Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5 Inexpensive & Natural Beauty Products You Have to Try ASAP

The following post contains SHOPSTYLE affiliate links and reviews for products I have received complimentary from Influenster*. More information is located at the bottom of this post.

If I could give myself a title for my beauty habits, it would be something along the lines of "Loyal Product Buyer/User" because I have the tendency to find a product I like and never use another (even long after it probably isn't working for me anymore).

While I will likely be saying "goodbye" to my old products thanks to the new, inexpensive, and natural ones I have recently discovered, I will most certainly be that same "Loyal Product Buyer/User"... just for new brands.

After receiving my first complimentary VoxBox (thank you so much, Influenster!) not long ago, featuring Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo & Conditioner, I could not help but wonder which other fairly cheap and natural beauty products would work wonders as well.

Here are the 5 products I have since found (aside from the Aveeno moisturizer, which I have been a "Loyal Buyer/User" of for years), which I have absolutely loved and will undoubtedly stay loyal to in the foreseeable future:

1. Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo*

Before even trying the Biolage R.A.W. (Real, Authentic, Wholesome) Recover Shampoo, I fell in love with its delicious, fresh scent of yucca & goji berry. Of 70% natural origin, with no artificial colorants, silicones, sulfates, or paragons, the shampoo truly surprised me. As someone who has curly hair, I always find it tough to choose shampoo and conditioner that tames the frizz and keeps my hair shiny without having to use a million + one other products after each wash. The Biology R.A.W. Recover Shampoo + Conditioner combination managed to do both.

2. Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Recover Conditioner*

The Biolage R.A.W. Recover Conditioner had the same effect. When combined with the shampoo, I could not get enough. Even after just a few washes I have seen an incredible difference in my hair — less frizz, more shine... something I can definitely get used to. Additionally, one thing I absolutely hate when it comes to using heat on my hair is that often times the heat kills the scent of the wash. Thankfully, the smell of this shampoo + conditioner combo lasted not only after using a blowdryer and flatiron, but also after several days.

3. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub

I tend to have softer skin, but never has my skin ever felt this smooth or looked so clear. The 100% natural exfoliants in the St. Ives Apricot Scrub scrape away the dirt and dead skin, leaving my skin soft as can be. Plus, it smells heavenly.

4. St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub

Within just one use of the St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub I was able to see a difference. My nose is typically where I see blackheads on my face, so I scrubbed the green tea solution over my nose (as applying to the whole face would likely dry it out), then rinsed away the problem spots. Literally. With just one quick scrub and rinse, I could see a huge difference. AND, like the apricot scrub, it has 100% natural exfoliants.

5. Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer

While the first four products listed here are recent discoveries, the Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer has long been an absolute must for my skin. After every wash in the morning and before bed each night, I apply the cream to my entire face and neck and it leaves me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. If there is one product I could not live without, it's this one for sure.

Interested in shopping any of these products? Click the links above or scroll through the shop widget below:


As previously stated, this post contains affiliate links. While I may be compensated for any purchases made through this post, I only publish and/or endorse pieces I truly believe in and love, which is why I am thrilled to be able to share these natural beauty products with you. For more information about Sponsors, please visit the The Sprinkle Blog's Disclaimer page.

What natural beauty products do you recommend? Do you have any DIY natural beauty techniques and/or remedies I should try? Comment below with some of your favs!

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Setting Priorities and Being Open to Change

Here's the thing: no matter how "according to plan" some people's lives may seem to be going, they too had or will have to be open to change somewhere along the way (even if only for a minute).

I recently received a letter I wrote to myself at a Senior Retreat about a year ago. We were told to write to ourselves a piece outlining anything we would want to say to our future selves, which would be sent a year later.

Here is part of what I wrote in my letter:

"Hopefully, if you are reading this a year from now, you have sort of figured it out... When I consider my future, my dream is to live in New York City and be writing for a magazine (print or digital). Though this is my dream now, I know the places I go will not necessarily lead me directly there. Or, who knows, maybe I will find a different destination. But no matter where life leads me, I know I will end up where I am supposed to be."

