Becoming A Morning Person: Sleep Tips

messy bed

Between trying to cram in everything you need to get done and just not being able to relax in general, getting enough sleep is hard. Yeah, I know, sometimes we'd rather sacrifice sleep over other things we want/need to do, but we need sleep!

No amount of coffee can replace sleep – we try really hard, but it doesn't work. It's also not healthy. And if you don't get enough sleep you're going to be unproductive and tired.

2017 is only two months in and I'm keeping up with my goals. (I hope you are too!) I'm always trying to be healthier, but one of my goals is specifically to get more sleep. Because normally I get sick if I don't sleep and after my last cold, I am not dealing with that again.

So naturally, I've tried a few things to help me sleep and I have some favorites. I always have a hard time sleeping (even if I'm exhausted!) so I'm determined to figure out what really works!

Here's what I've tried:

Chamomile Tea
I used to drink chamomile ALL the time before bed. It's really calming and helps you relax at the end of the day. Drinking something warm helps make you sleepy in general, but chamomile has some extra relaxation benefits. (I wrote a blog post about it and other teas!)

I like doing yoga at night, but if it's too intense of a practice it could actually make you less tired. So sometimes I like to just play it safe and meditate instead. It helps clear your mind of anything that might be keeping you up at night. I really like the app headspace. But if I just want something quick, I'll use the relax/breath feature on my Fitbit.

I don't ever fall asleep right when I lay in bed so I usually scroll on my phone. But the lights from your screen can keep you up at night so I recently switched to reading. I use a yellow booklight (it's the blue lights that keep you awake) and I'll just read until I feel like I can't stay awake any longer. Just don't pick a super interesting book, or you'll never fall asleep!

Sleep Cycle App
While this doesn't help me go to sleep, it's definitely helped me feel more rested. You set a timeframe for when you need to wake up in the morning, and then the app tracks your sleeping to make sure you're woken up at the best time during your sleep cycle. I still don't fully understand sure how it senses your sleep cycle, but I definitely wake up more refreshed since I've been using the app. And I've never been a morning person.

The cool people over at Leesa also put together this infographic for tips on becoming a morning person! They're a mattress company, so they know a thing or two about a good night's rest.

If anyone has sleep tips, share, please! Because the more the better. Also, the same things don't work for everyone.

++ If anyone has sleep tips for puppies that would be cool, too. Because mine hasn't let me sleep for the past four days.

Goodbye Zits: Acne Fighting Skincare Products

acne fighting products

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As someone who tries a lot of different makeup and skincare products (because even if I find something that works I'm always looking for something better), I tend to make my face a little angry sometimes which leads to breakouts.

I also have oily skin and get those annoying, painful under the skin zits that take forever to go away. They seriously will stick around for weeks and then leave a scar. Oh, and I always get them right in between my eyebrows, which is probably the number one most inconvenient spot to get one.

It's just right there and you can't do anything about it.

At this point I'd like to think I've mastered both making zits go away as soon as possible and preventing them from popping up in the first place.

Before I get into what products I use, at night I always take my makeup off with either makeup remover or micellar water, and then I wash my face. I don't really have a favorite cleanser but I did just repurchase the Kate Somerville Daily Detox Cleanser* because I do think it works better than others.

About a month ago, I added Sunday Riley's UFO* to my routine. I apply it right after cleansing, give it five minutes to soak in, and then follow up with a moisturizer. It has salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and black cumin seed oil to help treat and prevent acne. And it has additional ingredients to brighten and soothe irritated skin. This stuff has made SO much of a difference. When I started using it, I had two stubborn scars/red marks that wouldn't go away from an old reoccurring zit (yes, it was between my eyebrows). After a few days the scar was completely gone. I still wasn't 100% convinced it was from UFO until a week ago when I felt the start of another one. On Monday night there was a faint red mark (...again, right smack in the middle of my eyebrows) that was super painful. But from using UFO everyday, it never got any worse than that. By Thursday it was completely gone! It used to take weeks for them to go away! 10/10 definitely recommend this.

My other favorite thing is a sheet mask. I used to use regular masks frequently as both a mask and a spot treatment (I mentioned my favorites here) but I'm honestly too lazy to wash them off. And I always get them stuck on my nose ring. Sheet masks are so much better! Just throw them on and then peel them off. I really like this Dr. Jart one* for acne.

For normal zits that aren't deep under the skin issues, I like to use this Mario Badescu Drying Lotion*. It's a super cheap alternative to the Kate Somerville one. I wouldn't say it's as effective as the other products, but it does the job.

If anyone has other acne-fighting tips, please share!

SkinnyPop, Wine + Binge Watching

SkinnyPop Salt and Pepper bag

Honestly, I'm a huge proponent for binge watching television shows. I don't understand people who aren't fans of watching an entire season in one lazy Sunday. Is that not the best way to do it?? I mean, come on, just not having to deal with cliffhangers is good enough reason alone.

You don't even want to know how quickly my best friend and I watched all of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix during our senior year. I'm pretty sure it was 11 seasons and we watched it way too quickly.

