The Classic Brunette

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Sweaters Under $50

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Y'all this week has been rough to say the least. It all started on Saturday where I was kind of feeling a cold coming on, but didn't want to admit it. Then Sunday the illness hit me like a sack of bricks. I had a fluctuating fever that went all the way up to 102.4 and was just out of commission that whole day. I seriously didn't get out of bed because my body couldn't afford to make that much of an effort. I barely got any sleep, and obviously, didn't get the chance to write a blog post for Monday.

And it wasn't all that better the next day, or the day after that. I slowly lost the fever, although still held on to most of the other symptoms of the cold. On Tuesday night I was feeling better and thought that I could make it to class the next morning, but unfortunately my cold somehow turned into pink eye. So I asked one of my roommates if she would drive me over to the health center to confirm and then get some medication to finally be on the mend. So instead of going to class as planned I stayed at home once again since pink eye is extremely contagious! I never really like to miss class, but I'm thankful that I haven't missed anything big this week. I'm going to school to take a midterm today and then leave as quickly as possible and then hopefully by Friday this whole illness/pink eye business will be mostly cured!

So, on a different note...I decided to do a shorter post today on a few of my favorite budget sweaters for fall. I love doing little roundups, and thought it would be a nice rest from the longer posts I've been putting out recently. All these beauties are under $50 and are perfect for the cooler months to come. I also added a few lighter options for those of you who are still dealing with summer-like weather (like this girl right here, Wednesday was 95!).

Which sweater is your favorite?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Morning Routine

Let's preface this whole post by saying that I'm generally not a morning person. While I love to sleep in, that hasn't really been an option since my internal alarm clock always wakes me up around 8am every day. I blame it on the job I had this summer where I had to start every day at 7am! So my sleeping in is limited to the weekends (when I'm lucky enough to fall back asleep). Waking up early does have its advantages though, because I tend to be more productive when I get my butt out of bed earlier in the morning! And with the cooler weather coming in I love getting cozy in the mornings by lighting a fall candle and looking out of my window to a nice gray sky (my favorite!) while hanging out in my comfy PJs.

This is the general routine I stick to on weekday mornings when I have classes. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have a class from 9-9:50 so the schedule just gets pushed back an hour or so until I come back home. On weekends I do try to sleep in a little bit, but lately I haven't been able to fall back asleep past 9:30!

8:00 am Wakeup

Like I said, my internal alarm is set to somewhere between 8-8:30am, so getting up this early isn't all that difficult when I wake up on my own. I normally spend a few minutes just laying in bed, stretching a little, and adjusting to waking up. I normally like to keep a water bottle on my nightstand to drink from, since I'm always so thirsty in the morning! Once I make it out of bed I light one of my candles to get myself in a cozy mood. Lately this pumpkin cupcake scent has been my favorite. 

Also, yes, that is a Fluffy stuffed animal. I just got it as a gift from my Dad when my family went to Harry Potter World in Florida a few weeks ago. It's so cute and it makes a snoring sound that scares the bajeezus out of our dog Mowgli, it's pretty funny to watch him get mad at it! I like to keep it on my bed though as a nice little reminder of home. :)

8:15 am Brush Teeth/Wash Face

I honestly really look forward to washing my teeth and face in the morning. I love when my mouth feels extra clean, and sleeping always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. So after I light my candle I head straight for the sink to brush and mouthwash. 

After brushing my teeth I'll reach for my facial cleanser. I was recently gifted the Clarisonic Mia 2 Deep Pore Kit and I've been using it for two weeks now every day. I've been putting this little device through the ringer lately since my skin has been extra stressful due to midterms and papers! Normally during midterm season I get a lot more acne than normal and my skin starts to lose its natural "glow" so to speak. Although using the Clarisonic definitely didn't stop all the pimples from popping up (what can ya do?) it did still make my face look and feel better than I had been expecting. The kit came with a daily facial cleanser as well as a clay mask, and I've been switching between the two each day and I love them both!

The device is so gentle on the skin, and that's saying something because for some reason I was terrified the Clarisonic was going to rip off a layer of skin, don't ask me why. Anyway, my fear was totally irrational and using it feels just like you're rubbing in a face scrub, although the device does all the cleansing work for you. The Mia 2 has a pre-set timer for one minute, and washing my face has seriously never been easier/quicker. I think this would be the perfect gift for yourself if you're in the market for a new facial cleansing system, especially if you have sensitive skin and are afraid of devices that are too aggressive!

