travel tips

A Mask A Day + NEW Fall Skincare Routine

Fall is coming and I could not be happier! There is just nothing like sweater weather, crunchy leaves, apple picking, football season, and of course pumpkin spice everything. With the leaves changing and the weather getting colder, as we change our closets from tanks to over-sized sweaters, did you know you should also be changing your skincare routine?!

While skincare routines should always include the staples (face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc.), it isn’t necessarily bad or detrimental to switch up the regimen quite often, especially when seasons change or hormonal changes occur. For example, with the colder months, my face tends to become dry very easily, but in the warmer months, my face is much more oily and I am sweating so much more, so certainly using the same routine won’t be effective for both instances. Multiple dermatologists agree that changing products way too often won’t give you the chance to see results you may be looking for since average cell turnover is 28 days. If only clear skin appeared overnight!

So, as mentioned before, with Fall approaching, colder weather is approaching, and therefore my face is going to be drier than a desert :(. I decided to pick up seven different masks from Creme Shop and do a mask a day and see how my skin felt after each one. Basically, it felt as though I was going to the spa everyday, but the spa was my makeup room.

Before we get into the masks though, let’s compare our faces to a painting. The paint will go on smoother and the overall results of the painting will look so much better if you’re working on a clean, smooth canvas right? That is why it is so important to not rely on just makeup removers and masks. After reading this totally amazing review on some of the best facial cleansers out there, I picked up this CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser and I can honestly say I am obsessed. I have used it as my sole cleanser for this week’s experiment and I think it played a key role in my face feeling so soft and moisturized. I was wearing max coverage foundation and a full face of makeup, and this cleanser took it right off, without me going through an entire bottle of it. Can you say yes please?!

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Unlike harsher cleaners that exfoliate and really remove the skin’s protective barrier (this is why you should only exfoliate 1-2 times a week!), this cleanser actually helps to restore that protective barrier as well as keeps the skin’s natural moisture. My face feels so soft and looks nice and dewy immediately after washing. Since my skin is nourished and moisturized all day long, I’ve even noticed that my foundation stays on better throughout the day, and that’s without me using primer (when I go to work, I don’t wear much makeup, so I nix primer from my routine – I try to let my skin breathe during the week). I love love love this product and can’t wait to continue using it and keep you updated!

If you want to try it, here’s a $2.00 off coupon! You’re welcome! 😉

Dry skin and red spots be gone!

Now back to our painting…I mean mask experiment! All of these masks are from the Creme Shop. Aside from masks, they also have beauty products from beauty blenders to eyelashes, something I never knew before. I guess I will have to save that for another post though! If you’ve read my previous post on Korean skincare, you know I am a huge fan and avid lover of those products, a Creme shop mask being one of them. All of these masks are made in Korea and deliver just as well as the other ones in that post! I tried seven masks, check out my thoughts on each of them below.

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  • Drink Up, Skin

This one is infused with hyaluronic acid (a main ingredient in the CeraVe facial wash by the way!). This is what keeps the skin’s thirst quenched, keeping it smooth and dewy! I also love that it is non-irritating, so for those of you with sensitive skin, definitely give this one a try. The design was adorable, and after I took it off after a half hour or so, my face felt so soft and looked so moisturized. Bye bye flaky dry skin!

  • Slow Down, Skin

Another adorable “animated” mask! Who doesn’t love pandas, and who doesn’t love to fight aging skin early?! This one is infused with restorative bamboo extract and is rich in silica – which means it boosts structure and elasticity. I actually felt my face tingle slightly while using this one. My face did feel quite refreshed after using it.

  • Charcoal & Lemonade Mask

Alright so anything charcoal seems to be all of the rage in skincare, due to its ability to completely wipe away the impurities and dirt/oil on our faces. First off, I LOVED the smell of it as soon as I opened it up, definitely smelled like delicious lemonade (as I am literally drinking lemonade as we speak haha!). So this dual mask is designed to obviously be like a 2-for-1. As we know, charcoal lifts up toxins and dirt from  the pores on our faces. Lemons have antibacterial properties that can help heal, brighten the skin, and combat blackheads. This mask is also filled with hyarulonic acid, making it full of moisture. I loved how this mask made my face feel, my face felt so clean and soft and looked so dewy. When I woke up the next morning, my mother (who is on me about skin ALL. THE. TIME), complimented how great my skin looked! Oh ,you can also refrigerate this mask for a cooling effect and feeling.

