What Did I Accomplish In 2016?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

This is the cake from my graduation party, but I think it also works nicely as an overall congrats for getting through 2016.
If you're new around here, you might not know about my yearly to do lists. For the past four years or so, instead of creating blanket New Year's resolutions, I make a to do list about forty points long to accomplish throughout the year. As you can see below, some are as simple as learning how to cook something (which I clearly didn't do, oops) or to more long term goals like drinking more water. I set out each year to try to accomplish as many of these goals as possible, usually with the underlying goal of sticking to them. 2016 was the year of making lifestyle and personal changes, regarding how I treat others and how I treat myself. I'm pretty proud of the progress I've made this year and I'm excited to see what my 2017 list looks like!

16 Favorite Blog Posts from 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

I made a post like this last year where I talked about my favorite posts from the previous year. As I post daily content on here, it's hard to narrow down between 365+ posts, but there are some just standout more to me than others. Perhaps they were more meaningful, perhaps they mentioned my ride or die Elle Woods. Whatever the reasoning was, I narrowed down my favorite posts from 2016, just incase you missed them!

Things I Loved In 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

In true Thursday fashion, it's time to talk about the things I've been loving...with a twist. Just imagine that I'm wearing an stage costume similar to what Taylor Swift wore during her comeback performance of "Shake It Off" at the MTV VMAs in 2014 (which, I have seen in person at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it's glorious), spinning around in circles whilst doing jazz hands. Instead of talking about what I've loved over the past week, which in reality has just been lounging around in bed and wearing pajamas all day, I'll be talking about what I've been loving over the course of the entire year. Yowza.

Recent Outfits, Part Four

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I call this outfit When Extended, This Turtleneck Is Almost As Long As the Sweater Itself also known as I Spent All Day Hiding In Said Turtleneck (And I Don't Regret it For a Second).

Sweater: Vince
Jeans: Joe's Jeans
Shoes: Zara

Is New Year's Day An Arbitrary Date?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

As a new year approaches, talk of resolutions resurfaces once again. I'm not entirely sure that a New Year's resolution really needs a definition or an introduction. They're just common knowledge in our society, an annual facet. They're our preemptive goals before a year starts, our "I wish I was ___" statements, the changes we want to see in ourselves. We make goals for our self-improvement, a promise to ourselves that we see a shift in some behavior during that year. New Year's Day has become what some may call and arbitrary date in our behavior shift, but is it really that arbitrary?

I remember writing really angsty Facebook statuses and tweets when I was a teenager about how stupid it was to create these resolutions on a "completely arbitrary" date year after year when none of them would get accomplished. What kind of pessimistic mindset is that? As I've grown older and have tried to grow out of that defeatist mentality, I've looked at New Year's Day as less of a date chosen at random and more as the start of a clean slate. I suppose it all has to do with perspective. I can't change somebody's perspective on a day of the year, but who knows.

What is wrong with people using the start of a New Year as a chance to start fresh or to make changes that they want to make in their life? Why be so bitter about a day that somebody looks forward to and treats with hope? If people want to use a new year as an opportunity to change, why would you try to stop them? Sure, the steps to make a change can be started at any point in the year. But why would you take away someone's chance at a symbolic fresh start with a new calendar year just because you think it's an arbitrary concept?

I think that if people are inspired to make changes, whether they're on a small or large scale, then we should support those changes. No matter if it's on the first of a new year or if it's on a random Wednesday afternoon in March. Regardless of the time or place setting, they should be treated with respect.

So, if you hear talk about New Year's resolutions going around, embrace the symbolic start to a new year. Because the start of a new year is like a landmark, a new year year full of new chances to succeed. Regardless of your thoughts on the subject of resolutions, at least take the chance to respect those around you because the start of a new year might be the only thing motivating them. Don't take that away from them.

New Year's Eve Outfit Ideas

Monday, December 26, 2016

If you've looked at a calendar recently, you might have seen that we're coming to the end of 2016. Is anyone else praising hallelujah? I am. With the end of a year comes New Year's Eve celebrations with people donned in sequins and sparkle. While I prefer to spend my New Year's Eves in a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt with my hair tied in a bun, I'm sure there are others who actually like to ring in the new year in style. If I were to ever consider going out to celebrate a new year, these are two options I might give a try!

