Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Reflection

Okay, so November was actually only about twenty seconds long. Right? I cannot believe that when I wake up tomorrow, it's going to be December. December! I used to beg for time to fly by, but now I find myself desperately trying to grasp at every spare second to try to savor the moments. And typing out the word savor just made me really crave a double chocolate chip muffin. Don't ask.

November passed in the blink of an eye and I'm struggling to comprehend what happened this month. I swear, I wrote my October reflection two days ago. Time is a wild concept and once again, I'm stunned by how fast the weeks have flown by. A thirty day month has felt merely like a weekend, if that. The combination of school and work really just make the days go by faster than I would like. It's a constant stream of reading for classes, writing out assignments, making article deadlines, laying out the newspaper every three weeks while trying to manage social media accounts for my job and go to work and talk to customers and just be a regular human being and not the exhausted shell of a person I feel like 24/7.

On the bright side, I turned 21 in November! My golden birthday, or more appropriately, my champagne birthday! My friends threw me a surprise brunch party the day before and I was finally able to enjoy margaritas at my favorite restaurant in Cleveland. It was a long time coming, quite honestly. It just feels like a relief to be 21 now.

I also got to go home for the first time since Labor Day, which was something else that I was looking forward to in November. I went home for about five days for Thanksgiving, giving me time to hang out with the family once again. We host Thanksgiving at my family's house, so we packed our usually 50ish people into our house and madness ensued, as per usual. A good madness though, the kind that you would think would be impossible to pull of, yet everything still manages to come together somehow. Thanksgiving was closely followed by binge watching all four new episodes of Gilmore Girls (I won't spoil it yet...but I have to let out my opinions at some point, I just have to!)

I was snapped back to reality for the last few days of the month, back into the school and work routine without so much as a break. Weekends home are always just as busybusybusy as being in Cleveland during the semester, but at least I have better food and Tim Hortons coffee!

What I'm looking forward to in December: 

1. Graduating
2. Graduating
3. Graduating
4. Graduating
5. Graduating

And did I mention graduating? I get to walk across the stage and receive my diploma on December 18th and the word excited is an understatement. I'm so ready.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Skincare Routine & Prepping for Winter

As the weather starts to cool down and temperatures drop, so does the amount of moisture in my skin. I swear, I can be oily the rest of the year, but the second winter approaches, every lick of moisture on my face is sucked dry and I'm left with a rigid barren dessert from the neck up. If you've never tried to apply makeup to an extremely dry and flaky face, then consider yourself lucky. It's a difficult task and even if it appears fine at the start, it won't after a couple of hours. This winter, I'm taking precautionary steps to treat my skin with the utmost care to ensure that I don't get stuck with a dry flaky face for another season, especially considering winter feels forever long in Cleveland.

I'm still using my Clarisonic Mia 2 every day. I switch between the Deep Pore Cleansing head and the Acne Cleansing brush head and use it every night and some mornings (depending on if I'm awake before my roommates). I really love what the Clarisonic has done for my skin and I'm still super grateful every day that I got the incredible chance to try it out. I use it with the Deep Pore Daily Cleanse, but I also use it at night with either the Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash or the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, depending on my mood. 

If it's nighttime, after I wash my face, I tend to do some kind of mask. For a more gentle mask, I like to use the Fresh Rose Face Mask. It's really night, but it's great for dryness and redness. It's really cooling and it feels very light and moisturizing on the face. For a more "intense" mask, I use the Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask for when I think my skin needs a hefty dose of moisture put back in it. It smells great and I always wake up with smooth, moisturized skin after I use it the night before. 

I feel like I need to mention my acne routine because it changes so often. I was using my Tazorac cream that I was prescribed by my dermatologist, but it's just too harsh on my skin. It works, don't get me wrong, but it just leaves me with insane dry patches of skin that don't go away no matter how much exfoliator I use, even if I stop using it. So, I've recently switched to using the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion and I've been loving it! Yes, it does dry up the spots I apply it to, but that dry skin is easy to remove with my new exfoliator. Plus, they just started selling Mario Badescu at Ulta! Or at least, I think it's new. I've never seen it there before, granted I don't go to Ulta often. I also picked up the Mario Badescu Facial Spray (with aloe, herbs and rosewater) because I just love those refreshing mist sprays. Another old favorite of mine was the Lush Tea Tree Water!

