ve got the details…


What you should be doing this year to keep a positive attitude

  • My analytical-brain twist on the whole “count your blessings” game: Whenever something happens that puts you in a bad mood or bums you out in any way, big or small, write it down. Whenever something good happens, write that down too in a separate list. Compare the lists. Did that many bad things actually happen, or does the good outweigh the bad? Were all the bad things that big of a deal?
  • When a challenge or crisis comes up (you mess up at work, you have a big presentation coming up and your team isn’t working well together, your boyfriend is talking to that girl you hate, you drop your pizza…okay, some bad examples in there but these things tend to throw us off), allow yourself to have a private mini freak-out session. This can be as simple as screaming for ten seconds into a pillow. Let it all out. Cry if you need to. But then you’re done. Panic time is over. And then you can focus on solving the problem.
  • Speaking of problems, there is a solution for all of them. Believe this. Make it your mantra. If you buy into the prophecy that there is a solution, you’ll be a lot more likely to fulfill your own prophecy and actually find the solution.
  • Figure out what helps you feel invincible. It can be clothing (I have this gorgeous floral print Free People kimono that for some reason gives me all the confidence in the world when I wear it), a song, a workout, a perfume, a photo, anything. It can be a combination of all of the above. And then keep those things close. I love the scent of rose, and I love skincare, so I keep a rose water face spray at my desk for a quick spritz whenever I need to feel refreshed and powerful. Sounds a little crazy but it works!
  • Heed the wisdom of Legally Blonde: Endorphins make you happy. I’ll let you finish the rest of that line, but the point is, get the endorphins going by exercising frequently. If you feel your mood dipping, take a 5-minute walk and see how you feel after. My guess is you’ll feel magical compared to your mood before.
  • Create a “smile file,” or a list of all the good things people have said to you. I have a folder with emails from my supervisors whenever they tell me I did a great job on something, and I look back at it any time I need a boost.
  • Surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible. This especially means keeping positive people close and cutting negative people out. If some toxic friend is bringing down your mood with constant complaints and anxiety-inducing behavior, distance yourself ASAP because you do not need that around. Even the most optimistic among us can get dragged down by pessimistic people if they let it happen.
  • Focus on a positive vision: It’s like they say with practicing a sport or doing well on a test. If you even just imagine yourself performing the perfect pirouette in the ballet performance, you’re already setting yourself up to do the real thing. Focus on believing in your ability to do what you need to do. Envisioning success and happiness will help you make it happen. Because self-fulfilling prophecies are a real thing and the power is all yours.

What you think, you become.

What you feel, you attract.

What you imagine, you create.

– Buddha (but also Pinterest)


Happy New Year and thanks for reading! I have a lot of things to be positive about, including this blog and all of my readers. I can’t wait to see what the positive energy brings this year. Cheers!

XO,

CC

Stick to your New Year’s Resolutions: 5 ways to start

New Year’s Resolutions basically never work. But when they do, it’s because we actually took real steps to change our mindsets. And the hardest part is figuring out how to take those steps. How will we work out more? How will we actually follow through with our grand plan to learn how to play the guitar?

In my experience, I’ve figured out that I need to set goals that are measurable and concrete. This goes for anything, from writing a paper for school or doing a project at work. I hate the term “SMART goals,” which appears in all my business management classes, but the management experts have a point: SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, which make them a hell of a lot easier to take on. Which is what needs to happen with New Year’s Resolution goals. For instance: Instead of “I need to work out more,” start with, “I will go to the gym four times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time.” Get it?

Using the logic of SMART goals and general human nature, I figured out how we can actually follow through with the resolutions we make. This post will tackle the most common New Year’s Resolutions, one by one.

Time to get resolving!

The resolution: Be more organized.

The strategy: “Be more organized” isn’t a very clear goal, so let’s tweak it: “Make 5 changes that take real action toward better organization habits.” Or whatever it is you want to do. These changes can be blocking out time each day for cleaning your workspace, or meal prepping before the week starts.

Blocking out time for cleaning was a good example. I’ll start with that.

I hate cleaning. I do. I feel like it’s a waste of my time when I could be doing something useful and creative like doing research for my thesis, or blogging. Like right now. I’m literally writing this post right now because I don’t want to put my laundry in the closet.