  • The Kale Face Mask

Kale yasss! I can say I know a ton of ways to EAT kale, I didn’t know I could use it to help my face though! As we all know, kale is full of Vitamins, A, C, and K. It is a super food that helps our body, but it can also help with skin imbalances. It helps reduce bloat and puffiness, corrects redness, and can even help with dry patches/flakiness. This certainly helps with keeping skin toned and revitalized!

  • Pineapple Enzyme Infused Mask

I loooove pineapples, and now I love putting them on my face! I had no idea it had an enzyme (bromelain) that acts as an all natural exfoliator, breaking down the keratin protein in dead skin cells. This reveals a new layer of skin and helps get rid of discoloration, leaving you with bright and renewed skin. My face felt so soft after this one!

  • Witch Hazel Infused Mask

This one had some serious powers like a witch haha! I wanted to try this one because it said it combats acne and blackheads and helps minimize excess oil production. It also said it helps against sun damage – a must have since summer is over. Apparently, witch  hazel has a ton of healing properties such as reducing skin damage, inflammation, and swelling. the all-natural ingredient soothes troubled skin and balances the skin for an unblemished complexion. After I took this mask off, I felt like it wiped my blackheads away too, my face felt so smooth and looked so supple.

  • Coconut Oil Infused Mask

So we all know coconut oil is the cure for everything – did you know it even whitens teeth? That will have to be my next post ;). Sometimes after washing my face I will put coconut oil on my face because it makes it feel and look great. Coconut oil is also a great makeup remover if you didn’t know! So, since I already love coconut oil, I was super excited to try this one out – and I was not disappointed! It really felt the same as when I put coconut oil on my face, super moisturized, super smooth, and younger looking 😉

PS – for a cooling effect you can refrigerate their masks 🙂 I haven’t tried, but if you have, comment below!

If you’ve tried any, I’d love to hear which ones and what you thought of them!

Could not be happier with my skin ❤ !

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ESPANA

So my last post was April 3rd…I always tell myself I won’t allow any of these long hiatuses to occur, but here we are. A lot has gone on since April and between work and my personal life this took a back seat, but I am back – and what better way to come back with a nostalgic post about Spain?! Around this time two years ago I was travelling all over Spain, loving every second of it, even the historical heat wave we faced in Madrid (well, maybe not that part). Spain was absolutely beautiful with such an incredible culture and people, so I cannot wait to share these images and stories with you!File_003(2)


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  • Madrid

Our first stop was Madrid. Beautiful beautiful Madrid! I have never been to Spain before so I wasn’t too sure on what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Throughout all my European adventures, I have never seen such detailed architecture before. The plazas were extremely large, much bigger than the ones I saw in Italy. The nightlife was unmatched – watch out NYC, they are the true city that never sleeps…well, aside from the whole siesta thing (yes it is real!). Literally everything shuts down during siesta time, I had extreme trouble finding even a convenience store to just grab a bottle of water!

I loved exploring everything Madrid had to offer, from the museums, to the parks, to the flamenco dancing, and of course the tapas and wine! They also have great trips available to places like Toledo (so sad we didn’t get to go!). I would definitely recomend renting a bike (we were able to do so at a gas station lol), see a flamenco show, and explore EVERYTHING. Don’t be afraid to get lost!

Oh and if you’re there in the summer be sure to order a the popular summer wine cocktail, tinto de verano. It literally translates to red wine of summer. Super light and refreshing 🙂

Let’s start with some of the sites you can’t miss!

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The Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid) is just breathtaking. The size alone will leave you in awe! No pictures are allowed to be taken inside but surely what you see will be engraved in your memory. The rooms are so beautifully (and ornately) decorated and full of indulgence, you could only imagine a king living here! They have gardens surrounding the place, making it hard to believe this is right in the middle of Madrid! They also have an armory full with an incredible collection, some even say the best in Europe.

