Gingham and Pops of Red

Outfit Details: Shirt – SheIn, Jeans – ModCloth, Pumps – Christian Louboutin, Bag – Valentino, Earrings – Bijoux Turner

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Skincare 101: How to Start a Routine

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If you follow me, you know I am all about skincare. A good skincare routine is essential to keeping your skin glowing and looking as youthful as can be, no matter how many times you celebrate your 21st birthday.

Starting a skincare routine can seem daunting and very overwhelming. Do you need toner? Eye Cream? Retinol? How much money should your eye cream even cost? $10, $20, $80?

Let’s all take a deep breath together and I’ll break things down for you
& your very first skincare routine! Ready, let’s talk skincare!

#1 Cleanser – This is the base of your skincare routine. You want a cleanser that’s effective in removing your makeup and the days Friné from your face.

Depending on your skin tone, you’ll want a cleanser that targets a specific concern you have. For me it’s oil control & acne clearing. My favorite cleanser for this is Clean and Clear benzoyl peroxide wash. It keeps my skin clear & shine free.

#2 Toner – This is and should always be the second thing you do after washing your face. Toner helps to remove any final impurities from the skin while soothing and repairing. It also preps your skin for the next steps in your regime. I love this Witch Hazel toner, it’s the bomb.com.

#3 Serum – Here’s where you can apply serums depending on your skin’s needs. For myself, I focus on brightening and oil control. I love to add a Vitamin C serum with oil control benefits, followed by my FAVORITE serum from Clarin’s, their Hydra-Essential Bi Phase to give my skin a radiance boost. I swear this serum alone has made my skin glow, highly recommend. If you don’t know where to start, any serum with Vitamin C is a sure  bet. The serum will brighten your skin while helping fine lines and your tone. I love to switch my serums up depending on my skin’s needs that week and for my oily girls, no worries as adding an oil to your regime will NOT make your skin oilier. On the contrary, it helps balance our your skin!

#4 Moisturize – THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. IF YOU DO ONE THING, DO THIS. I cannot stress this enough, moisturizing is key to good skin. This step along helps keep skin hydrated, acts a barrier so daily irritants doesn’t enter your skin, and helps your skins tone & texture. It can also help keep fine lines at bay and balance your skin. Like I said, if you pick one thing from this list, pick this one! I love the moisturizer from Olay, it’s amazing and has added benefits like anti-aging.

#5 Eye Cream – I take my eye cream seriously as I do NOT want crow’s feet early on. When applying make sure to dab lightly onto your crow’s feet and under the eye area, DAB not rub. Pick a cream that’s on the thicker side as this hydrates the delicate eye area better. My favorite is this Olay one. (I swear Olay’s creams are the shiiiitttt)

#6 BONUS: Retinol – This is essential to good skin once you hit your mid twenties. Including a retinol in your regime does a ton of good for your skin. It helps control oil and reduce pore size; it also helps reduce fine lines and prevent wrinkles from forming. This miracle cream can also help fade discoloration and brighten your skin. Prescription strength ones work best, but over the counter options are just as good. Try this one from Peter Thomas Roth. Retinol will dry your skin out though so make sure to hydrate and moisturize your skin plenty!

If you want to add a weekly step to  your routine, make sure you are exfoliating! Doing this 1-2x a week will help slough off dead skin cells and reveal your radiant & smooth skin below. I’ve made my own using honey, brown sugar and essential oils.

Now you’re ready to take on the skin care world, one step at a time! What are your favorite skincare tips? Share below! xo

Fashion Hacks The A-List Love

*This is a contributed post*

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Although Hollywood is almost exclusively peopled by those who are genetically gifted, they are also helped every step of the way to look their best. Attended by an army of professional makeup artists, dietitians, personal trainers, hair stylists and – less openly – cosmetic surgeons, the already high stakes are raised even further, which can leave us mere mortals feeling as though they’re barely real. While you may not have access to the kinds of budgets that A-listers can work with, there are some simple styling tricks you can use to celebrate your figure.

Belt it Up

Want to lose a few pounds instantly? Who doesn’t! But we often overlook the simple slimming power of a well-placed belt, especially when dressing in bulkier layers during the colder months. A statement belt can instantly lift last season’s winter coat or add shape to an oversized sweater – and do a better job of defining your figure than a month on the 5:2 diet!

