5 Thrifting Tips for Every Student on a Budget

Thrifting is the perfect way to shop for students who are on a budget. If you love the idea of thrifting but aren’t sure how to do it successfully, you are not alone. Learn how you can get the most out of your thrifting trips and money with some of these helpful tips. I always keep these things in mind when I am shopping.

1—Go thrifting with an open mind

After years of thrifting, I have found that entering the store without expectations will yield the best results. Have fun and embrace the eclectic collection of clothes, shoes, and accessories waiting to be found. Thrift stores tend to have merchandise that changes quite often, so you never know what you might find on any given day.

2—Deals are everywhere

Beyond offering already deeply discounted merchandise, many thrift shops will have a special deal for each day of the week. Keep an eye out for these! Try to go on student discount days or attend early bird specials to save even more. Others may have colored tags that correlate to markdowns and rotate by day.

3—Thrifty is trendy

Thrift stores house many hidden gems. A second-hand, silk, lingerie top could actually become a staple in your wardrobe. Some current trends that I have found at my local thrift stores include embroidered tops, velvet tanks, mom jeans, and more! At this point, I would say the majority of my closet is thrifted. So, it is definitely possible to accumulate classic pieces over time!

PHOTO: Lex Kelly

4—Embrace all sizes and labels

Clothing sizes are not universal, so the thrift store is no different. But, this is actually positive news! A top that you would typically not consider because it may be too big, could turn out to be an adorable oversize shirt with endless styling possibilities. It is also helpful if you don’t focus on labels when thrifting. Sometimes you can find high-end clothes. Other trips, you may not spot any, but don’t let that keep you from exploring new (and old) brands that you may not have heard of before.


Shopping second-hand is great for the environment. Since the retail industry has been largely wasteful with the rise of fast fashion, thrifting is a great way to make a positive impact on the fashion industry and environment. You can take it a step further and try donating your own used clothes. Each time I go thrifting, I try to donate the same number of items that I purchased. It is a nice rule to make for yourself that will keep your closet decluttered and make a difference in the world. Imagining others up-cycling your own pieces is so exciting and inspiring, too!

Hopefully, you are able to take these tips to your nearest thrift store and discover unique new pieces for your wardrobe. Tag @Cfashionista on social media so we can see your thrifted purchases! Don’t forget to comment below your favorite part of thrifting as well!

Additional photos by Lex Kelly and Maddy Haller.

5 Tips and Tricks to Master Your Back-to-School Routine

The phrase “back-to-school” either excites you or fills you with dread. Personally, I enjoy the shopping and organizing, but not the shove back into reality of hitting snooze at 7 a.m., scrambling to prepare a lunch, and rushing out the door with socks that don’t match. From the night before to the morning of and throughout the day, the following five tips and tricks will help you adjust to and master the first few weeks back.

1—Preplan your outfit

This is my tried and true back-to-school hack. Checking the weather and laying out your ensemble before bed can save you anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour in the morning. Too many times have we fallen victim to trying on an outfit and then changing countless times because “something doesn’t look right.” Try on different options the night before, and then fly out the door in record time the next morning. In need of fashion inspiration? Click here to see back-to-school looks for days (after you’re done reading, of course).

PHOTO: Kelly Rogowski

2—Start waking up earlier

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a morning person? For some, going cold turkey—by suddenly waking up early after a summer of sleeping in—might work, but for me, a more natural progression is key. When back-to-school commercials start popping up, I know it’s time to start turning back the alarm clock. Begin by trying to wake up 15 minutes earlier every day for a couple of weeks. By doing so, you can go from a 10:30 a.m. wakeup time to 7 a.m. with ease. (Just make sure to also adjust your bedtime accordingly.)

PHOTO: Anna Coke

3—Pack your own lunch

This tip is a three-in-one. By packing your own lunch or snacks, you can save time, money, and eat healthier. Standing in line on campus can eat up (no pun intended) valuable study time. Opting for that cream cheese bagel might be delicious, but it shouldn’t cost five dollars and leave you hungry a half hour later. Take the time to research recipes and ideas, then head to the grocery store. Preparing your own food for the day becomes an invaluable asset as workloads get heavier.

