April Reflection

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April is what I want to call my "rebuilding" month. It was the aftermath of the stressful mess that March was. It was a period of relaxation and taking time for myself, which is a very strange concept for me. I'm still not quite used to it, but I'm getting better. 

There wasn't a lot happening in April for me, solely because I made it that way. I didn't try to overload myself with obligations. I did my work, I came home and I let myself sit down and relax. It was the month of Netflix for me. I watched more movies and television episodes than I have in probably all of college combined. It was strange, but good. I like the idea of coming home and being able to unload after a long day rather than holding it all in until it bursts. 

April was also the month of getting my stuff done. It was the last full month of school before the semester was over. It was chock full of prepping for final assignments and just all around trying to gather my bearings before May hit and I was swamped with final exams and the true final projects for my classes that aren't test based.

To be honest, April was probably the best month I've had in a really, really long time. And nothing all that exciting happened! If the rest of the year can go like April did, I think I'd be extremely content. I suffered from minimal stress, I had some pretty solid hair and makeup days, and I just all around treated myself like I was a princess. I gave myself "me time" and I really learned a lesson from my months upon months of letting the stress build up. So, (hopefully) gone are the days of stressing until I cry and treating myself like crap. Francesca is back in action, baby!

Positivitea Cup Three: The Final(s) Countdown

Friday, April 29, 2016

Retweet if you now have "The Final Countdown" stuck in your head and you sang the "dododododododo" part after reading the title. Nope? No one? Just me? All right. Can't say I'm surprised by that one...

I just finished up my penultimate week of the semester and I'm sure that spring semester 2016 is probably winding down for most people at the moment, if they're not already done. If you've finished already, congrats, everyone else is really jealous of you! Nice job! You made it! You did it! You're free for summer! If you've still got a week or so to go, hang in there, pals. We're all in this one together. We can make it through! I now have a weird mash-up of "We're All In This Together" from High School Musical and the Degrassi theme song stuck in my head, alongside "The Final Countdown."

We're in the homestretch here, guys. We've got what, a week? Two weeks? Three weeks? Whatever amount of time, we've got a few weeks to still kill it. Finals shminals, am I right? Whether this is your first year of finals or your fifth year of finals, it can still be nerve-wracking all the same. It's a stressful time of year for everyone because there's projects and the last few assignments that need to be squeezed out during the semester that conveniently fall right before finals week. There's classwork on top of studying on top of trying to sleep and go to work and see friends before the semester is over. It's a whole jumble of assignments and obligations and wanting to do the most in the least amount of time because there has to be time for sleep somewhere, right?

But no matter how terrible and cramped and crowded the last few weeks of the semester are, there's always that grace period of peace that follows, that week after you write your last exam that you finally let out the breath that you've been holding onto for what seems like weeks upon weeks.

So chin up! Pat yourselves on the back for making it this far. Gather your bearings. Stay hydrated. Do a little dance. Play that funky music. Dance all night to the best song ever. But really, good luck on finals everyone! You can do it! You've gotten this far, you can continue to carry on kicking college butt!

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, April 28, 2016

1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, season two

I meant to mention this during my last Things I'm Loving post, but I completely forgot because that's just how I am. I forget things if I don't write them down. I digress, I watched this whole season during a twenty-four hour period two weekends ago and I don't regret this life choice in the slightest. I binge watched the entire first season in one day last semester. It was a Friday night, I had nothing to do, and I just didn't leave bed for hours upon hours. This binge-watch was a bit different. I did three episodes here, three episodes there, and then finished it in one big viewing session Sunday night. I had to watch it between seasons of Gilmore Girls (between season two and three, arguably the best two seasons) and honestly, it was a good gap filler.

Season two was filled with just as much wacky moments as the first season. Kimmy and Titus were eccentric as ever. Lillian cracked me up more than I'd like to admit. Jacqueline had me rolling on the floor, especially with the invisible chairs and the $30,000 rug that nobody could touch. All around, just another incredible season that I blew through too fast. Now I must wait...

2. Begin Again

I remember wanting to see this movie so bad when I first saw that it existed, but I never got to it. I never get to it. I'm the worst, okay? The absolute worst. Last night I went to go onto Netflix to watch Gilmore Girls, of course, and what did I see in the new arrivals section other than this movie. I squealed. I flailed. I nearly lost my laptop in the process, but it seemed like the only appropriate reaction to a movie starring the two hotties Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. Little did I know, James Corden also played his part and truly, it was a party in my bedroom.

Basically, this is a movie about a heartbroken occasional singer/songwriter (Kiera Knightley) who teams up with a washed up producer (Mark Ruffalo) after he sees her perform a song at an open mic, unsuccessfully in her opinion. After not receiving backing from his old record company, they decide to embark on the recording process together, using New York City as their soundscape. It's incredible, truly. The soundtrack is great, the music scenes are great. I really enjoyed the movie. It's told a bit choppy towards the beginning, but I really like that you can get the opening scene told in a few different ways. The storytelling is a bit choppier as opposed to chronological or lineal, but it works.

3. Trader Joe's K-Cups

Have I talked about these before? I probably have. I talk about Trader Joe's all the time, but I can't help it. I'm a Trader Joe's Hoe and I'm proud of it. There's not a whole lot I can say about these as I know nothing about coffee aside from the fact that I need it to stay alive, but these K-Cups are pretty inexpensive and taste awesome. Give 'em a try if you're in need of a new coffee!

4. Mandarin Orange Chicken from Trader Joe's

Damn Franiel, back at it again two seconds later with more Trader Joe's nonsense. Look, I am a picky eater. So, so picky. It's really difficult to find things that I like and then when I find them, I eat them obsessively until I get sick of them. So I'm sure in a few months time, I won't find these as delicious and I've found them the past three weeks, but I think I'm in a pretty good position to rave about this. Go to the freezer section at Trader Joe's, go near the rices, reach in, grab a bag of the Mandarin Orange Chicken. Maybe get a vegetable fried rice while you're at it. Don't question it, just do it. The combination of these two things together makes for the most wonderful dinner ever and it takes zero effort.

All I do it pre-heat the oven. Maybe I'll watch some Netflix or Youtube while that's happening. You put the chicken pieces in for 18 minutes. I start cooking the rice when there's about 7 minutes left for the chicken to cook. When the chicken is done, I put it in a container, drizzle the orange sauce over it and shake it up. I put it on a plate, the rice in a bowl and I GO TO TOWN. It's so easy, even a Francesca can do it. Easy and delicious and such a fun little dinner.

