Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fashion: Reds and Pinks for Valentine's Day ♥

Hey cupcakes! I can't believe it, but the first month of 2019 is almost over! The beginning of February means that Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I always find myself busting out the pinks and reds from my closet in preparation for the holiday. If you tend to do the same thing, never fear - I compiled a list of my current fave fashion pieces in this post! ♥

~Cozy Pink Sweater (Reformation, $228): While Reformation might be expensive, their clothes are both sustainable and on trend! I think the color of this sweater is the perfect thing to warm up a dreary cold winters day ðŸ˜ƒ


~Red Pants (H&M, $25): I really like the look of "paper bag" pants, and I was excited to see that H&M makes red ones! I think this would be an awesome pop of color piece for any professional wardrobe. Plus, H&M is a decently sustainable company, which is always a plus!


~Pink Track Jacket (ThredUp, $29): ThredUp is an excellent way to get your thrift on if you don't want to leave the house. I found this Nike jacket on there and think it is such a perfect pink for the holiday season. ðŸ‘


~Vibrant Red Lace Dress (Forever21, $23): Forever21 always has really cute things for Valentine's Day, but I just fell in love with this dress! I love how simple, yet elegant, it is... It would definitely make a wonderful date night dress for dinner (I'd personally pair it with a creme oversized cardigan because I thrive in oversized things haha)


~Heart Patch Sweater (Shein, $23): You can't tell me this sweater isn't adorable! I have always been a huge fan of elbow patch sweaters, and this heart one is just perfect for February.


~Rose Cardigan (Alternative Apparel, $58): Alternative Apparel makes great clothes using organic cotton, and I think this cardigan is a staple for any working woman ðŸ˜ƒ


~"What Boyfriend?" Graphic Tee (Forever21, $10): Again, Forever21 for the win! I thought this shirt was super hilarious because you don't need to have a significant other for Valentine's Day. Some of my favorite memories for the holiday happened during my own time with friends on Galentine's. ðŸ˜€ I can totally imagine a group of girls wearing these shirts together while watching cheesy rom coms!


What are your favorite red and/or pink clothes on the market currently? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Meal Prepping!

Hey cupcakes! It seems like meal prepping is always on my Pinterest feed, so over the summer I decided to try my hand at it... I think meal preps are the perfect way to ensure that you are eating healthy foods regardless of how much time you have to cook lunch/dinner, so I would definitely recommend trying it out sometime! ðŸ½ If you have any questions about anything regarding meal prepping, look no further because I have the Meal Prep 101 guide in store for you all today. Let's get started!


Step 1: Figure out a day and time that you will do your meal prepping - I personally liked to do it on Sundays after lunch, as it allowed me to get everything cooked and ready before dinner (thus, giving me the whole night off to enjoy before work the next morning).

Step 2: Find the containers you will be using - Before you start cooking, I suggest finding all the containers you will need. There are many options:

  • Bento boxes - These containers are perfect for meal prepping and come in plastic (try to be sustainable and avoid!), wood, and metal/stainless steel. 
  • Stainless steel tupperware - As part of my journey towards zero waste, I bought a set of stainless steel tupperware to use for meal prepping, takeout, and storing leftover food. 
  • Mason jars - Easy for one dish meals (like stir fry, fried rice, etc.), salads, and yogurt.
  • Reusable sandwich bags - I mentioned trying to replace Ziploc bags in my post about plastic alternatives, and I love my reusable sandwich bags! 
  • Plastic tupperware - While these aren't the sustainable choice, most people have them already in their kitchens... Do what is easiest for you! 
Step 3: Plan out what foods you will want to make - This depends totally on what you want to eat for the days you are meal prepping! If you don't have any good recipes in mind, I would recommend looking through Pinterest... But, make sure you remember that meal prep doesn't need to be fancy - prepare the foods you would usually cook! Here is my formula for the perfectly prepped meal:

Protein (meat, tofu, beans, etc.) + Carbs (grains, rice, bread, etc.) + Vegetable + Something sweet (try fruit instead of baked goods!) 
= The meal prep of perfection

If you think you will be hungry, try adding some sort of snacky food as well (nuts, pretzels, anything else from bulk bins)! 


Step 4: Actually cook the food - This will take however long each component of your meal takes to cook. ðŸ˜ƒ

Step 5: Put the food into your containers and put into fridge/freezer until needed - After packaging up everything nicely, let cool for a bit before closing the lids (this will prevent steam from making anything soggy). I put half of my meals into the fridge for the upcoming days, and the other in the freezer to take out mid-week... Do what works best for you (which also depends on how many days you meal prepped)! 

