Prepare Yourselves: It’s Cold Season

 

I think I finally cracked. Or at least my immune system decided to crack on me. I know, I know: “Say crack one more time”. Crack.

I digress. On Thursday afternoon, I suddenly came down with a sore throat and headache. I blew it off as nothing. Unfortunately, it got worse and I proceeded to spend the next 3 days in my bed, watching a more than average amount of Sabrina the Teenage Witch while I tried to rest and get better as soon as I could.

Now that I’ve gone through this weird head cold, however, I feel as if I’m better equipped for the next time sickness strikes, and I’m ready to share my secrets with everyone else. Truth is, it’s cold season, and everyone should be prepared to expect the worst.

Secret #1

The key to getting better is simple: rest. To me, this didn’t come easily. I only gave up after I worked a 4 hour shift, attended a guest lecture, took professional headshots for Moda Magazine and finally collapsed into a two hour nap before a staff meeting (which I realized I was too sick to attend). Once I settled down and fired up the good ol’ heated blanket, I could finally allow my body to start healing itself.

Secret #2

Mucinex FAST-MAX Severe Cold. This might be the nastiest thing I’ve ever tasted, but damn did it help. Instead of popping pills, this medicine comes in 4 individual packets full of a powder that dissolves in hot water. You can then drink it hot like a tea. For me, this killed two birds with one stone. I was able to kill my cold with meds while sipping on hot water for my sore throat and cough.

Secret #3

Vitamin-C is the world’s best cure-all. Throughout the day when I would be sipping on my nast Mucinex mixture or a cup of hot green tea with lemon, I would also have a water bottle full of Emergen-C. This stuff is great. Don’t be tricked though, the pomegranate flavor is one of the most disgusting flavors I’ve ever tried. I like to stick with the original or raspberry.

Secret #4

Of all the life lessons my parents made clear to me as a child, this one could be my favorite. Hot&Sour soup is heaven on a weak immune system. When I was little, we always ordered from the same place, a restaurant owned by our then friend. His soup was the best. I still have yet to find something as great as our good friend Marvin’s. Madison, though, has a wide variety of inexpensive Chinese food, and the soup isn’t half that bad. Hot&Sour soup clears nasal congestion with its spiciness, yet it isn’t too hot to handle. Naturally, I had to order some when my cold was at its worst on Saturday. The best part: they deliver!

Beauty Store Wars: Sephora vs Ulta

A good friend of mine (#SO to Corinne) suggested I do an in-depth exploration on Sephora vs Ulta. To me, this blog post is truly difficult because both stores mean so much to me. I grew up on Ulta, and yet I learned the way of Sephora from my icon vloggers on YouTube. You see, I think there are pros and cons to both stores. However, there can only be one winner. Let the games begin!

sephora

{Pros}

To me, Sephora is like the Saks of the beauty world: when you walk in, anything is possible. The walls are lined with high-end beauty brands of makeup, skin care, hair care and professional beauty tools. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of Sephora is the variety of makeup swatches. It’s easy to go around the store and sample palettes with a simple swipe of powder on the back of your hand. Equally desirable, the beauty brands don’t stop at the big names like NARS and Smashbox. In fact, some of the best beauty brands are the less popular ones like Kat Von D, Perricone MD and  Sephora’s own collection of makeup and brushes.

To add to the store’s aesthetic pleasure, Sephora’s website is one of my favorite to shop on. It’s user friendly, great for finding specific products and the “Friends and Family” annual sale is great for shoppers looking to stock up.

One thing that sets Sephora apart from most other makeup stores is their great selection of “Sephora Favorites” value sets. Each set includes deluxe-sized samples of the most popular products offered in the store. Each set has a theme, such as a set entirely full of mascaras, or a set for the best summer colors.

{Cons}

Unfortunately, Sephora has its downfalls as well. For one, I can’t regularly afford many of the brands Sephora offers. Most of Sephora’s products, though high in quality, seem absurdly priced for someone who eats Ramen on the reg. To me, customer service is a huge factor in whether I feel like buying products.

More often than not, I find that some of the employees in Sephora are looking for a certain type of customer to assist. This customer looks nothing like the young, natural looking, college-aged student with American Eagle jeans on. On multiple accounts, Sephora workers have ignored me to pursue a wealthier looking woman in her 30s with an MK handbag. I don’t find this sales tactic unattractive (I do agree that it could be a great way to increase profits), however it makes the environment cold, almost like I need to get in and get out as fast as I can.

ulta

{Pros}

Ulta is the store my mother raised me on. Every time we needed anything related to beauty, Ulta was the answer. This made my love and knowledge expand, and over the years, I feel as if I know each and every location by heart. The best part of Ulta is its practicality. The store carries high-end selections, drugstore beauty products, hair care, skincare and their own salon. I feel like Ulta is one of those stores (like my fave place ever, PierOne) where I can walk around for hours and find the store’s best hidden treasures.

