After seeing so many tempting new beauty releases, I decided it was time to start sharing my wish lists with you all. So, welcome to my series "Wish List Wednesday." For years I've been creating these types of lists in the "notes" section of my phone, and have used them as a way to keep on top of the beauty releases and trends because - let's face it - there are so many. Here is what I'm currently lusting after and will consider picking up, so let me know if you've tried any of these products for yourself yet!
  1. Nest Fragrances Wisteria Blue Body Cream - I just recently received the Nest Fragrances Wisteria Blue EDP, and to say I'm obsessed is an understatement! It's a fresh, delicate floral that isn't at all cloying, making it an ideal scent for the summer months. If I'm heading to the beach or lake, I tend to skip perfume and use a mist, lotion or oil instead - so this would be perfect.
  2. Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Illuminating Powder - A gel-powder illuminator that looks as though it was made for my summer makeup bag. I have been a longtime fan of Rodin's products, so I know this peachy-iridescent highlighter wouldn't disappoint. 
  3. Tom Ford Lip Lacquer Extreme - I'm sure I'm not the only one who is happy to see the decline of drying lip products, and the return of glosses that plump and hydrate! This Tom Ford one looks luxe, and the colors are gorgeous. My eye's on the shade "Cameo."  
  4. Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Natural Perfection Foundation - Quite a long name, but I have had such amazing luck with Guerlain's base products this past year that I have to try this one. In fact, it's already on its way to me! It has a fresh, light texture that's made with silk and linen fibers so that it stretches with your skin...and not against it. 
  5. Becca Anti-Fatigue Under Eye Primer - Color me intrigued! This cooling under-eye primer looks right up my street, as I typically use an under eye serum to cool and depuff prior to using makeup, but this looks more compact and portable. I also like that it can be used throughout the day over makeup to smooth the area and provide a makeup refresh!
  6. Lancôme Brow Define Pencil - Always the first to volunteer testing a new brow product! I love that this looks ultra slim and offers a self-sharpening tip for precise hair-like strokes 'til the very last use.
  7. Diptyque Body Mist - Diptyque never lets me down in the fragrance department and I currently have my eye on this gorgeous new body mist. It's described as a having "an irresistibly soft, powdery finish" and is more moisturizing and lightweight than your typical perfume, making it perfect for the scorching days we've been having lately.
  8. Susanne Kaufmann Flight Kit - One of my current go-to skincare brands (more on that to come), this travel kit is so chic and provides a streamlined routine for beauty addicts. 
  9. Guerlain Terracotta Summer Golden Glow Powder - Guerlain's famed Terracotta bronzer meets golden highlighter; I think this could be one of those products that could be used in place of bronzer, blush, highlight, and even eyeshadow. It looks ideal for travel! 
  10. Omorovicza Midnight Radiance Mask - I've heard rants and raves about how good this pale blue overnight mask is, and Omorovicza is a brand I trust to live up to the hype. Yes, their products are a bit on the pricey side, but they are always worth the splurge. Think of this as a nightly trip to the spa! 

It seems as though with summer comes a case of wanderlust; it's just a right of passage. As I sit contemplating my next getaway, I thought I'd share my top 10 dreamiest summer destinations with you, along with what I would pack for each. Spanning the more classic city picks to some lesser known seaside towns, these are places that you'll enjoy visiting with just about anyone, whether it's family, your significant other or friends. You'll definitely want to read this post before booking your next summer holiday, and don't forget to share your recommendations with me as well!

1) Barcelona
With the perfect balance of the city and the sea; Barcelona offers the best of both worlds. Spend your mornings at the beach before the crowds arrive and head into the city to do some exploring after a sangria-heavy lunch. I love this city because it's ideal for both long and short stays, with great food, culture and nightlife to keep you occupied.
2) Mallorca 
If you're already headed to Barcelona, hop on an easyjet and head to the beautiful island of Mallorca. Stay in Palma, a historically-rich city situated on the ocean, with miles of beach and crystal clear turquoise waters. It's also worth heading inland to explore, as 30% of the island is covered by a rugged range of mountains called the Serra de Tramuntana which, in some areas, meet with the sea, making for some seriously gorgeous coastline.


