Did I Accomplish My 2017 Reading Goal?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

When I was in high school, I used to read somewhere around fifty-ish (I never counted and wasn't great at keeping track on Goodreads) books a year. I was constantly going to the library and picking out new titles to read, whether I was seeking out certain books or just grabbing things off of the shelf because of pretty covers and interesting summaries. And then I got to college and my reading dropped off to only three or four books a year if I was lucky. A lot of it came down to not having the free time, but I also definitely lacked the motivation too.

I wanted to rectify that, so my goal for this year was to start slowly getting back into the whole reading thing. I decided that one new book a month was a doable task. Twelve books for twelve months was a seemingly achievable goal for me, so I set out in January to see if I could get myself back into reading. Clearly, if you've been keeping up with my blog (especially over the summer), I've done it! Words can't describe how happy I am that this is one of the accomplishments on my 2017 to-do list that I could cross off as a success. As fun as it is completing any goal, I think this one was really for the better too. I'm always happier when I'm reading, so it was great to get back into a hobby that I once enjoyed so much.

Because I've already talked about a majority of these books on the blog already, I'm just going to list all of the books I read in 2017 down below. I'll also add the links to the blog posts where I talked about them if you want to read more in-depth about my thoughts. Also, just for funsies, I'll give them a rating out of five, just in case you're curious.

TGIF | My 2017 Favorites

Friday, December 29, 2017

Another year has come and gone and all I have to show for it is this 2017 round up of all of my favorite things from the year. Kidding, kidding. In lieu of sharing what I've loved this week, which has essentially been my Bumble onesie and that's about it, I figured that now would be as good as ever to share my favorites from the entire year considering come Monday, it's going to be 2018.

I also decided that what better way to delve into my favorites than to do it in video form? One thing I quickly learned is that it's very difficult to talk about many products and things without making a video six trillion hours long. So, naturally, let's talk about some bonus favorites in this post, just for fun.

It Hits Me When the Lights Go On | December Playlist

Thursday, December 28, 2017

But Francesca, didn't you already share a playlist in December? That is, technically, factual information. But that was a boring old Christmas playlist and this is a boring old Songs I've Been Loving This Month playlist. We all know I can't resist sharing off some of my favorite tunes for the month. I've been jamming out to these too many times to not give them some love on my blog. They must see the light of day outside of my car and my bedroom, even if I still have not yet mastered the art of talking intelligently about music.

I've gone on another SZA kick. I was on a kick with her music back in October, I believe, and then it reignited after she was on Saturday Night Live. I find her music oddly relaxing. I just sort of want to sway to it and her album Ctrl has been fantastic background music lately. Which might sound like an insult, but honestly, sometimes I find music distracting when I don't want it to be, so it's an impressive feat to create non-distracting music.

Kelly Clarkson also has a few spots on this playlist, mostly due to the fact that she was recently on the season finale of The Voice and performed her new single "Medicine" which reminded me of her other single "Love So Soft" which even further reminded me that she has a new album out that I need to listen to. I went down the Kelly Clarkson rabbit hole, which is not a bad rabbit hole to be down.

20 Favorite Blog Posts From 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Up until the summer, I was blogging seven days a week, every single week. Even now, with five posts a week, a lot of content is posted on my blog every year and sometimes posts get lost in the mess of it all. So, to make your lives easier, I've decided to round up my absolute favorites from 2017. If you missed out on them, never fear, for you can catch up now. And if you've already read them, well, here's a chance to read them again! And also like, thanks for reading in the first place! You the real MVP.

My Favorite Instagrams of 2017 (And Some Stories Behind Them)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

One truth behind this blog post is that this is my second time writing it. I wrote what I thought was a really nice, thoughtful, informative post...that somehow got overwritten and disappeared entirely before I could salvage it. Now, I admittedly feel a little dejected and am not sure that I'm going to be able to ~ recreate the magic ~ to its fullest potential. I suppose I can try.

If I'm being honest, I've had a rollercoaster ride with Instagram this year. I went from caring about it, to forgetting about it, to over-thinking everything I wanted to post, to posting whatever, to trying to carefully curate an all-white-background-theme, to accidentally creating an autumnal theme to try to break the all-white theme, to not caring about what I posted or when I posted all together, to starting to overthink the whole thing again.

