The Start of My NEW Weekly Vlog

I’m going to start doing a weekly Vlog! So, start tuning in on Saturdays for the release of a new vlog :)

Here’s is #1

 

Feel free to send in questions, leave them in the comments section here, tweet me, send me a private message on Facebook, leave a comment on IG, or use hashtag #AskKatie on Twitter.

xoxo!

Katie

Weekday Wardrobe

Life has been a bit crazy the past two weeks, and I haven’t been the best at taking photos every single day of my outfits, or getting this post up! So, here is a compilation of outfits over the past two weeks. :)

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Top – Sanctuary (StitchFix) P.S I’m obsessed with this sweater! // William Rast Jeans // Old Navy Flip Flops // Earrings – Brighton

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Top – Urban Outfitters // Joe’s Jeans // Shoes – Tom’s // Earrings – Claire’s

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Top – Urban Outfitters // Joe’s Jeans // Shoes – Tom’s // Earrings – Claire’s

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Top – Tart (StitchFix) // Joe’s Jeans // Vans

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Sweater – Sanctuary (StitchFix) // Kensie Jean’s (StitchFix) // Steve Madden Booties

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Top – Three Dots (StitchFix) // Free People Jeans // Anthropologie Boots // Earrings – Claire’s // Sunnies – Oakley Women

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Top – Sanctuary (StitchFix) // Jeans – Free People // Tom’s

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Jacket – Urban Outfitters // Dress – Francesca’s // Boots – Anthropologie // Earrings – Claire’s

StitchFix just keeps getting better. I receive my 10th box on Monday, and honestly every box my stylist improves more and more, and it is exactly what I’m looking for. I highly recommend this service if you haven’t tried it yet. I would LOVE it and give you much thanks if you use my referral code if you decide to give it a try! Any of the links above work, or you can use it here. If you get overwhelmed with shopping, or you don’t have the time for it, but you love clothes or want to give yourself a make over, then try this! I promise you won’t regret it. Best thing that ever happened to me. :) I LOVE fashion, but I hate shopping. So, it’s a win-win!

Hope you all had a good week and are enjoying your weekend!

xoxo!

Katie

SHOW HOW YOU NEON

I have been trying to come up with how to incorporate Project Neon and how to truly make an impact on the lives of people all around us, and instead of using a different hashtag every month, and creating a different challenge, I wanted to create something monthly where each of you || SHOW HOW YOU NEON || for a chance to win different prizes. My goal with Project Neon is to inspire people to live a fun, fit, and happy life! And ultimately have all of you inspiring others as well. I want everyone to live the best life they can live, and I want all of us to work together to shine our Neon all around.

#showhowyouneon

 

 

The month, #ShowHowYouNeon on Instagram and Twitter for a chance to win giveaways from The Feed and Gregory Packs.

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The Feed – Win a special Harmony Bar edition Feed Box, with a bunch of my other favorite fueling options inside! It is the ultimate KatieHartMorse Box! :)

Gregory Packs – Looking for a new hiking backpack? – Then this month is perfect for you! Share How You Neon for a chance to win a new backpack! I’m taking one of these on my trip to Thailand and I’m in love!

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Ultimately, just show what makes you come alive! Whether it’s a walk in nature, hanging out with your pup, doing yoga, surfing, running, you name it! Let’s inspire each other to live the best life we can live. A life full of NEON! :)

Here are some of my favorite ways to #SHOWHOWYOUNEON

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Can’t wait to see how YOU share your NEON! #projectneon #showhowyouneon

Life Lesson – The Journey of You

I have always found that life truly is about creating oneself. And in creating yourself through experiences we will become confident in who we are. Make life about || C R E A T I O N||.

Creating

|| M E M O R I E S ||

|| A D V E N T U R E ||

|| L O V E ||

|| T R A V E L ||

|| F A M I L Y ||

|| F R I E N D S H I P S ||

This is your life || This is your story || Create it.