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2016

And now it's actually Christmas Day! I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful day with whoever they celebrate with! Happy holidays! We'll be back to our regular scheduled programming tomorrow.

Merry Christmas Eve

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Eve to all of my readers who celebrate (or Happy Hanukkah as well!). I hope you have a wonderful evening with your friends, families, co-workers, whoever you celebrate the holidays with. Wishing you all of the best!

Things I'm Loving: Christmas Edition

Thursday, December 22, 2016

As I haven't really been using or listening to anything new lately, I figured I'd switch it up on this lovely Thursday and talk about the things that I love about the holiday season. I haven't been feeling holly jolly the past few years, but there's still aspects of this time of year that I adore. But I won't spoil them in this small introduction. That's what the bold part of my list is for!

My College Timeline

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In case you missed it in the six thousand times I've mentioned this on my blog, I graduated from college this past Sunday. Done. Finito. Finished. It's a wonderful feeling, truly, just knowing that I don't have to sit through a class or take an exam ever again. College was a whirlwind, honestly. I don't remember half of it, not for illegal reasons, but because so much happened in such a short period of time and I'm not entirely sure how I was supposed to properly log all of it.

Based on my Instagram timeline, it looks like I went to a lot of Indians games, sat by myself at the pier a lot, drank a lot of coffee, and bought too many clothes. When I gather my thoughts about college, I'll make a post about all of the things I learned in college. But for now, I just want to reflect on my college experience through pictures...some more embarrassing than others.

I will admit, college was a slow burn experience for me. I didn't enjoy my freshmen year. I didn't really enjoy my sophomore year until the end either. It took me until my junior year to figure things out and find a solid friend group and come out of my shell. Better late than never, right?

The Art of Re-Gifting

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Don't lie, we've all done it. I can and will fully admit to waiting until after the holidays to give my friends presents just to see what miscellaneous items I picked up over the holidays (or what my mom received...I'm taking you down with me, mom). In my defense, I also had no source of income and wasn't really in the mood to drop a lot of money on people. And, in retrospect, probably for the best that I didn't go above and beyond every time. The people I did that for probably didn't deserve it.

I digress, re-gifting is a thing and I think it's about time we stop denying it. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and admit that sometimes you just don't have the time or energy to go out and shop for more people. Because let's be real, some people are impossible to shop for. I'm sorry that you HAVE ZERO INTERESTS, here's a scarf! Stay warm!

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Monday, December 19, 2016

Let's alternatively title this post: "Oops! I Forgot Again!" We all have those people that we forget exist in our lives. Not to diminish their importance in our life at all (or maybe so...), but the holidays are just a busy time of year. It could be finals time, it could be rushing around getting things prepared for celebration, or maybe you're just one busy human being all of the time and this time of year is no different. The rush of the season combined with just our pure, unadulterated occasional forgetfulness can lead to a lot of last minute SH!T moments. Or even worse: the people in your life who just might not like anything.

I had this problem in high school where I just didn't know what to get certain people because they didn't a "thing." This wasn't there problem, of course (or I guess it was but who's keeping track), but it did cause quick an issue when it came to buying presents. I would wander around stores and constantly wonder if something was an item they would like or enjoy or even remotely use. That's where the safe gift come in. There are certain presents that you just can't go wrong with. And even if you do, then they just become the perfect re-gifting presents for them, so really, regardless of whether they like it or not, I'm sure they'll find some use for it.

Class of 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Happy graduation day to me! I am now the proud recipient of a B.A. in journalism and I couldn't be more ecstatic! To anyone who has been reading from the start: thanks for sticking around. I started this blog as a lonely, confused freshmen in college who just wanted to find her place. Now, I continue forward as a college graduate, still trying to find her place, but with a little more direction this time.