Despite my constant conflicting feelings about the way I use Instagram (still love the app, even if the algorithm does piss me off beyond belief), I still post, and I'm still proud of some of the posts I've made over the course of 2017. I think, arguably, this was both the year that I took it the most "serious" while also somewhat being the year that I've really enjoyed most of what I've posted. And if I didn't enjoy it, well, it's now in my archive for the rest of forever (great feature, Insta. Thanks).

Let's be real here though, my Instagram is a bit...vague. I mean, in general, I feel like even if my life is technically on the internet, I'm still a fairly private person. Which is fine and dandy and I do prefer to err on the side of being more ~ mysterious ~ than not being able to take a tidbit of information back after I put it out into the world. However, part of me knows that I'm almost extra elusive because, well, it's just what I know how to be from years of keeping to myself. However, today we're going to delve a little bit deeper into some of my favorite Instagram posts of the year and some stories behind them. Because let's be real, the captions probably told you nothing.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, December 22, 2017

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
My favorite moisturizer is back in my skincare collection and to say that I'm excited might be an understatement. I switched back to drugstore moisturizers to cut back on money, but the holiday season is the time of year to embrace your spendy side, right? I had a $25 off of $50 coupon for Sephora and had to pick up a gift there, so it seemed only right to tack on my moisturizer to that purchase so I could say a little bit of money. I was missing it a lot, okay?!

All jokes aside, the Belif moisturizer is one of my favorites for a few reasons. One, the scent is so fresh and subtle that I don't feel like I'm being suffocated by the scent of whatever is going around my nose and mouth. Two, the consistency is a mixture of a gel and a cream. It's not too thick where it makes my skin feel heavy and gloopy, but it moisturizes more intensely than a gel moisturizer would do for my skin. Three, it lasts longer than you would think. The tub looking deceivingly small, but it has 1.68 oz that can last you quite a bit of time if you don't slather on layer after layer. A little goes a long way with this one.

Did I Get Into the Holiday Spirit?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The less complicated answer to the question in the title of this blog would be no, I didn't. If you missed the premise for this follow-up post, basically, I told myself that I wanted to be in the Christmas spirit this year. I've been lacking any sort of holly jolly feelings for quite a few years now, but I figured that my first Christmas season fully college free would yield better results than in the past. And, much to my chagrin, it didn't.

Christmas hasn't felt the same since around the end of high school. I couldn't pinpoint the exact moment where I wasn't really into the holiday spirit. I feel like I had a moment where I didn't want to skip underneath the huge decorations at the mall to the Christmas music blaring through the speakers. I have fond memories of doing that even as a teenager, and then it just..stopped, I guess.

Holiday Makeup Look | Gold Eyes and Red Lips

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What says Christmas more than gold on your eyelids and red on your lips? Sure, you could also swap in silver, but not all of us are blessed with the skin tone that looks good with silver eyeshadow. I'm all about gold, glitter, and a bold red lip around this time of year. To be frank, I'm here for it all year round, but it feels extra appropriate for the holiday season.

This makeup look is so easy that I could do it. Truly, I'm not a makeup guru. I just have a lot of it and my winged eyeliner always tends to make my makeup look better than it actually is. That's just the straight up truth. So, if you're not too comfortable with makeup or just want to try something new, I have not only this nice handy-dandy blog post about my favorite holiday makeup look, but there's also an extra video on my channel this week. Three cheers for extra content and visuals instead of me trying to explain myself poorly with my words!!!

Yet Another Teddy Bear Coat

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I fully intended on rambling about something in this post, but my mind kept popping up blank every time I sat down to write it. I mean, after last week's Being the Face Behind the Blog post, I'm pretty chill with keeping things a little on the light side for a couple of weeks. So, I'm stepping out into the snow in a bright pink sweater and yet another teddy bear coat because it was on $25 and I have zero self-control when it comes to H&M and things that are on super sale.

The snow was here in full force, but alas, it rained last night and now there are only spotty remnants of what could have been a white Christmas. Who knows if it will snow again before next week. Well, I'm sure the local weather team would be able to give me the answer, but I'm far too lazy to (a) look up the weather on my laptop and (b) my phone is across the room and I just got comfortable at my desk chair. It's a hard knock life being a fake lazy person, which would be a person who isn't actually lazy but is in a stage of their life where their motivation is so low that even walking across the room is a struggle. 

