Thursday, February 28, 2019

Fashion: Accessories for Styling a LBD 👗

Hey cupcakes! I was visiting my boyfriend last weekend (yay!), and we saw this "Little Black Dress" party taking place in a fancy hotel when we were driving around the city. That inspired me to make a LBD inspired post, because what fashion piece is more classic than the LBD?? That's right - nothing! As the dress itself is one neutral color, I love dressing it up with some cute accessories. Here are some of my top picks:

1. Dotted tights (H&M, $13) - If you don't want to add any pops of color into your look, I suggest some adorable polka dot tights. They add just the right amount of flair to a classic black dress!


2. Ruby Red Heels (Lulus, $34) - Dorothy had it right when she wore those ruby red slippers... I think the combo of black and red is uber classy, and it would also allow you to play around with some gorgeous red lipsticks 💄


3. Retro Belt (Shein, $8) - The Little Black Dress can be a bit boring at times, so I love to belt my dresses with interesting/bold belts! I would recommend looking at your local thrift shops; you can always find so sort of retro belt there.


4. Yellow Cardigan (H&M, $25) - I love oversized cardigans, and I also love bright pops of color when I wear neutrals! A LBD is the perfect opportunity to rock that bold jacket or sweater 😀


5. Lavender Purse (Baggu, $58) - This company makes sustainable purses (which I love!), and the round shape is totally adorable. I think the lavender color is perfect for the springtime, making it a great transition piece!


How do you like to style your Little Black Dress? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

How to Zero Waste Your Laundry Room 🏠

Hey cupcakes! As part of my journey towards zero waste, I thought it would be fun to make a series of posts called "How to Zero Waste Your [insert room here]". This will not only help me continue towards my goal of becoming zero waste, but I hope it also helps you all lower the waste you create in your own homes! 😀 Let's jump right into the laundry zone!


Detergent, Bleach, and Softener Alternatives
In regards to zero waste, I think this is the biggest question as people are concerned that their clothes will not be cleaned if they switch from Tide or other well-known detergents. To be honest, you only really need some sort of soap/detergent when washing clothes! Bleach isn't the best for you, and it is perfectly fine to not use it on your clothes. Also, softeners are completely unnecessary; they just put a layer of chemicals on your clothing to ensure they smell good. Don't be duped by advertisers saying that your clothes won't be soft if you don't use softener (because I haven't used it for about a year now and I have seen no difference in the texture/feel of my clothes). Here are some of the best zero waste alternatives I have found to replace detergent in plastic bottles:

-Soap berries/soap nuts: Did you know there is a nut that produces a soap-like substance? I didn't until recently, and it completely changed my view on detergent! To use, just put about 6-8 of these nuts in a bag and toss into the washing machine with your clothes. The nuts will last for multiple washes (until they are broken up/look gray) and then can be composted. 💚 You can buy them in some bulk stores and even on Amazon!


-The Eco Egg: This device is so cool! It uses mineral pellets to wash your clothes and will last about 216 washes. After that, you can buy the pellets without replacing the egg, allowing it to last for way longer than a normal plastic jug of detergent. I was sent one of these eggs, and I think it works great! My clothes smell super clean, and I feel so much better that I am not using any nasty chemicals in the wash. Again, this can be purchased on Amazon.


-Dryer balls: Instead of using dryer sheets/softener, try out some dryer balls! You can buy wool ones or plastic ones that shorten dry time and remove static. I have seen these everywhere: local shops, TJ Maxx, Amazon, Walmart, etc.


-Homemade recipes: To be a true zero waster, try making your own detergent recipes! While I have yet to do so, I have seen many recipes that are tried and true on places like Pinterest and in zero waste books. You'd be surprised what baking soda, vinegar, borax and other natural cleaning products can do!

Laundry Baskets

-Buy a non-plastic one!: If you already have laundry baskets, don't throw them away right now (as that is definitely not in the spirit of zero waste!). Wait until they break or need to be replaced and then purchase some baskets that are either from the thrift store or are non-plastic. I think wicker baskets look so cute in a laundry room, but there are plenty of other options as well!


Washing and Drying Machines
-Get the most eco-friendly one as possible: If you already own machines that aren't the most eco-conscious, take steps to cut back on the electricity and water used:

  • Use cold water to wash all of your clothes - Many people have the misconception that hot water will kill the germs in your clothing, but the water doesn't actually get hot enough to do that. Therefore, you are just wasting energy to heat the water. Try using only cold! 
  • Only do laundry when you have a full load - And try to make the loads as large as possible 😉
  • Skip any "extra rinse" cycles - This just wastes more water! 
  • Don't dry as many clothes as possible - Purchase a couple drying racks (from the thrift store or new) or hang your clothes on a line outside. Saves energy and your clothes from accidental shrinking!