3) Iceland
I know what you're thinking; one of these places is not like the other...but hear me out! Iceland is such a unique place to explore, and for those who aren't drawn to its cold, harsh climate, the summer is the best time to visit. Iceland is also famous for the midnight sun, which, because of its unique positioning, you're able to see even at 2 AM. This unique sight only happens from late May through July and is a wonder in its own right. In the summer, you can even spot some of the island's unique wildlife, including puffins, dolphins and killer whales.


4) Tuscany
While Tuscany's capital, Florence, may be jam-packed with tourists come summertime, the surrounding countryside is the perfect place to enjoy the same delicious food and wine without the crowds. There are so many amazing Airbnb's to rent near towns like Montepulciano, Siena and San Gimignano; this is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the lush landscapes while taking in the best of Italy. There are also a bevy of natural hot springs - including Saturnia and Terme di Petriolo - and even beaches, all within driving distance!


5) Polignano a Mare 
This beautiful town located in the Puglia region of Italy is perched high atop a cliff and practically dangles over the Adriatic Sea. There are so many beautiful waterfront towns to visit in Italy, and I love that this one is a little bit more under-the-radar than some others on the Amalfi Coast may be. This means you get a very authentic experience; some of the most inexpensive, freshest seafood, pasta and most delicious wine hail from this region! It's an ideal location from which to explore the Puglian coastline and surrounding towns like Alberobello, Monopoli and Bari.

6) Paris 
Paris is one of the few larger cities that maintains its beauty even in the hot summer months. With its many parks in full bloom with flowers, the sun shining along the Seine river, and cafés bustling with people along the sidewalks, it really is the perfect place to be. Oh...and did I mention that it's rosé season in Paris during the summer? I think that's reason enough to head to the city of lights, open a bottle and drink it on a picnic blanket under the Eiffel Tower.


7) Lake Como 
Summertime in Italy is hot, but swimming in a lake in the Alps will surely cool you down. Lake Como is known as a holiday spot for the rich and famous, but don't let that intimidate you. Located a little over an hour from the Milan airport, it's a beautiful place to stay for a change of scenery if you're interested in a holiday destination in Italy. With small towns spotting the perimeter of the lake and easy access via ferries and rentable boats, Como is an ideal spot for unwinding. My favorite town town to stay in is Bellagio, as it's located on a promontory and juts out onto the lake, providing you with sweeping views of the surrounding area, mountains included. 


8) Santorini
With 360° caldera views and whitewashed buildings that create the ultimate backdrop for its breathtaking sunsets, Santorini is a favorite summer holiday destination among many. For a European island, which are often rocky, there are numerous beaches, and the food and wine are fresh - so what's not to love? Rent a car or moped and explore the island to the fullest, but make sure you're always prepared with your swimsuit and sandals because you never know what you'll discover.
9) Côte d'Azur
With miles of beautiful Mediterranean coastline and a close proximity to Monaco and the Italian Riviera, the Côte d'Azur is an ideal base from which to explore a number of famous European resort towns. While St. Tropez and Cannes are known to be the summer playground of the über wealthy, they're worth a visit, but I'd recommend staying in Nice or outside of the cities in a villa, which you can easily rent on Airbnb. The culture in this area really is unlike anything else you'll see in Europe. I love that you can take a day trip to Marseille or Aix-en-Provence, Monaco, or even Portofino...and no matter where to choose to explore you won't be disappointed!

10) Italian Riviera
Can you tell that Italy is one of my favorite places for a summer holiday, yet? The Italian Riviera, or rather, the Ligurian Riviera, is situated about halfway between Tuscany and the French Riviera, and is a favorite for obvious reasons. Home to the Cinque Terre, Portofino, and a less-touristy Portovenere, it offers plenty of turquoise coastline and brightly colored houses perched on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The food here is some of the best in Italy; if the words pesto, seafood, and deliciously crisp white wine don't strike a cord with you, than I'm not sure what will! 

What are your favorite summer travel destinations?
If there were one truth relating to beauty that everyone - no matter their age or personality - could agree on, I think it would be that healthy skin makes you feel your very best. It really, does!

