Exploring the World of NYC Coffee Shops

They say that New York never sleeps, and this might as well be totally the case given that every street is lined with at least two artisan over-priced small scale coffee shops, a Starbucks and a Dunkin’. Finding caffeine in the Big Apple is no challenge. In my two months there this summer, I have attempted to try as many independent cafes (although I will never give up my tired and true Starbucks chai) as I could during my commute, lunch breaks and lazy Sunday mornings. There is a whole world out there of coffee ambiances and gourmet creations to explore in the mega city.

Bluestone Lane: An Australian offshoot, Bluestone is located all over the city and specializes in gourmet drinks and “toasties” which are perfect for a quick light lunch. The locations tend to be smaller, making it more of a grab and go type of place. *Over a dozen locations all over the city.

Chacha Matcha: My favorite New York cafe, Chacha Matcha quickly became my go-to beverage pick-me-up everyday on my commute to work. As the name suggests, they specialize in matcha green tea, but create funky takes on the classic matcha latte with matcha chais, turmeric lattes and matcha lemonades. They also have a delicious assortment of matcha flavored pastries and chilled breakfast items. The crowd, along with the decor, is trendy and instagram obsessed. *Locations in Noho, Nomad, and Nolita.

Birch Coffee: Birch coffee has one of the best chais I have ever tasted. A bit of a unique place, they discourage technology by not having wifi or any outlets. Instead, they have a whole wall of books for customers to cozy up to and little conversation starter cards that attempt to create a hospitable and friendly unplugged atmosphere. Ideal for non-electronic studying! *10 locations across the city.

Think Coffee: A classy and spacious cafe, Think Coffee is a place a study. Standard coffee menu with breakfast and sandwiches, the environment at Think is extremely pleasant. They have outlets at every table, plush leather seats and play a calming mix of classical music which makes you even want to study. In a crazy city like New York, Think Coffee offers a reprieve from all the hustle and bustle outside. *About 8 locations across the city.

Joe’s Coffee: Joe’s has been a New York favorite for a while serving up a quality cup of “Joe” to many neighborhoods for years. They are simple coffee counter stores, but simple does the trick. If you need a quick coffee on the go, Joe’s is the place to go. *Over a dozen locations throughout New York.

Gregory’s Coffee: Another favorite, Gregory’s coffee is kind of like a local Starbucks. They have a large menu of drink options, food, and juices in there spacious cafes. What makes Gregory’s great is that they have a lot of vegan and gluten free food and drinks, making it a place for everyone. *23 locations in Manhattan.

Ralph’s Coffee: The Ralph Lauren Corporation, already pioneers in creating a truly immersive shopping experience, recently opened Ralph’s Coffee Shop inside select offshoot stores. I visited one inside the Flatiron Club Monaco and was delighted to get a delicious iced mocha within the stylish green tiled walls of the coffee outpost and the pleasantly light and airy atmosphere of the store. The coffee is all hand crafted, and the store is perfect for pictures. *Located at the Flatiron Club Monaco, Rockefeller Center, and the Upper East Side Ralph Lauren.

Maman: Maman is a favorite of the stylish Instagram crowd and it’s easy to see why. Besides having great coffee, a decadent lavender hot chocolate drink, and cute pastries, the cafe makes you feel as though you have been transported to the South of France with its cute decor and blue and white color scheme. The cups and plates are all super cute and photogenic too! *Locations in Soho, Tribeca, Nomad and Chelsea.

Citizens Of (Gramercy, Chelsea): While more of a popular brunch place, the trendy cafe has a barista bar serving up an array of exceptional drinks. The Australian styled spot has a refreshingly light interior that feels especially cool on a hot summer day. Come for the avocado toast and stay for the dirty chai (it’s seriously one of the best I’ve had). *Locations in Gramercy and Chelsea.

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Everywhere to Shop in NYC

As the fashion capital of America and a worldwide fashion hub, New York City is overflowing with a crazy range of flagship shops, small boutiques and mega department stores. This summer, I have had the opportunity to explore many different shopping areas. Here are some of my favorite neighborhoods and streets ideal for any fashion lover or avid shopper.

