January 28, 2016

These are My (Blog) Confessions: a 200th Post Celebration

This is my 200th blog post.

I thought of a lot of different ways I could do this post. I could highlight my best blog posts of all time, I could tell you all what I've learned in my time blogging, I could look at my worst blog posts of all time, or I could write something sappy about how I'm so grateful for it all.

I decided to combine all of this by sharing some confessions, some things you probably didn't know about my blog and I. I'm also revealing some fun stuff that's coming soon, so let's read on, shall we?

A year ago, 16 people read my blog post. 
This is not an exaggeration; I checked and on January 21st, 2015 (a year before this post is being written) 16 people read it the post that went up that day. I'm not highlighting this statistic just to say that I've come a long way, but to commemorate that I'm just as happy with my blog today as I was when 16 people read it.

I'm really glad I don't fashion blog anymore
Guys, it's not that I don't have a love for fashion or a yearning to learn more about trends and the history of it all (because I do), but I'm really, really stingy with my money and I wear the same outfit basically three different ways in one week. Fashion blogging just wasn't for me, and the second I realized that, my blog and I were a lot better off.

Being a blogger is like having two Facebook accounts
Double the people getting engaged, married, or pregnant while you have your second bowl of cereal for the day and google financial terms you don't understand :)

I take all my pictures (thank you poster board and self timers)
If you don't follow me on snapchat (What?! You don't follow me? --> cristina.snaps) then you haven't seen my tutorial on how to use a white poster board to get your cute Instagram flat lays. I consider this a hobby of mine. Oh, but actually, Cam takes some of my pictures (he did a great job in this post!), so THANKS CAM!

I've been trying to start a new blog on Wordpress for about 6 months now
We are *almost* ready, ya'll. (Again, thanks to Cam because he's been a huge help.)

There are several companies that have never emailed me back
I mean how hard is it to send a "Hey no thanks you don't have 50k followers, so we don't really care"? Sheesh.

There are companies that I've never emailed back
Typically, even if I don't accept the collaboration or promotion, I will email them back and politely turn them down. However, when I get an email to represent an app that isn't even an app yet and there are numerous misspellings in the email (and the company doesn't look legit)...oops, forgot to say "no thanks"!

I've never wanted to stop blogging
There's been days where I'm frustrated with trying to fix my HTML code or I'm a bit stressed about editing a mass amount of photos, but I've always loved what I do. It's funny because it's the times when I'm super busy and have so much to do that I think "wow, this is crazy. I love it."

I don't plan to stop
I really hope one day you see wedding pictures on here and tips on decorating your very first home. I hope there are plenty of pictures of my family and all the fun things we do together. I also will be very disappointed if I don't have pictures of my very cute, very photogenic dog on here.

Some of my best friends are people I've never met
I've said it before: I have a bunch of blogger/internet friends. It's great having someone to snapchat and text daily, and it's an added bonus to be able to ask for blog help, ideas, and inspiration! I've met a couple of my blog friends in person before (take me back to Boston and who remembers the ornament exchange I hosted with Tiffani) and I look forward to hopefully meeting up with more.

I'm working towards making my blog the best it can be 
Like I said, I'm totally in love with blogging and I just want to keep going, growing and pushing myself to make this the best it can be. I'm excited to announce that I am attending Thrive Blog Conference at the end of February in the Woodlands, TX! I've also been participating in webinars and doing plenty of research on how to grow my blog.

It really helps me to hear from you guys, so let me know if there's anything you want to see on the blog! I'm currently working on my new blog, business cards, and brainstorming some ways that you all can get involved as readers. (Because I don't want you to just be a reader, but a gal pal, too!)

We also have a new, fun hashtag! On the weekends, tag your pictures with #itsawonderfulweekend to show what you're doing (or not doing...because Netflix) and let's all get to know each other by liking and commenting.

200 posts down, many more to go!



January 25, 2016

Why Your Beauty Routine Needs to Go Natural

There are so many benefits to taking the "natural" route with a lot of things in life. Water is better for you than soda, a "natural" makeup look is quicker and easier to do, and we all know that a green juice is better than a milkshake. (Though we still need milkshakes from time to time.)

Over the years, I've simplified my beauty routine and opted for more natural products to make sure that the products I'm using on my hair, skin, and body not only do their job, but do it gently and kindly. I've also found that taking a more natural approach to beauty products helps me to spend less money as some of my favorite things to use are household products or products with dual uses.