I've tried so many skincare products, and have even gone through phases where I was using 20+ products in one day to combat different "issues" I was experiencing. Nowadays, I don't use more than a few in the morning and a few in the evening, and try to keep them consistent until they are used up. I have my standby cleansers, makeup removers and serums, but I can't deny that I'm always looking to improve my routine. I also change certain items and target different issues as my skin changes, and build my own tailored routine that works for my skin while saving me time.

So, when I had the opportunity to try out a completely customized skincare routine from Luzern, a clean skincare brand that formulates their products using active ingredients sourced from the highest points in the Swiss Alps, I jumped at the chance. 
The best part about this custom routine, and the reason that I had to share it with you, is that it's accessible to everyone via a smart questionnaire that you can take right on the brand's website. It helps to eliminate the chances of selecting the wrong products based solely on how appealing they sound versus how they suit your needs. So, after taking the quiz myself, and handing over the details of my skin concerns and wishes, I was given a list of products to use daily. 

*For reference, my skin is combination with an oily t-zone; I look for products that will keep my skin balanced, and free of breakouts while fighting off the first signs of aging.*
  1. Gelée Cleanser - A gentle scent-free cleanser that removes makeup and impurities.
  2. Balancing Toning Essence - Skin-balancing toner for combination and oily skin.
  3. *Serum Absolute Radiance - A brightening serum that reduces dark spots and evens tone.
  4. *Force de Vie Pure Oxygen Lotion - A lightweight moisturizer that optimizes moisture levels, nutrient absorption and cellular energy while keeping fine lines at bay.
  5. Hydra Enzyme Masque Nuit - An exfoliating and brightening mask that keeps skin moisturized.
  6. *System O2 Infuse Clarifying Mask - A spa inspired mask with oxygen and kaolin clay that reduces surface imperfections and purifies skin.
  7. Micellar Cleansing Water - Waterless cleansing that removes makeup and impurities.
  8. *Au Vin Exfoliating Treatment Pads - Exfoliating pads that treat and brighten skin without drying or harsh chemicals.
I put aside my usual favorite skincare products to give the entire system a go for a few days. As you know, when you swap out all of your products, you can usually expect some sort of change to occur in your skin, but what I wasn't expecting was for my skin to skip a negative reaction and move straight into glowy territory. The products seemed to work well together, and on a daily basis I wasn't using all of them, but I felt that I had almost everything I would typically want to reach for within this routine. 
In the morning, I typically wash my face, then use the Toning Essence and the Serum Absolute Radiance, and then, since this didn't include an SPF, I layered one on and moved onto makeup. I try not to overdo the skincare in the morning because my skin seems to suffocate and my pores feel blocked with too much product. 

At night, I cleanse and then follow up with the Exfoliating Pads (which I'm loving), and then go in with the Serum Absolute Radiance again, followed by the Force de Vie Pure Oxygen Lotion. A few times each week I treat my skin to a mask based on how it's feeling, and use either the System O2 Infuse Clarifying Mask, or the Hydra Enzyme Masque Nuit, the former being my personal favorite for its ability to make my skin feel supremely purified without the "squeaky" aspect that often comes with the clean territory.

Overall, my skin has been loving this routine's consistency, and I feel that the products they selected for me really were the best suited to my skin from their line. I found some new favorites in this system; I particularly love the System O2 Infuse Clarifying Mask, and the Serum Absolute Radiance, which, out of all the products, I feel really made the biggest difference to my skin. 

My thoughts on the system as a whole? If you are new to building a skincare routine, your current routine just isn't working for you, or you'd like to begin using clean skincare and have a custom routine built for you - this is the perfect solution for you. As much as I like a routine, I do tend to enjoy cherry picking my products a bit more, so I will swap out my cleanser and toner again when these are completed, as those are the types of products that never tend to have the greatest effect on my skin anyway. I do love that this introduced me to a few new staples, and that it immediately proved to be effective on my skin without any initial reaction - which I would probably attribute to the fact that the ingredients are clean. I am thoroughly enjoying my glowing skin and the overall ease of using this system. 

