Hydrating Through Winter With Moroccan Magic

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you guys in on my new favorite hydrating lip balms by the brand Moroccan Magic. Moroccan Magic lip balms are USDA certified organic and cruelty free, checking two things off my list of desirable brand qualities.

They are super hydrating for your lips in the dry winter months. I have dry skin year round and while winter is magical time, it isn’t necessarily the easiest for beauty! I keep these in my purse or jacket pocket for work or class, and they give a moisturizing coat to my existing lip color. A tip: lip stains work really well with these balms, because they won’t smear the product.

They come in 5 scents, and the ones I’m featuring in this post is “Rose.” The others include:

♥ Lemon Thyme
♥ Coconut Almond
♥ Peppermint Eucalyptus
♥ Lavender Vanilla

Having argan oil be the main base ingredient for these balms is great, because argan oil is known worldwide for being highly conditioning, not to mention it has anti-aging properties.

I love the scents and these are perfect for keeping my lips resilient this season! You can pick them up at your local CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. I hope you love them as much as I do! Drop me a comment about your own review. Have a great week!

-Kelly

xx

Five Ideas to Consider Before Starting a Blog

Hi everyone,

This week I’m sharing my tips and idea’s for how to start a blog. A beginner’s guide, if you will. I’ve had my blog for about a year and a half, and I have to say, it’s my favorite activity. I love to write and share info and education on topics I love. If you’re wanting to do the same, then read on! ❤

1 . There are a few more technical steps to setting up your blog, but the one decision I’ll give my input on is the platform. I prefer WordPress and have been loving it since I started. There are approximately 82 million WordPress users, so your engagement possibilities are great here. I find the platform user friendly and straightforward for uploading content and images.

If you’re unsure about which platform you want to use, research always helps. What kind of content will you be uploading? For instance, an image dominated blog may apt to go for a platform like Squarespace, for that modern clean look. I, however, love to include a bunch of text in my blog pieces, and compliment it with photography.

WordPress allows me to post aesthetic posts with my writing and one of my new found loves, photography:

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2 . Consider investment. If you aren’t willing to invest some money into your platform, it’s better to know at the beginning stage. A few investments instantly make your blog more professional. The two that I invested in were a domain and a template.

A personalized domain is much more personal to you, as opposed to having the platform name be in the domain. And people respect and appreciate a blog that has gone the extra mile.

WordPress, for instance, offers a variety of templates free of charge, however, my advice would be to look through the free ones and paid ones without focusing on the money factor. Which template stands out to you? Which properly displays the type of content you’ll be posting? After that, it’s up to you. You could always go with a free template to start out and switch later.

3. Think about cross-promotion. By that I mean promoting your blog content on multiple social media platforms to gain more exposure. Currently, my top priority of cross-promotion is Instagram. I feel like I can really show my photography on there and draw my followers to my blog site. I always put my recent blog post in my Instagram bio for easy access.

4. Time commitment/management. Posting regularly on a blog does take time. I aim to post once a week, mostly on a Wednesday or a Thursday according to my posting statistics. Some bloggers aim to post twice a week, and some manage every two weeks. The key is finding what schedule works for you, and sticking to it.

If you’re adding a blog to a current full schedule, blocking out time in your week to write posts and take photos is essential. Sometimes I’ll arrange 5 flatlays in the same sitting and save them so I have them for upcoming posts on Instagram and on my blog. It helps to think ahead! Some examples of flatlays I plan out (when the winter light allows):

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5. Lastly and most importantly, you need a niche. When trying to figure out what your blog will be about, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I know? (You don’t need to be an “expert”, but go for your strengths)
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What content would I like to read?

Your niche should be something that flows more naturally. If you have always loved keeping up with the latest fashion trends, fashion blogging would be great for you. If you just love photography and taking photos and want to show them to an audience, a photography blog would be great. If you’re passionate about health and wellness, design a blog that covers those topics. Go for your strengths and write what you know.

I consider this point the most important because it ensures authenticity in your writing. I myself strayed from my passions for a few months posting more style and fashion, and my excitement for it faded. Writing about health and wellness and fitness are always on my mind and in my lifestyle, so I found my way back to what I consider to be my strengths.

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Be yourself. Let it come through your blog and through your writing. You’ll be amazed at the feeling of people responding positively to it.