Too serious? Too serious. Moving on!

Seven Gift Ideas for My Fellow Last Minute Shoppers

Monday, December 18, 2017

I'm a terrible Christmas shopper. I spent so many years banking on the fact that I was a broke teenager, unable to financially afford giving gifts to friends and family members. But now I'm 22 and still kind of broke, but I can't get away with the same things that I did when I was 16. It's a hard knock life out there when you're not used to Christmas shopping and if you're anything like me, it's a week to Christmas and you still aren't even halfway finished with your shopping. You're in good company. Sit down, have a hot chocolate, and let's chat about all of the easy ways you can get your shopping done last minute without wanting to roll around in the snow for hours as a punishment for your procrastination.

Your options for last minute shopping can be somewhat limited for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that typically, you can't rely on buying from online and relying on shopping unless you have a handy-dandy Amazon Prime membership. This means that shopping in-store might be your only choice, which depending on where you live, can cut out a lot of viable options. This also poses the question: what the hell should I get this person? There's less time to think of a good, thoughtful gift for the person of choice. You have to rely on the tried and true gifts, the ones that could either be universally loved or easy to pass on as a regift. Sometimes blessing someone with something that they can regift comes in clutch.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, December 15, 2017

Anastasia Chocolate Brow Powder Duo

I usually only use two of the darkest shades in my Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette when it comes to filling out my eyebrows. Even if I do have blonde hair (okay, so yes, it's dyed but it's always been dirty blonde!), my eyebrows have always been dark and seem to be getting considerably darker if that's even possible. Back when I bought my first tube of Anastasia's Tinted Brow Gel, I also picked up one of their eyebrow powder duos because I preferred (and still do) powder to pencils. For a while, I thought this shade didn't suit me and let it sit in the back of my drawer so I could continue to use my Naked Basics Palette. 

As it turns out, the color might not have been as terrible for me as I thought. The lighter shade in the duo is, unfortunately, but the darker brown is actually a really nice natural brow color that has been really great for days where I want to fill in my brows but don't want them to look as intense as usual. It's pigmented without being too pigmented like a regular eyeshadow. It's easier to build up the color naturally without any super harsh lines that can make your filled in eyebrows look unnatural.

Being the Face Behind the Blog

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Truth be told, taking these pictures outside was a struggle. If you've been a long time reader of this blog, why are you still here? Kidding, totally kidding, please don't leave. If you've survived this long, I'm assuming you're in for the long haul and can withstand my terrible humor for a bit longer. Anyways, yes, if you've been hanging around these parts for a while, you probably know that I've struggled with the fashion portion of my blog for a long time. 

I've had complications with my own personal style and defining it. Clothing phases have come and gone and quite frankly, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my wardrobe every single day. Fashion has, of course, always had a part in this blog. I've reviewed collections, spent hours upon hours trying to round up the best trends for a new season, scoured websites for the perfect pieces for some sort of specific occasion. The missing link has always seemed to be my outfits. There was always a pretty overwhelmingly large absence of myself on the blog.

Maybe This Christmas | Festive Playlist

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I don't know where I stand with Christmas music. However, in the great hellish year of 2017, there are dozens upon dozens of versions of some holiday tunes. While I love the good ole classics and cult favorites, sometimes I just want to kick back, relax, and listen to some lesser known versions of songs. Maybe it's in the inner obnoxious hipster in me that likes to surface from time to time and make me feel like a pretentious asshole. However, I still can't refuse a good pop tune here and there. I dare someone to tell me that Carly Rae Jepsen's version of "Last Christmas" isn't iconic. In fact, I dare someone to tell me that anything CRJ does isn't anything short of legendary.

A Realistic Winter Outfit

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In the middle of taking these photos on Sunday, the wind and snow started, a clear abrupt end to fall and the start of an early winter. As I'm writing this, it's snowing outside and adding to the thick layer of snow that's covering the ground. Gone are the crumpled brown leaves and tiny pockets of green grass left. Now I'm greeted with slick, icy snow and windchill that will freeze me to my bones.