Flip Reverse It

Have an awkward neckline to deal with? Try wearing a top the opposite way to how it was initially intended. A scoop neck blouse can become a pretty backless top showing off a lacy cami underneath, and shirts can be half-way unbuttoned and pushed down over the shoulders to give a Bardot neckline. Think outside the box, and it’s amazing what you can create.

Stretch Those Tight Shoes

If you have bought a pair of shoes on sale that are just a little too tight, you could try this easy trick. Fill two ziplock bags two-thirds full with water, insert inside the shoe, and then pop them in the freezer overnight. The bags will expand as the water freezes, gently expanding the shoe and creating a bit of vital extra wiggle room for your feet!

Find Stain Removing Wonders

We’ve all been there –  a disaster when you get foundation, lipstick or even Sharpie ink all over a favorite piece of clothing. But it doesn’t have to be destined for the bin, or even a trip to the dry cleaners. You already have things lying around the house that can help! For instance, spraying a lipstick stain with hairspray before washing it will ensure it comes out as good as new, shaving cream can get rid of foundation stains and hand sanitizer can make short work of Sharpie stains. Bonus tip – a little Windex can restore the shine to faded patent leather accessories too.

Enhance Your Assets

Want a little more up top, but still unsure about that breast augmentation? There are some clothing hacks out there to cheat an awesome cleavage. Some girls swear by wearing two bras layered over each other – one a cup size smaller than usual and the other padded. Others simply twist the centre chest panel round a couple of times to get their bra to push up a little more.

There are so many fashion hacks out there, you could find a new one for every day of the year. What’s your favorite fashion hack? Share it below!

The Reason Why I’m Choosing to Visit Cuba as a Cuban-American

Typical street in Old Havana

 

Mi Vida. Mi Tierra. Mi Cuba.

My Life. My Land. My Cuba.

A country that for 26 years I have longed to know and am finally getting the chance to visit. As a product of Cuban immigrants, my decision to go has been nothing short of a difficult one but one that I have selfishly made anyways. I am sure you must be thinking, “How can you go? How can you hurt your family by going to the place they escaped to give you a better chance at life?”

Since booking I have read countless articles about what a terrible human being and even worse Cuban I must be for even entertaining the thought of stepping foot into Cuba. There is a side of me that completely agrees and that side fills me with the guilt I have felt since booking my ticket. The guilt feels like I am carrying a bag of bricks up a steep hill, each brick weighing me into the ground the further I go. Yet, I am still going. I am going to CUBA.

This was an extremely emotional decision for me to make, one that has caused me many tears and one that I knew my family would not agree with. So why am I going? For 26 years I have heard countless stories about our beautiful Cuba. Stories from my mom, my aunts, my grandparents, and family friends. Stories that described a place full of history, culture, great music and even better food. Stories of how my grandparents fell in love and how it took another man asking for my abuela’s hand in marriage to get my grandfather to finally propose. Stories of my aunts and uncles on the breathtaking beaches of Varadero. Stories of the lives that were lived in a country I’ve never known, a country they loved but had to leave behind.

I have never considered myself “American” by any means, I have always been very proud of where I come from and while I may have been born in the US, I am Cuban. Now, this does not mean I do not love my country, I love the USA and I am so grateful for every opportunity this country has given me. Without my family coming to America I would not be where I am today. I consider myself more Cuban than American simply because of the environment and culture I was raised in. A culture full of Cuban traditions, mantras, and some superstitions (i.e if you sweep your feet with the broom by mistake you’re not getting married LOL). I love everything about our culture; the loudness, the food, the music, and the people but I have always felt a certain disconnect to my roots. A void that I feel can only be filled by visiting Cuba.

This trip means so much to me. I have only dreamed of the day when I would be able to visit Cuba and while I hoped it would be a free country when that day came, I cannot turn down the opportunity I have been given to go. This isn’t a vacation, this is a trip where I hope to learn as much as I can about the country I hold so dear to my heart. I’m not going for the mojitos or Cohibas, I’m going to connect with the people and immerse myself in their reality and culture. I will be the first of my family to “return” to the island, and while I continue to think about just canceling my trip I would only be punishing myself. This is an experience, an experience that I have no doubts will be a very special and emotional one.