Ah, "But no matter where life leads me, I know I will end up where I am supposed to be." My favorite line. Because it's true, I wrote down a dream that made sense to me at the time (one that has slightly changed), but I still definitely don't have it all figured out.

There are many things people do not tell you before you leave college. What they do tell you is that the priorities we are "supposed" to set and dreams we are "supposed" to chase all involve the same plan or path: graduate from high school, go to the best college possible, and get hired right after graduation.

This plan, however, is problematic. Not because it isn't a great plan to follow — I personally loved my years in school and am so grateful for every moment — but because it is not what everyone wants and for those who do want it, they are rushed to put a time frame on it.

As some of you may know, immediately after graduation I had the privilege of moving to New York City to pursue an editorial job on a dream team from which I learned more than I ever thought possible.

But after a year, the end of my fellowship came and I decided I wanted to take the summer off to relax and do some freelancing before jumping in to my next adventure.

In a previous post, I mentioned how I had made the decision to move out of NYC and back home to Connecticut to begin this new chapter of my life and, while I am excited to be taking this next step for myself, I can't help but feel a mix of emotions — very similar to the ones I felt while writing that letter to myself a little over a year ago.

Somewhere in the middle of my excitement to have my first "summer vacation" since high school and my hesitation to redirect my life, I have realized that I am ready for change. For the first time ever, I am accepting that I'm only in control of certain parts of my life and the things I am in control of are the ones I will prioritize.

For this reason, here are the priorities I will focus on... always.

1. Health
"Health is not just about what you're eating. It's also about what you're thinking and saying."

2. Relationships
"I've learned... that it's not what I have in my life, but who I have in my life that counts."

3. Writing
"No one can tell your story, so tell it yourself. No one can write your story, so write it yourself."

4. Hobbies
"Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative."

5. Career
"Passion is the difference between having a job and having a career."


Here's my question for you: have you recently made a change that you've had to be open to? What was the hardest part about it?

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Monday, May 1, 2017

The Ultimate New York City Bucket List: 26 Spring & Summer Activities in the Big Apple

I officially have just about a month left in New York City before I move back home to Connecticut, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be back and forth quite a bit for some of my favorite spring and summer pastimes.

In fact, aside from Christmastime, the warm months are the absolute best time to be out and about in New York as there is always something to do (both inside and outside) and the city is buzzing with excitement.

For that reason, I've compiled your ultimate NYC bucket list of places to go and activities to enjoy, some I have already done (and have to do again) and many that I hope to do, to make your upcoming city visits special.

Don't have a trip planned? Well, for what are you waiting?

☐ Visit the New York Botanical Gardens

☐ Ride bikes through Central Park
☐ Rent a paddleboat at Loeb Boathouse in Central Park
☐ Buy tickets to see a New York Yankees or Mets game (Yankees are better)
☐ Sip on a Loopy Pop cocktail at the Conrad Hotel's Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar
☐ Eat all you can at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn
☐ Walk the High Line
☐ Cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back (or vice versa)
☐ Go bar hopping in each of the five boroughs
☐ Shop 'til you drop at the Brooklyn Flea Market
☐ Rush a Broadway show
☐ Take a ferry to Governor's Island
☐ Picnic in Central Park (or Prospect Park, or any of the parks)
☐ Visit the Bronx, Central Park, or Prospect Park Zoo
☐ Spend the day at Coney Island
☐ Enjoy a dinner cruise out of Chelsea Piers
☐ Get moving at an outdoor fitness class
☐ Experience the joy of Wowfulls
☐ Mini-golf at the pier
Rollerblade in Central Park

Go kayaking in the Hudson River

Watch a movie outdoors
Spend the day at Rockaway Beach

Buy your produce at a local farmers market
Ride in a hot air balloon
Take in the scenery at The Met Cloisters

Have other suggestions? Comment below with your favorite warm-weather activity to do in NYC.

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