Natural Skin Care Favorites

Natural Skin Care

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

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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Day Trip to Dia: Beacon

dia: beacon day trip

Living in a city as busy, and sometimes downright exhausting as New York often leaves me itching for a getaway. Working and doing the whole ‘adulting’ thing full-time creates the illusion that I no longer have free time, and lately I’ve been falling into a bit of a routine with a bad case of the travel bug (next Europe trip, where you at?!).

While an elaborate getaway isn’t in the cards for me this year, I still can’t shake the desire to get out and see new places in the world. Though wandering through NYC never really gets old, I decided to switch things up and head out to one of the most esteemed art establishments in the great state of New York.

With my camera, some cash, and my go-to adventure gal in tow (hey, The Artfulist!), I boarded a train at Grand Central and headed to Dia:Beacon.

In just 90 minutes, I went from a city full of skyscrapers and roughly 8.5 million residents to a quaint town (population 14,389) full of winding hills and lush mountains in the distance. Beacon offered a refreshing change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city, leaving me feeling refreshed and inspired.

Side note: when purchasing train tickets, be sure to select the Dia:Beacon package deal which includes a round-trip ticket plus museum entry for $32 with a student ID (which nobody asked to see). A steal!

Dia:Beacon is essentially an instagrammers paradise without the overcrowded feeling most NYC galleries give off. Its high ceilings and extensive amount of square footage made me feel like I could breathe, like really breathe– a concept practically unheard of in the city.

Around every corner, a new installation was waiting– from neon lights that beg for a photo to natural elements like glass and dirt masterfully placed in piles that you can walk within inches from.

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dia: beacon day trip
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dia: beacon day trip
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After checking out the eerie basement floor, we decided to rest our feet on the huge piles of foam covered with sheets (not really sure what else to call it, but definitely a cozy communal space!), then we made our way outside for a walk through the garden.

Post museum, a stroll down Main Street was a no-brainer. The summer heat made a compelling case for us to duck into every vintage and antique shop we could find. Upon recommendation from a local, we eventually landed at an adorable cheese and charcuterie shop called Beacon Pantry for lunch (the goat cheese salad is to die for!).

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For anyone who feels like they don’t have time for exploration, I promise you that day trips like these are beyond seamless. Spending the day in Beacon was like hitting the reset button, and it definitely satisfied my craving for a little adventure. If you’re new to the 9-5 work grind like me, trust me when I say that no matter how burned out you feel, you should always find time feed your soul.

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Dia:Beacon Outfit Inspiration:

Flatiron Feels

Flatiron building NYC

My first encounter with the Flatiron building was a brief stint during one of my summer visits in college. It stuck out at me, warranted a photo or two, and then I was on my way, not giving it another thought until instagramming it that evening and soon after letting it fade from my memory until my next NYC trip.

Today, this building means so much more to me than I could’ve imagined. Not because of its beauty, obscure shape or notoriety,  but because it symbolizes a new chapter in my life– one full of every emotion imaginable.

I moved to the city just one day prior to starting my first full time job, and barely got to see the light of day after moving into my apartment. The next morning, I woke excited– anxious, really. I mapped out my walk to work with plenty of time to account for getting lost, and finally spotted the Flatiron building, from which my office is only a few short steps away. I remember looking up at it with the most ambivalent feeling. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. It was the most alive I’d felt in a while.

Since that day, I’ve watched this building take on a new persona with every season. From the colorful leaves that whip around its base during the fall; to the stormy winter days that offer a sublime grey backdrop; and now perhaps my favorite of all, the blue skies and budding flowers that cascade around its triangular body, creating a new image with each step.

Flatiron is like a friend that I don’t always have to acknowledge to know it’s there. It’s a familiar face that greets me on my way to and from work, and while some days I hardly notice it, on others, I look up at it in awe. It reminds me of why I came to the city, offering up nostalgia and curiosity all in one. It reminds me that I’m here– in New York City– living out my dreams.

Flatiron building summer

Summer

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Fall

Flatiron building winter

Winter

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Spring

 

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The Blonde is Back: My Decision to Move to NYC

New York City

If you were to ask me a year ago if I believed in fate, I probably would’ve said no. Yet, here I am declaring the ultimate cliché: I officially believe in fate.

You may have noticed that I took a hiatus from blogging. I really didn’t intend to take this long of a break from posting, but a lot has changed in the past six months. If you didn’t already know, I moved to New York City!

