Friday, September 28, 2018

How to Live Zero Waste at College!

Hey cupcakes! When I started my journey towards lower/zero waste over the summer, I was living in an apartment by myself. This enabled me to live exactly the way I wanted in terms of sustainability. However, I am now back at college living in the same all-girls dorm, which puts some restraints on my sustainable practices... This has been an adjustment for my lower waste lifestyle, but it is still possible!! If any of you are also at school (and in the same boat as me), I wanted to share the easiest things you can do to still live lower waste will you are away. :)

1. Find the compost bins - My dorm actually has a compost bin in the basement with all of the trash and recycling containers. If I eat fruit or have any leftover food (that actually can be composted), it is super easy to bring it there. I suggest trying to find out if your campus has any compost bins! If not, just do your best to recycle as much as you can.

2. Bring less stuff to school - With my lower waste lifestyle, I downsized a lot of my belongings. This minimalist approach has been super nice to my organization and overall sanity, so I suggest not bringing as much stuff with you. I realized that a lot of stuff I brought in the past was totally unnecessary, so down size and donate!

3. Don't take the free stuff - There is so much free stuff at college. And to be frank, most of it is useless garbage with company names on it. So, think twice before grabbing another free t-shirt or plastic water bottle. Do you really need it? What will happen to it once you are done using it?

4. Be conscious of what you eat in the dining hall - This has been the biggest adjustment for me by far. I was used to shopping in the bulk bins (see my tips here!) and at the farmers market this summer, so it is weird to have food already prepared for me. Look into where your dining program gets the food and make sustainable choices as best as you can! My dining hall serves a lot of local, fresh food (which is amazing!!!), but it is always smart to double check. :)

5. Order small portions when you eat out - Or don't eat out at all! Because I have a meal plan, I have been making myself eat only at my dining hall. This prevents me from having to use any plastic silverware, plastic to-go containers, and saves me a bunch of money!

6. Continue to use your plastic replacements (especially reusable bags!) - This has been the easiest adjustment for me; I brought all of my non-plastic things from my apartment to the dorm! This included my reusable bags, my stainless steel safety razor, and even my reusable ziploc bags. If you want some ideas on the plastic items you can replace in your own life, check out the post I wrote for Plastic Free July

7. Share the sustainable message/find others who want to take the journey with you - There are so many sustainability events on my campus, so I am sure you will also be able to find some clubs and organizations who are just as passionate as you! If you are struggling with a certain aspect of the zero waste journey, these people can be your new support system :)

8. Declutter/donate at the end of the year - If you did happen to accumulate some new things over the school year (and don't plan on using it), donate it before you move off campus for the school year. My dorm always puts out donation bins for move-out, so try to see if your university offers this as well!

How were you sustainable in college? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post! :D

Jenna (who speaks for the trees) <3

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fall Flavors "To-Try" List

Hey cupcakes! Now that the official first day of fall has come and gone, I am in the fall spirit! :) The weather on campus has been 60-65 degrees each day, which has definitely helped me get into the autumn mood. With the fall comes some of my favorite flavors: pumpkin, apple, and maple! Today, I wanted to share the foods that I really want to try this fall... Let's get started!

~Pumpkin Spice Muffin (Tim Hortons): Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookie regardless of the season, so I am a huge fan of any type of baked pumpkin goodie. This one has actual pumpkin seeds stuffed inside, as well as a delicious cream cheese frosting. I gotta get one ASAP!

~Caramel Apple Pie Gelato (Talenti): I've had apple pie flavored ice cream before, and it is divine... So turning it into gelato would make it even better!

~Pumpkin Spice Pancakes (IHOP): One of the reasons I love IHOP is their special pancakes they come up with for holidays. These just look amazing and are perfect for fall!

~Pumpkin Spice Cheerios: My fave type of Cheerios is multi-grain, but I have had some really nice flavored Cheerios in the past. I wonder if these are any good...

~Maple Pecan Muffin (Starbucks): Ughhh this is making my mouth water just by thinking about it. I am a huge fan of maple things, and it is definitely one of the best fall flavors.

~Pumpkin Cheesecake (Ben & Jerry's): While I usually prefer warm things in fall to counteract the cool weather, this looks like it would taste very very good. So I will have to get it next time I am stressed :)

What fall flavored foods are on your "to-try" list? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post!