But decluttering IRL needs to happen if you want to declutter your mind and your work. You might not think you’re doing it, but you’re worrying about the clutter. In the back of your brain, in your subconscious, you are bothered by the papers piling up on your desk or the dishes piling up in the sink. So do yourself a favor and dedicate time, even just ten minutes, each day for decluttering.

Invest in the perfect planner. Not a good-enough planner, THE PERFECT planner.

Find a daily planner that works well for you. I cannot stress this enough. I found myself making disorganized lists for different things, from planning my groceries to figuring out my long-term project deadlines, and it’s easy to lose track and drop the ball on at least one of those lists. I created the below customizable planner to put everything I needed in one place:

cc daily planner graphic

Download this printable for free here!

Of course, you can always just go with a planner you buy at the store. And don’t skimp: This is something you will use every day, and it should have everything you want. Like a good boyfriend.

The resolution: Work out more.

The strategy: Invest both time and money in the gym and start in baby steps. Again, you’ll want to clearly define the goal: Is it to spend 30 minutes at the gym, four times a week? Is it to attend pilates class twice a week and turbo kickboxing three times? Depending on what kind of workouts you need amd enjoy, set a goal that seems both doable and challenging, with workouts that fit what you’ll realistically follow through with.

Remember that planner we talked about in the first resolution? Use it to schedule your workouts, and defend those workouts that same way you defend your time for work meetings. That way you won’t be tempted to cancel for things that come up.

Finally, put some money into it. Buy a membership. Get some fun new workout clothes, water bottles, and a gym bag. If you paid for the Zumba classes, you’ll feel more obligated to show up.

Be social. Once you keep showing up, you’ll make friends and want to show up! See if you can find a workout buddy, like a friend who already works out and could convince you to get your butt out of bed.

And once you become a regular, you might even be that workout buddy for someone else!

The resolution: Learn a new skill

The strategy: Like I said in my previous post about productive things to do over the holidays, the holiday season is a good time to start a new skill or hobby that you’ve been wanting to pick up. But we pick it up, and then we go back to our real life, and we drop it. Because when our working lives take over, hobbies suddenly seem a lot less important.

The key here is to treat it like it’s as important as working out or getting food. Because it is. You’re not a robot programmed to spend every waking hour on work or food (unless food is your hobby and you’re trying to figure out how to cook like the Pioneer Woman. In that case, I applaud you). You should be dedicating time to your own interests, and take them seriously– don’t just shrug off your desire to learn knitting or baking or yoga or coding as some stupid thing. Be nice to it. Respect it. Give it time. Let it become a part of your routine. Block off time and defend it, and you’ll find yourself practicing your new skill so much that it will naturally become a part of your life.

The resolution: Do more for charity.

The strategy: Of all the common resolutions, this one is my favorite, and also the one that gets dropped the most. When people are in the holiday spirit, they feel inspired to give, and then the inspiration fades when the Christmas lights come down. If you genuinely want to make a resolution to contribute more, here is what you need to do:

  • Pick a cause that you can relate with, whether it be the arts, the food bank, homeless shelters, a health-related nonprofit like the local Alzheimer’s Association office, a domestic violence shelter, a church, whatever you feel most connected with. If you choose a cause you care about, it will be rewarding and you’ll be more likely to dedicate your efforts.
  • Make a SMART goal related to that cause: “I will spend two hours every Sunday volunteering at the food bank.” “I will dedicate a half hour a week toward mentoring young women in a mentorship program.” “I will donate X amount of dollars each month from my paycheck toward the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”
  • Do some research and find local organizations/branches supporting that cause, and see what ways there are to contribute that use your unique skills and passions. I do PR, so I look out for pro bono PR opportunities– for example, when I was an active member of my sorority, I used my social media skills to help my chapter fundraise for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If you enjoy leadership, maybe there are leadership opportunities in your area. See what I’m getting at?

In my opinion, sticking with this one won’t be hard if you start connecting with the cause and regularly contributing. Volunteer work gives you a sense of purpose that work/school can’t always give you, and for those of you thinking about this resolution, I hope I’ve made a good case!


What New Year’s Resolutions are you making this year? Are they any of the popular ones above? Or are they more personalized? Sound off in the comments if you have any of your own advice or questions on being resolute!

XO,

CC

10 Productive but Fun Things To Do During Holiday Breaks (+Freebie!)

Okay, so a break is a break…but at some point you can’t help but open up your laptop again. Resist the urge to do actual work!! Instead, take the time to learn a new skill or develop your side passion. Sometimes, the best recharge comes from personal development. That sounded super lame, but whatever. It’s straight truth.