Life Quote

The Sand Cloud

Ever find yourself at the beach, or the park, and looking for something to place under your head for a pillow? I swear, I’m always trying to make my bag or backpack as comfortable as possible, but I never really do get comfortable. The Sand Cloud made a genius invention! Never go to the park or beach again, and not have a comfortable resting spot for your head.

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Literally, one day, one of the founders went to the beach to try to take a nap, and he tried using his backpack, but could never get comfortable. He was like we gotta make something where people can go take a nap on the beach!

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And that was how the Sand Cloud was born. Through a lot of trial and error of trying different towels, pillows, and designs, they finally created the perfect pillow + towel prototype. And I got to try it out! I’m not kidding. For the first time ever in my life, I actually fell asleep at the beach! :)

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I’m also a side and stomach sleeper, and although I didn’t get a shot of me sleeping on my side or stomach, I’m not kidding, I really did fall sleep, and have the best nap ever. Also, the sand comes off the towel super easily, dries really easily, and is crazy comfortable. I seriously think they hit the nail on the head with this invention. You definitely need to try this! It’s worth it.

A little shake out action before packing my beach day up for the day! It’s light, comfortable, and truly does make the perfect companion for a solid nap at the beach or park. :) Interested in learning more? Go here.

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They also have a super rad Instagram account, that I love to follow. You can also “like” them on Facebook.

Happy Napping!

xoxo!

Katie

12 Faves of Fall + My Fall Bucket List

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. There’s just something about the changing of the seasons, that gives us an opportunity to feel renewed and “start over”. No need to wait til the “New Year”, create new goals and challenges with the changing of the seasons. :) And never forget to think about what you love most about that season, and then develop some kind of bucket list around your faves. What I love about bucket lists is it helps us live the life we imagine. It keeps us doing, experiencing, learning.

My 12 Faves of Fall

1. I like the smell of the cool/crisp air

cool crisp air

2. The changing colors of the leaves

Colors of Fall

3. Everything is pumpkin flavored

pumpkin bread

4. Hot Cocoa

hot cocoa

5. Sweaters

StitchFix

6. Booties

fall booties

7. When my nose gets just a little cold :)

8. Trail running

trail running

9. Pumpkin Carving!

pumpkin carving

 

10. Honey Crisp Apples

honey crisp apples

 

11. Candles and Hot Baths

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12. FOOTBALL SEASON!

football season

 

So what 12 things are on my fall bucket list this year? Who wants to join me? Post your pics of doing any of your fall bucket list items during the month of October to win a The Feed Box!

Fall Bucket List

What are your favorites about fall? And what’s on your fall bucket list?

Conundrum Hot Springs Backpacking Weekend

I was craving a backpacking getaway weekend, and so I booked a ticket to Colorado to go hiking with my best friend from college, Betsy, and my sister, Jenny. I flew in to Denver Thursday night after work, and Betsy picked me up from the airport. We had some girl talk before we hit the hay.

Friday morning and I went for a run in City Park. It is beautiful. I was LOVING all the greenness, everywhere! I had to run 8 miles for my training for the Temecula Half marathon I’m running at the end of October. It was fun to be at a higher altitude (although Denver isn’t in the mountains, but it’s still higher than sea level), but because it’s flat, I was running sooooo much faster than my typical min/mile in San Diego. I averaged 9min/miles for all 8 miles. It felt great!

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city park

After that, I had a little photo shoot with Betsy’s kitties, before heading to a local coffee shop to get some work done.

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There is the cutest bike shop/coffee/bar a few blocks from Betsy’s house, called the Denver Bicycle Café. I got some good work done there, and then had lunch at The District next door. My lunch was amazing! I had a delicious sandwich and a Strongbow for lunch. J I was lovin’ it. Then headed back to Betsy’s to get some more work done.

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Took a nap at around 5, before Betsy got home at 6. Oh my goodness. I hadn’t taken a nap since probably before I got employed again. It felt sooooo good. I was knocked out cold. Then we cleaned up and headed to REI to get some last minute stuff for our weekend backpacking trip.

