3 Affordable Products That Helped Me Grow Out My Bleached Hair

 

The first time I ever got highlights in my hair I was seven years old. Seven. I’ve been bleaching my hair for nearly 16 years (give or take my scene queen wannabe days, but I was still coloring my hair black every six weeks nevertheless… LOL sry mom). If you color your hair, but especially if you bleach your hair regularly, you know how damaging it can be. I’ve tried everything from $300+ keratin treatments to name-brand sprays and hair masks, but nothing’s helped, and it’s certainly been discouraging for my wallet.

So, I got fed up and resorted to the only thing I thought would work: cutting off all of my hair. Well, not all of it but pretty close. My hair was so dead that I opted to get a “lob” which actually turned into a short af bob (hate when that happens). It was cute, but nothing compared to my long, luscious wavy locks that I had in high school. I was desperate for my hair to grow back, but again, nothing helped. Not even biotin (!!!).

I continued to bleach my hair because I’m most comfortable as a blonde. But I needed to find something that would keep my hair healthy and my wallet happy. Here’s what I found worked for me and what I sincerely hope will work for you!

Vital Protein’s Collagen Protein Peptides ($43)

I plan to write an entire blog post on this stuff because it’s just that good. I started taking Vital Protein’s Collage Protein Peptides about six months ago and the results that I’ve seen in my hair have been ridiiiiiiculous. My hairstylist couldn’t believe how much my hair had grown since the last time I saw her, and I owe it largely to this stuff. I put two scoops in my coffee every morning and viola, shiny, strong hair. Get you some, for real. It’s less than $40/month for a subscription and worth every. single. penny.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm ($5.99)

I got this product in an Influenster PR package. I was super hesitant to use it because it feels like a really thick conditioner and my hair usually gets extremely oily, but OH MY GOSH. Within a week, my hair was so much softer, and there were noticeable differences when I wore my hair natural (aka softer hair = less frizz…thank you LAWD, amirite!?). This L’Oreal product is so affordable, will last you at least three months (I use about a quarter size dollop on the ends of my hair every day). Try it out! You will not regret it.

Mane ‘n Tail Original Shampoo ($6.19 for 32oz)

I’m sure you’ve heard about Mane ‘n Tail Shampoo before and thought, “Does that really work?” I think it does. It’s made with collagen, so it helps your hair look stronger and shinier. And combined with the products listed above, I’ve used nothing but Mane ‘n Tail Shampoo for the last year. My hair seriously hasn’t looked healthier, stronger, and longer than it has in YEARS.

Try these three products together for a month and see if you have the same results, because I would bet that you will. For less than $65 (which is, let’s face it, almost half of what it costs to get a full set of foils), you can keep your hair protected in between bleaches! Maintaining blonde hair is no small task, but if you can save money on products that will keep your hair strong and not looking fried, why not try them!?

As for me, I’ll be embracing my natural beach waves for as long as possible, and I will never take them for granted ever again. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the growth I’ve had (I can almost get a high pony without bobby pins woohoo). If you try any of these products, please let me know! I’d love to hear how they work for you. Have more questions about hair? Let me know! I’d be happy to help. 🙂

What are your favorite hair products?!

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XOXO,

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11 Amazon Gift Ideas for the Home

Gifting presents to anyone in their mid-twenties might seem a little tricky. Should you give a present or just cold, hard cash? As most of my friends and I are just starting out our lives, moving into new apartments or homes, getting engaged or starting new jobs, receiving small appliances–often times things we wouldn’t buy because we don’t think to or can’t afford it–is so appreciated. If you have a friend, child, grandchild, etc. that’s just starting out in the “real” world, these 11 Amazon products would make excellent gifts!