5. Orange Lipsticks

Speaking of orange....I've truly been enjoying my orange-y red lipsticks lately. I haven't made the jump to get a true orange lipstick yet, but at this point, it's going to be inevitable (I'm thinking MAC's Morange...). However, over the course of the past two weeks, I've been wearing my four orange-y red shades a lot. Right now, I have NARS Heat Wave, Revlon Siren, NYX Morocco, and YSL Extreme Coral (I find that it's way more orange than pink). I'm a huge fan of red lipsticks, but I like switching it up a bit as the weather starts to warm up. Orange-y reds are my favorite way to still wear a red lip without it looking too wintery or romantic!

What have you been loving lately? 

Festival FOMO

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hello, my name is Francesca and I suffer from extreme FOMO (or, fear of missing out). If you've been living under a rock or some sort of large object that could possibly set you away from society for extended periods of time, the past two weekends hosted Coachella, a music festival that seemingly requires some sort of dress code. I kid, I kid, but there is just something about festival style that is so particular and wonderful that I couldn't help but try it out myself. Since I wasn't in California for Coachella (though with what felt like 1,000 hours of Snapchat footage, it felt like I was), I played pretend in this Tobi romper on Sunday. 

P.S. Maybe I should take a trip to California...I'm convinced the shade of the romper is not ivory, but instead, Francesca's Winter Skin. I'll work on it *goes to Target and clears out stock of Jergens Natural Glow*

 Romper: Tobi (c/o)
Shoes: Steve Madden

As somebody who has never owned an item of clothing with bell sleeves before, I have to wonder...WHY NOT?! I have never had more fun with a style of clothing before in my life. The second I first tried this on when the package arrived, right down to the second that I took it off on Sunday, I was waving my hands in the air like I just didn't care. This romper is also like ridiculously comfortable? Like there is so much movement in the arms that, if I was able to do any kind of gymnastics moves, I could probably do some sort of sick back flip in it. Alas, I cannot do any thing of that sort, but I am able to dance nicely in it which is always a bonus. 

Also, shout-out to past self for getting this in ivory and not black. I recently re-color coordinated my closet with spring clothes and let's just say that I do not need another black item in my wardrobe for a long, long (long) time. I shockingly didn't own anything in this color, either. I have a couple of white dresses and one darker cream dress, but nothing in this wonderful ivory color that I'm sure would look infinitely better on me if I wasn't the absence of color at the moment. It was a long winter, okay?

If you've never shopped with Tobi before, that's totally fine! Mostly because all first customers receive 50% off of their first order. FIFTY PERCENT OFF. New items are added to the site every day, so if you have a spare second, take the time to look through the new arrivals. You will not regret it. Perhaps your bank account will, but hey, instant gratification when you open the package and see all of the awesome pieces you picked up!

Sunglasses: Chloé
Bracelets: Kate Spade and J. Crew
Ring: Kate Spade

There's nothing like an outfit post on my blog without a couple of blooper shots. This is what happens when you have a bit too much fun posing and dancing with your ever-so-kind photographer.

Check out more from Tobi:  DressesRompersMaxi DressesJumpsuitsSkirtsBodysuits.

** This post was sponsored by Tobi but, as always, all opinions are my own. Thanks!**

What Your Lipstick Says About You

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

1. Bold blue toned red says...I listened to classic rock when I was getting ready this morning. Don't be fooled, in my head I'm wearing steel-toed boots, a leather jacket and I'm pretending to smoke a cigarette. I will not hesitate to kick some butt.

2. Hot pink says...I'm here to have a good time. Or I don't want you to look at my subpar makeup today. Focus on the neon lips, guys. THE NEON LIPS. Not the uneven eyeliner or muddy bronzer. Especially not the simple black dress that took zero effort.

3. Orangey red says...It's almost summer time and I got bored of wearing red lips four days in a row.

4. Baby pink says...I'm trying really hard to combat my RBF with this really delicate and innocent looking lip color. It also compliments my floral sundress really nicely. Plus, it's easy to reapply to I can drink as much coffee as I want to

5. Nude says...Nothing else matched my outfit or this sixteen color eyeshadow look was a bit too complicated for anything else today.

6. No lipstick says...I woke up late and I plan on eating a lot at brunch. Or there were no lipsticks in the entire universe that matched my obscure chartreuse top and makes people wince when you pass by.

Postcard | An April Playlist

Monday, April 25, 2016

As the weather changes, my music choices tend to shift with it. I start breaking out the indie, summery and upbeat vibes to make my morning and evening drives with the windows down that much more festive. I love poppy music to bounce around to, but I also like songs that make me feel like I'm soaking up the sun (which, usually I am, though it's through the windows of my car during my half hour commute). I'm not in full summer music mode yet, as there are still some rainy days that call for a totally different kind of music.

April has been a mishmash of some chill indie music, some slower rainy day tunes, and of course, a little bit of that good ole pop to make it a true Francesca playlist.

What have you been listening to this month?

Good Reads

Sunday, April 24, 2016

1. MR Round Table: The Euphoria of Cancelled Plans Hmmm, interesting conversation topic indeed! What do you think?

2. Things I Will (Most Likely) Regret *patiently waits for Kelsey to write a book so I can annotate the margins and highlight the heck out of my favorite lines*

3. 11 Women and an Illustrator on Personal Style I've been loving these style of posts from Man Repeller lately. They're such a great insight into the mind's of incredible people.

4. Little White Dress There's something about the harsh juxtaposition between white outfits and black accessories that gets me all giddy. For me, nothing beats a crisp white dress in the spring and summer.

5. 8 Inspiring Websites To Read, According To Darling Magazine If you're constantly looking for new things to read like I am, here's a great resource post for you.

6. Gone with the Wind Another example to add to the file "In Which Sonya Esman is Perf."

7. Slack Chat: Man Repeller Talks Francisco Costa’s Calvin Klein Departure This has been an insane twelve months when it comes to departures in the fashion industry. Sheesh...

8. 6 Ways To Style The Off-The-Shoulder Trend Yet another trend that I've been itching to test out for myself...

9. Wear, Tear and Repair: How to Care for Your Clothes I would like to print this out and hand it to all of the people who bring in clothes to sell and wonder why we don't take certain pieces. Also, a note to myself to stop being so darn rough with everything I own.

10. 5 Realistic Ways to Simplify Your Life I don't think I know what simple is, but it's it's following these five steps, then count me in.

What have you been reading lately? 

Positivitea Cup Two: My All Time Pick Me Ups

Saturday, April 23, 2016

For some reason, I had the strong desire to start this post off with lyrics from "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba. That is certainly not the correct way, but I find that it would be a very Francesca-like introduction to a post about pick-me-ups. All together now...."I get knocked down but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down!" Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of the 90s...