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Plaza Mayor is a typical plaza full of street vendors and little stores, but what makes it so unique are the murals painted on the Casa de la Panaderia (Bakery House). the building was constructed in 1619 and as assumed, has undergone many renovations. It was originally designed to house the Baker’s Guild, which was extremely powerful as they controlled grain prices. the original paintings on the walls were redone in 1992, so pretty recently! It is now home for the Madrid Tourist Information Center, so if you are looking to get any information, this is the place to stop by! Also, typical to touristy areas, I would stay away from the cafes in the plazas, you can find a much more authentic and reasonably priced place one off the beaten path.

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Statue of Felipe III in front of Plaza Mayor

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Plaza de la Villa – just a cute little square close to Plaza Mayor 🙂

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  • Marbella

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Down to Andalusia we go! Marbella was a great way to relax on beautiful beaches and drink some tropical dranks after a bunch of touristy things (and a TON of walking) in Madrid. There were a ton of British and Russians there when I was there, I am not sure if they like to vacation there or if they kind of took over. Nonetheless it was absolutely beautiful. From the little stone pathways, the winding tiny streets. It reminded me of Sorrento or Cinque Terre. They had the cutest boutiques, the most quaint little cafes. I would totally recommend just walking around and getting lost and see what you stumble upon. They have wonderful ocean front dining and clubs at night right on the beach. I have honestly never heard of it before coming here, I assume places like Ibiza overshadow it, but it seems pretty family friendly too as I saw a ton of families with young kids! We literally just ate, drank, and relaxed on the beach during our time here, we didn’t do much exploring at all.

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  • Granada

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Our final stop before heading back to Madrid to go home! And WOW, what a way to end a trip of a lifetime! Granada was just breathtaking, from the 1000 year old Alhambra and the views, to the wonderful markets and vendors, to the Turkish baths, to the modern shopping and dining, Granada has it all. I will certainly be adding more pictures as I unearth them from my computer, but the views I was able to capture from the Alhambra Palace are literally nothing like I have seen before. It was totally worth the trip to see and explore the grounds here. It truly felt like I was time warped to the past. This is another city with a ton of winding little alleys and streets that you should get lost in. It also had a very Arabic feel, with Arabic restaurants, vendors, etc. Completely different vibe and energy form Marbella and Madrid and anywhere I have been really. Loved every second of it.

Also, though there are no pictures here (we weren’t allowed to take them), of the first Turkish baths in Spain, I highly recommend going. After a long trip of travelling and walking around, see and learning and being apart of this awesome history was just incredible. The baths were beautiful and clean, and we got massages after!

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View from Alhambra Palace

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Food from restaurant that overlooked Alhambra – I want to say it was the Carmen Mirador de Aixa

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Amazing work being done by hand in the palace.

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Apple of My Eye Apple Pie

So it feels like ages since I went apple picking, and I promised I would share just what I did with all of those apples. A few days after apple picking, I whipped up this recipe for everyone to enjoy – however, I’m just posting about it weeks later. It has been so hectic on my end – starting a new job, helping with my sister’s wedding & bachelorette party, it never ends!

This is a perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re having a more intimate, smaller gathering. A great alternative to apple pie – and you don’t have to worry about how big of a piece you take 😉


Ingredients:

  • 10 apples (this is only because I had sooo many)
  • 4 Tbsp. of butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Crumb Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers (this is optional)
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. butter (melted)
  • 1 roll of pre-made pie crust (optional if you don’t want to wrap the apple in dough)
  • Ice cream! Caramel sauce, whatever you’d like!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash apples and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping by combining flour, graham crackers (if used), oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and then melted butter until mixture is combined and crumbly. Set aside.
  4. Peel and chop 4 of the apples.
  5. Add these chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup to a large frying pan and cook over medium heat for about ten minutes (until the apples are softened and tender!). Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. With the remaining 6 apples, cut the tops off and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Be careful to not go all the way down/pierce the skin of the apple! Leave a perimeter within the apple as shown below. It should resemble an “apple bowl”.
  7. Fill your “apple bowl” with the filling from the sauce pan you just made. Fill about 3/4 of the way, or halfway if you’d like to be generous with the topping.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into strips and “mummify” or wrap the apples! It can be a bit tricky to have them stick to the apple so definitely press the dough strips into one another so they don’t unravel.
  9. Place the apples into a pie pan (I had to use two) because just in case of drippings, it doesn’t overflow as it potentially could on a flat baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. Serve warm and with your favorite ice cream! I recommend Ben & Jerry’s cinnamon one.