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  1. Vitamix Blender $199: I would DIE if I opened this on Christmas! Vitamix blenders are great quality blenders and last forever. They’re much more expensive than something you could usually grab in Target or Walmart, but they’re certainly worth it.
  2. Wine Chiller $24: This would make a great gift for you wine-loving friends!
  3. Instant Pot $60: I love a crockpot, but I’ve heard such great things about this too. For someone who is new to cooking, I’m always looking for simple recipes, and I know that using the Instant Pot would make cooking a lot less overwhelming. It would also be great for moms, grandmas, etc. who have busy schedules and need a quick fix to making dinner quickly!
  4. Clothes Steamer $20: I know when I moved into my own place for the first time, a steamer (or clothes iron) never crossed my mind on things I needed for my home. This would be a great, practical gift!
  5. Stemless Wine Glasses (6 pack) $12: If you’re gifting a wine chiller, why not add wine glasses and a nice bottle of wine too? I love stemless wine glasses and think a simple set would make a wonderful gift for a new home owner, etc.
  6. Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker $80: This isn’t the most high-end version of the Keurig, but it’s practical and gets the job done. It’s also on sale right now, so grab one while you can!
  7. KitchenAid Artisan Mini Series Mixer $189: I’ve wanted one of these for years. For under $200, this would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves to bake!
  8. 40 Pack of K-Cups $25: I think this would make a perfect gift for any coffee lover! K-Cups can be so pricey, so I know I would appreciate receiving a whole box of them. For some extra lovin’, give a gift that keeps on giving and sign your family member/best friend up for a year subscription.
  9. iRobot Roomba $249: This is certainly a higher-ticket item, but the Roomba’s are all the rave right now! This is on sale for such a great price too (you’ll save $125!!!).
  10. Amazon Echo Dot $20 (2ndGen): Josh bought this for my birthday a few years ago. I really like how small the Echo Dot is, and this is a great price point to gift a friend as a house warming gift or a “Thank You” for hosting a holiday party!
  11. Simply Calphalon 10pc Cookware Set $110: I received this set as a Christmas gift about two years ago when Josh and I first moved into our own apartment. It is such a great set of cookware, is great quality, and has everything you need for a young adult who is just starting to learn how to cook ha!

 

Some of the links in this post include affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. 

Happy Shopping!

XOXO,

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Beauty Steals and Splurges: 12 Products You Need this Christmas

I love gifting beauty products as Christmas presents! Ulta has the best deals during the holiday season (sorry if you’re a Sephora gal), and I usually go crazy buying stocking stuffers and splurge items. I’ve included many items I own already in this list, because they are just that great, along with a few others that are currently in my cart. If you’re stuck on what to buy your girlfriend for Christmas, makeup is always a great choice.

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  1. Tula Insta Bright Mask $26: Would make a great stocking stuffer!
  2. ABH Glow Kit $24 (BLACK FRIDAY DEAL) or $40: This is such a steal! ABH products are amazing quality and these highlighters are so pigmented. $24 for 4??? Grab one while you can!
  3. OPI Nail Polish $5 (BLACK FRIDAY DEAL): Love OPI colors. Grab “OPI Funny Bunny” for a great neutral or “Lincoln Park After Dark” if you’re into darker colors.
  4. CHANEL Mademoiselle Perfume $90+ (is in select Ulta stores): I bought this as a gift for myself after finishing grad school and I’m obsessed! It’s a splurge for sure, but the scent is amazing and definitely makes me feel more of an adult. Goodbye middle school Juicy Couture perfume!!!
  5. First Aid Beauty Ulta Repair Cream $30: My sister recently recommended this to me, so I’m super excited to try it!
  6. Morphe 9pc Brush Set $19.50 (BLACK FRIDAY DEAL) or $39: If your girlfriend, sister, best friend, mom, etc. looks like they might need a new set of makeup brushes, this is a great set at a great price point!
  7. LovingTan 2 Hour Express Self-Tanner $40: Love this stuff! I use it quite regularly and the color is great. It doesn’t leave streaks and, unlike other self-tanners, doesn’t have an overwhelming smell.
  8. Jade Roller $12: I’ve been wanting to start using jade rollers to decrease puffiness in my face for a while now! Grabbing this one on Amazon for myself and maybe my sisters! It would make a great stocking stuffer.
  9. Buxom 6pc Lip Kit $40: Buxom lip products are some of my favorite. They make your lips look so plump!
  10. Petite Heat Naked Palette $15: I need this! This would be the perfect palette for spicing up your everyday makeup routine.
  11. Lorac PRO Palette $44: My go-to eyeshadow palette!
  12. No7 Early Defense Skincare System $56.99: Mom bought me this last Christmas and I love it! It’s never too early to start preventive skin care regimens!