PHOTO: Maddy Haller

4—Get organized

Personally, I prefer to keep my to-do’s on my digital calendar and notepad. However, I completely understand the preference of physically making lists and crossing off finished tasks. (Plus, those day planners sure are pretty.) Whatever your preference, what matters most is that you get organized from day one. Recording all deadlines and exams as soon as they’re on your radar will make your back-to-school transition a breeze. Being ahead of schedule has yet to fail me.

PHOTO: Maddy Haller

5—Give yourself a break

Last but not least, take breaks. When on-campus, I like to treat myself to the occasional coffee. Whether alone or with friends, somehow a warm cup of liquid seems to make everything okay (even if only for a few minutes). When at home, face masks and bubble baths work wonders to de-stress and put the focus back on you.

PHOTO: Lex Kelly

How do you make your back-to-school transition a breeze? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below, and connect with @Cfashionista on social media!

The Top 5 Travel Tips You Should Know

I love traveling because it can be extremely beneficial. It can make you see things in a new way, teach you in a way that a classroom cannot, help you learn who you are, and give you some pretty neat stories to tell later. As of right now, I have been to eight countries and way too many states to list, but I am nowhere near done with my journey. Here are five things I’ve learned for making the most out of every trip.

1—Pay attention in foreign language class. Being able to communicate with someone who does not speak English is not only cool but being able to read key words on buildings or signs can help you get around so that you don’t confuse a library with a movie theatre. Another benefit of being (somewhat) bilingual is talking to the locals. Spanish has helped me meet some truly amazing people in Europe, Honduras, and the Caribbean. Knowing just two languages can go a long way.

2—Try new things. I am always down for an adventure, whether it is ziplining, swimming with turtles, or exploring a city. This year, in the Caribbean, I tried quenepas. They are a little, round, green fruit. A local lady was selling them roadside, and I gave them a shot. I am glad I did, because they are sweet, tart, and delicious! Trying new things is important because if you don’t, you will miss out on great things that are just outside of your comfort zone.

3—Take time to learn about the culture. Something I love to do is find things that are different from my Pennsylvania hometown. One of the things I have found to be very different in every country I visit is shopping. Saint Martin, where I spent two weeks this summer, has a capital called Phillipsburg. There, many street vendors sell handmade jewelry, hats, trinkets, clothes, art, shoes, and pretty much anything else imaginable. It is a lot different from my local shopping mall.

4—Make new friends, but bring the old ones along. Traveling with a friend can be an experience that helps the two of you become closer. The girl in the picture above has been one of my good friends since first grade, but the two-week trip we took this summer took our friendship to a whole new level. Traveling together, however, didn’t stop us from meeting tons of new people and making some great friends.

5—Relax. Taking some time to relax, unwind, and spend time by yourself or with your travel partner can be the best part of your vacation. Your trip is supposed to be a break away from your regular life, so designate a day or two of your vacation to simply relaxing. Get a massage on the beach, lay out by the pool, or sleep in past noon. It’s your vacation; you make the rules!

What are your favorite travel tips? Let me know in the comments!

What a Makeup Break Can Do for Your Skin and Confidence

As someone who has struggled with their skin for several consecutive years, it is a rare sight to see me, confidently, without makeup. Wearing makeup every day can get tiring and I have longed for the day to leave the house with clear and confident skin. I tested a theory on what a makeup break can do for my skin. The whole month of June I drank water, worked out, and stopped eating late to help clear up my skin. By the time July came around, I was ready to live a makeup free week.

Day One

My boyfriend took me out for our anniversary so of course, I was nervous about being out in public, bare face. I could not resist brushing through my eyebrows and putting on a nude lip, but I washed my face as soon as I returned home. My nighttime routine is to wash with Burt’s Bees facial cleanser, tone with Thayers, and use a CeraVe night cream. I also add Mario Badescu drying lotion to any blemishes.

Day Two

Fourth of July—it was hard for me to back off festive makeup, so I had a slight red lip for most of the day. Showering, I used my Cetaphil face wash and moisturized with Garnier afterward. I went bare and felt comfortable surrounded by friends and family and finished out the day with my typical nighttime routine.

