It’s Self-Improvement Month! Here are easy(ish) ways I’m trying to be a better human being

This morning, something made me feel like going on a run. It was a super bizarre feeling, considering I dislike running. I dislike it very much. When I run, all I can think about is not running. But for some reason, this specific morning I woke up and just…felt like running. So I threw on my Nikes and started my playlist and just casually went out the door and did a 5K without even realizing it.

Going on a 30-minute morning run is something that a lot of people do every day without a second thought. But for me, it’s a damn big deal. When I first moved to San Francisco a few months ago, it had probably been at least two years since I had gone on a run- and not like a 20-minute stint on the treadmill before kickboxing class. I mean an honest-to-God run outside where I run with the full intention of doing my best and going as far as I can.

When I moved here, I looked around at the Golden Gate Bridge, at the ocean views, at the beauty of my city, and I knew it would be a crime if I didn’t at least try to become a runner while I can run by the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. So I started by running for 10 minutes (yeah, 10 minutes, I totally sucked, okay? But like, everyone sucks when they start something, right?), and then for 15, and then for 20. I downloaded the Nike run app for motivation and before I knew it, I got into a rhythm of running 3-4 times a week, and I was getting farther and farther. After just one month in, I could run 5 miles and not die. I legitimately felt like an Olympic champion. And today I got up and ran 5K without even noticing it. In the next two months I’ll probably get to 10K, and then within six months of starting to run I’ll be able to run a half marathon. All this because I just wanted to give it a try.

This all brings us to the whole point of trying to do things like running, which is that we all want to be our best selves. We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves, whether we want to be better at our jobs, better at our health and wellness, better partners and friends, better learners. This is why there are so many industries dedicated to self-improvement, and you can probably think of a few things off the top of your head that you’ve spent money on for self-improvement- I know I’ve bought a yoga membership to get better at fitness and mindfulness, pre-made meals at Trader Joe’s to get better at spending less money on takeout, and even a subscription to the New York Times, just to do a better job of staying informed from a credible source.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the little ways I can be a better self- not a better version of myself trying to be like someone else (there is a DIFFERENCE people), but just a better me. A better Alex doesn’t necessarily mean better at sports or better at cooking. A better Alex means I take time to read more. I take care of my mental health. I spend more time on the things that are important to me, like my career and my family.

Here are some of the little steps I’ve taken (and that you can take) toward your better self:

Wellness

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  • Download the Headspace app to practice mindfulness
  • Start journaling, even just in bullets
  • Stop obsessing about things that upset you. Let things go. It’s fine.
  • Pick up all of the clutter in your room. All. of. it. Clutter in your physical space causes clutter in your brain.
  • Call your family.
  • If you have a bad headache, take an Advil instead of just sitting there trying to tough it out. You are accomplishing nothing. Take the Advil.
  • Spend more time just listening to new music and discovering bands you like instead of complaining that “there’s no new music that’s good anymore”
  • Reach out to a friend you’ve lost contact with.
  • Go on more walks during the day, even just a 10-minute walk in the middle of a busy workday

Fitness/Health

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  • Go on a run- even if it’s just a short run, it’s better than if you had never ran at all
  • Show up at the grocery store with a grocery LIST and have meals planned out (I have a bad habit of just running in with no plan and I end up making dumb purchases like frozen mac ‘n cheese bites)
  • Switch afternoon coffee for green tea
  • Drink more water. And then drink more.
  • Put at least one vegetable in every meal. No more popcorn for dinner. Or if it is popcorn, at least eat it with carrots?
  • Eat almonds NOT chocolate covered almonds FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST
  • Try a new fun workout once a month, like aerial yoga or hip hop
  • Laugh more! Watch more funny Netflix shows, go to a comedy night at the neighborhood bar, talk on the phone with your hilarious friend

Learning

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  • Learn a new skill in just one day- there are so many fun, free online classes that only take a few hours. Like this one on graphic design.
  • Stop by Barnes & Noble and buy an actual book. Yeah, books are like $15 but also how much did you spend last night on drinks? Okay? Okay.
  • Subscribe to a newsletter on something you don’t know anything about.
  • Go to a museum. Any museum. It can be the Art Institute or it can be a historic vibrator museum for all I care. You’ll learn something.
  • Watch a documentary or a “Netflix Explained” video instead of another episode of Sex and the City or Gossip Girl
  • Take a tour of something in your city that you’d normally ignore. I recently went to Coit Tower in San Francisco, which is a 20-minute walk away from my apartment, and it turns out the tower is full of these incredible historic murals that I never would have seen if I hadn’t decided to “be touristy.” And it was like $6.
  • Play games on the Peak brain training app.