SHOP THE POST

Some of the links in this post include affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase.

Happy Shopping!

XOXO,

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Gift Guide for Her

Shopping for your any woman in your life can be tricky, so I’ve put together a list of 14 gifts that would be great for your sister, mom, aunt, best friend, girlfriend, etc. Most items can be found on Amazon, but I’ve included some items from small businesses that I think you would love.  From makeup to books, from under $15 to over $100, I hope this helps you find the perfect gift for the women in your life!

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  1. Quay Australia Sunglasses $60+: This sunglasses are so cute! The ombre lenses and classic round pair are my favorite. They’re currently BOGO free with code “BOGO.”
  2. Fossil Virginia Quartz Rose Gold & Opal Watch $130: I personally own this watch and LOVE IT! It’s not too large, is the cutest color, and is perfect for work. This is the perfect “dressy” watch if you’re in the market for one.
  3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette $42: I’ve been eyeing this palette for months! ABH products are such high quality/pigment, and I couldn’t recommend this palette more. The neutral tones would be great for everyday makeup!
  4. Gucci Belt Replica $15: Typically I’m not a fan of dupes, but this is too good to pass up. I’ve heard they won’t be around for much longer, so if you’ve been wanting a Gucci belt but can’t afford the real deal, this would be a good option.
  5. Local Eclectic’s Beyond Basic Opal & Diamond Stacking Ring Set $85: I’m obsessed with dainty rings and this set from Local Eclectic is to die for!!! They have some of the prettiest, unique jewelry. If the girl in your life is into gemstones or unique pieces, check out their entire site!
  6. Adidas Originals Women’s Swift Run W $90 (Amazon): Blush-colored sneakers are so cute! I love the look and comfort of adidas, and think that these shoes would make the perfect gift for your friend. Great for casual wear or working out!
  7. Birkenstock Arizona Birko-FLOR Sandal $100: I got a similar pair of Birkenstocks last year and have worn them almost every single day. If I were to get another pair, it would for sure be these! I’m loving the matte black look.
  8. Rebecca Minkoff Small Love Leather Crossbody $98 (50% off!): UGH I need this bag!!! It’s 50% off at Nordstrom right now and the blush color would be great for spring! Similar bags are running $300+, so grab this one while you can!
  9. O-Venture Key Ring $25: If you’re looking for a cute key ring this is a great option. I’m constantly having issues with holding my keys, Fitz’s leash, and purse, so I love that this can be worn as a bracelet. They come in so many colors/styles, so check out their entire site!
  10. & 12. Girl, Wash Your Face $12: I’ve heard so many great things about this book and want to read it so bad!
  11. Fujifilm Instax Mini $69: I love this gift idea for any girl that’s obsessed with taking pictures! They’re so cute for hanging on walls, gifting to friends, etc.’
  12. Woman Code: I’ve seen Lee From America talk about this book frequently, and I’m constantly trying to learn more about how I can understand (and work with) my body. I’m definitely ordering this one!
  13. 13.BaubleBar MTWTF Resin Hoop Set $84 (53% off!): I know I keep saying this, but I’m seriously obsessed with these. Tortoise is so in this season, and this entire set would be so great for any girl in your life who is fashion-obsessed! This set is also a complete STEAL. 5 earrings for under $100?! Count me in!
  14. Urban Outfitters Record Player $99: LOVE LOVE LOVE this! This is a great option for your music-obsessed gal pals! UO is also having a sale on vinyl, so grab a few records to go along with it. There’s nothing better than gifting your friend their favorite music imo. 🙂

Happy Shopping!

