I’ve been dabbling into skincare routine exploration since I was about 26. Sure, back in the day I’d use some pretty generic moisturizers etc. But, it wasn’t until I was around 26 where I started researching serums, masks and the like.
After much trial and error, I’m going to share with you my current skincare routine that I love and is not over-the-top expensive. I have combination / sensitive skin. So, finding products that don’t cause redness and keep my skin balanced are important.
**One thing to keep in mind is that I do not wear any type of cream/powder foundation or concealers. Bare face is the new face ya’ll. From reviews I read when looking into the products, makeup sets pretty good on top of the stuff I’m about to share.
Now, these things added up equals about $175. However, all of these products last me about 4-6 months. This means you have a skincare regimen for about $30-$40/month. Not too shabby right? Right.
The face wash keeps my breakouts at bay. The soothing serum keeps my face redness down. The ginseng serum, vitamin e moisturizer and sunscreen keep my dry winter skin hydrated without making it greasy. The eye cream I received in a Fab Fit Fun box, so currently testing it out.
I know layering on multiple products seems like a chore. But when I tried to find products that did it all, my skin would get all kinds of imbalanced. Instead, I focus on simple products that I combine together. Korean skincare is what’s up, folks.
I got the face mask in a Fab Fit Fun box. I use the face mask at night for extra hydration. A little goes a long way and it doesn’t clog my pores. The LUA beam eye oil I use at night because it keeps the skin around my eye really hydrated. I can’t wear it during the day because it makes my mascara fall off.
I hope what I’ve shared helps you find products that work for your combination/sensitive skin, and at roughly $60/mo fits within your budget.
We all know it, we all hate it – student loan debt. Some folks have the opportunity to forgo paying loans; however, if you’re like me [and most of us out there] we are stuck paying back the big guys.
Now, I’m not here to give some BS motivational speech about how working hard can get you where you want to be or throw out vague ideas on budgeting/saving that every article I seemed to read would be about.
Below are specific tactics and lessons learned that allowed me to pay off my student loan debt before age 30.
PAYMENT PLAN SELECTION
There are a lot of payback options for student loan debt. My advice would be to choose the option with the lowest required payment and then pay extra when you can. With this option, you’re not confined to paying a large monthly amount that could hinder any future financial emergencies such as car troubles etc.
THE GRACE PERIOD
If you get a job before or soon after graduating, do NOT use the ever so enticing “grace period.” That’s six months of interest you do NOT need to accrue [I’m talking thousands, folks]. Start paying off the student loan debt as soon as you can.
PAYING DEBT VS. SAVING
Once you know your loan payment, take a look at all your debt and savings goals and start prioritizing where your money will go. An example priority is save > credit cards > student loan.
Save, save, save
Whether it’s $10/mo or $200/mo, whether you have debt or not, start saving money automatically from a checking to a savings account. Pay minimums on everything until you have a decent emergency fund. Having this will help alleviate swiping credit cards in the future. If you’re in the unfortunate event where you pay minimums on everything and still can’t save, find a side hustle or downsize some things. Extra money isn’t going to just be handed to you.
Tackle high interest debt
More than likely any credit card debt you have will be at a higher interest rate than your student loan. If you’re not sure, Google a calculator, calculate the monthly interest you’re paying for each, find out which one is higher, and prioritize paying it off first.
Pay minimums and then some on student loan debt
Start with the minimum, and once your savings and credit cards are in good order, start putting extra money towards this. I know it’s hard seeing extra money you now have go to debt instead of fun things, but believe me – you can have just as much fun in your 30s vs. your 20s.
Just because your credit card debt is paid off and all you need to worry about at this point is rent, a car payment, student loan debt and maybe some other things, don’t go all Jay-Z and Beyonce. Continue to save for emergencies, vacations, weddings, babies, and anything else you foresee and want to prioritize in your future.
