Gift Guide for the Beauty Queen

Holiday Beauty Gift Guide for Women, Cruelty-free Makeup, Hair, and Cosmetic Products

I can’t believe how quickly time is flying! In only a week, I’ll be home in Baltimore celebrating Thanksgiving with the fam. With Black Friday on the heels of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a few more gift ideas before the hustle and bustle begins, so I present my second holiday gift guide of the season tailored for Beauty Queens. I pushed up the timeline for this post because I’m giving away #16 to to one lucky winner, but the giveaway ends tonight at 7:59pm EST. See this post for details on how to enter.

As a side note, I had so much fun putting this gift guide together! I love finding and sharing items that are cruelty-free/vegan, but may or may not be marketed as such, and this beauty theme is perfect for that. I hope you enjoy reading it/exploring the items as much as I enjoyed making it.

ONE. EYESHADOW PALETTE
An eyeshadow palette is an amazing gift for any beauty queen. I love this tartelette™ palette because mixes mattes and micro shimmers in universally flattering shades. Perfect for everyday use.

TWO. MATTE BRONZER
I’ve been raving about this Too Faced Matte Bronzer since I bought my first compact years ago. Turns out, Allure agrees and made it a Best of Beauty award winner.

THREE. PHOENIX FACIAL OIL
This is the face oil you never knew you always needed. Trust me on this one.

FOUR. PACIFICA NAIL POLISH
These nail polishes are not only quick drying and full color, but they are free of the toxic chemicals you’d normally find in nail polish. I love this neutral blue holiday set.

FIVE. CHARCOAL FACE/BODY SOAP BAR
Don’t think I can say it better than this reviewer: “The actual soap lasts a long time and lathers really well. Helps keep my skin clear and reduces my red acne scars. This is my holy grail when it comes to face soaps and I tell all of my friends and family about it.”

SIX. CHEEK STAIN
Tarte does cheek stains SO WELL. It’s brush-free application, so you just smile, dot and blend it – so easy!

SEVEN. MICRONEEDLING TOOL SET 
So, I’ve never tried a microneedling but I’ve always been curious! This limited-edition set definitely has my eye.

EIGHT. TATTOO LINER
Kat Von D is the QUEEN when it comes to eyeliner. Her tattoo liner makes doing cat eyes almost effortless.

NINE. AIR CONTROL™ HAIRSPRAY 
Three things you need to know: 1. its most amazing lightweight hair spray, 2.  it’s cruelty-free, and 3. Aveda funds renewable wind energy to offset the Co2 associated with this product so it has a net-zero impact on the Earth’s climate.

TEN. T3 STYLING WAND
I’ve had this styling wand for years and love love love it. The interchangeable barrels make it so easy to switch up styles. Lately, I’ve been loving the tapered barrel to get loose beachy waves.

ELEVEN. COCONUT LIP SCRUB 
This handcrafted, 100% natural coconut sugar lip scrub would make a perfect stocking stuffer!

TWELVE. SHOWER CAP & HAIR TOWEL SET
Obsessed with this shower cap and hair towel set! I’m such a sucker for palm leaves.

THIRTEEN. DEEP CLEANSING FACE WASH
This Pacifica Beauty Kale Detox Deep Cleansing Face Wash is super affordable and works wonders.

FOURTEEN. THERMAL PROTECTION SPRAY
One of the reasons I started this blog is because I showing amazing products that are also undercover cruelty-free and vegan, and Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press heat protector is a prime example.

FIFTEEN. MONOGRAMMED CANVAS MAKE-UP BAG
Couldn’t make a beauty gift guide without an adorable make up bag, now could I? I love this one is from Tuckernuck.

SIXTEEN. MOTD ESSENTIAL BRUSH SET
If you’ve been following along you know I totally love this M.O.T.D. vegan make up brush set because the brushes are super soft, don’t shed at all, hypoallergenic, and anti-bacterial (unlike regular animal hair brushes). I’m also giving away a set to one lucky winner. See this post for details on how to enter.

 

Let me know in the comments if there are other items that should be on this list!

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Fall Roundup: Items I’m Loving

Cute Autumn Style Ideas

 

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m back! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, especially leading up to my trip to Rome. I’m working on a trip recap post and I cannot wait to share it with you all as soon as it’s ready. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite fall items at the moment. If this is something you all like, I’ll try to do these types of post more often.

ONE. TURTLENECK CAPE
I love this cape because all you have to do is throw it on over some leggings and, boom, you’ve got a super chic fall outfit in no time. It does shed, so I avoid wearing it with fabrics that pick up fibers easily.

TWO. EVERYDAY BLACK DRESS
This dress is the best! I was on the fence about purchasing it, but SO happy I did because it’s my go-to this season. It looks great with boots and any fall layer. Seriously, you name it – coat, sweater, cape, cardigan, scarf – this dress is perfect.