I've starred the products above that I will continue using once this system is complete, as I feel there really aren't any others like them on the market, or at least that I've tried!

Would you try out a custom skincare routine? Let me know your thoughts!

*pr samples included.

I've been seeing so many tempting new beauty releases lately that I thought it was time to start sharing my wish lists with you all. So, welcome to my new series "Wish List Wednesday." For years I've been creating these types of lists in the "notes" section of my phone, and have used them as a way to keep on top of the beauty releases and trends because - let's face it - there are so many. Here is what I'm currently lusting after and will consider picking up, so let me know if you've tried any of these products for yourself yet!
  1. Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment - I haven't tried Tatcha's newer releases, but I love everything that I've used of theirs in the past. This product is an eye-treatment and brightening concealer in one, which looks perfect for lazy mornings when I'm in a rush.
  2. Dior BACKSTAGE Glow Face Palette  - All of these new BACKSTAGE products from Dior look amazing, but I'm especially intrigued by this highlighting palette because the shades look so versatile. I have a strong feeling that this would be a go-to for traveling!
  3. Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum - I am such a fan of Tata Harper's products, so I feel like this exfoliating treatment packed with both BHA's and AHA's is calling my name. I love that her serums are moisturizing enough to be used on their own and are also packed with good-for-your skin ingredients.
  4. R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist - I have never seen a dry shampoo like this before! I have high hopes that this could become my new go-to dry shampoo because I am someone who really dislikes powdery roots. 
  5. Kiehls Buttermask Lip Smoothing Treatment  - Lip treatments are such a must for prepping the lips when wearing bold colors, which, if you read my most recent post, you'll know I am doing a lot of recently.
  6. Burberry Velvet Lip Color Crush - I love a good lip stain and have since I was in middle school - who else remembers The Balm?! I love Burberry's ethos and think that this might be the ultimate "no makeup, makeup" essential for the summer...and the most chic lip stain ever.
  7. Rodin Olio Lusso Mermaid Luxury Illuminating Liquid - I've been a longtime fan of Rodin's classic Olio Lusso and am dying over this gorgeous new addition to their range. The peachy-golden shimmer in this would look so amazing swept across limbs for a summer wedding.
  8. Guerlain Rouge G Customizable Lipstick - Because 1) Guerlain needs no explanation, and 2) You can choose a marble-printed lipstick case. 
  9. Benefit Hello Happy Soft Blur Foundation - The idea of this sounds gorgeous, and as a fan of water-based blurring foundations I can only imagine it would work well on my skin. My current go-to is the Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude Foundation, but I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite. 
  10. Chantecaille Luminescent Mare Eye Shadow - The pale sage color of this eyeshadow is stunning, and looks like the ideal complement to a peachy-nude lip and sunkissed summer skin.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I have been enjoying wearing bold lip colors again! *Claps* For awhile, after the über-drying matte liquid lipstick trend died out, I found myself only gravitating toward lip balms and moisturizing nude lip products. While those colors certainly work well for everyday, it is fun to use a bolder color on the weekends...and they're even perfect for freshening up your look when you want to meet friends for happy hour after work.

My new take on the bold lip, however, is to wear focus on having clean skin with little to no color elsewhere on the face. I also suggest trying out a few products to find the formulas that work best for you. I've found that water-based stains and products that have longevity, but with a bit of added moisture work best for me, as they deposit color without drying out your lips, therefore, creating the illusion of a plumper pout. A few of my current favorite shades and formulas for summer include...


Have you tried any of my current favorites?

*pr samples included.
With the goal of getting into a routine to make my life easier while moving, I edited down my essentials after testing a hoard of new beauty bits both from newly launched summer collections and lines that were just "new to me." I have to say...as a beauty junkie with an undying love of testing new products, it can get a bit difficult to choose favorites, but I'll also admit that I've been enjoying this more edited roundup of new loves that have been added to my everyday routine. Here are the haircare, skincare, makeup & fragrance products that made the cut, and are currently perched proudly atop my vanity; they will no doubt be with me throughout the season no matter what others weasel their way in.
SKINCARE
My summer skin goals consists of maintaining a certain level of moisture, while allowing my skin to breathe. Needless to say, I've become addicted to using fluid serums, lightweight gel moisturizers, potent, all-in-one treatments and masks that breathe new life to my skin. 


