Friday, May 26, 2017

HELP, I Miss My College Friends!

It hasn't even been two weeks and I'm in deep sh!t with my attachments issues. I don't like change all that much, to an extent at least. I can usually cope with change because I typically just detach myself from everything so I don't miss it any more. Unfortunately this method doesn't work with everything so now here I am, less than two weeks later wishing that these photos could be recreated in real time.

I don't really know what you're supposed to do when you miss people that you can't easily visit. Send endless memes? Spam them with sixteen messages in a row about absolutely nothing? What about #AllTheGifs? Singing via text message does not give the same entertainment value or level of satisfaction as singing a duet in real life. Living that virtual friendship life isn't all that fun when you know what it's like to chill with your friends on the daily.

I feel like I'm cheating. I got to have lunch with one of my old roommates yesterday and tonight I'm going to hang out with another, even if it's only for a few hours. It's a really weird adjustment going from walking down the hall to say hello to driving from Buffalo to Cleveland, stopping by for a few hours before heading back. In the words of Chris Evans, I don't wike it.

This post was originally supposed to tackle how to deal with missing your friends, but I don't even know if it has truly hit me. Guaranteed it will hit me as I leave Cleveland on Monday after a long weekend here. A song will come on that will spark the tears and I'll spend the three hour drive ugly crying. No unsolicited advice will be doled out today, just a few paragraphs of sentimentality and me reverting back to my emotional self. I should temporarily rename this blog Emotions According to Francesca. And now I have "Emotions" by Mariah Carey stuck in my head. Dammit.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream

This was one of those purchases that I threw into my Sephora cart last minute because I knew that I wanted to buy some stuff while there was 15% off but I didn't necessarily know what I wanted to buy. I was popping around various skincare sections of Sephora and found and entire section dedicated to Korean skincare (K-Beauty if you're checking it out for yourself). I'd already had more than enough masks in my cart and I wasn't due for a new cleanser yet, but I was pretty intrigued by just about everything when it came to this moisturizer.

The pastel yellow packaging stood out to me at first, followed by the large "Egg" that's written in pretty large text on the front. I'm distracted by aesthetics and sources of protein, what can I say? The description says it's a five-in-one firming moisturizer that helps boost younger looking skin. It's infused with collagen fiber that makes the skin feel more elastic and does a bunch of other cool stuff apparently. Honestly, by this point I think it's clear that I don't know why I like certain skincare products, but I just do. This is definitely one of those situations.

I don't know what to look for when it comes to "elasticity" in my skin or any sort of firming properties #FakeBeautyBlogger. I like the consistency–somewhere between a cream and a gel. I don't mind the smell, even if it is fairly strong. I like that it comes out in a pump and I especially like that it doesn't make my skin break out. It's a really nice moisturizer for daytime and nighttime, settles nicely onto the skin without making it feel slick, greasy or tacky. All in all, I'm really liking what it's doing for my skin and I just feel like my skin looks and feels better when I'm using it.

2. "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" by Shawn Mendes

Y'all, Shawn Mendes came for me and he came for me with vengeance. I managed to avoid the Shawn Mendes train the first time it came around with his first album and "Life of the Party." I have this thing where I like to focus on one thing at a time when I'm fangirling hard and my life has pretty much been dedicated to One Direction since the Jonas Brothers split in 2013. All of this sounds like a big ole joke but it's not. THIS IS MY LIFE.

Ahem, I digress...I started accidentally getting into Shawn Mendes when he literally took over the radio and pop culture with his stupidly good vocals, songs and cute as heck smile. I had been mildly into his album Illuminate over the past few months, but this song came out of nowhere and punched me in the neck. It showed up on my Release Radar Spotify playlist and the second I heard his rasp in the first chorus I nearly fell to the floor. I'm probably too old to be flailing over Shawn Mendes, but whatever. As I said, this is my life and I am doomed to a future of perpetual fangirling.

3. MAC Painterly Paint Pot

MAC's Painterly Paint Pot is one of my tried and true favorites and has been for years. It's one of the only products (besides foundation and concealer) that I've ever finished and had to repurchase. I buy more makeup than I can handle and typically never finish anything, but I powered through this product this first time and have made quite the dent in my second. It's the perfect base color for my skin tone. I use it as an eyeshadow primer, as a base on days when I don't want to worry about a full eye look, even as a makeshift concealer to cover up any veins or discoloration I might have on my lids that particular day. My makeup won't slip and slide during the day when I wear this as an eyeshadow primer. It gives a nice base for the shadows to grasp too without being too tacky or tough, making the eyeshadows too tough to blend out. I feel like this is a major "DUH!!!!" product, but if you haven't tried out this Paint Pot or Soft Ochre (more yellow toned), I'd highly recommend it.