I'll stop chatting now and let you see what I'm loving as far as natural beauty goes:

Farmhouse Fresh face mask (red-amazonian clay)
...instead of expensive, processed masks
I haven't tried many face masks, but I love this one and love that it is all natural. My skin feels incredibly smooth after using it since it's a natural exfoliant. My skin is brighter, too, which leaves me feeling more confident to go sans makeup. (If you're looking for a cheaper option...this one is just $5!)

Olive oil for lash growth
...instead of expensive serum
I have a horrible nervous habit of pulling on my lashes and causing them to break off. (It's a real condition...I Googled it.) I found articles online saying that olive oil was the best relief! I keep a little vial at my desk to dab on when I find myself makeup free for a few hours.

Essential oils
....help defend against the cold and flu season and boost your mood
Cam's sweet momma got me hooked! She set me up with a diffuser and a few doTERRA oils. With essential oils, the benefits are endless. We could do a whole post on how I use them and what oils are good for what, so let me know if you'd like to see that! (Learn more about essential oils and shop doTERRA products here!)

Hot lemon water

...instead of juices or juice cleanses
Primarily, I desire for this to help with digestion and to serve as a good detox. It takes just a few minutes to whip up, and it's super refreshing. It also makes my skin bright and healthy!

Clean Pits Natural Deodorant
After hearing a bit here and there about the natural deodorant craze, I did some research for myself. While the studies about health risks (the aluminum in deodorant has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's) are not definitive, people have been switching to natural deodorants like Clean Pits.

In your under-arm area, lymph nodes lie close to the skin's surface, so I'm all for making sure what goes under there is gentle and safe. I'm not a doctor and I'm not here to say that you must switch, but  if you're looking for a deodorant that does the job, doesn't stain, and soothes razor burn, look no further.

Let me remind you, I will not bring a product onto Cristina on Campus if I don't truly love it and believe in it. While this post is in collaboration with Clean Pits, all thoughts and opinions are my own! For more info on Clean Pits visit their website and blog.

What natural products will you try this year? Have any favorites? Thanks for reading!



January 21, 2016

Dealing With Change

I dread any form of change. Chalk it up to me being very type A and prone to anxiousness, but I just can't deal. My palms sweat when the menu changes at Panera and I can't find the salad I normally go for. I cringe at the thought of a far-off plan that will sway me from my daily routine. (i.e. vacations, a summer class, a possible wisdom tooth removal.) A new semester is just..too much. Does school really have to have a fall and spring semester? Can't we just pick one and cut graduation time in half?

Haha...no, Cristina.

Change for me is the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with in life and I feel blessed to say that. I mean if change is the biggest of my problems, my life is pretty full and I am so lucky and undeserving of that.

But anyways, yeah...it's hard for me.

I think college has really helped me deal better with change because in college, things change daily. One day the weather will be freezing cold and I'll be scraping the ice off my car. Just when I think I can't take it anymore, it warms up and I don't need three jackets. One semester I have a handful of classes and the next semester I have a whole different handful.

I've also moved a lot in the past year and a half and that has helped me. I started off in one dorm, switched half way through the year, moved off campus the following year, and will move into a different place next year. I've had to learn to make one place a home for a few months and then to be ok with packing up and moving on to the next place just when I was getting comfortable.

So, I'm sensing a pattern. The thing that has helped me deal better with change is....change.

This is the time of year where we all feel a little thrown off by going back to school and/or returning to the non-holiday way of life (i.e. taxes, work, no more Netflix binges). I'll admit that this is the time of year where my anxiety is at an all time high as I visit new classes and have a ton of information thrown at me in a short period of time. I know that I'm not alone and that the majority of my blog audience is feeling the same.

So this is just one example of change. The kind where you have to get back to making your own food again (which is...well, cereal for dinner). The kind where you have to get back on a schedule where you go to bed before midnight and wake up before it's light. The kind where you have to swallow up any sadness, any sickness, and any tiredness so that you can get up and go to class, write that paper, take that test, be present at that job, and so on.

It's not super fun at all times, but you've made it through before and you can do it again.

I don't have a list of "tips" for you today when it comes to dealing with change, but I do have some reminders.

1. Take care of yourself and make time for yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep and eat well, even if you have to set alarms to remind yourself. Have Taylor Swift dance parties and have plenty of coffee dates with your friends. Buy yourself something from the Target dollar spot just for making it to class and eat lots of chocolate.

2. Surround yourself with constants. For me, it could be something really dumb like watching Gossip Girl because I've watched it so many times that I know the lines and what's going to happen. Maybe it's something deeper like prayer or expressing gratitude. Whatever your beliefs, find what centers you and what is good and familiar.

