The skincare struggle is real, people. That’s why it’s like, a billion dollar industry. And I am all for it.
I didn’t used to be. In fact, I hated skincare. Absolutely hated it. You know why? Because anything that adds ten minutes to my morning routine is not welcome. No thank you, sir. But then I became a college student, and my skin rebelled. Apparently as an adult, I still have teenage skin, because it is angry and oily and loves to erupt in acne right before important social functions, such as fraternity date parties, and my college graduation. Sigh.
So I got desperate and started trying everything. I tried my roommate’s put-toothpaste-on-it trick, I tried using spot treatments but all over my face, I tried moisturizers, Proactiv, Exposed Skin Care, everything. I kept playing Whack-A-Mole with my face: Every time a pimple popped up, I squashed it, and then another pimple would pop up next to it. Finally I knew it was time to get my butt into the dermatologist.
Taking the bitter pill
At some point, you have to suck it up and do an acne treatment that sucks for a few months before it gets better. I had cystic acne, which meant I had those awful monster bumps deep under the skin that won’t go away. My derm patted me on the arm and said, “We will beat this,” like I had some kind of horrible disease. And then we did. We beat the crap out of it. I knocked the thing out with Doxycyclin, a powerful antibiotic that I was very happy to stop after three months. The bad news: I had to start a skincare regimen. With prescription products. And because one of those products is an antibiotic, if I didn’t do it right, if I wasn’t consistent, the products would stop working. Eek.
The new skin workout
I told myself that I would rather have to take ten minutes out of my day to fix my problem, than face another cystic mountain zit. People face worse things. People have worse health problems with worse treatments. So why was I so frustrated? Maybe because it still felt unfair that I had to deal with this while other girls have beautifully clear skin. Bu that was stupid thinking, because everyone has their thing they need to deal with, and I’m lucky that my thing is skin. Because, hallelujah, I could fix it!
My prescription products include a daily face wash, an antibiotic lotion, and prescription Retin A. Beyond that, I mix it with other products to keep my skin feeling fresh, clean, and happy. No more angry zits.
My current skincare routine, with life-saving products
Some of the products I use are prescription, but for the ones that aren’t, I provided links!
Morning: I start by washing my face with PanOxyl, a benzoyl peroxide face wash. Then I apply prescription face lotion (this prevents the cystic acne). The benzoyl peroxide kills all the bacteria, which not only helps acne, but also makes sure my skin doesn’t get used to the antibiotic lotion that I put on after.
Sometimes I do see a little pimple starting to pop up, especially if I’ve slacked on washing my face, so I’ll apply a spot treatment.
Next is SPF, the most important step. I’ll put on a BB cream with SPF in it, or a primer with SPF, or I’ll wear a tinted sunscreen moisturizer. SPF is so, so important. Not just for preventing wrinkles, but also for preventing cancer.
Finally, I’ll usually wear a foundation specifically for acne-prone skin. Lately I’ve really liked Clinique! It gives me moderate coverage with acne-fighting, medicated ingredients.
- Face wash: PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash
- Spot treatment: Equate Maximum Strength Spot Treatment
- SPF/Primer: Dermologica Skinperfect Primer (note: this is expensive but worth it! If you don’t have the funds, there are plenty of dupes. Just make sure to find a primer that also has at least SPF 15…but SPF 30 is even better!)
- Foundation: Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup
Night: Remove makeup, cleanse face, then apply Retin-A (well, the generic version of Retin-A). Retin-A is a retinoid, which is basically a vitamin A derivative that helps unclog pores and speed up cell turnover. Mine is prescription strength, but you can find retinoid creams over the counter, too. Whether you have acne-prone skin or not, they’re super beneficial for improving lines and discoloration.
Important Note:If you use a retinoid, only use it at night (sunlight makes the ingredient stop working) and be sure to use SPF in the morning!
Once every few days
At night, sometimes I’ll use a sonic facial cleansing brush (like a Clarisonic, but a different brand) and a sonic face wash to give my face a deeper cleanse. I would never have tried a sonic brush if I hadn’t worked in beauty PR, but now I’m a believer. It’s like an electric toothbrush, but for your face.