MANAGING DEBT, SAVING, AND HAVING A LIFE
Even if you’re in a position to be financially responsible when you graduate, you might not be ready to be a hermit who doesn’t have any fun. The key to managing debt, saving, and having fun is constantBUDGETING. Budget everything. Every day. Every paycheck. At least three months in advance. The nice thing about constant budgeting is that it is more fluid. You can see areas where you can give and take rather than be married to one super strict budget for the next 30 days. Similar to those crazy diets – if you restrict something for so long you’ll eventually cave and over indulge.
I tried things like Mint and other apps, but once I got to the end of the month I ended up running out of money. I essentially wanted an app that accommodated a “paycheck to paycheck” structure. Paycheck to paycheck kept me more accountable more frequently.
I use an app called Balance My Checkbook. It’s more of a manual process, but I like that because it keeps me focused on this new dynamic I have with spending money. When apps aggregate all my stuff in one spot it’s hard for me to stay focused.
IF you want to have an app that aggregates all your accounts to keep track of how your debt has gone down or how your savings has grown, go for it. But I would keep the manual app for every day spending that overtime, can help you get to longer term goals.
HOW TO USE THE BUDGET APP
The below is a hypothetical example of app usage and manual budgeting. The example is with a bi-weekly pay of $1,200.
Add your paychecks for the next three months or so and go through the process of deducting mandatory bills based on the bills due date. Once you do that, your list of paychecks will now show how much money you have to spend in between paychecks [i.e. the 490.00 & 550.00 you now see instead of the 1,200.00 in the below image].
Also, instead of just bills, you can add transactions you know are coming up. Are you getting your hair done two months from now? Need to pay for a hotel stay in a few weeks? Know someones birthday is coming up and want to set a budget for their present? Adding future expenses will help alleviate any “oh crap I’m out of money and need to swipe the credit card” moments.
Track every day expenses. Our phones are on us ALL the time. So why not take two seconds and jot down the $25 you just spent. Even something as small as $2. Keeping track of everything you spend will keep you on course. If you don’t track even the smallest expenses, they add up over time putting dents in future budgets. I round up so I don’t get hung up on cents. If you want to have a fun night out and not worry about it, that’s ok, just check your bank account the next day and make sure you document the damage in the app. You may have to forgo eating out for lunch the next few days, but that’s the price you pay for delicious cocktails.
Tracking every day expenses will help you see how much money you have left in between paychecks. In the below example after logging some expenses there is $376 to last until the next paycheck.
I hope this process I followed for YEARS [yes, years] can help you in some way. In all honesty, even now that my debt is paid off I still use the app. It’s a great way to stay on track not just for paying off debt, but saving too.
Oh, the emergency fund. The amount of stress it can cause sometimes is the worst – especially when you don’t have enough of it. Well, I’m going to talk about some ways you can start saving to build an emergency fund. Emergency funds are great because they give you cushion when unexpected expenses come up, in turn, alleviating any debt that could accrue.
Take advantage of credit card cash back
If you’re responsible enough, you can use a credit card for almost all of your expenses [as long as you pay it back each paycheck or at the end of the month]. With this spending strategy you can rack up cash back points without the agony of a monthly interest charge because you’re constantly paying the card back in full [and not carrying a large balance]. Redeem your cash back and put it directly into a savings account.
Use cash back shopping sites
There are plenty of cash back sites out there. I personally like Ebates. I shop online 99% of the time and even though you might not get the most money back it’s nice to get that check in the mail every once and awhile! Put the money right into your savings.
Don’t spend your tax return, Christmas or birthday money
I know we all love that big check that comes in the mail or in the Christmas cards, but save it. You may need it for a future emergency. Use the money you make now to buy other stuff and if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Buying things you can’t afford leads to no progress in saving because then you’re just constantly paying off debt.
