5 Amazing Summer Skincare Products

I can never get enough of skincare products. My skin is so important to me, and especially in the summer when it shows the most. Here are 5 amazing skincare products I use religiously in the summer. I take these babies with me everywhere, and I hope you love them as much as I do. If you haven’t already seen my skincare tips, read more about them here.

5 AMAZING SUMMER SKINCARE PRODUCTS

Photo taken by @makeupsessions

Fresh Beauty’s Sugar Lip Treatment

I’m addicted to this super moisturizing lip treatment. It’s a high quality lip balm stick with a sheer tint, giving my lips the perfect dosage of subtle color for the beach. I love wearing this because it’s protective (SPF 15) and since my lips tend to get dry in the heat, this makes them softer than ever. I love the different shades they come in as well, as they’re all very subtle in color and suitable for all skin tones. This treatment also contains Vitamin C and E and is rich in antioxidants! LOVE.

 

Photo taken by @thisisvalentine_

Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

This lotion is perfect for my sensitive skin, which tends to breakout if there are any harsh chemicals involved. I love this lotion because it’s gentle, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do–moisturize. Plus, unlike other brands I’ve tried, this one works amazingly for oily skin and doesn’t leave your face looking greasy afterwards. It’s hydrating but super light, which got me hooked from the beginning.

 

Photo taken by @yretty20

L’Occitane Hand Cream

L’Occitane hand cream is by far the best to hydrate dry hands in the summertime. This hand cream is made with coconut oil, honey and marshmallow root which makes it super moisturizing and powerful for most skin types. There’s also shea butter for extra softness, and you can actually feel the cream penetrating the dry layers of your skin. It works wonders for me all year round, but I carry one of these lotions around with me during the summer months no matter where I go.

 

Photo taken by @ellelisabethh

Evian Facial Spray

I know this sounds a little crazy, but Evian Facial Spray is particularly one of my favorite beauty products of all time. Yes, it’s basically just water in a can, but I love the convenience of having a cooling mist sprayed on my face in the summer, anywhere I go. It’s perfect for those super hot beach days. I usually bring this with me to the beach, spray it on mid-tan, and it just feels so hydrating on my skin. The other benefits of this spray help fix and set makeup in place if you use just a little. I also use this water to replenish and tone my skin’s surface after workouts.

 

Photo taken by @jesshuet

Sephora Green Tea Eye Mask

I love these green tea eye masks from Sephora because they contain all-natural ingredients and they just feel amazing on my skin for any time of day. I find them super hydrating for dry, flaky summer skin–which is why the summer is the perfect time to invest in a bunch of these masks. The masks also help really well with under eye bags and puffiness, which is sometimes from dehydration in the heat. It’s also an easy way to boost your skin’s surface with some good-for-you vitamins.

Would love to hear your favorite summer products in the comments, or if you decide to try any of these products out! 

Also, click here to read about of my favorite all-time “splurge” skincare products that I swear by.

-Lyss

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12 Best Instagram Cafes in NYC For Perfect Photos

Instagram Cafes in NYC are always a MUST.

12 Most Instagram Worthy Cafes in NYC

PHOTO: EFFORTLYSS

New York City is one of the most beautiful places to take photos for Instagram in general. One of the best parts about this magical city is that there are hundreds of gorgeous cafes sprawling on every corner, and the photo opportunities are endless. There are tons of cute spots to help you unwind during a work lunch break, answer emails, eat a croissant, or most importantly, grab those photogenic lattes and snap some photos for your Instagram feed. Let’s just say I’ve been to almost…all of them. 😉

Here are some of my favorite aesthetically pleasing spots that are worth the visit.

 

CHA CHA MATCHA

PHOTO: CHA CHA MATCHA

This place is always packed with city-goers, so make sure you get here to grab some photos early if that’s on your agenda. This awesome cafe serves bright green matcha lattes, with pretty matcha powder palm trees sprinkled on top. The cafe decor is neon pink and green to match your perfect drink, so it’s one of my favorite instagram-worthy spots in Manhattan. There’s also tons of matcha filled pastries, cool retro paintings, and tropical couches to make every photo pop! My go-to order: the Almond Milk Matcha Latte.

