Natural Summer Skin Care Routine

Natural Summer Skin Care Routine

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how obsessed I am with natural skin care. I’ve been learning more and more about ingredients with natural anti-inflammatory, healing and hydrating properties and I’ve found so many new brands that I feel so good about putting on my skin.

That said, I just went in for my first facial of the summer at HeyDay, a no-frills facial spa with tons of swoon-worthy natural products in it’s shop. I get bi-monthly 50 minute facials and my skin therapist Laura knows my skin so well by now that I trust her product recommendations with my life.

Hey Day

Anyway, I needed to re-up on cleansers and wanted a lighter calming moisturizer for the warmer months (it is HOT and sweaty here in NYC!), and I’m pretty psyched about everything I brought home!

Of course, I had to grab another bottle of my Vitamin B Cleansing Oil. I’m on my fourth bottle and have been using this stuff for about a year and a half now. I use it every night to remove my makeup and it leaves my skin feeling like a dream. I love how it doesn’t strip my skin of moisture whatsoever like other cleansers.

As a second cleanse at night, I’ve been using this Grown Alchemist cream cleanser. I just finished the tube and was in love, but I wanted to switch it up for summer with something a bit lighter, so I’m trying out this Vital C Hydrating Cleanser from Image. It’s still creamy which I love, and the touch of antioxidant-rich citrus oils couldn’t be more perfect for summer.

The last two products I bought are from Herbivore. I was introduced to the brand because HeyDay gave me a sample of the Herbivore Botanicals Lapis OilOh, my, word. I used the sample sparingly for a week, and I knew I couldn’t live without it. I was weary at first because of the price, but a little goes a really long way, so I know this bottle will last me a long time. It’s perfect for calming redness, especially hormonal acne, plus it smells so soothing and the aesthetics of the bottle are top notch. Seriously too excited about this stuff.

I also impulse bought a small bottle of the Herbivore After Sun Soothing Aloe MistIt’s an all-natural, vegan blend of aloe, cooling mint, lavender and witch hazel to provide instant relief to sun-exposed skin. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t buy this because it smells like summer in a bottle.

A couple products I’ve been using year-round that I’m continuing to use the summer are my Image SPF 50 Daily Moisturizer  (BEST daily sunscreen I’ve ever used!) and the One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm. Can’t get enough of these bad boys.

Have you tried any of these products? I want to know what you think!


 

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PS: This post was NOT sponsored by any of these brands, besides that One Love Organics sent me their eye balm to try for free because they know how obsessed I am with their line. All opinions are my own, as always.

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Looking to refresh your summer skin care routine? Check out these natural products!

My Hair These Days

My Hair These Days

Hi guys! Wanted to share an update on my hair routine these days. On the product front, everything I use is pretty affordable. The place where I always splurge is on my cut and color. Currently, I go to The Drawing Room in SoHo for both. They always leave me with the most natural looking highlights I’ve ever had!

My current routine is partial highlights (usually two different colors) about every four months with a glaze to get rid of any brassy color. I think the trick to stretching how long you can go before getting a touch up is asking for paper thin highlights so they blend nicely when it grows out, almost like an ombre effect. I also use this TIGI Purple Conditioner once every couple weeks or so to enhance my highlights and remove brassiness (I really like cool blonde tones).

As far as day to day hair care goes, I really try to keep things simple. I wash my hair every three days on average, usually blow drying and adding waves the first day, wearing second day curls the second, and clipping it half up or throwing it in a ponytail or bun the third day.

Washing my hair is such a chore for me because it’s super long right now and I really hate brushing it out and styling it. So when I do wash it, I want that effort to go a long way. The main priority is of course to remove excess oil, detangle, and add softness (my ends get pretty dry by day three).

For shampoo and conditioner, I’ve been using the new Orchid & White Truffle Collection from HASK. They’re formulated with orchid extract sourced from Belgium and white truffle from the South of France, both of which smell incredible and rehydrate my hair with strengthening proteins. After the first time using them, I noticed a difference. Before I even get out of the shower and I’m finishing rinsing out the conditioner, my hair feels so soft and manageable. Best of all, they’re free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, drying alcohol and artificial colors. They also sent me the deep conditioning treatment from the line which I use every couple of weeks to target extra dry areas like my ends.

Post shower, I swear by It’s a 10 and my wet brush for tackling tangles. Next, I blow dry then style my hair with a curling wand. I like my waves to look really natural, so I use large sections (about 4 per side) and alternate wrapping away from my face and towards my face so they look less perfect and don’t turn into one big curl. I always finish with this Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray. It adds a ton of volume and texture I think it works as well as more premium, expensive brands. Not to mention, it smells like the ocean.

