Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday.  I feel like it is the most under appreciated holiday, because it seems like everyone goes from Halloween straight to Christmas.  I also feel like people only look forward to Thanksgiving for the food, don't get me wrong the food is great, but I feel like people forget the real meaning of Thanksgiving.  

I love Thanksgiving because it isn't about presents or decorations (even though there are some really cute decorations out there & my Mom owns most of them!), it's about family and giving thanks. Although it shouldn't be the only time of year to do this, it's a great opportunity to really reflect on what you're thankful for.  Now I'm going to get off my soapbox & share what I'm thankful for this year!

1. I am thankful for my wonderful family.  I'm so lucky to have these amazing people in my life who support me & give me all the extra help that I need.

2. I'm thankful for my amazing friends & sorority sisters.  I really have the greatest friends who are kind, helpful, & people I am always learning from.

3. I am thankful for my home.  I feel like I have two homes now, both school & my family's home are home for me.  Even though the latter of the two changed this past year it's reminded me what the word home truly means.

4. I'm thankful for all that I have gained from blogging.  Starting this little space was one of my best decisions, it has taught me so much & I have created some great friendships because of it!  Even on the days when blogging seems hard I still love everything about it & the blogosphere.

5. I am thankful for my dog.  Coco is always happy & loves unconditionally, which really makes every day better.

6. I am thankful for Villanova.  Villanova has made an incredible impact on my life & will always hold a place in my heart.  My life has been changed for the better because of school & I have learned so much and met so many people through my incredible journey here.

I hope this year that everyone remembers what Thanksgiving is truly about, & can bring a little of that into their every day lives.  Have the most amazing day & enjoy this lovely holiday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Looks I Love Lately

I've been checking out all the celebrity looks from the last few weeks & decided I have to share my favorites!  It seems like this time of the year is busier then ever for celebs, as well the rest of us. This is good news because it means lots of outfit inspiration for the holidays & all the parties to come. Here I have my five favorite looks, beginning with the one I love the most.

 
Kate Hudson in Stella McCartney at the Baby2Baby Gala in Culver City, CA
Kate looked absolutely gorgeous in this magenta gown, the color is one of my favorite parts of the whole look.  The gown has some serious sex appeal with the plunging neckline & side cutouts, but Kate manages to make it look quite classy. By having her hair up she really allows the beauty in the top of the dress to show off.  Additionally, her makeup is glowing & compliments the whole look.

Reese Witherspoon in Ralph Lauren Collection at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences' Governors Awards in Hollywood
Reese Witherspoon is stunning in this look by Ralph Lauren Collection.  I love seeing her in a bright color, especially this beautiful hot pink.  Wearing lipstick in the same color as her dress was a nice touch & adds a pretty pop to her makeup.  Reese finishes the look with my favorite style of heel, & shows with this look that less is definitely more.

Anna Kendrick in Dolce & Gabbana at Claridge's Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Tree Party in London
If anyone is looking for the perfect holiday party outfit look no further, Anna has you covered.  This look is demure with it's high neckline & low hemline, but the body skimming silhouette & sheer sleeves make it sexy. Anna keeps her accessories simple, & really lets the beauty of this dress shine through.

Reese Witherspoon in Zac Posen at the premiere of Wild in Beverly Hills
Reese Witherspoon has been hitting it out of of the park with her ensembles lately!  Here she shows that white isn't just for summer in this pretty white mini with detailing at the top.  Her blue earrings & bright lipstick add some color to her otherwise neutral look, & really pull everything together.

Keira Knightly in Chanel at The Imitation Game screening in Los Angelos
I feel like Keira Knightly can do no wrong when it comes to Chanel, & this look is no exception.  The detailing around the neckline/shoulders & at the hemline add a beautiful sparkle to this dress.  She keeps the rest of her look minimalistic to make sure that the details of this dress are the focus.

Which look is your favorite?


Today I'm linking up with WIWW, I Feel Pretty, MidWeek Muse, & Random Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Best Lip Balms

When the temperatures begin to drop (like they finally have been!), skin begins to lose its moisture & dry out.  The skin on our lips is often the first place that the dryness affects & it leaves you with chapped & cracking lips, which can be quite painful. In order to treat or prevent winter lips I have put together a list of my favorite lip balms & also had several of my friends share their favorites too.

Kiss My Face Organic Coconut Pineapple Lip Balm- This is my go to lip balm that I always have in my purse.  I have it in Strawberry, as well but the Coconut Pineapple is definitely my favorite.  Kiss My Face is such an amazing brand that works to make all natural products & this lip balm has no parabens or artificial flavoring, which is perfect for sensitive skin.