 

LA PECORA BIANCA

PHOTO: LA PECORA BIANCA

La Pecora Bianca is a cafe / restaurant with some of the best coffee around. This cafe is decked out in stunning white marble, pastel greens, and classic gold tones to make any Instagram photo stand out. The cafe has an airy, European vibe to it that I’ve fallen madly in love with and it’s been a go-to brunch spot for me ever since.

 

PIETRO NOLITA

PHOTO: ANA JOHNSON

This cute Italian restaurant has the most adorable pink aesthetic ever. Decked out in graphic pink and white tones, this is the perfect place to snap a shot of your pink fashion statement, pink nails, pink coffee cup, whatever it is that screams pink to you. There’s also a heart graffiti wall outside of this place. ALL the good vibes.

 

TOBY’S ESTATE COFFEE

PHOTO: TOBY’S ESTATE

This bright, airy cafe is perfect for you if you’re looking for that dreamy white-tone shot. Toby’s Estate is super cozy, and serves everything from coffee to vegan chocolate chip cookies. There’s usually a crowd of people here during the day time, but it’s always exciting to see the rush. The 5th ave location in New York is attached to a library with some cozy sofas to read and relax. Perfection.

 

LUDLOW COFFEE SUPPLY

PHOTO: ORBITZ

This is one of the coolest coffee hang out spots I’ve ever been to. Tucked away inside the Ludlow Hotel, this coffee “garden” per-say, is decked out in beautiful vines and rustic vibes. I recently discovered this place and was blown away by how private and cozy it was. Since it is a part of the hotel, this place is more low-key and perfect to kick back and work for several hours at a time. Or you know, take some epic photos for your feed, as usual! 😉

 

WHILE WE WERE YOUNG

PHOTO: WHILE WE WERE YOUNG

This cafe’s marble tables, plush pastel sofas and floral vibes is all you need to grab the perfect IG shot. This cafe is super tiny, but if you grab a seat early and are lucky enough to catch it empty, it’s totally worth the visit. This popular brunch spot serves some amazing avocado toast and lots of drinks, in case you need a pick me up after your photoshoot.

 

CITIZENS OF CHELSEA

PHOTO: CITIZENS OF CHELSEA

This Australian-inspired restaurant is one of the most beautiful brunch spots I’ve ever been to. Tucked away on 9th ave, it boasts a very modern, clean and “instagrammable” opportunity. If you do visit, be sure to order brunch as everything on the menu is absolutely divine.

 

JACK’S WIFE FREDA 

PHOTO: TARAMILKTEA

This restaurant is not only the ideal brunch spot on the weekends, but it’s one of the cutest places to go with a bunch of your closest friends. The cafe has this dreamy, pastel vibe that makes any photo look bomb. Plus, the flatlays of the food are always a must. Try the avocado toast.

 

BREAD NOLITA

PHOTO: YELP

This restaurant / cafe is one of the most popular cafes in Nolita to grab some coffee, and more importantly, Nutella toast. The cafe is decked out in cool red and white tones for an epic photoshoot. It’s also attached to a hotel with a cool modern vibe for some extra photos if necessary.

 

NOMO KITCHEN

PHOTO: NOMO SOHO

This restaurant is located inside the NOMO Hotel in Soho, and features the most beautiful graffiti art, rustic tables, and all around gorgeous modern vibes. Grab a quick bite with friends here, snap some photos, and take a stroll through the vine-enclosed entrance of the hotel once you’re done! 🙂

 

TACOMBI

PHOTO: TACOMBI

This cute Mexican-style restaurant is known for it’s amazing drinks, but more importantly, it’s bold and colorful vibes. The big letters, the blue floors, and the vibrant atmosphere makes this place an instagram dream. Stop by for drinks with your friends, take some pics with your drinks, and soak in the fun of NYC.

 

THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER SOHO

 

PHOTO: THE ADVENTUROUS MAZ

This amazing little spot is usually always packed, and for a good reason. The warm and rustic atmosphere engulfs the vibe of Soho, and has tons of delicious food to brunch with your friends. This cafe is definitely one of the most beautiful in the Soho area.

 

 

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What’s The Point?

What’s the point of starting a blog?