After washing my face I sometimes like to hop in the shower and rinse my face, but if I decide not to shower or it's the day where I have my 9am class I'll just rinse my face in the sink to get the remainder of the cleanser off. Then, because my skin is on the dryer side I also use a little non-scented lotion on my face to rehydrate after using my Clarisonic.

P.S. If you're tempted to buy one of these little life savers they're 15% off through the end of October with the code HERCAMPUS!

8:30 am Apply Makeup

I definitely don't wear a full face of makeup everyday, but I do wear eyeshadow, mascara and occasionally lipstick on a regular basis. It really doesn't take me that long to go through my makeup routine, since I typically do the same daytime look. It may take me an extra minute or two if I do something different, but my makeup routine normally lasts me under 5 minutes each morning. My go to look is a few of the neutral shades from my Naked Palette and then a few swipes of Urban Decay's Perversion mascara.

8:35 am Eat Breakfast

I love carbs at all hours of the day, but mostly during breakfast. Potatoes, toast, bagels, etc I will eat it. Normally I have some form of carbs and some sort of fruit in the morning if I have the time to actually make a meal for myself. On the days where I'm running out the door I'll either quickly eat a bowl of cereal (Weetabix or Captain Crunch if you're curious!) or grab a Luna Bar. 

9:00 am Blog Work

I like to spend at least a small part of my morning catching up with blog stuff. I'll start by checking and answering emails from my work email and then move into social media. I go through my Facebook groups, go through Instagram and engage with other bloggers, and comment on other blogs. If I've launched a post that day (every Monday and Thursday, woohoo!) then I'll promote the post on social media a few times in the morning. If I have a lot of extra time I'll start taking Instagram photos for the next few days while the sun isn't too harsh coming through my bedroom window. Sometimes I just am overwhelmed with blog work, and I have to start working on it as soon as I get up or I'll push back a few things to make sure I get caught up on everything that needs to be done!

10 am Get Dressed and Prep For Class

I normally either have my outfits planned ahead of time if I want to look a little more put together or have something special going on that day, or I just throw on a pair of leggings and a comfy top if I'm headed out for a long day of classes or errands. Right after I get dressed I head downstairs pack up my backpack or purse with whatever notebooks and supplies I need and I'm off for the day!

What's your typical morning routine?

This post is sponsored by Clarisonic and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Classic Brunette possible!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Money Saving Tips For College Students

Sometimes it's rough being a college student when you're trying to save money. There's always people going out to dinner, friends inviting you to go out shopping, and the temptation to spend money on anything cute, fun, or delicious without a second thought. I'll be the first one to admit that I'm a cheap person who likes to spend money. You may be thinking "Huh? That doesn't make sense, Sami." But it does, I promise! I love buying new things, I love going out to dinner, and I love to buy pumpkins and flowers from the grocery store just as a little pick me up. But, I also am very frugal about my spending and always look for discounts, deals, and any possible way I can save money on anything. I don't like to deny myself what makes me happy (like a bouquet of flowers on a not so great Monday) but I also don't want to be running out of money, because, well, I need that to pay for college! So I thought today would be the perfect time to share a few of my money saving tips that are perfect for all you other college students! Fun fact, most of these tips work for everyone else too! :)

Ask For Student Discounts

This is my favorite tip, because there are so many places that offer student discounts. My favorite places to use my student discount is at the movies, when I'm out shopping at the mall, and if I go out to dinner. You never really know if a place has a student discount unless you ask since most places don't advertise it. I only figured out that my movie theatre offers a discount when one of the ticket salesmen asked if I was a student. And since going to the movies is one of my favorite ways to reward myself for a good week (or to help me unwind after a stressful one) I've saved so much money with the discount I get. Even if you're only saving 10% on your purchase, you're still spending less money! 