Now comes my favorite part: exfoliator and moisturizer! I just recently switched up the game big time with these two products, so I'm super excited to talk about the two new products I picked up thanks to the amazing recommendations from Hannah from High Street, Sea Breeze! I literally called her when I was about twenty minutes from the Sephora back at home and she sent me screenshots of some skincare must haves for what I specifically needed. I just want her to be my personal Sephora shopper forever and ever, but I digress. 

My new exfoliator is the Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub, which not only works incredibly, but smells absolutely delicious. It's an exfoliator and cleanser, but I tend to use it after I've cleaned my face with my Clarisonic just because I really want to make sure none of my makeup is lingering on my face after I shower (which it usually does). It's not too rough like some exfoliators that I've used in the past, but it's also not so fine and gentle that it just doesn't do anything. It's the perfect combination of cleanser and exfoliator, giving the perfect grittiness for my skin type and needs. I seriously cannot believe how smooth is makes my skin in the morning after I've used it.

The Ole Henriksen exfoliator combined with my new The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb creates the most smooth base for my makeup in the morning. I apply this new moisturizing balm after my skin has been patted dry for a surge of moisture in the morning. It's not too heavy where it feels sticky, but it's much more heavy duty than the Neutrogena and Tarte moisturizers I was using before I purchased this. Those two products combined have seriously saved my morning routine and make such a smooth, nice base for my foundation.

And of course, there's always the age old secret of hydration: drinking water! There's only so much that these products can do. It's important to drink your water and stay hydrated all year round, not just for your skin.

What's your favorite skincare product to prepare for the winter?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Campus Style for the Cold

Every time I say that it's getting colder, there's some odd heat wave that follows and I sound like a plain idiot. However, I've just checked the weather forecast and despite the fact that it says it's going to be 60 tomorrow and 59 on Wednesday (how?), the 40s are back for the end of the week so I'm taking this post idea and running with it!

Dressing for campus during this time of year can be a hassle. I leave at 7:30 in the morning and walk about ten to fifteen minutes to class. To be completely and totally dramatic, it feels like the end of the world and I generally want to crawl about halfway through the walk (or if you ask my roommate, I tend to start complaining around the first four steps outside). But then, the second I reach campus, I'm sweating and ripping off all of the layers I so carefully wrapped myself in so I could survive the walk to campus.

I have three main mottos in life. The first is to fake it 'til you make it. The second is to eat cake for breakfast. And the third and final motto is this: LAYERLAYERLAYER. All caps, no spaces, super dramatic for emphasis. No one ever regretted an extra layer, especially when it comes to cake...I digress, you can always take a layer off when you're out of the house, but you can't add an extra layer unless you travel with outfit changes. If that's the case, then you just win at life and we're all losers here.

Pro-tip: Blanket scarves make really amazing capes, too!

Pro-tip: As weird as it sounds, diaper bags have a lot of compartments and make for really great school and travel bags.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Good Reads

1. Winter Brights As someone who spends a majority of the year in all neutrals and head to toe black, I definitely have to appreciate all of the color thrown around in these outfits! Leave it to Jess to brighten up the winter season!

2. Bite Beauty Matte Lip Creme I only have a few lip products from Bite and sadly, these lip cremes are not one of them! What am I doing with my life?

3. I Tried the ‘Gilmore Girls’ Diet This is the kind of content I like to see on the internet.

4. What I Wore On Thanksgiving I love the color blocked neutrals on this sweater!

5. Let's Stop Hunger Together With KHCF x Stop Hunger Now This was such an amazing thing that KHCF organized.

6. Cozy in Blush + Black One of my personal favorite color combinations! I love wearing that blush color this time of year! It's a fun alternative to white or cream!

