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july picks

While I am not a 90's baby in my 80's Mercedes (I see you though, Maren Morris, I see you girl), I am indeed a 90's baby riding the MTA on my expensed Metrocard and honestly, what's the difference? It's just less catchy when it comes to crossover hits but that's really about it.

I don't think it's any surprise that 90's fashion is back. It's been back, but it's still riding high on the street style circuit and quite frankly, I'm here for it. I was a little tot back in 90's so my mom was in charge of dressing me for the most part (actually, not for the most part, she literally was the only person who dressed me because my father was not to be trusted). Kathy G made sure I was suited and booted in up to date styles because she knew from a young age I was destined to be a fashionista. Just kidding. 

Since I couldn't fully enjoy 90's fashion while it was a thing because I was, you know, an infant growing into a small child who just liked to say the word "fuck" a lot for shock value, I'm taking full advantage now that I am a 23-year-old adult that still likes to say "fuck" a lot.

I'm not quite sure what it is about 90's fashion that makes it so desirable, but I truly believe there is something for everyone. I mean, come on, when high-wasited jeans are a staple in the trend, could it possibly be bad? I don't think so. High-waisted or bust, y'all. Or rather, high-waisted to your bust, am I right? The higher the better! The higher the waist the closer to god should be the new saying on the streets.

For all my people out there who like to follow the traditional female fashion trends, they were popping back in the day with babydoll dresses, leather jackets, pantsuits, slip dresses (god bless the slip dress), hot pants (I'm afraid of anything that has that much spandex in it but more power to y'all), satin skirts, vinyl, animal print galore, 70's revival, really, must I go on?

When I think 90's style, I always gravitate towards Rachel on Friends. I don't particularly even like Friends all that much (please wait before you throw the first stone, thank you!) but I can appreciate it for what it is: a 90's classic that has forever frozen that era in time. If you throw in some Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Full House, Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and of course, the milennial classic Clueless, you have more than enough fashion inspiration to last you a lifetime.

Every time I layer a cami dress over a white t-shirt, I immediately feel like Rachel Green and wonder if I need to give my hair the chop. Just kidding. About the hair-cutting part. I legitimately feel like Rachel every single time and get irrationally angry at Ross' fictional existence because he is one of the wor–

This is not an essay on my hatred towards Ross, I will refrain. 

I digress, there's something deliciously nostalgic about dressing in 90's fashion trends, somewhat upgraded to modern times. It wasn't enough an era in which I truly remember, but it's certainly more of an attractive era versus low-rise jeans, Hollister camisoles, and the horror of Disney fashion (you know, when they layer fourteen pieces of clothing on top of each other and hope for the best). I'm not going to be ignorant and call 90's fashion "vintage," but let's be real here, it was almost two decades ago. That's pretty wild to think about if you ask me! Time flies, y'all.

Shirt: ASOS
Dress: H&M
Boots: ASOS
Purse: Rebecca Minkoff
Sunglasses: Illesteva
Necklace: Kate Spade

Photos by Emily Polner

It's been a while since I've tested out any new foundations, mostly because I've been working through my three shades of the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation and repurchased my tried and true CoverGirl 3-in-1 for those days when I just need something I'm all too familiar with. But, my dear friend Hannah from The Cleansed Review came through and brought me two gifts that I was not worthy of: Dior's Airflash Foundation and Too Faced's Peach Perfect Foundation.

Since foundation is something that I wear on a daily basis, I figured it was time to share my thoughts on these foundations and see how they rank compared to the rest of the foundations I've ever tried. As a reminder, here is what I'm looking for when it comes to foundations:
  • Buildable medium to full coverage
  • Dewy to matte finish, preferably demi-matte
  • All day wear (minor touch-ups after a long workday okay)
  • Formula that's easy to apply with a beauty sponge
Now that we've gotten those formalities out of the way, let's just dive right into the Too Faced Peach Perfect foundation.

Right off the bat, the matte portion kind of goes against what I'm looking for, however, it doesn't matter much when I like to add liquid highlighter to my foundation anyways to make everything look as dewy as possible. This comes in a tube but has a pump which is my preferred foundation set-up for like, sanitary purposes. But also it's so much easier to gauge how much foundation you're using when you have a pump versus just pouring it onto the back of your hand and hoping for the best! The foundation has a faint peach scent, like that entire line of peach products in Too Faced's range, but it's not overpowering, especially for being, you know, literally on your face and nose.