I’ll also put on moisturizer every couple days, because even oily skin types need hydration! It’s easy to forget that when your skin gets too dry, it can overreact and start producing even more oil, causing more breakouts. I also have a lot of redness, so moisturizers help calm it the eff down.
- Face brush: Foreo LUNA Play (note: this is a travel size and not intended to be used frequently, since it’s not rechargeable! However, it’s perfect for trying out a sonic brush to see if you like it before buying a bigger brush.)
- Sonic face wash: Clinique Foaming Sonic Facial Soap
- Moisturizer: Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief
Once a week:
I love face masks, and I try to treat myself to one every week. Depending on how dry the weather is and how oily my skin is feeling, I’ll switch up my routine with a mask and put on an episode of This Is Us. And try not to cry the mask off.
I also use sleep masks, which are ideal for dry times. You just put it on, go to bed, and let the mask do the work.
- Face mask: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask
- Exfoliant: Dermologica Gentle Cream Exfoliant
- Sleep mask: Algenist SPLASH Absolute Hydration Replenishing Sleeping Pack
Once a month/Whenever I can afford it and I’m feeling rich:
Occasionally, I’ll get a professional facial! It honestly feels better than a massage. The Dermologica Skin Bar at Ulta Beauty is pretty awesome and inexpensive– you can even get the 10-minute facial for $10, if you’re like me and you’re short on both time and money! But really, it’s worth a splurge, because it’s your skin. And your skin deserves all the pampering you can give it!
There you have it…my skincare story! Have you overcome any skincare struggles? Let me know in your comments, and be sure to share your secrets to success!
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.
There’s also a matching passport holder if you really want to feel coordinated.
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.
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!
Pink Polaroid Camera, $69.95 (Cyber Monday special: $59.99)
The instant classic.
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.
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.
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!
I should probably get this for myself, actually.
Day Designer Planner, $59
Ughhhhh WANT. Want want want.
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.
Adorn Bath Bomb, $8
Help the woman relax, for goodness’ sake. Buy some bath bombs.
Insert their celebrity dreamboat here.
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.
Faux Fur Slides, $29
Slippers are the most diva thing I can think of. You can’t go wrong.
Sonia Kashuk Brush Set, $24.99
Speaking of gifts you can’t go wrong with: You can never have enough makeup brushes. Never ever.
Yoga Mat, $32
Also has a matching gym bag and water bottle! Yay yoga! Yay for excuses to buy cute yoga accessories!
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.
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.
For the thinking woman with a love for lists. All the lists.
Gallery Wall Art, range of prices
Collect art prints to get your creative friend started on decorating some inspiring walls.
Pantone Watch, $119
Anyone obsessed with design and color is probably obsessed with Pantone. Trust me on this one.
For the indecisive overthinker! This pillow flips, so one side says Make It Happen, while the other says Sleep On It.
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
I Want My Coffee Black Print, $5.99
Beauty and coffee in one. There’s a reason this scrub took off on Instagram.
I wish I were fancy enough to actually have a place to put sugar and creamer.
For the coffee lover who spends too much money on store-bought coffee.
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!
So you want to go on a road trip? Well, let me tell you, it isn’t as simple as it sounds…or so I thought. It’s super out-of-character for me to just up and leave for a weekend to a place I’ve never been, with no plan or budget to speak of. I’m normally a planner, an overthinker, a Type A to a T. I’m at my most comfortable when I’m armed with a strategy, weeks in advance, with everything going according to a plan.
My boyfriend has his own philosophy: Play everything by ear. No plan necessary.
This drives me absolutely nuts and probably causes 90% of our arguments, but at the same time, it’s the best thing for me, because he pulls me out of my fixed mindset and gives me the courage to do something spontaneous. And then it turns out to be easier than I thought.
Today, I’m sharing my own experience of going on a last-minute road trip, with some quick pointers at the end if you want to try it yourself!