XOXO,

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Gift Guide For Him

I’ve found that shopping for my boyfriend has easily been the hardest person to shop for every holiday season, and I know that I’m not alone. I’ve tried to compile a list of gifts that meet every price point, but would still be great gifts for your man (or any man in your life). Many of these gifts can be found on Amazon or Dick’s Sporting Goods. 🙂

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  1. North Face Quarter Zip Fleece Pullover $60 (25% off): Josh currently owns this, and I wear it all the time LOL. It’s so warm and comfy!!
  2. Ralph Lauren Polo Red $85 + free gift w/ purchase: Love the smell of this cologne! Josh wears “Very Sexy” men’s cologne from Victoria’s Secret, but if I could get him to switch, it would be to this one! I’ve linked it to Ulta in the event that you want to earn reward points, but you can get this cologne at various major retailers too.
  3. Nike Swift Running Shoe $60+ on Amazon: Josh picked these ones out haha. They kind of look like dad shoes to me, but they’re definitely comfortable!
  4. Beats Pill + Portable Speaker $129: We own this and love it! It works so great and is really durable (we’ve dropped it so many times haha).
  5. Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses $100: I’ve purchased these for Josh in the past and he loves them! You can get them customized on the Oakley website, but I think at this price point, it’s hard to pass up on Amazon.
  6. Van Der Hagen’s Men’s Luxury Shave Kit $28: Shave kits are a great gift for any guy in your life! I think this option would be good for anyone that’s new to shaving or new to using shaving kits. Josh is obsessed with growing out his beard, so if I’m gonna put up with a beard, I can at least make sure it’s well kept. 😉
  7. Fossil Watch $108: Love this option for a nice leather watch! It’s great for work or dressier occasions and the bands can be switched out too.
  8. Tool Box $23: Another great option for your twenty-something+ guy in your life!
  9. Whiskey Glass Set $30: Pair this set with a great bottle of whiskey and it would be the best gift for any guy in your life!
  10. Beats PowerBeats3 Wireless $99: Love these for the gym, running, etc. They’re a great price too!
  11. Duke Sweatshirt/NCAA Gear: Found this awesome sweatshirt at Dick’s! I typically always get Josh something sports relating (his faves are Duke and the Carolina Panthers!).
  12. Apple Watch Series 3 $300: This is the most expensive item on all of my gift guides, but if you’re looking for a splurge item, this is it!

What are you buying the men in your life for the holidays?!

Happy Shopping!

XOXO,

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Gift Guide for Dog Moms

Y’all know how obsessed I am with my dogs, so this gift guide was a must! I recently discovered a really cute small business on Instagram, Treat Dreams, that has the most adorable fur-baby gifts! I’ve included many options from their site, a mug from another Instagram find + creator, J. Isabel Designs, and a few additional options from Amazon. I’m making it a goal of mine to shop small this holiday season, so if you’re in the market for gifts for all your dog mom friends, please check out their websites!!! I love all of these affordable gift ideas and will be purchasing most of them for all of my best friends turned dog moms! 🙂

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  1. Dog Mom Clear Mug $15: Love a clear mug and this lettering is just so adorable!
  2. All The Dogs Roam Kitchen Towel $13 each: How cute are these quotes?!
  3. Fur Mama PopSocket $15: I’m always looking for ways to flaunt that I’m a dog mom LOL, so this PopSocket would be a wonderful option.
  4. Custom Socks with Your Dog’s Picture $14: Who doesn’t want clothes with their dog’s picture on it?! UM, I DO!!! These are hilariously adorable.
  5. Nama’stay at Home with my Dog Hat $25: Love this quote + love a good ball cap.
  6. Dog Seat Cover $35: I bought a car with black interior almost a year ago and have regretted it ever since… SO. MUCH. DOG. HAIR!!! I desperately need this seat cover, and if you have a friend with a dog who sheds like crazy, I’m sure they would be so grateful for this gift. You might want to add a membership to a car wash as well. 😉
  7. Alex and Ani Paw Charm $25: Josh bought me this for my birthday and wow…I CRIED. Again, I’ll flaunt my dog motherhood at any chance, so I love love LOVE this charm bracelet.
  8. DIY Ornament $7: How sentimental is this? What better way to remember your Christmases with your sweet pups than a imprint of their paw?! I love a DIY ornament.
  9. Blessed & Dog Obsessed Dog Decal $5: I’m getting this because it’s so fitting. I am blessed and dog obsessed…haha!
  10. Time to Wine Down with my Dog $38.99: Treat Dreams has tons of cute graphic sweatshirts, but this one takes the cake IMO.

Hope you love these gift ideas!

Happy Shopping!