We had dinner at the coolest place, Linger. I’m obsessed with it. The food was fantastic, and they have a really cool rooftop bar. The bar is a “food truck” bar. Who knows how they got it on the roof, but it’s awesome. Then it was home to pack our backpacks for our hike. My sister drove down from Fort Collins late Friday night, and slept at Betsy’s, so that we could all wake up early Saturday morning and drive to Aspen together.

I had never been to Aspen, and was excited to see a part of Colorado I hadn’t seen, because I have been nearly everywhere else. The drive was beautiful, and all the Aspen trees were starting to turn yellow. It truly felt like fall. Sometimes I miss the seasons living out in San Diego, but I just LOVE the ocean. We parked at the trailhead, grabbed our bags, and started walking. :)

 

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I was soooo excited to disconnect from the digital world for a bit, and just be in nature. No headphones, no phone, no t.v, nothing. Just Betsy, Jenny, and I and nature. I LOVE to camp and hike, and hadn’t done so in too long. Every step of the hike, I just felt so in love with nature. It was beautiful. Betsy had been wanting to do this hike, and I was of course so excited to do it too. She had picked out a hike that takes you to these beautiful natural hot springs up in the mountains. We couldn’t wait to get on our swimsuits and sit in the beauty of nature. The hike is 9 miles to the hot springs (8 miles to the start of campsites). It is 2,400 feet of climbing, and we had to cross rivers and waterfalls. We had our balance challenged a few times, and I just couldn’t get enough. All I could think is I need to do this more often. After a little over 4hrs of hiking, we got to the Conundrum Hot Springs, and it was packed. It was seriously like a party on top of a mountain. It was crazy! Everyone was camping, and sitting in these beautiful hot springs. I just love that everyone had to do this amazing hike to get there. It was cool to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who love being in nature and adventures and fitness! So, we got on our suits and hopped in with everyone else!

 

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Because it was like a mini-city, it was tough to find a campsite. We ended up having to camp in a non-designated camping area, just like a few others, but we got to sleep to the sounds of the rushing rapids of the river. It was unreal. Seriously, I thought, is this real? Is this real life? We get to do this! How amazing.

 

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It started to rain while we were in the hot springs, so after a few hard ciders, and people starting to get naked. Haha. Yes. It’s a “hippie” hot spring, where nudity is allowed if you so choose. We headed back down to our campsite to cook dinner in the dark and the rain. My sister brought a mini stove, and we had bought dehydrated meals where we just add water. And let me tell you, they were soooo good! Seriously. Sooo good. We had garlic mashed potatoes for all of us to share. My sister had pasta primavera, and Betsy and I split Meat Sauce Lasagna and White Bean Chicken Chili. I was shocked at how good the meals were. And we had Bananas Foster for dessert. After our bellies were happy, we climbed into our tents, and listened to the rain and the river. My dream. I just love falling asleep to any kind of water. It’s so peaceful and soothing, and just makes me happy. It was pretty cold. I slept in a hat, long sleeve, long pants, tall ski socks, and a down jacket. And then snuggled into my sleeping bag (I had borrowed Betsy’s friend’s sleeping pad, which man those things have come a loooong way, they are like mini air mattresses, haha.) I fell asleep pretty fast.

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It stopped raining during the night, but then as soon as we woke up at 6:45am, it started raining again. And all I could think about was how much I was loving it. I just love the rain. It felt good, and made me feel alive. We packed up our tents and backpacks in the rain, and then headed out onto the trail again. It was pretty muddy, but beautiful. 9 ½ miles later (longer on the way back because we got a ride from where we parked to the trailhead, and this time we had to hike to the car), we were back at the car and in reality. Stopped at Whole Foods for a warm sandwich on the way back to Denver, stopped by Betsy’s real quick to pick up some of my stuff, and then straight to the airport. Haha. Didn’t even have a chance to shower. I’m sure the people on the plane are loving how I smell. ;) (I’m writing this on the plane right now)

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It was a short trip, but it was just what my soul needed. A weekend in nature with some of my favorites. I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully soon! And it makes me sooo excited to go camping and hiking in Thailand. Ahhhh! Only 2 months til I leave!