Look, I'm all for dressing cute. I've been known to wear an impractical outfit or two. But the one aspect of mother nature that I don't mess with is snow. Friends on the Great Lakes, you know what I mean when I start complaining about lake effect snow. Raise your hand if you've ever been personally victimized by lake effect snow. It is unpredictable and the absolute worst. I don't play games with the winter in Buffalo. If I know it's going to snow, I'm going to make sure that I don't end up with frozen toes, ears, or hands.

A Gift Guide for Your Trendy Friends

Monday, December 11, 2017

We all have that friend that just likes trendy things. If you don't have that friend, you might be that friend. And if you are, trust me, there's nothing wrong with it. Embrace it! You just have current and very aesthetically pleasing taste and as far as I'm concerned, that's not a crime. Coming from one trendy gift lover to another, it's not a bad thing to be.

Trendy gifts can be anything: cute notebooks and agendas, succulents, something with a cute saying on it that usually involves coffee or espresso somehow, the newest beauty fad (I see you, Fenty and Glossier), overly hyped fragrances, and the book or magazines that you see in everyone's perfect flat lay photos on Instagram. Anything that you see in a store and tap your chin and wonder where you've seen that before...it was probably on someone's social media and it would probably be a good gift.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, December 8, 2017

Forever21 Teddy Bear Coat

Not to be dramatic, but my life didn't start until the day I received this coat in the mail. I've been dying for a teddy bear coat in this style for a while, but I was very particular about the color that I wanted. I didn't want a cream or a tan, I wanted a sort of caramel brown shade with a little bit of ginger in it just to spice it up (I don't cook, was that a pun?). I searched high and low and the only one I found in the color that I wanted was $60000 from J.Crew and not in my size. Just kidding, it was really only like $200 or something but in my current financial state, anything over $60 might as well be $60000. I ended up finding this jacket on Poshmark, new with tags, and I can almost assume I did a little dance when it became officially mine.

I assumed that since it was Forever21, it was going to be thin and not all that great for cold weather but still ultimately a cute jacket. Boy, was I wrong. This jacket is actually warm? And thick? And shockingly well made? I'm still really shocked by the quality of this and for sure will bundle myself up this winter in this jacket. And yes, my family does call me Fozzie Bear every time they see me wear it. The Muppets are fashion icons, what can I say?

The Calm Before the (Snow) Storm

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I've never in my life lived somewhere that it didn't snow. I've also never lived somewhere that it doesn't snow a lot. I can also read a calendar (shockingly) and know that we're creeping closer to the end of December. It's technically not winter until the end of the month, but really, it might as well be winter as soon as Thanksgiving is over.

However, the pure horror that came over my face this morning to look at the weather app on my phone to see how next week was going to be was purely comical. You guys, we have some snow in the forecast. Now, Buffalo has already gotten snow so this isn't anything new in Western New York, but it hasn't hit my city yet and honestly...I'm not quite sure that I'm ready for it yet. I'm never ready though, am I? The cold weather sucks, but my biggest concern is driving in snow. I'm bad at it, guys. I'm not the best driver in general, so adding snow into the equation is...not a fun car ride, to say the least.

Five Beauty Mistakes We've All (Probably) Made

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I had to check to make sure that my last "beauty mistakes" post didn't start the way that I'm starting this post. Luckily, I wasn't feeling particularly obnoxious that day. But after watching at least five or six hours straight of David Dobrik's videos yesterday, it's pretty safe to say that I'm feeling a little obnoxious on this cold, windy Wednesday morning. So...one, two, three, four, everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days!

Alright, don't click away. Or do, if you really feel inclined and are horrified by my Hannah Montana references at the ripe age of 22. I did a post back in October about six makeup mistakes to avoid, like not cleaning your brushes regularly or blending out your eyeshadow or bronzer. Now we're coming back for some more beauty mistakes to avoid, namely inspired by my occasional habit of breaking the unspoken rules that I know exist but sometimes, just sometimes, am too lazy to follow myself. Like those situations where you know what you're doing is wrong and not good for you but you still do it anyways, like alternating Fireball and tequila shots because you hate your liver and decided that vomiting isn't that bad.


The Aviator Jacket

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Do you ever look at the price of something that you didn't previously know the price of an kind of want to, I don't know, faint and disappear into oblivion because you cannot believe such a thing could cost that insane amount of money? That's how I felt when I found out the price of the Acne Velocite Jacket. You know, the black leather one which monochromatic black shearling lining that your favorite blogger probably owns. Of course, I'm absolutely aware of the price tag of Acne clothing, but was a few seconds away from upchucking my dinner when my eyes glanced over the $2700 price tag.