 Contrary to popular belief, I am not a robot who constantly oozes happiness and positivity. That would just be purely impossible and I would be worried about myself. However, I do try to change my mood if I'm not feeling 100%. I'm not particularly fond of not feeling awesome and by this age (#LOL) I've learned a thing or two about cheering myself up. It's like a weird formula or something, but not the terrible mathematical kind that make me cry and give me flashbacks of high school where I was forced to take pre-calc.

1. A viewing party of one of Legally Blonde. As many times as it takes. I would marathon Legally Blonde for twenty-four hours if that's what it takes. All hail Elle Woods, queen of Cosmo, beauty and slaying at life.

2. Coffee. Iced coffee, hot coffee, small coffee, big coffee. Espresso. Lattes. CAFFEINE. ALL THE CAFFEINE.

3. A dance party. It can be a solo dance party, it can be a group dance party. It could be in the car, in your room, in the hallway, in the middle of the mall. Pick an awesome song, songs, album, discography, anything that you need. Pick a song, blast it and let loose. Flail your limbs, don't worry about being on rhythm. Embrace your inner Beyonce, your inner Rihanna, your inner boybander. Do what you gotta do.

4. Look at pictures of Harry Styles. Pick an era, any era. I quite like looking at photos of Harry Styles from late 2012 and early 2013, but that's just me. Go to Google Images and scroll away and away, as long as it takes. Results may vary. Harry Styles could be replaced with someone else, of course, but I find that he yields the best results. I am not biased.

5. Fake online shop. Open six different stores, fill your cart, and buy nothing. The key is to never spend money when you're upset, just like how you're not supposed to grocery shop when you're hungry. Trust me on this one. Retail therapy is a thing, but try to keep it to a minimum if you can.

6. Hug everyone. Or rather, hug everyone you know within your vicinity. I don't recommend standing on a street corner asking for hugs, as that could potentially be misinterpreted. But if you have roommates, hug them all. Hug your friends, hug your parents, hug your pets. Hugs are just the best, truly.

What's your favorite pick me up? 

Feeling Shady

Friday, April 22, 2016

Raise your hand if you thought of this picture based off of the title, because I did! Mostly because it was intentional. I digress, not only have I been itching for a new handbag, but I really would like a new pair of sunglasses. I wear them a lot in the summer when I'm driving and when I'm walking around downtown. I'm hoping to spend a little more time outside of my apartment this year (#DreamBig) and that would require cute, stylish sunglasses that could match my outfits, duh. 

There are plenty of sunglasses options at H&M and Forever21, but I'm at the point where I take good enough care of my sunglasses that I don't have to worry about buying cheap pairs that I wouldn't care what happened to them. I've been pining after another pair of Ray-Bans but there are so many incredible sunglasses out in the world. I like big glasses to match my big face and big nose and just because I think they're super fun. Quay and Free People have a lot of really cool, less expensive glasses, but I also love my Burberry and Chloé glasses that I have already so...the choices are endless!

Quay China Doll | Karen Walker Starburst

Ray-Ban Clubmasters | Ray-Ban Aviators

Chloé Carlina | Kate Spade Karyna

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, April 21, 2016

1. Gilmore Girls

I'm on my Gilmore Girls kick again. I started re-watching for the thousandth time (or fourth) last week and as I am writing this, I am currently three episodes from finishing season three. I've been absolutely blowing through the series again. It requires no focus for me and just makes really great background noise for my every day activities, which include putting my makeup on, homework, laying down, you know, the usual. But honestly, I will never get sick of watching this show. The Gilmores feel like family to me and it's been nice catching up with them again in preparation for the revival!!!!!

2. Valentia Royal Rose Hydrating Serum

I said I would give an update on this product in my review from last month and honestly, this product has changed my face for the better. I rarely get my dry patches anymore, everything is starting to smooth out and all in all, my skin feels fantastic. My skin is loving this serum, honestly, and it's making me so happy. This in combination with my normal skincare routine is dare I say it, close to perfect.

3. Rag & Bone Denim

I got these at work, so they weren't even close to the regular retail price, but my god, these jeans are my jeans. You know how everyone has that brand of denim or that style of jeans that are The Jeans™...I thought mine were high waisted jeggings from American Eagle, but I was wrong. They are Rag & Bone jeans. They fit perfectly in the waist and they aren't too long or too short. They're comfortable, they don't bulk or bulge in weird places and, seriously, they are perfect. Mine are a beautiful hunter green color and I am not against the idea of splurging for a more basic color, like black or dark wash...

4. Maroon 5

I've been working a lot with my co-worker who absolutely loves Maroon 5 the same way that I log One Direction. There's been a lot of Maroon 5 coming up on Pandora lately and I just decided to go on and add some stuff to my Spotify because I forget how much I love them, really. Adam Levine's voice just gets me going and I love jamming and dancing around to their music, depending on the mood and song. If you haven't listened to Maroon 5 in a while, do it now. I've been really enjoying Songs About Jane and It Won't Be Soon Before Long. 

What have you been loving lately?

Master Post of Studying Tips (& Then Some)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This is my fifth finals season that I am blogging through, which means that I have been exhausting study tips and finals preparation for years now. However, that's not going to stop me from putting my two cents in here for the fifth time. I have a streak to maintain, you know!

I am not the finals expert, I believe I have said this before, but I am not an expert in anything besides maybe like Harry Styles and myself. Even then, those things are mysteries to me at times, usually simultaneously. I digress, But since I am the number one fan of unsolicited advice, especially when it comes to school, I am back at it again with my bi-annual finals week posts. Since I have done so many posts up until this point with study tips, ways to de-stress, ways to plan out your final  projects and outline ideas for your final projects, this is going to be a roundup of all of my posts up until now, You could say that I'm all about reinforcement (or beating a dead horse) over here on LATF.

1. Finals Week Roundup (includes 12 posts)
2. The Month Before Finals
3. Finals Week Prep
4. Finals Week Life & Study Tips
5. End of the Semester Prep

There's about three weeks until my finals. Maybe it's less for you, maybe it's more, but I find that starting earlier rather than later is always the way to go. I started prepping for my final projects last week, about a month ahead of time, which is pretty typical for me when it comes to gathering my bearings. My first piece of advice is to start before you think you need to. If you think you can do it the week before, give yourself an extra week. Staying on top of things and being prepared is my fool-proof advice for surviving your final exams and making sure that you get a nice final result for any papers or projects.

When it comes to studying, I always use Quizlet to create flashcards for vocabulary, key events, or whatever important terms that I find that I need to memorize. It just saves me time and energy when it comes to handwriting terms on physical flashcards, but if you need to write things down, regular flashcards will do as well! I typically use flashcards because I find them a lot easier to study from than regular notes. It helps me narrow down the most important aspects of whatever subject/exam I'm studying for without cramming my brain with other unnecessary in formation.

