Five Tips to Save on Beauty Spending in 2021

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life is full of the unexpected. Who could’ve imagined that it would be a year with a pandemic that brought uncertainty for jobs and income? As I approach graduation this May, I’ve been looking for ways to start saving knowing how important it is to have extra saved just in case.


I follow @moneywithkatie on Instagram who is a UA alum sharing tips on saving as a young woman. She pointed out earlier this month that women incur extra spending on beauty and personal care through things like manicures and makeup that men do not. She suggested taking a comprehensive look at how much you spend on personal care.


Looking back on this year, there are a few new habits that I’ve picked up that cut spending for me in this area, and I wanted to share in case you’re looking to as well. While I certainly would not claim to be a beauty blogger or expert by any means, I hope these tips help!


Learn to give yourself an at-home manicure

Pre-pandemic, I got my nails down consistently every three weeks. I really enjoyed this experience and made it a routine. I like having my nails done as it helps me feel more put together and looks nicer to me. 


Come week four of quarantine in April and businesses were shut down for the foreseeable future in Illinois, I began doing my own nails out of boredom. I can’t lie — it looked like a kindergartener painted them. I missed the precision and clean look that the salon gave me. Luckily with time on my hands, I repainted them every week or so and started to get the swing of it. I was reluctant to go many placed when Illinois began to open back up, so I continued this throughout the summer. 


I have not returned to the nail salon since March, and while I wouldn’t call myself a professional, I have gotten pretty good at doing my own nails every two weeks. It took lots of practice, but beside purchasing a $10 bottle of nail polish every six months or so, I have completely cut this area of spending. I do miss the salon and the experience but have easily saved more than $100 by picking up this skill on my own. 


My biggest recommendation with this is to practice and accept that you likely won’t be an expert right off the bat. I carved out time to do this on the weekends and would put on a show or movie while doing so. Another perk of using your own tools at home is that you can easily touch it up should you chip a nail too! 


Learn to pluck your own eyebrows

Plucking my own eyebrows is another skill I picked up in quarantine. While I did not get my eyebrows done consistently prior to the pandemic, a sweet sorority sister who lived next door to me would do them and I was always so impressed! I noticed that I needed to clean them up during quarantine and set out to learn to do them myself.


While this wasn’t a huge expense for me prior to quarantine, learning to do them myself has saved me money. My biggest recommendation for this is not over pluck and to find a tutorial on YouTube for the look you’re trying to achieve. This was a helpful video I watched when I was getting started. I have found that sometimes I have to do this in two parts to make sure I don’t overpluck and let the redness die down. 


Master the at-home blow out

I’ve talked about the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer before, but I will certainly talk about it again. I rarely use my straightener these days and almost entirely rely on my hair dryer. I watched several TikToks to learn how to style my hair using it and am also considering getting curlers to add some extra volume too.


If you’re looking to save on hot tool products, I think investing in the Revlon is worth it. It’s currently 30% off and dries, straightens and adds a bit of curl all at the same time. I also use it when my hair is completely dry to touch it up and add some volume. The best part? It dries my hair in about 10 minutes. Purchasing the Revlon rather than a blow dryer, straightener, curling iron, etc, would save money if you’re going for a blowout look.


Use Sun In for natural highlights

I have never dyed my hair or gotten highlights, but made my hair much lighter using Sun In. This heat activated product is under $4 and will last months. I spray it toward my roots after showering and then dry my hair. I started noticing results a few weeks later, and after consistent use my hair is much blonder than it used to be. If you already color your hair, I would recommend waiting until it grows out before trying the spray.


I only use it to touch up my roots now but was impressed by how much of a change the product made. If you’re looking to lighten your hair or give yourself natural highlights, I definitely recommend Sun In for an inexpensive way to do so.


Invest in good self-tanner

I’ve been using self-tanner on-and-off for a few years now and used to opt for Jergens because of its affordable price. I found that I had to apply multiple layers for it to show up and required constant maintenance. I decided to try the St. Tropez after hearing reviews from my friends and other bloggers. 