Day Three

This was an easy day for me because I didn’t have to leave my house. I washed with Burt’s Bees in the morning per usual and later decided to do a charcoal face mask. Masks are a great way to brighten and clear up skin without makeup, and they leave you feeling incredibly fresh afterward.

Day Four

On this particular day, I did have to go to work. I like to feel confident while talking to customers, which is hard to do with a face full of acne. Luckily for me, my skin was not looking too shabby. The day went better than expected; I think my skin was enjoying the break.

Day Five

On this day, I watched a lot of YouTube videos as I was starting to miss the feeling of makeup and how beautiful it truly was. Going makeup free made me realize I didn’t need all that, even if only for a few days. I saved so much time getting ready for work and was able to sleep in.

Makeup is just an add on and not a necessity, especially in summer. Giving your skin time to relax is key to clearing it up. Every girlboss knows confidence is skin deep and makeup on the surface only enhances the beauty you already own. Although I drank plenty of water and did a continuous workout routine, I also take a regular birth control pill that, in combination with other products, may have helped clear my skin. This may or may not work for everyone, but is another option.

What are your best acne fighting secrets? Post them in the comments below!

How to Ensure a Healthy Day From the Start

Everybody loves finding out about new healthy ideas, recipes, and foods which we can incorporate into our routines. Especially ones which are quick to make and packed with vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately buying organic and fresh produce is not cheap, and it goes bad quickly if you’re not using it up fast enough.

As a result of this problem, many food and fitness bloggers constantly share their tips online. They often share how to eat nutrition-rich food with little waste and a lot of time savers. The most popular ones are listed below and are great to try out.

1—Freeze. A very popular method for smoothie drinkers and bowlers is to cut and prep all of their fresh ingredients together and then freeze them. This is a great way to ensure that your ingredients stay healthy, fresh, and cool. A lot of bloggers share their recipes and tips online which is a great help when creating weekly smoothies. Keeping different ingredients on hand is a big help when you want to experiment or focus on certain vitamins and minerals.


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2—Grow. Growing your own ingredients is an instant cash saver, and it ensures the freshness of your food. Space is often an issue when wanting to grow your own plants, but luckily trendy alternatives have come out to help just that. You can have plants growing on your counter, windows, or even hanging from the ceiling with the various options around you today. Growing your own ingredients can now be a trendy addition to your home. It is a great way to ensure that you’re getting enough fresh food and minerals as they’re easily available.

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3—Prep. Dedicating a day in your week to cooking and prepping food is an easy way to save time, eat healthily, and waste little. It allows you to play around with different ingredients and to create exciting nutrient-full food for the week. As a result, it ensures that you don’t overbuy food that you won’t be needing. There are many ideas online to inspire your healthy cooking, give you tips on what lasts well, and how to ensure flavor in each container.

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Eating well can be made an easy part of your daily life with just a few steps. The best thing to do for your body is to treat and feed it correctly for you.

Look online for ideas and share yours for us to all see! Don’t forget to tag @CFashionista!

5 Things to Do When Visiting Berlin

This past year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend my entire junior year living abroad in England. Looking back now, I have to say that I definitely took full advantage of living in Europe by visiting as many countries and cities as I possibly could. I have been home for about two months now, but each day I am reminded of my time living abroad and how much I miss it.

In order to relive some of my amazing memories, I thought I would talk about one of my favorite cities I visited and the top five things you must do, eat, or see in Berlin.

1—Take a free walking tour. I visited Berlin during my spring break abroad and met up with two of my friends to explore this exciting city. We weren’t sure what to do first, so my friend found an organization which gives tourists free city walking tours. By the end of the two hours, I felt well informed and ready to conquer the huge city full of endless history.

2—Eat the food. Not only is Berlin known for being a fun city full of history, but I have to say that this German city sure knows how to make good food. If you get a chance, be sure to try the burgers from Burgermeister or the oatmeal from Haferkater. Both are by far the best I have ever had.

3—Go to Markthalle Neun. Every Thursday in the area of Kreuzberg, a huge food hall is set up with some of the best food and drinks from a variety of different cultures. If you happen to be in Berlin on a Thursday, bring your appetite and please visit this food hall!