Step 6: When ready to eat, heat up in microwave/over the stove. Enjoy! - I hope your meal prepping has allowed you to enjoy healthier meals without the stress of trying to cook right after getting home from work. ðŸ‘


What are your tips and tricks for meal prepping? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post! 

Feel free to pin this to save it for later! 

Love,
Jenna 

Bloglovin' ðŸ’Ÿ | Instagram ðŸ“· | Pinterest ðŸŽ¯

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Review: LUSH Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar

Hey cupcakes, I hope everyone is having a great week so far! 😍As part of my journey towards zero waste, I have recently been switching out my bathroom essentials to products that are more sustainable... I was a bit wary of trying a new shampoo, as my scalp produces this weird oily substance that is hard to maintain. I have been using Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Shampoo ever since I was in 6th grade, and this product was able to at least control my scalp a little bit.

When I was looking to find a more sustainable alternative, I immediately knew I wanted to try a shampoo bar from LUSH. When looking through their "flavors", I decided to buy the Jumping Juniper one that is aimed to "sort out oily hair problems by washing away grease and managing oil production". I have been using it for about a month now, so I thought I would share the pros and cons of the product. ðŸ‘


Pros:
~Works great on my scalp: While I thought the Tea Tree shampoo had been helping my hair, it clearly was not doing that great because this bar does an excellent job of washing away ALL the oil! I was actually blown away the first time I used it, and the oil has still been controlled after using it for a month.
~Smells great: I can't place what this bar smells like (I am pretty sure it is some sort of candy or dessert), but it smells amazing regardless. Sometimes heavily scented things can irritate my nose, but this one has just the perfect amount of scent to it.
~Easy to use: I actually love how easy this is to use! You basically just use it as you would with any bar of soap (get the bar wet, lather it up, and lather your head!)
~Looks ascetically pleasing: Who wants a brightly colored plastic bottle in their shower? Not me! I love how simple naked products are ðŸ˜ƒ
~Sustainable: Because this has no packaging, it is definitely a great sustainable alternative. I would recommend giving it a try!


Cons:
~It is difficult to keep the bar dry: To last for all 80 washes (which is how many washes the website say it will last for), it is essential to keep the bar dry when it is not in use. I bought the round tin to hold this product, but I would recommend not storing it in this container unless you are traveling, as it doesn't allow the bar to fully dry.
*Update: This shampoo bar lasted me a total of 98 washes!!! ðŸ˜² *


~Makes my hair full of static: This is a minor thing, and I am pretty sure that is the dry air of my dorm...
~Kinda pricey: One bar is $10.95, which means you will need about 5 bars per year (if you wash your hair every night). While $55ish isn't that expensive for a whole year of shampooing, there are definitely cheaper options out there if you are concerned with price.

Overall, I think the LUSH Jumping Juniper shampoo bar is an excellent product, and I will continue to use it! ♥ Would you ever try out a shampoo bar? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

7 Ways to Stay Organized for a Successful Semester

Hey cupcakes! The new semester is upon us, which means assignments and exams are right around the corner... ðŸ“ As I have successfully completed 7 semesters in my undergraduate degree, I thought I would share 7 pro-tips with you all today about how to stay organized throughout the rest of the term. Organization is one of the keys to doing well in school, so let's jump right into it! ðŸŽ

1. Buy yourself a planner! - A planner is definitely the number one school supply I cannot live without, so I would recommend buying yourself one. I have tried many different types (even bullet journals), but even the most basic one will do the trick.


2. Put all important due dates in said planner THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS - While this might take some time, it will allow you to look ahead at any week and know when exams are coming up and what larger assignments will be due. After I receive a syllabus the first day of class, I will spend time that evening marking down these dates. Then, I will add any smaller things (like readings) as the weeks go by. ðŸ“š

3. Have a folder and notebook for each class - I have seen many students who only have one huge notebook for all their notes, but this results in notes that may not be in order. To separate all of your thoughts for each course, I suggest buying a folder and notebook that can be tucked between the folder for easy carrying in your backpack (color coordination also helps!).

4. Actually read before class and take notes in your notebook- I know, I know, everyone says this... But yet lots of students don't actually do it. Even if you don't have time to sit down and read all 5 chapters of that biology textbook, at least scan it thoroughly to get a sense of what you will be learning in class. Having some jotted notes allows me to be better prepared for class.