After seven months of using the St. Tropez, I would definitely recommend this brand instead. Though it is more expensive, one bottle lasted six months compared to the Jergens which I felt only lasted around two months. The St. Tropez only requires one layer and lasts much longer which makes the bottle last longer and gives a more natural, even glow in my experience. Despite the higher price tag, investing in a higher quality product in this case will help save money in the long run (and more natural too!).


I hope you found something in this list that you’re interested in trying or sparked an idea of additional ways to save. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you picked up during quarantine too!


Three Types of Agendas for 2021

The new year is (finally) almost upon us! In addition to a fresh start, we also get to turn the page in our agendas. There are many new agendas out just in time for Jan. 1, so I wanted to share a few in case you’re in the market for a new one like me.


My agenda has had many functions throughout the past few years. In high school, I loved my Lilly Pulitzer agenda and its compact size to fit in my bag. I transitioned to a Day Designer in college to help me manage my day and my to-do list, which changed every day. Come 2020 and a year of changed plans and unpredictability, I now find myself using a combination of an online calendar for my schedule and a physical agenda for a daily and weekly to-do list and notable events or due dates. 


No matter what function your agenda serves in your life, there are plenty of styles out there to fit every need. I’ve rounded up a few for the new year based on design, so I hope you enjoy and find one that is perfect for your upcoming year.


Detailed Daily Schedule and To-Do List

If you’re someone who likes to write everything down and plan your day by the hour, a detailed daily schedule and to-do list may be the right fit for you. In addition to a monthly layout, the Day Designer and Simplified Planner have a two-column layout with the schedule on the left and a to list on the right. 


I’ve had four Day Designers in the past and really like the layout. You can set goals and reminders on the top of the page and write notes and a daily gratitude at the bottom. The Simplified Planner has the daily schedule and to-do list toward the top and the bottom of the page dedicated to notes. The Day Designer has a cleaner look while the Simplified Planners are more colorful. Many of the 2021 Simplified Planners are sold out, so check them out soon if you’re interested in snagging one!


Having a full page dedicated to each day helped me feel like I could write anything and everything down no matter how big the task, and the daily schedule was helpful in my earlier college days when everyday looked different depending on classes, meetings, errands, etc. Fair warning: because the planner has so many pages, these planners can be heavy in your backpack. You can get 15% off your purchase on the Day Designer site through tonight with code BYE2020.


Monthly and Weekly Overview

If you don’t need a full page for each day and want to see your whole week at once, an Erin Condren, weekly Day Designer or myAgenda may be a better fit for you. This format has both a monthly and weekly view to help visualize everything going on during the week.


The Erin Condren planners are popular because of their ability to be personalized. The covers come in many fun prints and colors, and you can also add your name or monogram as well. So fun!


I picked up a weekly Day Designer at Target last winter and am so glad I did! In this year of Zoom links and changing plans, a written daily schedule no longer fit my needs. Having a week at a glance and monthly view helped me more easily view what needed to be accomplished during the week and see what’s up.


My friend has a myAgenda and I am considering trying it out this year! I like that this weekly view is read from left to right rather than up to-down (sounds weird, but I appreciate that it parallels the monthly format). You can also personalize these agendas for an additional cost, and they are currently on major sale.


Dateless pages

If you have a superb memory and don’t write everything down, a dateless agenda may be a better fit for you. These are great for people who don’t need an agenda every day but still could use an agenda. These agendas have a similar design to those previously mentioned, but the pages are not dated so you don’t have to feel guilty about not using all the pages. For this format, I’d recommend the Day Designer or Evelyn Henson agendas.


The Today & To-Do Day Designer agenda is less expensive than the dated version and has a monthly and weekly view. The monthly view is split into two columns with a place to put events and activities on the left and a to-do list on the right. These come in three pretty colors and are rather professional looking in my opinion.