Getting out of my comfort zone and into a 12-hour drive:
If I’m being honest, it was shockingly easy to just up and leave. Granted, I’m a college student right now, and it’s a lot more complicated to get away when you’re working a full-time job. Still, it was surprisingly doable. I told my professors and my supervisor at work that I needed to take a personal day off (we wanted to leave before the weekend started), and they completely understood.
Probably because I’m a stress case who is never, ever absent. Even when I’m sick. So. I’m guessing they were like, “Yes, please, for the love of God, give yourself that day off!”
Boyfriend and I got out some maps, figured out what was in driving distance, packed the car, and just…left. Just like that.
We had a few criteria when picking our destination:
- It had to be an outdoor destination, so we looked for national parks
- We wanted to go somewhere we’d never been
- It couldn’t be expensive
We ultimately decided on Rocky Mountain National Park, a whopping 12 hours away.
I was freaked out.
Figuring out what to do when we got there…
We knew nothing. Absolutely nothing. We went into the entire situation blind, except for the fact that Rocky Mountain National Park existed and it was open.
But that turned out to not be a problem. Once we got there, we stopped by the visitor station, and the ranger gave us recommendations for hikes to take.
And off we went.
Of course, hiking wasn’t my only goal. I couldn’t help stopping by the local coffee shops in Estes Park, the town at the park entrance.
But enough about me. It’s time to share what I learned, so you can take a last-minute road trip of your own!
So you want to go on a road trip…
When you decide on a last-minute getaway, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Use Priceline and/or similar websites to find the cheapest hotels.
We didn’t book hotels until we needed them. One day, when we were done hiking, we realized it was too cold to sleep in the car, so we Pricelined a Rodeway Inn that was five minutes from the park entrance. The deals you can find at the last minute are amazing. However, this also might depend on where you go and what season it is- we went during a less crowded time, so there was more hotel availability.
Find good podcasts to listen to.
A podcast will get you far. “Dirty John” got us all the way through Kansas. I’m normally skeptical about podcasts and audiobooks, since I have a horrible attention span when it comes to audio. I can’t sit still and just listen to something for an extended amount of time. But in a car, you’re sitting still anyways, so you might as well give it a try. And I was hooked.
Bring physical maps and trail guides.
Whether you travel to a city or a national park, you’ll need more than Google Maps. Partly because you don’t want your phone to die, and partly because Google Maps will not help you when you’re on a snowy mountain and you’re trying to stay on the path. Also, maps are fun. You feel like you’re exploring and getting somewhere instead of just checking an app to see how many more hours your drive will take.
Pack for every situation, but don’t overpack.
Bring layers, and make sure everything fits in a backpack and a duffel. Things like flannels, leggings, shorts, and more socks than you think you need because you’ll inevitably get lazy and not want to keep digging around to find a pair of socks. Colorado was weird because the Rockies were snowy and freezing, but then the city of Denver was a nice 65 degrees. I made the mistake of wearing my North Face jacket out to the clubs in downtown Denver on Halloween night…not my best fashion moment. Still had the best night, though.
Stop by a Wal-Mart for car snacks.
Car snacks are the best. THE BEST. And getting hangry on a road trip is no fun. Chowing down on trail mix and Cheez-its while binging episodes of Serial? Way fun. And speaking of fun…
Remember that the journey is the destination.
Half the fun should be the road trip, and this is a time to relax, reflect, and enjoy the moment you’re in.
Sometimes you’re feeling your creativity flow, and other times it seems like all you can do is lay in bed and avoid your emails. As a 20-something graduate student who works in the advertising/PR industry, I can relate. And believe it or not, “more coffee” isn’t always the answer…(just most of the time).
The Caffeinated Californian logo features a lightning bolt for two reasons: (1) It’s a nod to that jolt of energy you get from caffeine, and (2) It evokes the feeling of inspiration. I want to energize and inspire my readers, not just from coffee advice, but also from a serious place of knowledge and creativity.
Also (3) I love David Bowie.
