Hi Ladies! Hope you are doing well and staying safe. It’s definitely been a crazy couple of weeks- emotions all over the place but I really hope you’re still carrying out some sort of normalcy in your daily lives. There will be brighter days ahead 🙂 And on that note, I wanted to share my current quarantine #ootd picks so you can stay in, look cute and feel good!!
Abercrombie is currently have 50% off site wide!!! Shein items- use code ‘wearsheq3‘ and Cottonon has 30% off site wide!!!
As requested, I will try to put all of my weekly purchases into a blog post so you guys can see real time where I’m shopping and what I’m buying!! For items from Shein, remember to use code ‘wearsheq3’ to get 15% off site wide!!! Hover over the photos to see the price!! Most are extremely affordable 🙂
With the change of seasons, I definitely pay more attention to my skin! Because the air is dryer in the colder months, I find myself having to moisturize more often and reach for products that provide extra hydration to my skin. This is why I’ve been incorporating oils as well as creams into my skin care routine.
I wanted to share two products I’ve been using and loving for the skin on my body: Advanced Clinicals Hemp Seed Oil Instant Hydration Cream and Hemp Seed Instant Hydration Body Oil
I typically reach for the oil right after I shower because oil is best used to seal the hydration in your skin. Hemp seed oil contains unique nutritional content and has one of the highest Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid contents of any oil and a perfect ratio of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. In other words, its perfect for dry skin!
I use the hemp seed oil hydration cream in the mornings and this one from Advanced Clinicals is brimming with rosehip, coconut and evening primrose oils. These ingredients help revitalize dehydrated skin. This cream is also infused with ultra-softening shea butter and antioxidant Vitamin E to defend against premature signs of aging. The combination of the two has kept my skin healthy, hydrated and happy! 🙂
Even with the dryer air in the colder months, my face will always and forever be oily. One of the few products that has helped my oily acne prone skin is rose water. The hydration provided by rose water tends to do a pretty good job at balancing out my oils. Lately I’ve been loving the Advanced Clinicals rosewater toner. My pores are happy to absorb this delicate rosewater formula and this toner preps my skin for serums and moisturizers to follow.
And onto the serums…I love incorporating Vitamin C into my skin care routine! This serum from Advanced Clinicals has helped my skin look firmer and added radiance. The ferulic acid in this serum supports a luminous, youthful radiance and helps even the skin tone. And who doesn’t love an even skin tone?! I also use Vitamin C mists- basically anything Vitamin C, count me in!
The last product I wanted to share with you babes is the rosewater hydra-gel face mask. I honestly LIVE for good face masks because in between my facials, I use masks to maintain/keep my skin hydrated, clean, and happy! I will use a face mask 3-4 times a week (I know, I go a little crazy) but I think it really makes a difference to my skin. Can’t say enough good things about rosewater!!! I use this mask overnight and when I wake up, my skin feels SO SOFT and plump!!! This mask is infused with Vitamin E, ginger, blackberry, green tea and pomegranate extracts which are all ingredients that help plump the skin. And of course, the rosewater hydrates the skin which = happiest skin!
Lastly, I wanted to share a little background about Advanced Clinicals. They are a problem-solving skin care line that stands behind high-quality ingredients and advanced, scientific delivery systems. They aim to offer powerful skin care solutions at attainable prices– all Advanced Clinicals products retail for $15 and under!! Better yet, I have a discount code for you to use to save even more money!!! KAT30 for everything on their website 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this read and found it to be helpful!
Okay so……….here we go! I wanted to talk about my ring because girl, let me TELL YOU… I lost so much sleep over this ring! I made SO many changes over and over again when designing this ring!! I’m sure not everyone is as particular as I am but this is a HUGE investment so I wanted to make sure it was classic, timeless, and most importantly, a ring that I will LOVE and drool over time and time again! If you’re curious about the entire ring picking/designing process, then keep on reading!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a round brilliant stone with a cushion halo. I love the look of the round stone with a cushion halo because the edges of the cushion halo are rounded, i.e. no sharp corners! See photo below. And when I started to ring shop, I thought to myself, okay, this is what I would go with. However, in the back of my mind, I have always loved the classic round brilliant stone without a halo… IF the stone was at least 2 carats. [I know it might sound superficial and I know this is not for everyone…but its just my personal preference!]
