Q&A and Giveaway with Esthetician Alana Mitchell

I'm so excited to have an absolutely amazing guest for you today! Alana is an incredibly knowledgeable esthetician who has her own skincare line (!!) and skincare e-commerce site. She's an incredibly kind soul and I knew in a heartbeat that I wanted to get to know her and collaborate with her. I've been using her skincare for a few weeks now and I can truly say that my skin hasn't looked this good for as long as I can remember. My undereye circles are noticeably lighter (never thought that would happen), and my skin tone is significantly more even. Stay tuned for the end of this post, because Alana is giving away a full set of her skincare to one of you!

And now, here's my q&a with Alana...

Hi, fellow beauty-lovers, my name is Alana Mitchell! I’m a licensed esthetician and owner of a skincare business based in Orange County, California, and I’m so excited to share some of my knowledge and expertise with all of you! Having grown up in the beauty industry, I developed my passion for skincare from a young age and eventually honed my craft as an esthetician before opening my own spa and retail space here in Southern California. Thirteen years ago, that endeavor developed into an online retail business, skincarebyalana.com, that has helped me educate and assist people to achieve their most beautiful skin; I believe in only the best ingredient-savvy products that perform well and actually deliver results!
Not long ago, I was able to launch my own skincare line, Alana Mitchell Skincare, which has been such a labor of love! Being 100% cruelty-free, I test each of the Alana Mitchell products and formulations myself for efficacy and to make sure they perform up to my standard. So it has been incredibly gratifying to see some of the most recent products in the line (like the 4-in-Cleansing Pod and Quick Comeback Masque) featured on the Hallmark Channel and nominated for the CosmoProf BeautyID Awards – and seeing our local KTLA meteorologist sharing the love for us on Instagram! Because anti-aging is always a relevant topic in skincare (it’s never too early to start!), I’m very happy to have developed such unique and innovative products that help to fight wrinkles and other signs of aging – one less thing we have to worry about!
Jacy and I became acquainted through this gorgeous site, Love, Lenore! As someone who wants to remain in-tune with the world of beauty and follow fashionable trends, I’m constantly on the lookout for new-to-me sources and outlets of information and ideas. When I reached out to Jacy and let her know how much I enjoy her content and her vision, I was thrilled to hear that she was open to collaborating! My goal is to help others uncover their most beautiful skin through education, so I jumped at the opportunity to answer some of Jacy’s skincare questions she’s tailored just for you, her lovely readers!

Jacy: In our twenties, most of us are blessed with wrinkle-free skin, but what should we absolutely be doing now to help prevent and delay aging in the future?

Alana: I know we all feel invincible when we’re young, but it’s super important to start age prevention now! My anti-aging motto is that it’s easier to prevent than reverse. There are three things you can do today to delay signs of aging tomorrow and into the future: find yourself an eye cream, hydrate (internally and externally!), and embrace SPF. 

Depending on your skin type, choose between an eye cream or an eye gel – cream for normal to dry skin, and gel for oily or problematic skin. The formula should provide moisture to the delicate eye area without feeling heavy or greasy. 

I will repeat what you’ve heard a million times – DRINK WATER! Drinking water is the easiest way to keep your skin looking clear, bright, and youthful. Making sure not to skip moisturizer is also a crucial part of skincare – even if you have oilier skin, moisturizer is an incredibly important step in any morning and evening routine. I promise there is a moisturizer out there that meets your needs!

I’m going to blow your mind a little: Sun damage is the biggest culprit when it comes to hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. It’s not just my mommy instincts telling you to apply sunscreen every day – it’s me as someone who is invested in skin health. SPF isn’t just for beach days!

Most medical professionals recommend an SPF of 15-50 to protect against UV damage. I personally recommend getting into the habit of including an SPF of 30 or higher into your skincare routine. Besides a regular sunscreen, SPF can be incorporated into tinted sunscreens and moisturizers, and finding one with SPF 30 isn’t difficult. Apply daily as the last step in your skincare routine (before your makeup) and you’re good to go!

Jacy: As someone in their twenties with a limited budget, what products should I prioritize with my spending?

Alana: Ever heard the term “less is more”? This can apply to all sorts of things, and is especially important when considering a budget. So, be on the lookout for products with multiple benefits in one! Maybe your serum has Hyaluronic Acid and pulls double duty as a moisturizer. Or maybe you found a moisturizer you love that also has SPF 30. With skincare, there are some amazing products that can do it all – talk about multitasking #goals! 

Jacy: In a sea of skincare brands and products, what ingredients should I be looking for that will actually help with different concerns, and what ingredients should I be watching for that are just fillers?

Alana: There are some fantastic ingredients out there, like Glycolic Acid and Retinol that can work for all skin types (in moderation). Glycolic Acid promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, revealing a layer of smoother and softer skin. It treats conditions such as oiliness, acne, blackheads, and fine lines. Retinol repairs damaged skin, from stubborn pimples to wrinkles and dark spots. It also increases cell turnover and encourages collagen and elastin production. Depending on the formulation’s concentration of ingredients, it can do so without irritation -- phew! 

Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid are great for all skin types in general. Vitamin C is perfect for anti-aging and an excellent source of antioxidants to fight free radicals. Hyaluronic Acid is great for hydration: it binds moisture to the skin, and plumps fine lines and wrinkles. 

My rule of thumb? If you can’t pronounce it, Google it. Sometimes the ingredients you read could be the real deal, but more often than not they’re fillers.

Jacy: As someone who is still fighting hormonal acne and often sensitive skin, how do I balance an anti-aging skin regimen while also working to prevent breakouts?