Soho

Soho is the designated “cool” tourist neighborhood with every imaginable “cool” store you can think of.  While it might be busy, the area is vibrant and has some great destination stores such as Reformation, Opening Ceremony, Off-White, etc.  There are also a lot of pop-up stores and concept places such as the Glossier Flagship.  For window shopping, nearly every major design house has a location around Soho.

Flatiron District

The area around the Flatiron building and Madison Square Park has a lot of major flagships found inside cool Gilded Age era Neo-classical style buildings lining the avenues and streets.  Many mid-range stores such as Club Monaco, J Crew, Madewell, Anthropology, Intermix, Tory Burch and Brooks Brothers have huge flagships in this area.  The crowds are less around this area too which is a huge plus. 

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side area around Lincoln Center and along Central Park boasts an array of slightly trendier and more reasonably priced stores than its east side counterpart.  European favorites such as Joie and Maje have large flagships here, along with popular American jean companies Paige and AG.  The area is also super cute and quiet.  

Chelsea

Around the High Line are some of the nicest streets in the city.  They are lined with luxury apartment buildings and designer stores.  A lot of New York contemporary designers such as Rebecca Taylor, Alice and Olivia and DVF have their flagships in this area, and Chelsea market is full of all sorts of local goodies and artisan crafts.  Seek out bargains, window shop and admire the street art in the popular urban revival neighborhood.

Hudson Yards

The newest and coolest complex of Manhattan, Hudson Yards’ epicenter includes a giant 5 level luxury mall that is unlike any mall I have ever been to.  The stores range from high-end designer shops to fast fashion places like Zara and popular places like Aritzia and Lululemon.  What’s great is that the ac is blowing and the cool marble interior makes for a fun indoor experience on a hot summer day.  The 5th floor holds New York’s first and only Neiman Marcus.  They give it their all to give shoppers a modern retail experience.  

 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue

Throughout Midtown, 5th Avenue to Lex Ave are for the most part very touristy and not very worthwhile in terms of shops.  However, the general area that borders central park is home to many of New York’s iconic department stores.  Window shop at the massive Bergdorf Goodman, experience the newly reopened accessories and shoe departments at Saks, and take advantage of the many boutique designers being featured at Bloomingdales.  Walk further uptown to Barney’s which is truly an experience for any fashion fan and admire the window displays of designer flagships along Madison Ave. 

Spring Style Watch: Must Have Trends

Hi! It’s me here, resurfacing after a little blogging break and ready to take on the warmer weather. Sweater weather might be finally behind us, so it’s time to break out the florals and sunglasses to embrace the warmth. Some exciting news on my part, I’m going to be living in New York City for two months this summer which means that I’ll have loads of exciting stories and content to share on here! So, what will I be wearing? Here are some trends to look out for this season from picnics and the beach to festivals and outdoor concerts.

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Trend: Textured Swimsuits

Who says swimsuits have to be all made of the same fabric? Mix up your pool-side look this summer with a fun crocheted, metallic or even denim suit. Brands like Solid and Striped and Oséree are changing the way we see swim style by using unique materials and unconventional designs.

Trend: Barely-There Sandals

We have gone from the blocky platform sandal to a barely-there strap sandal in just a couple of seasons. While a bolder shoe makes a fun statement, sometimes the bare minimal does just the same which is the idea behind this new shoe trend. Embrace a fun sandal this spring and enjoy the freedom of letting your feet breathe outside.

Essential: Light Stylish Coat

I absolutely swear by my Barbour olive green wax jacket because it completes any outfit and goes with any style while keeping me warm and dry in the fickle Upstate NY April weather. Trench coats are another classic that also works well for early spring, and wind breakers are surprisingly having a moment. Have fun with an 80s inspired neon color-block wind breaker or a metallic jacket to brighten up any outfit.

Trend: 80s Style Prairie Dresses

Think 80s Laura Ashley meets Coachella. Puffed-up shoulders and pastel floral prints might be back (whether or not that’s a good thing is definitely up for discussion). For this season’s inevitable floral fix, try something retro-funky and embrace the light fabrics and colors that come hand and hand with the prairie girl look. Look out for Urban Outfitters’ collaboration with Laura Ashley to see this trend go real mainstream.

Essential Trend: Culotte-like Statement Pants

I am all for the bold comfy pants that are starting to become a summer essential. For those days when shorts might not be the most appropriate and a dress just isn’t doing it, wide-legged high-waisted culotte pants are the perfect alternative, especially for spring weather. Find a bold printed pair and wear it with a simple shirt to automatically feel stylish and confident.