Downsize your life and budget better
To piggy back on the last point, take a look at your lifestyle. Is the way you live now causing you to go from paycheck to paycheck? If so, you might want to re-evaluate the car you have and get one with a smaller payment. Or, find an apartment that isn’t bleeding you dry. Roommates might be necessary, but if they’re good ones, it can benefit you greatly. Stop buying coffee and lunch everyday and keep eating out to just the weekends. Delete monthly subscriptions you don’t need. Re-evaluate how often you use that gym membership. There are plenty of ways to downsize, you just have to have the discipline to do it. The need to have a certain status in society will always be there, but why compromise your future for something so materialistic? Prioritize what’s most important to you. Travel? Great, have a simple car. Nice car? Cool. Probably can’t travel much. It’s all about give and take. One day, eventually, you might get to a point where you can have both, especially if you work for it.
Take advantage of new jobs, pay raises and promotions
Just because you got a new job, promotion or raise, doesn’t mean your lifestyle needs to change. A lot of times people think of new money coming in as an opportunity to get a better car, better apartment, etc. Instead, take that extra money and save it.
Last but not least, when you pull money from your emergency fund, replenish it. Don’t use the money up so that you’re left with nothing.
“Aren’t you scared?”, “Why would you want to travel alone?”, “That is so weird”. These are just some of the unwelcome statements a solo female traveler has to endure from her family and friends whenever she feels like taking on a grand road trip adventure all on her own. But, why is that? Should solo travel be regarded as something out of the ordinary?
Of course not, and in fact, it might just be the single greatest decision of your life. Not only is solo travel the epitome of personal freedom, but it’s also wildly exciting, empowering, and infinitely rewarding for a bold young (or not so young, of course) woman. With that in mind, it’s time to tune out the haters and embark on your very own solo adventure of a lifetime.
It all begins with careful research
Let’s not kid ourselves by thinking the world around us is all sunshine and rainbows, ladies. In fact, the world can be a pretty nasty place, especially for a woman traveling all on her own. Not only will the patriarchal society try to take advantage of you no matter where you go, but there could be physical dangers lurking in the shadows as well. This doesn’t mean that you should get all scared and abandon your dream; quite the contrary, this simply means that you should act smart.
*image via Pinterest
The keyword here is safety. You want to research your destination in order to find the sightseeing hotspots you want to visit, yes, but the research should begin by investigating the safety of your destination. How welcoming is the local culture to solo women? What is the local policy regarding tourists, and women in general? Should you expect to be treated as an equal there? Are there any places you should stay clear of? What are the safety precautions you need to follow? Let these questions help you decide where it is and where it isn’t safe to travel.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone
Traveling solo doesn’t mean being all alone, remember that. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to meet new, exciting people during your exploits, so prepare for a whole lotta fun and partying with people from around the world. This goes especially for you gals that choose to stay at a hostel, preferably in a dorm where you can meet some exciting folk.
This can be a good thing, but can have its downsides as well. If you’re sociable and really want to meet new people, then you’re bound to have a blast. On the other hand, there are people who truly want to be alone on this journey, and if you’re one of them, then you’re better off booking a private room.
Make a detailed itinerary
Right, sightseeing. Look, there is only so much a girl imbued with never-ending wanderlust can manage to see on a single trip, especially if you’re traveling to an urban hotspot like Sydney, for instance, filled to the brim with exciting places, people, and events. This is why you need a detailed itinerary to guide you throughout and help you stay on schedule – it will mean the difference between having a blast and wandering around aimlessly.
So, note down your must-see places. For instance, if you’re a gal who appreciates fine liquor, why not add a few out-of-the-box stops to your itinerary? A visit to the Archie Rose whiskey distillery in Sydney is a must for every whiskey lover traveling around Australia, which is simultaneously an interesting educational tour enriched with a menu of delicious sips. You can also visit some of Australia’s boutique wineries out in the outback in order to experience the best sights and sips in the Land Down Under.
*image via Pinterest
Stay like a local, live like a local
If you’re a gal traveling alone, you might feel safer at a hotel, but the modern couch-surfing or private accommodation culture is so well-regulated nowadays that you should actually feel safer renting out a place all to yourself.
