Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Fall For Flawless Skin on a Budget





5 months between facials, several vacations, multiple plane rides, and a lot of time in the sun -- my skin was feeling dull, dry, and stressed out! I recently paid another visit to my favorite skincare queen, Toska at Toska European Spa in Charlotte for a much needed skincare revamp. With only two weeks left of summer and an upcoming change in temperatures it was time to reboot my skincare regimen. 

It's no secret that the sun takes a lot out of your skin - so, fall is the perfect time to correct sun spots, pigmentation issues, and focus on brightening and lifting (my favorite). However, today I want to highlight how you can do this on a budget because let's be honest, good skin comes at a price. Investing time and money into a good skincare routine can be a pain, but as I've mentioned before it's worth the hassle in the long run. Skin is the bodies largest organ, and it has the least protection. Everything we do in our daily lives affects our skin, right down to the air we live in. Ignoring these factors can lead to things like sun spots, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, acne etc. and I don't know about you but -- ain't nobody got time for that!! So, here are a few budget friendly things you can do to keep your skin looking flawless this fall season.

Skin Instant Lab

Skin Instant Lab is a skin analysis test system offered at Toska's spa that gives you an in-depth snapshot of the current state of your skin. This is a great starting point if you aren't sure what facial is right for you, and it allows you to monitor the changes in your skin over time. Your skin constantly changes, especially with season changes, so to optimize your results I highly recommend starting with this. For example, over the 5 months between my facials, my skin declined significantly in elasticity, however my pigmentation became better with the use of P50 PIGM400. This gave the Esthetician a perfect snapshot of what type of facial would be most beneficial for me that day. A SIL test runs $50. 

Mini Facials 

The perfect option for an on-the-go mama, working woman, or anyone who desires to take care of their skin but doesn't have $350 for a full facial monthly. A mini facial combines some of Toska's most popular services in one 30 minute treatment. So yes, you can do this over your lunch break! My favorite facial at Toska European Spa is the Brightening and Lifting Bespoke facial which is on the pricier end of the facial spectrum, however, you can opt for a mini treatment for less than half the price and still receive the microcurrent, mask, and oxygen therapy parts of that facial! That's a win, win situation if you ask me! 

Rotate your P50

If there is one skincare product I love most, it's the P50 in all forms. Trust me when I say, it is life changing and worth every penny the bottle costs. Switching up your P50 to Lotion P50 PIGM 400 is a great idea after the summer season as it balances the skin's pH and illuminates while treating pigment issues. Every one's skin needs are different, which is why I recommend taking the skin analysis test mentioned above, so I am actually rotating from the PIGM 400 to P50 1970 but I can vouch for the PIGM400 as my test results significantly increased in pigmentation levels after using it for 5 months. If you're not ready to commit to the goddess of all exfoliators, grab a sample bottle for a fraction of the price and test it out until you have an accurate read on it's worthiness. 

Brighten with Masque VIP 02

Insert infamous Kim K IG story screenshot with this mask layered over her face perfectly! We used this along with Masque Vivant during my last facial to hydrate my skin, lighten pigmentation spots, and reduce dark circles. The results are incredible!

Moisturize 

Probably the easiest tip to follow, but one of the most important! Just like the P50, I switch out my moisturizer each season too. Opt to layer SPF over top of your moisturizer, and watch the hydration from the moisturizer help skin cells repair themselves while replenishing the oils stripped away from cleansing. This fall I will be using Creme Echinoderm au Complexe Biomarin.


For those who are curious what the results of a facial at Toska European Spa look like -- here are my before, and after photos from my most recent visit! For additional skincare tips & tricks click the skincare tab at the top of this page.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Fall Wedding Attire: 5 No Fail Tips For Dressing The Part










Getting dressed for a wedding can be a challenge, especially if you are someone who hasn't attended many weddings in the past. With fall being a popular season for weddings, I wanted to share a few tips for looking the part during this festive season of "I do's". 

Fall is probably my favorite season to search for wedding guest dresses as the color palette generally consists of beautiful jewel tones, fabrics switch to fun textures like velvet and sequins, and patterns echo the change in seasons with vibrant florals. With all that said, here are a few tips to help you plan your guest of the wedding outfit accordingly:

1. First things first, check the invitation for dress code 

You will likely need to dress differently for an afternoon wedding hosted in a barn or outdoor venue, vs an evening ballroom reception. It is important to pay attention to this as you do not want to be overdressed, or under dressed. 

2. See if you can figure out the bridal parties color scheme 

While in today's day and age you don't need to worry about this too much, I personally still think it's best to avoid blending in with the bridesmaids. Often times couples will choose to post wedding color schemes on their wedding website so guests can be aware of what colors to avoid. 