My recommendations for getting motivated to study is to pencil it into your day. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it, as it's not exciting and who really wants to spend time doing it? But ultimately, if you think about it, you have two to three weeks of painful studying followed by a summer of relaxation. It won't hurt you to take some time away from your schedule to ensure a good mark on your final!

A lot of my classes now have final projects or papers in lieu of final exams, as I take a lot of writing classes for journalism and therefore don't have study material to be tested on. I've talked very recently about preparing for final projects, but I'd like to reiterate that life is so much simpler when you start early. Make sure that you study the rubric and know what your professor is expecting from you before you start working on your projects so you don't forget anything. And double check once again at the end before you submit just incase you catch yourself missing information!

Wishing everyone the best of luck for this upcoming finals season!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

There are a lot of nice things in the world that people could say. There are compliments about physical appearance, compliments about intelligence, compliments about something you say, but then there are also compliments about your character. While I do quite enjoy people telling me that my eyebrows look nice (I'm a bit of a narcissist, I can't help it), there's just something about those compliments about who you are as a person that just get to me.

I once had a customer tell me, very sincerely, that she appreciated the fact that I never judged a soul who walked into the store. She said it didn't matter whether someone came in dolled up and purchased bags full of expensive clothing or whether someone came in wearing athletic wear and bought a pair of earrings. She said it was a comfortable shopping experience and I think I nearly cried.

Of course, me being me, I made a Pretty Woman joke and said that I didn't appreciate the way any of those women on Rodeo Drive treated Julia Roberts and I'd never do the same thing to anyone else. But, it's true. I'm not in any position to judge anybody for what they do or what they wear or who they are. I don't think that me not judging people on their appearance upon first sight is anything to celebrate, but it makes me a bit sad that perhaps, in the world of retail (or the world in general) this trait is rare, or just isn't as popular as it should be.

In life, I aspire to do a lot of things. Marrying Harry Styles is on the top of that list, followed by all of that career nonsense and aspirations and what not. But before Harry and being a successful career woman and probably after getting a pug and maybe finally people able to pull off bangs (just kidding), I aspire to be a good person. Gag, cough, puke, writhe on the floor. I know, it's ridiculously cliche, but it doesn't even bother me. I want to be nice, I want to be friendly, and I want to be accepting.

I think the world would be a much nicer place if people practiced more tolerance and acceptance. Be that nice person in the world, be the change that we need. Start with practicing #NoJudgement, whether it's upon appearance or beliefs or music preference (I'm working on that whole Justin Bieber thing).

Campus Style #8: Spring, Spring, Spring!

Monday, April 18, 2016

This is a weird time of year for fashion. It's when, instead of spending fifteen minutes in front of my closet trying to decide what I want to wear, I spend twenty-five minutes trying different outfits on because I don't know which will be more appropriate for the weather outside. Do I wear long-sleeves and risk sweating or do I wear short-sleeves and risk getting chilly? Do I go for skinny jeans and feel constricted or do I bear my extremely pale and dry legs that have been concealed for months upon months? And what on earth do I wear on my feet during the transitional season between winter and summer, between warm boots and sandals.

While I still haven't totally figured out the shoe thing, but I think I've figured out the perfect combinations for dressing appropriately for the weather, especially when it's quite chilly in the morning and then gets incredibly sunny and warm in the afternoon, only to cool down and get windy by the evening. The key to surviving the roller coaster ride of weather during the springtime is layers, layers, layers.

What's your favorite spring fashion choice to wear to classes?

Good Reads

Sunday, April 17, 2016

1. Thinking About How to Save Money? Here You Go! Slowly but surely trying my best to save as much as possible. How am I doing....well...Definitely going to have think more about this the older I get.

2. Kate Spade Home Decor Styled Two Ways Kate Spade everything is my favorite, but Kate Spade home wear is just out of this world adorable.

3. How to Shop Vintage with the Founder of Artists & Fleas I am a massive fan of thrift and consignment shopping, so this post made me smile lots!

4. Style Steal: How to Nail Athleisure Carly Cristman, back at it again with the incredible style.

5. A Heart Mark Note to self: no more reading Kelsey's posts without tissues.

6. The Thought Process of Cleaning Your Closet I currently have no space in any of my closet, drawers, storage bin and trunk of my car for any of the clothes I have acquired lately and I've cleaned out my closet three times now. Oy vey.

7. Trend to Try: 90s Are New Again I need a new pair of denim cut-offs for summer that actually fit me. The weather is starting to heat up around here...

8. How To Be A More Positive Person Being positive is my thing, as you know. Here are some tips for you if you struggle to embrace positivity!

What have you been reading lately?

Positivitea Time With Fran: Cup One

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Happy Saturday, friends! I'm coming to you from my desk with a hot cup of coffee and a nice, toasty bagel, enjoying the prospect of a sunny, warm day. I got this idea a couple of weeks back when I wasn't exactly feeling my best but wanted to. I like to think that I'm a positive person a majority of the time, but I falter. I'm human! I mess up my eyeliner sometimes, I fangirl over Harry Styles just like the rest of the universe (I'm sure the robots on Mars feel the same way as I do).

Positivitea Time With Fran is going to be a fun monthly blog series in which I am just obnoxiously positive. It will feel like you spilled an entire bag of sugar into a small saucer of coffee. It will feel like an entire dozen of doughnuts, complete with frosting and sprinkles. It will feel like a cake the size of Texas with three layers, each separated by a thick layer of fudge frosting. Or at least, I hope so.

The future posts will be a bit more structured, but for this little introduction into Positivitea Time, here are some of my favorite inspirational (and cute!) quotes of the moment!



Three good things about this week: 

  1. On Wednesday, I finished all of my homework from then until next Tuesday!
  2. There were cupcakes with little tiny circular sprinkles in the newspaper lab on Thursday. I ate two. 
  3. IT WAS SUNNY AND WARM YESTERDAY. And I got to wear my new (well, I got it in New York but I stained it so my mom just got it back to me this week) Zara top. 

Three things I'm excited about today: 

  1. Another sunny and warm day!
  2. The entire carton of strawberries I plan on eating at lunch at work. 
What were some great parts about your week?

Dream Closet, Vol. 16

Friday, April 15, 2016

Damn Franiel, back at it again with a dream closet. You can't keep me away from scouring Net-a-Porter, you just can't. I refuse to step away from the site that provides me the most glorious combination of joy and sadness, injects me with the same amount of drive and FOMO, and makes me salivate all at the same time. I'm not at all interested in eating the silky or cotton-y garments, though I think with that desire, I might be able to land myself a regular spot on Dr. Phil and perhaps I'd have enough money to buy one of these items...I digress, looking at pretty things like designer clothes and Harry Styles just makes my mouth water in the least hungry was possible. 