7. Bangkok on Film And the wanderlust kicks into gear...

8. What to Wear This Week: Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse I've seen Poppy and Jamie bits popping up all over my Instagram lately!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

First Impressions: Becca Ombre Rouge Eye Palette

The Becca Ombre Rouge Eye Palette was one of my purchases from a recent Sephora binge. I had decided that I wanted to try out some new eyeshadows and ended up buying what could be viewed as too many eyeshadows. While not scientifically proven, I probably could have toned it down a bit with my eyeshadow binge, but alas, it happened and I do not regret it. For five shadows, the palette was $40.

The palette comes with five matte brownish nude shades. Shade One is a matte nude shade, a lighter tan that matches my skin perfectly as a fair skinned gal. It would also probably be a nice highlight shade for those with a skin tone darker than mine. Shade Two and Three are more medium toned browns, both easily useable as an all over lid shade or a really subtle contour. Both of them seem to have more pinkish mauve undertones, with Shade Three leaning a bit more darker. Shade Four is a warm reddish brown and Shade Five is a true, rich chocolate brown.

I find that this palette is quite pigmented! Is it the most pigmented palette I own? Probably not, but the shadows aren't patchy and they apply really nice to the lid and stay put with a proper base. They're easy to blend out and I find that it's the perfect palette for a more subtle eye look, especially when I decide to wing my eyeliner out more dramatically on certain days.

I think this palette is really great for somebody who loves their nude eyeshadow shades. The shadows are completely matte and just really add that bit of definition to your eyes without drawing too much dramatic attention to them that shimmery and satin finishes can draw. Do I think it's a must have? Eh, debatable. I'm glad that I, a lover of matte browns who needed some life breathed back into my eyeshadow routine, purchased it for myself! I would definitely swatch it in stores to see how you feel about the shades on your skin tone, especially since they do have more warm undertones than not. I thought they appeared too warm when I saw photos online, but when I swatched them for the first time, I noticed that they weren't as warm as they seemed. I don't reach for it every day, but I've been making sure it gets a solid spot in my weekly rotation!

Have you tried Becca eyeshadows before?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Gilmore Girls Day!

I hope everyone had a great holiday with their families or friends. I took the entire day to watch all four parts of the Gilmore Girls revival with my mother today. We debated between multiple take out places to get our lunch for the day and talked to the dogs endlessly. That, coupled with the massive order I made from Zara (30%, my friends!) last night are all I could ask for and more.

This is a spoiler free Gilmore zone, but just know that I cried lots and lots today. Back to our regular scheduled programming tomorrow!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Things I'm Thankful For

1. My family, for making me think it's normal to talk a million miles a minute and feel like I deserve a part in Gilmore Girls. Also for teaching me to be a terrible dancer and a decent human being.

2. My friends, for putting up with my terrible dancing, hopefully because they think I'm a decent human being.

2b. And more specifically, my roommates, for letting me bounce off the walls of our apartment, dealing with my spontaneous and frequent dance parties, and for not questioning why I love coffee so damn much.

3. My bosses and co-workers, for being my family away from home, singing along with me at work, and for making me feel like I have some sort of place in this world.

4. My college education, because try as I might to pretend I hate it, I'm still very lucky to have gone and to almost be finished with my undergraduate degree.

5. Harry Styles, even though he has most certainly ruined my life while simultaneously making it better.

6. The rainbow of available lip colors from multiple beauty brands, for making bold looks so much more acceptable. #AllTheBoldLipstickColors

7. Starbucks employees, for being kind in general and for giving me my lifeblood coffee on a weekly basis.

8. Beachwood Place, for finally bringing Zara to Northeastern Ohio and for subsequently DESTROYING MY BANK ACCOUNT IN THE PROCESS.

9. This blog, for giving me a creative outlet and for introducing me to so many wonderful, talented, smart and hard-working gals.

10. Dogs, just for existing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dream Closet, Vol. 23

My monthly scrolls through Net-a-Porter will never fail to make me feel some type of way. I'm just in love with fashion. Truly, madly, and deeply in love with fashion and clothing and the never-ending cycle of new designers and reoccurring trends and the new ones that pop up along the way. This month, I swung along the path of burgundy and blue, with pops of gold along the way. How incredible are those two pairs of sunglasses though? Ugh, SO FUN!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas

My favorite holiday of the year is coming up! I always have so much fun planning outfits for Thanksgiving, even if it is just a really chill holiday in which my entire family packs into the first floor of my house and it gets really hot and crowded really fast. Still, I like to look cute! I also make a very significant outfit change at the end of the night in which I slip into leggings or sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirt so I can bask in my stuffed belly glory!