THREE. MVMT ICON SUNGLASSES
I seriously love round frame glasses. I feel like they add an effortlessly chic touch to every outfit – so easy! I’m all about this dark on dark style for winter, too. Use KITTYSHEA15 for 15% off storewide.

FOUR. VELVET BOW HAIR TIES
How cute are these bows?! Now, they may seem a little bit pricey, but I promise you they’ll become one of your favorite accessories, maybe ever. I bought these in black, gold, and mauve, but I’m already thinking about getting the rest of the colors.

FIVE. MVMT LEXINGTON WATCH 
This watch is so gorgeous and sleek that I think they should sell it in the jewelry section and call it a bracelet. This style is my by far my favorite and pairs well with everything, too. You can use KITTYSHEA15 for 15% off this watch, or anything in the store.

SIX. GOLD SPECKLED MUG
Every have a mug so cute you don’t want to hid it away in a cupboard? This mug would be great for the office or as a holiday gift.

SEVEN. POM POM THROW (FAUX FUR)
My favorite thing to do on cold nights is snuggle up on the couch and watch movies. I’m all about comfort, so my blankets neeeeeeed to be soft and cozy. This faux-fur throw is amazing because it’s not just super cozy, it also dresses up a room perfectly.

EIGHT. KNIT BEANIE 
This chunky cable knit beanie is so stylish and adorable that I may have worn it in 50 degree weather because I was so excited. Oops 🙂 

NINE. CAMEL TWILL COAT 
I’m not sure I can describe exactly how stinkin’ happy I was when I found this cruelty-free camel twill coat! (Seriously, finding good winter wear that’s not made from wool is a challenge!) It’s warm, the color works well for Fall through Spring, and the tailored cut is perfect for work. Long story short, it’s basically the best coat ever.

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Hair Scarves Are The Best Thing That’s Happened To Fashion Since Off-The-Shoulder Tops

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Hair scarves are the best thing that’s happened to fashion since off-the-shoulder tops. That’s right, you heard me. This hair scarf trend is where it’s at. I tried it on a whim and I’ve become an instant believer! Seriously guys, I don’t think I’ll feel right wearing a ponytail without a hair scarf anytime in the near future. I love how they can dress up your hairdo in a feminine, easy way, without giving off that childlike feel that traditional bows can have.

The best part about it is that if you know where to look, you can snag a bunch on the cheap. There’s no reason to pony up serious money for a scarf. Plus, most of the really expensive ones (I’m looking at you, Hermès) are silk aka not cruelty-free. If you’re shopping for hair scarves make sure the material is satin, not silk. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite satin options that are between $7-$30 to help stock your accessory drawer.

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Have you tried the hair scarf trend? If so, tell me what you think in the comments below!

How to Travel Munich & Vienna in One Week: A Day-By-Day Inside Look

One of the things I want to do more of is travel. So when my friend Kelly and I were talking about Memorial Day plans, we quickly starting thinking about taking advantage of the holiday and heading to Europe. After we found a reasonably priced ticket to Munich, there wasn’t much holding us back!

Below is an overview of our trip by day. If you’re planning a trip to either Munich or Vienna, or you’re just curious, this post is for YOU:

Day 1
We spent the first real day in Munich doing a LOT of walking and getting a feel for the city, walking around and exploring. I highly suggest making Marienplatz your starting point for getting to know the city as well. (There’s a cute market close by here called, Viktualienmarkt, which I stumbled upon that I recommend.)

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Excited to begin exploring!

Our main destination, however, was the Munich Residence, which is the biggest inner-city palace in Germany and was the seat of residence/government to the Bavarian rulers for over 400 years. It truly is a sight to be seen and I recommend putting it on your shortlist.

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A hall in the Munich Residence called the Antiquarium
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We’re already making friends!

We walked a TON so we carved out time for a mid-day regroup/siesta session before heading to Museum Brandhorst, a modern art museum. We ended the day drinking steins and people watching in Marienplatz.

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This is me, casually standing outside the museum

Day 2
In the morning we headed to St. Peter’s Church and climbed 14 flights of stairs (!) up the tower. It was a HIKE, but we had seriously incredible views of the city that made it totally worth it. Pro tip: get there right when it opens and beat the crowds for the climb. Kelly and I did (by accident!) and it was such a blessing – we flew up and didn’t realize how lucky we were. By the time we were heading down, a bottleneck formed on the narrow stairs, which made the experience more difficult for those just starting.

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In the afternoon, Kelly and I hopped on a train to Lenggries and went PARAGLIDING. I’m a big baby and was seriously concerned if I’d have the courage to do it, but the instructors were AMAZING and I was able to get off the ground. I’m so happy I did because this was easily a highlight of the trip. Seeing Germany from 2000 ft. up is absolutely breathtaking. I had a big smile plastered on my face the entire time. I can’t recommend this experience enough.