For a more fun and colorful option, I would recommend the undated weekly/monthly Evelyn Henson agenda. It is similar to the Day Designer in the weekly and monthly format but differs in that the weekly layout is not formatted into the two columns. 


There are a plethora of agenda options out there, but I hope this post provided some inspiration for your new agenda to fit your needs. I’m not sure which I will choose yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know once I do. I’d love to hear which you decide on too!


After Christmas Sale Round Up

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! While Christmas was just yesterday, I wanted to share a few after Christmas and end-of-year sales going on in case you’re looking to snag a few more items in 2020 or find something extra for someone on your list. I included a few of my favorite finds above and included more sales to check out below.   


Addison Bay: 30% with code BYE2020 at checkout

Aerie: Up to 60% off

Anthropologie: Extra 40% off sale items 

Athleta: Up to 60% off

Barrington Gifts: 10% + free shipping with code SECRETSAVINGS

Bauble Bar: Up to 80% off sale

CROSBY by Mollie Burch:  40% off everything, including sale items

Draper James: Extra 40% off on sale styles 

H&M: Up to 50% off sale styles

J. Crew Factory: Extra 50% off clearance with code HELLOSALE

J. Crew: Extra 70% off 3+ sale styles, extra 60% off 2 sale styles, extra 50% off 1 sale style with code BIGSALE     


Lisi Lerch: 50% off almost everything + free shipping

LOFT: Extra 50-70% off sale styles

Old Navy: Up to 75% off storewide

Target: 50% off women’s sweaters

Vineyard Vines: Up to 70% off all sale styles with code GOODLIFE


Happy shopping!


Monday Mix No. 31

Happy Tuesday! Now that I’m officially on break, I feel like it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s… I’m not sure what date it is! Hence, the Monday Mix coming to you on a Tuesday ;)


I’ve been cozy at home this past week preparing for Christmas, which you’ll see come through in the pieces I chose for this week’s mix. It’s safe to say I’ve been relaxing, doing some shopping, wrapping presents and watching loads of Christmas movies. The pieces I selected for this week fit that plan perfectly, so if you’re on a similar schedule I hope you love this mix!


One style I’ve fully embraced in 2020 is loose, comfy dresses. I was thrilled to find this affordable and comfortable dress that would be great for a holiday at home. It would help you feel dressed up while still being ideal for napping on the couch. What could be better?


I’ve been wearing my holiday tartan mask whenever I leave the house recently, and I was excited to see this pair is currently 25% off with code SHOPNOW. I always get compliments on my tartan mask and think it’s an easy way to add some festivity to your look.


I have to admit I’ve been enjoying staying in my PJs much more while I’ve been home, but it is nice to put on a real outfit too, haha. These fleece joggers are fun and would be a perfect middle ground between PJs and a real outfit. It’s been pretty chilly here in Chicago, so I like that these are practically like wearing a blanket.


If you’re looking to jazz up an outfit a bit more for your Christmas dinner, look no further than these fun reindeer earrings. They are currently only $20 and would add a pretty sparkle to any look. This would also make a great stocking stuffer or gift for a friend too.


Can you tell I have cozy on the brain?! Today is the last day to order from Lands’ End for guaranteed delivery by Christmas, and these personalized slippers are on major sale. They’d make a great gift for your mom, grandmother or even yourself! I can almost always be found wearing slippers when at home and I like that you can add a personal touch to these.


I hope you have a wonderful week and are enjoying getting in the holiday spirit!


Monday Mix No. 30

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. I enjoyed watching a great Alabama win, picking out our family Christmas tree and watching Christmas movies. I have a few things to finish up for school this week, and I hope if you’re in the midst of finals that they go well!


Today’s Monday Mix includes a few items I’ve been loving recently and a few items that are great prices worth sharing. I hope you enjoy!


This pink sweater is really similar to a white one I have, and it’s only $25. I love the color and think the sleeves are fun and different. H&M sweaters seem to be selling out pretty quickly this year, so if you’re interested I would snatch it up while it’s in stock.