All that said, I’m excited to finally write this post, because I’ve been in a bit of a rut for the past couple weeks. Grad school is no joke, and when I’m buried underneath a pile of papers to write, it’s hard to spend time on my creative outlets. I was spending way too much time watching Gossip Girl on repeat and playing Diner Dash on my phone at 1 a.m. Seriously.
Finally, after a spontaneous road trip to Colorado and some free time to sleep for once, I got my mojo back, and I’m here to help you find yours. Let’s get to it!
1. Give yourself a break.
This morning, I slept in until 11, which always makes me feel like a useless blob, but I’ve learned that you can’t beat yourself up too much for listening to your body and doing what you need to do. Cut yourself some slack and accept that it’s okay to feel less than okay. If you spend your relaxation time feeling guilty about relaxing, it doesn’t help anything. Take a break, maybe even a whole day off. Perfectly okay.
2. Do something for someone else.
When your work is bogging you down, it’s time to stop and redirect your attention to someone or something else that deserves your focus. When was the last time you sent a thank you note (other than for a job interview or recommendation letter)? When was the last time you complimented a friend (other than on their Instagram post)? I’m guilty of focusing too much on my work and not enough on the people and causes I care about.
We all know the whole “What goes around, comes around” mantra, and we know that doing good things = feeling good about yourself. But I’m still amazed every time all over again how much of a difference it makes in my outlook on everything. When you know you’ve made a positive impact, it comes right back and makes a positive impact on your attitude.
3. Get your thoughts out of your head and into the physical world.
If you’re a writer, start drawing on a whiteboard or easel. If you’re a dancer, stop watching choreography videos on YouTube and start dancing in the studio. Whatever it takes to get ideas into the tangible, tactile world– even if you’re just doodling or striking a pose on the yoga mat. Studies have shown that getting off your computer and getting onto a notebook can make a huge difference. Sometimes, I even start my blog posts by jotting ideas in a notepad.
Side note: My favorite phrase in grad school is “studies have shown.” So vague, and so authoritative at the same time. Everyone just accepts it. It’s magical.
4. Give yourself a beauty treatment.
This one is a pretty typical piece of advice that I give out, and sounds like such a superficial, temporary solution. But this is not the time for making major lifestyle changes. This is a rut. And with ruts, the small steps are what matter. A manicure or facial, or even a ridiculously hot shower, are all things that seem doable when all you want to do is sit in bed.
5. Plan something fun.
As important as it is to live in the now, getting excited about something in the future can be a powerful way to jump-start your positive energy. The holidays are coming up, and it’s an ideal time for fun get-togethers or getaways. Plan a friendsgiving, or a birthday, or even a weekend vacation. Bonus: You’ll still feel like you did something productive!
6. Connect with someone who inspires you.
For me, it can be one of my professors, a past career mentor, or a trusted older friend. It could be someone you know, or someone you found on LinkedIn. Reaching out can feel kinda scary, but it’s so incredibly worth it when you get crazy good advice. You’ll also be surprised how willing (and even excited) people are to offer their perspective.
I spent today sitting in my living room in my sweats and searching for potential people to reach out for career advice. But guess what? I was networking. Who else can say they were networking on a Friday afternoon with Gossip Girl on in the background?
7. Learn something new.
We live in the age of Google and YouTube, where you can develop basically any new skill you want from the comfort of your bed. This is particularly useful when you’re feeling like a slug and don’t have the motivation to get out of bed. Google Analytics, for example, offers free certifications. Obviously this is on the nerd side, which isn’t everyone’s style, so yoga classes and cooking recipes count too. It can be a beauty tutorial, for all I care. Life skills, people!
8. Create a “smile file” for a self-boost.
I picked up on this tip when I interned at a big PR agency and got overly stressed out every day. Sometimes you feel like you fail ten times a day, and during those times, it’s hard not to feel like you’re doing the wrong thing or you’re in the wrong city or have the wrong career. During these times, you need reminders that you’re killing it, and this is where a smile file is handy: Keep a file on your laptop or in your email (or even a physical folder) with things you’re proud of. Maybe it’s an email from your supervisor telling you that you did a good job on something. It can be a project you enjoyed, a huge challenge you overcame, positive feedback from a customer, or anything else that makes you feel great.