4—Explore the beautiful architecture. If your favorite part about visiting a new city is all of the architecture and museums, then Berlin is the place to be. The Holocaust Memorial is fairly new, but a beautiful sight to see with intricate designs and a history of its own.

5—Go to the Berlin Wall. My final tip for you is to, of course, walk along the Berlin Wall. Although the wall has been down for a number of years now, parts of the wall still remain and some are kept for artists to use. It really is amazing to see all of the creative pieces which designers have shared for public display.

I was only in Berlin for three days, and it was not anywhere near enough time to see all that this city has to offer. I know I will be back in the future to truly experience everything else I might have missed, but in the meantime, I just relive the experience through photos and stories.

Have you been to Berlin or are you planning to visit? Let me know in the comments below!


Skincare Products That Have Helped Improved My Skin

Who doesn’t have to deal with bad skin almost every day of their lives, or whenever it’s the time of the month? Yes, acne is one of our biggest enemies, but it can be resolved with a great skincare routine. Most people buy products that promise to reduce acne or have been recommended by dermatologists, but little do they know that these products are not what they need.

Growing up, I’ve battled with acne day in and day out. It was quite frustrating because I literally tried everything (well at least I thought I did) from egg whites, lemon squeezes, and even toothpaste. As I entered into my 20s, I decided to take it upon my myself and research everything that was going wrong with my skin. I learned that I had really oily skin and open pores because I wasn’t washing my face properly. At first, I used African black soap, but it only made my skin worse.

So then I went into The Body Shop and stumbled upon The Body Shop: Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash. I’d been reading rave reviews about the product so I took a chance and tried it out. I also decided to start taking dietary supplement pills (Biotin) with 10,000 MCG which helps improve my skin, hair, and nails. Usually, they recommend you take the lowest dose so your body has time to react to it, but I was desperate. As the months went by, I started to see a lot of improvements in my skin, especially my forehead. I stop using regular lotion, and brought Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet that my best friend recommended to me, and which helps keep my skin feeling hydrated.

During the night after I’ve finished washing my face, I clean off the extra dirt from my skin by using Thayer’s Witch Hazel with an exfoliating cotton pad. After my face is completely dry, I then apply Rugby Acne Medication (benzoyl peroxide gel USP 10 percent). Usually, about once a week once a week I use either the Boscia Sake Brightening Hydrogel or Too Cool for School Egg Cream Mask Hydration sheet mask. I love using them both because they saturate the skin with nourishing essences and you can also rub the leftover product into your skin.

It’s really not that hard to maintain an acne-free face. In all honesty, it’s important to wash your face twice a day whether or not you have acne. This helps remove dead skin cells, impurities, and excess oil from the skin. Drink a lot of water, moisturize, and buy skincare products that work for your type of skin. Granted my method may not work for everyone, but there’s always a product out there that will fit for every individual.

What methods or products do you guys use to fight off acne? Let me know in the comments below!

4 Tips for Productivity After a Long Day

When you get home after a long day, the last thing you want to do is anything slightly productive. I personally would rather throw on pajamas and nap for a few hours, then wake up and watch Netflix. But because that normally isn’t an option, I’ve created four tips for productivity even when I’ve been working all day. Whether you’re going from your 9-5 to work on something creative like a blog, or you’re going from a long day of class to work on more homework, these tips will be so helpful!

1—Wake yourself up. In other words, don’t take a nap. Unless you’re some magical human being who can actually take a 20-minute nap, don’t even lie down. Drink some coffee or tea, turn on some pump up jams, or dance around your room. Do whatever it takes to wake up. It feels impossible, but I promise you’ll be thanking yourself when you’re done with your work before midnight.

2—Dress for success. This tip may be a cliché, but it’s true! Fight the urge to wear pajamas or even sweatpants, because these clothes will get you in the mindset of sleep. This doesn’t mean you need to add makeup or a pantsuit (especially if you’re sitting at home), but wearing comfortable clothes you feel confident in will translate into work you’re confident in.

3—Set the tone. Do the same thing every time you need to get into a productive mood. This could mean fixing yourself a coffee, sitting in the perfect chair, or even using the same notebook each time. I love to go to Starbucks to write blog posts, but because that isn’t always an option, I like to have something to sip on. Set the tone every time you work, and in a while, just the sight of coffee will get you in the productive mood!