This aviator jacket looks nothing like the Acne jacket, but there are plenty of similarly styled aviator jackets that have almost the exact same look as the Acne jacket at a legitimate fraction of the price, not just a couple of bucks. However, this post is making a case for all aviator jackets, whether they have a leather or fabric exterior, black or white lining, and any other variations that can happen in the day and age of an, arguably, over-saturation of clothing brands.

Gift Giving On a Budget (And Gifts Ideas Under $25)

Monday, December 4, 2017

I don't know about you, but my spare cash is very limited at the moment. It's one of those things where I technically have money saved (not an impressive amount, no need to ponder about the pathetic amount of savings I'm harboring), all of it is delegated towards whenever I move. So, the spending money portion of my bank account is...dismal. Sad. Almost non-existent. This is, understandably, a struggle during the time of year where gift-giving is normalized and almost expected.

It's not to say that I don't like to give gifts. I love giving gifts in the form of my presence...juuuuuust kidding. I do like giving people gifts, it makes me smile and it makes them smile and there's just a whole lot of love and happiness going on that it makes it all kinds of fun. But, alas, gift giving adds up and as the years go on, the list of people to buy presents for tends to increase. Then, you become stuck in a situation where you want to buy for a lot of people but don't know where to start because gifts cost money and, if you're like me, a decent disposable income might not be present.

Fear not, for over the years, I like to think that I have somehow learned to master the art of gift giving on a budget. Truly, it is not the price of the gift, but the meaning behind it. I do honestly believe in this and it's definitely something to take into account this season, especially if you're on the struggle bus when it comes to finances. Trust me, I feel you guys. I feel you.

I Want Your Midnights | November Playlist

Sunday, December 3, 2017

What? Seven posts in one week? I wanted to post my November playlist because they're some of my favorite posts to share because music is cool but I didn't want to bump a spot in my original posts I had scheduled so...we're getting bonus posts this weekend, hope y'all don't mind. And if you do I'm sorry and you can just forget today and yesterday's post happened. Actually, don't forget yesterday's post happened because it announced my YouTube channel so...

I digress, this month has, admittedly, been a lot of the same albums on repeat. I was still listening to a lot of Niall Horan's album Flicker, mostly because it's the CD that my mom constantly keeps on in her car, so every time we went somewhere this month, that CD was the only thing she would let me play. That's right. She's obsessed. She'll admit it, right mom? And then there was Walk the Moon and Taylor Swift's new albums that also dominated a lot of my listening. However, we have quite a few other songs in the mix that I was definitely into this past month.

I Started a YouTube Channel?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

That's right, y'all. My teenage dream of becoming a YouTuber has finally come true. Eat your heart out, Zoella.

All jokes aside, really, this has been something that's been on my mind for a very, very long time. There are old videos of me on my first Macbook of me trying to film a haul and very easily giving up because it just wasn't my time to be on camera. Then, when I thought my personality had developed enough to get to that comfort level, time was not my friend and there would have been no way I'd be able to swing it. Now, it's about five or six years later and there is a video of my face and my voice on the interwebs which is wild to me.

I know I don't upload on Saturdays anymore, but I think for my first few videos, I'm going to make a separate blog post about them just so y'all know what's going on. I actually have two videos filmed, edited, and set on private on YouTube ready to upload, so what I'm hoping for is a consistent Saturday upload for new videos. Then, potentially, if time still continues to be a friend to me, I might add an extra video in here and there as an addition to a blog post.

Really, a lot of stuff if up in the air with this, but as of right now I have two more videos ready to go and waiting in the wings. I'm still working out the whole camera in my face situation, but filming and editing this week has just been a lot of fun so I'm really excited to get the ball rolling on this finally. It's not quite vlogging, but I feel like this still qualifies as tacking off that "vlog at least once" point on my 2017 to do list. What do you think?

