My First Time Trying a Sheet Mask| Alba Botanica 'Hawaiian Detox'

Today I tested out the Alba Botanica's Hawaiian Detox Sheet Mask. This is my first time using a sheet mask and I was really excited to find a cruelty free one!

Sheet masks are a product of the Asian skincare market, and while they have some really amazing and innovative products-- if they are sold in China they are (usually) tested on animals. I recently learned that  mandatory testing was lifted on some products, but I still steer away from many Asian products for this reason.

My first thought when applying this mask was that its super saturated, there is no rinsing required after using this mask as it is serum enriched. So that wet feel the mask has is just all that great serum. Most sheet masks are not for my skin type either, so I was excited to find this one.
Mini Haul: Keep An Eye Out For More Reviews

First Impressions of Burts Bees BB Cream

This past weekend I did a bit of drug store makeup shopping after seeing that Burt's Bees released a BB Cream. In the summer months especially I hate caking makeup on my face and have been in search of a cruelty free BB Cream. I attempted filming a little 'get ready with me' style video to show you how it applied, but  photo booth is awful at picking up on skin finishes. 

July Favorites// Mini Haul and Update

I feel like it has been forever since I have written a post, I usually queue my posts a few weeks before to maintain a nice schedule of posts since my work schedule is a little unpredictable. I'm currently sitting in my living room watching MTV's 'The Hills' marathon, this isn't a show I ever got into. I think I was a bit young when it originally aired, but I like having background noise as I work on other things.

One thing I want to announce is that I am now a Barklyn Grace brand ambassador, they are a "pup-branded" apparel company that donates a portion of their proceeds to animal rescues and shelters. Their dog themed products are adorable, and you guys already know from my promo page that I love repping companies with a cause.

Here's a picture of my first purchase from Barklyn Grace, I love the size of this water bottle. I need to focus on drinking more water and I think it'll be easier now that I can take 32oz of it with me at a time! It's on sale currently, but you can use the code 'LUXEBLOG20' for 20% of any of the items on their site.

Another thing that I have been obsessed with is my Bando planner. I love having a well organized planner, especially with the fall semester right around the corner. I haven't had a bando planner before, but so far I really like the design.

One Weekend D.I.Y.

I had plans to take before pictures, but it slipped my mind until I began painting the front of my dresser. So my apologies for not having a true before and after.

Much of my Grandpa's antique and old furniture now lives in my basement. It's been stored there for about six years now. After my Grandfather was hospitalized from a fall he took, he was admitted to a nursing home for physical therapy and rehabilitation. We moved his things out of his apartment and into our home, in the hopes that his stay at the nursing home would be short and we could move him into another apartment in a few months. Unfortunately that didn't happen and my grandfather passed away. Not a day goes by where something doesn't remind me of him, and all the stories and wisdom he passed on to me.

Out of the furniture that he left there was one piece that I always thought was pretty cool. A three drawer dresser, or a chest? I'm not sure, apparently I'm wrong for calling it a dresser... no one else in my family refers to it as such.

Anyway, when my Grandpa lived close by I would often clean his apartment and polish the furniture, this was one of my favorite pieces because it held random knick knacks, vintage photos, a short story my grandpa wrote, letters, and even a typewritten family tree that was written in German. The piece doesn't hold any value aside from sentimental, so I thought it fitting to keep.

Upon graduation next year, I intend to move into an apartment once I find a job. New York apartments tend to be small, as I'm sure they are in most places. But I figured having an extra dresser would be nice for storage. The dresser is pretty solid, and the drawers, although hard to move because of the lack of tracks, are dove tailed (which you just cant find nowadays... at least not in the price range of a college student).
"Before"... after sanding, and partially painted
This whole project was done, with the help of my Dad in two days. This is an easy weekend DIY for any student or apartment dweller on a budget!

The first thing we did was sand the dresser. We used cabinet paint, which doesn't require you to strip the furniture down to bare wood. You simply need to remove any shine or gloss. We sanded some parts down further to try to even out any dents or scratches. This was super easy to do with an electric sander.