5. Make sure your backpack and desk are clean! - Your backpack will be going with you everywhere, so if it is a mess, it will definitely be harder to stay organized. 🎒 Having a clean backpack and desk will allow you to know where all of your supplies and assignments are at all times (as well as keeping your mind uncluttered!).

6. Pick a day of the week to spend some time planning for the next week (or two) - I like Wednesdays, as I am able to update any smaller assignments for the next week as well as mentally prepare myself for any larger assignments/exams coming up. This also helps me get motivated to start assignments early over the weekend! ðŸ˜ #nerdalert

7. Keep your notes as organized as possible - Even if you have crappy handwriting (like me!), try your best to keep your notes as organized as you can using dates of when the notes were taken, headings to show if they are "Class Notes" or "Reading Notes", etc. Find the method that helps you most when studying!


What are your best tips for staying organized in school? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Storytime: Extreme Road Rage?! 😨

Hey cupcakes! I was brainstorming some post ideas the other day and realized that I haven't written a storytime post since JULY of last year (when I was attacked by a bird LOL). Oops. That is probably because nothing too crazy has happened in my life that would inspire me to write a storytime post, but that all changed about three weeks ago....


Alright, so this interesting event took place when I was home for winter break. This is my favorite break for multiple reasons:

1. No homework - all of the fall semester classes are over and the new ones haven't started yet. This makes winter break the only one where there is absolutely no chance of homework! ðŸŽ‰
2. I get to relax and spend time with friends and family
3. My boyfriend is only an hour instead of 2.5 hours from me

As the third bullet point mentions, my boyfriend is a lot closer when we are both home (long story short: we went to the same high school and my parents moved to a different town about an hour away after we went off to college in two cities about 2.5 hours apart). After spending the day at his house, I was driving home at 11:30 PM...


The ride is pretty easy and at that time of night there aren't usually many other people on the road. When I was about 15 minutes away from my house, I was on a 55 mph road with four lanes (two for each direction). As I enjoy thinking while I drive and don't tend to speed, I was going about 58 mph in the right lane.

A car passed me on the left (as they should have), and in about 3 minutes another car also passed me.


The first car that had passed me was still in the left lane, and (apparently) wasn't going fast enough for the second car. But, mind you, the whole right lane was completely open if the car really wanted to get by.

Me pointing at the other lane
The second car drove super close to the first and proceeded to turn on their brights multiple times.

After about three minutes of this, I guess they had a change of heart and proceeded to get in the right lane to pass them. I was only a little bit behind this and was watching this all go down... When the second car was in line with the first I saw something fly from it and arc in the air, glittering in the moonlight.


IT WAS A WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID BOTTLE!!!! They literally threw a full bottle of windshield wiper fluid at the other car. ðŸ˜‚

The bottle went no where near the first car (they clearly could not aim), and I drove by the bottle emptying itself in the left lane - now it was both pollution and a road hazard but there was no way I was going to stop to pick it up in case something else went down with those people. ðŸ˜¬

What crazy things have you witnessed on the road? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Best Places to Buy Sustainable Products!

Hey cupcakes! As many of you know, I have been on a journey towards zero waste since May of 2018 (if you are interested in reading all of my posts on sustainability, check out the full list here!). If you also embark on a mission to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you might be curious about where I buy my sustainable products. Look no further - this post is dedicated to a list of my favorite places to shop! ðŸ˜Š Let's jump right into it!

1. Family and friends! - When you have a list of sustainable items you would like to buy (such as stainless steel containers, reusable produce bags, etc.), try to find them from people close to you! This will ensure that you get it for a better price (or even for free) and is best for the environment, as the product that they might not use will be heavily used by you instead of ending up in the landfill.

2. Freecycle (or Facebook Marketplace) - This is basically the same idea but with strangers in your town/city! If you don't know what Freecycle.org is, it is a website where people can post things that they would like to get rid of. This stuff is all free, which is amazing, and it prevents perfectly good items heading to the landfill. In my city there is currently a dining room table, TV, firewood, etc. being offered.


3. Amazon - When I first started my journey, I was looking for many products to replace the plastic or unsustainable ones in my life. I found that Amazon sells almost all kinds of stainless steel, bamboo, and other sustainable products that you can think of... It is definitely a great place to start to at least understand how much certain things will cost you! If you plan on buying a lot from Amazon, I would recommend making a list and buying everything at once, which will reduce the amount of environmental impact when it comes to shipping materials and carbon used for shipping.