Career

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  • Tell a coworker you appreciate them. It’s literally as easy as sending a quick “I appreciate you” over Slack or Gchat or IM or whatever you use these days.
  • Don’t do any work the whole weekend. Don’t think about work. Don’t try to work ahead. Just give yourself an actual break. (normal people do this anyways but I’m a workaholic so)
  • Raise your hand for a project that is scary and sounds like a pain in the ass
  • Speak up in a meeting, even if you think you’ll sound stupid. You probably won’t sound stupid, you’ll sound engaged. And anyways, why are you so worried about looking stupid? Stop that nonsense.
  • Spend a solid two hours a week just getting organized and doing administrative stuff. Like filling in spreadsheets or getting to Inbox Zero on your email. The stuff you hate and normally put off. This is the best gift you can give your future self.
  • Volunteer to attend an industry event, like a speaking panel or cocktail networking hour, which might sound like hell but actually could make a huge impact even if you just meet one new person.

Style/Beauty

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  • Read an issue of Vogue just like you used to when you were in middle school and high school, and you were excited about the different trends
  • Keep up with your skincare routine instead of getting mad at yourself when a zit pops up (it’s probably because you didn’t wash your face like you were supposed to)
  • Go to the mall more. Yes, go to the mall more. (Another Alex goal, since I have a habit of never letting myself splurge on my wardrobe. Which sounds great, but in reality I need more clothes and I forget how much I love Topshop). It’s okay to buy nice things sometimes.
  • Your eyelashes don’t have to be perfect every day. They just don’t.
  • Keep dressing up for work, even if you work in tech and you’re allowed to wear a sweatshirt. It feels good to look professional and polished.
  • Do your nails more. Plz.

Those are just some of the small things I’ve been trying to do to be a better me! Happy Self-Improvement Month, and holler if you have your own ideas for becoming a better you!

XO,

CC

#Trending: 4 of the best ways to stay on top of your industry’s trends

Whether you’re a fashion blogger, a social media specialist, or a publicist like myself, you’ll need to not only keep track of what’s happening, but also stay ahead of it. Read a random job description and you’ll probably find a bullet point along the lines of “keeps up with industry trends,” or in other words, you better know what’s going on.

This might be one of the geekiest posts I’ve ever written, but who cares? I don’t. I’m having a fabulous time knowing everything there is to know, and you should too. Be the person at the meeting (and at the party) who can step in with “Well, I noticed that a lot of people have been talking about the new unicorn Frappucino…” or whatever it is your team might care about.

Constantly staying ahead of trends sounds like a superhuman thing to be able to do, and it totally isn’t…but it will make you look like a superhuman, so let’s just go with it. Just like Batman gets his powers from his gadgets, we can get our trendspotting superpower from ours. Now that I’ve made an actual superhero reference, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead and move on.

Here’s the rundown on my favorite tools for tracking trends:

4 Ways to Keep Track of Industry Trends

Read up on trade publications & subscribe to their daily newsletters.

Every industry’s got its trade pubs- not just the normal magazines that everyone reads, but the industry experts that know what’s coming. Woman’s Wear Daily and Racked are examples of trade pubs in the beauty and fashion industry. Ad Age and Adweek are both important trade outlets in the advertising industry. The more specialized you get with your reading, the more likely you’ll be on top of what’s happening. For instance, one of my clients does augmented reality and virtual reality, and I got real up close and personal with the video trade media outlets like FierceVideo and Cablefax.

In an unexpected career move, another one of my clients is Eaze, a prominent marijuana delivery company in California, and I did not even know where to begin with the cannabis industry. I never expected to be working in weed. So I did a deep dive into the cannabis trade outlets (High Times, Cannabis Business Times, Ganjapreneur) and it’s given me the knowledge I need to know what will be relevant in the weed world.

Check out Google Trends to see what people are searching

Google Trends is GAME-CHANGING (they did not sponsor this post, btw. I wish). I swear it will make you a trendspotting wizard. It shows you the latest trending searches (today it was Miami Dolphins, National Dog Day, and Beyonce) and lets you search for the most popular trends by geographic region.

This is how you can find out that New Zealand is the country most interested in Fortnite this week, or the month that the most people searched for “summer nail polish colors.” Play around with it and experience the magic.