HAIRCARE
I don't know about you, but in the summer I can't be bothered to heat-style my hair nearly as much as I would during the colder months. Instead, I rely on good leave-in conditioners and products that let my hair air-dry looking as soft and swishy as naturally possible. I also love using texturizing sprays that extend my first-day style to day two, without sacrificing on volume. 

MAKEUP
I'm finally falling back in love with colorful makeup, but still use it in very small doses, focusing on amplifying only one feature at a time. This season, it's either glowy cheekbones, a subtle pop of color (or even glitter) on the eyes, or a bold lip! I also use as many products as possible to extend the life of my makeup... and those include perfectly prepped lips, primers, and long-lasting setting sprays.

FRAGRANCE & BODY
I'm a self-professed fragrance addict whether it be for the body or for the home, so when I become loyal to a few scents...I know they must be good. I also urge you to step outside the bounds of what type of scent you *think* you should wear based on the season; that's precisely how I found favorites in a few products that I would've never expected to suit my summer tastes! 


What products are you loving this season?

*pr samples included.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Italy. It's easily my favorite travel destination, and no matter where I go in this beautiful country I always have a wonderful experience. Each place is so unique, and yet, it's the same core aspects that make me appreciate Italy's cities so much: food, culture, history, architecture, and unique landscapes.

Most recently, I traveled to the Southern part of Italy to two regions I had never visited before: Basilicata and Puglia. I would describe these areas as being relatively untouched by tourism, and therefore unapologetically authentic and inexpensive. I enjoyed every place I visited on this trip so much, but there was one place that really stood out to me for its incredible uniqueness...Matera. 

Matera, practically carved right into the sandstone mountain upon which it sits, is surrounded by an absolutely striking landscape of valleys and fields and is known for being one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world. However, about 100 years ago, the city's conditions were baffling; entire families lived in small cave houses that were once inhabited by Neolithic settlers, and did so alongside their livestock with limited food and poor health. It was for these reasons that the once prosperous ancient city became known as the "shame of Italy" during the 20th century. But, Matera has been given a sort of second chance, as it was recently named the European Capital of Culture for 2019. 

As a result, I am sure that the popularity of Matera as a travel destination will soar over the next few years, so I wanted to share my recommendations with you, including what to see, eat, and where to stay in this memorable city. It's certainly on the list of places I'd like to return to in Italy again!
What to See: 
Because the entire city is so closely grouped, Matera may seem small, however, in reality it is comprised of buildings practically piled one on top of the next, and has a population of over 60,000 people. There really is a lot to explore in Matera, although not in the same way that there is in major Italian cities like Rome or Florence. The reason that I enjoyed this smaller city so much is because you if you really take your time and allow yourself to get lost along the way to some of the landmarks, you'll discover so much more than what has been mapped out for tourists. In the four days I spent here, I still had yet to see every nook and cranny that this ancient city had to offer. I've listed some of the sites that are definitely worth making a point to see, below.
  • Sassi di Matera - Preserved cave dwellings that originated as a prehistoric settlement dating back to 7,000 BC. This is believed to be the oldest settlement in Italy and one of the oldest in the entire world. I found it incredible that 9,000 years later, some of them are still inhabited; imagine being able to say you lived in a home that old!? Some parts are not open to tourists, as they are considered dangerous, however, I'd recommend taking an afternoon to wander this area and explore the cave houses that are not prohibited.
  • Matera Cathedral - 13th-century Catholic church in the main square of Matera. 
  • Sasso Caveoso - Cave church perched high atop one of the rocks in the city.
  • Tramontano Castle - Unfortunately this castle is now closed to the public, however, it's definitely worth a walk to. The castle is in surprisingly good condition and is surrounded by fields of natural wheat, and according to some of the locals, it has quite the scandalous history. Around the year 1500, a Count from Naples owned the castle, and would sleep with every newly married townswoman on their marriage night. As a result, some of the angry townspeople beat him to death on his way out of church one afternoon. 😟
  • Chiesa di Santa Lucia alle Malve - A medieval church cut into the sandstone rock.
  • Casa Noha - A tourist attraction in Matera where you can enjoy a short film outlining the history of the city with English translations. This isn't something I'd typically do, but to be honest, since Matera is newer to tourism, this is one of the only ways to fully understand how the city came to be.
  • Casa Grotta nei Sassi - A tourist attraction that allows you to see the way the cave houses of Matera were typically set up.
  • Parco della Murgia Materana - This is the park that you can see across the valley while in Matera's city center. It is comprised of a system of primitive caves and medieval rock churches, and is great for an afternoon of exploring. It's also the perfect spot to take some panoramic views of Matera, and to really see the build-up of architecture in the city from past to present.
Where to Stay: 
While in Matera, I stayed at La Dimora di Metello, a small boutique hotel with four modern suite-rooms built into an ancient stone dwelling in the Sassi di Matera. It's perched high up a few flights of stairs above the main city road, which gives it sweeping and picturesque views. I'd highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a really personal hotel experience, as the owner, Elisabetta was extremely accommodating even though there is not a 24-hour reception. She was able to book us restaurants every evening for dinner (more on the food below), all of which were incredible, a really unique tuk tuk experience which took us to the Parco della Murgia Materana, and also a great driver to get us to and from Matera. 