Even more, Ulta has the most amazing weekly sales. Ulta provides a great weekly flyer with sales on high-end and drugstore products like “buy two get one” and discounts on professional power hair tools. With these sales, unlike Sephora, prices don’t add up too fast and end up being a fiscally irresponsible shopping trip. Ulta’s Black Friday sale is always one of my first stops of the morning, offering great stocking-stuffers and cheap high-end samplers.

Sometimes the most enjoyable part of my trip at Ulta is the checkout line. As opposed to the off-putting and often cheaply made products that commonly appear in store check-out lines, Ulta carries great deluxe samples for all kinds of products. I absolutely love samples because they allow me to try out beauty items before committing all my money into them. This is how I found my favorite hair serum and eye shadow primer (both high-end products that ended up being great investments).

{Cons}

Sadly though, Ulta doesn’t offer the amount of high-end brands I wish it could. When it comes to some items, like eyeliner and foundation, quality reigns most important. The limited selection of high-end products makes it difficult to find a good variety to choose from and sometimes, the BB creams I like aren’t the ones offered in the store.

As well, Ulta is not always the best in beauty expertise. Unlike Sephora, I feel as if I sometimes know more than the sales clerks. On several accounts, I was the one telling the store clerks about new products on my wishlist or taking uneducated advice from the sales clerk. This doesn’t help when I need to find the best product suited for my skin type or hair color and the store isn’t rightly informed on the items they carry.

The Winner: ULTA

I firmly believe the winner of this debacle is decided upon personal preference. The winner in my eyes is and always will be Ulta. For a girl like me, who uses both high-end and drugstore products, Ulta is the best one-stop shop. Personally, the store carries more of the brands I use (since I am cruelty-free). I think that Ulta has the best room for expansion. Where as Sephora might be forever stuck in the world of expensive beauty products, Ulta can always add on more to their high-end section and improve their requirements for employment.

What is YOUR preference over these two beauty stores? Let me know in the comments below!

ReStyle, ReDesign, ReLove: I Heart NY Shirt

Just like that, school began. I can’t believe I’m a junior in college. Soon I will have to face the real world, and that is just not okay. In order to continue expressing my youthfulness and rather childish demeanor, I thought a DIY project post would be very necessary.

I am so excited with the results of this project. I know that this is something I will wear often whether I’m chilling out and doing homework or going to a slightly dressier occasion with a leather jacket and skirt.

 

iheartny

Mary-Kate and Ashley inspired my project for this t-shirt. When I was younger (and they were still adorably young), they released a movie called New York Minute. In this movie, they sported the most adorable tourist “I Heart NY” t-shirts with interesting and very chic cuts to the neckline. So naturally, when my friend/sorority Big visited New York with her family recently, I knew that an I Heart NY shirt would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. And yes, this DOES mean that I love Mary-Kate and Ashley. I’m not afraid to admit I watch their movies when I’m bored. Like seriously, Passport to Paris defined my childhood.

The perfect slouchy, off-the-shoulders t-shirt is much easier than I ever thought growing up. In fact, many a shirts have kicked the bucket (RIP t-shirts) from all my designer experimentation in my high school years. For this shirt, I needed to be well prepared to make it the best fit and style for maximum cuteness. This model of restyling is fail-proof (however, I did practice it on another shirt before-hand just in case).

 

IMG_0212What you need:

  • A loose fit unisex t-shirt
  • scissors (fabric are preferable but not necessary)
  • a sharpie pen
  • fashion measuring tape

 

 

STEP 1

Fold the t-shirt in half with the front design facing out. Mark the fold with the sharpie pen on the collar.

STEP 2

Using your  measuring tape, mark out 15 cm from the top edge of the shirt to the mark you just made. Draw a line on the inside of the measuring tape. If you have wide or narrow shoulders, try a centimeter larger or smaller. This shouldn’t that big of a problem because you’ll be stretching out the neckline in a later step.

STEP 3

Make a snippet at the line you just drew. Carefully, cut only the top layer of the fabric from the top edge of the shirt in a rounded motion towards the center line of the collar you drew in step 1.

STEP 4

When you hit the center line, stop. Now, cut from the top edge of the collar out to the line you drew in step 2. This will free a flap from the collar. Fold this flap over to the other side and use it as a guide for cutting a mirror image on the other side of the shirt. Once you’re done cutting the entire flap, cut it on the top towards the top edge of the collar and discard this fabric.

STEP 5

Now, cut a even more slightly rounded (nearly straight line) from one side of the back fabric to the other, cutting out the collar still attached on the back.

STEP 6

If you desire a messier look, cut the fabric on the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt above the seam.

STEP 7

Gently tug around the openings of all the cuts you made. This will start to roll the fabric so that uneven cuts are hidden. As well, it will make the shirt have a loose, comfortable fit.

STEP 8 

Go show off your masterpiece. Because you are hot.

cut8

I hope you enjoy making this shirt as much as I did. I can’t wait to do this with other plain t-shirts in the future. In the mean time, I’ll continue rocking this shirt just like Ashley (she’s way cooler than Mary-Kate).