XOXO,

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Give the Gift of Good Hair: 13 Hair Products to Gift this Season

My favorite part of the winter holidays is that cold weather = great hair! I’m frequently getting questions about what I do to my hair, how I style it, and what products I use, so I thought this gift guide was much  needed! I’ve included my go-to hair products and products that are on my “want” list, ranging from hot tools and Keratin sprays. Whether it’s a stocking stuffer or a splurge item, you can’t go wrong with giving the gift of good hair! 🙂

GIFT THE GIFT OF GOOD HAIR


    1. Turbie Twist $11.99 | If you’re still trying to wrap a massive towel around your head after you shower, you are seriously missing out! Turbie Twists would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for literally anyone: mom, daughter, roommate, etc.
    2. CHI for Ulta Beauty Pink Pro Dyer $89.95 | This is a great quality hair dryer for under $100! If you’re in the market for a better quality hairdryer that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, this would be a great option!
    3. Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo & Conditioner Combo Set $38.90 | I’ve seen Moroccanoil products all over my social media for months, and I’ve wanted to give it a try so badly, but it’s a bit more expensive than what I usually pay for hair products. I will say, though, less than $40 for shampoo and conditioner isn’t bad, especially for such high-quality products. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews of this stuff, so hook a girl in your life up with some (…aka maybe me? :))
    4. Velvet Scruchies $9.00 | Scrunchies are making a come back!!! YAS. This would be the perfect stocking stuffer and would definitely guarantee that your besties stay on trend haha.
    5. Drybar Glitter Gang Limited Edition Set $172 | I got an email about this earlier and knew I had to add it to this list! I know it’s much more of a splurge than other products I typically share, but this gift would be so great for any girly-girl. I mean, a sparkly blowdryer?! So. cute. It comes with so many great products, and I’m sure any girl would be so excited to open this box of goodies!
    6. CHI Keratin Mist Leave-In Strengthening Treatment $16.00 | This stuff has been my go-to for years. It smells so, so good and makes my hair so soft. I couldn’t recommend this stuff more. It would also make such a great stocking stuffer!
    7. Drybar Brush Crush Straightening Brush $145 | Another splurge item, yes, but if you’re looking to venture out of your hairstyling-tool-comfort-zone, this would be the perfect gift for you! Got frizzy, curly, or just tons of hair? YOU NEED THIS.
    8. NuMe Curl Jam $97.30 | Okay…you actually do need this!!! AND IT’S UNDER $100! I’ve been using the NuMe Curl Jam (base + 3 curling barrels and straightener) for almost 5 years. I’ve never had any issues with these products whatsoever, which is a huge deal because most of my “high end” straighteners broke after a year. If you get anything off this list, get this! I’ve linked it to Amazon above, but you can also get it at Ulta for the same price. 
    9. Batiste Dry Shampoo Trio $9.99 | What girl doesn’t want to make their “second-day hair” last an extra day? I know I do!! Batiste dry shampoo is easily the best dry shampoo I’ve used, and this would be the perfect stocking stuffer! Give someone all three or open the box and split them up amongst your friends. 
    10. It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin $20.58 | This might be the product I hear people rave the most about. Get this product and the CHI Keratin Mist in travel sizes for stocking stuffers so your friend can pick which one they like best! Both are great options. *Select It’s A 10 products are BOGO free at Ulta until Nov. 17 at 11:59! Stock up while you can!
    11. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Salt Spray $3.59 | This is the most affordable item on this list and is a product I swear by. My hair doesn’t require many products to hold my curls, but I love spraying this to add texture and volume. And the best part is it actually smells like the beach!
    12. & 13. Popband London Hairtie Pack $9.00  &  Kitsch Hair Tie Bobble 4pc $6.00| I love both of these types of hairties and think they would make such fun stocking stuffers.

SHOP THE ULTA PRODUCTS HERE:

What are your favorite hair products to use in the winter? Do you use any of these products?!

XOXO,

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A Gift Guide for Your “Always Cold” Friend

It’s finally gift guide season, and I couldn’t be more excited to share some of my favorite holiday finds with you! I know there will be tons of gift guides floating around social media, so my goal this holiday season is to make my gift guides themed with fun and affordable finds! 