Jenna <3

Monday, September 24, 2018

Movie Review: Black Panther

Release date: February 16th, 2018

Rating: PG-13

Hey cupcakes! I feel like I haven't done a movie review post in awhile... But here I am doing one today! :P I was visiting my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago (he goes to school in another city about two hours away from me... sad), and we noticed that Netflix recently added Black Panther.

I personally had not seen it in theaters when it came out, so we decided to watch it. Now if you have seen my other superhero movie reviews (Wonder Woman, Avengers Infinity War) you will know that I am not a huge fan of the superhero genre. I remember everyone being OBSESSED with Black Panther, so I had some expectations.

Overall, while the movie did meet my expectations, it wasn't as stellar as I thought it would be. Yes, the graphics/animations/all of the cool technology were really cool, but it didn't like knock me off my feet or anything. The plot was decent, but I thought that the ending was so abrupt and kinda anti-climactic. The whole movie built up to the big fight scene, and then it was basically over in two seconds. The background/beginning got a little long and boring, so I think they should have utilized their time better in the film as a whole.

I think the costume designs were incredible, the music was pretty hype, and the female character representation was great, but I don't think I would sit down to watch this film again (because just like all superhero movies, it was wayyyy too long haha). But again, I have never been much of a superhero fan, so you would probably like it a lot if you were! :)

What did you think of Black Panther? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fashion: Cutest Fanny Packs on the Market

Hey cupcakes! The fanny pack trend has been taking the world by storm... While I personally am not a huge fan of this fashion statement, I have definitely seen some cute fanny packs online. I thought I would share my faves with you all today!

1. Colorblock Fanny Pack (Forever21, $16) - I love the two colors of this one! I think the design is very classy and would look with so many different looks.

2. Clear Holo Pack (Rue21, $15) - If you are a fan of the clear bag trend, this fanny pack is for you! I love how it is also iridescent/holographic; such a statement piece! :)

3. Sporty Fanny Pack (Charlotte Russe, $20) - This one gives me such Adidas vibes, so I think it would look great with a more casual look. 

4. Pineapple Pack (Amazon, $11) - I LOVE this one! It gives me such summer music festival vibes, so I would totally wear it whenever I needed a reminder of the hot months when I didn't have school ;)

5. Colored Fanny Pack (Amazon, $9) - This pack comes in soooo many colors; it definitely allows you to buy multiple for many outfits! 

Do you like the fanny pack trend? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post! 

Jenna <3

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Birth Control: How to Set Up/Use the Femometer!

Hey cupcakes! If you read the first post in my Birth Control series (which you definitely should read here if you haven't), you will know that I recently started the Basal Body Temperature method to track my ovulation cycle. For this second post, I wanted to share my experiences with setting up and using the Femometer in case you are looking to start tracking your own temperatures using a similar device. :) Let's jump right into it!

So, after unboxing my Femometer, I went on the app store and downloaded the app.

I love how sleek the logo is (plus people won't know what it is if they see my phone)! 

To set up your Femometer, you have to go through some very easy steps:
1. Open the app. It will prompt you to make an account. As well as making a username and password, the app will ask you questions about your typical period (such as average period length, etc.).
2. Now you get to pair your actual Femometer device to the app:

  • Make sure the Bluetooth on your phone is on! 
  • Open the thermometer (make sure it beeps once)
  • On the home screen of the app, click the little thermometer icon on the top left and follow the instructions.

  • It takes about 5 seconds for it to pair and then you are all set (it will remember the device if you turn off the Bluetooth on your phone too, which I love!)
With your device paired, you are all set to start tracking your temperatures. Hooray! I started tracking about two week ago on Sunday, September 2nd, and it is super duper easy! 