Anyways, there's not much more to say, I think the video speaks for itself! If you are so inclined, feel free to subscribe! I'm also always looking for new video ideas. I have a list at the moment, but a list of ideas is never long enough in my book.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, December 1, 2017

This specific scent is unknown because the name is not on the bottom of the candle, but it's something that smells autumnal and also kind of burns your nose if you burn it in your bedroom with the doors closed so maybe keep that in mind if you want to burn these candles in a small, confined space. Your nose might hurt, but it also will probably be worth it so...
Glade candles

In my birthday post last week, I mentioned that candles were a luxury that I could not afford. I used to always have candles burning my senior year of high school because they smelled nice and I watched one too many Bath and Body Works hauls on YouTube (remember when those were a huge thing?). Then I moved into the dorms where I was too afraid to even have or use an illegal toaster, let alone have a candle burning. No one wants to be the jerk that accidentally sets off the fire alarm and has to evacuate your floor and the ones directly above and below you. And our fire alarms were even more sensitive than I am, so that just wasn't a risk I was willing to take. Then came my apartment and the lowest my bank account has ever been and there was just no time or finances for candles. .

I know, these aren't a Yankee candle or, god, those super bougie Diptyque candles that I want so bad just to say I have one. The Glade candles don't burn for very long if you're like me and like them burning for hours and hours. But if you need something to smell nice and fill a whole room quick, look no further. We used to use these occasionally at our apartment if we had people over or family visitors because it just gave us that extra assurance that our entire apartment didn't smell like a musty warehouse, or worse, the litterbox that we had to keep in the bathroom for Gigi (our cat, not Gigi Hadid)(that seemed like a really important clarification to make as if 1. Gigi Hadid would frequently be at our apartment enough to warrant this and 2. Would prefer to use a litterbox over any other viable bathroom option which preferably would just be the toilet but I suppose to each their own).

Bye Bye Dry Skin!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

There was a time in life where my skin was oily no matter what season it was. On one hand, it sucked because there was always a slight sheen to my skin after an hour or two, even after all of the matte foundation and setting powders in the world. On the other hand, there wasn't much to worry about when the cold weather hit because even if my skin did dry out, it wouldn't be much different anybody with normal skin during the rest of the year. 

Then, something with my skin changed and I started using dermatologist prescribed acne treatments and suddenly I had something for the first time in my life: dry skin, and on occasion, a lot of it. There are two (well, I'm sure more than two, but these are two big ones) incredibly irritating things about dry skin. First thing, it hurts. Have you ever had skin so dry that it feels like it's trying to pull away from your face and escape before it has to spend another second so dry? Waking up with your skin feeling tight sucks and is just an all-around uncomfortable experience. The second thing is that makeup just looks...gross over dry patches. This is probably TMI, but if I see a patch of dry skin on my face that's been made completely blatant with foundation and powder, I feel the urge to peel it off and then I'm left with either (a) even more skin to make it even more obvious or (b) a large spot on my face missing foundation that is impossible to cover.

Beyond just staying hydrated (also, very important, so like, don't stop drinking water during the winter?), there are quite a few things you could do to keep your skin nice and fresh and hydrated to combat that inevitable dry skin that comes with winter.

Tis the Season of (Tan) Turtlenecks

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I really just added that extra tan in there for alliteration reasons, let's be real here. It's my favorite time of year. No, not the holidays. And no, not the end of the year. It's finally socially acceptable and weather appropriate to wear turtlenecks on a daily basis without the weird looks and absolutely sweating bullets.

I've declared, I'm sure, on multiple occasions that turtlenecks are my lifeblood. I mean, they're up there with coffee. Actually, the simultaneous combination of drinking coffee whilst wearing a turtleneck...*shudders*. It's just too much to handle. I just think that they're the perfect addition to any late fall and winter wardrobe. They double as a sweater and a scarf and I'm all about efficiency over here. I'm a forgetful person when it comes to accessories (have I ever mentioned that I forget to wear jewelry on a daily basis and completely neglect the tiny collection I do have?), so I'll take anything that helps me out in that department.

Making Your Bold Lipstick Last

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Contrary to belief made popular by my admittance to being lazy across social media, there was a time where I used to get ready almost every day of the week. That meant combing through my eyebrows, actually brushing my hair, and putting on clothes that weren't pajamas. I would say clothes that I didn't wear three days in a row, but honestly, I'm an outfit repeater. I mean, that's what Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Tuesday/Thursday classes exist for. Nobody knows that you wore the same thing in a row besides you and that one kid that somehow is in all of your classes.