Everyone’s done it. The market is saturated. Blogging is outdated. No one will read it. My pictures aren’t good enough. I don’t know how to write or convey my thoughts. I just suck.

Those are the thoughts that ran through my head the first time I even considered starting my own blog. It was silly to me to even try, considering the amount of people who were already way ahead of me in the blogging sphere. To be honest, I LOVE to write and I always have had a sincere passion for it–but after reading countless others posts and seeing all of their beautiful photos that seemed effortless, I was afraid to even put myself out there to the world and TRY. It was fear that was holding me back–maybe because I cared so much about what other people thought of me, and what other people would say.

Growing up, I was teased a lot for my big nose, and I guess that was another reason I was partially afraid to put myself out there on the internet. As I got older, I learned to embrace myself a little more but still, it was tough to post pictures of my face. I also fluctuated with my weight a lot as a teen and into my college years, so I would go through phases where I felt really good and then periods of time where I felt like crap about myself. My last years of college, I started working out and going to the gym on a regular basis to build up my confidence and feel stronger mentally/physically, and that actually worked. I was amazed at how secure and happy I felt–running, lifting weights, drinking lots of water, eating right and just living life in a healthy and positive way. I would work out twice a day sometimes if I felt like it, and that really helped me clear my head and was a means of therapy for me for a very long time.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I think half of why people don’t want to start something new is because they think it’s too late to start, and the other half lies in insecurity and fear. At least these things are what made ME feel like I wasn’t capable of achieving my dreams–for years I felt this way and I was hesitant to do anything outside of the box, because people told me it wasn’t possible. That being a singer, an actor, a radio host, a model, a BLOGGER–as a full time job, was just plain unrealistic.

Maybe it is unrealistic. It’s unrealistic to someone who is constantly negative about their outlook on life. It’s unrealistic to someone who doesn’t believe in his or her self, and is projecting it out on the world. It’s not reasonable to dream big when you’re so trapped inside of a dark bubble of pessimism that you can’t ever see that there is never a goal that is too big. My motto: if someone else has achieved it, remember that it CAN BE DONE. It is possible if you work your ass off and stay focused, and positive, and strong throughout the entire journey. You will also need a lot of patience, dedication and preparation for failure along the way. No success comes with a smooth road–there will be lots of bumps and unexpected turns involved! 😉

Anyway, back to my first question. What’s the point of starting a blog? The point is that this is your outlet. No one owns it but you. You don’t rely on the power of a huge corporation like instagram or youtube to stay in tact. You own your blog, and that’s your outlet for creativity, content, expression and art. You can be whoever you want to be, post whatever you want to post, and use it without expectations of an algorithm affecting your work. A blog is an open opportunity to start your own online business without the fear that it could die out. It can only grow, get bigger, and better if you put your 150% into it every single day. It’s also just fun to upload tons of content without a necessary “limit” capping off your photos and text. You can write as many articles as you want, as many thoughts as you have, and it all sits in one organized place that you own the full rights to.

It’s never too late to start. Some people may say it is, but those people are always the ones who are too afraid to go for it 😉 And this goes for any dream job you want. Whether you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, write a best-selling novel, or own the world’s best cupcake shop, the sky is really the limit. We have SO much to live for and such limited time, so why not just do what you love, all day every day?

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My Best Tips for Clear and Healthy Skin

My Best Tips for Clear and Healthy Skin

 Hi everyone!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Every day, I receive a lot of questions about my skincare routine and how I keep my skin so clear.

Over the years, I’ve experimented a ton with different skincare products and I’ve found things that really work for me and things that don’t. 

I also noticed that as I’ve gotten older, my skin has become way more sensitive to harsh chemicals found in skincare products that I never knew about before.

My skin triggers breakouts super easily, so I always know when a product’s formula doesn’t agree with me. 

With lots of trial and error, these are some of the best tips and products that have worked wonders for my skin.

In no way is this post sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. I genuinely have tried it all and these are what I’ve loved so far, and have found

to help keep my face super fresh, glowing and clean.

Note: my skin type is combination, a mix of oily and dry depending on the day. This is simply what works for me!