If you are looking for a rad hike to do, I highly recommend doing this one. It was an unbelievable hike and the hot springs are worth it! The party was awesome, but I would love to do it again on a weekday when there are less people, and we could have the hot springs all to ourselves. I bet it is crazy tranquil and lovely.

What a fun weekend! I hope you all had a good weekend too!

Xoxo!

Katie

Weekday Wardrobe

 

 

This week’s weekday wardrobe! I got a NEW StitchFix box this week. I still LOVE getting my boxes. In fact, I get them more frequently now, because I love adding new things to my wardrobe. It just makes me feel fresh, and excited about what I’m wearing, and makes me feel confident and sexy. If you are interested in trying StitchFix, feel free to use my referral code here. :)

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Top – DanielRainn (StitchFix) // Joe’s Jeans // Tom’s

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Top – StitchFix (don’t have my cheat sheet with me, here in Colorado – so don’t know the brand) // Jeans – StitchFix // Toms

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Top – StitchFix // American Eagle Jeans // Target Sandals

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Top – StitchFix // Pants – StitchFix // Toms

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Top – SunDiego // Shorts – StitchFix // Toms

Solo Travel Adventures

Being the baby in the family, I always have been well, babied. And, so I never really have been given the opportunity to travel by myself. Not only that, but financially, to be honest, I haven’t always had the luxury to travel by myself. And when I say travel by myself, I mean everything from taking the flight alone, to touring a city/country solo, and not just for one night, like a week of backpacking, or a two week vacay in Europe, whatever it is, just something where you can explore solo.

When I moved out to San Diego three years ago, that was my first really big independent move. Growing up, I have always been really close with my parents, brother, and sister. In fact, when I was a kid, I told my mom how I was going to go to college at the community college right down the street from our house, because I never wanted to leave home. And even when it came to college, I honestly, wasn’t interested in going somewhere where my parents couldn’t easily come visit. It was still a 4 ½-5 ½ hr drive depending on traffic from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to DePauw University in good ol’ Greencastle, Indiana, but it was the perfect distance where if I wanted to go home, or needed my parents they could easily come visit. Also, they barely missed a single soccer game, because I was within driving distance. It was the perfect taste of being off on my own. But, then after college, I moved to Chicago, and my parents were a 90min drive away. I liked it that way, but the truth was, I never saw myself in Chicago long term, and my mind, body, and soul craved the ocean and the sunshine. And the second I stepped on the beach in San Diego, my soul felt at home. I never felt more like myself, and I never felt more comfortable. I was surrounded by tons of like-minded individuals who loved health, fitness, and the outdoors.

 

So, I moved out to San Diego, with no job, no friends, and it was definitely the start of my true independence. I still see my family at least 2-3x a year, let’s be honest probably even 4-5x a year. It was a rocky start, I needed a job, and I wanted to make friends of course. But, within a few months, I was employed and started making friends. But, San Diego, somehow was familiar to me. I had visited there before, but it also was right in my comfort zone. It was my dream to live here.

This is the first photo I took when I moved to California.

 First Pic I took in CA

I am turning 30 in 2 months, and well, I may have moved all the way across the country, but I have never truly vacationed by myself, or gone on a solo adventure. I’m a really social person, but I love being by myself too. I love to just be inside my head, write, explore, get my camera out and shoot photos, and just kind of do my thing. I got a little taste of a solo adventure when I went to Miami back in March. I went to Miami to visit a friend for her going away party. She had lived in Miami since college, and she was moving, and I had never been to the Miami before, so I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to go, because I had heard great things. Since, I was unemployed at the time, I decided to go for nearly a whole week, so that I could explore. She had to work, so it was perfect. I stayed with her, but for the most part, I went exploring during the day. It was so much fun! I just loved it.

Exploring Miami

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miami 2

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That’s when I decided, I wanted to take a BIG solo trip to celebrate my 30th birthday and ring in this new decade. Sooooo much has happened in my 20’s.