9. Make a vision board or gallery wall.
I don’t mean on Pinterest. I mean go to Target, get a corkboard and some magazines, and go to town. You might be in a rut because you’re having trouble visualizing a lifestyle that inspires you. Or, if you have a creative project you’ve been struggling with (for me, it’s my master’s thesis), make a vision board specifically for that project. Putting together images that inspire you can help you see for yourself what direction to take.
10. Go outside.
The simple action of leaving your apartment can work wonders. A five-minute walk around your neighborhood, a park, the mall, or your college campus might make a world of difference in helping you feel refreshed and motivated. Even if it’s just a coffee run. One small step for Starbucks, one giant leap for your creative well-being.
What do you do when you’re feeling stuck? Let me know if you have any tricks or tips!
Do you ever daydream about getting in your car and running off to the mountains? Is this just me? Well, this week, I actually decided to go for it. I’m such a Type A personality that it’s super out of character to just up and leave, but sometimes, you just gotta get away, and this weekend was one of those times.
My boyfriend and I spontaneously decided to drive 12 hours to Rocky Mountain National Park…why? Because we’re going stir-crazy here in our college town and we literally picked a place on the map. Colorado, here we come!
Here’s the catch with last-minute road trips to the wilderness: Camping. Hiking. Limited access to showers. Which is great for a getaway, but not so great for a beauty-obsessed, sorta high-maintenance girlfriend. But I don’t let my boyfriend see me sweat (literally and figuratively), because I have my bag of beauty tricks. Which is just as important as the road map.
With dry shampoo, travel sizes and double-duty products, you can still look like a normal person even while living in a car or tent for a few days.
Scroll down for my must-have travel bag of mini beauty goodies!
For holding it all, of course.
This is a newer product that takes care of a few things at once: SPF, moisturizer, and a bit of light coverage. When you’re on the road, heavy foundation isn’t a priority, but you’ll definitely want to protect yourself from the sun and dryness.
You’ll probably need to cover up some serious undereye circles from the travel fatigue, but this product’s got you. Better yet, you can also use it to contour. BOOM. You’ve got a coverup and a highlighter in one. Bonus points: Apply it with the Double Duty Beauty Quickie Blending Sponge.
For when you’re using the communal shower in a campsite. This will wash all your germaphobe worries away. Plus, whenever I use it, the song “Lean On Me” pops into my head. Anyways. It’s great.
Don’t ditch skincare just because you’re ditching your regular life routine for a few days! This cleanser gets the job done: It removes dirt and makeup, moisturizes, and helps soothe redness.
A favorite essential in the cutest, tiniest bottle I’ve ever seen. Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you should skip your shadow primer!
With limited space for giant palettes, this mini one has all the essential colors in a small package. Stick to neutrals, and apply with your finger if you forget to pack brushes!
Sometimes you need a quick eyeshadow boost on the go, and I keep these in my purse even when I’m not traveling. You never know when you’ll need to swipe on some drama. Also works great in bar bathrooms during a night out.
This one’s pretty straightforward: Just one of my favorite mascaras in a smaller size. But I also stock up on my mascara samples (like the free gifts with purchase) because they’re the perfect travel size. Next time you get a mini mascara, save it for the road trip!
It’s a tiny, two-shade palette, but it works surprisingly well and fits nicely in your bag. Simple is best here. Road tripping it does not mean overdoing it when it comes to brow business.
The challenge here will be keeping your lips from drying out, especially if you’re flying or traveling to a dry area. Chapstick is a must, and the e.l.f. lip balm has the added bonus of adding color while moisturizing. And maybe the biggest bonus: It’s $1.99.
Another classic in fun-sized form. Arguably the most important item on the list.
Another great hair solution in a pinch– it’s a dry shampoo, but also a volumizer. I have such fine, thin hair that this is an absolute life-saver on the go.
And there you have it– your travel guide to travel beauty products! Do you have any must-have beauty products for when you’re on the go?