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Thank you HASK for sending me a complimentary set of the new Orchid & White Truffle Collection for my honest review!

Tips for Traveling Light

Tips for Traveling Light

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything packing related, and these posts remain to be my most popular, so I thought I’d get back to my roots! One thing I’ve learned during my travels, whether it be a month-long Europe trip or a long weekend getaway is how important it is to travel light. Not only is does it convenient and cost-effective, it’s just way more practical and less stressful. Anyhow, I suppose if you’re reading this, you’re already on board with my logic so I’ll get right to my tips for traveling light.

Open that weather app
This seems silly but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “I thought it was going to be cold, so I wore the same dress all week.” Check the forecast and check it again the day before you leave for your trip.

Plan ahead
The first thing I do before I even get my suitcase out is pull items from my closet that I think I want to bring and lay them on my bed. From there, I think about everything I have planned for the trip. Do you have a nice dinner planned? Instead of throwing in options, figure out what you’re going to wear. Pick pieces that are tried and true — wardrobe staples you know you look good and feel comfortable in.

Make more outfits with less
This is definitely the most important tip of all and something I talk about in all of my packing posts. Especially if you’re going on a longer trip, you’re going to re-wear piece. It’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you need to wear the same exact outfit. I recently partnered with an incredible Canadian based company called Encircled, that’s all about creating more outfits with less. All of the clothing is ethically-made and versatile in design so every piece can be worn multiple ways.

For example, the Retrograde Kimono can be worn forwards, backwards, as a dress or as a layering piece. In the first photo below, I’m wearing it open with a silk tank, my favorite vintage-inspired jeans, and my go-to black booties. In the second, I’m wearing the same piece reversed and zipped as a dress. Oh, and accessories are your best friend! Here I threw on some layered necklaces, a pop of lip color, and tossed my hair into a braid. To completely change the look, I could wear my hair down with a light scarf. Bada-bing, bada-boom — new outfit!


Another easy item to dress up or down is a simple tee shirt like this Nomadic V Neck, which is ethically made and won’t fall apart in a foreign washing machine like your $8 tee might.

My other favorite piece from Encircled is the Dressy Sweatpant. Of course, they can be worn with a sweater, denim shirt, tee shirt, you name it — but you can dress them up effortlessly. Below, I paired them with the same silk tank I wore with the Retrograde Kimono above, and added a leather jacket (this one was a steal for only $50!) and heels. Perfect for a night out or even a semi-casual business meeting. Click here for more inspiration on how to style these (I think you’ll be surprised by how versatile they are).

Packing cubes, packing cubes, packing cubes
If you’re heading on a longer trip and really want to bring as much as possible without checking a bag, these are your best friend — I swear by them. There are a bunch of different size options and functional designs (I’ve linked them all below). They really help to organize and compress everything in your suitcase. Check out how I packed everything for a month long Europe trip in a carry on using packing cubes here.

carry on packing image

Be mindful of your beauty bag
Break out the three ounce bottles, and only bring the essentials when it comes to makeup. When it comes to skin care, I pack a lot but I do it in a really small amount of space. It’s all about being strategic — for example I use little sample jars (like the kind you can get for free from sephora) for things I don’t need a lot of like eye cream, heavier night moisturizer, etc. For a more in-depth explanation, check out my toiletry packing guide here.

Got another ‘need to know’ packing tip? Leave a comment below! Shoutout to encircled for sponsoring this post.

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Encircled pieces: Retrograde Kimono, V Neck Tee, Dress Sweatpants.

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Natural Skin Care Favorites

Natural Skin Care Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about anything beauty related, but lately I’ve been feeling really passionate about the natural products I’m using. While I used to be really obsessed with a shine-free matte look, I’m now all about hydrated skin with a little glow. There’s really no makeup that compares to having naturally healthy skin, and my new routine has made me so much more comfortable wearing minimal makeup and even going bare faced from time to time.

Before I get into the products I’m loving, here’s a little background… 

To be completely transparent, when I first moved to NYC in the heart of winter, my skin went ballistic and I truly felt hopeless. For starters, my skin was breaking out like crazy. I think the cause was a combination of stress from moving and starting a new job, and of course the polluted city-air (a far cry from Florida’s ocean breeze!).

I literally tried everything — salicylic products, facials, peels — you name it. Nothing was working and the harsh products ended up making my skin so dry that it almost looked worse when I tried covering things up with makeup. Eventually, I decided to go on Accutane. I went on it back in middle school and literally never had skin issues again until last year, so I’m a huge advocate for the drug (seriously, if you’re contemplating trying it, just do it). It definitely is a commitment, but as long as you use Aquaphor like it’s your job, it really isn’t as bad as they say it is. I’ve been off of it for about four months now and haven’t had a breakout since.