Dream Closet, Vol. 24

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I'm having a moment with ruffles, clearly. If something has ruffles or bell sleeves or some kind of voluminous element to it, I want it. I want it quick and I want it now. It's just such a fun, interesting touch to a simple sweater or sweatshirt! Sure, the ruffles make it nearly impossible to wear a coat in the winter, but those are the sacrifices that we have to make sometimes, right? It's all in the name of fashion, or whatever.

Holiday Treats

Friday, December 16, 2016

Now that I'm not living at home, there's truly only two times a year that I bake: Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rest of the year, I'm sworn to a life of laziness, a life of not wanting to dish out the money for ingredients. It's not even a life of boxed mixes. I'm just too darn lazy to make anything. Luckily, it's time to tis the season of holiday baking and fill our stomachs with all of the gingerbread and peppermint we can handle.

Who knows what recipe I'll decide to give a try this year. All I know is that I'm going to be neck deep in a my holiday Pinterest board by the end of next week and I'm going to embrace it fully. These are some of the preliminary ideas for Francesca's Bi-Annual Bake-off (With Herself and Only Herself).

1. Peppermint Beltway Cookies
2. Soft Baked Gingersnap Cookies
3. Peppermint Mocha Cookies
4. Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites
5. Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
6. Buckeyes (Peanut Butter Balls)
7. Red Velvet Cream Cheese Thumbprints
8. Peppermint Fudge
9. Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies
10. Peppermint Bark Brownie Cookies
11. Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Holiday Bar
12. Andes Mint Cookies
13. Cinnamon Bun Cookies
14. Oreo Cream Cheese Cookies
15. Pumpkin Crumb Cake Muffins

What are you baking for the holidays this year?

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, December 15, 2016

1. NARS All Day Luminous Foundation

It takes a lot for me to substitute out a holy grail product. As you may or may not know, I've used the Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation religiously since my freshmen year of college. That's over three years of consistent every day wear. It took me ages to find a foundation that I loved and I really dedicated myself to it and stuck with it. The fact that I even looked at a new foundation, let alone used it daily is a huge deal, in my opinion. I've been curious about NARS foundations for a while and I figured it was time to give their face products a try after being obsessed with their lip and cheek products (the eyeshadows I've used are great too) for ages.

I bought my foundation in the shade Mont Blanc (Light 2). To find my perfect shade without getting matched in the store (because I'm lazy), I used the Foundation Matrix from Temptalia to cross match with both my MAC shade (NC20) and the color of my Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. I'm using Fair Neutral right now, but I've used Light Warm in the past too. Also, for color matching purposes if you have a similar skin tone (aka fair AF), I've used NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Cannelle in the past.

How I Spent My First Day of Freedom

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Did I nearly forget to write a post today or was it my plan all along to post later in the day detailing my first day of freedom? The world may never know. Even though that sentence truly just revealed the answer, regardless of its attempt at ambiguity.

Big news: I took my last exam ever today as an undergraduate. This was my last ever "assignment" of college, meaning that as of about 8:40 this morning, I was finished with college forever. Granted, I graduate on Sunday, but still. No more assignments. No more notes. No more studying. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I'm a free b!tch, baby! Since I had nearly the entire day of doing absolutely nothing, I decided to log my whole day as a free almost college graduate. This post shall become proof as to why I should not be allowed to have any time off whatsoever.

Holiday Outfits

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

First I gave you gift guides and now here's a holiday attire guide. If I wasn't neck deep in finals, I might have tried to do something a little more professional. Maybe even *gasp* try an outfit post of my own, but alas, my schedule is nonexistent so here's a collage.

(On the reals though, that is a goal for 2017 so NOBODY LET ME FORGET)

You can wear a frilly dress, a tulle skirt with a funny little sweater, or just a plain sweater with some trousers. You could wear leggings and a tee shirt. You could even wear your pajamas if you desire. I think there are two ultimate goals: to look cute and upstage your entire family and prove that you aren't a trash college student with zero drive to look nice or be as comfortable as possible, no questions asked. I respect both sides.