You can't go wrong with a loose silhouetted dress for the holidays! They're easy and breezy, uber comfortable, and can successfully hide any food baby that you may grow throughout a night of eating and drinking. The look of the herringbone dress can also easily be duplicated with a pinafore dress layered on top of a sweater of your choice, sort of like a schoolgirl jumper look!

NARS Train Bleu

If you're more of a pants wearing kind of person, there's definitely the easy combination of chunky sweaters with a nice pair of trousers! Or, if you're more of a casual kind of dresser, tackle a pair of black jeans (I chose a more relaxed fit because who wants to feel like a stuffed sausage in skinny jeans on a holiday dedicated to eating?). I've been dying to try out the lace camisole over the turtleneck for a few weeks now, so what better way to debut the look than at a family holiday where you will be judged regardless? Kidding! And then, when in doubt, add in that bright, blue-toned pop of red that just screams holidays!

NARS Dragon Girl

Monday, November 21, 2016

21 Things I've Learned In 21 Years

So, the day has come...I am now a twenty-something...a glittery twenty-one-year-old just trying to fake her way through life. Mondays are notoriously horrible, but there's something to look forward to today... *replace the heart eyes with margarita eyes*

I've both purposely and inadvertently learned countless things over the past twenty-one years and yet these were the only 21 I could think of. Go figure.

1. Coffee is not a meal. Don't fool yourself.

2. It's better to love things unapologetically rather than trying to hide it (yes, this includes yourself...and maybe boy bands).

3. There are friends who come and go and there are friends who are constants. It's best to not get hung up on those who leave. Instead, focus on the ones who stayed.

4. Family is the most important unit in your life. Don't let them forget it (and don't let yourself forget it either).

5. Bangs do not suit me. Don't try. I'm not Zoey Deschanel.

6. You need to care for yourself. Let yourself rest, eat proper meals, the whole nine yards.

7. When all else fails, Legally Blonde is there for you.

8. There's no such thing as too many lipsticks.

9. Or watching Gilmore Girls too many times.

10. Nothing is more therapeutic than having a dance party in your underwear by yourself in your room. Jumping on the bed is optional.

11. It's normal to outgrow things: clothing, style, people, phases.

12. Comparison will kill you. Not one person is the same and you will drive yourself crazy trying to draw comparisons.

13. Speaking of, don’t compare your chapter ten to somebody’s chapter twenty. We’re all on different paths and we are all at different steps in our lives. Some steps might even come out of order.

14. Learning how to say “no” can be your greatest strength.

15. It’s okay not to know, whether it’s an answer, a fun fact, or what you want to do for the rest of your life (that escalated quickly…)

16. Living life without a jacket with a hood is a brutal life. 0/10, would not recommend.

17. There’s nothing wrong with singing along, even when your voice might just sound like a maimed animal. Embrace it.

18. It’s okay to take a day or two (or however many you need) for yourself. Mental health is just as important as your physical health.

19. You probably won’t use those textbooks you spend hundreds of dollars on.

20. Cake makes for a fantastic breakfast.

21. Glitter is always a good idea. Repeatedly. Because it will never go away once its in your life.

And a bonus #22...Bras are the devil. Don't trust them.

When you're so excited about your "blogger balloons" that you CAN'T STAND STILL.

Shoutout to the best roommates and friends a girl could ask for for yesterday's brunch themed surprise party. Honestly, it was so on brand and my aesthetic.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Final Month of the Semester

Did reading the title give you the same amount of chills the writing the title gave me? I didn't even realize that we're past the one month mark until my graduation. That means there's about three weeks of classes left before the big hurrah! How insanely scary and exciting is that?

Admittedly, I'm behind this semester. I'm not on my A-game. By now, I would have already started all of my final projects. However, with the busyness of this semester, I just haven't had a chance to sit down to do what I normally do. I hope that by making this post, I get my stuff together and am inspired next week over the holiday to start some of the work that I've been inadvertently putting off.