I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with a post explaining how I came to this decision (already cringing a little), but there are going to be some big changes over here on BWT and I really feel like I’d be cheating myself if I didn’t put it all out there.

So back around the time I last posted, I was planning on moving to St. Petersburg to live with my long-term boyfriend and start my first full-time job in a matter of just weeks. Long story short, we ended up breaking up. After a couple days of self-pity (hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do), I came to a realization:

My future had completely opened up.

I had always dreamt of moving out of state after graduation. Actually, staying in Florida was always my last resort. But then, love came along and as it often does, it blinded me. Like in any relationship, I made sacrifices. I was willing to put my dreams on the back burner for the sake of being together. I decided to apply for jobs in Florida and look for apartments with the person I thought I couldn’t live without. It’s true: I’m a sucker for love.

The problem was, I was ignoring someone. I was tuning out the voice inside my head.

So here’s where fate steps in… I’d been putting off my job search for months. I was traveling non-stop, which I obviously don’t regret one bit, but I was also making excuses for myself. I had very little motivation to apply for jobs, which sounds typical, but it’s really unlike me. Throughout college, I’ve always had a job or internship. I’ve always been serious about my career, and all of a sudden, I was terrified.

I knew why I was scared. I was afraid of looking back and regretting that I never moved to the big city. I was worried that I’d feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. This was a pivotal time in my life that I would never get back.

So of course, my first instinct after finalizing the break-up was revisit my future. I always told myself that if I was single and it was completely up to me, I’d move to New York.

So here I was. Back at square one, with only me, myself, and I to consider.

To me, there were two options. I could stay home, get a job that may or may not excite me, and feel sorry for myself. Or, I could start a new chapter, and do something that would forever change my life. Obviously, I chose the latter.

Two days after my break-up, I actively searched for jobs. Unlike the past few months, it felt right. I could see myself in these positions feeling happy and fulfilled. Within a few short weeks, I secured a job and apartment in Manhattan.

Fast forward a few months and here I am. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. It hasn’t been, but I never expected it to be. New York keeps me on my toes every day, but that’s the best part. Each morning is a new adventure and a new opportunity to make magic happen.

For the past four months, I’ve really been focusing on my career and trying to find my groove in the city. I wasn’t sure when I was actually going to make this post happen, but working in PR with bloggers and influencers every day has given me some serious motivation.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to keep posting! I’m so excited to be back.

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Exploring Wynwood: Miami’s Art District

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As a born and raised Florida girl, I’ve road tripped from the east coast (where I’m from) over the the west coast of my state more times than I can count. From the unbeatable nightlife, culture, cuisine and of course, the beach, a trip to Miami never disappoints! But aside from hitting up south beach or heading to one of the best EDM festivals in the world, there’s another area of Miami you NEED to see. If you’re a fan of all things colorful and whimsical, or if you love impromptu photo shoots (calling all basic girls… Myself included), visiting Wynwood is an absolute must.

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Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in my favor on the day I chose to roam the streets of Wynwood, but I didn’t let dark skies rain on my parade (literally). Actually, I sometimes prefer overcast skies for photography purposes. Who knew I was such an optimist?!

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With an umbrella in hand, I made my way over to the most iconic area, the Wynwood Walls. It turns out, NOBODY was there because of the weather… AKA I must be crazy. You can’t tell, but it’s drizzling in this shot. Confirmed: I’ll do anything for a good photo. This is also where you can find the colorful striped mural in the featured image of this post.

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This mural of baby Hulk is a crowd favorite. I adore the way it flows onto the pavement to create a water effect.

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If you choose to visit the iconic Wynwood Walls, I challenge you to venture out beyond the enclosed area to see some of the beautiful murals pictured below among countless others. There are many galleries to explore as well, and believe it or not, Wynwood is home to some pretty awesome breweries. On my next visit, I plan to go on a beer crawl. Some of the spots I’ve been told to hit up are KUSH Wynwood, The Butcher Shop, Wynwood Brewing Co., Gramps, J Wakefield Brewing, and Boxelder Craft Beer Market.

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Do you plan on taking a trip to Wynwood? Which mural is your favorite? Connect with me in the comments!

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Wynwood outfit inspiration:

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Inspiration for exploring Wynwood: Miami's art district