Here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Sign up for new blogs, newsletters, and podcasts.

It’s important to stay updated on industry trends, current events, expert advice, and inspirational stories. I subscribe to about ten different newsletters, which are a combination of daily news updates, inspiration, career advice, and creative boosts.

A few places to start:

From there, you can find more outlets specific to your industry! I follow PR Couture, a fashion PR blog, for updates on best practices and industry trends that are specific to my own career.

2. Learn basic coding.

I was always iffy on learning how to code, but then I was like, wait, it would be so badass if I knew how to write HTML and CSS and JavaScript and actually understand what the difference between each of those things is. I could be one of the #GirlsWhoCode!

Enter General Assembly Dash. This website offers free basic coding lessons, with fun projects that you’ll actually want to use, like a blog theme and a website. If it sounds intimidating, it’s because it is– coding was a scary, scary concept to me– but the website makes it super approachable and easy to follow.

3. Read a classic novel you’ve been meaning to read.

Ever tell yourself you’re really going to try knitting a scarf in time for Christmas, or that you’re definitely going to read The Great Gatsby instead of just watching the movie and pretending you’ve read it? And then you just never get around to it? Understandable during the busy work weeks. But no excuses now- you’ve got nothing but time, especially with all the plane flights and car rides of holiday travel. Do yourself a solid and read up!

4. Try a DIY project, be it a recipe, beauty hack or fashion trend.

All those projects you’ve been wanting to try but never had the time for? Now’s the time. Distress some jeans. Make your own homemade body scrub (like this coffee scrub that I recently tried!). Attempt one of those recipes you’ve seen on a Facebook video loop. Craft a letter board from a Pinterest tutorial.

5. Work on building your personal brand: Your website, portfolio, LinkedIn, blog, social media, any and all of the above.

Your personal brand is always a work in progress, but it won’t develop unless you put some thought into it. It’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile take the back burner when you’re not actively searching for a new job, but you never know when you will be, or when someone might approach you first!

Freebie alert:

I created a personal branding checklist that you can print out, to help you stay focused and get that shiz done.

Download the checklist here!

Personal Branding Checklist.png

6. Write letters. Not emails.

I love a good old-fashioned handwritten note, and these days, there’s nothing like getting an actual card and not an e-card. Plus it’s fun buying pretty paper from a pretty paper store. Don’t judge me. Just get yourself some nice stationery like the grown person you are, and write letters to people that you care about. It will make their week.

Pro tip: If you don’t already write handwritten thank-you notes after job interviews, you’re doing it wrong. Send the email only as a backup for the real deal!

7. Get the ball rolling on a new sport or hobby.

Always wanted to try kickboxing or knitting? Now your whole schedule is open. Once you get in the habit of a new sport or hobby, it will be something you can continue even when you get back to the regular routine. I started boxing over Thanksgiving break, and kept it up in classes twice a week at my campus rec center when I returned to school. Pro tip: Don’t let going back to work give you an excuse for stopping a hobby. It’s not hard to block off a couple hours a week for something that energizes you!

8. Go to the museum or zoo for some cultural experience.

The whole family can even come along: Go visit the new polar bear or the Monet exhibit. Museums and other cultural destinations are some of the best places to clear your head and feel inspired. Many creative and business-minded people get their best ideas from wandering around an art gallery or a theme park. It takes you out of your usual mindset, and gives you new ways of looking at the world. Plus it’s entertaining and just plain fun.

9. Clean out your closet.

Once winter rolls around, you start to figure out which sweaters you actually wear and which ones you can chuck. I like to sell my clothes at local vintage stores, and use the money to update my wardrobe for the spring. When I can’t sell, I donate. It’s great for your closet and for the environment, and possibly great for your wallet. Everyone wins.

10. Do some soul-searching.

Take yoga classes, start journaling, watch some TED talks. This is a good time to get to know yourself better, when you’re not distracted by the chaos of everyday life. It’s a lot easier to focus on mindfulness when you’re not busy answering emails or thinking about work projects. Once you focus on yourself, you’ll be able to better focus on others. Maybe you’ll find that you want to dedicate more time to volunteering this spring, or maybe you’ve realized you want to make a change in your career. Self-discovery sounds all New Agey, but it’s a real thing and it’s just as important as your “real” work.