Although the rooms themselves are situated in caves, the hotel's decor is ultra-modern and minimalistic, and they offer a delicious breakfast every morning in the lobby. The reason I truly loved this hotel was because of the terrace and views - it totally made the visit. Each room opens up to a communal terrace, with chairs in front of each of the doors, and then one larger seating area. After climbing so many stairs while exploring each day, it was the perfect spot to sit and relax with a glass of wine before dinner while the town enjoyed their siesta.
What & Where to Eat: 
Where do I even begin? The food in Matera is certainly something to write home about. As I mentioned earlier, the owner of our hotel was able to recommend and book us tables at some of her favorite restaurants in the city, and they were all so enjoyable. We also had found a few recommendations from other travel sites and blogs, and I can truly say that we didn't have one single meal that wasn't beyond delicious - which is a rare occurrence when traveling! 

The locals pride themselves on using home-grown ingredients from local farms; from the wheat for the handmade pasta, to the fruit and vegetables, the cheese, the meat, and even the wine! It's also worth pointing out that the food here was some of the best and least expensive that I've ever had in Italy; a dinner for two with appetizers, entrees, a bottle of wine and dessert would cost between 60-80 USD, depending on whether you choose meat or pasta. Below I've outlined my favorite restaurants in Matera, as well as some dishes you should not miss there!
  • Al Casale - There is something (delicious) for everyone at Al Casale; including pizza, fish, meat, pasta and a few other vegetarian options. The restaurant had an incredible meat and cheese plate (see above) and great wine menu to go along with it. I'd recommend trying a bottle of the Monacello Primitivo, which is a wine I have only been able to find in Matera; it's reasonably priced and deliciously full-bodied. I also liked that they offered small pasta dishes, which are typically shared prior to the main course; it's a great place to try a few types of local, handmade pasta.
  • Hemingway's Bar - Sounds like a tourist trap, but I promise it's not. This is a local-filled bar with great outdoor seating perfect for enjoying lunch and a cocktail in the sun. We ate a plate of assorted crostini and shared a salad; it was simple, but so delicious. 
  • La Gattabuia - This restaurant is located in an old cave prison, which gives it some serious ambience, surprisingly. It also has a really great menu filled with local delicacies, like Meatballs & Bread with Vegetables and Crushed Cruschi peppers (fried local peppers that are delicious), Mixed Pasta with Beans and Cream of Mussels, and Lamb with Garlic and Mint, which is not for me, but I did see it appear on quite a few menus.
  • Da Nico - This restaurant is located right below our hotel, La Dimora di Metello, and has absolutely delicious homemade pasta dishes and charcuterie platters. Try the cavatelli, the orecchiette, or the papardelle...or all three! Pair it with a bottle of chilled Primitivo Rosato wine 😍. I'm hungry just thinking about it.
  • Oi Mari - A popular Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant, that's perfect for both lunch and dinner. They have many pizzas to choose from, all of which are delicious. Oi Mari offers outdoor seating, but it's worth noting that the inside of the restaurant has a wonderful aesthetic as well. Try the Sporcamus for dessert; a local creme filled pastry which translates to "dirty mouth" - you'll see why when you try.
Have you ever visited Matera before? If so, I'd love to hear what you loved most about it!