Growing up in southern California, I never experienced the fall season at full force. Now, in the middle of Missouri, I love nothing more than the crispy cold air, the gold and red leaves, the endless corn mazes, and the excuse for fall fashion and beauty. Well, and the excuse for pumpkin spice lattes. But you already knew that. And who really needs an excuse for PSLs, anyways?
What I love about the fall is the drama it brings. Halloween parties? Haunted houses? Hayrides? Thanksgiving break? Outdoor concerts? Football games? It’s all the prime opportunity for some dramatic beauty looks, and no dramatic look is complete without the right red lipstick on hand. Because when the leaves turn red and the basic girls start dressing as vampires, it’s time for your lips to follow suit.
In this Fave Five post, I’ve rounded up my top five lip products for achieving the bold red lip, with both mass and prestige products to pick from. Let’s rock ‘n roll, shall we?
- Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour: Chanel lipstick is iconic. So iconic that no respectable lipstick roundup would leave it out. It’s a classic for a reason– it makes you feel like Coco herself. After all, it was Coco Chanel who said, “If you’re feeling sad, add more lipstick and attack.” Wise words from a wise woman. Buy her lipstick.
- NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Kitten Heels: I love how smoothly this goes on, and you honestly can’t beat the $6.99 price tag. It’s sold in places like Target, so you can easily pick it up next time you’re getting groceries. An excellent dupe if, like me, you don’t currently have the resources to spring for Chanel.
- Ulta Lipstick in Chili Pepper 203: A deep brownish red that fits flawlessly into fall. This is my weapon of choice for hayrides and bonfires, and because it’s such a small, convenient size, I keep it in my purse at all times for when I’m seeing red and need to add a lip on the go.
- Kylie Cosmetics Mary Jo K Lip Kit: I first tried the Kylie Lip Kit when I got the holiday edition for Christmas (Santa gets me and my beauty needs), and I. Am. A. Believer. In spite of my skepticism, I wore the lip kit out one night to a Christmas bar crawl, and it stayed perfectly in place like nothing I’ve ever seen. For a long haul like Halloween or football tailgates, the Lip Kit is a lifesaver. Try it in this shade of true red.
- Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in F-Bomb: With a name like F-Bomb, how can you not buy the shade? This is a classic red cream color for when you need to summon your inner Marilyn (Monroe, not Manson) and bring the drama. F-Bomb is truly The Bomb.
Which lipstick makes you feel your most badass during the fall? Comment below if you have your own favorites!
Lip color: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in F-Bomb
Whenever someone asks me, “What inspires you?” I tell them literally everything. Which isn’t super helpful, I realize, but here’s the trick: I look for inspiration in the daily, everyday moments that would normally go unnoticed.
Of course, it’s obviously important to seek out new experiences. I love a good Lollapalooza weekend, or a hike in the Grand Canyon. But you don’t always need a life-changing adventure. Sometimes, nothing sparks the mind like a five-minute walk. Or an ice cream flavor. Or the country music coming from the bar next door. The packaging of a makeup product. The mall. The gym. The bubbles in your bath…or your champagne! When you keep your eyes open to the ordinary, the ordinary suddenly becomes the extraordinary. And there’s your inspiration.
When you keep your eyes open to the ordinary, the ordinary suddenly becomes the extraordinary. And there’s your inspiration.
To get you started on finding your extraordinary in the ordinary, I’ve listed a whopping 100 sources of inspiration you can probably find across the street or even your own room. Now you have no excuses. Deep breath, here we go:
100 Places to Find Everyday Inspo
A new neighborhood
Dreams (day or night)
Rom coms (with life lessons of course)
Full Kanye West albums
Full Beatles albums
Full Pink Floyd albums
Full Daft Punk albums
The weird part of YouTube
Reading the entire Harry Potter series from the beginning as an adult
Listening to a new music genre
A walk around the block
The Food Network
The fancy stationery store
Bath and Body Works
Free People catalogues
Netflix musicals (try Chicago, personal fave)
Community theater musicals
High School Musical
The bathtub…anywhere with water is good
Champagne. IN the bathtub. Double whammy. You’ll be writing novels in no time.