  1. Avoid oil-based foundations and other makeup products. Yes, your makeup could be the cause of your constant breakouts. When I was in LA a few months ago, I was testing out this new foundation that looked beautiful, but by the end of the day, my skin was caked with oil and looked super greasy. It took me several days to figure out that this makeup was primarily oil-based, and that it was completely clogging up my skin. By the end of the week, I was fully broken out — tons of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples all over my cheeks, chin, creases of my nose and forehead. I realized I had switched up my foundation, and so I immediately tossed it out and went on a 7 day makeup-free cleanse to relieve my skin. I opted for mascara and chapstick — and skipped the foundation and bronzers for a full week. Also — be sure to clean your makeup brushes with soap on a regular basis. I wash my brushes once a week.
  2. Wash your pillowcases and bedsheets once per week. I know this may sound like a total pain to do every single week (let’s be real) but, if it means preventing your skin from getting pimples, it’s worth it, right? I used to wash my pillowcases every 3-4 weeks. Since I usually shower before I go to sleep, I never thought much of it and having to wash them on a weekly basis. Turns out, your pillowcase and blankets rack up all the oil from your skin while you sleep, and your skin will often leave residue on your sheets. Not only will your face feel cleaner laying on a fresh pillowcase, but it actually prevents a buildup of dirt and oil that can rub off into your skin while you’re sleeping.
  3. Invest in a really good toner. Toner has been my lifesaver in my skincare routine. You can always find a toner at the drugstore to help strip away dirt and oil from your face, but a lot of them are super strong and contain way too much alcohol. I discovered these amazing toner pads from a brand called Arcona that are infused with cranberry, witch hazel and rice milk. The ingredients are minimal, and I can tell by using them there’s nothing harsh about them while I’m cleansing my face. The pads make it easy to swipe away dirt and oil buildup, and they feel SO refreshing. They’re also a perfect makeup residue remover. I use them right after I wash off my makeup and they wipe up any excess leftover foundation, mascara smudges, etc.
  4. AVOID DAIRY. This step is probably the hardest one for most people, but also the most IMPORTANT one. It took me a long time to fully cut out dairy, but it has been proven that there is a direct correlation between it and hormonal imbalances. Dairy is a known inflammatory, so it can really irritate and inflame your skin. Whenever I eat dairy products, my skin breaks out in crazy welts all over my chin and neck. I stopped eating it about a year ago and it completely changed my life. I cheated once and had pizza (I miss it so much haha), and because I hadn’t had it in a while, my skin was literally breaking out as I was eating it. 
  5. Exercise regularly and drink a ton of water. I think this one makes the most logical sense 🙂 Working out is a hormone stabilizer, and helps reduce inflammation in the body. There’s nothing better than a great workout and sweating out all of your toxins. While you work out, make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your sweat flowing and your body hydrated throughout the process. I feel so much better when I’m sweating and letting all the toxins from my body and my skin out. If you have access to a steam room, that also helps post workout to sweat out toxins from your skin. Then, I follow up with a cold shower and a gentle facial soap (non oil based!) to close my pores. One of my favorite oil-free facial washes is Tatcha the Deep Cleanse.

Most importantly, make sure you always wash your face before you go to bed at night so your skin can repair itself while you rest! Washing your face with a gentle cleanser is vital to healthy and happy skin. I always opt for oil-free products on my face, because the oil tends to clog my pores and make me break out frequently. If you have super dry skin naturally, oil might be a good option for you — but this is just what works best for me and my skin type. Also, when I wake up, I wipe my face down with a makeup remover pad just to swipe any dirt or oil build up I may have gotten in my sleep. My current go-to makeup remover wipes are the Clinique Take The Day Off ones. They’re gentle and don’t burn my eyes, unlike a bunch of other drugstore wipes I’ve tested out on my skin.

I hope these tips were helpful to you, if you have similar combination skin. Let me know if you decide to use these tips in your skincare routine 🙂

Also would love to hear your own personal skincare advice in the comments!

Xoxo,

Lyss <3

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Living with PCOS and Why I Went Vegan

Hi everyone! Bare with me since I’m currently in Dubai and it’s 2 AM here. I can’t sleep and this blog post may have a few typos or unnecessary words, haha.