1. Make note of all of your final due dates

Check all of your syllabi and add the due dates to your calendar. Remind yourself when you have papers due, when your final exams are for your online classes need to be finished by and the dates and times of your in-class exams. There's nothing worse than realizing two days before you have to finish your biggest assignment of the semester and don't have enough time nor brain power to get it done in such a short period of time.

2. Start planning ahead

Perhaps I'm a little late to the game on this one, but I at least caught myself before I was in too deep with accidental procrastination. Make sure you have your final paper topic ideas chosen, start rereading chapters in your textbook or your notes, just don't sit idly and wait until the very last minute to light a fire under your butt. You'll save yourself some stressing in the long run if you just take a few minutes to think about your assignments and exams ahead of time.

3. Get a head start on your papers or projects

There's no shame in starting a final paper weeks before it's due. In fact, I would actually recommend it. The more you are able to get done up front, the more time you'll have to revise and relax later on when you're neck up to readings and study guides trying to prepare for your final exams.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Positivitea Cup Twenty-Two: Eat Cake for Breakfast

Who knows where this saying came from. All I know is that Kate Spade creates the cutest products with it Eat Cake for Breakfast printed onto them and I want to own EVERY SINGLE ONE. I think it is, hands down, the cutest thing in the world. Tumbler cup? Check. Adorable magenta bound journal? Check. Do I want/need the slippers? Also yes.

If you haven't indulged and had cake for breakfast before, I highly, highly recommend it. But that's not entirely what this post is about. While I am totally a cake for breakfast advocate, I just think everyone should indulge every once in a while. Throw caution to the wind! Who said dessert couldn't be consumed at the early morning hours? Why not eat cake or brownies or cookies for breakfast? Why deprive ourselves of these things just because it's breakfast time?

Again, this isn't entirely about dessert but I have a massive sweet tooth so dessert related tangents are quite common for me. I digress (momentarily, we'll be back to cake later, I'm sure).

Far too often, we deprive ourselves of things that we want because we think we can't have them or don't deserve to have them. We create these rules in our head that keep us contained. We think we can or can't and create our own boundaries and obstacles. Sometimes it's fun to break the rules a little bit and do something that's out of the ordinary or doesn't follow a specific timeline or order. Live a little! It's silly to think of eating cake for breakfast as "living a little," sure, but if you don't start small, will you start at all? There's absolutely nothing wrong with going against the grain and being a little spontaneous.

But in all seriousness...go out and get a slice of cake and resist the urge to not eat it at this moment. Put it in the fridge. Go on with your day and go to sleep. Wake up and eat that darn piece of cake for breakfast and bask in its gloriousness!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Things I'm Loving

1. Oversized grey fringe sweater from The Wandering Wardrobe

I wore this sweater four times last week. Four. Times. This sweater is no joke. It's oversized, it's soft, it's thick and it's got tiers and tiers of fringe. What more could you possibly ask for in a piece of clothing? I know there's only one or two left on the site, but there's also plenty of other cute and just as unique pieces out there. God, I love this sweater. I wish I was wearing it right now.

2. Anthropologie initial mug

I finally got around to repurchasing my initial mug after an unfortunate incident with my old roommate (she cried and I felt horrible) where my previous Anthro initial mug was involved in a tiny little chipping accident. I digress, I replaced it with this just as fun 'F' initial mug that I love to pieces. I just really love these mugs because they are the perfect size for a cup of coffee from the Keurig. A lot of my mugs are either way too big or too small and they end up overflowing after I put the creamer in. I'm not about that life, so this mug is just the perfect solution to my morning mishaps. Plus, these would make really adorable gifs, too!

3. Stila 'Huge' mascara

I know I just have the little sample size, but I love this mascara. It reminds me a lot of the Better Than Sex mascara from Too Faced, right down to the shape of the brush. I think I've decided that I prefer the thick and dense brushes because they just add so much more volume to my lashes, which I desperately need. They're long by themselves, but they need a little nudge in the right direction to get some volume and curl.

4. Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer

This is easily my favorite bronzer I've ever tried. It's the only one that doesn't seem to go orange on me and it's completely matte. I don't particularly want to add any shimmery or glowy bronzers to my face just because I don't think it suits me very well. I like a bit of warmth and contour, but I've never been one to be any sort of tanned goddess. Plus, this sucks smells amazing. It has really fantastic pigmentation, doesn't apply patchy or splotchy, and is a nice warm brown shade rather than leaning towards the orangey side.

What have you been loving lately? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Recent Outfits, Part Three

I might be stretching the concept of recent, but I have too much fun with these posts, so let's just go with it. You may or may have not seen these looks from me before, but even if you have, here they are a second time! Hopefully they're just as glorious or silly.

I call this look It Was Halloween and I Really Wanted to Wear Black Lipstick and My Furry Hunter Green Bomber Jacket, So In Order to Not Scare Everyone on a Normal Day, I Chose Halloween to Debut This Look™ also known as They're Going to Be Really Surprised When I Wear This Next Week On A Normal Monday.

Jacket: Silence + Noise (from Cleveland Consignment Shoppe)
Sweater: H&M
Jeans: Hudson
Boots: Stuart Weitzman

I call this look Wow, Look, It's Francesca, Circa 2013 also known as This Scarf Is Actually a Blanket and is, Hands Down, the Best Thing That I Own (Probably).

Dress: Gap
Scarf: Aerie
Boots: Bandolino 
Glasses: Kate Spade

I call this look I Saw Leandra Medine Layer a Turtleneck Under a Varsity Sweater Last Year, So Here I Am a Year Later... also known as These Zara Heels Are My Favorite Chanel Look-A-Likes Ever and My Bank Account Thanks Me Greatly. 

Sweater: American Eagler
Turtleneck: Target
Jeans: Levi's
Shoes: Zara

I call this look These Jeans Actually Have a Hole In the Butt that I Don't Know How to Fix, So I Only Wear Them With Long Tops Now also known as Those Shoes Are So Trashed But I Refuse to Stop Wearing Them #GiveMeMulesOrGiveMeDeath

Shirt: Wandering Wardrobe
Jeans: Levi's
Shoes: Matisse x Kate Bosworth

I call this look There Is Literally Nothing Special About This, I Just Wanted to Be Semi-Comfortable also known as Seriously, This Is So Boring. 

Sweater: H&M
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#GlowLife: My Highlighter Collection

While I could easily do a collection on all of the stationery highlighters that I own, today I'm talking all about the highlighters I own in my makeup collection. In a year, I went from only owning two MAC MSFs to have a good deal of various shades of highlighter to pop on the high points of my face. I don't know how I got to this point, but all I know is that I'm quite content with my collection and the pretty sheen these products add to my skin.

I have two Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors in the shades Opal and Champagne Pop. These are, hands down, my favorite highlighters and if it was up to me, I'd probably have the entire shade range. That would be a bit excessive, of course, but a girl can dream. Opal is a really gorgeous pearly medium gold shade. Champagne Pop is a pinky-peach shade with a tinge of gold. Both of these are really intense highlighters, so they definitely need to be applied with a light hand and with care, but when applied right, they seriously just light up your face!

I've talked about this on the blog plenty of times before, but I am still just as in love with the Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette as I was over the summer. My roommate at the time (shoutout to you, girl) picked this up for me at Boots when she was in London this summer and it came in clutch. It has four shades: Ecliptic, Hemisphere, Subsolar and Equinox. There are three powders and one cream blush, all in various hues. The cream highlighter is a pale mauve shade that adds the perfect subtle sheen! Then there's a light pink, bright pale yellow gold and a peachy-gold shade for the powder highlighters. I bring this with me when I go home for the weekends because they're super pigmented and give me all of the choices I'd possibly need in one small, sleek palette.

My least favorite highlighters in my collection are probably the MAC MSFs, but they served me well as my first highlighters before I knew what highlighting was. One of my first high-end beauty products ever was the MAC MSF in Lightscapade, which I picked up at the original CCO in the outlet mall before it closed (and eventually reopened). It's a pearly base with pastel colors marbled through it, but it applies in one sort of white-gold sheen. It's not particularly pigmented and doesn't last very long, but I'm holding onto it for whatever reason. Now, I don't hate Soft and Gentle by any means, but I also don't wear it that often now that I have other formulas that I like better. Still, it was one of my original highlighters and I do still really enjoy wearing it. Heck, I'm wearing it right now! It's similar to the peachy-gold shade in the Sleek palette, but it has the tiniest bit more glitter in it.