I hope this guide was helpful! For any further inquiries about starting a blog, feel free to drop a comment below or email me. x

-Kelly

 

 

 

Clear Skin Diet: My Personal Tips

Hi loves,

If it is not already clear from my previous posts, I care a lot about the health and clarity of my skin. Unfortunately, it is often portrayed that the one and only saving grace to clear skin is a prescription, or using products with intense ingredients. I personally have not experienced either of these options to be a saving grace. And I’m going to share why I’ve changed my mind about what it takes to achieve clear skin.

Often times, prescriptions are antibiotics. Your body will progress to adapt to this antibiotic, and it will stop working if you try to continue usage for long-term. Essentially, prescriptions are short-term solutions. Not that these medications don’t help severe cases of acne, however, if you’re constantly getting more mild forms of blemishes, you should look to other reasoning.

Drink tons of water. Carry a water bottle around with you to hold yourself accountable.

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Your diet is huge for your skin. Have you ever heard “you are what you eat”? It doesn’t just apply to your figure. The food you consume can most definitely alter your skin negatively, just as much as it can improve it.

A list I normally follow for my skin:

➳ Limit refined sugars, which are essentially derived from sugar cane. Refined sugar is present in soft drinks, fruit juices, and candies and sweets. They are used to sweeten food, and you do not gain any benefit from the addition. Speaking of soft drinks, they are high in fructose corn syrup, which is a very common aggressor to insulin spikes, in turn causing a stage of inflammation in the body. Due to this inflammation, enzymes actually break down collagen and elastin, causing premature wrinkles and loose skin.

➳ Ease up on the dairy. The effect of dairy on someone’s skin varies quite a lot, and studies have been all over the board on if dairy causes acne. Given that I would consider myself somewhat resistant to dairy to begin with, I take it out of everything I eat that can have a dairy substitute.

♥ Take your coffee with a non-dairy milk (soy, almond, hemp, coconut)

♥ Don’t overdo it with cheese, and even consider replacing the cheese with a spice or other addition.

♥  Re-consider whey based protein substances. In other words, you can get vegan protein powder and bars. Whey protein is a milk protein, and even dermatologists are catching on to tell athletes to consider non-dairy vegan protein powders.

➳ Fast food will show in your pores. Your pores will thank you if you eat cleaner, and reduce your fast food intake. To put it in perspective, I might have a batch of fries with a meal every two weeks, or have white bread in a sandwich once in a while. Pizza will occasionally happen. But I don’t frequently eat these things, because they are not going to aid you in the path to clear skin. Besides fast food being highly caloric and full of processed unnatural ingredients, they are also packed with high amounts of sodium and sugar, again spiking insulin levels and clogging pores.

Here’s a pic of super clean, whole food at a market in London:

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➳ Eat like you carefully choose skincare. I think of the ingredients of my food and how it will impact my skin. Salmon and avocados are great Omega 3-s, for instance, and the more you  look at food as a reflection of your skin, the better your skin will look. I promise! Here’s a pic of one of my favorite things to make: a salmon protein bowl.

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Ingredients:

1 piece of salmon filet

Handful of kale (or more)

1/2 an avocado

Carrots and mushrooms

Yumm sauce (from Café Yumm)

Salt and garlic

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Just like when you’re training to be fitter, you can definitely make exceptions sometimes and splurge to eat something that isn’t the best for your skin. The key is not to make it a habit! On that topic…

Alcohol. Do not underestimate the negative effects of alcohol on your skin. It comes out through your pores! If you drink on a regular basis, I would be very surprised if your skin remained poreless and plump. In general, alcohol dehydrates you, and by extension your skin. Dehydration causes premature wrinkles and reduces the elastin in your skin layer. It’s tough to maintain your skin’s hormone levels as well because alcohol will change them.

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However, the link of an unhealthy complexion and alcohol depends on the frequency of alcohol consumption. If it’s less frequent and you drink more water to compensate, you should be totally fine. When you do drink:

Reach for clear liquors, not dark. Dark liquors contain congeners that are from extra fermentation. Congeners will cause premature aging in the skin if frequently consumed.