So as (some) of you may know, I have completely transitioned into a vegan lifestyle, and I often get the same questions about it:

  1. Why are you a vegan?
  2. What differences have you noticed after being vegan?
  3. What made you transition?
  4. How long have you been a vegan for?
  5. What do you eat daily?
  6. Do you get enough protein?

After debating whether I should make this post or not, I decided I feel strongly enough about my lifestyle to fully discuss it and be open and honest with my followers. I know a lot of you may disagree or feel strongly about another lifestyle, which I respect. I honestly refrained from writing about becoming vegan simply because I feel that everyone is super quick to argue against it and attack others if they live a different type of way. I am not here to criticize other lifestyles, I am just here to share what mine is about. 🙂

The Short Version of my Story

  1. I’m vegan for a few reasons. I love animals and I have such an emotional connection with all of them and any kind, so I don’t wish to eat them anymore. I also love the health benefits it provides, as meat and dairy always made my stomach hurt and I was constantly bloated/sick after eating them. (more details later in this blog post)
  2. The differences I’ve noticed after being vegan are amazing! I used to have a ton of health issues and now I feel so much healthier. I never get bad stomaches, my skin is always clear and smooth, and my hair is much thicker and healthier. I feel more energetic and happier eating vegan foods.
  3. I had a lot of health complications and that was the ultimate reason I decided to try becoming vegan. After I tried it out, I started educating myself more on the benefits of it and more about the whole process of where meat and dairy comes from, and it made me realize this was the best choice for myself.
  4. I have been fully vegan for a year now.
  5. I eat SO many amazing and delicious foods. What people usually don’t realize is that you can make almost any food in a vegan version. And usually it will taste just the same if not better. Some of my go-to meals include acai bowls, avocado toast, rice with veggie stir fry, veggie cheese-less pizza, quinoa, salads, tofu, veggie burgers, baked sweet potatoes and baked fries, avocado / cucumber sushi rolls, pasta with tomato sauce, etc. The list goes on!!! There’s so many options when going vegan. I eat lots of delicious but healthy carbs.
  6. I definitely get enough protein being a vegan. Green veggies like spinach, kale and broccoli have protein, as long as you eat enough. I also get my protein from things like all-natural peanut butter, cashew butter, hummus (chickpeas have lots of protein!), and my faves for lunch/dinner: tofu, seitan, tempeh, mixed with veggies — all valuable and major sources of protein. Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are also a great way to get some extra protein in as well.

 

My (Very Personal) Long Version Story – Living with PCOS

From my point of view, I grew up in an Italian household and my diet consisted of meat, fish and dairy foods daily. I couldn’t remember a day I didn’t eat chicken as a kid. Chicken parmigiana was one of my favorite homemade dinners that my mom used to make for me a few times a week. So to say I’ve “seen the other perspective” is an understatement. I also judged vegans and said it was “silly” to eliminate all meat, fish and dairy because there was no real way of getting enough protein from just plants. My doctors convinced me that my diet also had absolutely no factor in my growth and development as a child, which I will elaborate on in the next paragraph…

As a teenager, I experienced a TREMENDOUS amount of hormonal issues that doctors could never pinpoint or give me straight answers about. When I was 12, my skin started to form white patches all over my face that were dry and itchy, and looked very strange. I also developed cystic acne all over my back, which was painful and difficult to control. When I confronted my doctor about these ongoing issues, they assured me it had nothing to do with my diet and lifestyle habits, but they could never tell me what the root cause of my skin issues were. At this age, I knew nothing about hormones and how they control majority of skin issues, especially on your face. All I knew was that “doctors know best” and they would prescribe me the right medication to fix everything.

After those skin issues, came a ton of other hormonal problems. My doctor informed me I would probably get my period by the time I was 13, based on my body development. Flash forward to 3 years later, I was 16 when I got my first menstrual cycle (which is super late) and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. 2 weeks before I got my first period, I was sitting in my bed and I felt a sharp, knife-like pain stabbing at my ovary. I was doubled over in the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life and had no idea what was going on. My mom rushed in and I explained what I was feeling, and she immediately knew what it was because she had dealt with the same issue as a teenager. I had a huge cyst erupting on my ovary. The pain lasted about 30 minutes before it completely subsided.