Now on to my current routine…

One Love Orangics B Oil Cleanser

When I started Accutane, I really needed to rotate any harsh products out of my routine because the drug is already extremely drying. I started using this One Love Organics Vitamin B Oil Cleanser twice a day, and it really changed my life. I had no idea that I could cleanse and remove my makeup without something that gets sudsy, but this stuff really does the job without stripping my skin of moisture — if anything, I feel like it adds moisture.

Grown Alchemist Cream Cleanser

On nights where I have on extra makeup or feel like I need a deeper cleanse, I like to follow up with this Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser. It feels like an absolute dream and smells even better. It basically feels like you’re applying a moisturizer — sometimes I apply it to dry skin, let my skin drink it up, then rinse it off. It’s formulated with natural antioxidants like Olive Leaf and Plantago, so it doesn’t dehydrate my skin like other cleansers. I like to think of it as a conditioner for my skin.

Image Skin Care Ormedic Cream

Alchemie Kantic Calming Cream

At night, I follow up with a rich moisturizer. I’ve been using this Image Ormedic Balacing-Peptide Cream. It smells absolutely incredible and the blend of organic Japanese green tea, aloe vera, chamomile and grape seed makes my skin feel so soft. Another favorite is this Alchimie Kantic Calming Cream, which also has an irresistible smell (can you tell I’m a sucker for scents yet?) and uses natural antioxidants like European blueberries. Both of these products are available online and at HeyDay, my go-to facial spot in the city.

Image SPF Moisturizer

In the morning after cleansing, I always use this Image Daily Ultimate Moisturizer SPF 50. For the past few years, I’ve been really dedicated to using sun protection everyday, but it’s been tough to find one that my sensitive skin agrees with. One of my pet peeves are SPF moisturizers that have that pungent sunscreen smell, but this stuff honestly smells like candy and feels so sheer. I started using it prior to going on Accutane, so even if you’re prone to breakouts, I think you’ll love this stuff. There’s also a SPF 30 formulation that has more of a matte finish.

Derma E Charcoal

As far as exfoliation goes, I just started rotating this step back into my regimen. My skin is super sensitive, so I was really excited when Derma-E offered to send me some free products because they use natural ingredients. I was a bit hesitant to try charcoal during the winter months, but their formulations are super gentle. I’m obsessed with this 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask. It detoxifies pores (much needed in NYC!) and exfoliates. I just leave on for five minutes, then once it feels nice and tight, I run my fingers under water and massage gently to activate exfoliants (especially in areas where I get flaky like my forehead, chin and nose) then rinse it off completely. I’ve been using the mask every other week. On the opposite week, I use the Purifying Daily Detox Scrub for quick maintenance once a week. It’s gentle enough for daily use, but this is just what works for my skin!

Benefit Its Potent Eye Cream

Two more musts for me are eye cream and lip balm. The It’s Potent! Eye Cream from Benefit Cosmetics is one of my favorites, and morning and night I always use a little Aquaphor on my lips. It sounds so simple, but there’s really nothing more hydrating.

What are your favorite natural products for achieving hydrated, healthy skin? Leave me a comment below!

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My 10 Favorite New York Spots

My 10 Favorite New York Spots

Hey guys! I was recently tapped to provide my “NYC Hush Tips” for an amazing site called Behind The Scenes NYC. I dug really deep on this one, and wanted to share my Top 10 Favorite New York Spots with you all! If you want to check out the full article including commentary from the Fernanda, the incredible boss lady of Behind The Scenes NYC, check it out here.

My 10 Favorite New York Spots:

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is pop into galleries in the LES and Chelsea. It’s a nice alternative to hitting up a crowded museum, plus they’re completely free to enjoy. David Zwirner, Paul Kasmin, and Richard Taittinger are a few of my go-tos.

Brooklyn Flea is basically the cooler younger sister to Chelsea Market, There’s something for everyone, from vintage rings and designer bags to viney plants and eclectic home decor. Not to mention, they have some of the most popular food vendors from Smorgasburg minus the lines.

Mile High Run Club is probably my favorite place to break a sweat in the city. It’s essentially a treadmill class with dimmed lighting, bumpin’ music and strobe lights with a coach cheering you on through a series of intervals and hills. I recommend Dash 28 because it finishes with strength training utilizing kettle bells and core exercises.

HeyDay is easily one of my best NYC finds. My skin went nuts when I moved to the city in the heart of winter from Florida, and this place introduced me to several natural products that I now swear by.

For those who need a breather from the city, Harriman State Park is your sanctuary. It’s just a quick train ride from the city and much less crowded than some of the other hiking spots like Breakneck and Bear Mountain.