3. Consider renting your outfit 

While there are lots of affordable options out there these days, if you've scrolled through Instagram for two seconds - you're well aware everyone and their mother is walking down the aisle. Meaning, being a guest can get expensive if you're invited to more than one wedding. Furthermore, if you're like me and always have champagne taste on a beer budget, renting a dress can be the perfect option for you! Websites like Rent The Runway can provide great designer options, at affordable prices so you can look the part without blowing your entire fall shopping budget on guest of the wedding dresses.

4. Accessorize with outwear 

Autumn temperatures can be brisk! Don't be afraid to dress appropriately by accessorizing your outfit with a coat. If you're wearing a short dress, create balance with a long coat. If you're wearing a long dress, choose a fun cropped jacket to make a statement. 

5.  Invest in versatile shoes 

Once you have the dress, it's time to find the shoes. I would suggest investing in a pair of heels you can not only dance the night away in, but one that matches the seasons latest styles so you can continue rocking them long after wedding seasons over. I have these in 4 different colors, and cannot recommend them enough for not only their comfort level, but versatility in styling too!

If you need a dress suggestion, the ruffled pencil dress pictured above is a budget friendly option age appropriate for all generations! It comes in 8 different colors, runs TTS, and includes a little stretch for comfort. 

SHOP ADDITIONAL GUEST OF THE WEDDING DRESS OPTIONS:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Ultimate 2019 Fall Bucket List: 25 Ideas To Try This Autumn










 Burgundy Maxi Dress // Espadrilles // Gucci belt // Bracelet Stack (use code CHEEKY for 30% off)

We are less than one month away from the first official* day of fall, and although I used to consider myself a summer gal, I think over the years fall has stolen my heart! I'm a sucker for cozy sweaters, crisp morning air, apple cider donuts, and the beautiful color show our trees put on for us! 

With the recent drop in temperatures in Charlotte, my fall meter has been going crazy! So in lieu of my current state of mind, below you will find inspiration on what to do this season to help you get into the autumn spirit. Here are --- indoor and outdoor activities to add to your fall to-do list!

1. Try making a homemade pumpkin spice latte 
2. Go pumpkin picking 
3. Take a scenic fall road trip to see the leaves 
4. Go on a fall hike 
5. Find affordable fall home decor at Homegoods
6. Make pumpkin cupcakes
7. Visit a cidery for apple cider and donuts
8. Go apple picking
9. Shop for all the fall candles
10. Make Hot Toddies
11. Attend a football game
12. Bake a harvest loaf
13. Take fall family photos
14. Roast marshmallows at a bonfire
15. Go star gazing
16. Getting matching flannel and do a mountain weekend with your best friends
17. Snuggle by the fire
18. Make a giant pot of chili
19. Take a foggy Sunday morning walk with the pup through a park
20. Decorate your front door stoop
21. Roast butternut squash
22. Pass out candy to trick or treaters
23. Shop for the biggest mums you can find
24. Visit the farmers market
25. Visit a brewery/winery in the mountains 

SHOP THE POST:

Monday, August 26, 2019

Jonathan Adler Inspired Blogger Home Office














One year in the making, and my very first home office project is finally here and complete! Working from home can be challenging for me, especially prior to having an office that actually felt like a work environment. When it came to designing this space, I knew I wanted to use Jonathan Adler as my inspiration. His designs are modern, glamorous, and eclectic -- perfect for the boss babe vibe I was going for. I really wanted this area of our home to feel mature, powerful, and visually inspiring to work within! 

My main hurdle with this office design was the simple fact that I didn't know where to start. Despite my expertise in being able to put outfits together and source different pieces from various retailers, interior design is just not my strong suit. Insert Theory Design Studio! I solicited Theory's help in putting this space together, and although the process was lengthy - I'm super happy with the end result.

Theory came out to my home, took a look at the space, measured off the dimensions and talked with me about what my vision for this space was. From there, they drew up several mood boards for the main pieces of furniture in the room, and either ordered my selections, or took the feedback to source new options or pricing that better suited my budget. 

Our second biggest hurdle was the fact that my office is actually designed to be a spare bedroom. So the first order of business was to make this space actually feel like an office. To combat the bedroom aura, we switched out the light fixture for something interesting and unexpected in a bedroom! While I would've loved to purchase a fixture off JA's site, that just wasn't in the cards monetarily. So, we sourced a gold sputnik fixture similar to ones on his site, but for a fraction of the price from Amazon. In hind site, I would've liked to rip out the carpet and replace it with hardwood floors to add to this -- but since this is not our forever home, we were unsure if this was an investment that made sense at this particular time in our lives - so we opted out.