Look one: Zara dress and Topshop tights
Look three: H&M sweater and Topshop pants
Booties: Steve Madden

Last Finals Week Ever

Monday, December 12, 2016

This is one of the most fulfilling and exciting blog titles I think I've ever had the privilege and pleasure of writing out. Unfortunately, they're being written in the midst of trying to study (but let's be real, cram) before my exam this morning. No amount of preparation will ever make me feel ready for an exam and I cannot wait until I never have to feel this again, at least not in this situation. I have an inkling this will arise time and time again, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I must traverse over the path that is surviving my last finals week ever.

I've made lists on how to study, on what to do to prepare for finals week, how to write a good final paper. And I think with my last semester of college, I've thrown caution to the wind and pretty much ripped all of those beliefs to shreds. I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get things done. Except this chicken is tired and doesn't want to get anything done, so it's taken a chill pill and has decided to remain stagnant until the last possible second before the "chill" wears off and I'm back to square one of PANICKING.

Good Reads

Sunday, December 11, 2016

1. Shuffle Off to Buffalo Let us just take a moment to love and appreciate this incredible buffalo check coat. Not a massive fan of red, but for you @ jacket, I would.

2. Two Ways to Style a Black and Gold Jacket I definitely agree with Jessica that black and gold make for the ultimate holiday look. Plus a red lip? Absolute perfection. 

3. Baby, It's Cold Outside! Beauty Tips for Cold Weather As someone who's body just generally doesn't react well to the cold–cracking knuckles, dry skin on my face, moisture drained from my hair–this post came at the perfect time. 

4. Red for the Holidays In l-o-v-e with this one shouldered ruffle top.

Holiday Gift Guide: Home, Stationery, and Other Things

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I now conclude my mini gift guide series with what some might call as homeware and stationery, but what I call the random knick knacks that make great gifts in a pinch because you literally have zero clue as to what someone would want for a gift and these seem cute? These are the gifts that you can give to literally anyone (tailor the color choices, if necessary) and it's be practical, yet super cute, and something that they probably wouldn't buy themselves or even if they did, you can't have enough of them. For example: you can't have enough mugs. You just can't. Even if you have them stacked on an entire shelf in your cupboards, it's still not enough mugs.

First Impressions: Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipsticks

Friday, December 9, 2016

I've talked about both shades somewhat extensively in Things I'm Loving posts over the course of the past couple of months, but I wanted to sit down and do one final review on the Smashbox Always On liquid lipsticks. I love these suckers so much and I thought that they warranted their own post on the blog sheerly because they've become my favorite liquid lipsticks. I think as liquid lipsticks become increasingly more popular and brands start to come out with their own takes, the products get better, for the most part. I've tried plenty of liquid lipstick brands as much as I will rave about the Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipsticks, I think that these Smashbox ones have to take the cake.

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, December 8, 2016

1. The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

I mentioned this and the Ole Henriksen scrub in my winter skincare routine, but didn't go into as much detail about it as it deserved. It's easily become my favorite part in my skincare routine (aside from my Clarisonic...I love that thing so much). It feels so good. It just makes my skin feel so smooth and alive and puts the life back in my face after a day of wearing makeup and being out in the cold. I haven't had any gross flaky dry patches on my face since I started my new and improved skincare routine and I really attribute it to this amazing moisturizer. Once again, shoutout to Hannah from High Street Sea Breeze for steering me in the right direction.

Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Back at you again today with another totally cliche, yet totally fun to make gift guide. I know, I know, they're everywhere, but it's insanely fun to make these because it's essentially just making a dream shopping cart for yourself. Or maybe it's just me? Should I rename all of my gift guides Things to Get Francesca? 

Beauty products can be a tough gift to get somebody, sure, but that's why value sets and kits exist! There are people who you know love certain products, whether it's eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks, or skincare. Some people love fragrances and might just not want to splurge on themselves (bonus: so many perfumes come in rollerballs and rollerball sets so they can try out multiple!). Whatever it maybe, there's a beauty product out in the world for everyone, so why not gift the beauty lovers in your life something spectacular?