Kiehl's Scented Lip Balm #1- I purchased this a while back one day when I was out shopping my lips were so badly chapped & I had left all of my other lip balm at home.  When I finally got this & put it on my lips it instantly soothed & hydrated them.  I have the unscented version of this, but I don't really love the smell of so I recommend getting the scented one if you're looking to buy it.  Overall, this is a thick lip balm that will absolutely save your lips.

Neosporin Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy-  I put this lip balm on every night before I go to bed.  It works as a treatment to repair & make the lips healthier while you sleep, which I can tell you it does!  If I do not use this before I go to bed (even if I just use a different lip balm) there is a significant difference in my lips & they dry out much more during the day.  For anyone suffering from severely dry & cracked lips (like me) this is must have to get your lips back to normal.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment- This luxe lip balm is a fan favorite for a reason - it works well to keep lips moisturized & smells amazing.  You can definitely tell the difference between this & a less expensive lip balm, you even feel lavish just applying it.  Since it's one of the more expensive lip balms on here I usually try to alternate this with my Kiss My Face ones for use during the day.


The picks here are from some of my fashionable & beauty savvy friends.  When I asked around about lip balm everyone instantly had a favorite that they regularly use.  Here are the lip balms that my friends deem the best out there!

Recommend by: Shannon, 23, Physical Therapy Student (Twitter: @shannonsamluk)
Shannon is a lip product connoisseur who uses many different lip balms.  She recently purchased this & is already loving it!  She said that with the cold weather coming up she will be using this a lot.

Recommended by: Lia, 22, Research Assistant (Instagram: @liadanielle1)
Lia loves lip balm, but Carmex is what she uses the most.  She calls it her "tried & true," & uses it often to keep her lips hydrated.

Recommended by: Jordyn, 22, Intern (The Fairy Princess Diaries)
Jordyn got this lip balm in her stocking last year & is completely in love with it.  She says, "I only use it when my lips are super chapped or if I've had a bad day because I'm savoring."  With her rave reviews I need to look into getting this for myself!

Recommended by: Bridget, 19, Student (Baby Hawk, Big Campus)
My sister is a total lip balm addict & was the perfect person to ask about lip balms.  Right now she is obsessed with the Sweet Mint EOS Sphere, which she can be found applying about 6,000 times a day. The great part about the EOS Sphere's is that they are gluten free & since Bridget has Celiac Disease this is a must for her.

Recommended by: Kristen, 22, Intern at QVC (Instagram: kristenljohnston)
Kristen is one of the most fashion & beauty savvy people I know & I always turn to her for advice on the topics.  For every day use she recommends Bobbi Brown Lip Balm & says, "it's great when you're on the go, it enhances your lips & gives great shine without the use of lipstick."  She also notes that it is a little pricey, "but not crazy expensive & it lasts for a long time so it's worth the money."

All of the lip balm's listed here have been tested by myself or my friends & we have decided that they are lip balms that you should definitely be looking into.  Any of the options here will help to keep your lips feeling smooth & healthy throughout the winter months.  I always like using a few different lip balms so I will be checking out the ones listed here that I don't own!  Have you used any of the lip balms listed here?  What is your absolute favorite lip balm you've tried?  Please share below, I would love to know!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beauty Review: PanOxyl

As someone who loves beauty products & possibly leans toward a product hoarder, I always love trying new skin treatments.  I feel that a clear complexion is the base to all other beauty & can make you feel more confident.  Taking care of my skin & making sure that it is healthy has always been a top priority for me.  Recently I have been using two products from PanOxyl that I love.  Of PanOxyl the company says, it is "a dermatologist-recommended acne management system that combines Benzoyl Peroxide with soothing & hydrating ingredients like lactic acid & mineral oil to eliminate skin irritation. It was formerly available by prescription-only, but now is sold in drugstores nationwide."  I have incorporated both the PanOxyl 10% Foaming Acne Wash & PanOxyl 3% Advanced Acne Spot Treatment into my routine & am very happy with the results.


PanOxyl 10% Foaming Acne Wash
This strong cleanser is packed with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide to fight acne on your face, chest, & back. It contains the highest amount of Benzoyl Peroxide available without a prescription.  It goes deep into your pores to not only clear up existing blemishes, but to prevent new ones from forming. 

When I first got this I used it every night to wash my face, however after about 3 days I noticed my skin got very dry, so I took a break from using it for a while.  My skin is combination, but leans toward the dry side, which is why I think that my face got dried out by the wash.  With a little experimenting I learned that using the wash every few days (switching it out with a gentle cleanser on the in between days) is the best for me, as it does not dry my skin out then.  I especially like using this when I am having a breakout because it really does help to clear it up with just one wash.