I hope you feel more inspired to pursue different things this winter, and enjoy being semi-productive this season!

XO,

CC

Up your gift wrap game with these unique hacks

Gift wrapping is something that does not come naturally to me. At all.

My mother is a whole other story. She was somehow gifted with the innate talent of knowing what looks amazing (in all things from interior decorating to tree trimming), and gift wrapping is one of her specialties. Forget Santa or his elves: The best workshop is right in my house.

Over the years I’ve picked up on what it takes to hack gift wrapping and create some beautiful, unique presents that look like they come right out of a Free People catalogue. But I know the struggle, so I wanted to pass on some of these hacks to you. Here are some of the best secrets for wrapping presents that are as fantastic as the gifts inside!

Think outside the bow

There are so many ways to decorate a gift besides just sticking a bow on it and calling it a night. As much as you want to. Believe me, I know. But you can do better.

Collect interesting stuff you find along the way, from costume jewelry pieces to vintage holiday cards, and use them as decorations on your presents. I promise it’s worth the bit of extra effort to make the gift go a long way in style.

Combine textures

From lace to flannel, there are a ton of different fabrics that you can mix and match to upgrade your wrapping. You don’t even need to do anything complicated: Just tie a piece of lace over your bow and the present will automatically look 10X more chic. Like fashion, gift wrapping is all about being eclectic. You never want to be too matchy-matchy, and the same goes for presents.

Personalize it with bling

My mom likes to find charms and letters that have our initials, instead of just putting tags on each gift. Every year, I can find my present by the letter on it. Tags are for basics. Don’t be a basic.

Pick up the paintbrush

This artsy wrapping paper is actually just regular butcher paper with white paint splattered onto it. For some reason butcher paper looks cool as wrapping paper, and there are a lot of ways you can jazz it up- stamps, drawings, whatever. Tie it all together with a brooch and you have an elegant effect.


There you have it: presents that show off your newfound amazing gift wrapping skills! Now all you have to do is put them under the tree.

Happy gift wrapping!

XO,

A

Why you don’t want to be normal

nor·mal: adjective. Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Well, who the heck wants that?

Today I wanted to talk about why it’s okay, and even better, to not be normal. Because for our entire lives, we have felt pressure to be normal. But the thing is, being normal might be the most overrated concept on the planet. Because since when has a normal person done anything groundbreaking? Since when does conforming to the standards mean pushing something further and making progress?
Quick personal story time:
I’ve spent a lot of my life struggling between being the weirdo and being the cheerleading captain. I usually ended up doing both. High school will tell you that the two are mutually exclusive, but I will tell you that they are not. I was probably the nerdiest cheer captain there ever was. I brought my AP European History textbooks to practice. It should have been disastrous.
But because I was a nerd, I was a great cheer captain. I spent time memorizing cheers, poring over YouTube videos and creating complicated, dynamic routines with the same drive that I put towards my Spanish homework. I was the girl that always had her headphones on, and my love for music helped me learn how to mix soundtracks for the perfectly timed stunt sequences that I made up. Rarely one to be at the party every weekend, I had free time to dedicate toward making my team look its best under the Friday night lights.
I definitely wasn’t captain because of popularity, that was for sure. But the routines I created are still used by the cheer team today, 5 years after I graduated.
Same thing went for my sorority. Joining a sorority seems like the ultimate conformity, but under the matching T-shirts are the most brilliant, compassionate, genuine people on earth, and they encouraged me to be my weird self. One time, on the night that we held elections for officer positions, I stood up in front of the whole chapter and told a story about the time I stepped in wet cement and got stuck because there wasn’t a Wet Cement sign. It was a very low point for me. The entire chapter died laughing, and that night they elected me PR Chair. My ownership of my own dorky moments are what made me stand out from 200 women.
Enough about me, let’s talk about you.
So we’ve established that being yourself and taking ownership of the things that make you stand out are what will help you succeed as a leader. Still with me? Cool. Let’s talk about getting there. Because let’s face it: It’s not everyone’s first instinct to let their freak flag fly. If you want to work on embracing your unique qualities that set your apart, this one’s for you.
Here’s what you gotta do:

Let go of people who have criticized you for being different.