4. Ebay - Like Amazon, this website has some great sustainable products, but I like Ebay because you can buy more things used... Again, this prevents any excess waste from going into the landfill (but make sure you try to avoid as much shipping pollution as possible!).

5. Thrift stores - After looking for a product on Amazon and Ebay, why not try to find it in your local thrift shops? I am a huge promoter of the Salvation Army (see why here!), but you should be able to score some great finds where ever you go! Hint hint - thrift stores tend to carry lots and lots of glass containers for a perfect zero waste pantry!

6. Yard sales - Just like the thrift store, yards sales are a great place to find great deals.

 

7. Craigslist - I never usually use Craigslist (as I have been able to find sustainable goods from the above places), but it is another way to find products close to you for decent prices. Make sure you don't meet people at their home or sketchy locations!

8. Zero waste/plastic free websites - There are a bunch of websites that specialize in sustainable products that will even use as little packaging as possible. Here are some of my faves:




Where do you like to purchase sustainable goods? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My Recent Reads & Reviews

Hey cupcakes! Over my relaxing winter break I got to (finally) do some reading! I haven't done a book review post since The Heretic Queen back in October, so I figured I would compile some mini reviews into one post for you all today. 📖 I hope to continue reading this semester instead of spending so much time looking at computer/TV screens, so look for more book review posts in the upcoming months!

#DoNotDisturb: How I Ghosted My Cell Phone to Take Back My Life by Jedediah Bila


As I mentioned above and in my Resolutions post, I am trying to cut back on my screen time. This book was a great eye opener (and was the inspiration behind this resolution), as Jedediah discussed her extremely relatable experiences with cell phones and technology in the modern age. It definitely made me aware of how often I mindlessly scroll through social media pages or avoid social interactions by looking at my phone. This book made me realize that I want to live a life that isn't defined by my phone, so I would recommend it to all of you!
Rating: 9/10

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson


At my library, there is a section in the front with new fiction and nonfiction books. As I love nonfiction, I always stop there first to see if anything catches my eye... Which this one did! The novel focuses on the heist of Edwin Rist, who stole 300 dead birds from a Natural History museum in England to sell for Victorian fly ties. While I had never heard of this event (even though it happened in 2009!!!), the book was an awesome read. It goes through the history of bird feathers in fashion, Victorian fly ties, and the crime (which is mainly unsolved to this day as there are about 100 birds still missing). Overall, it was just a super interesting book about something I have never read about before!
Rating: 10/10

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis


Each chapter of this book focuses on a "lie" that women may believe (ex. I am not beautiful) and, through stories of her own life, Rachel shares how to realize that these things are not true. Rachel's stories were often quite hilarious, but there were so many that are relatable for so many people. While I am usually not a huge fan of motivational books, this one was a good read. I felt truly inspired after I finished!
Rating: 7/10

JELL-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom


Ok, this was another random book that caught my eye... The JELL-O patent was bought for only $450 and is one of the most rewarding business transacations in American history. The family who benefited from this purchase had quite a bit of troubles: cancer, suicides, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, etc. This book basically goes through the lives of Allie's grandmother and mother to share what she calls "the JELL-O curse". For me, there wasn't really any conclusion or resolution of the "curse", but it was still interesting to read all of the juicy family secrets. ðŸ˜
Rating: 5/10

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay


If you have been reading my posts for awhile, you will know that I have begun a journey towards lower/zero waste. Through this journey, I have started to realize that a life of simple living is something that I want in my future. This book shares tips and tricks for decluttering and minimalizing, and I found it super insightful. Definitely a must-read for anyone looking to simplify, as each chapter goes through a specific room to make the process easier to do!
Rating: 8/10

What books have you read recently? What books should I read next? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fashion: Activewear to Jumpstart the New Year

Hey cupcakes! Unfortunately, I am back at school ðŸ˜¢ BUT, that means I only have one more semester of my undergraduate degree, which is just unbelievable! Definitely look forward to some fun college themed posts the next few months ðŸ¤© Because many resolutions are exercise/gym related at the start of the new year, I wanted to share some of the cutest activewear I have seen recently... Let's jump right into it!

~Rainbow leggings (Shein, $10) - I have always been a huge fan of the stripes on Adidas sweatpants, so I think these rainbow leggings are super cute!


~Seamless Quarter Zip (PINK, $55) - I think PINK clothes are really good quality, and I absolutely love the design of this quarter zip! Even if you don't plan on wearing this quarter zip to exercise in, it would be super cute for lounging.