A frat party
Pizza. Pizza is always inspirational.
Donuts. See above rationale for pizza.
A blank canvas
Whatever new Urban Decay Naked palette is out
Pottery Barn catalogues
A blank notebook
Canned soup (hey, it worked for Warhol)
A new shade of lipstick
Lightning bolts (the inspo for my logo)!
Old books in general (Tip: Visit one of those tiny bookstores with vintage books.)
The self-help section of Barnes and Noble
The classics section, if feeling ambitious
Driving along the coast
Driving through cornfields, if in Midwest and cannot access coast
24 hour diners
Whew! So much inspiration, so little time…better get cracking and start appreciating your Walmart!
When it comes to a night in with Netflix and facials, I have the essentials. With combination skin, stressed-out pores, and a college lifestyle with a questionable diet, it’s not just a luxury to do facials once a week: It’s a necessity. Add in body lotion, nail polish, Chinese takeout, and Gossip Girl, and I’ve got a beautiful night in (that sometimes rivals a night out, TBH).
Self-care is real, people. And Spa Night In is not to be taken lightly.
I’ve rounded up my favorite five must-have products for the perfect spa night in:
1) Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor: This face mask is the real deal for pulling any gunk out of your pores. The main ingredients are white clay and salicylic acid– the clay extracts your pores, while the salicylic acid helps with acne. It only takes about 5 minutes for the mask to harden, so this is a good one to do on busier nights. I try to do it around once or twice a week, and it’s always my first step on Spa Night In.
2) Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief: After literally scrubbing the crap out of my face, I moisturize with a tried-and-true Clinique product. It makes me feel like I’m at a resort in Palm Springs getting a face massage and I’m all about it.
3) Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butter: Even though I’ve always thought “body butter” is a slightly weird term, I became a believer when I started using it during the drier months. Body butter is thicker than a regular lotion, and Bliss does it best. My skin gets super dry and even starts cracking once the weather gets cold, and the Bliss Lemon + Sage body butter does the trick to keep my skin soft. Plus it smells like pure stress relief.
4) Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment: Your face shouldn’t have all the fun– give your hair a facial too! The Living Proof mask is luxe AF and lasts a long time. If you use it once a week, you’ll notice the difference, and believe me, I rarely notice the difference when it comes to hair products.
5) Butter London Glazen Nail Lacquer in Rose Quartz: You’ve got the hair and the skin covered, so lastly we’re on to nails! Lately I’ve been obsessed with the shinier rose-gold polish colors as we go from summer to fall, because if the trees are turning gold, why shouldn’t my nails?
Treat yourself to a spa night at least once a week, even if you only take one episode on Netflix to do it. Have other ideas for spa night essentials? Let me know in the comments!
It’s never too early to start your dream career, especially when it’s a tough industry like fashion. The problem is, you have the catch-22 of getting entry-level experience: To get experience, you need experience. So how do you go about getting your first job or internship when you don’t have a previous experience? WHAT IS THIS CONSPIRACY??
What they don’t tell you is that you do have previous experience. Maybe it’s not an internship, but by the time you’re in college looking for internships, you’ve got plenty of valuable stuff under your belt, from school to extracurricular activities, to your personal passions and interests. The trick is packaging. Yup, packaging. It’s all in the presentation.
After lots of trial and error and Internet research, I was able to spin what little experience I had into resume gold. I turned my after-school retail job and my one year of college education into the first internship of my dreams at Note To You Little Sister (NTYLS), a San Diego-based online fashion retailer with killer clothes and an amazing brand story.
Here’s how I did it:
The internship search
Finding your passions and shooting for the moon and all that
It’s a rough time applying to summer internships as a sophomore. You’re competing with people who have eons of experience ahead of you. But I was both stubborn and stupid, which isn’t a bad combination when it comes to the gutsy experience of going for jobs way beyond your reach. Because guess what? You’ll get rejected, but you never know where you’ll get accepted. I applied to PR agencies that would probably not even give a junior in college the time of day, but what did I know? I just kept trying.