Some people will just live for taking other people down, and that’s not ideal, but it’s the world we live in, so you’re going to have to let things roll off your back. So what if someone thinks it’s weird that you spend so much time listening to musicals or going on outdoor hikes? They can go be bored while you develop your cultural sensibilities and appreciation for nature. So what if you dress up for class when everyone else wears Nike shorts and sweatpants? You probably have a better fashion sense and will be ready to rock the real world, while I will be adjusting to life without my yoga pants. The point is, people get intimidated when someone is unique, and you can’t let that stop you.
Surround yourself with supportive people, and you’ll find that you are so much better off.

Nurture the skills and activities that make you happy.

I actually kind of hate the word nurture, because it’s not like we’re all plants, but whatever. It makes the most sense here.
Make a list or draw out all of the things that make you happy. My list includes things like 80s music, helping people, beauty products, reading books, seafood, art, ballet class, and public speaking (yes, public speaking. Told you I’m weird. We’ll get to that in a second). Then, evaluate how much time you dedicate to each of those things. If you love yoga, do you go to yoga class as often as you’d like? Are you missing out on opportunities to teach yoga? See where you can do more to develop your unique passions.

Figure out what strengths you have that other people don’t.

You know the Pussycat Dolls song that goes, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” Make your own version of that song: “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend had a knowledge of Led Zeppelin like me?” Not as catchy but a lot more fun.
Here’s another personal example: I love public speaking. I think it’s a great time. Meanwhile, most other people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Therefore, this is one of the things that makes me not normal. But it’s also great, because once I’m in the Working World, I’ll be comfortable giving presentations, and one day I might be in a position where I’m one of those big-shots that give motivational keynote speeches at conferences. Boom. Weirdo wins.
Find your version of public speaking. Figure out what you can do that most other people in your field can’t. Everyone has something.

Find inspiration in fearless role models.

For me, it’s Kelly Cutrone, whose book Normal Get You Nowhere helped inspire this post. She’s one of the most badass women in the PR game, so there’s that. I’ve also been inspired by fictional characters, like Carrie Bradshaw and Blair Waldorf. Carrie made it cool to be a writer. Blair made it cool to care about grades and success. Not that I needed permission to feel okay caring about these things– but it helped to see my own qualities reflected in strong women, real or not. And then I became my own superhero.

Become your own role model.

Once you’ve embraced yourself and developed your strengths, it’ll be your turn to inspire others. Mentor a younger worker in your office. If you’re still in school, mentor younger sorority members or people in your degree program. Once you become an expert, or leader, or business owner, or whatever it is you want to be, you can pass it on to someone else. It’s amazing how much inspiring someone else will make you realize how awesome it is to be yourself. Unapologetically, one hundred percent yourself.

Cheers to being weird! What qualities have you learned to embrace?

XO,

CC

This DIY Coffee Scrub is the Perfect Holiday Gift

So I don’t normally do a recipe post, but when I do, it’s coffee-related. Obviously.

Coffee scrubs have gotten popular for several reasons, not the least of which is Instagram, but the important thing is this: It’s apparently a cellulite torcher. Not for real, but enough that it can help. Caffeine can eliminate the look of cellulite, while the coconut oil in the scrub helps moisturize. Pro tip: Exfoliate before you apply it.

There are a ton of recipes for DIY coffee scrubs all over the place, and I used the simplest one that I could find. It’s literally three ingredients that you probably already have!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp sea salt or sugar

Steps:

  1. Combine coffee grounds and sea salt (or sugar) in a bowl
  2. Melt coconut oil if needed, then add to the bowl
  3. Mix it all together and you know that it’s the best of both worlds (sorry, couldn’t resist the Hannah Montana lyric here)

And that’s it! Three ingredients, three steps, one amazing coffee scrub. Once you’ve made it, you can save it in a mason jar and give it as a holiday gift, or get in the shower and massage it wherever desired for about a minute in each spot. The coffee smells incredible, and you’ll find yourself using your coffee grounds every time instead of just throwing them away.

Note: Don’t let the scrub get down the drain, because it can clog! Instead, plug your drain and clean the scrub up after. You throw it out just like you would have with your normal coffee grounds!

Leftover coffee grounds can also be used for other skincare and beauty products, from facials to hair masks.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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It’s time for that post-Thanksgiving panic: Holiday gift shopping!