This is definitely a more medium to full coverage, but it's very buildable and blendable, which I sometimes struggle with when it comes to the lighter shades of my Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation. It's super smooth and creamy and does have a pretty matte finish, especially if I set it with anything besides my Laura Mercier Glow Translucent Powder (that shit makes everything glow). 

I don't really feel this when I'm wearing it aside from when it is incredibly humid out, which in its defense, affects all of my foundations and even my skin when I'm not even wearing anything on it. The only place I noticed this somewhat breaking down was on my chin, which tends to happen when the weather heats up and sweat starts to build up in the strangest of places. Sometimes it just requires a quick tap of a damp beauty sponge to fix it!

Dior Airflash is something I've always wanted to try, but wasn't ready (and still am not) to dish out the $62 for a foundation when I usually go through one every few months. Despite the price and fear of getting addicted to it, I accepted the gift from Hannah and it might have ruined my life in the best way possible.

This foundation...is so nice. GUYS, IT IS SO NICE AND I AM NOT WORTHY OF IT. This foundation has the most beautiful semi-matte finish and feels so lightweight but still offers coverage and I just don't know how to process my feelings about it. I tend to spray mine onto the bottom of a damp beauty sponge and bounce on my face versus spraying the bottle directly onto my skin and blending out. It weighs absolutely nothing and doesn't feel heavy or sticky on my face whatsoever. It doesn't break down on my nose or chin (besides at the end of a super long, humid day, which any foundation would do). I barely have to use concealer on my blemishes after I use this and never have to touch up during the day.

Overall, I truly enjoy both foundations, but Dior Airflash has my heart and I'm so nervous to run out of it because I am considering repurchasing. So like, RIP my bank account I guess!

Have you tried either of these foundations before? 

Okay, so I use traveling loosely here since my version of traveling is usually just coming back home to Western New York for a few days versus making an international trip. But hey, everyone has their own version and mine just happens to be the broke bitch version. Even still, hopping on that 45-minute flight back home requires me to narrow down what I'm bringing so I can throw it all in a carry-on and tote bag and hope for the best. Makeup is one thing, but making my skincare routine travel-friendly can be challenging, to say the least.

Beyond the limitations when it comes to the amount of liquid you can bring in your carry-on, skincare tends to be pretty bulky and true sample sizes that don't cost an arm and a leg aren't necessarily the easiest to come by unless you buy a travel kit. I'm personally not the biggest fan of trying to de-pot product (i.e. putting moisturizers and eye creams into empty contact cases), as some things just don't transfer well, unfortunately. But I also don't want to deny myself of my usual routine and let my travels wreak havoc on my skin that is already problematic before the transportation via airplane touches it.

Just because I'm traveling doesn't mean I should deny my skin of its usual routine, mostly because it's fussier than a teenager and I don't need to cause it any more stress than it already suffers on a daily basis. I like to keep my routine as normal as possible, within reason, to keep an equilibrium in my skin, also known as trying to not break out the same way I did when I was a hormonal sixteen-year-old with hella oily skin and more clogged pores than she could count.

Since I can't bring my entire skincare cabinet with me, I deemed a few things necessary:
  • Cleanser
  • Makeup remover (preferably not makeup wipes)
  • Moisturizer
  • SPF
  • Serums
  • Acne treatments
  • Sheet masks
Obviously, removing my makeup and cleansing my skin are top priority for me, especially in terms of keeping dirt and grime off of my face. Moisturizer is always key obviously to keep the hydration in. Serums, acne treatments, and sheet masks are a treat, but there are easy ways to ensure that you can have all aspects of your skincare routine without lugging full-sized glass bottles around and hoping for the best during the flight. Forget the fragility of them for a second, they're just plain old bulky sometimes too.

This is precisely why I save all of my little samples and redeem my point at Sephora strategically. While yes, they're perfect for testing out new products, they're also perfect for travel and keeping your skincare routine as extensive as possible. I've been hoarding little minis of products for months, waiting for my trip home and resisting the urge to use them, especially one of the mini Caudalie serums that gives me life every time I get a sample of it.

I can live without my two thousand step skincare routine, but that doesn't mean I like to. It's kind of the same with me and caffeine. I don't need it, but I'm also addicted to it so like, I'd prefer to not have headaches the same way I'd prefer to not have bad skin. Obviously.