Platforms such as Airbnb offer a vast array of amazing accommodation options for a female traveler and you can pick and choose a room or an entire downtown apartment that suits your personal style and flair. So, don’t be a tourist, be a traveler.
Keep your friends and family posted
Last but not least, there is no need to be “under the radar” during your exploits. In fact, as a solo female traveler, you want to keep your friends and family posted regularly on your activities and whereabouts. This will not only help everyone feel a bit easier about your upcoming trip, but it will also allow you to safely plan an adventure of a lifetime with little to no limitations.
Traveling solo is a wonderful experience, and nobody should stand in the way of your dreams of traveling the world on your terms. If you were on the fence about it before, let this simple guide help you find the drive and passion to fuel your never-ending wanderlust.
Mia Taylor is a fashion and beauty enthusiast from Sydney and writer for http://www.highstylife.com. She loves writing about her life experiences. Travelling and enjoying other cultures and their food with her husband is a big part of her life. She is always on the lookout for new trends in fashion and beauty, and considers herself an expert when it comes to lifestyle tips. Twitter | Facebook
We all have them, we all love them – the infamous girls weekend. Back in the day during college it was so easy to get everyone together. The older we get, the more we need to plan – especially if we don’t live down the hall from each other anymore. Me and a few of my girlfriends try to get together at least once a year for a fun weekend trip. From Nashville, to Denver, to closer to home because some got hitched.
This year, we decided to go somewhere new – South Lake Tahoe, California. September was a time we could all go, and I was pleasantly surprised by the weather. Not too hot, not too cold. I will definitely want to return in July though so I can get in that water!
Now, you know I love being transparent with you all, so I’ll lead with saying our hotel stay was sponsored; however, I’d never get sponsored from a place I wouldn’t actually pay for / can afford.
When I started researching places to stay, I was a little overwhelmed with how expensive AirBnb’s / Cabins / Other Hotels were. A lot of the AirBnb’s were for really large groups as well. Given there was only three of us this year [there’s normally four – MISSED YOU DILL] we needed something that would work for all of our budgets. When I found Hotel AzureI loved their price points, views/location and newly renovated spaces. I typically like to save on stay so that we can splurge on activities.
Once you get to Reno, I highly recommend renting a car. You can peruse the unique city of Reno, possibly play the slots before you head to the Lake, which is about an hour drive.
Now, onto the good stuff.
72hrs in South Lake Tahoe
Once you’ve landed and settled into your hotel [or not in case you showed up before check-in] head toPick 6and get some beverages on their rooftop patio.
After you’ve settled in the hotel, go check out the water. There’s easy access across the street from the hotel. It is absolutely amazing.
For dinner,Base Camp Pizza will hit the spot. The food is delicious, and the outdoor seating with twinkly lights and live music is amazing.
Have coffee with a view.
Bike to breakfast at Sprouts Cafe. One thing I loved about our hotel is they had free bike rentals. The location of the hotel is close to a lot so you don’t even need to drive if you don’t have to.
Go on a private boat tour. You won’t regret it. Our driver Captain Dan from Lake Tahoe Boat Rides was the best. He knew so much about the history of the lake. Go to a grocery store before hand, stock up on some canned wine, snacks, and have the best 3.5hrs ever.
Grab a quick breakfast atBear Beach Cafe. This was a great little cafe attached to the hotel and had really delicious breakfast. Fresh ingredients and not super greasy – perfect for what’s about to come.
Hike the Rubicon Trail.We ended up doing the 10 mile stretch but if you want you can do 5 miles [you’ll need two cars though]. Go early (about 9:00am) to snag good parking and to not see many people on the trail. The trail is breathtaking. There are off shoots to lookouts that give you a panoramic view of the lake and there’s Emerald Bay Beach where you can eat lunch / catch some rays or swim. I didn’t havehiking shoes for the trip and ended up buying some Keens. I don’t understand why all hiking shoes are brown, but I wanted something different so I opted for a green color. They were insanely comfortable for the 4hrs we were walking so I highly recommend! Regardless, my feet and shins needed some love so the hotels hot tub saved the day.