After this incident, I visited the doctor who performed a pelvic sonogram and informed me that a cyst had burst on my ovary and had caused me that excruciating pain. “Will that happen again?” was the first question I had, and all he said was that some people’s “genetics” will cause cystic ovaries to occur, and since my mom had experienced them, I would most likely experience them often too. I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I was so scared to feel that type of pain again in just a few weeks when my next period would happen. The doctor suggested I go on birth control to control my hormones and eliminate the cyst issue as much as possible. Birth control sounded like a great plan at the time, considering the amount of pain I had went through.  I experienced at least 5 more cysts, one equally as painful as the next, before I officially decided to get on birth control to try to regulate my hormones.

After being on the pill for just a month, I already felt its side effects slowing down my body. My PCOS had worsened. I had less energy, I started putting on weight, I started developing more cystic acne on my face, and I looked and felt so unlike myself. I was so stressed out from taking the pills and dealing with how I felt, and balancing school and work on top of everything, that my hair started thinning and falling out. I was a total mess inside and out, but I kept taking it and hoping it would eventually balance everything out. 6 months later, I was about 30 pounds heavier and more drained than ever. The doctor said it was in my head and I was “doing” that to myself, but the hormones are artificial and played with my mood constantly. I was seriously depressed and felt horrible about myself. I decided to go off the pill after months of trying to make it work for me with no positive results.

After gaining a lot of weight and feeling lost, I googled more holistic approaches to treating hormonal imbalances and to suppress the PCOS symptoms. After countless articles recommending me birth control (no thanks), I found a case study from a university on the 4th or 5th search page. It was buried in between dozens of other links recommending medication to treat patients with hormonal problems. The study said that people who engaged in a healthy diet and cut out refined sugars and processed carbs, and exercised regularly, saw dramatic improvements in their PCOS symptoms. By cutting out sugar, and training their muscles daily, insulin levels were improved, estrogen levels were improved, and the symptoms of PCOS were reduced drastically.

I decided I would do whatever it takes to heal my body without medication. I started working out every day, eating wholesome nourishing foods, and I stopped eating sugar (my weakness). I also started eating lower glycemic carbs (carbs that spike sugar super high can alter your hormone levels and affect PCOS so they’re not the best!) I kept up this consistent routine every day for 6 months. Slowly but surely, things started to change. I was less tired, I had shed off the excess weight I had put on during birth control, my skin cleared up, my hair was growing thicker, and I felt just BETTER. Still, my period didn’t come for those 6 months, and I thought maybe I would have to go on birth control again or try a new medication in order to get it. I kept pushing back the idea of the medication because I was so against it – I knew it wasn’t the “answer” for me, somehow. I kept believing I was going to heal my body naturally.

After another month or so, I suddenly felt nauseous during class. I left class early because I was feeling so sick, and I ended up going to sleep as soon as I got home. The next morning, I woke up and I had gotten my period – naturally. For the first time ever in my life, my body just worked all on its own. I was in total shock and disbelief. How could this happen?! I thought, but I knew exactly how it happened. I had taken control of my health and with time, my body had healed itself through a healthy diet and a consistent exercise program. I was ecstatic.

To make a very long story short, after I got my period, my body continued to get it at the same time every month from that point forward. My symptoms of my hormone imbalance were gone– no more  fatigue, no more cystic acne, no more weight gain, and I most importantly felt more and more like myself. My cysts on my ovaries disappeared. I continued to work out daily and maintain a healthy diet and with that, I felt stronger and more powerful. I felt like for the first time in years that I was normal.

Every time I get my period now, it still makes me grateful and appreciative to know that I’m healthy, my uterus is functioning, my hormones are stable and, I’m going to be able to have children someday. Through this entire rollercoaster of my health, I decided going vegan and maintaining a vegan lifestyle is the best way to stick to a clean, balanced diet filled with lots of nutritious vegetables and protein. It works for me and it makes me feel amazing, so I enjoy it and I’m proud of it.