I don't love the highlighting shade in the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette as much as I wish I did, but I also don't hate it. It's still very pigmented, but it's just not as standout as my other highlighter shades. It's very, very subtle and I tend to only use it when I want my makeup to be low-key. Still, it's a gorgeous product and the light gold shade really suits my skin, especially as I get more fair as the winter progresses!

My last highlighter (sans a couple of miscellaneous Tarte ones that I never use) is one that I just talked about recently in a blog post! I picked up the Mary-Lou Manizer from the Balm Cosmetics a couple of weeks ago and wow. Woooooow. Talk about pigmented. It's a gorgeous light gold shade that packs a punch. It's not glittery by any means, but it just adds the perfect reflective sheen to the tops of the cheeks that I haven't found in any other product.

What's your favorite highlighter?

Monday, November 14, 2016

This Moment In Fashion...Faux Fur Jackets

Real fur freaks me out a bit. I shudder every time I brush up against it or have to handle a fur at work. It's just...not my thing, really. The wonderful thing about modern times is that we can have super fun, super furry jackets in completely faux fabrics. And I have to admit, I'm a tad bit obsessed. 

I've been seeing really dramatic and statement jackets on a lot of bloggers recently (whether it's real or not, I guess I can't be sure) and I just think they're the coolest thing in the entire world. With so many faux options out there today, I feel like there's a statement faux fur jacket for everyone. There's the shaggy, curly options, the more matted teddy bear coats, there's smooth fur...and all in various colors! You can stick to neutrals, with a black or cream or head to the other spectrum with a pink or, as seen below, a pink and orange striped combination. You can get ombre block jackets (I'm eyeing this black and white one from Missguided) or chevron options like this coat from GUESS

The best part of these jackets is that you really don't have to try. I wore my hunter green furry jacket with an all black ensemble and called it a day. It really didn't call for much more. Sure, I wasn't wearing my jacket all day, but if you're out and about and taking your jacket on and off, I think it's a fur alternative to a typical winter jacket. I can definitely see myself swapping mine in and out for my staple black moto aviator jacket and my wool cocoon coat just to add some life and personality into my otherwise bleak fall and winter wardrobe. Once it gets cold, you've got to get creative somehow, right?

Other places to find affordable, statement faux fur jackets: ASOS, Missguided, Nasty Gal, GUESS, Urban Outfitters (my hunter green one is by Silence + Noise from Urban), Forever21, Charlotte Russe, Target, Free People, and Nordstrom. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sephora VIB Sale & My Picks

I hit up Sephora yesterday for the first day of the 20% of VIB sale and let me tell's so hard not leaving that place with a full basket. While I had my more fun purchases a couple of weeks ago with a different 20% off code, I took yesterday to buy products that I knew I would need at some point, so I might as well get them when I have a little bit off. It wasn't the most exciting haul, but I got quite a few things that I'm pretty excited to have in my life!

In the lines of skincare, I picked up quite a few bits and bobs. I first purchased full sizes of some Origins samples I received about a month ago. I got the full-sized Checks and Balances face wash as well as the Drink-Up Intensive overnight mask because this is the time of year that my skin gets so many dry patches that I don't even know what to do with myself.

I also got a dual pack of the Clarisonic acne head brushes because I was curious to see what these do to my skin compared to the deep cleansing brush heads! I got the dual pack to ensure that I actually change them after three months instead of being too lazy to repurchase!

I also got my birthday present from Sephora and chose the Fresh sample set over the Marc Jacobs (mostly because my co-worker gave me her Marc Jacobs sample set, so I didn't need a second!). It came with a decent size Rose Face Mask and Soy Fresh Cleanser (which I conveniently just ran out of!)

While we're on the sample train, I picked up two 100-point perks because I always forget to spend my points at Sephora. I picked up the Tarte Drink of H20 moisturizer because I'm running very low on mine at home and need to buy myself a little more time before I decide which I want to get next. I also picked up the Stila Huge mascara because I'm always looking for new ones to try out!

