Are you an avid coffee drinker? I often stay true to one type of brew, but enjoy changing how I take my morning coffee. Here are three ways you can upgrade your standard cup of coffee:
1. Heat your milk
If you enjoy milk and sugar in your coffee, heating the milk will kick it up a notch. Heat your milk before adding it to your cup to keep the coffee cold and add froth.
2. Reduce bitterness with a pinch of salt
Sprinkle a pinch of salt into your coffee to reduce the bitter taste. The sodium in the salt counteracts with the coffee and levels out the taste.
3. Create coffee ice cubes for the perfect iced brew
Adding coffee ice cubes to your iced coffee prevents the flavour from becoming watered-down. Freeze coffee into ice cube trays then add it into a cup when ready to enjoy.
What tips do you use to upgrade your coffee?
With the holidays approaching, I am spending more time completing my Christmas shopping. I developed the idea for this post while browsing my local Winners-HomeSense store for gift ideas. I often spend a lot of time thinking about what to buy for stocking stuffers. To help both you and I find the perfect stocking stuffer idea, keep reading!
1. Bath and Body Products
Bath and Body Works offers a great selection of hand cream, bath fizzies, and body lotion to include in any stocking. Most of the smaller items sold are under $15. I love including Christmas-scented products with my gifts and return to the store yearly to select peppermint, candy apple, and nutmeg scented products.
2. Home Decor + Kitchen Items
Stores like Winners-HomeSense offer a wide, unique variety of home decor items. If you have a baker in your life, you’ll find everything from colorful mixing attachments to miniature baking trays at Winners. The store offers a variety of home decor items from cozy blankets to candles.
1. New Gloves
New gloves will not only keep his hands warm, but a pair like the Apex e-Tip are compatible with touchscreens! Even if the special guy in your life is not a glove wearer, a slim, text-friendly pair is a functional, and fashionable gift.
2. USB Car Charger
A car-powered USB charger is a perfect gift for a guy who is always on the move. He can charge multiple devices, and he’ll never have to wonder if he really left his charger at your house again.
What are you top ideas for a stocking stuffer?
I enjoy using face masks 1-2 times per week to supplement my skin care routine. GlamGlow’s Super Mud Clearing Treatment is a mask that is fully effective for clearing my pores and minimizing breakouts. I initially received a sample of the product, but later returned to Sephora for a larger container.
This mask comes in a starry, white and silver jar. The reflective surface is fun and aesthetically-pleasing. It features the GlamGlow logo and a description of the jar’s contents.
I love how this mask works! When first applied to the face, it is sticky and retains the texture of a charcoal mask. As it dries, the texture changes to a clay. It does not fully transform into a clay texture – any black patches that remain are areas where the mask works to clear excess oil!
How to use it
I gently clean my skin before I apply the mask. I apply it to moist skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. An important thing to note about this mask is that if you have sensitive skin, your skin may appear quite red after the mask is initially rinsed. My skin appeared red and blotchy for a few moments after I rinsed the mask, but it quickly calmed to leave my skin soft and clear!
GlamGlow’s SuperMud Clearing Treatment is a great product if you’re looking for a mask to clear and soothe acne. I incorporated it into my weekly routine about 1-2 months ago and noticed results within the first week of use.
This mask retails for $69 at Sephora. It is also available in a travel-sized container for $24.
I adore makeup wipes, I truly do. I use them every night to remove my makeup but I’ve never considered how my skin would react if I use them to cleanse. This challenge emerged from pure tiredness – toward the end of this semester I just felt too exhausted to engage in my usual skin care routine. Here’s what happened:
I tucked my beloved face cleansers away on Sunday night and armed myself with a package of Kirkland Signature Daily Facial Towelettes from my local Costco. I dreaded the idea of using just a wipe to cleanse my entire face. After the first night, I noticed a difference in my skin.
I woke on the first day and cleansed my face with water and a moist wipe. It felt soft and clean on my skin – the soft feeling is something I often miss with my regular face mask. I did not have high hopes for this challenge. While my skin felt softer, it didn’t feel like the product was doing anything.
Despite my hesitation the night before, my skin appeared soft and radiant the next morning. I noticed that two zits that were forming on my chin the previous week were becoming smaller. My pores looked minimized and my face looked moisturized.