While I'm not necessarily on the plane for that long when I travel home, I still firmly believe hydrating is one of the most vital parts of a skincare routine when it comes to traveling. And detoxing, but mostly hydrating. Ain't nobody want dry af skin after the flight so everyone could do with a good hydrating sheet mask before, after, or even during the flight if you're in it for the long haul. Keep your skin moisturized and bouncy versus dull and lifeless. Don't let the flight win!

Here's what I decided to tote along home to the other side of the state in hopes that my skin wouldn't freak out too much: 

  • Fresh Soy Cleanser mini (a point perk at Sephora)
  • Drunk Elephant B-Hydra serum mini (a point perk at Sephora)
  • Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum mini (a point perk at Sephora)
  • Fountain of Truth Calming Serum *gifted*
  • Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizer mini (a point perk at Sephora)
  • Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream mini (a point perk at Sephora)
  • Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil mini (a sample at Sephora)
  • Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion (full sized, 1.7 oz)
  • Lexli Acne Clarifying Lotion (full sized, 1 oz)
  • Fountain of Truth Eye Roller *gifted*
  • Sheet masks
  • Lancome Bifacial Eye Makeup Remover mini (a point perk at Sephora)
What are you travel skincare must haves?

The title of this post is more confusing than it needs to be, but let me just take way too long to explain what I mean. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I've had a few different conversations with friends that have the same kind of general overlap. Lately, a lot of my conversations have revolved around finances and how to spend your personal finances, food (naturally), and general life experiences. It's not one of those "you had to be there moments," however, the conversations obviously went a little more in-depth than that.

I'm pretty passionate about not having guilty pleasures and instead just owning everything that you do and are. This is precisely why I have no issue admitting to my fourteen-year-long commitment to the Jonas Brothers or that sometimes I eat entire jars of cookie butter from Trader Joe's in a few days because it's addicting and just so damn tasty. If it brings you joy, why not do it or eat it or you know, other actions and verbs that are escaping me at the moment. This isn't a post about the specifics of depriving yourself of certain things (though intermittent fasting has come up a lot lately in my conversations as well and I have A Lot of Thoughts about this fad that is essentially just starving yourself with a new name but let's not get into that), but rather, is about the liberating feeling you get once you stop caring about what people might think.

Liberation is a dramatic way to put it, but it only makes sense for a dramatic person to go with this notion.

As a teenager who grew up alongside social media and idolized celebrities and Hollywood to some degree, I faced the normal struggles. I was tall and lanky and then I was average height and had what I thought were my problem areas (I now realize that this was just my hormones or god knows what playing with my mind) and then carried those insecurities forever while I surrounded myself with "thinner" people. I was never body shamed, to my knowledge, but there's always that little self-inflicted pressure that we all put on ourselves for whatever societal reasons. I felt like I stopped enjoying the things I used to enjoy because of the person I wanted to be, which required new clothes, new hair, new makeup, new diets, and a new personality. This gratefully didn't last very long because like, my parents raised me right and it's just really exhausting being somebody you're not, but still. Some people don't kick that phase ever, or at least not until later in their lives when they reach a point of contentment.

My life became ten times better when I let myself listen to the music I wanted to listen to publicly without hiding it in online communities, when I started to eat the food I wanted whenever I wanted to eat it without justifying it to myself or others (I like, barely ate yesterday so I'm extra hungry today...gag me), when I stopped freaking out about money I was spending on something I actually wanted to do. 

Money has always been a huge stressor in my life. I was always afraid of never having enough. Even sometimes still, I'm afraid I'm not saving enough and I'm spending too much when in reality, I save a lot more than most people my age do. This is largely due to the fact that I have no student loans, which I try to be as candid about as often as possible. I wouldn't have been able to move to New York City and take the offer I took at the job I still currently work at if I had loans. It would've been impossible. I still had to make sacrifices and pick up three extra random side jobs to pay off the credit card that I had to use sometimes to afford dinners when I was hanging out with friends.

I wasn't spending like crazy and charging designer handbags. I enjoy hanging out with friends and going to karaoke and getting drinks every once in a while or a slice of pizza on my walk home from the subway late on a Friday night. A year ago, I would have never forgiven myself for spending $5 without being able to justify it. I would've checked my bank account five times that day and do the calculations with my upcoming paycheck subtracting out what I owed for rent and approximately what I would owe for utilities and then for my minimum credit card payment. 