Twitter: Thank you, Captain Obvious

Yes, Twitter (and Facebook, and Instagram, for that matter) are obvious go-tos for exploring trending topics. But obvious for a reason: They show you what the trending hashtags are, and you can follow specific hashtags to stay updated. For instance, if you want to see what local bloggers are up to, hashtags like #LAblogger and #Chicagoblogger are a good starting point. This is probably the most natural way people keep up with trends, and also why influencers are so impactful, and it’s getting easier and easier to control what you see on your feed.

Do some secondary market research

I went into a lot more detail on this in my post on getting good at research, but I’ll give you a recap here: Dig up the dirt from good sources.

  • News sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Newsweek, BBC, Bloomberg
  • Blogs: Trendspotting.com, Trendwatching.com, or any blogs that a reputable company in your industry publishes.
  • Databases: Factiva, PEW Research Center, Mintel, Gallup, Nielsen, Deloitte, Accenture, U.S. Census data, Experian

Feel like a trend-tracking wizard yet? I hope my tricks of the trade will help you feel like the most informed person in the room. If you have your own secret weapons, share them in the comments!

XO,

CC

Starbucks + Beauty Pairings: Matcha-needed stress relief

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I’m stoked to introduce my newest series, Starbucks + Beauty Pairings! When beverages and beauty products share the same ingredients, I can’t help but put two and two together.

Today we’re sippin’ on the Starbucks matcha green tea latte, while we use the world’s most relaxing green tea sprays and scrubs. Green tea is an antioxidant, which makes it the ultimate natural skincare ingredient. It not only soothes your skin, but it also has anti-aging benefits, so it’s no wonder that beauty brands put it in products like face masks and lotions and Starbucks puts it in a latte. You can have it all!

I’ve been on something of a wellness kick lately, from going on longer runs to eating actual quinoa. San Francisco is changing me, people. I don’t know what’s happening, but I feel better, so I think it’s good? Anyways, part of my new lifestyle involves more matcha green tea. I always loved the matcha green tea smoothie at Jamba Juice (my tried-and-true hangover cure), but never actually drank green tea on a regular basis.

Now that I’m an Adult with a capital A, working a Real Full-Time Job, I haven’t had the time to take care of myself that I did in college. Or so I thought. Then I realized taking care of yourself doesn’t necessarily mean big life changes- it can just mean making little decisions every day that improve your well-being. Like going on a quick walk just to get outside. Or…drinking matcha green tea instead of my usual coffee.

Pair that with incredible skincare, and you’re on your way to Namaste in no time!

 

Starbucks + Beauty Pairings: Matcha-Needed Stress Relief

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Mario Badescu Facial Spray: This does so many things at once, it’s ridiculous. It can work as a primer, setting spray, and even hairspray. The aloe soothes your face while the green tea works its magic.

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MILK Makeup Matcha Cleanser: If your skin gets red, this one’s for you. The Matcha Cleanser exfoliates and calms redness. It also hydrates, a major plus for the drier fall and winter months.

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Green Tea Matcha Mud Mask: Love me a good mud mask, and this one has all the benefits of green tea: anti-aging, antioxidant goodness. I love doing a face mask at least once a week, and since I have acne-prone skin I’ll do an intense clay mask every other week (to exfoliate the crap out of my pores) and then alternate it with a soothing one like this.

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The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Wash: Tea tree oil is known to help clear up skin- whenever I feel a zit coming on, this stuff usually does the trick. It does a deep clean and leaves your skin feeling less shiny and more refreshed.

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Earth Therapeutics Green Tea Konjac Sponge: A beauty sponge with green tea in it?! Yep! Just use it with warm water like you would any other face sponge. It feels amazing and does double duty since it has K-beauty ingredients like charcoal. This one’s also on sale right now!


 

Hope you enjoyed my first installment of Starbucks + Beauty Pairings! Now go get a matcha green tea latte and pick up some green tea products so you can feel like an absolute wellness GURU without even having to run. That’s what I call happiness.

XO,

CC

 

Fave Five: Going for (Rose) Gold

I am such a sucker for pretty packaging, and it’s even better when the products inside are just as shiny.

As the Olympics came to a close, I wanted to do a roundup of my favorite rose gold makeup products, because owning the Lorac PRO Metal Rose Gold palette is basically the same thing as winning a gold medal in my mind. After all, you can’t wear a gold medal on your face, but you can come close with the right gold eyeshadow and contour palettes.

To get that golden glow on your face that Olympic athletes have when they stand on the podium, these are some of my favorite products. You can live your Olympic moment every day by going for gold in the makeup you wear.

So here’s my latest Fave Five roundup, featuring the shiny gold products that rock my world.