Where to Shop Online

Alright alright, I know that I pretend to be a big supporter of small businesses and brick and mortar shops. And yes, I definitely am since I try to shop local as much as possible. However, living in the middle of farm land upstate New York makes it a little difficult to shop for the kind of quality I want with my clothes. Thanks to my isolation, I’ve somewhat perfected the art of online shopping. I know how to find the deals, the kind of clothes I’m looking for, and the prices I deem reasonable. I have compiled here a list of my go-tos. While I know there are many other stores out there on the web.com, these are what I believe are the best. Whatever you think, anything is honestly better than Amazon* (sorry, Amazoners, but really?).

*It was recently released that Amazon is reigning in more revenue for apparel than any other retailer in the US, more so than Target or any large brand…

Shopbop

Probably my favorite online retailer, Shopbop sells clothes that range dramatically in both style and price. They brand themselves around being trendy and fashionable, so they are the go-to place for all of those latest must haves. A lot of what they sell is from smaller lesser known designers which is both cool to find and good to support.

The OUTNET

The OUTNET will dangerously change the way you shop and what brands you shop from. In a genius way, they drawl in last season clothing from top designer brands, both small and large, and majorly discount them for the internet to buy. It is essentially an online outlet, but classier and larger.

Asos

Asos is a British online fast-fashionesque brand that sells a variety of trendy clothing at very reasonable prices. They have their own brand that is similar to a TopShop or Zara, and then they sell other brands that are usually a bit pricier. A bonus: they have an online student discount and the shipping doesn’t take as long as one might think.

MyTheresa

High-end fashion can be found all over the internet these days. MyTheresa sells a selection of expertly curated clothing and accessories from the world’s top designers. They attempt to duplicate an in-store experience online with excellent customer service at the ready for any shopper.

Revolve

Revolve is similar to Shopbop with many overlapping brands and a similar online experience. However, it’s LA based, so they cater towards a young Cali crowd. Almost all of their brands are US based which is cool, and they stay very up to date on trends, offering amazing edits and inspiration.

Zappos

Probably the most popular online retailer, Zappos is known for their shoes and crazy fast free shipping. If you need any kind of footwear last minute, Zappos has your back with an array of hundreds of brands and styles. The selection is a little less trendy and less curated towards the stylish customer than say an online department store, but it is super convenient!

Saks

The well known luxury department store, Saks Fifth Avenue, has a great online store where you can find nearly everything and more from their stores. While the prices might seem a bit steep, Saks Online will often offer really great discounts and deals that help make online shopping worth it. Nearly everything is returnable for free and shipping is nearly always free.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom online is always a go-to for good deals and easy shopping. They also have one of the best online department stores (not every department store is great online) with a huge selection of all of their brands. As always, they have free and easy returns which really can make a huge difference with online shopping.

5 Trendy Non-Teddy Bear Jackets to Buy this Winter

The tan fake-sherpa teddy bear coat is arguably the jacket of the year. You know the one I’m talking about, the one you see every young girl wearing around. Recently, while working at my local mall, a group of about 6 high schoolers walked into the store all wearing very similar variations of that same jacket. I wanted one before, but after seeing that, I decided to look elsewhere because do you really want to wear the same jacket of every trendy high schooler this winter? I am not saying the teddy bear coat isn’t cute, but it is probably the most basic trend around (no shame for a basic style though). So much else is out there right in terms of trendy jackets; make it fun! Statement layers are huge right now, making it the go-to investment for this winter. Here are some other ideas to look cute and trendy throughout the long cold season.

1.The understated faux fur bomber

Find it at Revolve.com

Trendy but not too over-the-top, this bomber will keep you cozy and comfortable all winter long. The light pink color (a personal favorite) keeps the jacket feminine and bright.

2. The gold standard puffer

Buy it on sale while supplies last

I am absolutely obsessed with this puffer jacket- the color, shine, it’s all there and it’s amazing. Perfect for skiing or hanging outside, this jacket is filled with down so it will keep you warm while making a bold statement.

3. Feathers galore

This fun and funky coat can be found here at Topshop

While fur and faux fur are still having a moment, feathers are emerging to be the next “it” layer material. Less warm but less bulky, feather coats are a fun and fresh way to spice up this winter season.