Needless to say, I don’t have anything against others’ lifestyles. I feel that although it is my job to share my story to the people who follow me, I don’t judge or look down upon others for choosing other lifestyles or habits. This was not a post to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. All I can do on my end is inform and share my personal experience, and for those who want to take something from it, that’s great! Even if this story about my health and my journey transitioning into this lifestyle can inspire or help one person, I know writing this very personal post was worth it. 🙂

Xo,

Lyss <3

 

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Buying Followers, Likes, And Comments

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing a ton of people posting about a new wave of influencers and social media creators that are buying their followers and also their engagement (likes, comments, etc.) on instagram. You may have also seen tons of instagram influencers and celebrities promoting “giveaways” and creating these loops on instagram to gain followers.

I’m going to address the whole “buying” followers thing first, simply because I think it’s one of the most painful things to watch as a creator who has been on the instagram platform for nearly 8 years. I started instagram as a way to document my lifestyle and it was my outlet to genuinely express myself and my thoughts. Over the years, it has become not only a great outlet to connect with millions of people from all over the world, but it has also become a full-time business and job for thousands of people including myself.

For the last 8 years, I have invested my entire life into producing content, interacting with my followers, marketing myself, shooting new projects, working with brands, building business relationships, and most importantly, turning my brand into a full-time career that has allowed me to do what I do. To see other people who just started their brands trying to cheat their way through the system is not only disheartening, but it’s also dishonest and morally just wrong. I don’t think anyone who buys their followers could be proud of something like that. That’s not hard work and dedication day in and day out – that’s just laziness and ultimately, a short-term plan that will get them nowhere in the long-term.

There’s no feeling of great success and achievement that comes with faking your audience. I wake up everyday with a feeling of such gratitude and pride to have come so far and to have been so patient through the process of so many years. While I believe that brands are becoming much smarter and educated when it comes to marketing using influencers, there are still a lot of brands that are learning how to work with influencers on instagram and many of them are scouting out influencers that have fake followers, likes, and comments. This ultimately will lead to a zero return on investment for those brands, which loses them hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s downright scamming people if you are buying your engagement and then charging brands money to promote their products.

The other scam I would like to address are the current giveaway loops happening on instagram. When I initially saw them happening, I thought “what a cool idea – a great way to give back to my followers, and also expand my audience”. It turns out that this “cool idea” is actually just another way of essentially scamming people to follow you, and really has nothing to do with giving gifts to them. I made the mistake of joining a few of these a while ago, and I will never participate again. Sure, there may be a winner who receives some awesome prizes, but the truth is, in the long-run this is extremely damaging to your brand. People are smarter now and know that for the most part, these things are tricks to boost engagement, growth, and much less about the benefit of the audience. If you’ve participated in the giveaway loops before, you’ll notice that 50% the people who followed you will unfollow you because they didn’t win – and chances are, they won’t participate in the next one. Things I also noticed after participating in a few giveaways and experiencing this firsthand, is that my followers would get greatly discouraged and many of them would lose interest in me and my content. They also would find it as a great reason to unfollow my page because I was disrupting my professional content with tacky, unattractive “GIVEAWAY” images. For about a month after I stopped doing these giveaway loops, my engagement had cut in half and I had lost the value of my brand in not only my eyes, but in many of my followers eyes too.

One thing that HAS seemed to work in my favor is to just be genuine and stop caring so much about growing your brand, and start putting more into the people that already do follow you. Investing in my content daily, focusing on interacting with my audience daily, replying to comments and direct messages, liking and commenting on my follower’s own instagram pages just to put a smile on their faces…THOSE are the steps you can take to ensure you will grow your brand into something that’s long-term. If your content is superb and you’re a good, hard-working person, you will grow your brand, I can guarantee you that. You can NOT fake the grind. There are no “shortcuts” to real success. Remember that.

-Lyss

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A Few Of My Favorite Things

So I know this post is totally late after the holidays but I’ve been getting a lot of messages regarding what products I love and use. I decided to make a quick list of all my favorites things I think are worth the buy! 🙂

UNDER $150

Clarisonic Brush – I LOVE my Clarisonic and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those of you who love wearing makeup on a daily basis like me. I’m a makeup junkie, but foundation tends to clog my pores if I don’t wash my face really well, so I bought a Clarisonic a few months ago. The brush’s bristles gently remove all dirt, oil, and makeup residue from your skin. I use a makeup remover pad to wipe away the top layer of my makeup, and then I use the Clarisonic brush paired with a facial cleanser to scrub away the excess dirt and oil still stuck in my pores.