Alana: Spot treating is ideal and will be your best friend! Fight acne with a combination of salicylic acid and glycolic pads then follow with balancing and nourishing acidophilus probiotic cream. Make sure you include an anti-aging eye cream because the skin around your eyes is delicate and the first place you will see aging. Once you’ve found a balance that works for you, your skin will glow!

So much good info, yes?? Pictured above is her full skincare line that one of you will win! After years of struggles with my skin, I'm so happy with the progress I'm seeing while using her regimen.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Good luck with the giveaway! xo 

Some Small Wins

stripe button down top with a front-tie
tie-front top, distressed skinny jeans, sneakers
short sleeve button down

Do you ever think about the little things that can make you day feel so much better? I call these small wins! The list of small wins can be endless, but here are a few random ones that came to mind 😉 

When something you've been eyeing goes on sale

When you get to come straight home from work and stay in for the evening

When you have more money in your bank account than you thought you did

 When you look in the mirror and don't have any zits for once

When someone gives you a wonderful compliment out of the blue and it makes your entire day! (which is why I try to give out a lot of compliments)

tie-front botton down top
summer casual: button down, skinny jeans, espadrillescasual outfit with a button-down and sneakers
Top (on sale for $7!!?? | c/o)  |  Similar Jeans (mine are old H&M)
Similar Sneakers (love the Steven & Superga pairs)  |  Sunglasses

What are some of your favorite small wins? I would love to hear!

Crop Top + Mom Jeans

cute strapless top
ray-ban clubmaster sunglasses
yellow crop top, Ray-ban clubmaster sunglasses

Hey gals! I hope your week is off to a great start. After a really fun Sunday in KC (our first MLS soccer game!) and a late drive back home, I'm still recuperating a bit. Turns out I can't function well off of 4 hours of sleep like I used to 😅

So I feel like this top and this photo location are giving total vacation vibes and I wish that were actually the case! Turns out this is just a random tree in front of a vacant building in my little Missouri town lol. But I love this little top! I'm not typically a strapless fan, but I saw this on megababe Sivan Ayla (honestly looks significantly better on her gorgeous tan skin!) and knew I wanted it for Mizzou games! The first couple of football games are usually hot as balllllz so I knew this top would be perfect! It was my first time ordering from Vici, but they always have a ton of cute stuff I keep my eye on.  

crop top + mom jeans
striped crop top
cool blonde, messy waves | yellow crop top
Top  |  Jeans (on sale for $28!) |  Sunglasses  |  Slide Sandals  |  Similar Bag  |  Necklaces  |  Lipstick

Clean & Delicious Fiesta Salad

Happy Friday friends! I haven't gotten much sleep this week, so I'm sooooo ready for the weekend to be here! My plans include catching up on zzzzz's, going to yoga, doing some cleaning, and then heading to Kansas City on Sunday for some good food and a Sporting KC game. 

Today I'm sharing one of my very favorite recipes that my mom and I have both made for years! We call it a fiesta salad, and have experimented with our recipe until we've "perfected" it 😌 We first started making this salad back when I was very strictly gluten free for awhile, and now that I know more about nutrition and health, I love that this is truly a guilt-free salad. All of the ingredients are clean, including the homemade dressing! It's also a really tasty way to eat some veggies! If you like tangy flavors, this salad's for you because it's packed with flavor. This is my go-to recipe to bring to a summer BBQ or family dinner because people always love it, and I know I'll have a healthy option there.

There are so many ways to use this little salad!
- as a salad/side (I sometimes eat a big bowl of it for lunch!)
- as a topping for tacos
- served on top of taco salad (like I did on my IG story last weekend!)
- served on top of grilled chicken or white fish
- as a dip with tortilla chips

Salad Ingredients
2 cans of black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can of corn (drained & rinsed)
1 green bell pepper - chopped
2 large tomatoes - chopped
1/3 cup red onion - diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro - chopped

Dressing Ingredients 
(whisk before pouring over salad)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from two limes
2-3 cloves garlic - minced
2 teaspoons sea salt

Optional Add-Ins
Diced avocado (add at last minute before serving so it doesn't get mushy or brown)
Garbanzo beans
Chopped kale

All you have to do is combine all of your ingredients in a medium to large bowl, and then whisk your dressing ingredients before pouring over the salad! I then gently "fold" the salad to mix everything up, and I like it best when it's been in the fridge for just a bit. It's also really good as leftovers for a day or two, and often tastes even better the next day!

I got a lot of messages from you guys as you made this yummy salad, so if you try my family's "fiesta salad" I would love to hear from you!!

Hiptipico Bag + My Favorite Staple Tee

summer outfit with a fringe bag
graphic tee with cutoff denim shorts
cute fringe bag

When Hiptipico reached out about sending me this gorgeous bag, I was truly so excited. Hiptipico is an ethical fashion brand that sells handmade goods from Guatemala. All of their products are made by Mayan artisans with sustainable, local materials. You can meet the artisans here and even shop their goods! I wore this cross-body bag around Chicago and it was the perfect size! It fit my polaroid camera, my card holder, my phone, lipstick and gum - all the essentials. 

Other favorites of mine from Hiptipico are this weekender bag, this crossbody bag, and their camera straps

band tee + cutoff shorts
fringe crossbody bag

Hiptipico bag - handmade by Guatemalan artisans
band tee, cutoff shorts
Crossbody Bag (c/o) |  Similar Tees here & here  |  Shorts (similar here)  |  Sunglasses ("weekend riot")  |  Sandals

My particular graphic tee is no longer available, but I just wanted to talk about how much I've worn this inexpensive purchase and turned it into a wardrobe staple! I picked it up at an H&M for under $15 last fall, and it's proven to be a year-round top that I can style a million different ways (also blogged here and here). I love that graphic tees can be styled like any basic, but are much more interesting. That being said, I've rounded up a few of my favorites online for you guys...