~Pink Shorts (Lululemon, $58) - While Lululemon is known for their amazing leggings, I thought these shorts were really stylish. Most athletic shorts look basically the same, so it was nice to see some variation.


~Tie Back Tank (Old Navy, $15) - While Old Navy always has classic products that don't go out of style, I usually don't fit in their clothes (as I am small and fit into juniors/petites). However, they have a great activewear top section with some really great prices! I thought this tank was particularly cute.


~Nike Air Zoom Winflo 5 (Nike, $90) - Nike shoes have always been my go to for working out, as they support my flat arches and don't wear out easily. I think these shoes are gorgeous!


What is your favorite activewear currently? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

P.S. The new year has also got me thinking about how long I wanted to write on The Chic Cupcake. While I don't see myself stopping in the near future, real life is going to start soon... In order to up the quality of my posts here on The Chic Cupcake (and ensure I don't get behind), I will now be posting twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) instead of three times a week. I hope you all understand where I am coming from, thank you for all of your amazing support! ♥

Friday, January 4, 2019

Recipe: Easy Turtle Pretzels

Hey cupcakes! I realized recently that I haven't done a recipe post since my Homemade Flour Tortillas back in OCTOBER, so I wanted to share a fun snack with you all today! These turtle pretzels are such an easy treat to make, and I must admit that they are quite addicting.... Let's get baking! ðŸ‘©‍🍳


What You Need:
-A bag of mini pretzels (can be any shape but squares work the best!)
-A bag of Rolos
-A bag of pecan halves
-Baking tray
-Parchment paper

What To Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. While the oven is preheating, you will need to unwrap the Rolos. This is by far the most time consuming step...
3. Place parchment paper onto the tray; lay pretzels on top of the paper (leaving a bit of space between them).
4. Put a Rolo onto each pretzel.
5. Bake for about 3-5 minutes, until the Rolos have been softened but NOT completely melted.
6. Take the tray out of the oven and squish a pecan half onto each Rolo.
7. Let cool completely and enjoy! 🍴


What snacks are you enjoying currently? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna ♥

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My 5 Resolutions for the New Year!

Hey cupcakes, happy New Year! ðŸ¥‚ I hope everyone had a great (and safe) time celebrating the start of 2019. Because it is the start of another year, I decided it would be a smart idea to outline some goals I have for myself this year.... These aren't technically resolutions (as they are a bit broad), but I've always supported the notion of writing things down to hold myself accountable. ðŸ˜‹ Let's jump right into it!


1. Gain some muscle - I know, I know, everyone wants to start exercising in the new year. BUT, I have the specific goal to gain muscle while I exercise. The areas I want to target specifically are my abs, butt (I'm mentally preparing myself for many squats haha), and my arms.

2. Figure out a natural skincare routine - I have suffered with breakouts since middle school, and I was absolutely crushed when my skin got really bad last year. It has been doing pretty well with my Proactiv face wash, but I want to find a more natural alternative that will work the same (or even better).

3. Continue on my zero waste journey to being more sustainable! - As many of you know, I have been moving towards a lower/zero waste lifestyle since May. This experience has been extremely rewarding, and I have loved being sustainable. To continue with this process, I have a few subgoals  including:
  • Switch out the rest of my bathroom products with better (plastic free) alternatives
  • Find out what meat/butcher shops will allow me to bring my own container in my area for the summer months (look for updates about this!)
  • Be COMPLETELY plastic free for Plastic Free July
4. Keep decluttering/minimalizing my life - Simple living has been a wonderous part of my sustainable journey, and I have found that I can live a same (and honestly a better) life with half of the stuff I currently own. That being said, I am already decluttering/minimalizing a lot, but I still need to keep sorting during the new year.


5. Limit my screen time - I recently read a great book called #DoNotDisturb by Jedediah Bila that talked about screens and the dangers of cell phones in the modern age. I totally agreed with a lot of the things she said, including the fact that we spend way to much time looking at screens instead of living our lives! To continue with my zero waste/minimalist lifestyle, I am all about limiting screens to focus on more important things like family, friends, and the planet. Some subgoals in this category include:
  • Don't spend as much time on social media
    • Go through Facebook friends and delete the people that you haven't talked to IN PERSON in over 1 year
  • Slowly switch to no laptop weekends - this will not happen when I am in school, but hopefully it can happen this summer! 
  • Be in the NOW and put my phone down to enjoy life ðŸ˜„
What are your goals for 2019? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post! 

Love,
Jenna ♥
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