So as I started ring shopping, I focused on trying on both of these styles and honestly they are beautiful in their own ways. The round with a cushion halo is definitely more trendy, but because I wanted the halo to be quite thin (i.e. small pave diamonds), it just added a nice feminine touch to the round brilliant stone. It didn’t feel gaudy or too bulky, which was very important to me. I loved the look of it on my finger and I was pretty sure I’d go with this design. If you’re not sure about the stone shape or design, I recommend browsing through Pinterest first and see what speaks to you. And definitely try on as many rings/designs as you need!!!
But when I put on a round brilliant stone without the halo, it had this timeless, classic look which I also fell in love with! Something about the simplicity of letting the stone shine on its own really drew me in. And I do have to add, my fiance definitely loved the classic look (I think most men do!). I went back and forth between the two designs for at least a couple of weeks….haha I went back to the jewelers at least 2 or 3 times before I decided on the classic one.
So why did I end up choosing the classic one?
I knew it would be timeless. Time and time again, a round brilliant cut will always remain the most classic. And after talking to my jeweler, I realized that I can buy other rings in the future with the halo design. The jeweler also shared the idea that changing the setting on a ring isn’t difficult at all. So, if I got bored of this classic look in a few years (which was my fear that I’d be bored with a classic look), then they can switch it out easily.
The second reason is more personal- my fiance and I had set a budget for the ring where we were both comfortable with and with that budget, he was able to purchase this diamond!!! (I’m so so grateful!!) This did play a factor into picking the classic design because I knew I wanted a diamond to be at least 2 carats.
My style and age- I’ve come to realize that as I age (sad haha), I find myself drawn to more and more of what is classic and elegant. And I’m referring to all aspects of my style – from clothes, to shoes, to make up. I think if I had gotten engaged at 25, I probably would have picked the ring with a halo. I really had to think about who I am today, what am I drawn to, and does the ring speak to me…!
So now that we have the shape/overall design set….(which is JUST THE BEGINNING, trust me), I can finally proceed to the next step. The actual design of MY ring. Oh boy, did I have SOOO much to learn! In photos, we typically only see the ring from one perspective, top down view. But there is SO MUCH that goes into a ring! I rarely looked at the side view so I was clueless about what kind of prongs I wanted. Only thing I did know was, I did NOT want 6 prongs. I have and always will be a 4 prongs kinda gal. (just a personal preference because 6 prongs look distracting to me, with 4 prongs I think you see more of the diamond and its roundness).
What goes into such a classic, ‘simple’ ring?
The Stone. This is where the 4 C’s- color, cut, clarity, and carat really need to be contemplated and considered!
Let’s start off with the easiest one, which is carat. Personally, the carat size was pretty important to me, especially for a round solitaire. It’s important of course, to be realistic with your budget and know that if size is important, you may have to go lower on the scale on the other C’s! (but if you can have it all, you go girl!!!) When I worked with my jeweler, he knew that the size was important to me so he showed me stones ranging from 2-2.5 carats (within our budget of course).
The cut – okay so I did quite a bit of research and from what I have gathered, the cut of the ring is very, very important. It’s interesting because not too many people talk about the cut of the stone beyond just the ‘shape’. But cut is also graded ladies!! The cut of a stone is what will make your ring SHINE! A well cut stone will pick up the light and make it sparkle! Depending on the shape of the stone, the cut quality may be more important in some diamonds than others. For a round solitaire, I think getting a ‘very good’ cut to ‘ideal cut’ would truly make your ring sparkle like no other!! I would make sure you ask the jeweler about the cut of the ring and have them show you different graded cuts – to see if YOU can see the difference! When it comes down to it…you’re the one that will be looking at your ring the most. So you might be more sensitive to certain Cs than others. Put your money towards what YOU value.