Survey Websites and Apps

If you have a lot of free time, this tip will be great for you! Last year I realized that there are websites/apps where you can take surveys, earn points, and eventually exchange those points for cash. Whenever I have a moment of free time I check out the websites to see if there's anything I can fill out for a little spare change. I only like to use places that give cash instead of gift cards (my personal preference) so the site I use is Opinion Outpost and the app I use is Surveys On The Go. Opinion Outpost gives you a designated amount of points for each survey depending on how long it is and what it's about. When you reach 100 points you can exchange it for $100 through Paypal. I believe you can exchange a smaller amount of points for a gift card, but I just prefer cash! For the app there is a dollar amount assigned to each survey, and most of them are pretty short! Some options may require you to do something like go try a meal at a local restaurant, but you'll be compensated a lot more for those ones. Even if you don't qualify for a survey you'll still be paid .10¢! All you have to do is make it to $10 for payout.

Meal Prep

I like to meal prep a week's worth of meals in advance so I don't run into the "I don't want to cook, so I might as well go out" scenario. My roommate and I normally spend Saturday morning/afternoon prepping our meals together (buddy system!) listening to music and cooking away! A few things I really like to prep ahead of time are soups, stews, taco meat, breakfast potatoes, marinated meat, and vegetable sides. It's so easy and it saves me time so I don't have to do much actual cooking during the week and money because I won't feel like I have to eat out. Plus it's a good way of making sure you don't waste the food you buy at the grocery store. I have the problem where I'll buy a good amount of meat and end up throwing half of it away since it goes bad before I get the chance to cook it!

Write A Grocery List and Buy Wholesale

I'm probably not the only one who gets a little distracted when I get into the grocery store. If I'm hungry I'll go on a rampage buying everything and anything that looks appetizing. This is an issue because 1) I'll be wasting money on food I really don't need and 2) I'll most likely forget what I came to the store to buy in the first place. I like to go through my fridge and pantry before heading to the grocery store and check what things I'm out of, what I think I want to eat for the week, and write it all down on a note in my phone. That way I can keep that open while I shop and not spend all my money on things I don't need! Obviously I'll buy something if it really looks good, but I want to make sure my budget is getting spent on the necessities first! I also like to buy as much as I can wholesale, mostly at Costco, and split items with roommates when possible. The easiest things to buy wholesale are meats, bread, frozen meals, and fruits/veggies!

Pay With Cash When Possible

There are obviously times when paying with credit card is a must (like when you're online shopping...) but I like to pay with cash as much as possible. I always know how much money I've put into my wallet, and can easily tell how quickly I'm spending when I look into my wallet and see that there isn't anything there, haha! It's a simple trick, but when I actually have a visual of how much money I have, I'm less likely to spend it!

Save Your Change 

Once a week I like to take 90% of my change and put it in a vase in my room. It's amazing how much change you can amass over a week's time (especially when you're paying in cash). You can even go one step further and start putting every $5 bill you get in your change jar/vase as well. I don't recommend putting $1 bills in because they're pretty common and also really necessary for doing cash transactions! $5 bills are harder to come by, so if you stick all (or even a few) of the ones you come across in your little savings jar you'll have a small fortune in no time!

What are your favorite money saving tips?

You might want to check out my post on setting a budget as well if you're really interested in making a savings plan for yourself!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How I Professionally Whiten My Teeth Featuring Smile Brilliant

I don't know about you, but a good, bright smile is one of the first things I notice about a person. It's the accessory we all wear everyday, and it's something we all try to take care of in one way or another. We all brush our teeth, floss (at the minimum a few days after our dentist scolds us for not doing so), and use mouth wash to try and make our smiles as healthy and pretty as possible, but often times that still won't help if you want a bright white smile. We eat and drink things that stain our teeth, and I'm on a mission to keep my pearly whites, well...pearly white. This is especially relevant to me now since I've been steadily drinking more coffee based drinks while in college and don't want coffee stained teeth! 

Now I've been attempting to whiten my teeth for many years now with varying results. I've used white strips that make my mouth feel slimy, I've used whitening toothpaste and mouthwash that taste bad, and I've used drugstore gel trays that are uncomfortable. Yes, I've had some results with each of these, but nothing lasts as long as I want them to and are not as easy as I want them to be. I've thought about going to get my teeth whitening or bleached at the dentist's office, but decided against it due to the fact that it would have negative effects on both my wallet and my mental health. (Anyone else hate going to the dentist?)

There are so many at home whitening options nowadays it's hard to know which ones work, are long lasting, and are worth the cost. I want to be clear that I've tried many, many different styles of whitening, but the only product I've had serious results with is Smile Brilliant's Teeth Whitening Trays. I was excited when Smile Brilliant contacted me to work with them because I had heard stories from other bloggers about how great their results with them were and wanted to try them out for myself. Like I've said, I like doing at home whitening because 1) going to the dentist is not ideal for my introverted and anxious self and 2) I can do them at my convenience on my own time at my own pace. Plus this type of whitening trays/gel can cost up to $500 if you went to the dentist to have it done!