This isn't to say that I'm careless with my money, but I finally feel like my life isn't controlled by the number in my bank account. My uncle, who isn't materialistic or money focused in the slightest, told me this once years ago when I was having a borderline breakdown about all of the money I was spending on a trip to California that meant a lot to me: you can always make more money, so you might as well spend it. 

He wasn't telling me to like, you know, ball out and follow Niall Horan on tour in an effort to make him fall in love with me forever and ever like we're destined to...wait what?

All jokes and creepy fangirl talk aside, it's kind of always stuck with me and has kept me balanced. I still don't ball out because that just seems really irresponsible for me when this life is so unpredictable, but I dont deprive myself of experiences that bring me joy because then really, what's the point? I can't take my money with me after I'm gone and not to be like, too morbid right now, but like it's true. I'm not going to rememeber the $60 I spent on a night of drinks and karaoke with my friends in twenty years so I'm just going to spend it because it makes me happy and sometimes, those moments are far and few between. 

It's been a slow crawl of 23 years and will continue to be a slow crawl for 23 more years but I'm a work in progress. If I peaked at 23, god, what a sad thing that would be. I still have acne and tiny boobs for gods sake!

Sweater: H&M
Dress: Zara
Shoes: ASOS
Sunglasses: Forever 21
Bag: Saint Laurent

Photos by Emily Polner

I've decided to nix whatever beauty post I was going to write today to talk about and show a few things. It's been a while since I've claimed something as a street diaries post, which is just a fancy way of me wanting to use iPhone photos and keep it casual without admitting defeat and chalking it up to laziness. I'm actually pre-writing this, so how lazy can I be if I'm not choosing to write this post the day that it's supposed to go up, huh?

The internet is kind of a weird place. I used to have to spend a lot of time on Instagram for my previous position at my company and my screentime has gone down exponentially since transitioning to a new time, which to me is a good thing. I don't think social media has personally ruined my life, but the internet is a controversial place full of controversial things and controversial people and take a shot the next time I say controversial. I get it. I see it. There's a lot (emphasis on a lot) of garbage on the internet, and this isn't even a self-deprecating "I'm trash" joke. But there's also pockets of the internet and curated communities where you can enjoy the pros of the internet without reading 200 comments deep on a YouTube video and questioning why people choose to use their words to spread hate, or in most cases, just absolute nonsense they pass off as their "free speech" and "opinions."

I'm really not here to hate on the internet though. In fact, this is a celebration of one of my favorite things about the internet: the vast majority of people who utilize it, especially through social media. I used to only use social media for personal purposes. Even when I first started this blog, I didn't really link out to my Twitter or Instagram on here. I had a few people I followed on Tumblr and regularly talked to (hi Mahi!), but other than that, my life was kind of siloed to the point where "internet friends" weren't really a thing in my life.

I kind of went from 0 to 100 when it came to making friends online. At some point in 2014, I think I changed my tune and was more active on Tumblr and joined blogging networks and wanted to embrace my online identity, which really, is just my IRL identity. From this, friendships flourished via DM, text, any possible digital media to facilitate a friendship through the airwaves when I couldn't just call them up and have them over for pizza or go out to get coffee.

I'm fortunate that I found some online communities where I felt accepted and found camaraderie through similar interests (boybands, blogging, the usual millennial female thing). This was especially important during a time where my IRL friendships were deteriorating or would end when I w t naturally drift away. I'm also fortunate now to live in a city where some of those online friendships were able to transition offline.

Since I'm burying the lead, as per usual, I met an online friend. Finally. After four years.

I'm sure I'm speaking to the choir when I talk about the struggles of having friendships that stem from the internet because hello, welcome to the world of content creation and using the internet as your creative medium. So I think most of know the glorious feeling of being united at last. I mean, I would akin it to reuniting with a friend after a long time apart except you've never gotten to like, hug each other and experience their existence in their IRL glory.

