Yup, I’m one of those people… I’m a ‘morning person’. There’s nothing like the stillness of the morning before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. I love my time in the morning because it helps me align with what’s important and sets my day up for success. Here’s my routine:
RISE AND SHINE
When my alarm goes off, I get up right away… well, most days.
As tempting as it is to hit snooze on a frigid Monday morning, doing so can interfere with your body's natural wake mechanisms, which actually sets you up for more exhaustion during the day ahead.
If you’re a serial snoozer, try placing your alarm clock out of reach. This will force you to get out of bed.
I like using the Bedtime feature on my iphone’s Clock app. You can set an alarm for when you want to wake up as well as go to bed. This allows you to track how much sleep you’re getting. That app helps me aim for the recommended 7-9 hours.
I also love Bedtime’s wake up sounds. The options are really pleasant, from birdsong to gentle piano, all of which gradually build in volume for a more polite wake-up experience. I wake up to the Sunny.
Before my feet hit the floor, I reach for my devotion book and Bible.
Spending time with God in His Word first thing in the morning can put everything into perspective. Your soul will be filled, your mindset renewed, and your stress replaced with His peace.
I’ve made it a habit to make my bed every morning.
The author of Make Your Bed says, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Coming home to a made bed is so welcoming. It's also visually easing and makes me want to maintain neatness of the rest of my home.
Making the bed may seem like a small accomplishment, but I've found that it really sets the tone for the rest of my day.
TURN ON MY PHONE
I choose not to turn on my phone first thing in the morning. Looking at your phone immediately can hijack your morning routine. It’s so easy to mindlessly scroll through social media and lose track of time.
I’ve always loved the morning because it’s a great time for solitude and reflection. When you don’t turn on your phone first thing in the morning, you start the day in a much more peaceful state of mind. And you increase the likelihood that you’ll spend the day on activities that are meaningful, as opposed to ones that don’t really add much value to your life.
After I make my bed, I brush my teeth, throw on my tennis shoes and workout to get my metabolism going. On mornings I don't hit the gym, I run outside or do an at home workout video.
One of my favorites is Body By Simone; I'm obsessed with the music, the full-body toning approach, and the fun instructors. You can tryout her free full-body workout here.
To eliminate excuses for working out in the morning I'll sleep in my workout clothes. It may sound strange but think of the ease of rolling out of bed and just throwing on your tennis shoes. Getting dressed for your workout can be half the battle, so by waking up already dressed there are no more excuses. It also saves time.
If your workout clothes aren’t comfortable enough to sleep in, lay them out right beside the bed. Having everything within an arm’s reach will cut down on time and effort.
After I work out I'll hop in the shower.
When I wash my hair, I shampoo twice. According to this Byrdie article, shampooing your hair twice is beneficial because it allows for proper cleansing, giving you longer periods of time with a clean scalp and keeping away the oily hair problem. The first shampoo breaks down the oils and buildup in your hair while the second shampoo completely gets them out.
I'll let my hair air dry almost completely, then go back with a blow dryer to smooth it out—I swear by this technique, and it cuts my drying time in half!
Wet-n-dry blush hair brush ($8.39)
Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 ($28)
Skin is the most absorbent after showering, so post shower I lather up on body lotion.
Then I'll do my face routine. You can check out my complete skincare routine here.
I love to relax and feel like I'm at a spa in the morning so after my shower I'll throw on a plush bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. It’s the little things in life :)
Mario Badescu Rose & Witch Hazel Toner ($14)
Clarisonic Mia Prima Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush ($116.42)
For breakfast I'll typically eat Greek yogurt with pomegranates or berries and eggs. I sprinkle some Trader Joe's lemon pepper and pink Himalayan salt (which is apparently better than sea salt) for extra flavor.
If I'm in a rush I'll grab an RX bar.
I drink both coffee and tea in the morning. I drink black coffee with one scoop of collagen powder. My go-to tea is green ginger with a splash of apple cider vinegar.