One of the main reasons why I was so excited to use Smile Brilliant's teeth whitening gel is that they also have an option for sensitive teeth. I received sensitivity gel along with the whitening gel and although I was expecting to use it, I haven't had to yet. I regularly have periods of time where my teeth are more sensitive than normal, so I was happy to see that if I did want to whiten while avoiding the sensitiveness that I've experienced with other forms of whitening, it was an option with Smile Brilliant. If you're interested in learning a little more about teeth sensitivity you can check out this article Smile Brilliant conveniently provides on their website!

How these customizable teeth whitening trays work is you first make impressions of your teeth with the tools Smile Brilliant sends you. If you follow me on my Snapchat (@samimast) you may have followed along with me as I made my own trays and sent them in! I was actually really scared I was going to mess these up, but honestly it's so easy if you just follow the instructions that come with the kit. I didn't take any photos of the trays since I was a little messy while making them and it wasn't ideal for pretty blog photos, haha. But essentially you mix the two pastes your given, place the paste in the trays, and then mold your teeth for the allotted time and then rinse of the molds. So simple! After you make your impressions you send them off to Smile Brilliant in a prepaid envelope and you get your trays in about a week. If you want to see how the full process works you can watch this video!

After you get your trays, whitening is seriously a breeze. You apply the whitening gel to the trays, put them on for your desired about of time and then you you're done! With the other whitening products that I've used I would look in the mirror after and think "Well maybe it looks whiter?" or "I think it worked?" but with these trays there's no question that my teeth are whiter. After the first session I could see definite change and was so excited! I've had eight sessions so far and the results are seriously amazing. Here's a before and after:

Smile Brilliant was also kind enough to offer you all a chance to win $139.95 credit to them to get your own whitening kit! This credit is enough to order 1 tray creation kit + 6 gel syringes of your choice (3 whitening + 3 desensitizing or 6 whitening) Click here to enter the giveaway! Even if you don't win you can still get 5% off using my code theclassicbrunette.

Hope everyone's having a great Thursday so far, we're so close to the weekend! :)
This post is in collaboration with Smile Brilliant, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Classic Brunette possible!
Professional Teeth Whitening

Monday, October 3, 2016

Casual Fall Look - Cargo Jacket

Cargo Jacket: H&M | T-shirt: Gap, similar | Jeans: Gap | Watch: JORD |
Lip Color: BITE | Booties: Forever 21

We don't actually have fall weather here yet in Orange County which I'm pretty upset about, but I know in a few weeks it will be in the 70's and all will be right in the world. So for now I'm still in my summer clothes, but I wish I was wearing warm layers and cute scarves! Now that it's October I'm completely invested in the fall season and want to break out all my sweaters, boots, and dark lip colors. October is my second favorite month of the year (is it weird to have favorite months?? someone get back to me on this) because I get to spend my time watching some of my favorite Halloween themed movies, trading off between apple cider and hot chocolate, and cuddling up with a nice blanket on the couch. 

If you read my Fall Must Haves a few weeks ago, you may remember seeing this olive green cargo jacket. I loved it so much online that I went out and bought it the same day I posted about it! It does run a little small in the arms, but otherwise it's true to size and is incredibly soft. It also comes in a denim fabric if that's something you're interested in. I think this jacket is something I've always pictured having in my fall wardrobe, but I never found a cargo/military jacket that I truly fell in love with until this one, and it's under $40! 

I wanted to make this an easy go-to outfit that I could throw on any day of the week, so I paired the jacket with a simple striped tee, jeans, and some faux suede booties. I'm almost at midterm season, (I have my first one tomorrow!) so I'm looking to bring as little stress to my life as possible, and that includes my wardrobe! I want to be able to quickly throw on a cute look that I can take from school to errands without fussing over something, so comfortable and casual is always the way to go! I think this is going to be my go to outfit for Fall with how simple it is to put together and mix and match different tanks and t-shirts to create multiple looks.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday, and I'd love to hear your favorite recommendations for fall/Halloween themed movies in the comments! (nothing too scary, please!)

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