While I was taking a break from washing my face with this cleanser I decided to try it on my chest & back as I do get acne on both of those areas (most of the time even more then my face!).  I have been really happy with the results of using this on my body as it has helped to keep both my chest & back clear.  The skin on my chest is the hardest to get control of, but this cleanser has worked wonders on it.

I really recommend picking up the PanOxyl 10% Foaming Acne Wash (& I promise I mean it!).  If you have dry to combination skin, I would only use it once every few days, & for the girls with oily skin this would be great for every day use.  Additionally for anyone who is experiencing stubborn body acne you will love how well this works to get your skin cleared up.

3% Advanced Acne Spot Treatment
This product is meant to spot treat acne after cleansing your skin.  It is a maximum strength product designed to kill the acne causing bacteria on existing pimples.  Although is it quite powerful it is still gentle on the skin & safe for use on the face, chest, & back.

This tiny tube is seriously a miracle worker for me.  At night after I've washed my face I dab a small amount of this onto any blemishes or starts of blemishes that I may have on my face or chest, & then head to bed.  The next morning when I wake up the blemishes have shrunk and are almost entirely gone.  For the last few years I hadn't really been using spot treatments for blemishes & am sorry I didn't find this sooner.  It doesn't dry out my skin like ones I've used in the past, & it works very quickly.  


I have to say that overall I am very pleased with the way PanOxyl's products work.  They definitely deliver what they promise & have helped to clear up my skin.  I would recommend the two products to anyone suffering from acne, & encourage you to give them a try.  The lovely people over at PanOxyl want you to try their products too & are giving away a 3% Advanced Acne Spot Treatment & 10% Foaming Acne Wash to one lucky reader.  Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received product samples from PanOxyl to facilitate my review, however opinions on these products are all my own.


Today I'm linking up with Confident Twosday, Stylish Tuesday, & Style Sessions.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Insta Recap

If you've seen one of my Instagram recaps before (the last one is here!), then you know that I like to share my Instagram (@crumbsandcurls) pictures from the last month with all of you to give a little insight into what I've been doing. Instagram is definitely my favorite form of social media & I use it to document anything important that is going on in my life.  I am such a visual person, which is why I think I love Instagram so much, it's so fun to scroll through looking at all of the different & interesting pictures that people post.  Here I have ten pictures to share that will give you a short recap of some of the fun things in my life in the last month!


This picture was taken on the part of campus that I live on in the beginning of October.  It was such a beautiful day & I remember there was a chill in the air that was really making it feel like fall.  I was hoping that the wonderful autumn weather we were experiencing would be a preview for the rest of October, but unfortunately it was only a teaser & we experienced a roller-coaster ride of temperatures throughout the month.



When I was home for October Break my sister & our dog Coco coincidentally had on matching hoodies.  Coco has to wear little sweatshirts when it starts to get cold out or she shakes from being cold (which is just pitiful), & this day was a bitter one so my sister was wearing one too!  I thought it was so funny & couldn't pass up on sharing this adorable moment!



I went to Lush over break & they had these glittery pumpkin bath bombs stacked on a table.  I thought they were so pretty that I had to take a picture of them.  These are seriously pretty enough to decorate with; I know I would love to have a few pumpkins that look like these to use as decorations!  Unfortunately glitter really bothers my skin so I wouldn't be able to use one of these, but if it didn't I totally would've picked up one of them for myself.



I'm not usually a hot drink person, but I do love Skinny Chai Tea Lattes from Starbucks.  They're pretty much the only warm beverage I enjoy & I especially love having them in the fall.  Having something warm on a crisp autumn day is perfection to me!



I always admire all the beautiful chalkboard art that I see on Pinterest & wish that I could do one for myself.  Last year I had picked up a framed chalkboard from HomeGoods & tried my hand at chalk art, but wasn't really good at it & gave up on it.  This year while decorating for Halloween I decided to try drawing on the chalkboard again & this is what I did.  While it's very basic I was thrilled with how it came out - it was definitely an improvement from what I could do last year.



Hoopsmania (my school's big kickoff for basketball season) was about a week & a half ago.  During Hoopsmania the team plays a scrimmage against each other & it is tradition to throw streamers on the court once the first basket is made.  This tradition is so special & makes for such a beautiful picture.  I have to say it is also quite amusing watching them clean up all the streamers because the floor gets covered in layers of them!  To hear more about Hoopsmania & what an awesome experience it is you can read more about it in this post.



The day after Hoopsmania was our Homecoming football game.  A few of my sorority sisters who graduated last year came to stay with me Friday & Saturday night, which was an absolute blast! Here are two of my favorite alumnae sisters & me at our sorority tailgate before the game.  I had never been to a tailgate at school before & we had so much fun.  In the past I didn't really celebrate Homecoming because I didn't know too many people that graduated, but I love that this year I got to see & spend time with so many of my friends that I really miss.