On the third day I noticed better results. The wipes were clearing and cleansing my skin. Not only were my pimples disappearing, but the texture of my skin appeared smoother. The level of moisture in my skin increased which gave my skin a soft, plump look. My t-zone usually flares up with acne, but it remained smooth and pimple-free on the third day. Overall, the wipes helped my skin.
What products do you use to cleanse your skin?
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Palette is a dream for lipstick lovers. I bought this palette after searching a specific red lipstick that I envisioned, but could not find in an actual lipstick. This 18-well palette contains a mixture of primary and secondary colors to create your own lip colors.
The packaging is simple and clean. The palette itself features wells that each of the lip colors lay in. It is encased in hard plastic with a transparent cover. A bonus of this palette is that it includes a spatula/brush combination to apply lip color. The palette also includes a metallic plate to mix colors onto.
What is it?
This product is a palette that contains a combination of 18 lip colors. It contains 6 primary shades and 12 secondary shades. Each primary shade serves a specific function when mixing it to other shades in the palette:
- Primary 1 (White) – Add to lip color to lighten and enhance the lips
- Primary 2 (Black) – Add to lip color to deepen and contour the lips
- Primary 3 (Red) – Add to lip color to warm the shade
- Primary 4 (Yellow) – Add to neutralize berry shades or to warm pink shades
- Primary 5 (Blue) – Add to lip color to cool peachy or coral shades
Outside of those primary colors, the palette contains a selection of secondary colours. These shades are not named, but instead, numbered:
- #1: Peachy-pink
- #2: Red oak brown
- #3: Burnt orange
- #4: Sandy brown
- #5: Muted berry
- #6: Mahogany brown
- #7: Vibrant coral with red undertones
- #8: Warm brown
- #9: Bright purple
- #10: Deep berry
- #11: Tan
- #12: Bright pink
- #13: Blackened berry
Here are three looks I created using the lip palette:
Each lipstick has a creamy texture with a satin finish. They settle into a semi-matte finish once dried onto the lips but are not overly drying. The shades are pigmented and easy to work with. Because of the semi-matte texture, lip color will not be transfer-proof. This is a great product to add into your collection if love lipstick and wish to create a variety of colors. However, this product is not easy to transport, making mid-day touchups difficult. Overall, it is the perfect palette to use as a creative outlet for lipstick!
The Anastasia Beverly Hills lip palette retails for $62 at Sephora.
Winter weather can be particularly harsh on your skin. I like to begin my winter skincare routine early to keep my skin hydrated and fresh all season. Here are a few of the tips I use to prevent skin dryness, irritation, and cracking throughout the season.
Using a daily moisturizer is important to supplement the skin’s natural moisture barrier. A moisturizer that contains ingredients like Vitamin E and shea butter will add moisture and hydration back into your skin.
Wear a scarf
I like to keep my face covered with a scarf and hat combo when I’m outside in cold weather. The chill of winter can cause windburn, which will dry out your skin and cause irritation. The best way to keep your skin protected is to keep it covered.
Shield your skin from the sun
Even during the winter, it is important to continue wearing SPF. A moisturizer containing SPF will protect your skin from damaging UV rays. I often select makeup products with a built-in SPF to protect my skin from the sun.
How do you adapt your skin care routine for the winter season?
As another semester draws to an end, I ensure to implement my self-care routine regularly to decrease stress. Today I share ideas that I implement to avoid burnout while preparing for end-of-term evaluations, exams, and my upcoming Christmas shopping!
Listen to yourself and your body/mind
If you want to take care of yourself during this time, it is essential to listen to what your body and mind are trying to tell you. Take a few minutes out of your day to understand what is going on with you. Are you tired? Are you stressed out? Are you eating regularly? To maintain your health and wellbeing at the end of term, cue into the signals your body sends you.
Create a visual calendar
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I like to create a mini, visual calendar of tasks to accomplish during the week. This enables me to visualize what is left to finish and I can divide my To-Do list into smaller tasks.
Try new exercise
I recently implemented mindfulness and deep-breathing exercises into my daily routine. Exercise helps me to de-stress and relax any racing thoughts. The newest routine I’ve implemented is deep-breathing and guided meditation through an app called Calm. This app features meditation exercises, deep breathing, and ‘Bedtime Stories’ to help you relax at night.
What methods do you use to decrease end-of-semester stress?