Checkout the shops.There’s so many cute boutiques you can go to in town. Grab a souvenir for someone on your way home or a yummy latte.
Have your last supper atBlue Angel Cafe. The space is cozy and the drinks / food are fresh. My ribs were the shizzy.
Regardless of what you do, you’ll have an amazing time. Until next time, Tahoe.
*Thank you Hotel Azure Lake Tahoe for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
If you’ve been blessed by the wonderful gene of face redness – I feel your pain. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t complain compared to those who have rosacea or other more severe skin issues – but, it’s still a struggle.
For me, it’s when my adrenaline kicks in, if I drink any alcohol, eat spicy food, public speak, etc. etc. My cheeks, forehead and chest OH MY. The redness is real. I’ve tried sprays and rosacea creams, but none worked that well.
I’ve been really into Korean beauty products lately and stumbled upon something called the “Angry skin” line by Klairs. I read about the serum specifically and decided to give it a whirl. So far I’m loving it. It’s not helping my chest redness all that much, but has drastically helped reduce the redness on my face [without causing breakouts or oily skin]. During the cooler months I wouldn’t get any redness but now that it’s summer, I apply it more than once a day to keep the redness down. The best part is that it’s under $30 and has lasted me months! [image via Soko Glam]
Ever since I was little I’ve had a love for designing my bedroom. Literally for my birthday I’d ask for a bedroom makeover instead of other things. With that said, now that I’m older and paying for it myself, I’m going to share some easy and affordable ways to transform your bedroom.
Before I had a blue striped throw blanket. I switched it out for a geometric throw from Kirklands. The pop of black played well with other accents in the room and the print complimented the print of the pillow.
3 Ditch the bedskirt & adjust your rug
I had a white bedskirt that was looking pretty drab. I ditched the bedskirt and scooted the rug a little farther under the bed to give the illusion of more space.
4 Add a plant
Plants can do more than just update decor, they often times provide air purifying and anti-bug properties. I purchased my first plant baby and I love it. Can’t wait to see him grow 🙂
*Thank you Dekowe pillows or sponsoring this post.
I’m going to share with you the latest beauty buy that I’ve grown quite fond of. One thing we all struggle with in the morning is puffiness. Face, eyes, cheeks, all the puffy. Over the past few months I’ve seen people post a lot about ice rollers. So, I decided to upgrade from the ice pack I’d shove on my face. I started to research ice roller options and I wanted the ice roller to have more benefits than just a frozen piece of metal. I also wanted something that varied in size and worked on the larger areas of my face and the smaller areas like my eyes.
I’ve been really into Asian beauty because I love how much they incorporate benefits from the earth. Alas, I discover the jade roller. I bought it about 3 months ago so I could really test it out and see if I like it and I’m excited to report back.
What are the benefits?
Per the Mount Lai site:
Improves blood circulation
Reduces puffiness and inflammation of skin
Promotes lymphatic drainage Relieves facial and jaw tension
How do you use it?
Per the Mount Lai site:
Start in the middle of the face and roll outwards across the cheeks.
Move to the eyebrows and roll upwards across the forehead.
Move below the lower lip and roll downward across the chin.
Use the smaller end for more delicate areas and harder to reach places, use the larger end for broad surfaces.
Before and after
Right when I woke up [puffy AF] → Right after using the jade roller [eyes less puffy] → 30 minutes after using the jade roller [by the time I got to work]
As I write this I already wish I could teleport back. As you all know, I recently went on vacation to Tulum. It was such an amazing, active, local living-like vacation. Not only was the trip budget friendly [$1,800 for flights, transportation, stay, food, activities etc.], but it also had the same time zone as home [Ohio] so that was an added bonus. As with any trip, there are some things that may turn out meh [specifically food] and some things that turn out great. I’m going to share with you places I think you should visit if you ever decide to travel to Tulum.