While I make and eat breakfast I'll listen to the news or a sermon from The Porch.
Finally, I’ll throw on some makeup, get dressed, and head out the door.
It’s taken years, but I've finally mastered an everyday makeup look that I can do in under 10 minutes. Comment below if you’d like me to post a video of my daily makeup routine!
I like to pick out my outfits the night before. It's so easy to slip on something and head out the door than trying on 20 different outfits and leaving your room in a post tornado state… I think most of you can relate.
Since Valentine’s day is approaching, I put together a gift guide to help you get the perfect gift for your favorite guy.
While this guide has items that can be purchased, I really believe that the best gifts in life are free. There is nothing more priceless than a handwritten note expressing how much someone means to you. Creating shared memories are also special. Whether it’s going to a concert, cheering on your favorite sports team, or cooking dinner together—Doing things as a couple is a great way to bond and have special moments to look back on.
“New Year, New Me!” When thinking of the New Year we often think of it as a new start, a clean slate, or a year to improve ourselves. How do we improve ourselves?! Typically by making New Year's Resolutions, of course. However, I’ve found that just making a list of resolutions can be challenging to stick to. This year, instead of making New Year's Resolutions I am committing to making some goals for myself. Goals are more effective than resolutions because a goal is a target to reach, where as a resolution is an intention made. Here’s what I’ve learned about effectively creating & reaching your goals!
WRITE 'EM DOWN
Don’t just say your goals, write them down. The physical act of writing down your goals not only helps you remember them, but also helps you visual them.
When setting goals, use the SMART mnemonic, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, & Time-Bound.
What goal are you trying to accomplish & why?
By creating clear & specific goals, your efforts towards achieving them become more focussed.
Here are some categories of which you can write specific goals:
How will you know you’ve achieved your goal? What is your intended outcome?
Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track your progress & stay motivated.
What actions will you put in place to ensure you achieve this goal?
Your goals should challenge your abilities, yet still remain attainable.
Is this goal in line with your long term objectives?
Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take.
What is the timeline for achieving this goal?
Create an exact date that you will accomplish your goal. Then write down the steps you will take each day, week, or month to achieve your goal.
I hope you found this post to be helpful; let me know some of your goals in the comments below!
Have a Happy New Year!
I just got back from a lovely three weeks in London where I took a short course in fashion design at Central St. Martins. Besides my time spent in class, I loved all that London has to offer. Below are some places that I thought you all might enjoy visiting if you are in London!
The iconic luxury department store is like walking through a museum. All of the displays and merchandise were picturesque, and the store itself is massive! One could easily get lost. Harrods carries some of the most valued designer brands such as Alexander McQueen, Ralph Russo, and Elie Saab. The store also includes an appetizing food court and the beloved bakery Ladurée.
DOVER STREET MARKET
This is another high-end department store. It has the most unique store displays, and features new and upcoming designers. Dover Street Market is a must-see if you’re into fashion!
ONE OF A KIND
The vintage store’s name holds true to its merchandise. It’s a capsule of rare and vintage designer merchandise from garments dating back to the 19th century to pieces worn by celebrities today. Looking around the store is like being on a scavenger hunt—it is decked out in clothing and accessories from floor to ceiling - literally. Kate Moss, Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, and Stella McCartney are just a few of the many celebrities that shop there. So, if you’re ever wandering around Portobello Road Market, be sure to stop at One of A Kind.
Camden Passage is a treasure trove of cafes, boutiques, and vintage shops! Great way to spend a relaxing morning or afternoon in London.
I love going to markets because you can always find the most unique and fun things. It just so happens that London is crowded with them! Here is a list of some of the most popular markets in London:
TO DO / SEE
Electra cinema in Notting Hil is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country! The overall atmosphere of the theater is classy and elegant. It is the perfect place to escape a rainy day in London.