Summer Internship| Haul

Now that my internship is complete I feel like I have a bit more time to breath. I really enjoyed interning and getting the chance to show off my editing and design skills. I was able to complete my 120 required hours in about a month, and I'm really happy I worked out my schedule that way. It was a bit difficult to rearrange the hours at my job to accommodate the internship, and it certainly didn't help my wallet but regardless I am happy I now have the rest of the summer to catch up. I would definitely recommend pacing your internship in this manner.

If you're just beginning your time at college or university the idea of an internship might seem daunting. I promise, it's not so scary! Last month I worked for a New York State Assemblyman, and I really enjoyed working in a field I am not overly familiar with. I helped curate a lot of his media posts, created graphics, and edited videos. These are all skills that pertain to my minor, which is New Media.

Your school should have someone to help guide you through the process of obtaining your internship, this person may have connections and reach out to them to help you get those hours, or they may guide you through applying on your own!

You might be asking yourself what is appropriate to wear or what should I bring to my internship, So I have compiled this post to address that.

What's In My Gym Bag?

I made a promise to myself that when the semester ended I would get my butt back to the gym. Last year I enrolled in a kickboxing program at a local gym, and went religiously for months until one day it just became too much with my schedule... not to mention my gym is 20 minutes away. I decided that this summer I would stop making excuses and go back.

A friend recommended this gym to me after she joined and had amazing results, I'm not trying to lose much fat, but rather gain muscle and I think this program helps me do just that... as long as I put the time and effort in. (But kickboxing is a great way to lose weight for those who wish to do so.)

I went back this week and the first class was brutal, but it made me happy to get back in there. I know after a few weeks of training at least 3 times a week I'll start to feel stronger and this will come easier to me. My roundhouse kicks are still on point though.

New Nightly Oil Routine

If you regularly read my blog I'm sure you already know that I am obsessed with Tarte's Brazilliance Self Tanner, it's something that I use regularly throughout the year. It leaves my skin feeling soft, doesn't irritate my skin (even on my face), and it creates a beautiful and natural looking glow.

Recently I have been trying the #BarSoapChallenge--- that's not a real hashtag but it's what I have decided to call the project. To summarize; my boyfriend thinks he knows a bit more about skincare than me so I decided to give his suggestions a try. You can find out if his challenge works here.
A New Addition to my Routine

#TheBarSoapChallenge// Testing my Boyfriend's Bar Soap Theory

My boyfriend likes to give me skincare advice... I love him, but I am very stubborn about my routine. Over the years I have figured out a system that works for me, so I don't really take anyone's advice about what to do for my skin.

I have had acne since I was about 12 years old and I saw a dermatologist from ages 14 to 20. After doing some research recently I read that dairy might be the cause of my skin issues. I gave it a try and have given up dairy, with the exception of a few dinners at friend's houses, and date nights. ---I don't like to dictate what people are cooking, or ordering as appetizers based on a dietary restriction that isn't really going to harm me if I don't stick to it. So once in awhile I cheat on the dairy free alternatives.

After cheating on Daiya twice in one week I suffered from some pretty stubborn breakouts. My boyfriend suggested trying bar soap, since, after all his skin is perfect and that's all he uses. No toners, moisturizers, gel cleansers (which is my standard), or serums.... absolutely nothing else. My boyfriend is blessed with good genes and has clear and relatively normal skin. I on the other hand, as you know, suffer from acne, but also have combination skin.

I was curious about his theory though. When I first started seeing a dermatologist they suggested I use Dove's Beauty Bar (soap) when I cleansed my skin. I never really saw a difference based on that switch alone... but six years later? What the heck?! Lets try it again.

I am currently testing out Tom's Of Maine Daily Moisture Natural Beauty Bar, which is a cruelty free alternative to the Dove one I tried long ago. The bar contains Olive Oil, which is something I usually stay away from with my skin type, as well as Vitamin E. I will come back to this post after a week to talk about the results.
My Tom's Beauty Bar