This month I'm dreaming of flowing gowns, princess-like headbands and...shoes with feathers? Never say never. Not exactly the most appropriate for rainy spring days, but how fun would those be, huh?

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, April 14, 2016

1. MAKE silk cream lipstick in Taffy

I did a whole review on this lipstick in a blog post last week, but I truly have been enjoying this lip color. It's creamy but dries almost matte, which is my favorite finish. It reminds me a lot of MAC's Syrup, but Taffy tends to last a bit longer on my lips as it's a bit less creamy than the MAC lipstick. I've been preferring more neutral toned lipsticks lately as my wardrobe has been a lot of denim, grays, and blacks because of the weird weather we've been having in Cleveland.

2. Tumblr

Recently, I've been a lot more active on my Tumblr page for my blog. It's something that certainly took the back burner while I was busy, but I've really been enjoying reflagging more posts on there. I've been on Tumblr since, god, like 2008 at this point so it really serves as this memory book for me if I were to ever go back into my archive and see what I was reblogging that many years ago. If you fancy a follow, I linked mine above, but it's also in the social media icons off to the right of the page!

3. "Reaper" by Sia

Sort of a random favorite, but I've really been enjoying this song lately! Sia's voice is just all sorts of incredible. I used to listen to "Breathe Me" on repeat and practically sob back in the day, so to hear this more upbeat song that puts a skip in my step and makes me bop my head and swings my hips is a pretty funny change. Sia is just one big ball of talent and I adore her!

4. Vanilla Flat Whites

As a caffeine fiend, I've been thoroughly loving my grande vanilla flat whites every Saturday for the past few weeks. I generally get mine with a morning bun. That combination yields tears in my eyes. It's the perfect treat for me. Hot drinks at Starbucks are a struggle for me during the spring and summer months because I really only like the holiday drinks when they're hot. However, it's pretty damn cold in Cleveland until, well, May if we're lucky, so I've been scrambling to fill the holiday drink void in my life every time I go. I'm glad I've found my off-season hot drink! My hands were starting to get cold from ordering all of those iced caramel macchiatos in 30 degree weather!

What have you been loving lately?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

If there is one thing in college that hinders productivity and any sort of stability, it's stress. I have never met a college student that hasn't described their current state as "stressed," usually followed by a pained smile and forced laugh. Stress is so common and normalized that those who even feel an insane amount of stress and pressure from their classes, extracurriculars, jobs, relationships, whatever it may be, have to laugh it off because it's not "serious." It's just a normal part of life, right? But at what point does the stress become too much?

For me, it was a day I decided to work on a day that I had a big exam that I didn't study much for. It was a day where I only had two story pitches instead of three. It was a day where I knew I had all of these assignments coming up and I hadn't even checked the rubric for any of them. It was a day where I had been over-worked, under-slept, and just completely exhausted because of my own doing. It was a day I took my thirty minute drive from work to campus, crying the entire way until I had to walk into class. It was a day where I came home from classes and laid under the covers for an hour and a half in my outfit from the day, staring at the ceiling until I melted into the mattress. 

However, it was also the day where I told myself things had to change.

Gone was the self that swore off relaxing, who said that going to bed before one a.m. was a waste of time, who wouldn't let herself sleep until she hit a certain word count. Gone was the days of saying "yes" to everything and not doing anything for myself. It's sort of funny the way terrible things spark changes, but sometimes life has funny ways of telling you to get your stuff together.

That was two Thursdays ago and I feel like a different person. I don't know how long it had been building up. I feel like it probably started in fall semester, but I can't be positive. I suppose it doesn't really matter because it's over now and hopefully won't start again. Maybe these past six months or so have just been a trial and error system of trying to find a balance, ending with things spinning completely out of control. However, I took the wheel back and I'm feeling better than ever.

If there's anything I learned from being perpetually stressed out, it's that something has to give. When I woke up on Friday to go to work after that terrible Thursday, there was this sobering moment while I was making breakfast that I had to do something about it. I went through a mental list of everything I needed to do. It was unlike any to do list that I've ever made. This time, it wasn't adding on physical things for me to do and get done by a deadline. They were bullet points for myself, life advice a-la Francesca to ensure that I didn't spend a thirty minute drive dry-heaving while I operated a vehicle because I cracked. A lot of self-assurance went into getting me to a better place just two weeks later. I had to tell myself a lot of things that I didn't want to hear, had to face a lot of realities, and ultimately had to lecture myself a lot about things that should be simple, but just aren't to me. 

"Take a break"

Any variation of these words drive me nuts. I don't know what breaks are. I am a self-imposed workaholic, whether it's a job, school work, working on my blog or my writing. Whatever it is, if I had free time, I want to fill that time with work, work, work. Taking a break to do nothing but watch Netflix or read leisurely had never been an option for me. I was fully convinced that I didn't know how to take a break. Perhaps that was true, but taking a step back from the things that were stressing me out the most and putting them on hold acted as this weird cleansing step, as if I ridded myself of these terrible toxins and could start fresh. 


Along the lines of taking a break, I was fully convinced I didn't know how to relax. I still don't think I fully know how to, but I'm better. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate beaches because they require relaxing (and water and sand, but that's neither here nor there). I can't sit still. I need to constantly be moving and I don't like being stuck in the same place or feeling idle. However, I'm proud to announce that since Saturday, I've gotten to season two of Gilmore Girls (yes, to destress I've decided to rewatch my favorite TV show–a great life choice on my part). I've nearly finished the newest issue of Vogue and I've started to read Atonement. I stepped away from writing for about three weeks, as it was the thing that stressed me out the most, I think. I lived on deadlines and while I love order, deadlines that didn't actually mean anything to me are what set me over the edge on top of school and work. So I relaxed. I took a deep breath and let myself work at my own pace. 

"It's okay to cry"

I told myself the entire time in that car that I was being silly, that I was fine, that crying was stupid. Crying is not stupid. I knew deep down that it wasn't, but I thought telling myself that it was would get me to stop. Instead, it made me feel powerless and weak and out of control. So, past self, you were not being silly, you were being human. 

"Take their help"

There was a two week period where I was pushing people away. I didn't want anyone to catch onto what was happening. I stopped answering texts, I stayed away from social media for the most part. I hid in my room when I wasn't in class or at work. I distanced myself from anything and everyone because I didn't want my problems to spill over into theirs. I was totally convinced that nobody cared, which was the furthest thing from the truth. I made myself feel isolated and alone so I could wallow in my own self-pity and stress by myself. I just didn't want anyone to worry, which I think made people worry regardless except then they had no actual grasp on how I was. If someone is offering their hand or shoulder, whether physically or via text, take it. It's a safe place to talk about it without having the voice in your head telling you that you can work through it. 