I was considering getting one of the Dior mascaras, but when I saw the brushes in person, I just wasn't thrilled with them. So, I ended up getting a full size of the Urban Decay Perversion mascara! I had a sample of this about two years ago and remember liking it, so I figured I would test out the full size. My lashes are generally pretty easy to manage. They're not super fussy, so as long as I like the brush (aka as long as it doesn't have short, stubby plastic bristles that feel like I'm poking my eye out), I'm generally pretty content.

Pardon the extremely dirty box, but I finally got a foundation other than the Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous! This is honestly a miracle. I've used this foundation religiously since high school, so for me to switch it up is pretty out of this world. But, since I have more than enough of everything else in my collection, I figured it was time to start experimenting with face products. I've gotten better about sampling new concealers, so now it's time to try out some new foundations. I love that this one has a pump and I found it really easy to match myself in the store (though I knew my shade going into it because of the foundation matcher on Temptalia, which works really well in my opinion!) I picked up the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation in the shade Mont Blanc (light 2).

It's not a Sephora haul from me without some sort of lip product. I have too many lipsticks, I realize this, but I don't have this shade. It's one of Smashbox's Always On liquid lipsticks in the shade Out Loud. It's a gorgeous rusty red shade with a tinge of orange. It's just the perfect cinnamon spice color for the fall and winter time and it truly is unlike any shade in my collection. I tested it out last night and holy flattering lip color. It's incredible!

Remember VIBs, use your coupon code online or stop into the stores to get 20% off! Stock up on holy grail products, try out something new, or get your holiday shopping done!

Friday, November 11, 2016

First Impressions: The Balm Cosmetics

As a longtime and frequent viewer of beauty channels on Youtube, I'm no stranger to the existence of the Balm Cosmetics. The San Francisco beauty brand has popped up on my radar for years, it's just taken me ages to finally make the plunge to pick up a few bits from them. I've been on a bit of a makeup binge lately, trying to up my game a bit I think. Regardless, I'm really excited to welcome two new products from the Balm into my makeup collection! I picked up the Nude Dude, Volume 2 eyeshadow palette and the Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter.

The Nude Dude, Volume 2 palette has 12 nude shades, with four matte finishes and the remainder shimmer or satin finishes. This cheeky palette has incredibly pigmented warm shades without leaning too pink. I don't look good in cool colors, but if a palette is too warm, then it also doesn't suit me. I always lean more towards the gold and bronze shades, rather than blues and silvers or pinks and purples. As the owner of many neutral eyeshadow palettes, I always appreciate some new shades being added to my collection. I feel like this palette replaced the few shades that I really loved in the Naked 3 palette (which I ended up giving away because a majority of the colors didn't suit me and it was taking up too much space in my life), which makes my heart so happy.

The color payoff of these are incredible. They're uber pigmented, they blend out nicely (I have the tiniest bit of a struggle blending out Funny and Fine, but it doesn't take that much effort to make them appear more opaque than patchy). Fearless, Flawless, Feisty, and Friendly are the perfect matte shades for a very low-key day where you don't want to do too much, whereas Faithful, Firm, Funny and Fine are great for that warm, statement eye. Pop on some winged liner and a bold lip and you're good to go!

Becca Opal, Mary Lou, Opal (again)
My obsession with highlighters continues. I don't have anything quite this bright in my collection, though Mary-Lou Manizer might seem somewhat similar to Becca's Opal, but in reality it is much lighter. While Opal leans more towards a light golden/champagne color, I would say Mary-Lou Manizer is a true champagne, maybe a bit lighter, even. It complements a lot of looks, no matter what blush color you choose (if you like to make sure it coordinates to your blush and eye look, that is). There's no glitter chunks in this, so it applies as a nice satin sheen across your cheekbones and doesn't get stuck in your pores or lines. It's a no-fuss highlighter that just gives you that illusion of a lift. I finally pried myself away from it today to give my other highlighers some love, but Mary-Lou might have stolen my heart.

Have you ever tried anything from the Balm?