The color- I think the color may be the most biased and personal characteristic to consider when you’re ring shopping. Why? Because some people are extremely sensitive to color and others aren’t! My jeweler brought in a range of colors for us – from D (the best and colorless) up through to J. D-E-F are considered colorless and G-H-I-J are near colorless. Its definitely recommended to stay within at least the near colorless range. And ONE OTHER VERY IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY….when looking at the stone from a top down view, it is VERY HARD TO SEE THE DIFFERENCE IN THE COLOR of a stone. The color SHOWS more from the bottom (i.e. if you turned the diamond upside down, you will see the yellow tones more from that angle). But how often are you looking at a diamond from that angle?!?! So if you take away anything from this blog, I would say, really consider the color. If you want to get value for your buck, know that being in the near colorless range is your best bet!!! When I looked at a G color next to an I color, they looked ALMOST IDENTICAL!!! Also- even if you are sensitive to color, the jeweler also reminded me of this….the only time you’re seeing a colorless ring next to a slightly colored ring is in the store. You have this comparison to try and distinguish which one is ‘whiter’ but the moment to step out of that store, and you’re wearing your ring….you don’t really have another colorless stone to benchmark against. SO…even if you are sensitive to color, just keep this in mind!!! Just think about what you can and cannot see with the naked eye!
Clarity- this grades any scratches on the stone. The best way you describe it is, when you look at a diamond, some look super clean while others look like they have marks or little spots in them. Most of the time, if the grade of the clarity is VS and above, you won’t be able to see any inclusions with the naked eye. Meaning, the jeweler would have to show you under a microscope in order for you to see the scratches on the stone! I would recommend staying in VS1 and above if you are sensitive to scratches (which I was!). The scale is I-S-V-VVS-IF-F. S means slightly included and there are two levels: SI and SII, V means very slightly included, and there are two levels: VSI and VSII. VVS means very very slightly included, etc. For myself, diamonds in the slightly included range- I was able to see the inclusions with my naked eye so I stayed in the VS range. There is no point in paying $$$ for VVS and above unless you are VERY VERY VERY sensitive to scratches. HOWEVER, keep in mind, this also depends on where the scratches are. This is when your jeweler is important. When jewelers are picking out diamonds to sell, a stone can be a VS1 but depend on where the inclusion is… they can cover it with your setting or prongs!! A VS1 with an inclusion in the dead center of the stone versus an inclusion on the very edge makes a total difference!!!
So… where did I land with all my Cs?
Carat: 2.56, Cut: ideal, Color: I, Clarity: VSI, my ring size is 4.75
Other tips to consider:
Make sure you do your research!!! Look online, watch Youtube videos and work closely with your jeweler
Make sure you see the ring in natural light- my jeweler insisted that I always look at the stone in natural light!!
Make sure you communicate the budget up front so the jeweler can pull the best stone to your specifications within the budget
Take your time… this is a huge investment! Don’t feel rushed into making a decision (trust me girl, I took 2 months of going back and forth!)
Visit a few jewelers to get price estimates so you can get a sense of the market price for the stone you’re looking for!
Remember that this is your stone, and what you can see with YOUR naked eye!
This blog is getting extremely long so there will be a part 2 where I go into the setting. The setting is VERY important and this is where you’ll have to determine the width of the band, the height of the prongs, etc. ALL OF THIS MATTERS!!!!
Hope you enjoyed this read and found it to be informative!!!