Hannah from The Cleansed Review is a gem of a human and used her purposeful layover in NYC to leave the airport, come to my apartment, do my eye makeup (which I've been dying for her to do since we became friends), and popped into Chinatown, Soho, and Nolita with me so she could see a little bit of the city before she set off to London. As I joked on Instagram, get you a friend that takes four hours out of her layout and round trip to the airport via Lyft to see you *Joe Jonas voice* for the first time (that song still slaps, I don't care how the Jonas Brothers feel about it).

I don't really have the word to describe this joyous occasion, so all I have to say is, god bless the internet sometimes. What a wonderful friendship facilitator!

Halfway through June seemed like an appropriate time to check in on all of those goals I set for myself throughout 2019. If you're new here, I don't do the whole New Year's resolutions thing. They're daunting and usually fall-off sometime around January 15th. I'm all about arbitrary nonsense, but something about New Year's resolutions rubs me the wrong way, usually because it's good intentions but gone about the wrong way. As a lover of to-do lists, creating a list of things to accomplish throughout the year seemed like a better option for me to have something to strive to throughout the year just in case everything else I do in my personal and professional life falls to shit. 

My lists are usually much longer and more involved, but I cut myself a break for 2019 considering the number one thing on my list for the past two years has been MOVE TO FUCKING NEW YORK CITY and since I'm here and that's a pretty big thing to accomplish for a twenty-something rando like me with zero connections and money. I decided ten things would suffice for the year. Really, just maintaining my status as faux resident of New York City is good enough for me so anything else is just a bonus in my life at this point.

Alas, since I am a serial list finisher and hate leaving bullet points uncrossed off, I'm doing a public check in to see if I'm on track or if I can pretend I'm on track enough to somewhat claim I've done a few of these things. You do what you gotta do, guys.

1. Write more often | So at some point, this was probably true. But in fact, I think I've stopped writing less now. However, I've also started writing more thoughtfully. I used to force myself to churn out three blog posts a week to retain an arbitrary (there it is again!) schedule. So mission not accomplished but also mission probably shouldn't have been accomplished anyways. I haven't taken on any more freelancing projects as I genuinely enjoy and prefer just my tiny lil weekend shifts for Today. I still want to try to pitch myself for something else at some point throughout 2019, but I'm not going to rush myself and overload my brain with pitch ideas and all that fun stuff. 

2. Read a new book every month | This is always so far, so good. I haven't been keeping track of the books anywhere on this blog though, so here's a tiny schedule of what I read in 2019 and when: In January I read China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan and In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It by Lauren Graham; In February, I read When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri; In March, I read You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn; In April, I read Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney and The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves; In May, I read I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson.

3. Read more articles (blogs, magazines, digital, oh my!) | Uh, kind of. Not really. I've been reading more books lately and I started listening to some podcasts, but actual physical reading hasn't been happening as often as I would have liked. 

4. Start YouTube again? | LOL

5. Learn how to cook | So this is a no but also not entirely a no but still a no. *tries HelloFresh one time and thinks she's a cook* I didn't learn how to cook but I learned easy tricks to make the usual simple things I make slightly better.

6. Decorate my space more | So actually, this is shockingly a yes. Back in February, my dad helped me hang up art and prints in my room for the first time since I moved in. An in the recent weeks (literally, the past seven days), I've gotten colorful, mod bedding and a velvet tufted chair for my room. All that missing is a tiny bookshelf and a fake plant and I think my room might finally be complete after over a year of living here.

7. Step out of my comfort zone with food | I don't really know why I put this on here in the first place considering I've done this already but maybe this was a sign to get myself to stop going to the same two restaurants. I've kept it in my pants when it comes to just going to Veselka ten times a month so I think we're good on this one! 

8. Go to Top of the Rock | Hasn't happened yet but hopefully sometime this summer! 

9. Get new makeup organizers | This is next on my apartment decorating list however acrylic drawers are so expensive so I'm going to need some time to save a bit. 

10. Downsize my lipstick collection | I still need to do this but I think it's going to be much more possible now that I've made it through another winter season not wearing all of the bold colors that I used to. 

So...I'm like...halfway there. Almost all the way there. Honestly, for how shit the beginning of this year was (and for how shitty some aspects are of it now), I'm feeling pretty good about this progress! It's the little things, guys. Not to quote One Direction because I am now fully devoted back to the Jonas Brothers after forgiving them for leaving me in the dust in the fall of 2013 when I needed them the most during my first semester of college and leaving me no choice but to throw myself at One Direction to fill the void.