I wanted to start out my gift guides with this cozy theme because I’m that friend who is always so cold! I totally have a love/hate relationship with cold weather, and one of my favorite things during the winter is to cozy up in comfy pajamas, a huge, fluffy blanket, and drink hot chocolate. If you’ve got friends that are always cold or are just as obsessed with being cozy as I am, check out these gift ideas below! All are under $50 and can be found on Amazon, Target, or Aerie. 🙂 

Your Always Cold Friend


  1. Jessica Simpson Faux Fur Slippers | House slippers can be so ugly sometimes, but these adorable and affordable Jessica Simpson ones are the perfect combo of stylish and comfort. There’s nothing worse than having cold feet IMO, so hook your friend up with a pair of these!
  2. Target Woven Knit Scarf | I’ve been eyeing this scarf for weeks! It’s such good quality, comes in multiple patterns, and would be the best accessory to keep you warm this winter. 
  3. Pom Beanie | If you haven’t noticed already, I’m kind of obsessed with beanies, and I especially love beanies with cute little pom poms on them! They’re so trendy and will add a cute touch to any outfit during the colder months. 
  4. Teddy Coat | Teddy coats are so stinkin’ cute, but most of the ones I’ve seen this season are just a little too pricey for me. This Amazon find would be the perfect gift to keep you or your friend warm this winter!
  5. Target Thermal Pajamas | Would it really be a gift guide by me if I didn’t include a pair of Gilligan and O’Malley pajamas? Ha! I’m obsessed. They have the cutest thermal sets at Target and will definitely keep you warm. Get matching sets for your besties or fam, grab some hot coco, and get cozy!
  6. Tasty DIY Hot Coco Kit | Speaking of hot coco… What better way to get warm than by making hot chocolate from scratch? I thought this would be such a great gift for a girlfriend because I always think there’s something so special about giving someone a gift with the intention of spending quality time together to do it. 
  7. Sherpa Blanket |  As someone who is literally always cold, I want all. the. blankets. Not only is this a super affordable sherpa blanket and is huge, it would be the best gift for a friend who just moved into a new  house/apartment/dorm! Blankets can get so pricey and usually aren’t on the top of everyone’s home goods priority list. Give the gift of comfort, y’all!
  8. Sand + Fog Winter Pine Candle | Sand + Fog is one of my favorite candle brands! I usually find them at TJMaxx, but this Amazon option would be perfect for tight budgets as well. The “Winter Pine” scent is to die for and would help create those perfect cozy vibes.
  9. Aerie Waffle Knit Joggers | By far my favorite purchase this month! These joggers are great for sleeping or lounging around the house, but let’s be honest, I’ll be wearing them in public too. They’re the perfect solution for people who want to feel like their in pajamas all day, but actually made the effort to put on “real” clothes. Ya feel?
  10. Good Morning, Beautiful Ceramic Travel Mug | I’d be remiss if I left off a cute travel mug as a cozy gift idea. This Amazon find is adorable, and I really like that it’s a ceramic mug because I’ve found that those are actually much easier to clean than plastic/tumbler cups.

There will be new gift guides up every Wednesday and Friday for the next few weeks! I’m so excited to share more gift ideas with all of you! What do you want to see?! Let me know below!

Happy Shopping! 

XOXO,

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Tackle Holiday Shopping with these 5 Tips

Last night on Instagram, I shared that I have the opportunity to do Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University through my work, and wow…two weeks in, and I really need to make some changes in my spending habits. The course could not be starting at a better time, because I am notorious for spending too much money, especially around the holidays.

When the holidays role around, it can be so easy to over spend or splurge on items that otherwise wouldn’t be worth splurging on. I often get caught up in the “sales” and the idea of saving money and end up spending so much more than I should on gifts for people that I really don’t need to buy anything for. Sound like you too? Try incorporating some of these tips into your holiday shopping this season!

Holiday Shopping Tip #1: Make a Budget and Stick to It

By far the hardest thing about shopping on a budget is sticking to it. Each Christmas, I make a list of who I need to buy a gift for and how much I want to spend per person. For my parents or grandparents, I usually give myself a range (i.e. $100-150), whereas with friends or distant relatives, I’ll usually try to stick to $25 or less. In many cases, I don’t even end up buying gifts for everyone I’ve allocated money for. It’s so much better to over budget than under budget, amiright???

