Winter Skin Savers

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‘Tis the season for sub-zero temperatures and brisk wind that leaves skin dry and chapped. The winter months in Syracuse are brutal, but I’m fully armed this year with my favorite soft skin products that work to hydrate, moisturize and brighten all at once.

  1. Dolce & Gabbana Cleansing Milk: This micro-emulsion serum is much thicker than most face lotions and face creams. I put it on before bed to keep my face moisturized.
  2. Philosophy Hands of Hope: Even though I wear gloves outdoors, my hands still suffer and become so dry and crackled. This hand and cuticle cream rescues dry hands, leaving them smooth and soft.
  3. Hydrating Face Mask: I am obsessed with face masks. Find one at Sephora or Target that restores, moisturizes, and brightens your face.
  4. Gucci Body Lotion: I put lotion on my legs, knees, arms, elbows, and hands in the morning, after I shower, and before bed to combat dry skin.
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Evening Relaxation

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My #1 new years resolution for 2016 was to learn how to relax and take time for myself. Before making this a priority, I let my stress take over my life from the moment I woke up until my body finally gave in to sleep (around 2 or 3am). Over the past year, I’ve developed a few relaxation rituals that really help me get into cozy chill mode and I’ve listed five essentials below. What helps you relax?

  1. Candles: Something about lighting candles makes all my worries go away. I love sandalwood and amber aromas from Bath&Body Works and Anthropologie.
  2. Face Masks: The soothing feeling of using a spa-like facial mask transports me to a place of total serenity. I love SK-II sheet masks and Lush fresh face masks.
  3. Tea: I have been obsessed with tea since middle school. The soothing aroma and warmth help my body calm down. My favorites are Tazo chai tea and blueberry herbal tea.
  4. Cozy blankets + Pillows: There is no better feeling than sinking into a soft bed and wrapping a knitted blanked around your shoulders as you lay your head down on silk and fur pillowcases. You don’t need to break the bank to achieve this luxurious feeling-most of my softest pillows and throws were purchased for less than $20 at Target and T.J.Maxx.
  5. Yoga: My mom taught me yoga sequences at an young age, and I was doing bedtime yoga as early as 11 years old. Now I practice almost daily because it has tremendously helped my anxiety. I recommend a restorative yoga sequence or these nighttime yoga poses to help you relax come bedtime.

xx, Laina

Easy + Healthy College Meals

Since switching from a dorm to a full college apartment, I have really fallen in love with cooking. It’s my stress reliever after class, and I like knowing exactly what goes into my body. I follow a mostly vegan diet (with the exception of eggs- could never give those up!) and the occasional portion of chicken for dinner. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible and minimize processed food (doing this made my acne clear up as well.)

Cooking and grocery shopping can be very time-consuming, so I research healthy recipes on Pinterest and utilize the Yummly app to determine what ingredients I will need for that week’s meals. Below are some of my go-to healthy recipes that won’t take more than 20 minutes to make. Enjoy!

xx, Laina

Breakfast

Avocado Toast: 1/2 an avocado on Ezekiel bread + 1 egg with garlic zucchini noodles topped with goat cheese crumbles, onions, and tomatoes

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Smoothie Bowl: 1 cup of spinach + 1 tbsp organic peanut butter + 1 banana topped with pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries, hemp seeds, coconut, and a fig bar

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Lunch

Spinach + Veggie Salad: Fresh spinach with olive oil dressing topped with carrots, cucumbers, Hilary Eats Well veggie bites, peppers, onions, goat cheese crumbles, and sunflower seeds

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Greek Buddha Bowl: Taboule, olives, falafel balls, 1 tbsp olive tapenade hummus, cucumbers, and tomatoes

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Dinner

Beet Noodles: Spiralized beets with roasted cranberry + goat cheese brussel sprouts, Hilary Eats Well veggie bites, 1 tbsp of roasted red pepper hummus

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Warmed Whole Grain Salad: Quinoa + whole grain rice blend mixed with spinach, butternut squash, red onion, pomegranate seeds, and bits of soy bacon

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Go-to Vegetable Medley: Roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, carrots, red onion, and cranberries all marinated in olive oil and sprinkled with smoked paprika

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Winter Break Highlights

It’s been a long time since I last posted on the blog. First and foremost, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and enjoyed their new year celebrations. I rushed out of last semester, managing to take my final exams early to get home to my family sooner. Since coming home for break, I’ve truly spent every free moment with my family, whether it’s curled up around the fire watching movies, poking fun, or having dinner. We had a tough year, and we really needed this month to relax and spend time together.