How To Track:
1. Take your temperature FIRST THING in the morning - do not get up, look at your phone, etc. To get more accurate results, you should also try to track at around the same time each day. I find it best to leave my Femometer on my bedside table, so I can reach for it right when I wake up :)

2. Open the thermometer (make sure it beeps!)

3. Place it in your mouth; my fav spot = under the right side of my tongue.

4. When you hear three consecutive beeps, the reading is complete! *Note: for the very first reading, this may take up to three minutes, but it takes less than a minute for all days after that!*

5. Close the thermometer (it will beep again!). 

6. To transfer the data, open the app and it will automatically sync your data (if Bluetooth is on). 

What I Think So Far:
-It is SO easy to use! The beep system is super helpful and doesn't require me to actually look/remember a number each morning.
-I found it very easy to integrate into my morning routine. After a couple days, it just becomes a habit. When reaching to turn off my alarm, I just grab my Femometer!
-It isn't a huge time commitment, which I love.
-I can already see the results! You can add all of your past period data into the calendar and there is a chart that updates each day so that you can visually see your temperature changes. I am super excited to continue to use this, so look forward to another Birth Control post at the month mark!

What do you think about temperature tracking? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Check out the other posts in my Natural Birth Control series here

Monday, September 17, 2018

School Supplies I Can't Live Without

Hey cupcakes! Now that the semester has started, I have gotten back into the swing of school. I actually enjoy learning and studying, so I thought I would share my "must-have" school supplies with you all today! These all allow me to do really well in my courses, so I hope they will inspire you to work hard this year :)

~Planner: I am a huge fan of an actual paper planner to keep track of my homework, meetings, work schedules, etc. While your phone can send you reminders, I like to have my week and following week laid out in front of me so that I can plan out my time in the most efficient way possible. If you want to see what specific planner I use, check out my Setting Up a New Planner 101 post!

~Highlighters: Highlighters are a lifesaver when you are doing long readings! Instead of taking notes from my textbooks, I have found that highlighting them will allow me to remember the main points when I am studying for exams (make sure they aren't rentals though!). You can also get multiple colors if you like :)

~Blank colored paper: This may seem like an odd one, but I love to use blank colored computer paper to make study guides for myself. I find that the color makes my brain remember it more!

~Spotify: While not technically a "school supply", Spotify is my go-to when I need to buckle down and be productive. I love listening to music soundtracks or nature sounds to stay focused.

~Colored pens: Some of my professors will print out the slides for the day (or I will print them if they are posted online), which means pencil looks too bland on the page. Using colored pens in bright colors is super beneficial to me, as I am able to remember things better.

What school supplies are your fav? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Friday, September 14, 2018

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats!

Hey cupcakes! Now that school has started, it is officially fall in my book ;) One of my favorite parts about this season are all of the delicious flavors. Today I wanted to share with you a classic twist on a traditional dessert we all grew up eating: pumpkin spice rice krispie treats!

What You Need:
- 4 cups mini marshmallows
- 6 cups rice krispie cereal
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (you can buy this or make it yourself)
- 1/8 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 tablespoons of butter

What To Do:
1. In a large bowl, melt your butter in the microwave.

2. Add the marshmallows and use 30 second increments to melt these also (stirring each time you remove it from the microwave).

3. Add your pumpkin puree to this melted mixture and stir together.

4. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

5. Stir in the rice krispie cereal!

6. Pour your treat mix into a greased 9 by 13 pan. It helps to use a sheet of parchment paper to press it into the pan (without getting it stuck on your fingers).

7. Allow them to cool and enjoy!

What is your fave fall snack? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Why the Salvation Army is the BEST Thrift Store

Hey cupcakes! As you could probably tell from my HUGE Collective Thrift Store Haul post, I went thrifting a lot this summer :) After deciding to live a lower waste lifestyle, I realized that you can buy some amazing clothes at the thrift store without buying new clothes that have a negative impact on the planet. Now that I am back at school, I haven't been able to thrift much... So, in order to subdue my longing haha, I decided to share why the Salvation Army is my favorite place to thrift.

1. Fair prices - Out of all the thrift stores I have frequented, Salvation Army (at least in my area) has the most fair prices. Even if you find new and like new items, there is only like a dollar or two difference compared to other clothes in the same section. I have noticed that stores like Goodwill and Plato's Closet can have higher prices for the same types of clothes, which makes the Salvation Army much better for my wallet! :)

2. Organized by color - The Salvation Army near me is organized by color... I LOVE this! It allows me to find items in the shades of the season. Some people would rather the store be organized by size, but as I mentioned in my Thrift Shopping Tips & Tricks post, sizes don't really matter in thrift stores. Also, I have been in a Salvation Army that organized by color AND size, which is the best of both worlds.