1. Clarisonic  Mia 2 Sea Breeze First Aid Beauty Set
2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette
3. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon
4. NYX Liquid Suede Lip Cream Vault Set
5. Becca Glow on The Go Shimmering Skin Perfector™ Moonstone Set
6. Hourglass Ambient® Lighting Edit - Surreal Light
7. Tarte Lash Lovelies Eye Set
8. Give Me Some Bold Lip Set
9. Fresh Rose Face Mask
10. Kat Von D Bow n Arrow Set
11. Colourpop Foxy Mini Kit

All I Want For Christmas Is A Sick Holiday Playlist

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Y'all know what time of year it is. I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas music. I also have trouble getting myself into the holiday spirit and tend to always be sort of a Grinch. Not like, a Grinch who hates Christmas. I stay glittery during the holidays! I just lack the normal Christmas spirit and spunk that I used to have when I was a kid and even a teenager.

Holiday Gift Guide: Fashion

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's the holiday season, y'all. I don't think anything has ever sounded more unnatural in my head than that sentence, but who cares besides me clearly. It's the season of peppermint, snow, gift giving and dogs wearing sweaters. Though I still believe that NYFW is the best time of the year, I think that this season might count as the second most wonderful time of the year.

Let's be real for a second. Gift giving is hard, especially for the hobbyless. I like anything lipstick or that glitters or has caffeine in it. Give me a mound of Starbucks gift cards and I will be content. Then there are the tough Christmas shoppers who, no matter what, seem impossible to please. So, throughout the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite ideas for presents. At least one of them has to work, right? Today is all about fashion pieces, from comfortable shoes to sweaters to jewelry and accessories that should work for the masses. Obviously, it doesn't have to be these exact pieces, but something like these might make great gifts, no matter what brand, color, or style! Tailor the pieces to who you're buying for!


Good Reads

Sunday, December 4, 2016

1. Winter Workwear Part IV That polka-dot blouse is incredible. Also, when will I ever look this cool in cropped trousers and sock boots?

2. How to Wear Denim to a Fancy Holiday Party Oh denim, you oddly versatile fabric you...

3. A Chanel Kind of Christmas Using the Chanel ribbon has a hair bow...genius!

4. Pancakes and Pajamas: A Surprise Birthday Brunch This was the amazing birthday brunch that my roommates planned for me, which I guess was nice of them...

5. Low Ponytails: We Are Obsessed I've become much more low maintenance with my hair in my old age. I almost always prefer to wear it up or pulled back 75% of the time nowadays and low ponytails are my best friend.

Why Don't We Disappear | A November Playlist

Saturday, December 3, 2016

I'm going to say it right now: my November playlist is essentially all Little Mix and DNCE and I don't regret a single second of it. Both of their new albums came out on the 18th and pretty much dominated the last two weeks of the month music wise. Sure, there's some other okay stuff thrown in (aka the brilliance that is "On Hold" by The XX), but we all know that the only song that matters is "Private Show" by Little Mix.

Positivitea Cup Twenty-Three: Happy December!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Just in case you're not following the Gregorian calendar, I feel inclined to let you all know that it is indeed December. We're in the twelfth and final month of 2016 and I think we can all collectively throw our hands in the air and cry. But this is supposed to be a positive post, so no crying yet! We've made it this far. I propose we grab December by the horns antlers and make the most out of the final month of what feels like the worst year ever.

December yields stress on stress on stress, but always ends with a huge sigh of relief. If you're in school, it's full of stressing to get assignments done before the holiday. I don't even want to utter the dreaded "F" word that sends me into a tailspin of worries. Finals. It sounds dramatic until you live them out and have five things due at once all on top of studying and trying to get some sleep. It feels like an overwhelming explosion of stress, but then it's over and you can breathe a huge sigh of relief (or just sleep for three days straight).

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, December 1, 2016

1. Glory Days by Little Mix

I cannot believe that Glory Days came out two weeks ago and this is the first chance I've gotten to talk about it. I considered making a whole post on it, but I decided that I could be patient and wait for my next Things I'm Loving post to go off. As horrible as 2016 has been (I hate that Kylie Jenner was right), this album saved the year for me. Or at least it created a happy little pop bubble for me to live in for the last month or so of the year. I love Little Mix with my whole heart and I would be very interested in joining the group ASAP. They're coming to Cleveland in February with Ariana Grande. Now is my chance...
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