We booked our flights into Cancun where we then took a private shuttle directly to our AirBnB. There are taxis but if you’re spending that kind of money take a private shuttle. There’s also a bus that leaves the airport that’s Super cheap, but I don’t like waiting so another reason why we took the shuttle.
We stayed in an AirBnB that was absolutely amazing. Our host, Vanda, was so helpful and very responsive to our texts when we had questions. The AirBnB came with two free bikes which were perfect because we biked everywhere. We had a kitchen, so it was nice to relax and make breakfast at home before we decided to adventure out to town or the beaches which were only a ten minute ride. There are plenty of beach front properties as well if you’d prefer to stay at one of those [Coco Tulum, Hip hotel]. Next time I visit, I definitely want to try beach front. It may not be as cheap, but from what I saw would be worth it!
Snaps from the AirBnb:
Now, on to places I think are noteworthy to visit..
There is a beach attached to a restaurant called Zamas. It was my favorite beach we visited because it had the least people [lol]. One side of the beach was a little rocky but the other was perfect for swimming once you got a little toasty from the sun.
Snaps from Zamas beach:
Paradise beach was of course busier, but bigger with whiter sand and better swimming water. It was absolutely gorgeous – I highly suggest visiting this one!
Snap from Paradise Beach:
This was my favorite part [obviously]. One of the perks of not staying at an all-inclusive is being able to eat alllll the food. However, a lot of the resorts have restaurants attached to them that the public can eat at, so I’m sure if you stay at a beach front resort the food is still bomb.
El Bacaro had some amazing Italian seafood and a Passionfruit Caipirinha that was to die for.
Raw Love bar had an atmosphere and chocolate cake that made me feel like I was on another planet.
BOA beach club was a hidden gem we didn’t think was a restaurant but was. The atmosphere was amazing, the calamari and steak dishes were delicious, and I’m not ordering a margarita anywhere else ever again.
Ojo de Agua had the best ribeye tacos I’m sure I’ll ever have in my lifetime.
What I loved about Tulum is that there was so much to do. Between biking/exploring town, checking out cenotes and adventuring to the ruins, I feel like we only did a quarter of what was out there.
The Ruins – this was probably my favorite place we visited. The energy you felt when you walked into the ruins was insane. It’s like a calm, peaceful quiet feeling even though there’s lot’s of people roaming about. The structures were not only beautiful, but the fact the whole town was on a cliff overlooking the ocean made it extraordinary. We didn’t book a tour, just paid for our tickets and went roaming about on our own. If you want a beach day in a unique spot, this place has one!
Snaps of the ruins:
The Gran Cenote was a must-see I read about before going on the trip. I’ll be totally honest with you – I was a little underwhelmed. There were a lot of people, the water wasn’t as clear or bright as I thought it would be, and it was really chilly in the water. If anything it just made me want to go on a full blown snorkel tour out in the ocean. I was kind of bummed it was how we spent our last day, but it was still a cool experience.
Snaps of the cenote:
The Mayan Clay Spa was a total #treatyoself during our stay. We took a cab there because me relaxed after a massage riding a bike = a likely crash. I chose this spa because it was affordable [especially for 90 minutes] and I was intrigued by the clay situation. They let you tell them where you’d like the clay which is nice. I had it all over my stomach, back, arms, face and hair. Once you’re done with the massage you go down into these showers to rinse off..you kind of feel exposed but it’s not so bad because you’re surrounded by bamboo and trees and all the goodness of nature. I highly suggest this as a cool relaxing experience.
Snaps of the spa:
We were in our AirBnb by 9pm watching Netflix and in bed by midnight so you might want to checkout trip advisor for this one [lol]. It worked out that we didn’t want to be out at night because it stormed pretty bad every night we were there. Be weary of rain. Cheers to being exhausted from all of the day exploring!