4. Adidas fitted track pants

I've come to the point in my life where I cannot avoid wearing sweatpants in public. That's right, I said it. I'M WEARING SWEATPANTS IN PUBLIC. There are some days where it's just too cold for running shorts and I'm too bloated and don't feel like wearing leggings on a quick errand. All of my other sweatpants are literally oversized disgusting messes that I got from Victoria's Secret when I was still in high school, so you know those five to six year old sweatpants have permanent stains and holes where there should not be holes.

My life was missing a pair of cool, hip track pants that I could wear in public and not feel like a massive pile of garbage. I should say that I don't think people who wear sweatpants in public are garbage. I think that I personally am garbage and anything and everything contributes to that, from the status of my hair to the amount of makeup I'm wearing. I'm roasting myself here, but the roast is over because I look cool in these track pants. I used to steal my brother's every time he brought them home because I suck and never bring enough clothes home with me when I come back. After stealing his for a solid year or so, my mom bought me a pair of my own and I cherish them dearly. They're my favorite lounge pants and I would be LOST WITHOUT THEM.

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Let's Check Up On Those 2017 Goals

My yearly "to do" list is near and dear to my heart. I just realized today that everything has been so crazy since the beginning of this year that I haven't had the time to check up and see where I am in terms of my goals. I knew a lot of them were going to take a while, the whole year probably, but it's fun to see what I still have yet to accomplish in 2017.
  1. Move to New York City - The aim is September!
  2. Read one new book each month - So far, so good!
  3. Aim for at least seven hours (but really, eight) hours of sleep as many nights as you can manage a week - This might be one of my greatest accomplishments yet. 
  4. Go on a road trip
  5. Take more outfit pictures for Life According to Francesca so it can finally be the fashion blog you’ve always wanted - Kind of. I mean, I anticipated more, so hopefully this summer allows that.
  6. Compliment someone each day
  7. When it’s no longer winter, start running again
  8. Read more blogs
  9. Invest in a pair of black heels
  10. Narrow down the contents of your wardrobe, again. Keep downsizing to make the move to New York (because it’s happening) that much easier
  11. Wear all of your lipsticks at least twice
  12. Go to one new spot in Cleveland for the last five months of living in Ohio - I was mainly a creature of habit, unfortunately. I did try out a few new places though!
  13. Save a majority of your paychecks
  14. Go to the Indians home-opener
  15. Do not let stress consume your entire being - I am a ball of stress by nature, but I'm still working on it.
  16. Take more pictures–of yourself, with your friends, of your food, etc
  17. Survive the second year of One Direction’s hiatus
  18. Reach 1,000 followers on Instagram
  19. Become more adventurous with makeup–add something more to that signature winged eyeliner
  20. Vlog at least once. Like, just once. Come on. You can do it.
This list is certainly pared down from my lists of forty from all of the previous years, which makes everything seem that much more attainable. How sweet would it be if I could cross all of these off? I mean, that is the aim after all!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cleveland: The Wandering Wardrobe

Am I biased because I spent over two years working here? Potentially, but also, not really at all. I loved this store before I was the girl behind the counter checking customers out. I would've been chasing down this truck at as many events as possible waving my debit card in the air if it came down to it. I spent many o' paychecks at my own job, which was entirely fine with me most of the time (not really when it came time for utilities, but that's how I learned my lesson).

Wandering Wardrobe is a local (to Cleveland) traveling boutique that pops up at markets and collaborates with other small businesses to bring fun and unique fashion to Cleveland. The brain behind the operations is Caroline, Cleveland native who created a business on wheels that's going on its fourth season.

Caroline keeps the truck–aptly nicknamed Wanda–stocked with a combination of bright and colorful pieces and more neutral, solid basics. There's truly something for everyone on the truck, whether it's a  simple top, a cold-shoulder and ruffly floral dress, or even a pair of simple studded earrings or a citrus shaped handbag. There's only six of each piece, so if you're lucky enough to snag one of the pieces for your own, you probably won't have to worry about showing up some place and seeing someone with an exact replica.