4. The Upgraded Teddy Bear

Another reasonably priced Topshop find

If you want to stick to the sherpa but want something a little different than the all too popular teddy bear, this corduroy lined coat is just as fluffy and comfy. Corduroy is having a moment, so you’ll really be on trend with a jacket like this.

5. The trendiest blazer

Buy it at Revolve.com

I love a good blazer, but it is usually not appropriate to wear one outside of a very formal workplace. This shimmery oversized blazer, however, can work perfectly anywhere. The shine makes it great to dress up, but having it oversized allows you to dress it down easily with jeans. Win-win and so trendy!

My Favorite Beauty Products for a Long Long Winter

I did my first beauty/wellness post this summer and surprisingly really enjoyed it (I mean it is pretty much just talking about yourself…!).  So, I’ve returned with a second post, an undeniably more important one since anyone who lives in a cold climate knows the struggle of that winter’s dryness can bring.  While the winter weather can take toll on hair and skin, these products help make the season more bearable and pleasant.  

  1. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence
Find Tata Harper products here at Sephora
  • This all natural high-end brand is my new favorite skin care line.   Although pricey, Tata Harper uses quality ingredients that help to brighten and hydrate skin. The Floral Essence smells amazing and duplicates as both a toner and setting spray that allows lotions, creams and oils to work deeper into the skin. This amazing spray will not allow your face to dry out. It feels super refreshing too!

2. Lush Lip Scrub

Shop for it here through Lush.com
  • Lush, the niche natural brand, pioneered simple eco-friendly products years ago. Their OG sugar lip scrub remains a favorite today. The formula is seriously just sugar, oil and some flavoring, but the eatable mixture works wonders on dry flakey lips while helping to keep them plump and hydrated. I like the Mint Julips flavor since it tastes/smells nice and fresh, but the scrub comes in all sorts of sweeter flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate.

3. Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm

Find it at Sephora in many different colors
  • Sometimes, all you need is a nice sheer lip gloss to complete a look. This balm does just that and more, going beyond looks to moisturize and shine lips. Between the color and benefits, the lip balm is the ideal winter lip product. The packaging is also super cool. I’m a total stickler for labels, so I automatically loved this product.

4. Slip Silk Pillow Case

Find it here through Nordstrom’s
  • Turns out that cotton pillow cases aren’t all that great for your skin and hair, especially in dry climates. The material sucks oils out and can cause hair to break. A silk case minimizes those annoying lines you sometimes get on your face in the morning and keeps your hair overall more healthy. Slip cases are super popular and can literally be found anywhere with their cute labeling and portable cases. They come in all sorts of colors ranging from a pretty rose gold to a sleek black.

5. Patchology Perfect Weekend Face Masks

Shop Patchology at the Cosbar
  • If you’re going to do one face mask, you might as well do three. This set of three masks puts forth the ultimate “face care weekend”, each with a unique purpose in keeping your skin healthy. Start with the Exfoliant, follow with the Hydrate and end with the Illuminate sheet mask to recover your face from the winter blues. I usually love any mask I try, but this one truly has working benefits and makes a difference.

5 Trends to Look Out for in 2019

First off, I want to apologize for totally neglecting this blog the past month.  Finals are rough and I had about 100 other things on my mind (us college students have it hard).  But we are back in business and looking forward to this next year.  I’m hoping to dedicate more time to this blog in shaping a better layout, writing better content, and working on my photography skills.  I cannot wait for what is in store for me, so stay tuned for exciting content.

With that being said, I’m kicking off the new year with what we all should expect in fashion.  2018 saw the rise in popular street style, bold statements, big brands taking center stage and instagram influencers.  Designer fashion has gone mainstream thanks to social media promotions and the like.  2019 will follow all of this, but bigger and brighter.  I mean we are getting close to the roaring 20s, folks.

  • Smaller independent labels will take the spotlight thanks to Instagram influencers
        • The biggest general trend of last year and which will only grow this year is fashion’s influence over social media, specifically Instagram.  I have a lot to say over this matter (more on that at another time), but there is no point arguing that it is changing the fashion industry immensely.  Influencers (people on social media with lots of followers and who are considered to have an influence on their followers) gain their revenue and rewards usually (especially at first) through small brands who want advertising and an online presence for a cheaper price.  As marketing and PR companies continue to expand their dealings with influencers, smaller brands will hopefully continue to seek out advertisers online which will help the industry grow and stay healthy.  Keep an eye out for fun new brands on your Instagram feed!

