How Nicole Does Things

Spring Beauty Must-Haves

Warmer temperatures means a change in my beauty must-haves. Really anything that keeps me from melting is entirely welcome. A must have in my book is anything that enables survival but keeps me feeling confident.

  • Blush (NARS ‘Sex Appeal’) – This soft peach blush is a change from the rosy pink I usually use because it is much softer and subdued.
  • Sea Salt Spray (Bumble and Bumble) – This is my go-to sea salt spray, but I use it minimally during the warmer months. It can be incredibly drying and lead to a frizzy look when used too much. But when used every once in a while it gives a really great beach fresh texture.
  • Sunscreen (Aveeno) – duh.
  • Bronzer (Hourglass Ambient Bronzer) – The perfect sun-kissed look with a radiant finish and minimal effort. Just for those days where I need a little dimension without baking in the sun (never advised).
  • Nail Color (Essie ‘Excuse Me, Sur’) – This is my favorite nail color from Essie’s spring collection inspired by a California road trip. It’s a peachy pink that fits really well with my tan.
  • Waterproof Mascara (Better Than Sex) – Because no one likes having mascara run down their face when sweating or crying. Full disclosure it takes quite a bit of remover to get off depending on how many coats are applied.
  • Hair Mask (Neutrogena Recovery Mask) – I use this once a week to restore the health of my hair. Within the span of a shower it can minimize the product and heat damage and leave my hair looking healthy (and soft).
  • Self Tanner (Nivea Sun Kissed Radiance lotion) – I am very wary of self tanner and I prefer to use Nivea’s gradual lotion. It adds a nice even color over time and Nivea makes the best lotions for my skin so double whammy.

What I Always Buy At the Grocery Store

Sharing what I buy at the grocery store feels a little strange, but I try to curate this blog as more of a magazine. There are tons of articles and pieces from celebrity nutritionists and dietitians sharing what they make sure they feed their famous clients. But alas I’m a normal person so what does anyone really care about what I purchase on a daily basis?

Well the truth is, I eat like a bird. I eat tiny amounts all day long rather than set meals. Yeah, it’s a little weird for someone who loves to cook like I do but it’s what works best for me. Plus as an Italian my family values meals together so quite often that is the best meal I eat, but I do cook sometimes.

My approach to the grocery is simple: stay on the perimeter. The perimeter of most groceries contain the freshest of foods and usually the healthiest, but it really depends on the layout of the store. I know my most visited store has completely tried to undo this concept by moving things all over the place. When this happens avoid the middle rows of product. It’s where the most marketed products end up and where we make the quick decisions based on identifiable brand name rather than other factors.

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My Weekday Morning Routine

I have a little nerdy interest in the morning routines of successful people. There’s even an entire website dedicated to sharing the morning routines of successful people in all areas of life and different career fields. It’s interesting to me the things successful people do whether they are or are not morning people. I am a morning person. I love getting everything out-of-the-way and I make better decisions. It’s a fact morning people make better decisions in the morning rather than the afternoon or early evening. This is likely why going shopping at night is my absolute downfall.

That said, I am a normal every day person. I’m not running my own business (well not really) nor am I some executive or lifestyle expert. I am a student (a bit older than most I’ll admit) and I freelance off and on so I work from home a lot. I’ve carefully crafted a weekday morning routine that gets the most out of my day and allows me to not feel guilty if I can sneak in a midday nap. #blessed

There are 5 specific things I never skip in the morning during the week. Of course I shower, get dressed, put on makeup, etc just like everyone else but that’s a given so I left it out.

