Monthly Archives

January 2016

Fashion

Cozy Winter Outfit

January 27, 2016

cozy winter outfitSweater: Madewell (similiar 1, 2) // Headband: Echo // Gloves: Club Monaco (final sale) // Pants: Madewell (final sale) // Boots: UGG 

Yes. It is cold out. The temperature is pretty much a daily conversation at school these days. I feel bad for the classmates experiencing extremely cold temperature for the first time. Growing up in Minnesota has taught me a thing or two about surviving long cold winters. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Hibernate! Plan your schedule strategically to limit the amount of outside exposure. This quarter I have all of my classes stacked on Mondays, Wednesday, and Thursdays, so I’m able to stay home if there are no meetings or get-togethers during other days of the week. If you work full-time, run your errands after work so that you can Netflix and chill on the weekends.
  • Ditch the heels. This is common sense. The streets will be icy, so there is a high chance of slipping and falling. Get a pair of UGG or SOREL.
  • Bundle up. Winter accessories–hats, scarves, gloves, leg warmers–are a must! Down jackets are amazing–super light yet extremely warm. Forget about looking good. If it’s super windy out, all you will see are my eyes while the rest of my face is wrapped up.
  • Plan a vacation. The winters will be long, so plan a getaway to look forward to and pray that your flight won’t be canceled due to weather.

Let me know where you live and how the winter is going for you! I hope all of my east coast friends are staying warm and safe.

cozy winter outfit

cozy winter outfit

cozy winter outfit

cozy winter outfit

cozy winter outfit

Shop This Look:

Beauty, Hair

Dry Shampoo Saves the Day

January 23, 2016

dry shampoo

I used to wash my hair daily because it gets greasy after just one day, but some shampoo brands can strip away essential oil and cause damages. I started experimenting with dry shampoo a couple years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Not only is dry shampoo the lazy person’s solution to hair washing, but many are great styling tools that will add extra volume and texture. This has been a savior to my hair, which can look dull, thin and limp in the winter.

First of all, what is dry shampoo? Dry shampoo comes in spray or powder form and cleans hair without water. The ingredients absorb oil from the hair and scalp, leaving it looking and feeling clean again. It is not meant to replace hair washing, because it absorbs oil but does not clean out the dirt. It should be used to lengthen the time between washes, save time, and extend a blow out.

I have tried countless dry shampoo over the years and here are some of my favorites:

  • Best for Volume and Texture: Toni&Guy Texture Dry Shampoo and Living Proof Dry Shampoo both add tremendous amount of volume and provide a matte finish. If I had straightened my hair the day before, I will leave my hair as is and tease the roots to give it a little more volume. If my hair is a hot mess, then I will add some curls to it. The Living Proof product is my favorite dry shampoo ever, but it is pricer so the Toni&Guy is a great alternative.
  • Best Price: If you’re trying out dry shampoo for the first time, don’t spend too much money on it because there are great budget alternatives. The Batiste Dry Shampoo is a cult favorite and sold in every store (Nordstrom, Target, Walmart, Sephora, etc!) The TRESemme Fresh Start Basic Care is a new product I’ve been trying. Both products will absorb oil and make the hair look clean and fresh, but will not add as much volume and texture as the Living Proof and Toni&Guy.
  • Best for Travel: Many of the spray cans are over the TSA 3oz limit, and even the travel size have been flagged for inspection, especially during some of my international flights. Now I only travel with the Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo because it’s in powder form. Even though the bottle is already small, I always transfer the powder to a smaller travel container, and the product inside will last me a couple of weeks. It does not add any volume, but it will absorb all of the oil. Another negative is some difficulty in using it. I’m so used to the ease of spray cans, but with this product I have to put some on my palm first and then rub it all over my scalp. I always get powder on my clothes, so you need to be more careful using this.

Let me know if you have a favorite dry shampoo product! Has anyone tried the Bumble and Bumble Powder? It’s the next product I want to try!

Beauty, Skincare

5 Must Have Skincare Products This Winter

January 17, 2016

IMG_4450 (1)

I am back in Minnesota for the long MLK weekend and the high today is -7 degrees Fahrenheit! If you live in cold climate, it is especially important to take care of your skin in the winter. People often experience dry, itchy and dull skin in the winter, but the good news is there are lots of products out there to help! The two essential steps are to exfoliate and moisturize. During the winter months, I change up my skincare products in these steps. Here are some of my favorite products:

Exfoliate: The Key to Glowing Skin

  • Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque – This Amazonian clay cleansing mask is ideal for normal to oily skin to draw out oil, dirt, and toxins that clog the pores. It also helps eliminate dead skin so the skin will look clear and renewed.
  • Sara Happ Lip Scrub – My lips get very dry in the winter. Even though I always apply lip balm (best lip mask ever), dead skin block absorption so it is important to use a scrub to remove all of the dead skin to ensure products can sink in. This is one of my favorite lip scrubs because it is gentle on my skin.