The Jane is my favorite spot to go out in the city. It basically feels like you’re at a mansion party where your favorite songs are always playing and dancing on the furniture is encouraged. Every time I have a friend visiting, I take them there and they’re never disappointed.

For an intimate live music experience, hit up Rockwood Music Hall. A friend introduced me to this venue and it was everything I could’ve hoped for. While there are shows that require cover, there is a smaller room to the left of the main entrance that is free of charge.

After a night out, nothing compares to Black Seed Bagels. #11 always satisfies! Another favorite is Tompkins Square Bagels if you’re in the mood for trying out a new cream cheese flavor like birthday cake or one of their french toast bagels.

Buddha Bodhai is an incredible vegetarian spot in Chinatown. The food is delicious (you can’t even tell there’s no meat) and the atmosphere is so authentic. I highly recommend the sesame “chicken.”

dia: beacon day trip

Dia:Beacon is the perfect day trip for anyone craving a little artistic adventure, especially if you love installations! Be sure to purchase a round trip ticket with museum entrance included at Grand Central Station. Check out my full blog post on my experience here.

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Calling all locals and visitors alike, what’s your favorite spot in New York?

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Budapest Like A Local

Budapest Like A Local

This week, I decided to dig deep into my photo archives and revisit destinations I’ve yet to blog about. Though pictures on a screen don’t do Budapest justice, they rekindled that head over heels feeling this city gave me.

Last summer, I spent three nights in Budapest with my dad and brother. From the moment I laid eyes on the Parliament Building, I was in awe. During the day, the contrast of the strong gothic architecture against the serene Danube River was enough to make me swoon, but as the day went on, I fell even more in love with it. Viewing the building from Fisherman’s Bastion (on the Buda side) was one of the highlights of my visit, but seeing it completely lit up in gold at night while birds resembling shooting stars danced above it truly took my breath away.

My time spent in Budapest was hardly enough for me to feel capable of offering advice on “top must-sees,” so I decided to pick my friend @diathesun‘s brain about the place she once called home. Dia lives in NYC, but grew up in Budapest and returns there every summer to attend Sziget Music Festival.

If you aren’t familiar with Budapest, the first thing you should know is that it’s divided by the Danube River into Buda and Pest (pronounced pesht). Some of the more touristy spots I visited and Dia recommends are Buda Castle, Hero’s Square, and the Hungarian State Opera House. All are rich in history, and not too shabby to look at (and by that, I mean not at all).

The National Gallery located inside the Buda Castle has a wonderful collection of Hungarian masterpieces placed in an amazing art deco building. Dia recommends keeping an eye out for their special exhibitions as last summer they had a Picasso and a Modigliani retrospective at the same time. Budapest also has a large Jewish community and is home to Europe’s largest temple, the Dohany Steer Synagogue.

We both agree that a visit to the Széchenyi Baths should be at the top of your list! I ended up getting a full hour body massage for roughly 60 euros (a steal compared to US prices) and it was one of the most heavenly experiences I’ve ever had. Not to mention, Széchenyi is the largest thermal bath in Europe with 20 baths of different sizes and temperatures (both indoor and outdoor), saunas, steam rooms and more. What more could a girl ask for?! Gellért Baths is a good alternative if you’re into having options.

Moving on to food. To be honest, I had a bad stomach bug in Budapest so I didn’t really get to enjoy the cuisine (one of my favorite parts about traveling), so this is where Dia comes in big time! Her favorite restaurant is Rosenstein, known for their selection of wild game and “the best matza ball soup in town.” She also recommends her friend’s restaurant, Keksz, as a locals-only spot to grab a burger and beer.

A must-try Hungarian dish is Lángos, which is basically fried dough. I picked one up at the Great Market Hall, another must-see spot, and tried it with bananas, strawberries and nutella, but you can get just about anything you want as a topping! The Great Market Hall has everything from local cuisine to specialty crafts. Hungary is well-known for its lace, which you’ll notice once you start wandering around the city, so I picked up a piece from a vendor there.

If you’re planning a night out, take advice from a local and head to Belvaros or English Inner City (District V). There are also a ton of pubs all around Wesselenyi street. According to Dia, summer is the best time to visit Budapest because there are so many young people from all over the world. But rest assured, no matter when you visit, you won’t be disappointed. In my opinion, Budapest is definitely one of Europe’s most underrated destinations.

Visiting Budapest? Have a question I didn’t answer? Reach out to me in the comments!

Hero's Square

Hero’s Square
Great Market Hall

Great Market Hall
Langos

Langos
Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Baths

Szechenyi baths

Parliament Building

Parliament Building
Parliament building

Fisherman’s Bastion

Hungarian State Opera House

Hungarian State Opera House
Hungarian State Opera House

Danube Bank Architecture

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Shoes on the Danube Bank

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