"Start again, slowly"

While I couldn't completely drop schoolwork at this time, I went about working in a completely different way. Without worrying about writing or dedicating my day to something that, in the end, wasn't that important to my daily life, I had freed up a majority of day. I dedicated the past week and a half to only schoolwork, which has given me so much free time. I didn't realize how much time I wasted doing absolutely nothing. In forcing myself to work and take breaks, I've gotten so much more work done and that work has ultimately been better. Or maybe it just made me feel better. Either or I'll accept with open arms. I just started writing again earlier this week, little by little. Paragraphs at a time, really. But I don't force it. I don't force anything anymore. If it's not happening at that moment, then it's not happening. 

I can't force things in life that don't come naturally anymore. I can't spend my own time on things that aren't making me feel 100% happy in that moment. I found that the key in alleviating stress was letting myself, for once in my life, embrace free time. There is no harm in taking an hour, two hours, an entire day to yourself. Treat yourself with the utmost kindness and remember that you're not alone in this. 

How to Plan Your Final Projects

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22 the end of the semester is nearing at a rapid pace and I've just begun to start thinking about my final assignments. A lot of my classes have final papers and projects over traditional final exams, each of them different in their own way (beyond the fact that they're for different classes, #DUH) and requiring a different type of planning and a lot of my attention. In order for anything to seem less daunting to me, I like to break it up into different parts or sections. Projects are certainly no exception to my compartmentalizing rule, so I figured I'd share the most basic breakdown of how I plan my bigger projects.

1. Brainstorm

It doesn't matter if you have an assigned prompt or topic (though, it's even more important if you don't). Think about what you want to talk about in your final project, whether it's a 2,000 word paper on a writing piece you studied in class or an online interactive portfolio. What points do you want to touch on? What do you know you have to include? Think of why you're choosing your talking points or your topics.

If you have the freedom to fully choose your destiny when it comes to choosing a project topic, actually spend time thinking about it. Don't choose something based on how easy it is (though, it is a perk when a topic you're interested in is super easy...). Choose something you wouldn't mind researching or spending extensive amounts of time writing. Choose something that is stimulating and interesting. With that topic, decide what angle you want to take and, again, why are you choosing that topic?

2. Outline

This is where the answer to all of the questions you asked yourself come into play. I'm not going to lie, I outline multiple times during a project. I can't help it. I like lists and I like being organized. I use the rubric to help create the skeleton outline and the after, I fill it in with information that has to do with what I want to talk about and what I find important about my topic. My outlines differ with projects as well. I'll give an example of my paper outlines as well as an example of how I outline bigger projects. I also have this handy post I made a couple of years ago as a guide to writing a good college paper, so you can check that out too!

Here is a more updated version of how I outline papers. This one is for a shorter paper I have to write for my Spanish literature class. The smaller papers are 1,000 words, so for the final assignment of 2,000 words, I would certainly add a few more points. The rubric also changes for that final paper, so I would make sure to edit my original rubric to add in the different points that I'm supposed to touch on during the paper.

1. Introduction:
* General plot of the play
* Who wrote the play
* Brief interpretation of the theme
* Include the main idea and focus of paper
2. About the author
3. About the time period and literary movement
        * Socio-political and cultural context
4. Brief summary of the play
5. Title, settings, characters
* Does the title bear any meaning? Is it literal or not?
* Where is this set? Is it real?
* Who are the main characters? What happens to them? Are they complex?
6. Writing style
* Vocabulary
* Language
* Rhetorical figures
7. Classification of the play
* Drama? Tragedy?
8. Theme
9. Comparisons to other works we have studied
10. Conclusion
* Closing remarks
* Restate main theme
* Restate the play’s importance in history
That's a pretty basic outline for a paper that I tend to follow. As for other projects, here is an example of a recent Media Kit outline I made. I left all of the sections blank, but this is how easy an outline can be and yet it kept me organized the entire time. Some background on the project: we had to choose six things from a list that we wanted to put into a Media Kit about a business in Cleveland. First, I chose the six things I wanted to include and then I went from there. Any of the extra information is from my textbook for the class!

1. Biography2. Website/blog3. Fact sheet4. Newsletter5. Media advisory6. Social media 
For the fact sheet: * Name * Products/services * Average revenue        * Employees        * Names/biographies of executives        * Markets it serves 
For the media advisory: * One-line headline * Paragraph outlining the story * Answers to some of the five W's * Who to contact with more information
3. Drafts

This is the part that I always want to skip, but drafts are what save my life most of the time. Proofreading is no joke. Very rarely are you going to be able to finish a big final project, look at it and go "okay, that's perfect. I definitely got an A." It's just not going to happen. There are too many components in a final project (in lieu of a final exam) to finish all of its separate parts and declare it finished. When you think you've finished your project, go back through your original assignment and rubric and carefully look through your project once, twice, even three times to make sure that everything is there. Then, go through and reread everything. If it's something online, check to make sure that all of your links lead to the right place. Make sure your works cited page is correct, names, dates, any information that you're not 100% sure about. Check your spelling and grammar multiple times and truly make sure that you've said everything you needed to about your topic.

4. Final edits

When you think you've perfected your drafts, take one last look at it just to fine tune it. Final edits are the most stressful and most glorious thing in the whole world. They're the last step before submitting, which is both terrifying and incredible because then you're free from the grasps of that class. Make sure you're proud of your work and that you've answered all of the questions and prompts that you needed to. Pat yourself on the back, treat yourself to something special and just be proud of yourself that you completed, hopefully with plenty of time to relax.

Do you have any big final projects coming up for your classes?

The Handbag Dilemma

Monday, April 11, 2016

I've been carrying the same handbag since my freshmen year of college: a Kate Spade Wellesley Alessa black leather crossbody bag. While this might not seem like the most impressive feat, I used to cycle between three or four handbags a year. Granted, they were all cheaper and from either Target or Urban Outfitters, but I didn't know how to stick to a handbag. I decided after a long summer of working in the weeks before I started college that I wanted to buy myself my first designer handbag. I am a massive Kate Spade fan and have always ogled over the handbags in the outlet for months upon months. It was a gorgeous August afternoon when I finally walked out of that store toting one of the large, white shopping bags full of the purse of my dreams.

For my first designer bag, I wanted something that I would wear and wear and wear with no issues. I picked a crossbody big enough to hold a book, magazine and notebook if needed. Really, I just tried to pick out a classic shape in a staple color. Hence, my favorite black crossbody bag.

I think by now the outcome of this post is obvious...I'm starting to get bored of my bag. I still love it, like a lot. But sometimes it's just too big and too boxy for me. I've been itching for a new handbag and it's been quite the dilemma. I'm not ready to get one yet, but I think that it'd be a nice graduation or early graduation present to myself.