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  • Fast Fashion, for better or for worse, will continue to dominate, bringing in celebrity and designer collaborations
    • Fast Fashion is also something that I have a lot to say about.  I am generally against the idea and try to limit my Fast Fashion purchases, but I accept the scarce benefits that it has.  There is no denying that Fast Fashion is huge and will stay huge.  H&M, considered the OG of global Fast Fashion dynasties, has been doing designer collaborations well before other brands even came to US malls.  Most recently, the Moschino collection seemed to seamlessly fuse the two brands together with Moschino’s trendy street style vibe.  Recently, other brands have followed suit (most recently, a scandal with Beyoncé’s Ivy Park and Topshop), but expect the collaborations to become more frequent and publicized due to a growing fascination with celebrity and designer brands. Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 1.33.24 PM
  • Faux Vegan (otherwise known as fake) materials will continue their rise to power
      • I am not totally sure how I feel about this growing trend.  I love luxe faux fur coats and such, but find some faux materials to seem rather cheap and inferior.  Environmental and welfare concerns have erupted in fashion due to the growing vegan movement, and with that, brands are labeling fake materials “vegan” to attract the environmentally focused.  Major brands such as Gucci, Burberry, and Versace have all pledged within the last year to go fur-free by the next 5 years, so expect others to follow suit do to growing pressure from activists.  I seriously doubt that fur will totally go out of style since it is a luxury material, but we will continue to see lux faux fur everywhere.  Leather is another issue that is waiting to be explored and we can expect the focus to be on vegan leather in 2019 (umm).Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 1.57.08 PM.png
  • Silver, Gold and Metallic prints and colors will be gracing our Instagram feeds
    • Bold and bright is on the rise, evoking 80s-like style, so why not fully embrace it this year with going all out metallic.  Starting with New Years Eve, metallic hues will be the statement of choose for party goers (including myself).  Runways of late have been sporting shiny attire, and Instagram influencers (or any of us) love a good statement.  I suspect this trend will explode in 2019 along with other bright colors and prints.
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  • Hopefully (so I wish), “dressing up” to go out will continue to gain momentum thanks to our growing concerns over our online self-images
    • This might be my perception or dream, but I think social media has made us more concerned with what we wear going out.  I have never been shy to share my opinions about dressing up, so it makes me truly happy that we are “caring” about our appearances again (or at least I think we are).  Some might argue that we should not worry what others think, but I think it is important to present our best selves both in person and on social media.  Expect Instagram to help fuel everybody’s individual styles that they are proud dress in (in order to “impress”).

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5 Takeaways and Trends from last month’s Fashion Week

Here I am, better late than never, to recap last month’s fashion weeks (last month, I know…).  I don’t know about you, but I always find it super entertaining to go through slides from the fashion shows and gawk at the sometimes overwhelming over-the-top outfits.  Other times, I’m stricken by the sheer beauty of the designer grab; the most carefully crafted articles of clothing made in the industry.  For this year’s Spring 2019 fall fashion weeks, everything from New York to Paris was bold and bright, fresh and fun.  Come spring, expect eye popping vibrant trends that we can only dream about on dreary fall days.  What I liked most about everything?  The sheer variety in styles; some classic like Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary show (was literally obsessed), and some crazy over the top like Rodarte’s creepy graveyard show during NYFW.  Certain looks stand out as notable including these 5 trends below.

  1. Ruffles and Lace
    • All about texture!  These avant-garde frilly looks are totally influenced by Victorian era fashion, and I am all for it!  Behind retro, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana at MFW both showed high neck-lined layered pieces, while Erdem at LFW spared no expense in showcasing a Victorian by-gone era.  Modest, but stated, these kind of looks can be super fun when worn fearlessly.  Florals really embody ruffles which make for perfect summer time outfits. 