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  1. Set Daily Intentions – Right when I wake up, before even looking at my phone (difficult I know), I take a second to set my intention for the day. What do I intend to accomplish and be the most mindful of? Is there a particular task I need to accomplish that will require more energy or am I in a bad moon I shouldn’t spread? It takes only a bit of time to get into a habit of being mindful.
  2. Go to the Gym – Going to the gym early in the morning is hard. If I’ve had a rough night of sleep or just don’t feel motivated it’s difficult to get up and go work out. Sometimes I’ll supplement a trip to the gym with an at home work out, but it just doesn’t feel the same. One perk of heading to the gym early in the AM? It’s mostly elderly people! So when I don’t feel my best, I don’t have to pretend I do. Heading to the gym early also creates a surge of energy for the day.
  3. Have a Cup of Coffee – Okay, cup of coffee is used loosely. Many…cups of coffee surely is more accurate. I typically brew coffee at home and sit quietly while consuming it. That’s not always possible and I’ll find myself checking my email or Twitter feed, and that’s okay. I’m also an advocate of shower coffee when I’m running low on time.
  4. “Breakfast” – I don’t actually eat a regular breakfast and most breakfast foods actually make me want to take a nap. They are too hearty (waffles are just that delicious). Instead, the Nicole Breakfast is eating cereal whilst staring into the closet to find something to wear or packing my bag for the day. #reallife
  5. Prioritize Tasks In My Planner – Sunday night I usually create my schedule for the week, so daily I take a second to look at what I have ahead of me for the day. One thing I learned from successful women is how to prioritize my to-do list for the day. It is often easier to answer emails or begin with easier tasks, but I learned to start with the difficult or time-consuming ones. Unless the email or task has a deadline, working on harder tasks earlier allows for more time and effort rather than rushing or having to work on it again tomorrow.

How to Get My Topknot

Are topknots even cool anymore? I don’t know. What I do know is I love them quite a bit when I’m feeling way too lazy to wash and style my hair. The topknot is chic and classic. It can be worn for a variety of occasions. I usually wear it to work or when it’s incredibly hot outside to keep the hair from getting sticky. I like how versatile it can be. I can make it really messy and relaxed or really crisp and tight.

Topknot

  1. Use Pret-A-Powder (adds volume) to create a messy, high ponytail.
  2. Using the Tangle Teezer (or brush), tease hair out to create tons of volume. This works better if you’re using day old, curled hair. It will look crazy, messy, and full of knots. This is good.
  3. Separate hair into two sections. Wrap one around the base of the ponytail in one direction. Secure with a bobby pin. Repeat with the other section in the opposite direction.
  4. Pull sections to make hair messier and pin into shape desired.
  5. Finish with hairspray.

Tips:

  • Pin as many times as you need to get your desired shape. I end up using about 6 to get a more messy knot.
  • Press down on the top for a flatter knot, pull sections outwards for a wider knot, or wrap sections tighter for a smaller knot.

Products Used: Pret A PowderSpray De Mode hairsprayTangle TeezerBobby Pins

Forgive the pictures

The Arizona Girl Wardrobe

Okay so maybe I can’t speak for all Arizona girls since we each have individual styles, but have seen plenty of capsule wardrobe blog posts so I’m throwing my figurative hat into the ring. Living in a place where it’s sunny and warm 8 months of the year has its perks. All of these pieces can be worn pretty much all year-long. These are the pieces that make up just the base of my wardrobe. There are plenty of trendy pieces and seasonal items that make their way in and out throughout the year. So I’ve gathered as many of my real life closet staples as I could for this post.

The goal of the Arizona wardrobe is simple: avoid the heat. Looking like a bright red tomato is the opposite of fashionable. I try to dress simply and wear a lot of black and white. Black can be tricky when it comes to the summer months, but not impossible. That’s where camisoles, tank tops, and baggy tees come in. When building a wardrobe I try to border comfort and relaxation without approaching lazy. I prefer things I can just toss on in a hurry and dress up when needed.

These are the kinds of things I wear most frequently and are staples in my closet. They mix and match easily so even when I have nothing to wear I still have plenty to wear.  There is one major necessity when it comes to dressing like a true Arizona girl: the Arizona State branded clothes. If you go to ASU and you don’t wear ASU branded clothes, did you really ever go there at all? I only wear the PINK college collection because if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it well my friends.

Shop This Post: Zara jeansCurrent/Elliott boyfriend shortsSam Edelman sandalsAdidas sneakersMadewell teeH&M dressUrban Outfitters tote bagZara camisoleMadewell jacketTopshop graphic teeZara pulloverIllesteva sunglassesVictoria’s Secret ASU sweater

What’s In My Gym Bag?