Another fact about alcohol’s negative effects is the sugar content. The excess sugar in cocktails and other mixed drinks will spike your insulin levels and cause systemic inflammation, worsening your complexion and putting you at risk of premature wrinkles. Alcohol in general is better to avoid completely for better skin health, however, the above tips will be exponentially helpful to reducing effects on your skin.

There are no negatives of making your diet cleaner, and your skin will only thank you. This way you can keep your skin healthy from the inside out, not rely on products and medication to do the work.

I hope this information helped you towards a clear skin diet of your own, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below or email me. xx

-Kelly

 

Rose Vegan Skincare Essentials: Velvet Report

Hi everyone,

I had the chance to attend the vegan blogger brunch and the product launch of Velvet Report, hosted by the creator, Lindsey Arnold. The brunch was hosted at Bar Melusine, located in Capitol Hill! If you love bright aesthetic and awesome vegan food, definitely check them out.

Lindsey was so refreshing to listen to about her mission to obtain a 100% vegan line, in partnership with Herbivore Botanicals, Kani Botanicals, and Formulary 55. The goodie bags for the brunch were Lindsay’s Rose Vegan Beauty Set, complete with her own Micellar Water. Safe to say I adore this set. Who doesn’t love clean beauty, that is cruelty free and is rose scented?

I’ll touch upon each product included in the set, the first being her micellar water.

Micellar water is the beauty trend in France, where women there live by using micelles in their skincare routine for cleansing. So many women there just use micellar water and not a cleanser!

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My personal routine is a double cleanse, starting with the micellar water and then with a cleanser for a deeper clean. Velvet Report’s micellar water, after a week of use, is now my go-to. I’ve been using the Garnier’s version for years now with relatively good results, however,  I can already tell this formula is better for my sensitive skin. There are 8 ingredients on the bottle, in fact. Simple and refreshing.

The next is the Herbivore Botanicals Rose Lip Conditioner. Small and quaint, but just a tiny bit will give your lips and non greasy, effective layer of moisture. I recently find myself best friends with aquaphor as my lips adjust to the colder weather, and this little beauty really helps my lips from cracking. Herbivore not only has a super creative name and product aesthetic, they also make a great face mist.

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Kani Botanical’s Hibiscus and Rose Toner is also in the set, and it reminds me of Herbivore’s facial mist with the rose scent. However, this one from Kani Botanical’s doesn’t have the coconut water emphasis. It’s so light and refreshing, and the small 2 oz bottle is even travel size! You could slip it in your purse for a long work day. Face mists and spray toners make for great midday pick-me-ups, and this bottle is also 100% recyclable.

The last product in the set is the Formulary 55 rosehip and clay facial mask. To start, the packaging is so unique with the fact that the mask is in powder form. You can get two uses out the mask for an $8.00 value, according to the package. I personally feel that you can get four uses out of it, given how easily the mask spreads when mixed with water.

This adorable rose scented set comes with the Velvet Report book box, which is a great personal touch from Lindsey. I have a discount code (VELVET10) to get 10% off for those that are interested. Her website: velvetreport.com

I hope you all enjoyed this skincare chat! Happy Monday.

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion For Conservation’s Behind the Scenes: The London Edition

London was a whirlwind of fashion. The outfit changes, hair and makeup, the attention to detail. It was all build up to the Elephantasia line walking down the runway at the Fashion Scout venue. An ecofashion line within an industry that is primarily driven by money, Elephantasia represents a brighter future for the relationship between fashion and conservation. And the FFC team was in London for that representation.

In addition to the actual show day, the FFC team went to other venues, some with fresher jet lag than others. We witnessed the unique work of other designers with truly original vision.

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The FFC team was still arriving in groups on various flights. The team that had arrived in London thus far made a cheers to the months of coordinating and planning and social media preparation prior to this trip.

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Pictured: Ava Holmes (Executive Producer), Laura Choi (Campaign Director), Ronee Collins (Special Events Producer), Jason Pillay (Stylist), Kelly Zwicker (Lead Blogger), Samantha Zwicker (Sustainability Director)

We have such a diverse team of creative individuals, from different cities and backgrounds. We all have our individual creative strengths. Coming together in London was a special treat for us to celebrate what FFC has accomplished so far.

The day of the show was, of course, ten million things happening at once. It was a rush. As FFC’s blogger I captured the moments going up to the show, and the Fashion Scout venue was lovely.