3. Easy layout - The Salvation Army always has long racks with items organized by type (such as short sleeve shirts, long skirts, etc.). Again, this makes it easier to find the specific clothes I am looking for.

4. Fitting rooms - While other thrift stores sometimes have fitting rooms, the Salvation Army always seems to have a lot of them. I have never had to wait to try on anything, which is a bonus! :)

5. Do good for the community - I worked for the Salvation Army and have a family friend who is a Salvation Army pastor, so I know just how much they do for the community... It is honestly incredible! A lot of the store workers are volunteers (unlike Goodwill), which allows them to use almost all of their money for the poor. I personally never shop at Goodwill because their profits don't always go to the right places, so I would recommend doing some research on the thrift stores around you to make purchases at the best companies.

6. Music! - Maybe this is a regional thing, but my Salvation Army plays the best music! The last time I walked into the store they were blaring "Honey, Honey" from Mamma Mia - yes please!

What is your favorite thrift store? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Monday, September 10, 2018

My College Morning Routine :)

Hey cupcakes! Now that the semester has officially started, I have been following my college morning routine again. I don't think I have ever really done a full morning routine post before, so I thought I would share it with you all today! There isn't anything special about it, but I hope you enjoy! :)

The first thing I do in the morning is turn off my alarm as it is blaring in my ear at 6:45 AM. I am a huge fan of getting up early; read my post about it here!

Then, I take my temperature using the Femometer. After the thermometer beeps to signal that the reading is over, I will get out of bed to start my day!

 To make sure my hair doesn't get in the way when I am getting ready, I brush it and tie it back in a quick bun. I brush my teeth using an electric toothbrush and Tom's of Maine toothpaste before washing my face.

I apply a spot treatment to any problem areas of my skin (I only use my apple cider vinegar toner at night!), and then pick out my outfit for the day. After going through my closet multiple times, I finally put on my clothes.

I apply natural deodorant (Tom's of Maine brand) and start styling my hair. As I barely ever apply heat to it, this usually means brushing it again and leaving it down (with a bit of hairspray in it). If I have more time or am feeling like I need to change it up, I will braid it or pull it into a ponytail.

Next stop: makeup! As I am going through my journey towards lower waste, I have reduced my makeup routine to only three products. First, I apply my e.l.f concealer to cover up any red spots I might have. I curl my eyelashes and apply a zero waste mascara I bought from CleanFacedCosmetics on Etsy. If I want to dress up for the day, this product also works as an eyeliner.

Lastly, I use my Neutrogena powder to finish off my look for the day! Time to head to class! :)

What is your morning routine? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fall Fashion: Fave Plaids

Hey cupcakes, happy Friday! With school starting, I have officially decided that it is fall here on my campus (lol even though it has been about 85 degrees the past four days). One of my favorite fall fashion trends has always been plaid, so I wanted to share some cute plaid pieces with you all today! :) Let's get started!

1. Traditional Plaid Shirt (Aeropostale, $20) - It seems like Aeropostale always has really cute "traditional" plaids and flannels, and I think this one is perfect for the fall!

2. Plaid Pants (Romwe, $16) - I am living for these pants right now!!! I think tie up shorts were super cute this summer, so why not extend that trend into the fall? :)

3. Mustard Plaid Top (Forever21, $20) - The colors of this shirt as sooo fall, which is why I love it so much. Plaids are usually reds and blues, so this one is definitely unique!

4. Belted Tunic (Rue21, $20) - I really like how this shirt is longer so that you can belt it and wear with some leggings. Pairing it with some tall boots would be such a fall look!

5. Oversized Plaid Shirt (Amazon, $15) - I like this plaid top because the print is much larger than usual plaids. Plus, it is definitely quite affordable!

What are your favorite plaids and flannels this year? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Birth Control: Femometer Unboxing!

Hey cupcakes! Today I will be talking about something that I have never talked about before here on The Chic Cupcake: birth control. As you all are well aware, I am on a journey towards living a lower waste lifestyle. To me, this has meant changing my habits to more sustainable practices for the planet. I have found that many products that are better for the earth also seem to be better for my own health too (less chemicals, healthier, etc.). After tackling multiple areas of my life along this journey, I wanted to find a more natural form of birth control and thought I would share this experience with you all!