People were always fascinated by the fact that there was a fully functioning boutique on the inside of an old refurbished truck. I always joked that it was like a food truck but for clothing, which could arguably be considered better. It's such a fun concept, and the first to hit Northeastern Ohio!

Fear not if you're not from the area. Wanda's inventory is also all on Wandering Wardrobe's online store, with tons of new arrivals every week. Caroline runs fun sales and promotions every so often on Instagram too, so if you fancy a follow, you'll be kept in the loop!

Where: Everywhere (in Northeastern Ohio)!!! Check out Wanda's calendar to see where there truck will be parked next.
What: Cute and affordable trendy and classic wardrobe pieces plus really unique accessories.
For fans of: Shopping small and boutiques!

Monday, May 22, 2017

What Should You Do During Your Last Summer Before College?

According to Google Analytics, the most popular post on my blog is my post Tips for the Summer Before College, which sort of blows my mind because that also might be one of the worst posts on my blog. I wrote it in May of 2014, only a couple months after I decided to blog daily. In true perfectionist nature, I feel like I could do better, so here I am, trying to one up myself.

My first summer before I moved to Cleveland seems like it was ages ago, but I'm fairly certain I spent that whole summer working, trying to see my friends as much as possible, shopping in bulk for random bits I knew I'd need around my dorm, and most likely a whole lot of stressing out. I mean, I was gearing up to live alone for the first time in my seventeen years on this big 'ole planet. Some things might overlap, just because I apparently did get some of it right.

1. Save up your money

You may or may not have a job when you stat off your first semester as a freshmen. I personally didn't get a job until second semester of my second year at school, which meant for groceries and spending money, I had to rely on whatever I had saved to get by. It's a hard knock life when you only have a certain amount of money that you can spend and you have to ration it. I babysat and did some office work the summer before my freshmen year. I had some graduation money from my high school grad party that summer, but all of that went towards my first tuition payment, so I didn't have that cushion to rely on.

It's never too early to set up a budget or whatever will help you keep your money in line. Personally, I don't use a budget because I know I can't trust myself to stay on it and then if I break my budget I'll get really disappointed in myself and start reciting the father/son monologues from any sports movie ever where the son yells, "It's not my dream, it's yours" and things will just be all around emotional. Where was I? Oh yeah, save your money, kids. Because let me tell you, you are not going to want to eat on campus every single day unless your campus is literally heaven and has the best food on the entire planet. Even if that was the case, you're going to want to venture out and get at least a damn Starbucks drink at some point, which might as well be $200.

Bottom line: at some point during your freshmen year, you're going to need money. You might have nice enough parents or family members to bail you out, but you also might not. Save your money while you can. It'll save you in the long run.

2. Pack and prep for your first semester

I suppose this is all in relation to if you're going away for college. I think, in a sense, these tips could apply to any college experience, but this specifically might be geared more towards those who are living in the dorms. The worst thing you could do when it comes to moving away is to procrastinate. I've rummaged through that college section at Target towards the end of the line and it is #SlimPickings, let me tell you. Jump on that section early. You know you're going to need that stuff from the start. There are plenty of dorm checklists on Pinterest that you can mimic your list after. All of those lists want you to bring way too much crap, but it's a good place to start.

Shop for bits and pieces as the summer progresses. If you try to buy all of your stuff all at once, you're going to overwhelm yourself and tailspin into a panic about how old you're getting and how your life is going to turn into your old life while you move onto a new chapter. It's not a cute look, so spread out the inevitable shopping and carve a small area of your basement, spare room, whatever it may be, to start storing your college collection.

3. Spend time with your friends and family

In between saving your money and trying to shop so your dorm has some sort of proof that a human is occupying that space your freshmen year, spending time with the people you love (or tolerate...just kidding) at home is probably a good use of your time. You're probably going to get exhausted with all of socializing, but it's for the best. You're going to miss these people when you're gone and you'll cling to any memories you have of them while you're apart. You might as well spend some extra time with them and create new memories that you can look back on fondly.

4. Make sure your class schedule is accurate

I'm assuming that at some point during the summer, you're going to get your class schedule with at least your fall semester courses, if not your spring semester courses as well. I know you won't be super familiar with the system your school uses at that point, but maybe take a browse of your courses. Had I done this freshmen year and not just trusted that my advisor took all of my courses into consideration, I could've avoided taking two of the classes that I did.