Just in time for Cyber Monday and the chaos that ensues in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I’ve created the Caffeinated Holiday Gift Guide. The categories are based on Caffeinated Californian personality traits: Traveler, Girlboss, Creative, Intellectual, Trendsetter, and Caffeine Addict, with curated gift ideas in each.

Warning: Lots of pink. This was not intentional.

ALSO NOTE: None of these are sponsored! All opinions and ideas are 100% my own.


The Traveler


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I’m Outta Here Luggage Tag, $10

There’s also a matching passport holder if you really want to feel coordinated.

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Carry On Cocktail Kit, $24

These come in different drinks, so choose your friend’s favorite! Just add booze. If you bring your own airplane-sized bottle, don’t show the flight attendant or tell them you got the idea from this blog.

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Scratch-Off Map, $26

These maps are gorgeous, inexpensive, and perfect for anyone who seeks out new destinations all the time. I actually have one of these in my room, and I’ve taken it with me everywhere I’ve moved because it’s so fun scratching off all the places I go!

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Pink Polaroid Camera, $69.95 (Cyber Monday special: $59.99)

The instant classic.

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Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Face Mist, $32

After all the plane flights I’ve taken, I can say with full confidence that any frequent flier would kill for this face mist. I haven’t quite mastered the art of glamorous travel, but this mist is a step in the right direction, and perfect for your travel buddy.

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Parks Project Apparel, range of prices

Every purchase helps support a project in a national park, making this gift probably the coolest one on the list.


The Girlboss


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I Am Very Busy Pencil Case, $12

I saw a girl at work with this case and I have envied her ever since.

Bonus: Fill it with the Like a Boss Pencil Set, $10!

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Personalized Stationery, $14

I should probably get this for myself, actually.

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Day Designer Planner, $59

Ughhhhh WANT. Want want want.

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Boss Lady Coffee Mug, $20

For some glam on the go. I need to stop making this gift guide or I’ll start buying everything for myself.

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Adorn Bath Bomb, $8

Help the woman relax, for goodness’ sake. Buy some bath bombs.


The Trendsetter


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Personalized Eye Mask, $11

Insert their celebrity dreamboat here.

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Kate Spade New York: All In Good Taste, $21.61

Coffee table books are the ultimate gift, because no one goes and buys them on their own, but everyone wants them. They’re chic, Instagrammable, and super fun to read. Here are more ideas for coffee table books on Refinery29.

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Faux Fur Slides, $29

Slippers are the most diva thing I can think of. You can’t go wrong.

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Sonia Kashuk Brush Set, $24.99

Speaking of gifts you can’t go wrong with: You can never have enough makeup brushes. Never ever.

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Yoga Mat, $32

Also has a matching gym bag and water bottle! Yay yoga! Yay for excuses to buy cute yoga accessories!

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Victoria’s Secret Tease Rollerball, $18 (on sale for $6 as of post date)

My absolute favorite thing to stash in my purse. This one is great for a stocking stuffer.


The Creative


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Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, $54 (on sale right now for $27!)

If you want to be the best friend ever, and I mean THE BEST friend ever, this is the palette. Creative types love their dramatic eyeshadow. I should know.

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Lists Make Me Happy Notebook, $12

For the thinking woman with a love for lists. All the lists.

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Gallery Wall Art, range of prices

Collect art prints to get your creative friend started on decorating some inspiring walls.

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Pantone Watch, $119

Anyone obsessed with design and color is probably obsessed with Pantone. Trust me on this one.

Split Decision Throw Pillow, $24

For the indecisive overthinker! This pillow flips, so one side says Make It Happen, while the other says Sleep On It.

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Letter Board, $50

For whenever they need to make a statement or feel inspired. Could also work for the Caffeine Addict, which leads us into our last category…


The Caffeine Addict


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I Want My Coffee Black Print, $5.99

Enough said.

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The Original Coffee Scrub, $13.56 (or DIY it!)

Beauty and coffee in one. There’s a reason this scrub took off on Instagram.

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Kate Spade Sugar and Creamer Set, $29

I wish I were fancy enough to actually have a place to put sugar and creamer.

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Eileen 8-Cup French Press, $50

For the coffee lover who spends too much money on store-bought coffee.

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Starbucks Gift Card, range of prices

For the coffee lover who spends too much money on store-bought coffee, and you want to enable them.


Whew, that was a lot to get through! I hope this list took away at least some of that post-Thanksgiving stress. Happy holiday shopping!

XO,

CC