Anyway, with proper binge watching (or tv watching in general) comes good snacks. I'm a huge fan of popcorn, cookies (shoutout to those late night cookie delivery services!), and brownies. Sometimes I like fruit, but let's be real, the best snacks are the unhealthy ones...

Except for popcorn! Which actually happens to be my snack of choice when I'm getting all comfy on the couch, ready to watch some Shondaland. There's a few types of popcorn I like, and SkinnyPop happens to be one of my favorites. I was actually given a bag at one of the HerCampus conferences and I was like "How have I not tried this before?!" It's just 39 calories a cup, so it’s perfect for a TV binge fest!

Just in time for all the Shondaland madness to come back (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder), SkinnyPop has put together a guide for pairing their popcorn flavors with your favorite wine. Popcorn and wine, Olivia Pope definitely would approve.

Wine & Popcorn Pairings infographic

My personal favorite is the sea salt & pepper with some white zinfandel. That's what I'll be having tonight while watching the next episodes. (Btw, I'm very concerned for Karev. And Wes...Wes...). But I'm also obsessed with white cheddar SkinnyPop so I'll have to try that combo too!

If you need some guilty pleasure tv recommendations, I got you covered. (And I included the number of seasons that are on Netflix because that's essential information):

Grey's Anatomy (12 seasons on Netflix, season 13 is currently on TV)
How to Get Away With Murder (2 seasons on Netflix, season 3 is airing now)
Scandal (5, season 6 airing now)
Gilmore Girls (7 + Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)
Gossip Girl (6 seasons)
How I Met Your Mother (9 seasons)
The Vampire Diaries (7 seasons)
One Tree Hill (9 seasons)
Breaking Bad (5 seasons)
Orange is the New Black (4 seasons)
Stranger Things (1 season)
Pretty Little Liars (6 seasons)
Criminal Minds (11 seasons, season 12 airing now)
Law and Order: SVU (seasons 14-17, season 18 airing now)
Friends (10 seasons)

Okay so that list was NOT supposed to be that long, but clearly I have a problem so... Feel free to give me even more recommendations!

Let's talk about all the drama on these ridiculous shows in the comments. Or food. I'm always down for both conversations.

Dealing With Dry Winter Skin

moisturizers and water bottle

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++Just a heads up! The links marked with an * are affiliate links, which means I'll earn a small commission if you buy through them.

It feels like it's been forever since I was dealing with any cold weather. But if spending two weeks out of the humidity and in below 40 degree weather taught me anything it was how to ––

1. Fix dry skin.
2. Moisturize properly to avoid a repeat situation.

I thought I'd dealt with plenty of dry skin issues before. (If I don't have a bottle of hand cream in my bag it's probably going to be a rough day). But nope! That has nothing on consistently chapped lips and nose. **Note to self, don't go running in the cold without a healthy layer of face cream and maybe a scarf to cover your face…

Needless to say, it looked and felt like I had spent WAY too long in the dessert without water. My oily skin was the driest it's ever been (which was simultaneously the best and worst thing). 

Not cool. 

So first off, here's how to FIX dry skin:

Exfoliate. Seriously. 
There's 0 point in trying to overcompensate with moisturizing skin that has already reached the point of no return. It's not going to help! You're just going to waste product that you probably spent too much money on (and I know you don't want to do that). 

Use a good exfoliating scrub or give dry brushing a try. If we’re talking about your face, a chemical peel would also be a good option. Some of my favorite exfoliating body scrubs are Soap and Glory's The Scrub of Your Life*, LUSH's Cup O' Coffee*, and Fresh's Brown Sugar Body Polish. And if you want to try a peel I suggest Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel* . (If you're looking for something really good, grab a sample of Sunday Riley's Good Genes* from Sephora. It's pretty pricy but a sample will last you long enough to solve any dry skin issues). Extra tip for feet! Check out LUSH Volcano Foot Mask*.

Now, let's keep everything healthy: 

Use a good, heavy moisturizer. 
Now is not the time for those light moisturizers. I'm not a fan of thick lotions that make your skin feel tacky, but sometimes it's necessary. 

I swear by Keihl's Creme De Corps* (which is really good for sensitive skin) and Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion*. I also like using LUSH Pink Peppermint on my feet, it's super moisturizing and refreshing after having your feet crammed in boots or running shoes. 

For your face, my two recommendations for oily skin are Korres Pomegranate Balancing Cream-Gel Moisturizer and First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream*. And the ONLY products I've tried so far that effectively help my chapped lips (which is unfortunately not just a winter issue for me, so I'm extremely familiar with combating it) are Bobby Brown's Lip Balm* and Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask*. 

Hydrate. Hydrate. HYDRATE. 
Right now, as you're reading this, go download Plant Nanny from the App Store. Only log your water intake if you've actually drank the water. And drink water! Because you don't want your cute plant to die. Okay? Cool. Seriously, try to aim for consistently drinking 60-80oz a day depending on how active you are. Drink even more if you're drinking a lot of caffeine. It really does make a difference in how your skin looks and feels. (It also makes a difference in how you feel, because being dehydrated does not feel good).

++ you can get the really cute water bottle here*. It keeps things cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.