Budget-Friendly Skincare Routine

For me, skincare has always been more important and intriguing than makeup. Of course, in my “tween” days I would spend countless hours on Youtube watching my favorite beauty gurus do their makeup and I would recreate the looks [not very well, might I add] and show my mom or my friends. But that soon became boring, so I dove into the world of skincare instead. I would watch so many people’s routines and see how they varied based on their skin type, affordability and the climate around them. Soon after, I was able to tell my own skin type, what ingredients in products I should stay away from, and I began purchasing a multitude of products I thought would make my skin 10 times more beautiful and clear, but instead did the opposite. 

I was putting so many products on my face that just didn’t work together and overloaded my pores with, for lack of a better word, junk. Now that I’m well out of the phase of going to Ulta and buying every single skincare product targeted toward my type of skin [combination/dry], I can confidently say that less is more, especially when it comes to skincare. [Since I also purchase my own skincare products, it’s important that the products that I use are also budget-friendly.] 

My favorite affordable skincare brand is Mario Badescu, which is sold at Ulta and other stores like Urban Outfitters. What drew me into this brand was their facial spray that I use to set my makeup [setting makeup essentially prevents it from rubbing off on other surfaces, like your clothes, throughout the day]. The spray is made with ingredients like aloe and rosewater and feels so light and refreshing, it honestly just melts my makeup together. I also use this spray in the morning after I apply my toner, and even throughout the day if my face feels like it could use a pick-me-up. Another product I love from Mario Badescu is the drying lotion. It’s a great spot treatment for pimples and I’ve found that it makes any blemishes disappear overnight. This is a little more on the expensive side [about $17], but it lasts for a while and is well worth the price. 

Speaking of toner, my favorite toner is from Thayer’s and comes in a huge bottle for only $10. Toner is great for getting the dirt you didn’t know was on your skin, off of it. I’m always surprised by how much my toner can dig up from my skin, especially makeup build-up. I usually use my toner after my face wash [CeraVe— nothing special, just gets the job done and doesn’t irritate my skin or cause breakouts] both morning and night. The Thayer’s toner is a lot more gentle than other toners that I have used and doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils. You can also pick this product up at Ulta, and even a few drugstores. 

Doing a nice face mask is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s so relaxing and your skin feels renewed after [what could be better?]. The key to face masks is to find one that works for you and to stick with it and not use anything else. Consistency is key when it comes to skincare [I can’t stress this enough]! My favorite one is the Indian Healing Clay Mask that you can buy from many stores, including Amazon. This mask comes as a powder, and you can mix it with apple cider vinegar, water and even honey [I choose to do a combination of ACV and honey]. This mask can be kind of harsh, especially if you use it every single day [which you shouldn’t be]. I usually use this mask 1 to 2 times per week, depending on how bad my skin is. I’ve found that this mask brings my blackheads to the surface which keeps me from digging at my skin and constantly popping pimples. 

Although the products that I use work for me, it doesn’t mean they are going to work for everyone. Pay attention to the amount of oil your face produces, if you get dry anywhere, the amount of acne you have and where it’s appearing on your face, your diet, water intake, etc. because all of this affects your skin. These are just some of the products that I love and have used for a while that work for me! I think we can all agree that a solid, affordable skin-care routine is needed for any busy college student.

Influencer Spotlight: Melissa Tatti

Sustainability has become a hot topic in today’s culture due to the evident positive effects it has had on our environment. Young adults especially have started to take action in protecting and preserving our environment in various simple initiatives that already fit into our daily routines. Replacing single-use plastics with reusable ones, not consuming as many meat and dairy products [even going as far as being vegan or vegetarian] and even shopping for clothing and other material items at second-hand stores. Thrifting has become incredibly popular the past five or so years, and last summer I found myself watching various Youtube creators thrift their wardrobes and turn well-loved pieces into something fresh and trendy. 

Melissa Tatti, aka “ThreadsObsessed” on Youtube [as well as Instagram] is one of the only thrifting, fashion-based channels that I subscribe to and continually watch because she puts so much effort into what she is creating, from showing viewers when she initially thrifts the item, to transforming and styling an outfit. Melissa does “Thrift with Me” vlogs which allows viewers to see what kind of pieces she looks for in a thrift store, what older brands have a growing value in today’s fashion world, and she even puts looks together while she shops. 