4—Make a list. Whether you make a new to-do list or you keep a running list of tasks, writing down your goals is so helpful. You can write concrete terms like “Write a rough draft of my paper,” or you can give yourself more abstract goals like “Spend 20 minutes working on paper without a break.” Checking off your accomplishments is so satisfying, plus every time you’re not sure what else you need to do, you’ll have a full list written down!

What are your tips for productivity? Let me know in the comments below!

Remember to Care for Yourself

Let’s face it. We’re all busy. Between school deadlines, morning shifts, and lunch dates, everyone has almost too much going on. With our hectic schedules, it can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves. It’s okay to admit that we need a breather every once in a while. So, next time you’re waiting on your Starbucks order or finishing a paper early, keep these anxiety-calming points in mind.

1—Keep your friends close. As we grow older, our lives become less identical to those we care about. Physical distance doesn’t have to mean weaker friendships. Make a point to catch up with your girl and guy friends every so often. They’ll appreciate knowing that you’re thinking about them.

2—Buy yourself flowers. Keep in mind that you’re human. Even though we make mistakes sometimes, we’re still trying our best and that’s worth something. So what if your bae is a pet instead of Channing Tatum? Getting something for yourself can be way better than receiving a gift anyways. This way you know you’ll like it! Plus, the bouquet might be Insta-worthy.

3—Indulge sometimes. Going easy on the sweets or the spending is a great way to live! However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t eat a candy bar ever again. Give yourself treats at least once a month! Get that purse you’ve been eyeing. Try that pasta recipe you pinned. You won’t be hurting your progress.

4—Put your fears in perspective. Going through tough times can make us forget about the bigger picture. Of course, we’ll have worries about the future and whether or not we’ll succeed. If we didn’t, how would we stay motivated to give everything our all? In spite of our doubts, remembering that our fears aren’t real.

How have you managed to take care of yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Tips for Shooting Long Exposure

What if I told you that you could turn water into mist, clouds into paintings, cars into light, and make the world spin while you stayed static? By using a long exposure setting on your camera, you can achieve all of this!

I recently began to explore the wonders of this somewhat intimidating photography technique. Long exposure shots can easily become skewed. For example, both too much light and not enough light can equally ruin your shot, and if your camera moves ever so slightly you must try again. Now I know this sounds frustrating, but with a little practice and the right tools, you will be able to take photos just like this! Below are some “must-haves” for this photography method.

1—Get a DSLR. This absolutely is the most expensive part. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex, which is fancy for “a camera that has a removable lens and takes wonderful pictures!” (Check out this camera bag.)

2—Get a tripod. Having a tripod will allow your camera to stay steady during long exposure shots where camera movement is your worst enemy! If buying a tripod is too much, improvising does the trick as well—you just have to get creative!

3—Know about f-stop, aperture, and shutter speed. Once you have a DSLR camera, it has a bunch of different settings that you can shoot with. In order to create long exposure shots, you must switch your camera to “M” or “manual mode.” Once you have completed this, you will be able to change the amount of light your camera receives. This obviously differs for shooting at night versus during the day. For example, if you are shooting traffic lights, clouds, or stars at night, you want the most amount of light hitting your lens and for usually the longest amount of time (this may be variable depending on the effect you desire). However, an essential part of shooting long exposure at night is setting your f-stop to the lowest number possible which opens your camera’s aperture to its widest setting, allowing the most amount of light in. During the day, things become a little more complicated and expensive.

4—Long exposure during the day. If you are looking to shoot long exposure shots during the day, you must purchase a neutral-density filter (ND filter). This filter screws directly onto your lens and makes it much harder for light to enter. It is important that your f-stop number be set to something pretty high, which will allow you to capture water movement, for example, without letting too much daytime light in.

5—Find a beautiful location and start experimenting. I cannot stress this point enough. Long exposure shots and photography, in general, take time and patience to master all of these technical terms. However, if you, like myself, have a passion for capturing beauty, you will be able to achieve wonders!

Have a long exposure shot you’re proud of? Share it on social media and tag @Cfashionista!