Anyways, I digress, back when I used to get ready, I wore a lot of lipstick. Like, a new color for each outfit that somehow perfectly matched or coordinated. It was weird. I also wore a lot of dark and bold lipstick because I thought it was fun and suited me. And other than "what the hell are you wearing on your lips" (mainly when I wore my darkest colors that could've been a black lipstick or those times that I did actually wear a black lipstick), I got asked a lot how I got my lipstick to last without smudging or bleeding or fading off in patchy sections.

Now, I'm not good at many things, but I am good at keeping my lipstick on, especially my boldest shades.

Where Do I Find My Style Inspiration?

Monday, November 27, 2017

The easy answer to that question would be my brain, duh! But that would also be a lie and the only thing I like to lie about is my natural hair color. Style is weird, right? I mean, think about what you wore ten years ago, then five years ago, and then even a year or two ago. I think style is just an extension of ourselves: our personalities, quirks, interests, lifestyle, the whole nine yards. It's a visual representation of who we are (or maybe, in some cases, who we want to be). 

I like to think that I have aspirational style. I've only just turned twenty-two and I'll be damned if I think I know who I am. Do I even know what my style is? Is it trendy? Is it unique? Is it quirky? Coming up with a word to label my style seems like I'm putting myself in a box, creating restrictions for myself and making shopping and getting dressed even tougher in the morning.

But we're not talking about personal style, per say! We're here to talk about the inspiration behind my style, the reasons behind some of my outfits, the initial spark, the list of metaphors goes on and on...

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sorry about the lack of a new post yesterday! I think instead of doing cheesy, "Happy *insert holiday here*" posts, I'd rather just have nothing at all. But we're back in business today with a nice round-up of some of my favorite things this week.

Ole Henriksen Transforming Scrub

It's that time of year again when the heavy exfoliators come out to play. I talked about my Caudalie exfoliating cleanser last week, but my skin has dramatically gotten drier than the Sahara desert, so it became increasingly clear that it was time to bring out the big guns, my Ole Henrisksen Walnut Scrub. First things first, this one smells amazing, like an autumnal dessert. What more could you ask for? Second, it does the job and it does it well and without pain. Shoutout if you ever used the St. Ives exfoliators in your teen years and felt like you were ripped open your face with those huge, grainy chunks? This one has a similar grit, but it's more soothing while still polishing off any dead skin that you might have from the dry air or maybe some kind of product for your skin that might dry it out (i.e. my acne gels).

What They Don't Tell You About Post Grad Life

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's almost been a year since I graduated college, but it's really only been about six months since I moved home. I spent the technical first five months of post-grad life (and what would have been my final semester of college) working at my same two jobs and just enjoying my first moment of time without school since I was a small child. Then, I moved home, ready to enjoy my old summer job and just finally relax and spend time with family while also prepping my resume and cover letter writing skills and all those good things that come along with graduating and wanting to move to a new city and get right into work. 

It sounds silly because really, who wouldn't want free time? I don't know what to do with insane amounts of free time. I start to go a little stir crazy. I need projects and deadlines and something to do to keep me busy for a solid chunk of the day, something to give me purpose. 

It's not that I thought the process would be easy. I know there are jobs, but there are also a lot of people looking for jobs and specific qualifications and that places like to hire internally and that sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know. I know the importance of experience and good interviews and follow-up e-mails and thank you notes and all that jazz.

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling 22

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I would say that y'all don't know this about me, but I've talked about it enough on social media this past week. I've been waiting since October 22, 2012 for this moment and honestly, I'm thriving. I don't particularly care about birthdays, but 21 was fun so I could finally order margaritas at Barrio and now 22 will be a good 365 days because I can listen to this song and fully relate. It's the little things in life. 

I did a similar post to this last year where I talked about 21 things that I've learned in 21 years. Since I'm completely uncreative, I decided to one up myself and spout out 22 things that I've learned since my birthday on that (presumably) cold November day. But first, in my honor, please listen to "22" by Taylor Swift while you read this. Look, there's a link to it right here. And also here. And once more right here, just in case you missed the first two. 