One of the most important parts of budgeting is writing it down. Keeping a mental note of how much you’ve spent is one sure way to over spend during the holidays. You should write down your budget so you can reference it when shopping, check off gifts once you’ve purchased them, and if you’ve saved money in some places, you might even be able to redistribute the money for someone else’s gift.

You also shouldn’t feel obligated to buy everyone a gift. This is something I really struggle with, because I would love to give gifts to everyone, but that’s just not financially feasible right now. When I begin writing my list of people I need to shop for, I typically create some sort of ranking (i.e. my nephews will be the top on my list, parents/grandparents, siblings, and so on). I’ll be sharing my favorite DIY/low-cost gifts to give your family and friends over the next few weeks, so stay tuned. 🙂

Holiday Shopping Tip #2: Get an Accountability Shopping Buddy

It also isn’t a bad idea to share your budget with a friend, family member, or significant other. Having someone to keep you accountable while you shop for the holidays is a great way to stay on budget! It also might add a sense of competition, and if you’re like me, might make finding deals seem even more fun (my little sister has always been great at finding deals, too, so it’s always fun to see who saved the most money haha!).

Holiday Shopping Tip #3: Don’t Use Credit Cards

It seems like every Christmas for the last few years, I’ve been sucked into charging everything to my credit card. This year, I’m only purchasing gifts using cash. In my opinion, there’s no worse feeling than buying a really nice gift for someone, only to be stuck paying it off for the next few months because you spent too much money on it. I know it can be incredibly easy to charge everything, especially during a time when money always seems to be tight, but don’t do it! It’s not worth getting into debt. If you don’t have the money for a gift, don’t get it. If you think, “Oh, I’ll just pay it off later…”, don’t get it. Buy only what you can afford. Your friends and family will still love you the same, regardless if your giving everyone a new Michael Kors bag or a simple hand-written letter.

And when you’re not using your credit cards this holiday season, I would 100% recommend getting the Target REDcard! Did you know that that was even an option?! Essentially, the Target REDcard/debit card just links to your personal checking account (so you only spend the money that you actually have), you get 5% off every purchase, free shipping, and extended return periods! It’s a win-win.

Holiday Shopping Tip #4: Use Coupons

There should be absolutely no reason to not use coupons or discount codes during the holidays. Almost every store has sales going on, and if you look hard enough, you can find them! Subscribe to your favorite stores’ email list so that you get notified of sales and discount codes. Follow bloggers who have discount codes to hand out. There’s no shame in finding the best deal and don’t buy anything until you’re absolutely sure that’s the cheapest you can get it!

Holiday Shopping Tip #5: Download Apps & Save

Similar to finding coupons, downloading your favorite stores’ apps during the holidays is a super helpful way to save money. Target and Ulta are my personal faves, and they alert you when there’s new sales and promotions going on! I would also recommend downloading the RetailMeNot app (more coupons!!!) so that you can check for sales/cash back opportunities while you’re shopping. Apps and store reward cards also offer the added benefit of allowing you rack up points to cash in at a later date. If you’re spending so much money over the holidays, why not make sure that you get rewarded for it at a later date?

While these tips aren’t meant to be a complete guide to prevent you from overspending during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, incorporating even just one holiday shopping tip can help you stay on budget! I hope this list helps you think about how you’re going to tackle your holiday shopping this year, especially as I’m gearing up to start publishing some fun gift guides! 🙂

What are some ways that you save during the holidays? Do you have any go-to tips and tricks?

Happy shopping, friends!

XO

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My Favorite Neutral Sweaters Under $30

As much as I’m sad that my favorite month is over, November usually means that temperatures are dropping and will actually stay pretty low (!), which also means that all of my sweaters get pulled out of their space bags, and I get to be a comfy girl at work. Woohoo! When the weather finally drops, I really try to refrain from buying too many new sweaters. Most sweaters I own, I’ve had for at least three years, and I have some that I’ve had since high school! This is probably because it’s really not cold for very long in the south, and if it is, I just mix up the ones I already own and style them in different ways.