Tip: Start with what you’re naturally interested in, and go from there. Make a list of everything you want to apply to, even if you don’t think you’re qualified yet.
I knew I wanted to work in fashion, so I applied to big fashion brands like Free People, Nordstrom, and also smaller boutiques that I found on Instagram and just Google. I made a spreadsheet of all my dream jobs and internships, from ones I thought I had a reasonable chance with, to ones I had no business applying to. And I ended up landing one of the internships I thought I had no business applying to. You are not wasting your time if you really care about the places you apply to.
Standing out both visually and verbally
Knowing I had to stand out even more as a sophomore, and because I was applying to a creative industry, I designed my resume with some flair. I used Canva to create a gorgeous, personalized resume that was so unbelievably extra I couldn’t even believe what I had done. But guess what? BEING EXTRA WORKS. Job searches are the time to be extra, ladies and gentlemen.
(Are there any gentlemen reading my blog? I have no idea, to be super honest.)
Then, I had to make the content sing. Since I was focusing on fashion jobs, I focused my experience on fashion. My first job was at a local clothing store, so that was great, but I also had to connect my jobs as a cashier at the campus bookstore, a ride operator at Legoland, and a writing tutor. Not as easy. Yet there are so many ways to make connections– for example, with the writing tutor position, I described how I build relationships with each unique individual that comes in for tutoring, and connected that with managing client relationships in PR.
Tip: Think about how your experiences can directly apply to the job you want, even if it doesn’t seem applicable at first.
At your first job in Hollister (or Taco Bell, or wherever), you may think that all you did was fold clothes and operate a cash register. But there’s more to it, so don’t sell yourself short. You have experience working with customers. You worked on a team. You addressed problems and handled challenges that came up.
The cover letter
Being direct and being different
How many cover letters in fashion do you think have the phrase, “I have a passion for fashion”? I would literally guess that 90% of them. And the people in charge are tired of it. They’re also tired of cover letters that aren’t personalized.
Tip: Cookie cutters are for cookies, not cover letters.
When sending out applications and emails, I always, ALWAYS started with a personal connection to the company, and then made everything I talked about directly relate to what I could do for that company. NTYLS was founded by sisters, and operates with the mission of offering sisterly advice and hand-picked clothes. When applying, I told the founders that I related because my own sister and I steal each other’s clothes, and I genuinely loved what they were all about.
Fake it ’till you make it (in a good way)
Don’t have professional work samples yet? Make them up. I don’t mean lie– I mean impress the company you’re interviewing for with work samples that you created on your own as if you already worked there. For example, when I applied to places like Nordstrom and Free People, I sent a press release announcing Nordstrom’s new fall boot looks, with actual photos and links to shoes they carried. For FP, I wrote a pitch as if I were pitching Free People products for a holiday gift guide to an editor at Refinery29. And for NTYLS, the job I got, I wrote copy for an advice column I saw on their website. The devil is in the details, and you can show the company that you did your research.
Tip: Use your resources to look as professional and polished as possible.
I didn’t have enough school training yet to know exactly how to write a press release or a good pitch, but thankfully Google exists and you can learn a thing or two yourself! Be confident that you are capable of more than you know!
Show up prepared. In fact, overprepared.
I don’t actually think it’s possible to be overprepared for an interview. Beyond the typical answers to interview questions like “Tell me your greatest accomplishment” and “What do you think makes you different from other candidates?” I came in armed with knowledge of everything there was to know about fashion and NTYLS.
I made a list of fashion industry trends and my favorite bloggers, and scoured the NTYLS website and social media to prove I understood the company and meant business. During the interview, I referred to specific things, like a kimono I saw for sale on the site or an Instagram post. My interviewer let me know later that very day that I was hired.
Remember that you should have all the confidence in the world. After all, if you’re applying to internships early in the game, you’re already proving that you can think one (or two) steps ahead.
Coming up next, I’ll post about my experience in the fashion world, and how I eventually made the move to beauty!