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Capri

Capri, easily one of the most beautiful and relaxing places Italy has to offer. Nestled in the cliffs in the Gulf of Naples, it literally looks as though a sculptor just carved a little town into the cliffs. It had such a rustic and quaint, yet vibrant and lively feel.

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Since we were already in Sorrento, we took a half hour boat ride to Capri. The boat ride was really short and pleasant as the waters weren’t rough. The morning started out cloudy, but by afternoon (and hours of climbing steps), my sister and I couldn’t wait to change our clothes and cool down.

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We arrived at Marina Grande, a bustling sea port lined with a few cafes and souvenir shops. This is where we first saw the infamous “handmade sandals” shop. For 99 euros, you have custom made sandals made for your feet and to your liking, right in front of you!  If you don’t buy the sandals, then I honestly would not spend too much time here as the actual city of Capri has much more to offer. Also, this is the place where you can get on the funicular, bus, taxi, or even chairlift to go up to the main square in Capri. This is also the spot where you can catch another boat to go on a boat tour around Capri (my sister and I did this later on in the day).

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When we first got there, my sister and I had the BEST sandwiches I’ve ever had in my entire life. Would you be shocked if I told you it was only comprised of a slice of tomato, a slice of mozz, some oil, and bread? The Italians have simply mastered the art of cooking simply yet deliciously.

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We sat on this very rocky beach for a bit and just took it all in. We still couldn’t really believe we here in Italy. It really felt like a dream (still does!).

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Before we trekked up almost three billion stairs and explored the city, we went on a boat tour around Capri. Capri is most famously known for their grottos, little caves where the water is amazingly clear and blue due to the reflection from the sun hitting the cave. There are various grottos, such as the blue grotto, the white grotto, and the green grotto. Sadly, the tides were too high in the caves when we got there so we couldn’t go in them. We did get close to them, and as you can see, the water was beautiful regardless!

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The boat tour allowed us to stop and swim for a bit, which was an experience in itself. How many people can say they spent their day swimming next to the grottos on the coast of Capri?!

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Obviously had to get some fishing in during the tour haha!

After we got back, we decided to explore this historic city. We also didn’t mind checking out the luxury shops like Dolce & Gabbana, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, etc that line Via Camerelle. However, to get there, we had to do a TON of walking and a TON of stairs. Honestly, when I got home, I couldn’t even look at the stairmaster in the gym for weeks. It was truly all worth it. The views from such heights were incomparable.

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During our walk, we also came across these mini shrines or praying stations, if you will. It is said that these were set up for the elders who could not make the trek and journey to the actual church. These were set up so they can go to “church” basically outside of their home.

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SO many steps!

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But at least some were beautiful – almost too pretty to step on!

We finally reached the top! We reached Piazza Umberto I, or the Piazzetta, Capri’s most famous square. This is basically the heart of Capri, lined with cafes, newsstands, a tour kiosk, town hall…and most importantly, celebs. What was once a market for selling fish and vegetables, the piazza has become a top meeting place for locals and celebs. Don’t be shocked if your bumping arms with Clooney or photobomb a few paparazzi!

We walked on and stumbled across the Luna Hotel, where we most definitely were probably not allowed to be. We couldn’t resist the views though. Could you blame us? Although we were staying back in Capri, I would definitely recommend staying here simply for the views and ambiance (and of course I did some research on it 😉 ).

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Capri gave me the best food, the best workout, the best pictures. Seriously, this must be a stop in your travels to Italy.

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