As some background, I've always been wary of "traditional" birth control methods throughout my life.... These methods include IUDs, the Pill, etc. (however, I am a huge supporter of ALWAYS using a condom!!). I never wanted to be on something that stops ovulation or my period, because that doesn't seem natural to me at all. Plus, there are forms of birth control like Paraguard that are "hormone-free" but can lead to things like an excess amount of copper in your body. While these methods may be right for many of you (and there is nothing wrong with that!), I have always known that they are not right for me.

So, I have been practicing abstinence as a form of birth control. This has (obviously) been working, but I have now been looking into natural methods because I am in a serious long term relationship and don't want to be abstinent my whole life. Through my research, I knew that I wanted to try out the Basal Body Temperature method. This form of birth control requires you to take your temperature each morning, which will allow you to track when you are ovulating. You will then be able to either abstain from having sex or use other forms of protection (such as a condom) if there is any chance you may get pregnant. (If you have any interest in this method at all, check out a more detailed guide here!)

After doing way more research than I care to admit, I found that you can use basically any basal body thermometer for tracking. However, I wanted to find one that would do a more detailed tracking for me (as I am obviously new to this!). I stumbled upon the Femometer on Amazon ($29) and thought that this would be the perfect place to start this journey!

When I reached out to Bongmi, the company that makes the Femometer, they were kind enough to send me the product to try out.... And I wanted to share the unboxing of it with you all today as the first post in this Birth Control series. :)

First off, the packaging and design of this product is AMAZING. I received the package in about 5 or 6 days from when it was shipped, and the box was in a bubble mailer. The box itself totally reminds me of an iPhone for some reason!

The design of the thermometer itself is super sleek (it actually won a design award in 2016!), and it doesn't actually look like a thermometer until you open it... It reminds me of my portable power bank for my phone! I got the purple Femometer, but you can also purchase the pink version on Amazon as well.

This thermometer works with an app to do the tracking (they connect to each other through Bluetooth), and the app itself is easy to download and looks like it has a lot of cool features in it!

Because this journey towards natural birth control has just started, look forward to many more posts about the Femometer and my natural birth control journey in the near future! In about two weeks, I will be sharing with you my experience setting up the thermometer and app as well as taking readings for the first time - I hope you will take the time to read that post too! :)

What do you think about natural forms of birth control? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3

Check out the other posts in my Natural Birth Control series here

Monday, September 3, 2018

7 Reasons You Should be Getting up Early

Hey cupcakes! As someone who has never liked to stay up late, I have always tended to go to bed before midnight and wake up around 8 or 9. However, this summer I read the book Rise and Grind by Daymond John (yes, the guy from Shark Tank!), and it inspired me to start getting up early to seize the day. This summer, I woke up at 6 AM (or earlier) each day, and I wanted to share with you all the benefits that I have seen from doing this. :)

1. Keeps you on a schedule - I classify myself as a morning person, but there are plenty of "non-morning" people who get up early each day... SO, it is definitely possible for all types of people! Getting up early allows you to stay on track of your schedule, which means you will never be late to any events that you have planned for the day.

2. Makes you more motivated - Getting up early makes you feel like you accomplished something! Because you are up, you are more likely to keep that motivation alive throughout the day.

3. Starts your productivity right away - Because you are up early, there is extra time in the day for you to be productive! I have found that I am even most productive during the morning hours when my brain is working at its best. :)

4. Allows you to have some quiet time - The mornings are quiet because a lot of people are sleeping, which allows you to catch up on some "me time".

5. No traffic - An early morning means no traffic on the roads, in stores, for appointments, etc. Leverage this!

6. Extra time for things you didn't have time for before - For me, this was exercise! I would be too lazy or exhausted from my busy days at night, so now I have the opportunity to start my day with some exercise to keep my body healthy.

7. Gorgeous views - Even if you aren't up to see the sunrise, there are some gorgeous views in the morning!!!! Whether it be clouds, morning fog, etc. it is definitely worth it to check out Mother Nature when you get up early. :)
What are your own personal benefits of getting up early? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Jenna <3
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