I've mentioned briefly over on instagram that I recently purchased my first home with my boyfriend, Kurt. After college, I moved back home to save money for a few years while I worked, with the goal of buying my own place much before I turned 30. The time has finally come, and it still sounds strange to say the words "homeowner" without feeling like I am playing house as a little kid...but it also feels like it was the right time.

We (with some handy help from family) have been spending a lot of time over the past few weeks getting the new place set up and feeling like home. It's definitely a daunting process coming from your parents home; you almost don't realize just how much you need to fill a space. We chose to buy a townhome because we are both busy with work and wanted an easier transition before having the full-on maintenance of a house with more property to care for, and even still, it's going to be a journey getting everything set up the way we'd like it to be. 

Our place is relatively new, so there luckily aren't too many necessary changes that need to be made; just cosmetic updates to make the space suit our taste. Let's just say it's going to be a busy next few weeks as we paint and begin making some updates now that we are moved in with all of our furniture. In the meantime, there have been a few key tricks I've learned about how to make a place feel truly like home.
1) Make Small, But Impactful Changes to the Spaces You Use Most, First. 
This was important to me, because as someone who is quite impatient when it comes to things like this, I knew I couldn't feel completely at home until I rid the space of some elements that didn't at all suit my style. For us, that meant removing unsightly lighting fixtures and adding touches that made things feel personal. For example, we were able to instantly give the whole main floor a facelift by adding a new West Elm light above our dining room table, along with some Water Hyacinth placemats, and a Terrain planter filled with fragrant Eucalyptus. Oh...and a bottle of celebratory champagne never hurts either 😉.
2) Scent Your Space.
I've always felt as though scent has a great impact on how a space makes you feel. Growing up, my house always smelled like fresh laundry and flowers from the garden, and it's something I'd miss when I left for vacation or school. Of course, when you move into a new space, it's missing that familiar smell that really makes it feel like your own. 

One of the first things I did when I got the keys to my new place was set up my diffusers and light a few candles, and I can't tell you what a difference it made to the space. Scent manages to create a relaxing environment that feels cleaner and more personal, and I've absolutely felt that way about my living room space since I began using the Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Scent Surround Diffuser. I've always been a fan of the fragrance on the skin, but I feel that in the home, you can really detect that perfect balance between the warmth of the spicy wood notes, floral from Casablanca lilies, and freshness from pomegranate and pink pepper. This diffuser also manages to envelop a space with the perfect amount of strength; I love that I can smell hints of it whether I am walking by briefly or sitting on the couch closer to it, without it ever being cloying. I also feel that the packaging offers a beautifully sleek look to spaces, adding a luxurious touch to your space. I now look forward to the familiarity of the scent when I get home after a long day.
3) Choose Your "Signature" Color Palette.
Choosing a color palette is a great way to get started designing your new space, especially if, like me, you didn't have a lot to work with yet. I chose to use gray as my main color, with aqua as an accent (in small doses), and then added natural and neutral touches from rattan, iron, dark wood, and woven cream fabrics. I find this to be a foolproof way to choose items for your space, and it helps to tie everything together, especially because I don't own a super large house that I feel can be separated out into many different styles, and still work. To me, this palette has become an aspect of the space that makes it feel much more like my own, and sort of creates a signature look. 
4) Be Hospitable.
Opening our new space to our friends and family has been a really great way to make it feel like home. Because, after all, it is the people who bring the personality and help to create new memories in your new home. Always have a bottle of wine or champagne chilled so that you're ready for guests at any given moment. Having this mindset also gives you a reason to make sure your space doesn't ever get messy; you'll always want it to look presentable!