ST. DUNSTAN’S IN THE EAST
Truly a hidden gem, the garden is tucked behind the city’s skyscrapers. The best way to describe this dwelling is simply enchanting or straight out of Narnia.
GOD’S OWN JUNK YARD
This cool place is overcrowded with neon signs featured in movies or collected from the streets and then resurrected. Vogue Magazine also had a photo-shoot there!
THE IVY CHELSEA GARDEN
A charming and lovely restaurant to enjoy brunch, or afternoon tea. I highly recommend making a reservation in the garden.
Petersham Nurseries looks like a scene from Alice in Wonderland: antique furniture scattered on a gravel floor surrounded by lively and intriguing plants. It’s a great lunch spot to enjoy a fresh and seasonal menu.
Sketch is the most unexpected and superb restaurant I’ve ever seen. It encompasses 5 rooms, each with it’s own exclusive vibe and atmosphere. Even the bathrooms are cool - the stalls are “eggs”! My favorite room is called The Gallery, which is the main dining room. It is posh and completely pink! Kylie Jenner happened to eat there while I was in London.
THE MAYOR OF SCAREDY CAT TOWN
If you eat at The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields, ask your server if you can “See the Mayor”. You will then be escorted through a refrigerator door into a secret basement bar!
EVAN & PEEL DETECTIVE AGENCY
This is another unique speakeasy. To get in, you ring a bell and a “detective” answers the door. You then proceed to role play a mystery you've made up and convince the detective to help you solve it. Get creative, it is so much fun!
COOKIES & SCREAM
If you are gluten-free, vegan, or both… Your prayers have been answered. Cookies and Scream is an entirely gluten-free and vegan bakery! Everything looks and tastes unreal! Even if you don’t have food allergies I highly recommend going, it’s delicious! They have one location in the Stables Market in Camden, and another in Holloway.
A beautiful floral window display makes this cake boutique unmissable! Peggy Porschen’s is the perfect place to enjoy an award winning cupcake and a cappuccino.
The whimsical biscuit boutique draws you right in! The store exterior and interior is charmingly decorated. They offer scrumptious iced biscuits (Britain's version of a cookie)! Gluten free options are available too :)
I hope this was helpful for navigating unique spots around London!
With all the traveling I have been doing this summer I have picked up some great tips that make flying even more enjoyable. Like in life, I have found that it is the little things that make a difference when traveling too. I hope these travel tips help wherever your jet leg takes you!
My travel uniform consists of Lulu Lemon and… Lulu Lemon. I have always been obsessed with this brand because 1. They're workout clothes so it feels like you're wearing sweats and 2. They're so chic it doesn't look like you're wearing sweats.
Travel beauty bag
Flying tends to dry your skin out due to the high altitude and low humidity. To prevent this issue, I mist moisturizing spray over my face a couple times throughout the flight to maintain a dewy and glowing appearance. Below I made a link to my new favorite travel-sized moisturizing kit. It includes a lip moisturizer, body and hand butter, and a small bag to keep everything in it!
Even when you are in the air, UV rays can still get to you through the windows and cause your skin to become sun damaged and dry. This is why I make sure to have sunscreen on my face and hands for added protection.
To compensate for dry skin, your body can sometimes produce more oil. When that happens I use these oil absorbing wipes to keep a matte complexion. Another bonus is that they don't take off your makeup.
NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES
I like to pack my noise canceling Bose headphones. Once you use noise canceling headphones on an airplane, you can't go back. They are so helpful when you want to tune out the noise and sleep. If you don't have headphones, or would rather leave them at home, foam earplugs are a great option and work well too!
I've found that packing a soft scarf is essential because unlike airplane blankets, scarves are more practical and cozy to stay warm. They also make a great pillow.
FILTERED WATER BOTTLE
Staying hydrated is key because, as I mentioned before, an airplane has very low humidity and is drying to the skin. To make sure I am drinking lots of water, I pack a filtered water bottle. You can fill it up just about anywhere and the water will be safe to drink right away. It is also handy when traveling in other countries because you have the added assurance that the water you're drinking is ok to drink.