3. Remind yourself that no stressful moment is the end of the world or that one bad minute doesn't make a bad day. It's just school, it's just a test, it's just a $300 textbook (this one's tough), and you will get through it. You only have one more semester till summer or maybe just a couple more months of work until that vacation you're planning...enjoy it now and don't get too worked up.

Embrace change as it comes because it will truly help you to grow, seek opportunities that take you out of your comfort zone, and have a wonderful rest of the week!



January 18, 2016

This is How to Become a Morning Person

One of my guilty pleasures is reading posts and articles about how to be more productive. (Nerdy.) I also enjoy reading up on the morning routines of successful business people. (Nerdy x2.)

I've always been a morning person, but in high school I used to use the time to apply makeup and obsess over my hair while watching E News. Now that I'm (eek) 20 years old, I want to start being more efficient.

So, I'm passing on what knowledge I've gathered and letting you know how it worked for me. I always got up between 6 and 6:30 for school last semester, but I decided to carry that routine to my winter break. (I know...I'm insane!) School starts Tuesday for me, so now, hopefully I'll be perfectly used to getting up early.

So, let's start by taking a look at my morning routine. And for arguments sake, let's say it's a Monday on break and I have errands to run.

And if it's a school morning....

So how can you get up early and be productive?

Go to bed on time and minimize distractions
I read that to really make yourself tired, you should get off your phone at least an hour before bedtime. Typically, I'll read or watch HGTV (heehee, addicted) and then I'll flip on my new essential oils diffuser (similar: here) and call it a night.

The "you have 5 more minutes alarm"

I've read the articles that say it's best to wake up on the first alarm, but that just doesn't work for me. I set an alarm five minutes before I really need to get up, so I can start telling myself it's time to get moving. I'll get up at that point and flick on the light, so my eyes can adjust and I'll throw off the covers to get used to the freezing morning!

Water first, coffee second

Water wakes you up more than caffeine does because it starts to fuel your body and recover you from your dehydrated state. My room is on the second level in my house at school, so I keep a cup up there to remind me to get water first before anything else.

Tackle your biggest to-do's first

I tend to schedule all appointments in the morning already because traffic is better. As far as large tasks for the day go (i.e. turning in blog pitches, post deadlines, errands that require me to leave the house), tackling those first will always help you to be more productive. By the afternoon, all that's left to get done is the little things!

For school, I schedule my classes in the morning, so that by lunch I can start studying and getting assignments done.

Do something to wake your mind up
I personally love to workout! My new years resolution was to get more into running, so lately I've been getting in a couple miles to start my day.

I remember my Grandpa would always do crossword puzzles while he had his coffee. His mind was at work, but at the same time he was relaxing and easing into the day. Maybe try reading TheSkimm or doing some mindfulness coloring.

Don't waste time on your phone

My productivity is at the very lowest if I'm on my phone a lot first thing in the morning. I do give myself a chance to check Twitter and Instagram because I go to sleep so early that I miss so much, haha. I'll keep an eye on the clock and make sure I don't spend more than a few minutes or else it's bad news bears.

Have an accountability partner
A lot of people value having an accountability partner when it comes to trying to eat healthy or workout, but I think it also proves beneficial to have one for waking up early. Grab a friend who wants to meet up before classes and get coffee or talk your sister into getting up a bit earlier with you to walk the dog.

Cam is also a pretty early riser and we both like to get things done at the beginning of the day, so we love to run morning errands together or have breakfast dates.

Well, ya'll...good luck if you want to try to get up earlier! If you're feeling lonely in the wee hours of the morning, find me on Twitter or snapchat me (cristina.snaps) because Lord knows I'm definitely up and working to seize the day!



January 14, 2016

5 Shopping Hacks to Help Your Style

Oh my gosh is this a fashion post?! I think it is! 

I asked ya'll on Twitter you wanted to see in 2016 and aside from the occasional beauty post,you wanted some more fashion/outfit related posts. I'm happy to deliver!

Another resolution I've heard for 2016 is to improve personal style. For me, I love to do this by investing in staple pieces and really developing a style "palette" to stick to. Shopping for some updates to your closet can be overwhelming and a bit stressful, but I have some tips for you today that are sure to help you put your best foot forward in terms of your fashion!

Before shopping, use Pinterest as a research tool
I like to spend some time on Pinterest before I head out to the mall to give me some inspiration for what I'm looking for. If I recently got a new skirt in the mail that I need something to go with, I'll look up different ways to style it and save the pictures of the ones I like best to my phone. 