I can't wait to share more of the new space with you as we update and make it truly our own. Let me know if you'd like to see before and after photos as we go along, and don't forget to share the ways you make a house feel like a home as well.

Shop My Home Decor Picks: 

After a long month spent moving house, to say that I am in need of some down time is an understatement. Testing new beauty products has always been one of the ways that I like to unwind, and of course, it's also one of the best excuses to spend a little time taking care of myself. So, when BRÖÖ reached out to see if I'd be interested in testing out their new BRÖÖ Moods Aromatherapy Lotions, I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to let go of some stress, and to hopefully discover a new routine staple. Before I get into the details of this new body care favorite, let's just say that those missions were both accomplished.

BRÖÖ Moods is a line of aromatherapy lotions that recently launched exclusively at Walmart and Walmart.com, and includes three unique formulas: Sleep, Reboot, and Unplug. I instantly felt a connection to the brand when I found out that they use beer in their haircare products to give volume and shine, which is something my mother used to tell me to do when I wanted to treat my locks. 

It's safe to say that their body products are equally as clever; the line of body lotions embraces aromatherapy technology to improve the ever-changing moods of millennials' (I know them all too well) and pairs with a meditation app which can be downloaded from the app store.  The BRÖÖ app offers a variety of music and sounds that can be used in conjunction with its lotion counterpart, for a fully immersive beauty experience that really pushes you to take time out to breathe a bit everyday.
The app is super easy to use, and really sets the mood for your product application. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy my daily beauty routine and the few moments that it allows me to stop and reflect; so you can imagine my excitement over a product that takes that one step further. Every evening, after my shower, I have been listening to the sound "FX" as I apply my Sleep lotion; and as someone who loves the sound of the rain at night, I have quickly fallen for the gentle rain effect on the app. Try it for yourself...but I will add the disclaimer that you may not be able to keep your eyes open until bedtime.
The Reboot Aromatherapy lotion has become my early morning standby; it includes bergamot essential oils that give you a spark of energy which pairs perfectly with your morning cup of coffee. There's also an Unplug Aromatherapy lotion, which I look to on the weekends when I really want to take the time to relax and enjoy my days at a slower pace. 
I also really appreciate that all of the BRÖÖ products are all natural and made right here in the U.S.A., meaning they are free of parabens, dyes, phtalates, synthetic fragrances, PEGs, propylene glycol, polyquaterniums and phenoxyethanol. It's really incredible to be able to find an affordable body care product that offers both high quality ingredients and creates a wonderfully luxurious experience. 

*Thank you to BRÖÖ for sponsoring this post. 
"Spring Cleaning" doesn't just apply to your living space; it's something you can do in every aspect of your life. Every season I like to rotate some of my skincare products so that I can make sure they are working their hardest and that I have the best possible products in my routine for the weather and current skin needs. My favorite skincare brand, La Prairie, recently launched two new products that have made their way into my routine...and will definitely be sticking around. 

Creams have become a must-have in my routine, whereas I used to rely more heavily on serums and oils for hydration. While I still use both, I have realized rich, but fast absorbing creams work best for me in the morning; especially when they have major skin-altering benefits as well. The La Prairie White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire has quickly filled the role; it's a rich, decadent cream that helps skin become more luminous and even thanks to a new science developed by La Prairie's researchers. In just a few weeks of use my skin looks noticeably brighter and my pores are refined and it has an overall resurfaced feeling, yet is moisturized and plumped at the same time. I'm telling you, this cream is worth the investment, and just a small pump goes a long way.
The second product I've fallen for is the brand new La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence in Foundation, which is a merge of skincare and makeup that creates a flawless, skin-like finish without sacrificing the texture of the skin. As I get older, I get more wary of the foundations that I use and how they wear throughout the day, and this one provides a veil of color that feels comforting on the skin the same way the brand's skincare does. I swear this feels to me as though I could wear it to sleep and it would still feel great come morning. The finish is satin-like, yet feels super hydrating on the skin. This, coupled with the new cream has certainly done wonders in preparing my skin for the warmer weather.
How do you change up your routine for the spring season?
*PR samples included.

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