What do you do to reduce waste in the laundry room? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
Jenna 

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Recipe: The Classic Shamrock Shake

Hey cupcakes! Now that Valentine's Day has come and gone, it is time to put away the pinks and reds in exchange for some extra greens 😉 I think St. Patrick's Day is such a fun holiday, and the food is just amazing! To get you all in the spirit, I wanted to share a recipe for the classic Shamrock Shake that is so popular this time of year. ☘ Let's jump right into it!


What You Need:
-1 cup vanilla ice cream (or frozen yogurt)
-3/4 cup milk (1% or 2% is fine!)
-1/2 tsp mint extract
-Green food coloring
-Whipped cream
-Chocolate chips (optional)
-Cherry (optional)
-Sprinkles (optional)


What To Do:
1. Add ice cream/frozen yogurt, milk, and mint extract into a blender.
2. Blend well (until there are no chunks!)
3. Add one drop of food coloring (or more if you like the flavor of food coloring haha) and blend until the color is mixed throughout. If you don't want the color to be green, just skip this step as it is pretty unnecessary if you ask me!
4. If you want, add some chocolate chips and pulse briefly to get a mint chocolate chip flavor 😍
5. Pour into a mason jar or glass.
6. Top with whatever you see fit: whipped cream, cherries, sprinkles, etc.
7. Enjoy!


Do you like Shamrock shakes? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
-Jenna 
The Chic Cupcake Instagram

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Recent Book Reads & Reviews

Hey cupcakes! Following my New Years Resolution, I have been limiting my screen time and spending more of my time reading. As it seemed like you all enjoyed my last Recent Reads post, I thought I would share some mini-reviews on the books I have read in the past couple of weeks. Let's jump right into the reviews! 📚

~Dude Making a Difference by Rob Greenfield


This book details the voyage of Rob Greenfield who BIKED ACROSS AMERICA making ZERO waste!! I would never be able to do something like that myself (even though I am on a journey towards zero waste), but it was an interesting read just the same. I give him so much credit for taking on such a task and for spreading awareness throughout the process. Definitely a fun book to read!
Rating: 8/10

~Wild by Cheryl Strayed


You might recognize this title from the movie that came out (starring Reese Witherspoon) that is based off of this novel... I have been craving some hiking recently, so I thought a book about hiking would help. But it didn't really haha. After struggling with some personal problems, Cheryl decided to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail alone. This book documents all of her adventures from her toenails falling off (due to her boots being the wrong size) to the amazing people she met along the way. I thought it was a great read and would definitely recommend for any adventurous soul!
Rating: 9.5/10

~The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin


This book details Gretchen's experience trying to be happier for a whole year. Each month, she tackled a different area in her life (marriage, work, kids, etc.) by setting goals to be happier in her life. I have always loved books about ways to improve yourself and your outlook, so I thought it was filled with quality advice for living your best life. At times it got repetitive, but I think happiness is something that everyone should try to add more of! 😀
Rating: 7.5/10

~Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman


I found this book on a list of the top non-fiction books, and I thought it would be an interesting read about the power of mistresses in the royal court. There were a lot of mini-stories throughout the book, but I don't think it really flowed together. There were so many mistresses discussed (and many with similar names), and I thought it was difficult to piece together the story of each mistress. However, it was interesting to hear about how much power these women had (as they actually had more power than even the queen)!
Rating: 5/10

~Just the Funny Parts by Nell Scovell


This was a random pick, but I really enjoyed it! Nell writes about her journey to become a TV/movie writer and all of the experiences she has had being a female in LA. It was interesting to hear about all of the struggles that result from gender in the Hollywood sphere (which I guess shouldn't have been that surprising to me...). This book was also hilarious; there are plenty of jokes to go around!
Rating: 9/10


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

Love,
-Jenna 
The Chic Cupcake Instagram

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Let's Get Laid: Sustainable Sex for V-Day! 😘

Hey cupcakes! Happy Valentine's Day! In my last post I discussed some fun date suggestions, but I missed one big thing: let's talk about sex baby... 🍆 Going on this zero waste journey has made me consider many aspects of my life, including how to get down and dirty in a sustainable way. To make it easier for you all, I thought I would share the best sustainable sex products I have found in my research!

1. Sustain condoms ($14) - The company Sustain is definitely one you should check out! Their condoms use Fair Trade latex, which harms the planet less than typical latex. As someone who believes in using condoms even though waste is created, this is definitely a brand I would recommend!