  2. Understated Tan
    • I am all about neutrals, and others seem to agree!  Stella McCarthy at LFW and Max Mara at MFW both had tan dominate shows and it proved to be simple and bold.  McCarthy and Ferragamo also showed oversized blazers which are super popular (and practical) right now.  I’m obsessed with this nautical Hermès look since it is understated, yet classy.  Bright colors are great in the spring, but neutrals always work too!
  3. Feathers Galore
    • Faux fur has been dominate the last couple of years in the realm of textures, and now we have feathers to add to the growing trend of “go big or go home” outfits.  While the former shows no sign of slowing down, feathers are a much lighter alternative that can easily be worn during the warmer months.  During NYFW, Oscar de la Renta made white feathers look effortlessly elegant, while Tom Ford contrasted them with black.  Marc Jacobs took a bold path with color, pairing two hot trends together on the runway.
  4. Strong Solid Colors
    • Who doesn’t like a big blast of color?  In a total contrast to some other major designers, both Chanel and Valentino, among others, showed bright hues that put a twist on both brands’ usual styles.  Chanel, at PFW, opted to bring their usual tweeds to the beach, giving them fun summery colors that we can all definitely get behind.  And for Valentino, red was seldom in Milan.  Instead, orange and neons made a statement.  It might be hard to think of warm colors now with winter almost upon us (East coast, why so cold?), but it’s comforting to think of wearing anything bright next year!
  5. Polka Dots
    • Black and white dots make for a classic statement and Celine, under a new creative director, brought forth the traditional pattern in new and funky ways for Paris Fashion Week.  Other dot expressions were seen with designers like Chloé and Givenchy at PFW, the later whom expressed dots through netting (another popular trend).  Along with other bold patterns, expects polka dots to bring the fun come spring!

5 Of My Favorite Products To Get You Through The End Of Summer

I have never really written a post about products and cosmetics, but I figured why not?  I’m a big Sephora fan, and I’m also always on the lookout to try new things, whether it be hair products, skin products, or makeup.  The summer heat and sun get to be rough on your body (that’s not to say that winter weather isn’t), so here are 5 new beauty products that I’ve been trying this summer that I totally 100% recommend.

*I am not being promoted for any of these suggestions

  1. Buddy Scrub Coffee Body Scrub

We all love drinking our morning coffee, but did you know that coffee, and to a larger extent caffeine, has skin health benefits when used externally.  In fact, coffee is proven to help reduce cellulite and promote smoother shinier skin.  This Buddy Scrub is the perfect product to use in order to get that “summer bod”.  Just lather and scrub your body a couple times a week and you’ll have yourself smooth and healthy skin.  The scrub is totally natural, vegan, and cruelty-free with no harmful products or ingredients you can’t pronounce.  It smells amazing too!

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Buy it here through Anthropology for $18

2.  The Pocket Palette, one-use make-up kits

The Pocket Palette is a start-up company that created these mini makeup kits for on-the-go travel and disposal.  Each palette contains a single portion of BB cream or foundation, a single portion of lipstick that doubles as rouge, and a single-use mascara brush.  The palette is tiny and can easily fit inside any pocket, purse or container making them super easy to carry with you.  I have used my pocket palette for overnight trips when I don’t feel like lugging a large makeup kit around and for after events such as golf where I need to quickly cleanup and make myself look presentable before dinner.  After use, you simply throw the kit away, and the makeup is great quality and very versatile.

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Buy them here in sets of 3 or 10 ranging from $12 to $35

3.  Tarte Mermaid Glitter Gel

Glitter is having a major moment right now thanks to the growing popularity of music festivals and festival fashion.  This gel-like body glitter is just the thing to get you festival-ready for all those instagram pictures.  It isn’t an eye shadow like other glitter products.  Instead, the liquid gel dries on to the skin, keeping it in place anywhere on the body.  Not only does the glitter work great against skin, but the jar is super fun and aesthetic.

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You can find it here from Sephora for $18

4.  Too Faced Hangoverx Replenishing Face Primer

This primer doubles wonderfully as a face moisturizer since it restores and helps contain moisture in the skin.  As the name suggests, it’s ideal for hangovers, but also any activity where your skin looses moisture such as working out and sun exposure. For those long summer days outside, this works as the perfect remedy making skin supple, smooth and lively.  As a bonus, Hangoverx has no shine or oily effects which is much appreciated when it comes to a good everyday primer and “lotion”.