  • College
  • Living in Chicago with some of my best friends
  • Started my own personal training business
  • Dated a guy for 4 yrs and lived with him for 2yrs, and then broke up.
  • Moved out to San Diego
  • Got my dream job in Social Media
  • Started two blogs (which is now merged into this one)
  • Completed 4 marathons, qualified and ran the Boston marathon
  • Completed 4 ironmans, 10 half ironmans
  • Fell in love a few times
  • Laid off twice from work
  • Became an aunt

I learned that 20’s are a big decade for change, growth, growing pains, and discovering who you are and what you want.

I’m hoping that I can take all the things that I’ve learned in my 20’s and apply them to my 30’s and truly live the life that I want to live. So, I want to kick that off with pushing my limits and stepping outside of my comfort zone. It is time for a true solo adventure, and that is why I booked a 12 day trip to Thailand!!! I am soooo excited about it. It’s scary and thrilling and exciting all at the same time. I have traveled other countries plenty:

  • Spain 5x
  • Dominican Republic 2x
  • Mexico 4x
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama 4x
  • Peru
  • Canada (I lost count)
  • British Virgin Islands (2x)

I speak Spanish pretty well, and so I honestly feel comfortable traveling to any Spanish speaking country. I wanted to go somewhere that would really challenge me. I had been looking for cool getaways on Groupon, when a trip to Thailand stood out to me. But, in addition to going somewhere I’d never been, and somewhere that had a culture I had never experienced, a language I didn’t speak, I wanted to do a trip where I could be active. I love hiking, backpacking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, running, you name it, and there is no other way I would want to see a country. Museums are cool and all, but I’d rather get outside and see the beauty of a country. And well, there is NO WAY I could go on a 12 day trip and not get some type of physical exercise, I would go crazy!!!

I had googled “solo adventure trips” and a National Geographic article came up with the top 5 outfitters/travel companies that offered trips that did not require you to have a partner to sign up with you. The one I landed on and loved the most was: Intrepid Travel. What I loved was not only that they offered TONS of Active trips full of lots of physical activity (you can even rank how physical you want your trip to be, and it sorts trips that way), but it was affordable, they organize everything, and you are with a group the whole time. It’s kind of like camp but in a foreign country. I’m excited to meet new people, and experience a new country and culture!

Some photos of some of the places I’m going to be visiting.

Photo from: www.travelfrombangkok.com

Kanchanaburi Photo from: http://www.travelfrombangkok.com

intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com

Chiang Mai – intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com

Side Note: I know there is a civil war that is about to break out any second there, and that there are lots of protests going on. I’m also aware that it’s dangerous to go anywhere alone there. My brother’s company has an office there, and he has been there a bunch, and has informed me of how to be safe, so don’t worry. I also will have a group leader the entire time, and the itinerary has already been created, and travel/sleep/activity/food arrangements have already been made, as well. All I have to do is show up, and keep my wits about me. :)

So, in two months, I take off to Thailand for a 12 day “solo” adventure with people I don’t know, in a country I don’t know, and where I don’t speak the language. I’m ready to learn, grow, and enjoy the beauty that Thailand has to offer.

If you are interested in learning more about the trip I’m going on and Intrepid Travel click here.

I haven’t even gone yet, and pretty much I already know I would recommend going on a solo adventure to everyone. I think it’s important for all of us to spend time getting to know ourselves, and feeling comfortable alone. It’s exciting, different, and I think helps us become confident in who we are and gives us a true sense of independence. It also helps us to trust ourselves. So, even if it’s a 4 day road trip in your own country, or a backpacking trip, or a crazy trip to a country you’ve never been to, do it! I didn’t get the chance to study abroad, and well that is one big solo adventure for most people. I wish more than anything I could go back and do that, but we unfortunately only get to keep moving forward, so I’m working on continuing to live the life of my dreams. Life is a journey, a learning process, and all we can do is try to keep making our lives better by learning from the past. It is never to late to be who you want to be, or do what you want to do.

So, go plan that solo adventure trip!