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We started the show with a musical performance by guest musician Anthar Kharana, setting a specific mood for the audience.

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Pictured: Anthar Kharana

As for the show’s runway pictures, a full recap of the entire line can be found on the Fashion For Conservation blog, however, here are some of my snapshots captured at the venue.

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Pictured: Nazy Alvarez (Creative Director), Ava Holmes (Executive Producer), Anthar Kharana (Guest Musician), Samantha Zwicker (Sustainability Director)

London Fashion Week was a great experience for the FFC team, and it is one of the many events we will promote not just fashion, but conservation as well, and it’s future in this amazing industry.

I hope you all enjoyed this London Fashion Week BTS post! Have a productive and creative week. xx

-Kelly

Flying Abroad Essentials/ London Day 1

Hi everyone,

I am so excited to write that I have arrived in London! I am here to join the Fashion for Conservation team for London Fashion Week, and explore what the iconic city has to offer in between LFW events.

I’ve never been to Europe, so this two week trip is so exciting. I plan to write multiple blog posts on my experiences, where to eat and explore, and even instagrammable photography spots in the city.

Firstly, I wanted to give my advice on how best to take care of yourself on a long flight, traveling abroad. None of us like to walk off the plane feeling like we’ve aged 5 years in appearance, and traveling can be both stressful and wearing on the body and mind!

So I’ve put together what I found to be essentials for an almost 9 hour flight to London. I hope you all enjoy these tips and apply them next time you have a trip planned yourself. Also see my London Day 1 details. xx

  1. Hydrate

I can’t say this enough, even as someone that needs to up her game on daily water intake, hydrating is so crucial when you are both on a plane, and prior to your trip.

Start drinking lots of water two days before your flight. Carry a reusable water with you to the gym, to your work, everywhere. In general, if you physically have a water bottle with you, you are more apt to keeping drinking water.

Limit the use of coffee on the day you fly.

2. Moisturize 

I will never cave into the talk that bringing moisturizer and skincare on the plane is “extra.” I will always be that girl. Specifically, I brought three skincare items on the plane, which I reapplied three times. As excessive as it sounds, you’re saving your skin from being super tight and distressed looking by hydrating it in a moisture stripping environment.

The items I brought:

❤ Mario Badescu cucumber and green tea face mist

❤ First Aid Beauty 5 in one face cream (this doubles as a sunscreen, which you do need on a plane)

❤ Juice Beauty Antioxidant Moisturizer (this is a new addition to my skincare regimen, and I adore this product. Antioxidants are exceptional at aiding dehydrated skin)

Ladies: Do not wear foundation on the plane. It will just sink into your skin and prevent your skincare from doing its work, and if you really think about it, who do you need to impress on the plane? I dab on a bit of concealer on some redness and call it a day.

3. Have a designated place for your passport, boarding pass etc

I don’t personally like to have everything loose in a purse or bag, and that’s why I’ve used my expandable wallet ever since I purchased it in Melbourne at a lovely store called Typo. I can fit money (both American and whatever currency I need), boarding pass, passport, and anything else I want to have at hand. I carry this through security and customs, so I don’t have to fumble through anything last minute.

I would highly recommend purchasing one of these for peace of mind. Staying organized, especially with items as precious as a passport, is key to reducing possible stress while traveling.

4. Plane food is not your only option. 

Unfortunately, airports overprice their food items, knowing you can’t bring food easily through security and customs. However, planning ahead and grabbing healthy snacks and meals is totally possible. My sister and I purchased a vegetable plate, a hummus pack, as well as tuna sandwiches for some added protein.

Since you are sitting for so long on the plane, eating plane food or fast food makes you more sluggish. Trail mix is another great option for protein and a healthy way to fill you up.

5. Wear a comfortable outfit while flying. 

Props to the women who wear heels on flights or those who wear tight flattering jeans, however not all of us are willing to go that extra mile. Being uncomfortable on a flight is adding to the stress of traveling. If you’re more comfortable in yoga pants or sweatpants, wear that.

6. Bring a few freshening products. 

Floss, gum, deodorant, hygiene wipes…. these may sound like a TMI, but it’s always a relief to be as clean as possible when going through the sluggish feeling of plane travel.