I also really wanted this space to pop without losing it's natural light! To do so, we utilized a classic color palette of black, white, navy and gold to refract the light coming in from the windows, and added floor to ceiling custom drapes to draw attention to the light source. While the office is complete for now, I'd love to add some eye catching wall paper behind the artwork in the future, or potentially our next home! 

To see more of our home, click here.

Sources 

Design work // Theory Design Studio
Rug // Surya
Custom drapery // Window Magic Drapery
A-Frame Desk // PB Teen
Velvet Office Chair // Anthropologie
Artwork // Direct via Theory
Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig // William Sonoma
Triptych Gallery Frames // Framebridge
Brass & Marble Bookcase (not photographed - was on backorder) // Crate & Barrel
Eremo Ottomans // Wayfair
Console // Direct via Theory
Desk Accessories // Kate Spade New York
Floor Standing Mirror // Pottery Barn

SHOP THE POST:

Monday, August 19, 2019

Affordable Fall Fashion Under $40








With the start of fall just one short month away, and back to school season in full swing - I am teaming up with Walmart today to bring you an affordable and easy look for fall! Earlier this year, I shared these head to toe Walmart Fashion finds, and you all couldn't believe how good the jeans were; and to be honest, I couldn't either! So this time, I set out to find a pair just as good but in the ever so popular boyfriend cut. Boyfriend jeans are probably my most reached for, and most worn jean style in my closet. They are easy to dress up, easy to dress down, and mix well with high and low staple pieces. 

These are from Sofia Vergara's collection with Walmart (which by the way, if you haven't checked this collection out, you should), and come in at under $30! I am wearing a size 4 for reference, and they do run true to size. I have the hem of these jeans rolled down, but for a more casual look you can roll them up once. I paired them with a casual white t-shirt, and this duster cardigan from Sofia's collection, which comes in 4 colors with 2-day delivery. It's soft, super versatile, and looks great paired over a dress, or jean shorts as well. 

While I was searching through their website, I also came across this under $10 sweatshirt that I'm really excited about! I sized up to a Medium in it for a more oversized fit -- and again, it's another item that can be dressed up or down super easily! I'll be sharing a few more pieces I found on Instagram stories today (including a killer top for work), so make sure to tune in there to see!

SHOP THE POST:



*In partnership with Walmart. As always, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Everything You Need To Know About the Jordan Edwards Fitness Program









Alright, alright friends! It's time for another fitness related post, because that's been my most frequently asked about topic as of late. What is my routine? Does it work? How long do the results take? What do you eat? Today I'm answering all of your questions about the fitness program that helped me lose 4 lbs and 3% body fat in just 4 weeks!

What is the Jordan Edwards Fitness Challenge?

If you're a regular around here, then you probably saw my before and after photos of this challenge over on Instagram a couple weeks ago. The Jordanke Fitness Challenge is a 4 week fitness program complete with a meal plan crafted by fitness trainer Jordan Edwards!

The program consists of 6 workouts a week that alternate muscle groups daily. Each workout consists of 15-20 minutes of high-intensity cardio like treadmill sprints, stair master, or walking at a steep incline, followed by a series of weight lifting. Two of the 6 days are dedicated to quads, legs and glutes, while the other 3 days a week are focused on upper body strength with 1 day at the end of the week for only HIIT training to allow your body to rest and rebuild. Abs are also incorporated into the back end of three workouts per week, alternating days.

Time Investment 

I talked about this in my social media post regarding the challenge, but in total, each workout lasts anywhere from 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on which muscle group you are working. Days with abs are always closer to an hour and a half, while days without abs tend to run closer to 1 hour 15 min.

Financial Investment

There are different tiers you can purchase for this challenge depending on your meal plan preferences, but I spent $90 on the first challenge which included the workouts in a PDF file, as well as a coordinating meal plan for the duration of the program. I will be beginning my second challenge with Jordan on August 12th, in which I chose to do custom macro coaching which ran around $135. I decided to opt for this the second go around as I really wanted to be able to consult with her regarding whether or not my macros were where they are supposed to be based off my fitness goals, and to have the ability to adjust them with her based off how my body feels! On the flip side, what's different about this program vs many others is that Jordan actually offers the chance to win money at the end of the 4 week program for those who have the most significant changes! Winners are picked solely on her discretion via before and after photos submitted to her, and participating in sending the photos is completely optional (but worth it in my opinion as the prizes can be thousands in cash). She also runs mini challenges each week for things like Lululemon gift cards, supplements, and free entries into future challenges!

What does a typical day look like?