I snagged this headband during the J. Crew Cyber Week sale and love how perfect it is for the holidays. I wore it over the weekend to pick out our tree and am confident I will wear it frequently this holiday season. If you’re looking for a Christmas-y headband, this one is a classic and great quality.


I also wore my new J. Crew tartan mask. It has a cute frill detailing on the edges and fits nicely. It comes in a pack of two, so my mom and I split the package so we could both have a holiday mask. 


I ordered this sweater after seeing it on a few bloggers’ Instagrams and have to say it is worth the hype. It’s really stretchy and comfortable, and I like that the sleeves are fitted. The length works well with leggings or jeans too. You can apply a coupon for $2 off at checkout too.


This top is so festive and perfect for holidays spent at home. Pair it with jeans or leather leggings and I think you’d feel dressed up for the holidays without compromising comfort. Get 50% off and free shipping with code JOY.


I’ve talked about Teleties before, but I just found out you can also get them on Amazon. I only use these hair ties and love how comfortable they are. This would be a great gift for under $10 or make a great stocking stuffer. If you are looking for more gifts under $10 be sure to check out my Gift Exchange Gift Guide on the blog.


I hope you have a wonderful week! 


Gift Exchange Gift Guide

Happy Friday! I’m sure I’m not the only to be relieved it’s the weekend. I had multiple final projects due this week, so I’m excited for a relaxing weekend full of Christmas movies and Alabama football.


One gift guide I am really excited to pull together this holiday season is list for a gift exchange. These can be tough, especially when you want to get something thoughtful that they’ll actually use. I rounded up a variety of products that are all under $25. A few of them can also be personalized by color too, making them versatile for those who are harder to shop for.


I can almost guarantee a waffle maker will be a unique gift at a gift exchange! I found this snowflake one for under $10 and think it would be such a fun surprise. In a season when going out to brunch is no longer the norm, this would be fun for creating brunch right at home.


The headband trend is great in my opinion because it’s easy to find ones that are affordable. This pink velvet headband is perfect for winter and also comes in a pretty deep bluish-purple color. It’s on sale today for under $10.


If there is one item I seem to always dig for in my backpack, it’s my AirPods. This case hooks right onto a key chain and comes in over ten colors. Though it’s $11, I think it would make a versatile gift for someone who may be harder to shop for.


Where are my seltzer girls at?! I love Truly Lemonades and have admittedly wanted a Brumate for a while. Slip your seltzer can in so you don’t have to hold a chilly can and you’re good to go! These also come in tons of colors and are under $20.

Shopping for a gift exchange that includes guys? A Yeti mug would be a great contribution that I can guarantee will be well used. I got one for my mom for Mother’s Day this year, and she uses it every day. This is another item that comes in many colors and is $25.


A classic mug is another fool-proof gift. These fun initial mugs from Target are really cute and personal. They are $5 making them inexpensive and could easily hold some yummy candy or a $5 gift card inside for a $10 price limit.


I’m a firm believer everyone needs an ice roller in their freezer, ha! I use mine almost every day and can feel how my face is less puffy afterward. This is another $25 gift that I think would be well-loved by any recipient.


Candles are a classic gift exchange choice. This pink grapefruit soy candle is under $25 and has glowing reviews. It has over 60 hours of burn time and is hand-poured. This is another gift that would be enjoyed beyond the holiday season.


If you know who you’re shopping for, this Evelyn Henson sticker set may be a great choice! The set is $6 and has yummy images of avocado toast, coffee and a charcuterie board. How fun?!


Mask-wearing will continue for the foreseeable future, and a mask chain would make a great gift that would get good use. This simple and elegant gold one is under $20 and would be versatile for different styles and age groups.


Though I love my Trulys, I love a good cocktail too. These fun citrus stirrers are under $20 and would be a fun gift for a friend.


I hope this post helps you in your gift exchange present planning this holiday season or added some inspiration for future ones!

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