I'm gluten free so it's sometimes hard to find food, so that's why I pack snacks whenever I travel. Right now, my go-to snack is an RX Bar. My favorite flavors are coconut and peanut butter. Even if you don't have food allergies I think it is still a good idea to pack some snack food. For example, if there is a delay, you will have food on hand to hold you over.
I always make sure to board the plane with some defense weapons, also known as Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer. Once I'm seated, I whip out my wipes and wipe down the tray table and arm rests! Who wants to show up for a week somewhere sick from the person who had a cold and sat in the seat before you? Not me :)
Last but not least, I like to travel with reminders of those I love. Lately I've been traveling with this button of my boyfriend when he was 8 years old. I pin it on my carry-on bag and it makes me smile everytime I look at it. It also happens to raise a lot of questions from strangers, ha... oh well!
I suggest packing something meaningful to you too :)
This week I’ve been staying at one of my favorite destinations in the entire world: Tanque Verde Ranch, located in Tucson, Arizona. I refer to it as my home away from home because, well, it is! My family has been coming here since I was born and I have collected countless memories.
Upon arriving to the ranch, you’re greeted by stunning mountains, hundreds of horses, adorable casitas, and authentic wranglers decked out in spurs—chaps and all. Being one of the oldest dude ranches in the United States, the charm is everywhere.
A typical day starts with a hearty breakfast in the main dining room. Then the day is full of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, tennis, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, lounging by the pool, or going to the spa.
Guests come from all over the world and I’ve loved getting to meet so many different people. This week I met two college-aged girls from London who live a block away from where I’ll be studying this summer (Central Saint Martins).
TVR was ranked 8th in Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award 2016 for “Best Resorts in the United States". Not surprised!
When I come to the ranch I like to dress with a little western vibe. Below I am wearing a western look that can also be worn when not on a dude ranch.
Note: the photos below were taken on a cloudy day—it’s usually happy trails and blue skies.
SHOP THE LOOK
VEST: Revolve | SWEATER: Forever 21 | NECKLACE: Anthropologie | PANTS: From Ralph Lauren (similar above) | SHOES: From Manas (similar above)
Whenever I go out to parties, I often get the question, “Why don’t you drink?”
Whether people drink or not is a personal decision. I thought I would share the reasons that I don’t drink because I get asked this question frequently.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
The main reason I don’t drink is because my body is not my own. This verse is a great reminder to me to treat and respect my body in the same way that I would treat something that I borrowed.
My immune system is already weak due to the lack of sleep from studying late at night. Drinking would worsen my case since it’s known to weaken the immune system.
I believe that you’re never too young to slow down the physical signs of aging. Alcohol speeds up aging on both the inside and outside of the body. Dehydration weakens the organs as well as the supply of collagen that works to keep your skin looking youthful.
Alcohol is just a bunch of empty calories. Our metabolism slows as we age so personally I would rather spend my calories drinking a milk shake (which at least has some protein!) than empty calories that can lead to more consequences than just gaining weight.
I love waking up feeling physically fit and healthy, and if I woke up with a hangover I wouldn’t feel that satisfaction.
I like to be in control of my thoughts and actions. By not drinking, I avoid making drunken mistakes, texts, or calls, which can create unnecessary drama or problems I’d have to try and resolve the next morning. I also want to remember the memories my friends and I share when we go out together. I would be alarmed if I woke up and couldn’t remember what happened the night before.
Alcohol is expensive! If you gave up drinking for a week, just think of how much money you would save…then think of how much you’d save after a year.
Many people drink to be more social or have fun. I have gained so much more confidence by not drinking. Not drinking forces you to get out of the corner and simply be yourself, which is good practice for after college.
No one has ever made fun of me for deciding not to drink. In fact, people at parties have told me, “Wow I really respect that you don’t drink,” and, “I wish I had never started drinking”.