Set up a special savings account for clothing
I know it seems a little silly, but this trick really works. Let's say you set aside 15 dollars a month. In 3 months, you could buy a new pair of pumps for your sorority formal or a couple new tops for the next season. If the biggest thing holding you back from investing in a couple staples is inadequate funding, budget to be able to shop! 

Thanks to Phil for the Kate Spade gift card! I'm loving my new wallet. 

Keep a "Fashion directory"
Using a notebook or binder and pick your top 5 favorite places to shop. In your directory, write down when each store has their major sales such as a semi annual sale or an anniversary sale. You can even transfer this information to your phone calendar, so that you shop your favorite items when they are on sale and get the most of your money. Your closet will thank you!

You don't always need to get something new
Grow out of something? Get it tailored for a just a few dollars. Oil stains on your favorite handbag? Baby powder will take them right out. Get the shine back in your patent shoes with Windex. 

Get something that is made perfect for you
With the online shopping craze, we often find ourselves purchasing something from the comfort of our own homes, but being disappointed when it arrives and doesn't fit quite like we wanted it to. 

I have to gush for a second about eShakti. First off, the clothes on their site are cute and classic. But not only that, their customizable. 

I picked out a great, feminine skirt that I thought would be perfect for layering in the cold or for an afternoon meeting. I'm calling it my Blair Waldorf skirt, because well...you get the picture. I was able to make it my own by not only getting to pick my size, but how I wanted the length of the skirt to be, whether I wanted pockets or not, and how I wanted the waistband to look.

The options are endless, so 10/10 recommend if you need a Blair Waldorf outfit in your closet, too. 

This post was made possible by the sweet people at eShakti. All thoughts and opinions are my own!



January 11, 2016

What My Teenage Years Taught Me

Today I'm feeling a little nostalgic. My teen years were a whirlwind of dance performances, hair straightening, love, and loss. I decided that today would be a perfect day to round up the lessons I learned from the years that made me who I am today.

Best friends might not be forever, but that's ok

People aren't just put in your life for a reason, but also sometimes for a season. The teen years are a prime time for relationships to come and go, and it's best not to fret over it too much. I learned a lot from the people that were (and are) my friends from my teenage years.

Follow your passions, even if they are different from others
In middle school, my passion was for choir even though that wasn't what a lot of my friends were doing. It sounds silly, but doing my own thing then helped me to be more comfortable with following my passions in the future. Plus, I can sing all four harmonies for 'Carol of the Bells' so like...mess with me.

Boys aren't always like the boys in the Taylor Swift songs
And that's because they're boys. And you're 13. So chill.

A purple smokey eye is not for you
'nuff said.

When it feels like "the world is ending", it probably isn't
I stressed and cried over a lot of things in my teens. My big economics project, my dance auditions, fights with friends....and here I am today, still standing and living to tell the tale. In some of those moments when my stress level was at a 10 and I had the zits to prove it, I felt like nothing would ever get better. I have to remind myself this often nowadays - everything will be fine. The world is not ending. This just sucks. I will get through it.

I'm super excited for this next chapter of my life! I'm so glad I have all of you to share it with.
Thanks for celebrating with me!



January 7, 2016

If Your New Year's Resolution is to "Eat Healthier"...

I feel you. This is one of those goals we all intend to conquer, but have a hard time sticking to, and I finally realized why. We are doing it all wrong. We are going cold turkey and cutting off all food that is "bad" only to go a few days and then realize we really can't live without fries.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Eating healthier has always been on my list of resolutions (whether I've written it down or not) and last year, I finally was able to stick to it by making a few changes. Like I've said before, I eat tacos and chocolate and fries, but I've found that by altering your diet a bit for the better, you can create healthy habits and not feel as bad when you want to go out to Whataburger with your friends.

You don't need dairy
Limiting (or cutting out completely) dairy in as many ways as you can will really be beneficial to you. There's the age old argument that dairy isn't meant for our bodies, but to fatten up little calves that take in their mother's milk. Whatever you believe, I can honestly say I've seen real results now that I turn down ice cream, cheesy foods, and butter. You just eat better when you do!

I replace the milk in my coffee or in recipes with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You can find it in the milk section of any commercial grocer.

Don't buy junk food
Don't buy it. Don't put it in your grocery cart. Don't order it off Postmates. Save the candy for the movies and save chocolate cake for nights out on the town.

Meal prep
I don't mean this in the hardcore sense. For example, I like to buy a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and Cam and I will grill them all together and then have some for a week and a half. Now whenever I'm home and I want a healthy meal, I just have to warm it up!