Moisturize: Deep Hydration

  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster – An antioxidant-rich brightening and nourishing serum that contains vitamin C. Vitamin C support natural collagen production, brighten, and minimize fine lines. I apply this only in the morning, followed by an SPF moisturizer.
  • Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil – This is absolutely my favorite skincare product that has made a difference on my skin during the winter. It took me a while to try it out because I was worried about applying oil on my face, but this is a lightweight oil that deeply hydrate and treat skin, hair, and nails.
  • Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask – This was a new discovery last month and I have been using it every night. It is an overnight, quick-absorbing gel that strengthens the skin barrier by locking in moisture. It contains the blend of 9 essential oils to create a smoothing effect. When I wake up in the morning, my skin feels hydrated and plump. I also love applying a couple pumps of this right before a flight.

Those are my winter must-haves. Let me know your favorite winter skincare products!

Fashion

Winter Survival in Cocoon Coat

January 11, 2016

JCrew Cocoon Coat Bebe Sweater Dress Cole Haan HeelsCoat: J.Crew // Dressbebe // Shoes: Cole Haan (similiar) // Earrings: Nadri (similar)

Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. The temperature in Chicago will drop down to 4°F (-15°C) tomorrow! My new coat from J.Crew has been keeping me warm this winter. This was an early Christmas gift from my husband. We ordered it around Thanksgiving because of the holiday discount and I knew the color I want will quickly go out of stock! If you’re wondering what’s the fun in knowing what I will get for Christmas–trust me, after years together it’s better for the both of us if I pick out the “big” items. No stress on him, and no effort on my part to return/exchange. Plus he still gets the credit and loves that I am obsessed with this coat. The colors pale ginger (what I’m wearing) and a gorgeous mint shade went out of stock early November but I kept checking the website multiple times a day and finally one of the days I saw my size back in stock (probably a return) and of course I ordered it immediately! This J.Crew coat is a very popular style and has been around since 2006. I know people who have these in multiple colors. According to the website, this season the coats were made slightly longer with bigger pockets. I like these changes since I want more of my body to be covered. J.Crew always have this coat in the traditional colors, but if you want one of the limited edition colors, you’ll need to order before Thanksgiving next season! This peachy color makes me happy and it stands out!

I also love this sweater dress from bebe. It’s super warm and comfortable, and I can wear it casually or dress it up with some accessories.

Have a wonderful week and I hope you all stay warm!

JCrew Cocoon Coat

JCrew Cocoon Coat

JCrew Cocoon Coat Bebe Sweater Dress

JCrew Cocoon Coat

JCrew Cocoon Coat

JCrew Cocoon Coat

Bebe Ballet Neck Tunic Sweater

Bebe Ballet Neck Tunic Sweater

Cole Haan Suede Bootie Black

Cole Haan Suede Bootie Black

IMG_4228

Shop this Look:

Life, Lifestyle, Misc

2015 Highlights and 2016 Goals

January 5, 2016

collage2015

Hello 2016! I know I’m a little late, but I’ve been super busy transitioning back to school. My one month winter break was wonderful but went by way too fast! I had a great time with family and friends in Minnesota and soaked in some sun in Costa Rica. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year. I love spending the new year reflecting back on the past year’s highlights and starting the new year with a clean slate of things I look forward to!

2015 Highlights:

  • Starting Ditch the Heel was one of my proudest accomplishments. When I first started, my goal was to share my passions and I thought only my close friends and family will read it. Now 6 months later, I have over 3500 subscribers/followers across my channels and I have collaborated with several brands. I am learning every single day! I’ve also made many blogger friends and we share stories about our Instagram husband, juggling blog/school/full-time job, etc. It feels like a sisterhood and I love all of the support we give each other!
  • I love to travel and was fortunate enough to visit many places in 2015: Turkey, China, Japan, Costa Rica, North Carolina, Washington DC, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Oregon, and California. My favorites were visiting my husband in Turkey and our West Coast anniversary trip.
  • I was not a fan of raw seafood until I traveled to Japan. During my one week visit, I had sushi almost every day and even tried raw crab (and it was amazing!). This is a great reminder to always try new food because you may end up loving it!
  • I am loving my graduate school journey and the endless opportunities! Last year I was selected for the Super Bowl Ad Review, where a group of students watched the Super Bowl together to review all the ads based on a framework we learned in class. There were reporters and media networks there, which created a lot of excitement. I also competed in an international case competition and my team took 2nd place at the final round in NYC. It was a great opportunity to practice presenting to a large group of people and I learned a lot about leveraging each other’s strengths during a time crunch.
  • My brother got a puppy @baltosf and I’ve loved seeing it transition from a shy, scared puppy that hid under the bed when I first visited into an energetic, happy puppy that loves to meet new people and explore his surroundings. I just love him and I wish I could see him every day!

Every year I think about new year resolutions, but this year I focused more on my personal goals and things I look forward to in 2016.

2016 Goals:

  • One item on my bucket list is to compete in a triathlon, but I don’t know how to swim! I did take a couple private lessons in 2015, but learned only the very basics. My instructor didn’t even teach me how to tread water. I would like to continue with group swimming lessons in the Spring.
  • It’s surprising that I have never traveled to Europe (unless you count Turkey), so after my graduation this summer I am planning a Europe trip with my husband. We are thinking 2-3 countries, but haven’t decided which ones. I would love to hear your suggestions if you’ve traveled anywhere in Europe!
  • My husband and I are living apart while I attend graduate school. The #1 thing we look forward to is settling down so we can plant our roots. I can’t wait to find a permanent home where we could live the next few years and furnish it with nice things!

I would love to hear your 2016 goals/resolutions and what are your favorite countries to visit in Europe!