2. Maple Holistic water based lubricant ($11) - I have worked with Maple Holistics on The Chic Cupcake before, sharing my thoughts on their Argan Oil and Essential Oils throughout my anxiety journey... This company also has some lubes that are more natural compared to others, which is better for your body and the planet. 😀


3. Svala Lingerie - This company uses recycled and reclaimed lace (from fabric leftovers in other factories) to make some really gorgeous lingerie! I had never thought about the negative impacts of lingerie, but it is just like fast fashion, which is awful to the planet. This bra is on sale for $15, so I would recommend checking it out!


4. Pure Integrity Soy Candles - Normal candles are bad for the environment (rip those Bath and Body Work scents!), so I would recommend trying out soy candles if you need a candle fix. This family run business has some delicious scents (including Vanilla Almond YUM), and it isn't much more expensive than B&BW. 🔥

5. Glass or wood dildos - Who said sex toys can't be sustainable? While many are made of plastic, you can find plenty of glass or wood butt plugs, dildos, etc. Experiment to see what you like and what can add more pleasure to your sex life!

This g-spot dildo is only $30 on Adam & Eve!

6. LUSH Eggplant Bath Bomb ($7) - Wanna take a group bath? This bath bomb is super cute and  hilarious making it the perfect addition to some sexy time in the tub 😉


What products do you use to spice up your love life on Valentine's Day? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
-Jenna 
The Chic Cupcake Instagram

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fun Date Suggestions ft. Valentine's Day 💕

Hey cupcakes! I cannot believe that Valentine's Day is only two days away - I still feel like it is January... Anyone else feel that too? In order to make myself feel like it is actually February, I decided to write a post full of fun date suggestions for the special holiday on Thursday! 😍 These don't have to be specifically with a significant other either - play dates with friends are a blast too!


*Go ice skating - I have always loved to ice skate, and it is a great date idea for the cold months (just make sure you have at least been on some ice before - we wouldn't want you breaking your ankle!). I also recently went with a huge group of my friends, and I honestly haven't had that much fun in quite some time. 😀

*Bake a heart cake - I wrote a post about this eons ago (don't judge my old posts haha I was much younger), so check it out if you want to learn how to make a heart shaped cake! I think baking is just a fun thing to do with a date (or friend or by your lonesome)... Plus, you get a delicious treat at the end of it!


*Go to a film festival - My boyfriend and I recently found a local teen film festival at a theater, and it was super fun. Not only was it free but some of the movies were actually quite impressive... It was fun to play movie critic for a few hours 😛

*Make valentines for sick kids and the elderly - There are children's hospitals all over the place, so why not brighten the day of someone who isn't feeling well or doesn't have people to celebrate with? Gather lots of pink, red, and white paper and craft away! Then, deliver them to the hospital or nursing home yourself (if you are allowed to) or mail them. Remember how happy you get when you receive a valentine? Pay that feeling forward!


*Try out a local restaurant - Avoid all of the chain restaurants if you want to eat out on Valentine's Day. Find a new local spot you have never tried before (even one that might not have the best reviews!) and support your community on this loving holiday.

*Have a pajama party - As soon as you get home from work or school, change into your most festive pajamas and RELAX ALL NIGHT! This could mean Netflix, reading a nice book together, or cuddling with some warm tea... Even a spa night will do!

*Spread some love through compliments - Spend some time chatting about all the things you appreciate about each other. Nothing makes people happier than learning what people love about them 😊

*Watch the sunset together - Find the best viewing point in your town/city and sit there for a few hours. Bring lots of blankets to stay warm!


What are you going to be doing on Valentine's Day? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
-Jenna 
The Chic Cupcake Instagram

Thursday, February 7, 2019

My Zero Waste Successes & Failures (So Far)!

Hey cupcakes! My journey towards zero waste started in May of last year, so I wanted to update you all on where I am at in regards to this shift in my life towards sustainability. 🍃 It has been a slow but rewarding process, and I truly recommend for everyone to try to live in a more sustainable way! In this post, I wanted to highlight my major successes and failures since May... Let's jump right into it! 💚


My Major Successes:

1. Reusable produce bags - I cannot tell you how amazing these bags are! Instead of using plastic bags each time you want some produce, these bags can be used and then washed when you see fit. The amount of compliments I get for using them is awesome as well; plus, they are quite inexpensive and will last for a long time!

2. Safety razor - I will NEVER go back to using cheap plastic razors. I am absolutely in love with the safety razor I purchased (I did a whole post about using a safety razor if you want to check it out!). The shave is cleaner, the razor blades last wayyyy longer than disposable ones, and you are helping out the planet. Win win!


3. Shampoo bar - I am still loving the LUSH Jumping Juniper shampoo bar, and I am so excited to try out other bars from LUSH and other brands. Plus, my shower looks so much nicer without any plastic bottles. 😄

4. Mason jars - In my studio apartment tour from last summer, I shared this lovely picture of my mason jar pantry.


Let me tell you, my mason jar collection has about quadrupled in size as my family members seem to love finding random jars to give me. I am super excited to use more mason jars for food storage this summer!