 If I do shop for sweaters, though, I always always go for neutral tones. This makes it so much easier to style them differently, and I feel like a good nude, white, or black sweater will never go out of style. I mean, those striped, distressed sweaters this season are cute and all, but ya girl will not be buying one because it probably won’t be so cute next season IMHO.

I also really try to stick to a budget when I’m shopping for sweaters. It pains me to see bloggers who think they post about “affordable” fashion, and they’re promoting $50+ sweaters. Like…no. At the most, I’ll usually spend around $30 for a sweater, and that’s really a splurge for me. If you’re ballin’ on a budget like me, check out my favorite neutral sweaters below. I’ve included a list of sweaters that are perfect for lounging, work, going out, and most importantly, keeping you warm! Enjoy!

Best Affordable Neutral Sweaters Under $30

American Eagle always has great sweaters, and I usually always watch for sales or shop their clearance section to find the best options. Typically, I buy my more casual sweaters here. I love their Aerie basics and also some of the lighter sweaters that they have that would be perfect for lounging around the house, wearing to the beach when it’s a bit chillier outside (looking out for my FL peeps ;)), or layering! Here’s my picks from AE/Aerie.

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Forever21 also never disappoints. You can always find basics, but you’re also sure to find some edgy/trendier stuff too. I’m sometimes skeptical to shop online at Forever21–mostly because I always forget to return things when they don’t fit–but these options are so cute and affordable! Here’s my picks from Forever21.

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H&M is one of my favorite places to shop for sweaters; they’re affordable, always on trend, and super cozy. I’ve had the most adorable chunky knit sweater from there for YEARS, and it still fits and looks brand new. Here’s my picks from H&M.

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Old Navy has typically always been my go-to store for affordable sweaters that are great for work. They’re good quality, usually basic yet stylish, and are always on sale. (Pro tip: You should never pay full price for anything at Old Navy… There are always sales/promos going on!). Here’s my favorites from Old Navy (I own both v-neck styles in almost every color…they’re just that good!).

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Where do you shop for your sweaters? Do you typically stick to a certain style or budget? Comment below and let me know!

XOXO,

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Easy Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for Women Using Things You Already Own

I’ve really put off planning for Halloween this year, and it’s the first year that I haven’t done a “couples costume” in five years, so coming up with what I want to be by myself hasn’t been a top priority because, well, it’s just not as fun to me. I also never really go “all out” for Halloween. I typically always want to use what I already own, play around with makeup and hair (but not excessively), and just have fun. Since it’s pretty cold where I live right now, I also want to be warm haha. Here’s a few ideas of last-minute Halloween costumes that you should be able to put together from items you have in your closet!

Pirate Halloween Costume

I think a “sexy” pirate is so cute and something everyone could easily pull together. If you’re worried about the cold too, it gives you the perfect excuse to wear leggings and a long-sleeve top. For a sexier look, a cute black mini skirt, fishnets, and OTK boots would be so cute. Pair that with some excessive gold jewelry, a smokey eye, and maybe an eye patch ($0.79 at Micheal’s whaaat) or a bandana if you have one, and you’ll be good to go!

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Cheetah / Cat Halloween Costume

This is a last minute costume I fell back on when I was studying abroad a few years ago, but I think this has to be one of the easiest that you can do! Again, it’s perfect for colder weather: you can wear black leggings, a long sleeve black/cheetah print top, and boots. For my warmer weather gals, black shorts or a skirt would be so cute paired with OTK boots as well. You’d then just need to accessorize and have some fun with your makeup. I’d suggest buying a cute cat ear headband, like this one, and/or pairing it with a cute cheetah print scarf. I’m also linking to the best cheetah/cat makeup tutorial that I’ve used here.

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Rosie the Riveter Halloween Costume

Okay, y’all…this actually might be easier than the cat costume! I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a denim/chambray top and jeans we could throw together to make a cute Rosie the Riveter costume! Buy a red bandana if you don’t already own one and throw on some red lipstick, and POSE. I mean, who doesn’t want to dress up as a cultural female icon?!

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What are you being for Halloween? Do you have any favorite DIY costumes?!

In the past, Josh and I have been: Squints and Wendy (Sandlot), Steve Irwin and a crocodile, Christmas Obsessed, and Phil and Lil (from Rugrats)–all of which were super easy DIY costumes.