The fewer the ingredients the better
Get comfortable reading the food labels. Don't focus on how something may only be a hundred calories because that still doesn't mean the nutritional value is any good. I always check to see the ingredients. If you see natural ingredients and/or very few ingredients, it's probably a lot better for you than cookies.

My favorite "few ingredient" healthy snacks are Kind Bars, almond butter, and brussels sprouts in balsamic dressing!

More water, less "other stuff"
I had a rule for myself when I was first trying to eat healthier that I would only have one non-water drink a day. I typically have a coffee or a green tea in the morning and then follow it with a whole lot of water. I also recommend trying to break your Diet Coke addiction if you had one like I did. I get one once in a while now as a treat, but I know that I'm better off with a water or a green tea. (Just look up all the benefits and you'll be hooked! Clear skin? Please and thank you.)

Spot the healthy stops
I have a note on my phone with all the restaurants that have something healthy on the menu that I like to get. That way, when deciding where to go, I can choose to go somewhere that I know will have healthy options.

Say "no thanks" to red meat
If you try to limit (or again, completely cut out) red meat, you'll be doing yourself a favor. You can google all the benefits and what not (as well as the criticism), but ultimately, it keeps you from eating hamburgers and hotdogs. So now, when you go out or grocery shop, you'll automatically have to reach for more lean and clean meats.

Set monthly goals
New Year's resolutions are hard - try biting off smaller pieces. Maybe give yourself two or three monthly goals in terms of eating healthy. For example, January could be the month you do no chocolate and candy and then February you could give up soda and vow to do yoga twice a week. You'll find this an easier more effective method to reaching your goals!

Like I said before, you can do anything you put your mind to this year and always! So if you want to eat healthier, I think these tips will have you on your way! (And if you ever need a date to go get a green juice, you know who to call.)



P.S. Scroll down to enter the giveaway on my last post! Winner announced at 7pm on 1/9! 

January 4, 2016

Drugstore Makeup Guru + GIVEAWAY

I've always been a drugstore makeup junkie. As a "tween" I had a sparkly, purple travel kit that housed a plethora of lipsticks and false lashes for my dance performances. Almay and Revlon were household names and my room always smelled of powder puff. 

Now that I'm "retired" from the stage life (or what I had of one), my makeup routine is sweet and simple, but I think all my time at Walgreens getting just the right shade of lipsticks and liners has helped me to uncover the best drugstore makeup products.

Now they are some cases where you should bite the bullet and spend a little more at Sephora. I once spent close to $30 on a tiny tube of smashbox concealer for freshman homecoming and practically had a wake for the darn thing when I finished it up. So splurge here and there, it won't kill you.

However - the best products for more bang for your buck? I've got them for you today. And a fun giveaway, so don't click out just yet. :) 

Covergirl "Flamed Out" Mascara 
I will admit, I originally purchased this mascara because it was on sale at Walmart for under $5. But holy smokes, is it good. If you want a cheaper version of a Benefit mascara, this is it. The unique design of the brush really makes it look like you've got falsies on. (Have I whined on here yet about how bad I want lash extensions??? Ugh.)

Revlon Blush in "Mauvelous" 
I have repurchased this blush only about 15 times now. No really - it was mandatory for my 6th grade competition dance to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and I haven't dared try another shade or brand since. If it ain't broke don't fix it right?

St Ive's Apricot Scrub
So I want to take even better care of my skin this year, and Cosmo and Glamour say I need an exfoiliator. However, the $40 one they suggested is just a little out of my price range. I got this St. Ives scrub just over two weeks ago and I swear I'm a new person with it. I use it about twice a week as C & G suggested. 

Almay Clear Complexion concealer
It's the only concealer I've ever used. (Minus my brief love affair with smashbox circa 2010.) Now, if it's my wedding day or I'm getting my professional photos taken for my first novel, I will definitely reach for smashbox or maybe even Chanel, but for now - Almay will do. (Go a shade lighter than you think!)

Baby Lips by Maybelline
I swear by this stuff. It's perfect because it's moisturizing and does all the great stuff that chapstick does, but it's tinted, so no one knows it's not actually an expensive lip color. 

Ok congrats you've made it to the giveaway!

So I've gushed enough about these products to have hopefully convinced you to give them a place on your grocery list, but just for fun, I'm giving away a St. Ives scrub, a Flamed Out mascara, and a baby lips lip balm!

Enter below - winner announced on my Instagram (@cristina96x) at 7pm on Saturday 1/9.
a Rafflecopter giveaway