5. Thrift shopping! - I love the thrill of thrift shopping, as I can always find really great pieces if I dig hard enough! This is a great way to help the planet, and I don't miss shopping at fast fashion stores at all 😊


My Failures/"In-Progress":

1. Floss - Unfortunately, there is really no sustainable alternative to floss... I have genetically soft teeth which makes flossing a must, so I have resorted to using a small amount of floss each day. Hopefully a company comes out with some compostable floss at some point!

2. Feminine products - Just being a woman means I make a lot of waste each month in the form of pads and tampons. While I have been wanting to try out a menstrual cup, dorm living is not really a great first place to try that out... Maybe I will give it a try this summer when I have my own apartment again!


3. Deodorant - While I like the Tom's of Maine deodorant that I have been using, it comes in plastic that you have to send back to the company (through TerraCycle) in order to recycle it... I think there are definitely more sustainable options out there, so I want to try out some more kinds soon!

4. Q-tips - Again, there are really no sustainable alternative other than compostable Q-tips. To counter this, I have stopped using them to clean my ears altogether (wash your ears out in the shower definitely works just fine!) but still use them if my eye makeup needs fixing.

5. Face wash - If you have been following me for awhile, you know that my skin is quite sensitive and acne-prone. After my acne flared up last year in college, I finally got it (mostly) under control using Proactiv face wash. However, this container is plastic which is not in line with my zero waste goals. But, I am scared to switch my face wash in case my skin freaks out again, so I will be slowly trying to find a replacement. 👍


Do you have any suggestions on how I can make my zero waste journey better? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Love,
-Jenna 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Birth Control: What is the Basal Body Temperature Method?

Hey cupcakes! If you have been following my Birth Control series, you will know that I have been using the basal body temperature (BBT) method to track my menstrual cycle. Using the Femometer has been the easiest way for me to use this method. In this post, I will be sharing everything there is to know about BBT for anyone who is considering trying out natural birth control. Let's jump right into it! 😘

What is the Basal Body Temperature Method?

The Basal Body Temperature method (or BBT) is a form of natural birth control. This method of pregnancy prevention uses your basal body temperature to chart your menstrual cycle. Your "basal body temperature" is your body's lowest temperature that is attained when you are asleep. In order to get the temperature closest to this, the BBT method is based around measuring your temperature as soon as you wake up. This natural birth control method is based off the fact that your body temperature will decrease slightly when you are ovulating.


How do you use the BBT Method?

The BBT method is extremely easy to do:
  1. Buy a thermometer that has at least two decimal places after the degree s(see next section for the thermometers I recommend!)
  2. Place the thermometer right beside your bed. It MUST be within arms reach as you cannot sit/get up to retrieve the thermometer
  3. When you wake up in the morning, immediately take your temperature! Again, in order to get the best reading you must remain lying down when you do this. 
  4. Depending on the type of thermometer you have, either log the temperature in a journal/chart or sync it to the app on your phone. 
  5. Repeat each morning! 
What thermometer should you use?

I personally have loved my experience with the Femometer! Instead of having to track all of my temperatures by hand, this thermometer syncs up to an app on my phone. This allows me to see my chart any time I want to, as well as have a digital back up online. It also predicts your next cycle, which allows you to know what days you should abstain from having sex (or when you should use another form of birth control).


 If you don't want to invest in the Femometer right away (it is $40), any thermometer with at least two decimal places will do. Try to find a brand that is reliable, as you don't want any faulty readings!

What will your chart look like? 

One of my favorite parts of using the BBT method is seeing how my cycle actually goes through a cycle each month! The cycle chart on the Femometer app is super intuitive, and it even allows you to compare your chart to the "normal" cycle.

This image is my cycle compared to the reference curve in the top left:

As you can tell, it is super interesting to watch the slight variations in temperature that allows me to know exactly when my period is going to be starting! If you are using a regular thermometer, you can track your own temps using a chart like this:

Just search blank BBT chart into Google to find a bunch of these! 

What are the risks of using this method?

1. Your temperature can be affected by many other things (such as illness, stress, alcohol, etc.) which can skew your readings.

2. Again, if you use a regular thermometer you will only be able to track what has already happened in your cycle... This mean you will be guessing when your next ovulation/fertility period is, which can lead to unwanted pregnancies if you are not careful! (If you want to avoid this, then I suggest investing in the Femometer!)


What are your thoughts on the basal body temperature method? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post! If you are interested in any more posts on the BBT method, make sure to check out the other posts in my Birth Control series.

Love,
-Jenna 

P.S. This post was not sponsored by the Femometer. I was sent the product and have fallen in love with it, thus the many references to it. 😀♥
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