Celebrities like Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, and even Kim Kardashian don’t drink (I was shocked when I heard that Kim doesn’t drink!). So for those of us who don't drink, there are plenty of others both famous and not famous who also choose not to drink!
Thanks for reading!
In honor of rush coming up, I wanted to share my thoughts on the benefits of being apart of a sorority!
Last year I rushed, and while it was one of the most stressful weeks of my life, it was one of the most rewarding too. Joining Delta Gamma has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Here’s why:
Growing up with two older brothers, I always wondered what it would be like to have a sister. After joining Delta Gamma, I now have 200!
In high school, the atmosphere can be “competitive” between girls. However, in Delta Gamma, we’re all on the same team. We encourage, support, and truly want the best for each other. The girls that I’ve met in the sorority aren’t just my sisters; they’re also my lifelong friends.
Going to college can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know anyone. Joining Delta Gamma led me to meet and interact with people, both in and out of the sorority. Whether it’s attending formals, themed mixers, or date nights with the fraternities, there are so many opportunities to socialize as well as make lasting friendships and memories.
The social perks of being in a sorority may be obvious, but there are also academic standards. To advocate the importance of grades, the sorority hosts mandatory study sessions. At first, I dreaded this idea, but honestly I’m so glad it’s a thing! During my first semester of college, I found it difficult to find a balance between my social life and school work. However, going to study sessions helped me to do just that. And studying with my sisters made it more enjoyable!
In just my first year as a Delta Gamma, I’ve already noticed personal growth. Being in a sorority has challenged me in new ways. I took on new responsibilities such as attending weekly chapter meetings, helping to raise money for our philanthropy, and participating in social events. All of these add up to making a well-rounded college experience.
There are also leadership positions in the sorority that you can run for; which look great on a resume!
I have met so many amazing people through my sorority that I may not have met otherwise. Joining Delta Gamma has been one of the most rewarding decisions of my life.
I hope you all decide to rush! GO DG :)
If you’re a guy, this one is for you. Some of these may seem obvious, but they are good reminders. After all, being a gentleman never goes out of style.
Dress well. You don’t have to wear a suit everyday but wear flattering clothing and look presentable.
Keep your hair, and facial hair clean cut. Don’t go overboard on hair products, you don’t want to look as though you haven’t showered in weeks.
Clean up after yourself. If you have company over, make sure your place is tidy and neat.
You only get one first impression, so make it a positive one.
Smell good. I personally love when guys smell nice, and I’m not the only one! Wear deodorant and invest in some cologne.
Have fresh breath. Guys, I’m sure you can agree that this is important.
Manicured nails. If you’re going to hold our hands, please make sure you don’t have dirt under your fingernails.
AVOID OFFENSIVE ACTIONS
Keep your language clean. Swearing is not as cool as you think.
Absolutely no farting (I hate to even say the word!), burping or any discussion of it.
Chew with your mouth closed.
Open doors. Including the car door—I literally get butterflies when guys do this.
Give up your coat when it’s cold.
When eating out let her order first, and take the first bite.
Walk on the side closest to traffic when you're with her so she feels safe.
Offer to pay for her. You don’t have to take her to a fancy restaurant, but treating her to coffee or ice cream is a kind gesture. If she says no that's fine, just show her that you're willing to cover it.
Treat waiters and servers with respect. How you treat others says a lot about you.
Be clear about your intentions. If you like a girl tell her; on the other hand, if you don’t want a relationship be up front right away. Never lead a girl on.
Ask a girl on a date. Don’t say “do you want to hangout.” Literally make a plan (with a set time and day) and ask her out. It can be as simple as a walk.
Keep your commitments. No one likes getting their hopes up, or a flaky person.
Don’t talk about yourself too much. Keep the focus on others.
Being humble is better than being cocky. No one wants to hear about how great you think you are, let her figure that out for herself.
Show her that chivalry isn’t dead!