Click here to check out the Clarisonic.

 

Chunky Knit Blanket – Fun fact about me, I LOVE my throw blankets and I think they make any apartment or home extra cozy. I own about 10 of them, and drape my couch and bed with them. They add such a comfy feeling to any room, and this brand is one of my favorites.

Click here to check out the blanket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy Hilfger Boots– I recently bought myself a pair of these and I’m in LOVE. They are super comfortable, warm, and so cute. I’ve been wearing them a lot with black sweaters and leggings and they add just a pop of color. They’re also really good to style in fall or winter season, which is important living in NYC 🙂

Click here to check out the boots.

 

 

 

 

UNDER $100

Sephora Perfume Sampler – I personally love switching up my perfume every week and I don’t want to spend hundreds on individual fragrance bottles, so this set is perfect. It gives you a great range of “test” perfumes that each last about a week, and they’re so cute and tiny that you can fit them into your purse easily. My fave scent from this collection is the one by Elizabeth & James Nirvana. It smells bold but not too sweet.

Click here to check out the perfume set.

 

 

FujiFilm Instax Mini Camera – I carried this camera around with me this year and took the most adorable, spontaneous shots! This is the perfect camera for those of you who love printed “vintage” photos in an instant. I love being able to just snap a photo and have it print a second later. I pinned all of the little pictures to my bedroom wall and I made a collage out of them. This also makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography and doesn’t have an “instant” camera yet 🙂

Click here to check out the camera.

 

 

 

Let It Glow Beauty Box – This box is filled with amazing high-quality goodies. It is worth the splurge in my opinion. I love beauty boxes that honest bloggers have curated because it makes it that much easier to know what’s good out there! I love Marianna’s choices and this box makes a perfect gift for yourself or for a friend.

Click here to check out the beauty box.

 

Ale by Alessandra Bodysuit –

I am in love with cute bodysuits because they can go with so many different outfits! I also think they are super comfortable. Typically, I’d wear a black or white bodysuit with denim jeans, or with a mini skirt. I just ordered this one from Revolve, I think it’s adorable and I’ll wear it with a lot of different things. It’s still available in all sizes so get it while you can! 🙂

Click here to check out the bodysuit.

 

 

 

 

 

UNDER $75

 

 

Anthropologie Candle Set – If you didn’t know this about me, I am OBSESSED with candles. I own about 20 different brands from Anthropologie and I love making my apartment smell like a cozy heaven. That’s why these candles are amazing! They come in 4 different scents and smell so so good.

Click here to check out the candles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – I have a ton of you asking me about my skin and what I use for my foundation. I love medium coverage (not too light, not too heavy) and I have been loving this foundation recently to do just that. It’s a soft matte foundation that covers up everything super well and it has a really nice finish.

Click here to check out the foundation.

 

Classic Denim Shorts – I own about 30 pairs of different jean shorts. They go with everything!!! These are perfect for everyday basics if you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm. I typically pair my jean shorts with a cute bodysuit and high-top sneakers or comfy wedges.

Click here to check out the shorts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDER $50 things I LOVE

Constellation Layered Necklace – soooo cute and a subtle statement piece.

Click here.

 

Cute Plaid Scarf – perfect to compliment any basic outfit and it’s on sale!

Click here.

 

Mini Chain Backpack – perfect for carrying the essentials (phone, wallet, makeup). I bought this on sale a week ago and I LOVE it! It’s adorable and good quality for the price.

Click here.

 

Elizabeth & James Dry Shampoo – this dry shampoo is my FAVORITE and I can’t buy any other brand after using this. It smells like delicious floral perfume so I don’t even need to wear actual perfume.

Click here.

 

I hope you all enjoyed this post! These are just a few of MANY things I love. I also love the ability to support other brands, bloggers and companies. Let me know what other “things” you’d love to see – more fashion, beauty, fitness, etc. in the comments! 🙂

Xo,

Lyss

 

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