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LONDON/DAY 1

So we flew into Gatwick Airport, and we first noticed the lush green rolling hills as before we touched down. Finding local transport was a bit of a scuffle, but we managed to get tickets and find the train station to our stop near the flat we’re staying in! Success.

A tip about the trains here: do not wait too long to press the button to open the side doors. If you wait until the button is no longer lit up, the train will skip the stop. We found out the hard way.

I’m going to be honest, the jet lag was difficult. It was rough when my body was totally down for the count and my eyes kept closing when we were trying to adjust to the schedule! The key is not to go to bed beyond a short nap. I’m going to be real here, I fell asleep in the spa we decided go to to detox our skin from the dehydrating effects of the plane. And a deep tissue massage and a steam room was just what a trip to London should start with. Coffee helped a bit, for about an hour or so!

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We even stopped at a late night market for some breakfast essentials. I of course insisted on almond milk.

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We came back to the flat of a friend’s, and you better believe it, we had a cuppa tea before bed. English style with Tetley’s. That’s where I leave you now, refusing to unpack my suitcase until morning.

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I hope you all have a lovely week, and stay tuned for my updates on my London adventures! There will be plenty. xx

-Kelly

 

 

Surrounding Yourself with Plants for your Health and Happiness

Hi loves,

This is a plant dedication post. Because plants are essential, not to mention they have 10/10 aesthetic.

As the air gets progressively more polluted, you know what saves the day for your oxygen and respiratory health? Plants. They may as well be the superpower of global warming. The earth is heating up and there are more cars made every day, and more chemicals are released into the air and water. No, this isn’t a negative post. Read on.

I love plants. When I walk into a nursery and there are designated rooms and sections for various plants, my heart is warm. No joke. I’m growing my plant collection and there are so many benefits of owning plants in your home.

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Pictured above is me finding the adorable cafe in Sky Nursery and explaining to the barista what it’s like shooting for my blog when random people are staring at me like I’m not wearing pants. She found it all pretty entertaining. Back to the plant admirations..

Plants are the cleaners of the air we breathe. They absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale and replace that carbon dioxide with fresh oxygen. There is a reason why people feel they can breathe again when they go into nature after living in the bustling city. There aren’t as many plants and trees in a city. In fact, cities like New York, the city of concrete, are known to be extra unhealthy for your lungs and skin because there is no plant life around you. Your skin is just taking in all of the free radicals in the air.

In addition, research studies have revealed that indoor air can be up to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. There is quite an accumulation of dust and bacteria, even mold, that can occur in your household. Homes have a lot of plastic from plastic bags and containers, trash, cleaning supplies, detergents… all items that can cause allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin or have had history of contact dermatitis, you might want to consider switching to healthier “greener” household products and adding plants to reduce your indoor air pollution.

If you want me to get all historical on you, the early Greeks and Romans started the trend of bringing plants inside, and they were onto something. The victorians also favored potted plants. A University of Michigan study even noted that being in the presence of plants can boost your memory retention up to twenty percent. I do not have the direct link to this resource, that is completely off of memory.

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I really got into my plant collection due to receiving them as gifts. Plants make amazing gifts, simple yet thoughtful, and they have a higher life expectancy than flowers. Flowers are a nice thought, but they wilt in that vase in your kitchen whereas plants grow and expand.

On another note: if you are trying to train yourself to get a pet, get a plant first. Pay attention to its health. If you leave a plant in a dark corner, that’s a red flag. Plants kind of need the photo in photosynthesis.

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Plants have amazing healing properties. Instead of buying aloe vera gel, why not have the gel from the real source? I now have my own aloe plant and I use the gel for sunburns and scratches. Not to mention it will continue to grow and the gel will be 100% natural and directly plant derived, instead of getting it from a plastic tube in the supermarket.

Another reason I have personally become so fond of plants is my recent switch to plant-based makeup and skincare. The result? Absolute bliss. My skin can tell the difference. No extra chemicals, no fake ingredients, just the good stuff.

I fully plan to continue this plant loving series with details of my new “green” makeup and skincare routines, so stay tuned for those! I hope you enjoyed these pictures in the nursery and my reasoning to start becoming a plant mom. xx

My outfit in this photo set is all from Athleta, paired with my Adidas Originals Superstars.

My Instagram blog page is @k_stateofmind and my photography page is @kellyzphoto.

-Kelly