I want to do research before I dive headfirst into a new handbag. It'd be an investment, as far as I'm concerned. There are some questions I've been cycling through to narrow down what I might be looking for and how I want to go about having it.

1. Do I want brand new or pre-owned? There are so many different places online, reputable places at that, who sell pre-owned designer bags at incredible prices. You have to sift through a lot of styles, but it becomes sort of a game to find the perfect match. We get a lot of handbags at work, so I get the urge quite frequently to drain my bank account. However, from this, I have also learned to be incredibly picky.

2. How do I bridge the gap between too trendy or too classic? I'm not in any financial position to be purchasing "it" bags and getting sick of them months later when I regret everything about my purchase. On the other hand, I don't want to get something that's too classic and get sick of it because I find it too boring or too simple. I already have a simple, classic bag. I don't need two of them, right?

3. What size do I want to get? Normally I have to have my bags pass the magazine test. If I can't fit a magazine into it, I don't want to carry it. However, that means that even when I'm running out for a quick errand, I have to carry around a massive handbag with a wallet and keys sloshing around loudly. But I also need to make sure I can fit my iPhone, a couple of lipsticks, and a sunglasses case. I would probably also have to get a smaller wallet or cardholder because my wallet right now is an absolute behemoth.

This might be my new list of requirements for my next handbag investment, whenever it happens:

  • Must have a crossbody strap, whether it's removable or not. 
  • Should be in some neutral, non-white or cream color. Try to stray from black, if possible. 
  • Roomy enough for a new essentials, but not another behemoth of a bag that can fit the entire world into it. 
  • No impulse buying!
What's your dream handbag?

Good Reads

Sunday, April 10, 2016

1. What I'm Reading: Books to Help You Fall Asleep For me, lately, this has been every single book. I keep reading too close to bed time, which doesn't help either. Book suggestions are always appreciated, though!

2. H&M x Coachella It's festival season!!! While I would never find myself at a music festival, I am fascinated by festival style so I like to live vicariously through blog posts and YouTube videos about said experiences and fashion choices.

3. A History of the Leather Jacket: How’d It Get so Cool? While I do have my faux leather jacket, I think that the day I get a real leather jacket might be the day they stop being cool. However, they're such staples!!! They look good with everything on everyone! They're like the blue-toned red lipstick of the fashion world.

4. Blogging Better: How To Create a Media Kit Filing this into my mental folder of more blogging tips! Mine might just need a touch up...

5. Real Talk: 7 Muslim Americans Open Up About Islamophobia I don't know what I can say in my explanation that will do these recounts justice. A must read, in my opinion.

6. That’s Cool: Anthony Vaccarello is in at Saint Laurent This coming year is going to bring a lot (and I mean a lot) of curiosity to the runways. There are so many new creative directors–young ones, at that–who will be showing off their stuff at these established brands. I for one am looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table!

7. NY Closets: Tiffany Reid I love this blog series so much because I am #Nosy and want insight into people's closets and what they wear on a normal day to day basis.

8. NYC Apartment: Updated Bathroom Tour I've been oddly obsessed (like more than I usually am) with apartment videos, especially New York apartment videos. Now I'm getting to experience it in blog form, too! Woohoo!

What have you been reading lately? 

Crash Course: Making Friends In College

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I am the furthest thing from being an expert on making friends. Then again, I am the furthest thing from an expert on almost everything besides myself and maybe Harry Styles. Even then, I struggle. However, that minor detail hasn't stopped me from giving unsolicited advice before, so I figured I'd throw my hat into the friendship making ring. Perhaps my advice won't land you your #BFF, but not everyone can be your best friend. I mean, isn't that the point of have one or two or three best friends? To set them apart from the rest of your friend group?

I've never been a person who has had a mass amount of friends. I used to be really shy and awkward and not all that great at being friendly. Then at some point, I adopted the personality where I wanted to be nice to everyone and I've tried to keep that mindset ever since. I'm not saying you have to treat everyone with the utmost amount of kindness, especially if this person wasn't the greatest to you or your friend or whatever. But a general rule of thumb for me is to be polite and try to engage in conversation with someone. I always tried to help people when I could just because that is something that made me feel good. But that's neither here nor there and is totally not what this post is about (mostly). This post is about how to make friends in college or high school or at your job. Hopefully they're universal tips, even if the examples are specific to one place.

1. Don't be afraid of small talk

Ah, the dreaded small talk. Whether it's at the water cooler (as much of a cliche as this is, I frequently talk to my co-worker at our water cooler in the back so it happens!) or before a class is starting or while you're in an elevator or hanging out at a mutual friend's place...don't fear the small talk. It can be awkward and painful, but sitting in silence, texting on your respective phones is, to me, equally as awkward. So just embrace the idea of a conversation and see where it goes! Talk about what they're studying, where they work, what they were up to that week, what their plans are for the rest of the weekend, whatever you want to bring up! You never know where conversations can go and I'm sure one, if not both, of you will be grateful that you didn't have to sit in silence for an extended amount of time.

2. Ask questions

I like to talk about myself, hence why I have a whole blog about life according to me. However, even I know that sometimes you need to ask people questions about themselves People love talking about themselves. Case in point: me. If someone asks me about my job or my blog, they're going to need to muzzle me to keep my mouth shut from then on out. Just like the above tip, ask them about what they've been up to! Generally speaking, even if they do love themselves as much as I am obsessed with love myself, they'll know to ask questions in return and then it's just a whole informational circle. Easy!

3. Follow through

If someone wants to meet up for lunch or coffee or something, follow through with it. If you exchange numbers or social media information, follow through. Text them, DM them, ask them what they're up to, suggest a time or place. There's nothing worse than saying "oh yeah, we should totally hang out!" and then never hang out with them. It's a total missed connection that you might not have otherwise!

4. Don't sweat it if it doesn't work out

And last but not least, don't sweat it if it doesn't work out. If your schedules never align, if the conversations are dull, at best, if neither of you are feeling the friendship. You don't have to be friends with everyone, but it is always nice to see a friendly face in a crowd and be able to at least say hi or exchange a bit of small talk with. You might not find your #BFF, but there's never anything wrong with having casual friends or acquaintances.

Things I Wished I Like

Friday, April 8, 2016

You've heard of Things I'm Loving Thursdays, now welcome to...Things I Wish I Liked? I'm an extremely (extremely, extremely, extremely) picky person when it comes to food. I am a creature of habit and occasionally terrified to try new things. What I'm trying to say is that I like what I like and the rest is either stuck in this realm of nonexistence in my life or in a bubble of things I do not like. For example, I've never tried caviar but I know I would not like it, therefore I shoot it off into the make-believe realm and pretend that it doesn't exist. Then there are things that I just know for a fact I don't like, but god, life would be so much easier if I did.