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Kelly’s ready to FLY
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In action! The views were UNREAL

Day 3
This day was jammed packed, trying to squeeze in all Munich had to offer before heading to Vienna. In the morning, we headed to the “Siegestor,” the triumphial arch/victory gate built for the Bavarian army.

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We had breakfast at one of the cutest restaurants ever – Café Queen 43, before heading into the famous Englischer Garten (English Gardens). Pro tip: if you head towards the Haus der Kunst Museum, you can find people surfing (!) on a standing wave on the Eisbach, a man-made river that runs through the English Garden.

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Doesn’t this place look like it could pass for Hawaii? Because I feel like it could 100% pass for Hawaii. (It’s the English Garden though!)
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Surfing! Can you believe it?

After a quick siesta (notice a theme?), we headed to the Hofbräuhausa very popular beir garten in Munich, for a stein. This place was AWESOME and out of all the pretzels I ordered in Germany, my favorite was the one I ate here (see picture of aforementioned pretzel below).

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#GirlswithGluten
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Last day exploring Marienplatz

Day 4
We spent most of the morning on a train to Vienna, and arrived around 2pm. Our AirBnB in Vienna was PERFECT. It was in a very hip, very vegan-friendly part of the city. I couldn’t believe that right across the street there was a pizza shop that served vegan cheese and a dairy-free ice cream shop called “veganista.” It also happened to be a stones throw away from MuseumsQuartier, which is overflowing with museums, cafes, restaurants and bars, so we were able to drop our bags and have an afternoon.

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While it was SO hard to decide which museums/places to see (there are seriously so many), we hit up Kunsthistorisches Museum because it was close by and we both like #art. In the evening we headed to 25 Hours Hotel for a rooftop view of the city and a killer sunset.

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The Kunsthistorisches Museum
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Outside our AirBnB
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25 Hours Hotel Rooftop View & Vino

Day 5
The next day got up early and headed to Schönbrunn Palace, Austria’s most frequently visited tourist attraction and a Cultural World Heritage Site. The massive 1,441-room Baroque palace served as the imperial summer residence for the Habsburgs between 1569 and 1918. Even though it’s a little out of the way, it’s worth the trip – trust me. Because it’s so popular, there’s typically an hour + wait time to view the palace, but that gives you time to explore the gardens, which are breathtaking.

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Touring the gardens with Hilltop the triumphal arch, call the Gloriette, behind us
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Eating in the Cafe in the Gloriette before going into the Palace
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Stoping to smell the roses 🙂

After the Palace, we explored the city a little more, walking through Volksgarten (a beautiful public park) while on our way to shop to in the first district (near Stephansplatz). I had a lot of people tell me to hold the trip shopping until Vienna and I’m SO glad I listened.

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In the Volksgarten
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Seriously, HOW pretty is Vienna?!

We had such big day that we lost track of time and shopped a little too long. But, we just couldn’t end our one full day in Vienna without at least trying to go to the State Opera House. After a very quick turn around and DASHING to the theater, we found out there were only 2 open seats left to see Samson and Delilah. What are the odds of that happening? It was a sign!

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Totally candid shot of me on the State Opera House Stairs
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Free opera viewing outside the State Opera House

Day 6
In the morning, we headed to the train station to store our bags since we had to check out of our AirBnB early, then spent the rest of the day doing last-minute gift shopping before taking the train back to Munich. We paid a little extra to have assigned seating on the train, which paid off on the trip back. Once we arrived in Munich, we headed to our hotel near the airport, which was the perfect way to close out the trip.

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The last coffee
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Final day shopping successes

The CUTEST Swimsuits For Under $50

Finally the weather is starting to warm up (hallelujah!) and I can’t help but think about summertime and the ocean. Increasingly, I’m finding myself wandering over to the swimsuit section. Every year, almost without fail, I have the same reaction:

$250 for a bathing suit? You have got to be kidding me!

Are they getting more expensive over the years or do I just suffer from some sort of seasonal pricing amnesia? Don’t get me wrong, I will splurge every now and then, but I can’t help but ask myself: “Why I am paying the same price as a dress for less fabric?” In terms of cost per square inch of coverage, the ratio of a bathing suit is outrageous. (Side note – can we talk about how it’s a straight up crime that most of the time we have to pay for the top AND bottom of a bikini set? Someone needs to be held accountable for this.)

So I decided to search the internet for cutest, most affordable swimsuits for under $50. Here’s what I found:

Bikinis 

One-Piece Swimsuits

If you have any suggestions or additions to this list, please let me know if the comments below!