Not only does Melissa thrift clothing items for herself, she also sells and transforms them on Depop, a popular [usually second-hand] retail app. Before checking out her Depop page, I didn’t expect much from it, I just thought it would be a place for her to post simple photos of what she was trying to sell from her thrifting journeys. However, Melissa beautifully and uniquely, transforms her thrifted clothing pieces into styled looks that no one else has. 

As she mentions and depicts on her Youtube channel, Melissa spends countless hours thrifting items from various thrift stores [in Canada, where she lives], transforming the pieces, and then photographing them for her Depop page. She also does all of this from her home, including packaging Depop orders. Melissa has a room dedicated to her booming Depop business and even a studio style set-up for photographing her pieces. Needless to say, Melissa is extremely hardworking and it’s inspiring to see the amount of success she’s achieved in such little time. 

Her own personal style, as showcased on her social media, has developed over the years, ranging from Nascar and Harley Davidson ‘90s style jackets, to Y2K baby blue eyeshadow and low-rise jeans type looks [the early 2000s are definitely back]. Regardless of her ever changing style, Melissa’s “girl boss” attitude remains the same, and it’s empowering to see a woman of her age as successful as she is, yet still eager to achieve more. Melissa is one of my favorite social media creators and her passion for fashion is contagious! 

Discover: Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Growing up, I was lucky enough to be surrounded with people who would become my lifelong friends. Being from a small town, my graduating class was fewer than 100 people, and I’ve had the same friends since kindergarten, some even since preschool. After we all graduated high school, we still have managed to find ways to stay in touch and see each other when possible, like visiting each other at school or going on vacations together during school breaks. This past week, my group of friends and I made the 12-hour journey to Kiawah Island, South Carolina, and had an amazing time.

I have a love-hate relationship with packing for a vacation, as it seems I either underpack or pack way too much. However, for this trip, I feel like I packed well; but I also seriously planned out my outfits. Many of the bathing suits I bought before this trip were actually from Amazon [they have some amazing, cheap bikinis] and I took a trip to Target before my trip to get a really cute midi dress to wear out to dinner. Other than my “nicer” outfits, I brought along a lot of t-shirts and shorts to wear to the beach. 

Obviously, the least favorite part of the trip for anyone was the car ride. On the way there it wasn’t  that bad, though, because we had something to look forward to — the beach, sunshine, nice weather, exploring a new place, etc. However, we did drive through part of the Smoky Mountains and caught glimpses of beautiful sunsets [both on the way there and the way back] which made the drive a little more bearable.  

My friend Mary’s family owns the house that we stayed at. The location was so beautiful, sitting very close to the beach. There’s only one grocery store on the island and it’s located in a little plaza with all kinds of different retail stores and restaurants, like Vineyard Vines and Southern Tide, and it even had a Ben & Jerry’s. Although the island was definitely small, it was so welcoming and we were always able to find something to do. 

The downtown area of the island, called Fresh Fields, is home to a variety of restaurants, such as a sushi place and Irish pub that me and my friends went to on our trip. There’s a definite sense of community on Kiawah, even though it’s such a small place. While we were enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant in Fresh Fields, just down the street there was a movie on the green in the middle of downtown, and you could tell families were enjoying spending that time together. 

The beach was my favorite part of the trip by far—the sand was almost white and the water was so clear. On our final day at the beach, however, my friends Abby and Evie got stung pretty badly by some jellyfish. Regardless of the jellyfish incident, it was nice to lay on the beach and go swimming in the ocean [which was oddly very warm]. Before my trip, I bought a $5 float from Five Below, and I was not expecting it to be a good purchase, but I of course used it in the water, as well as a seat on the beach.  

Another purchase my friends and I made before our trip was disposable cameras. We were inspired by one of our favorite Youtubers, David Dobrik, who carries around disposable cameras all of the time to take random pictures of his friends. This was really fun, and I like the idea of being surprised about what pictures were taken and what moments were captured, that weren’t captured on our cell phones. 

Overall, I’m so glad I got to spend the week with my friends, as this will probably be the last summer that we’re all together. I’m also glad I got to explore Kiawah Island, South Carolina, and I hope I’ll be able to visit it again someday soon. 