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Buy it here at Sephora for $34

5.  OUAI Sun of a Beach Ombré Spray

Ever tried the old trick of squeezing lemon in your hair to make it lighter?  And it kind of works? Temporarily.  Well, OUAI has come up with a product based off of the classic lemon hack, but works stronger and stays longer.  Sun of a Beach Spray lightly bleaches the hair in a healthy way that doesn’t dry the hair out.  It smells nice and has little texture.  And, it actually really works!  The spray gives you a summer sun-kissed look which we all want while still looking very natural and healthy.

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Buy it here from Sephora for $24

*Pro Tip:  As I mentioned, I swear by Sephora.com since I love their loyalty program. Living in a rural area means that I need to order most of my products online, and Sephora is amazing for that.  I pay $10 a year to get free shipping which saves a lot of money in the long run, plus I get free samples which are great for travel, loyalty points for free awards, a birthday gift, and special deals that include a lot more free samples/minis.  It’s a fabulous program especially for college students.

Much Ado About Juice

In the world of health food trends, nothing is as prevalent, albeit slightly controversial than fresh pressed juices (I’m talking the kale and spinach filled, array of colors kind).  The craze started a while back and has remarkably stayed relevant as social media and different fad diets have influenced the world of juice.  Whether it be an occasional over-priced boujee juice with friends or an intensive juice cleanse, juicing shows no sign of slowing down and I am all for it (which is exactly why I’m writing this post declaring my love for juice).

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You might ask yourselves, what exactly does juicing do and are there actually any health benefits?  Well you see, I’m a picky eater when it comes to both fruits and vegetables.  I either love the food in question or hate it.  But, for some texture degrading reason, liquidizing produces makes a world of difference for my taste buds.  Raw carrots are too much of a pain to eat, but slush them up and throw them in a blender and I’ll drink it straight up (literally).  In other cases, putting broccoli (my nemesis) in a press with ginger, fruit, and cucumber completely disguises the otherwise nasty (sorry broccoli fans) taste.  Yes, some of the health benefits are potentially lost but, with high-pressure technology, most high-end juice companies manage to maintain the majority of health benefits of fruits and vegetables in the liquid form, hence why good juices are usually pretty expensive.

The Scoop on Juice Cleanses:  Controversial and definitely not for everyone, but juice cleanses or juice fasts are a great way to reset your diet and lifestyle while enjoying the many benefits of juices.  Juice cleanses involve drinking 6-8 freshly pressed juices for 1 to 5 days in order to pack your body with vitamins and nutrients.  It’s ideal to spend a couple of days before and after the fast to start phasing out large amounts of foods and unclean foods.  I, for instance, try to cut out all sweets, most carbs and large amounts of meat.  This helps make the cleanse easier on the stomach and makes it more efficient.  By fasting, you also give your digestive system a rest, allowing it to flush out any leftover toxins (you have to go to the bathroom a lot!) and reboot.  It’s ideal to do a cleanse after a vacation or a period of eating poorly since it truly does allow the body to restart.  After cleansing, I always feel very refreshed and energized.  The day after, I feel like I can do anything, and I won’t have any cravings for junk food!  The cleanse, as a bonus, helps get rid of sugar cravings which are great for people like me who constantly want sweets.  A juice cleanse is probably not ideal for intense athletes or anyone who needs a sufficient amount of food since you don’t intake anything near the daily recommended amount of calories.  With that being said, it is great for people who strive to live a wholestically healthy lifestyle.
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Juice Cafes:  The other week, I was vacationing in St. Michaels Maryland and discovered a new cafe that makes fresh juices, coffee, and lemonade in a cool, hip and relaxing cafe environment (think indy coffee shop but with juice).  Agave Arts and Juicing Company is super cute, and really promotes a healthy lifestyle.  The lounge area of the shop is filled with art and decor, making it perfect for that Instagram game (really what juice is about tbh).  This kind of place is becoming more common as Americans and young Americans especially become even more health conscious, following trends and innovative on how our culture looks at food.  Other companies offer a more to-go strategy to sell their juices as is the case with Minneapolis’s Juice So Good.  They have a couple of shops around the city, but the most convenient of them is inside a grocery store in a way that a Starbucks would be, offering fresh juices to-go and easy pick-up for cleanses.  It’s a great healthy alternative for a delicious pick-me-up.