I wanted to share some of my Seattle and Vancouver adventures with y’all! Although I was pretty much off the grid for the long 4th of July weekend, I did capture a few highlights from my trip! We were only in Seattle and Vancouver for 3 full days and LET ME TELL YOU….we were DEFINITELY too ambitious! Although we packed in quite a few activities, it was still an extremely fun and eventful vacation! We went to Seattle because my little sister is interning at Amazon this summer (smarty pants–software development engineer!) and we wanted to pay her a visit! This was also my first trip traveling as an engaged couple with my fiance and family!!!
Don’t worry, on the 4th, we were actually in AMERICA haha! We checked out the Pike Market place, purchased a few goodies and enjoyed walking around in the city. We’ve all been to Seattle before so we skipped out on some of the touristy spots. The weather was beautiful as you’ll see in the photos!! Luckily, my sister lives 10 minutes from the Space Needle and the view from her balcony was INCREDIBLE! I was pretty happy that we didn’t have to head to Lake Union to grab a spot in the crowd to watch the fireworks!
Being the patriotic Americans that we are….haha we went to a baseball game on the 4th! It was such a fun experience because the stadium is absolutely beautiful, with amazing views and the energy of the crowd was great! (although there were more Cardinal fans than the Mariners?!)
And of course… I got some photos in!! Not too many because the weather wasn’t GREAT in Vancouver but I was just happy I got to wear the dresses I brought!! (no rain on the days we were in Seattle!) On the 5th, we headed up to Vancouver- which is actually only a 2.5 hour drive. TIP: LOOK UP DIFFERENT BORDER CROSSINGS TO SAVE TIME! On the way to Vancouver, we took the route that most people take (thanks to myself not having done research), and had to wait about 1.5 hours in the car to cross the border!! However, on the way back to Seattle, my genius fiance looked up an alternative route and we crossed the border within 15 minutes!!!
In Vancouver, we stayed downtown at the Sandman Hotel (pretty good bang for your buck because the location is central). We explored three main attractions in the 1.5 days we were there. Sadly we lost half a day driving up and waiting in line to cross the border! First we visited Granville Island, which was filled with cute shops, specialized markets, amazing food and just all around great vibes! Musicians were playing music and it was just a very relaxing and hip place. Definitely worth paying a visit: https://granvilleisland.com/
Although the weather in Vancouver was quite….WINTER LIKE (even in July!)…I fell in love with the abundance of plants and flowers there! The hydrangeas were INSANELY beautiful!!! And there is greenery everywhere you walk! That was probably one of my favorite things about Vancouver- the lushness.
Next, we visited Seawall! Essentially its a beautiful trail (for walking or biking) with amazing views of the city skyline. The trail is surrounded by water on one side and green lushness on the other. It was so so peaceful! I would definitely recommend biking there!!! I believe Seawall and Stanley Park are essentially in the same area and be sure to check out the totem poles there! Definitely unique and not something you would see everyday! https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/seawall.aspx
And last but not least, we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge! It was sprinkling/raining that day but a little rain didn’t damper our mood. It was absolutely beautiful and it felt amazing to be so close to the gigantic trees. I love breathing in fresh air like that!!! The bridge was not wobbly or scary…unless you have a fear of heights of course! But be warned, there is an entrance fee (I believe about $50) and it does get crowded. So if you’re looking to get a shot on the bridge with no photo bombers… I’d suggest going EARLY. The park had multiple sites (similar to a theme park) and we even got to see an owl! We walked through the tree top adventures and living forest! Be prepared to do a lot of walking but its 100% worth it! https://www.capbridge.com/explore/
After the Suspension Bridge, we went to a mall to do some shopping, ate some food and headed back to Seattle. On the way back, we pulled over because there was an INCREDIBLE LAKE and I just had to stop! The weather blessed us that afternoon, and we finally saw some sunshine!!! This was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip! Taking an unexpected stop for this beauty!! It was memorable and magical–will always remember it!!
Jam packed 3 days… with a 6am flight on Sunday, which got cancelled (won’t go into that..!) BUT we spent the last night in Seattle, ordered in Uber Eats and watched STRANGER THINGS!!! What a great way to end an amazing trip!