Discover: Chautauqua, New York

Every year since my boyfriend, Liam, was little, his family gets together at their lake house on Lake Chautauqua in New York. I didn’t start going along on this trip till last summer but his family has always welcomed me with open arms. Lake Chautauqua is only about two hours away from Cleveland, and neighbors Jamestown, the first settlement in the United States. It’s a very small town, but it has a lot to offer. The lake house I stay at with Liam and his family is situated only feet away from the lake itself, and offers some pretty amazing opportunities for sunset watching from the porch of the house. On nicer days, the lake is definitely the place to be, for boating and even for swimming. In my opinion, the perfect way to end a hot summer day on the lake is to go for ice cream, our favorite place there is called Boxcar Barney’s.  

On rainy days the lake is still beautiful, and the sunshine peeks out at least once. Playing board games and even a good ole’ game of euchre is an easy way to pass time while the somber weather passes, and of course, we hope for sunshine. This past week while we were there, it rained almost every single day, but it was still such an enjoyable time. Regardless of the weather, there’s always an opportunity to enjoy the lake.  

Reading is also a great way to pass time while the weather isn’t so great. This past week, I read the “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, and as an avid lover of the show, I can say that I am equally impressed with the book. I’d have my morning cup of coffee and sit on the porch overlooking the lake with Liam, while he read his book and I took some time away from my phone to enjoy the little things. Speaking of being unplugged, my goal for this vacation was to spend very little time on my phone, only really using it during the nighttime to catch up on social media. During the average week, when I’m not on vacation, I average about 7-8 hours on my phone, which I think is absolutely ridiculous. However, when I was at the lake, I cut-down my phone time to about an hour and a half. And, ever since I’ve been home, my screen time is significantly less. It’s amazing what a little vacation can do for the mind and soul.  

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something very special about Lake Chautauqua. I don’t know if it’s the scenic views, beautiful weather, or friendly people, but what I do know is that it is a place I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Discover: Fowl and Fodder in Toledo, Ohio

Growing up in a small suburb of Toledo was something that I never appreciated until I went away  for college. I always had this stereotype of Toledo in my mind that it was boring, run-down and the only thing there ever was to do with your friends that was safe was to go eat food. Don’t get me wrong, Toledo has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life [seriously], but I didn’t see the real beauty of my hometown until I had left.  

Now that it’s my first summer home from college, I’m beginning to appreciate where I live more than ever before. I’m trying new restaurants and revisiting my all-time favorites, as well as just enjoying my small town of Ottawa Hills by going on late-night car rides with my friends or boyfriend and just talking. I’ve really begun to see just how much Toledo has to offer and am so excited to be able to share just a little piece of my hometown with all of you.

Fowl and Fodder is a newer restaurant in Toledo, having two locations; one in downtown Toledo and one in Sylvania, Ohio, one town over. Fowl and Fodder prides itself on serving customers the best food possible, as most of its produce, dairy products and meat are locally sourced and organically cultivated. Fowl and Fodder also serves vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine, which is something that is often hard to come by. Most of the products that the restaurant uses to create the wonderful menu items that they offer are harvested right here in Ohio.

I frequent this restaurant with my friends and this was actually the first place I ate at on my first trip back home from college in mid-October. A Fowl and Fodder fan-favorite among my friends and I is the avocado toast and the “dirty” lemonade. Now, this isn’t your average avocado toast, or your average lemonade. The avocado toast is an avocado puree served with a squash compote and leafy greens on toasted oat bread. I choose to order my avocado toast with two sunny-side up eggs to dip them in, which adds another dimension of  flavor. To wash it all down, the “dirty” lemonade is the only option, in my opinion. The freshly-squeezed lemonade with added charcoal powder is equal parts sweet and tangy. This meal will always be a brunchtime staple for me.

Fowl and Fodder is just one piece of Toledo that I will always remember and always come home for. Toledo has more to offer than meets the eye, and if you’re ever in town, Fowl and Fodder is just one of the many places I would recommend you explore.  

Share your brunchtime favorites with us on Instagram!

Influencer Sptlight: Margot De Riemer

I’ve been watching beauty influencers on YouTube for at least 10 years. I would sit at my mom’s desk at home for hours watching Bethany Mota make DIY hair bows, Blair Fowler give a tour of her outrageous closet filled with Abercrombie graphic t-shirts, and Amanda Steele, the same age as me, giving an “everyday” makeup tutorial to her audience. I’ve continued following the beauty community, giving more attention to the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle community, because that’s what I love. I love seeing people do their makeup, show you their outfits and take you along on their day. However, the beauty community has begun to feel like a competition between beauty influencers about who has the most followers or who’s making the most money. The fame has now taken over their once creative outlets and turned it into a cycle of  never-ending brand deals, instead of what used to be influencers doing what they love for their fanbase

Recently, James Charles has been “outed” for abusing his fame, amongst other questionable actions, which garners the question, who on social media really are great role models and are in it for the right reasons? You can only tell so much from an individual’s social media presence, but I’ve always felt that I’ve had a good sense of who has good character and intentions, and who doesn’t.  With that being said, when it comes to Margot De Reimer, known as “margotlee” on YouTube, she fits my idea of an influencer with that good character and intention that we should all be looking in for who we follow.