Life is either a daring adventure – or nothing.

travel quote

Twelve Tips for Cleaner and Healthier Skin

When I was growing up, I was one of those kids who was lucky to have good skin. I never really even washed my face other than a rinse in the shower and occasionally at the sink, but never really used soap, and I never got real break outs. But, after puberty, every once in awhile I would get a BAD cystic zit on my chin. It hurt, badly. To be completely transparent, I started taking birth control at 16 (because I get severe cramps). I had heard rumors of birth control helping with acne, but I wasn’t on it for acne, but for some reason, I thought it would help for those times I would get a bad zit on my chin.

Throughout high school and college, every other month or so, I would get a bad cystic zit on my chin. It was humiliating. The rest of my skin was great. How could I fix this?

It was until this past Christmas, when I came up with a routine. Again, 95% of the time, my skin was great! But, who wants that 5% of embarrassment? Where you don’t even want to leave your house, because you have this big f’ing thing on your chin. I can honestly say that for 10 months now, I have not gotten one cystic zit.

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In addition, I’m 29, and I was getting more and more concerned about keeping my skin young and healthy looking. I spend a lot of time in the sun, and well sadly, our skin starts to age before our hearts and minds do. So, I started taking my skin care routine more seriously.

Here are my twelve tips for cleaner and healthier skin!

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1. Never ever ever go to sleep with your make-up on! – I used to be too lazy to wash my face at night, because my bed was calling my name, but now, I make myself do it before I brush my teeth, that way I know it will get done. :)

2. Use SPF in your lotion and/or foundation – My favorite is Super Goop!

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3. Wash your face after every sweat sesh! Yes, this dries out your skin BUT that’s what lotion is for. It’s better to not leave your sweat drying on your skin, than just washing your face again. :)

4. Take Zinc Daily - Zinc helps get rid of bad bacteria in your body. If you are prone to cystic zits, start taking zinc daily, and I promise you will notice a HUGE difference in your skin. This was one of the big changes I made back in December. And it has changed my life.

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5. Take Fish Oil Daily – Fish Oil helps keep your skin clear, healthy, and smooth. It has other benefits for your body as well, but I also started taking this in December, and again has made a world of a difference. I’m not much of a vitamin taker, or supplement taker, but this is worth it!

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6. Use an Anti-Aging Serum – If you want to keep your skin young, invest in anti-aging serum. It helps reduce wrinkles and keeps your skin looking young and fresh. :) Again, I started using this only 2x/week and I have definitely seen a difference. It’s expensive so I don’t use it daily.

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7. Use a Daily Moisturizer – I also used to never use lotion. I know. I know. I know. And now, I use a daily moisturizer. It depends on the day and what I will use, but I tend to use something light, as I know I will be using my Super Goop afterwards. :)

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8. Use a Night Cream – This is what truly makes my skin silky and smooth. I use a night cream every night, and I wake up feeling young and my skin feels as smooth as a baby’s bottom. LOVE my night cream. :)

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9. Zit Cream – I use an adult “zit cream” – I use it as a preventative cream vs. after a zit appears. It helps keep the hormone balance in my chin, in addition to the zinc combatting the bacteria. I put it on before I put my lotion on, and I put it on in the morning and at night. LOVE.

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10. After Zit Serum – I use the BEST stuff, in my opinion, on the market to get rid of zits. It seriously zaps it, and it’s gone over night. This shit is da bomb. Yes. I just said that. ;) When a small zit shows up, I just rub this on and it’s gone within 24hrs.

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11. Toner – I only use this probably 1-2x/week, but I like it to keep my skin tones in balance. I have pretty balanced skin, but with all the sun exposure and occasionally I get some redness in my skin tone, it helps balance it out.

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12. Eye Make-Up Remover – This doesn’t really have to do with skin, but it’s part of your face, and our eyelashes and eyelids need a break just like our skin. So don’t forget to completely wipe your eye make off, so that it can have a breather over night.

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Cheers to Beautiful Skin!

xoxo!

Katie