By now you may have figured out that fall is my absolute favorite season.  I took this picture a few years back & it's of the trees in the center of the apartment complex I live in on campus.  The trees on the center walkway turn the most gorgeous color red & are my favorite trees on campus because of it!  They always make for pretty pictures & I look forward to seeing them every year.  Recently I've been playing with the Studio App on my phone to edit my pictures & create designs on them, which is what I did here.  If you're into photography or design at all I really recommend checking out this app.




I never carve my pumpkins because I feel like that is just an Emergency Room trip waiting to happen with my clumsiness, which is something I always try to avoid.  So instead every year I design & paint my pumpkins to make them look pretty!  Since I am obsessed with monograms I decided this year's design would have to include one.  You can find the step by step instructions on how to make your pumpkin like this one here.  My favorite part about this pumpkin is that I can leave it out a past Halloween & into the Thanksgiving because of the coloring & decorative nature.  I even recommend making one of these for the center piece of your Thanksgiving table!



You know from yesterday's post that my sister was initiated into Alpha Gamma Delta (my sorority!) yesterday & my Mom was initiated last spring.  I thought it would be cute to put pictures from both of their initiations next to each other since I got to pin both of them.  I also thought a cheeky caption was needed for this post & wrote "That one time I made almost everyone in my family join Alpha Gam & they loved it!"

The pictures here are a little preview of what I have been doing lately.  Follow along with me on Instagram (@crumbsandcurls) to see all my day to day  adventures documented.  If you follow me on Insta leave a comment letting me know you're from the blog & that you followed & I will follow back!


Today I'm linking up with WIWW, I Feel Pretty, Mid Week Muse, & Random Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Very Special Initiation

I've mentioned on here quite a few times that my sister was joining Alpha Gamma Delta at her new school, which happens to be the sorority I'm in.  I was so incredibly excited that we were not only going to be biological sisters, but sorority sisters as well.  When she was going through the rush process I tried so hard not to push Alpha Gam & to let her own decision; I have to admit though I was ecstatic that her decision was to go AGD.  I've had the most amazing experience since joining my sorority & knew she would too.  There's really something special about the bonds that you form with the girls in your sorority & I've made friends that will last a lifetime through it.
After pledging for most of the semester Sunday night was my sister's initiation.  Since I am a member of Alpha Gam I was eligible to attend the ceremony & my sister invited me to come!  I knew from a few of the girls in my sorority that older biological sister's in Alpha Gam are able to pin their younger sister's, which is something typically done by their Big.  When we were on our way to the initiation my sister said that she hadn't heard anything about me pinning her, & I told her I was just happy to be able to watch her get initiated.
After my sister's Pledge Mom came out to talk with the pledges I went into the initiation room with her, leaving my sister with her pledge class.  All the girls in her sorority were so sweet & welcoming. They immediately asked me if I wanted to pin my sister, & I told them only if it was ok with her Big because I didn't want to take that away from her (even though I was dying to pin her!).  They assured me that her Big was ok with it, & seated me at the front of the room with the other 'pinners'. I was trying to be inconspicuous, but the President introduced me at the front of the room to everyone, which was so nice of her.  
I sat & watched the initiation unfold, which is something I've been through a number of times.  Each time I watch it though it reminds me just how lucky I am to be a part of such a wonderful organization - my favorite part of initiation is watching the new members experience everything for the first time.  When it came time for the pinning portion of the ceremony, I was so excited to get to pin my sister with my pin!  When we exited the room after pinning, my sister told me that she was so surprised & happy that I was the one to pin her.  The fact that she didn't expect it made it even better!
If you've been reading along here for a while, then you may remember that in the Spring my Mom was able to join Alpha Gamma Delta through an Mother Initiate program that our chapter had.  At that ceremony I got to pin my Mom with my pin, so now I've pinned every sorority eligible member of my family (sorry Dad!).  The fact that our Mom is a member of Alpha Gam makes my sister's initiation that much more important, it also makes pinning her a more significant event.  I love that I've been able to share one of the best decisions I've ever made with two of the people I'm closest to in life.  We're our own Alpha Gam Family now, which I love!
I want to say thank you so much to my sister for letting me come & be apart of your special day.  I also want to thank the girls from the Alpha Gamma Delta Chapter at St. Joe's University for allowing me to come to your ceremony; you were all so kind & welcoming to me, & I love knowing my sister is in such good company.  Finally I want to thank Alpha Gamma Delta as an organization for changing all of our lives for the better, I could not imagine my life without being a member!


Today I'm linking up with Confident Twosday & Style Sessions.
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