1. Pasta Sauce Yes, I am the worst Italian ever and I absolutely despite tomato sauce. I hate it. I don't want it near me. I don't even want to smell it, that's how nauseous it makes me. Give me a plate of alfredo and I'll be happy. Put even an ounce of red sauce near me and I will attack you like the bear in Revenant.

2. Cheese I have an interesting relationship with cheese because every time I say that I hate cheese, people are like "BUT DO YOU LIKE PIZZA!?!?!?!?!?!?" Yes, I like pizza. I like small doses of cheese when it comes to nachos. I like cheesy breadsticks. I like ravioli. But I'll be damned if someone tries to give me cheese and crackers or a grilled cheese like I'm some animal. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I wish I liked solid cheese! My college life would be infinitely easier if I could tolerate a grilled cheese, but alas, I cannot.

3. Working out I can't be bothered. I hate it. I like running, but finding a place to run that's not downtown has been a hassle and a half (I think I found a park near work, though!). Gyms make me nervous #PervAlert. Like the thought of going to the Rec Center on campus makes my stomach churn just knowing there are people there who aren't going to work out and are just going to ogle at other gym goers. I wish I could be the cutest little thing in my Lululemon attire, going hard at whatever exercises have cool names, but alas, I am permanently stuck in turtlenecks and high-waisted skinny jeans AKA fashionable girdles.

4. Sushi I JUST WANT TO BE THE CUTEST, TRENDIEST GIRL ON THE PLANET, OKAY?! I want to make sushi dates with my cool socialite friends and learn how to use chopsticks and go the whole nine yards! IT'S ALL I WANT BUT I. DON'T. LIKE. SUSHI. I need to try vegetable sushi of some sort because seafood just isn't working for me, ever.

5. Movies I do not have the attention span to be a movie fan. I'll watch the occasional new movie every few weeks, but if I need to watch a movie, it's going to be one that I've seen a dozen times so I don't have to pay attention the whole time. Two hours is a long time to steal my attention and if Harry Styles can't do it at a One Direction concert then NOBODY CAN.

6 .Non-neutral clothing I wear colors and prints in the spring time, but you will never catch me in a color other than black, white, grey, denim, or tan during the rest of the year. You just won't. I have accidentally accumulated so much neutral clothing that I don't even know when this obsession started. I'm slightly fine with it but also like...where did the color in my life go? Did I drain it all from my closet and into my lipstick drawer? These are the real questions I should be asking myself.

What's something that you hate but you wished you liked?


Thursday, April 7, 2016

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I'm obsessed with new beauty products. I don't get to try them as often as I'd like because I'm also a creature of habit, but every time I try something new, an angel receives its wings. All jokes aside, there are few things in the world that give me the same warm fuzzy feeling that trying out new products gives me. So naturally, getting to test out two MAKE Beauty products this past week was an absolute dream.

MAKE is a NYC based brand with products that are paraben-free and never tested on animals. A percentage of their sales is donated to their non-profit partner, Wee See Beauty Foundation, which supports "women-led, worker-owned cooperative businesses across the Americas." The brand sells both skincare and beauty products to spark a desire to create.

I had two different products to sample this week: their silk cream lipstick in the shade Taffy as well as their matte finish eyeshadow in the shade Alabaster. The lipstick is described as a "vivid, saturated color that does double duty as a protective moisturizing treatment" and the matte eyeshadow is said to be an "intensely pigmented eyeshadow" with a "crease-resistant formula."

First, let's talk about Taffy because you know how much I love lipstick. I think my entire drawer of it (just the spring colors, currently) would prove that. Taffy is a silk cream lipstick, which reminds me sort of a a MAC Lustre finish (potentially even a silk cream, I'd need to see more colors swatched to make this comparison). The shade Taffy honestly reminds me a lot of my all time favorite MAC shade Syrup. They're both a gorgeous "my lips but better" rosy mauve color. I was a bit nervous when I first saw Taffy because I assumed it wouldn't do much for my lips. Upon first application, the pigmentation blew me away. It's a color where I know I'm wearing lipstick that totally enhances my lips but to the naked eye, perhaps they think they're just that luscious and pigmented ;)

It took me a few minutes to get used to the application of this product. Upon first swipe, I assumed it was going to be sticky and uncomfortable. Not even five minutes later it settled onto my lips into a comfortable balm sort of feel. It wasn't drying and for a silk cream finish, it's stay power is pretty fantastic. Granted, I wasn't eating a lot of things that would disturb lipstick the days I wore this, it's one of those colors you could reapply without a mirror. Or, even if a spot was missing, you wouldn't notice if you just smacked your lips together to distribute the remaining product evenly. I'm really excited to start using Taffy in my rotation of "no makeup" lipsticks on the days where I just need a little color but nothing too crazy. I'm also really curious to see how the rest of these lipsticks wear, so I may have to treat myself soon...

Next up is the matte eyeshadow in Alabaster. I tried my best to swatch it on my skin, but alas, my skin is alabaster so it was a bit difficult to get it to show up on me visibly. But it's there! For me, this shade doesn't really do much. I used it this week as a base layer all over my lid and crease to set my paint pot. However, it was an incredible base for the rest of my eyeshadow! The pigmentation is there (not quite as much as I would've liked, but as I said, it's the same color as my skin so really, it could just be me) and god is the formula smooth. I will say though that with the buttery smooth formula, a lot of the product tends to escape the pan. I want to try this as a wet formula to see if that helps with it at all. I've had this problem with some of my pigmented eyeshadows like this before and it just means that I have to be a bit more conscious of it when I'm pressing my brush not the pan, no big deal!

As you can tell, the eyeshadow doesn't really show up much on my lid, but it does even out my eyelid shade and was a wonderful base to apply other eyeshadows onto. This is another product I would love to try a different color in because I know that the formula is smooth and pigmented, so it'd be cool to see what a darker color would look like. Another #TreatYourself moment to come...

Overall: the two products I received are the ultimate #NoMakeup shades and I've been really into that look lately. I KNOW, RIGHT? Francesca going without a bold lip and winged eyeliner? It's a rare moment, but sometimes it's just necessary. I can't be a bad-a$$ #DontMessWithMe chick 24/7. I need to embrace my sweet/lazy side every once in a while. These two products get two thumbs up and I wouldn't count out the reappearance of MAKE on this blog...I do get paid on Friday ;)

If you're interested in purchasing some MAKE products, I have a cheeky little discount code for you, good for the next week! Up until April 15th, if you use the code "MAKEYOURSELF" at checkout, you'll receive 20% off of your purchase! And make sure (hehehe) to use the hashtag #MAKEYourself to join the campaign.

And it wouldn't be a post on Life According to Francesca without a blooper shot...

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