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Lorac PRO Metal Rose Gold Palette: This was a limited-edition eyeshadow palette that’s hard to find now, but it’s so worth the hunt. It’s shiny, tiny, and perfect. The palette has eight brilliant metallic shades that are somehow both neutral and stunning, so I have it stashed in my purse now at all times for both day and night. Okay, speech over, get your butt on Ebay.

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Grind: If you’ve read my Fave Five posts, you’ll know I love this eyeliner more than life itself. That said, this pink color is a new one that I’ve tried and it’s amazingly unexpected.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herb and Rosewater: For dewy, glowy skin, this spray is everything. EVERYTHING. I give myself a spray for hydration in the morning and at night, or use it as a setting spray. I’ll spritz some on if I need a boost throughout the day, too. It’s relaxing, smells amazing, and makes your face light up. And it’s $7.

Koko Kollection Face Palette: This has nice shimmering soft gold and satin bronze colors that you can use as highlighter, bronzer and blush. It’s super blendable and gives you a subtle glow (well, as subtle as a Kardashian face palette can be).

NYX Cosmic Metals Lip Cream in Metropolitan Night: This metallic champagne gold shade is a serious statement, but if you like a bold lip, this one’s for you.


Bringing home the gold has never been so easy!

XO,

CC

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

Fave Five: All that glitters

Happy New Year from your caffeinated beauty lover! To ring in 2018 with some bling, I rounded up my favorite glittery beauty products in this week’s Fave Five post.

I am obsessed with all things glitter, and I’ll take any excuse to wear it, so New Year’s Eve is naturally one of my favorite beauty holidays. Sequins and are mandatory. Glitter makeup is non-negotiable. So when it comes to my New Year’s look, I go all out in glitter eyeliner, glitter shadow, glitter nails, and even glitter lips. Is it too much? Maybe. But on New Year’s Eve? Never.

All that glitters is gold, along with my top 5 glittery beauty essentials. With the right gold eyeshadow and metallic lip gloss, you’ll shimmer all the way through the ball drop and shine in your first moments of 2018.

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1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Metallic Lip Gloss in Gilded: I’m not normally one for out-there lip colors, but New Year’s Eve is the time to do it. This glitzy gloss goes on as smoothly as the champagne goes down at a New Year’s party.

2. MAC Dazzleshadow in I Like to Watch: Words cannot describe how gorgeously pigmented this is, and it’s my go-to when I go for gold. I used to wear MAC more when I was a competitive dancer (our team was required to wear MAC for our stage makeup because it’s so heavy-duty and long lasting) but I recently started wearing it more for tailgates and other marathon events. Making it perfect for NYE.

3. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Midnight Cowboy: I trust very few glitter eyeliners. This is one of them. It comes in different colors, but my all-time favorite will always be Midnight Cowboy due to the name.

4. Essie Luxeffects Glitter Top Coat in Summit of Style: For nails to match your gold smoky eyes. Wear it over a gold base color, and it will not only look flawless, but also make you feel like a golden goddess in the first few days of 2018.

5. NYX Face and Body Glitter: What the eff is a New Year’s Eve without body glitter?

BONUS:

Loft Fit to be Tied Hair Ties: These telephone cord hair ties are trending right now, but that’s not the only reason I love them. They’re a sparkly step up from regular hair ties, basically an effortless way to upgrade the ponytail this year. I’ll take any easy upgrades I can get.

Happy New Year! However you celebrate, I hope you do it in style, because we are about to do this whole next year in style.

CHEERS!!

XO,

CC

The Story of My Skincare Struggle, and the Products That Saved Me

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!

Every day

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.

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.

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.

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!

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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A road map to your travel beauty bag

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!

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Kate Spade Scenic Route Tote Bag

For holding it all, of course.

DESTINATION: SKIN

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Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

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.

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Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer

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.

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Soap & Glory Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel

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.

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First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser Mini

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.

DESTINATION: EYES

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Urban Decay Travel Size Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion

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!

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Maybelline The City Mini Palette

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!

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Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint

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.

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Clinique Travel Size Chubby Lash Mascara

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!

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e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit

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.

DESTINATION: LIPS

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e.l.f. Tinted Lip Balm

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.

DESTINATION: HAIR

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Batiste Travel Size Dry Shampoo

Another classic in fun-sized form. Arguably the most important item on the list.

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Bumble and Bumble Travel Size Pret-A-Powder

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?

Happy travels!

XO,

CC

Fave Five: Rocking the red lip in fall

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?

Fave Five Lipstick (1)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

XO,

CC

Lip color: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in F-Bomb