I found out about this program through a girlfriend of mine who had incredible results! I was inspired by her to join, and we used the buddy system to hold each other accountable throughout this last challenge. We start our workouts at 6 AM - beginning with the cardio portion first. Cardio is different daily, so some days we begin on the stair master while other days we begin with the treadmill. Regardless, we complete 10-15 minutes of cardio and then move on to weights. From here, we follow the guide provided by Jordan for each days muscle group, and then end our workouts with the remaining cardio (usually another 10 minutes). Weights are sectioned off into a main exercise, and a superset to the right of each main exercise. Supersets are not mandatory, however, we complete all of them and they are totally doable! While Meryl completes the main exercise, I complete the superset and then we swap until all reps are finished! This is also super helpful if you are doing the "gym" version of Jordan's plan as it can be challenging to occupy two pieces of equipment when the gym is busy (it's packed at 6 AM). On days that include abs, we complete abs after weights!

How long did it take to see results?

Every ones body is totally different! Some of the girls in the support group on Facebook saw results as fast as the first week, while others like myself didn't really start to see significant changes until about week three! Overall, over 4 weeks time I lost 4 lbs and 3% body fat by simply following the plan as instructed and completing all of the workouts! I took a two week break after the first challenge, and then came home from vacation and started the program over again! I have now completed almost 7 weeks of her workouts and am starting to see crazy definition in my quads and shoulders! Meryl is a much more petite female than myself, and saw incredible changes during her first four weeks, and even greater muscle gain during her second challenge with Jordan! Like I mentioned above, everyone will progress at their own rate - the point is that you're creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself that should hopefully carry on beyond the challenge. I should note, I continued my journey with Ro (personal trainer) during the challenge - meaning I worked out twice in one day 3 days a week during the challenge!

Is the meal plan easy to follow?

Girl, YES! It's so easy to follow and I absolutely loved what I was eating! I never felt like I was "dieting" or restricting myself of certain things, and I also never felt hungry - which is important because I'm a snacker! If you work full time, the meals are easy to prep on Sundays and take to work with you as well. Jordan also suggests incorporating intermittent fasting into your meals, and provides a breakdown of what time to eat each meal at depending on the length of your fast. Meals include things like overnight oats, protein smoothies, salads with grilled chicken, omelettes, avocado toast etc. Personally, I think the meals and accountability for sticking to those is a huge factor in the success of your results with this program! Something else worth noting that I really appreciated was a built in cheat meal on Friday nights! My hubby and I LOVE doing date night on Fridays and this allowed me to eat lighter during the day so that when I went out to eat that evening, I had room in my daily nutrient goal to cheat without feeling guilty! I used MyFitnessPal to track all of my foods, and saved all the recipes under the "meals" tab prior to the challenge so I could easily just click it and move it over with each meal without having to enter each separate ingredient for every meal.

Any advice for a first time challenge participant?

Buddy System

First of all, cheers to you for participating! The first step to a healthier lifestyle, is making a change. In terms of advice, I really recommend the buddy system! Even outside of this challenge, the buddy system has been one of the biggest drivers behind my motivation. It's also the reason I love personal training so much. I did this first challenge together with my girlfriend Meryl, and I truly think it makes a difference in how hard you push yourself, never skipping a day, and just to have someone to talk too who can relate to your experience! Ideas for people to recruit could be your husband, boyfriend, sister, friend from work, or anyone in your life that's expressed interest in being healthier maybe!

Using MyFitnessPal Efficiently 

 Something else I think makes things a lot easier is going through the meal plan prior to the challenge and adding each recipe as a "meal" in MyFitnessPal. Tracking your foods daily can seem like a lot of work if you're constantly having to enter each ingredient of the meal into your app manually. If you save all the recipes as meals, you can just click that meal and move it over in seconds when you need too! It also allows you the opportunity to put all the meals suggested into an "ideal" day of eating prior to the challenge to see if it lines up with the macro goals you've set for yourself! If it doesn't, you can adjust and swap foods out to end up within your goal prior to actually eating them! 

Muscle Massage Gun 

My last piece of advice is one that actually came from Meryl! It's a little bit of an investment, but I really think it's worth it. I was super sore after the first week of the challenge and just wanted to punch my thigh muscles with my first to get them to loosen up! Meryl suggested getting a muscle massage gun like this one. This is something she uses, and really recommends to help keep your muscles from being too sore to workout! I just ordered one myself and can't wait to use it this next go around! 

PS: If you have a killer sweet tooth like me, and want a healthy option to curb the cravings - give this no bake energy bites recipe a look! They've saved my life when the chocolate cravings kick in full force.

SHOP THE POST:

 

site design by kiki and co.