Earlier this year I made a goal (more like post) to get my sh*t together by finally buying a gym bag. So have I done it? No. But what I did was repurpose a Victoria’s Secret weekender I got by overspending (on accident) and just never used. It’s now a staple in my life and I’ve officially become the girl that carries too many bags. Hey, they all serve a purpose and contain different things. Would I really put my gym necessities in with my work stuff? No. Plus, the original goal of the gym bag was to remove the random items from the confines of my car to one transportable place. Success.

My gym essentials aren’t that different from most people. I carry spray hand sanitizer and face wipes to make myself fresh and clean. Dry shampoo to refresh my hair and I make sure to carry a pouch filled with first aid supplies as well as random things I may need (tampons, hair ties, etc). I don’t use the showers or change at the gym (just a personal preference), so all the things I carry with me are to freshen myself up a bit so I can enter society in a normal looking fashion once I leave the gym. This means running errands or just not looking like a hot mess. Another function of my gym bag is to collect items I might forget exist. This could be random headphones incase I forget my favorite Beats or a case for my glasses (which is truly a lifesaver).

Other items might seem obvious. Face mist to refresh my skin and a towel to absorb the nasty sweat. I choose a dry shampoo that has a perfume scent so I don’t have to worry about smelling like sweat or looking disheveled. Another necessity: deodorant. Sure, you put some on to begin with but it doesn’t hurt to add a little more….just in case.

Up + Up Cucumber wipesHonest spray hand sanitizerTangle TeezerBurt’s Bees lip balmElizabeth & James dry shampooMilk Makeup face mistHerschel Supply Co. bagContigo water bottleBeats By DreKhataland towels

2017 Wellness Resolutions

I have a love/hate relationship with New Years resolutions. I try not to make them because, as any human does, I completely forget them a month later and nothing ever comes of them. For that reason I’m hesitant to even call these “resolutions” since they are more like intentions. Last spring when I began writing this blog (after a very long blogging break) I was exploring the new world of wellness. I completely overhauled my living space, did a juice cleanse, and began trying out new ways of becoming more centered. I realize now that when life begins to feel out of control I begin to search for answers and focus on learning new things with the hopes I can maintain some kind of calm in the chaos. It’s also an incredible distraction.

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That said at the end of 2016 I was struggling to have any answers at all and couldn’t control the chaos. It felt there was no calm coming with this storm. I decided with 2017 I would hit the reset button and try some new things in the year ahead. These aren’t the same intentions set during meditation that are a road map of where I want to go in life, but rather things I aim to bring into practice for my life this year.

  • Stop Buying Things I Already Own. Do I really need a 13th black sweater? Or another pair of jeans? Odd are no. Not purchasing things I already own will save space on clutter not to mention money. This allows me to save up for things I really do want and need while managing to get full use out of things I already own.
  • Continue Dry Brushing. Towards the end of the year I tried dry brushing. I can’t fully say what the impact has been on my skin because it hasn’t been long, but I’m hoping that in the coming weeks I can see some of the benefits. Dry brushing is said to exfoliate skin removing dead skin cells, stimulate the lymphatic system, and decrease cellulite.
  • Incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar into my daily routine. I strictly used ACV when I was feeling run down, but it can be used daily to maintain a healthy system. Plus mixing a bit into sparkling water and adding a lime can be a tasty afternoon pick me up.
  • Do more yoga. I’ve preached about how much I love doing yoga, but recently I’ve given up on the practice. I always found an excuse (like not having enough time or being too tired), but I really miss out on the benefits and the quiet time away from my phone.
  • Unplug more. I believe in social media, but I also believe in taking breaks. Sometimes seeing everything everyone does can be a little overwhelming not to mention the news isn’t always that great to begin with. Everyone’s brain can use a little break, and the posts will all be there when you return. It’s better to just take a break, live in the moment, and be by yourself rather than comparing your hustle to everyone else’s highlight reel.