Margot has been on Youtube for years, and with the growth of social media, she has created a rather large community on Instagram, Twitter and even VSCO, a photography app. I discovered Margot’s videos when I was preparing to leave for college, as she has several videos depicting her journey to Syracuse University, where she studies. What I find most compelling about Margot is her ability to balance “real life” such as school, friends, family and even college life with her online personality.

Margot’s YouTube content ranges from makeup tutorials, featuring brands such as Glossier, known for giving you that “no makeup” look, to vlogs, and even fitness routine videos. Before attending Syracuse University, and even after, Margot made videos for her viewers like “what you should and shouldn’t bring to college,” and even a tour of her dorm room. Margot also chronicles her involvement in her sorority, Tri Delta, in her videos, which further gives us viewers an all encompassed look at her life.  As a college student myself, I love seeing how other individuals are enjoying such a pivotal time in their lives, and how different college is for every single person.

These past few months Margot has shared her study abroad experience on her social media that showcases her journey across Europe, while still dominating the fashion game. As a college student myself, I find it inspiring to share that much of your personal life with people you may never even meet, and I believe there’s something quite vulnerable in doing so. She’s giving up so much of her privacy to let us in on the moments of her life, which people often do judge and make assumptions.  

I truly think Margot is the future of the beauty community. Her work is genuine and showcases the life of a real student who does real things and lives their life, while sharing it with thousands of followers. Even though she’s only a few years older than me, I truly look to Margot as a role model and inspiration for my own social media presence.  

Spice Up Any Outfit With These Four Current Hair Trends

Transitioning your wardrobe from winter to spring can be quite a hassle. You don’t know if you should dress for the 40 degree weather in the morning or the 70 degree sunshine-filled afternoon. Regardless of the outfit you choose to rock during this unpredictable season, hair trends seen on the runway or by your favorite social media influencers are sure to spice up any outfit. Check out our favorites below.

Hair Scarves

Hair scarves come in a variety of styles and can be worn in a multitude of ways. Personally, I love wearing a hair scarf while my hair is half-up and half-down, or even in a high ponytail. To add a little more zest to this timeless look, try some beachy waves in hair to create a casual and cute bohemian look. [Tip: Using hair scarves as belts can take a plain outfit and make it #fashun.]

Thick Headbands

Thick headbands can also give the bohemian vibe that currently graces those glossy, fashion magazine spreads. These headbands are not only cute, but also functional when wanting to keep your hair out of your face [they’re my go-to for any yoga flow]. I bought two of my favorite headbands on sale from Urban Outfitters a few months ago for under $10.

Scrunchies

Scrunchies have been a staple since the 1980s and 1990s and come in a variety of unique styles [My favorite is the velvet material]. You can usually find them fairly cheap on websites like Amazon. I love dressing-up a low bun with a fun-colored scrunchie, rocking another half-up and half-down hairdo or even wearing it on my wrist. Scrunchies can also be worn for both casual and dressed-up occasions. For example, scrunchies can be worn when going to class in an athleisure outfit or getting dressed-up for a dinner out on the town.  

Barrettes

I think we can all remember a time when our parents were getting us ready for school and clipped those dreaded barrettes into our hair. They were somewhat painful, but within the past few months, barrettes of all kinds have been prevalent in the fashion industry. From the runways to celebrities out and about and even on our favorite social media influencers. My favorite kind of barrettes are acrylic and have a very vintage vibe to them. I also LOVE barrettes that have text on them [they add a #quirky vibe to any outfit]. I love pulling back one side of my hair and placing multiple barrettes stacked on top of one another.  Butterfly clips also accompany barrettes in the revival of early 2000s hair trends. I also like taking one or two of these throwback hair accessories and slicking my hair back on one side, or even both sides.

We’re OBSESSED with these current hair trends [you can find at least one of the LVNG Limitless gals rocking one of these looks every day]. Show us how you use your hair to amp up your style and tag us on Instagram!