I don't know what this would've done for me in the long run or if it would have made a huge difference, but it stinks to know that some of my money was wasted because I didn't take a chance to see that I already had those credits on my transcript. This might require a bit of time as you have to learn the ropes of the scheduling system that your college uses on top of following the specific course structure your declared major (if you have one) uses. Fear not though, because I know at my school it had requirements broken down into various sections. If you haven't declared a major yet there should be a list of plain old general education requirements that everyone at your college has to complete.

5. Enjoy your free time

Soon, your free time might become limited. This totally depends on how you handle the transition from high school to nothing to college. I can't say that this will apply to everyone, but college might end up being this insanely stressful time of your life that you need to learn how to manage. On the other hand, general education classes might be something that you breeze through. Nothing that I'm saying is going to apply to everyone, so I'm not sure why I'm making this disclaimer so late in the post.

I digress, relish in the fact that summer might be your last non-stressful period before college happens and explodes in your face. I know your summer might already seem full between working, shopping, preparing, hanging out with friends, and all that jazz...but you always have to take time out for yourself. If you can sleep in late, do it. Lay outside (with the proper amount of sunscreen that you continuously reapply!) and catch some rays. Read ten books. Read a magazine or ten. Do things entirely for yourself and let yourself enjoy what could be your last summer at home. Or, at least, your last summer before you're officially a college student.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Good Reads

1. Anxious and Aspiring Arbela, unsurprisingly, nails it again in this article for Bottle Magazine. If you're on your path to graduation or just graduated and wonder where all the time to prepare yourself has gone...check this piece out.

2. How Blogging Helps My Anxiety Really keeping it light to start off today's post, eh? I really love this post that Jessica did this week because it's not something that I've seen discussed a lot on blogs. I see YouTubers talking about it more often, but it's rare that I see this kind of stuff in print and it's refreshing.

3. Blazer and Frayed Denim I'm going to be a real nerd super quick and embrace my inner Brick Heck when I say that the font that Aimee uses on her blog is just really aesthetically pleasing and nice to read. Anyways, moving on...I wanna look this cool in a blazer!

4. Instagram is a Liar Sometimes and Other Mental Health Awareness Month Musings I think that this line really struck me: " media can be a space in which to create and maintain an open community, but that we put up barriers which often keep us from reaping the benefits of these platforms." I mean, the whole post did and I'm really loving that Mental Health Awareness Month is bringing out all of these posts with topics that bloggers tend to stray from in order to keep a squeaky clean, rose-tinted life.

5. Clueless Lookbook Cher Horowitz is my idol, so I'm pretty much in love with this post and these outfits.

6. Tested: Sandals You Can Actually Walk in All Summer I mean, all I gotta say is those Miu Miu shoes are the freaking coolest.

7. Why Do We Insist on Socializing at Night? If I hella related to this, does this mean I'm getting old or just getting wise?

8. I'm Into This: Statement Earrings This is also something that I am into, which is really funny because my feelings towards jewelry are typically pretty ambivalent. Maybe it's because I finally have short enough hair where I feel like the statement earrings pair nicely with the length at the moment.

9. How to Curb Your Sweet Tooth As much as I love my sweet treats, I should probably be studying this post more closely.

10. My Favorite Way to Wear a Statement Midi Skirt I love the flamingo print, first thing. Plus that mustard yellow bag? Adorable!

11. Kim Kardashian’s Assistant is Brimming With Career Advice I still have to read the full article (4,000 words is a big commitment for my short term memory), but I'm loving this summary post.

12. Personal Post - Where I Stand in the Blogging Industry & Why I Won't Change Claire has become one of my favorite bloggers and YouTubers to watch so insanely quickly. I love her attitude, her style, and her personality.

13. Three Ways to Wear Flats (Without Feeling Flat) I'm not going to lie, I've gotten so accustomed to what I look like when I'm wearing something with a bit of a heel (or, if it's my Rebecca Minkoff four-inch booties, a lot of heel) that the idea of flats terrify me. I love these looks that Brittany put together and I'm telling myself right here, right now, that I'm going to figure out how to make this look work for myself!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dream Closet, Vol. 29

It's that time of month again where I peruse Net-a-Porter and cry over the new arrivals of beautiful clothes. Man oh man, there is too much color on here for my taste but I couldn't help it. Now that I look at it again, there is a measly amount of color, but for my entirely black and white wardrobe this is literally a rainbow explosion. Literally though, I would do absolutely anything for that Saint Laurent choker. ANYTHING*

* would probably not do anything, but like...within reason...