I have a lot to be grateful for, but recently my worries and anxiety about the future have prevented me from being present and being happy. I’m looking forward to 2017 because fresh starts are always exciting. However, the thought of graduating college, finding a job, and starting a new life somewhere is extremely daunting. Throw in a tumultuous history of anxiety and a family member battling cancer and you have yourself a lot of ups and downs. All of this aside, I really want to be more positive this year, maintain my friendships after graduation (and my friends are scattered across the country), and try to focus on being present.

Here are some highlights from my winter break.

xx, Laina

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{meet my siblings!}

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{carefully wrapped gifts for all my loved ones}

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{favorite holiday pastime: baking cookies}

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{you can find me curled up by the fireplace in my J.Crew camp socks, J.Crew slippers and Anthropologie mug, sipping a chai tea latte}

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{too obsessed with my pup}

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{Banana Republic poncho, Subdued scarf, Zara jeans, Sam Edelman booties}

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{I love sending surprise Christmas cards with Starbucks gift cards- a simple gesture that goes a long way}

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{so obsessed with this stunning ring}

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{new year’s eve drink of choice: a pomegranate moscow mule}

Gifts for Her

Whether you are shopping for Mom, the holiday hostess, or a co-worker… there are a few go-to gifts that any woman would be thrilled to see underneath Christmas wrapping. With the Cyber Monday frenzy upon us, I’ve put together some of the best items that any classy girl would love. Consider this a list of “you can’t go wrong” presents for all ages and a variety of price ranges (no size or recipient information required.)

xx, Laina

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1. J.Crew Pajama Set: Soft and cozy. Don’t forget to monogram them.

2. Candle: Ladies love candles. The perfect gift for hostesses and mother-in-laws alike.

3. SK-II Face Masks: I was lucky enough to represent this skincare brand at one of my summer internships and can vouch for the fact that these sheet masks are life-changing: they simultaneously moisturize, brighten, and refresh leaving skin radiant and clear.

4. David Yurman Bracelet: A classic. If you’ve got the dough to splurge, this sterling silver and gold cuff is a must-have.

5. Gourmet Hot Cocoa + Chocolates: Self-explanatory.

6. S’well Stainless Steel Water Bottle: These bottles are all the rave right now, and rightly so. They keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. Just what you need.

7. Personalized Cheese Board: Whether you’re buying a present for an amateur cook or gourmet chef, a cheese board is a very thoughtful and useful gift. Brownie points for this personalized rendition.

8. Cozy Fur Sleep Mask: Because everyone wants their zzz’s around the holidays.

9. 2017 Agenda: In the purse of any organized woman is a sturdy planner.

10. Chanel Eau De Parfum: A classy woman will never deny Chanel. Lighter than the classic No. 5,the Mademoiselle scent smells fun and feminine.

Autumn Highlights

It’s hard to believe it will be November in just a few days. My classes are a lot harder than I expected this semester, and I find myself taking advantage of any free time that isn’t spent studying or doing work. In those rare moments of bliss, I’ve done a variety of fall activities. Follow along with what I’ve been wearing and doing this past month below.

xx, Laina

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{J.Crew coat + J.Crew sweater + Francesca’s blanket scarf + Sam Edelman booties}

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{pretty mums on campus}

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{apple picking scenery}

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{enjoying the foliage colors}

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{wine tour through upstate new york}

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{when your booties match the leaves}

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{quick trip to nyc: loving this central park view}

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{camouflaged}

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{time square views from viacom}

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{weekend at home: loving the porch decor}

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{all about slip-on loafers}

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{the moments of bliss post-shower when you stay in your warm robe}

Fall Friday

The impending stress of midterms is upon us, but my roommate and I were able to take a break from studying today to visit the nearby town of Skaneateles. Upstate New York is simply breathtaking in the fall, and I felt grateful for the stunning panoramas of fall foliage on the ride there. A day of pumpkin picking, shopping, and eating cider donuts was exactly what I needed to refresh and refocus. How are you enjoying the fall weather this weekend?

xx, Laina

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{stopped at a pumpkin stand on the way there}

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{loving this decor}

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{donuts for lunch}

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{lake scenery}

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{small towns}

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{wearing Sam Edelman booties + Nordstrom blanket scarf + J.Crew jacket + Urban Outfitters sweater}

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{meet my roommate, Zoe!}