Cleaning Out Your Beauty Collection

Monday, November 20, 2017

I, Francesca, have a problem. Many problems, actually, but we won't discuss any of the boyband related issues today nor ever because that's just a whole other story. I digress. Before I put myself on a beauty buying ban–aside from repurchasing the essentials like foundation, concealer, and translucent setting powder–I had an issue with over-stuffing my makeup drawers with unnecessary junk. When I filled the drawers and had a separate bag of "out of season lipsticks" (y'all know I have a lipstick problem, right?), I moved onto skincare because I stored it in a different section and therefore had more space to fill.

In short, I buy a lot of makeup and beauty products. Or rather, I bought. But now I'm living in the post-makeup-buying-binge era and I have to deal with the consequences of my spending. Do I need five nude palettes? Not particularly. Do I have five nude palettes? 

Not anymore! Thanks to...no particular product, just my mind and decision making skills.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 17, 2017

Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator

It's that time of year again, the time of year where the temperatures drop and all ounces of hydration are sucked from our face. Then comes the dry patches, the inevitable gross skin flaking that can only occur after the season of the dry skin kicks in. Or, you could be like me and have acne treatments that dry your zits out, which is great until you're left with patches upon patches of dry skin. The Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator is a really gentle way to deal with the dry skin that just won't budge. While I will admit, there is another exfoliator that I prefer to use when my skin is insanely dry and flaky, but its second in command is this exfoliator. It's a blend of a regular cleanser and an exfoliator, but it actually has grit to it so it will scrub off the dead skin without feeling like it's doing nothing or completely ripping open your skin like some drugstore exfoliators can do.

It's not my most heavy duty exfoliator, but for everything but extreme cases, this does its job really well. It has a pleasant and almost unnoticeable smell, the tube is easy to remove the product from, and since a little goes a long way, it lasts longer than you would expect from a somewhat small tube.

Lazy Baking for Thanksgiving (And Non-Pumpkin Options)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Given the fact that I cannot cook a single thing that isn't frozen and pre-made, I'm shockingly not a terrible baker. Don't get me wrong, I still have to follow a recipe and I Google questions incessantly during the baking process to ensure that I'm not going to poison both myself and whoever I'm sharing the baked goods with. I also am kind of, sort of, most definitely a perfectionist, so my biggest fear when it comes to baking is not setting the entire house on fire in the baking process, but instead baking something that doesn't taste good. 

Because of this fear of missing the mark, I don't bake a lot. This is also coupled with a few more things, including the price of ingredients, actually having to go out and buy the ingredients that I might not have on hand, and the whole me being too lazy to deal with the whole prepping and baking and decorating process. However, there is one time of year that I will suck it up, roll up my sleeves, and get some baking done and that time of year is Thanksgiving (and like, occasionally Christmas if I have enough time and energy to go out in the cold and snow).

Detaching Feelings from Your Clothing

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Look, I know, this look is probably more Thanksgiving appropriate than yesterday's look. However, this dress is not nearly as comfortable as a pair of culottes and an oversized, fuzzy monstrosity of a sweater. Thanksgiving is all about comfort and eating one too many pumpkin flavored desserts. I'm not here to look cute, I'm here to devour more food than necessary and like, spend time with my family and stuff. That's important too. 

But that's not what today's post is about. I'm chatting all about detaching your feelings from pieces of clothing in your closet. Look, we all do it. I remember what I was wearing to my first interview at the consignment store (I no longer have anything but the pair of shoes that I wore), I remember what I wore to my college graduation, my first and second One Direction concert. I know how much things cost and how good of a deal I got on them. I remember silly things about clothing as some kind of subconscious ploy to never get rid of anything ever. 

Well, subconscious, you've been found out!

Dressing Comfortable for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful that spandex and oversized clothing exists. I'm serious. There's nothing worse than rolling up to Thanksgiving dinner wearing clothing that is remotely tight fitting. Pants without an elastic waist? No thank you. Skintight sweater? I'll pass, how am I supposed to hide my food baby?

I don't know how fancy the Thanksgiving dinners you're attending are, but you could basically wear leggings and a hoodie at my house and you'll be fine. We host somewhere around 50-55 family members in our tiny suburban home, so there's always an overabundance of dishes to accommodate. It's also approximately ten thousand degrees in my house due to the fact that it's probably over capacity by at least 25. Even if it's essentially winter by the end of November in western New York, you have to dress like it's early fall to ensure that you will not sweat bullets while the turkey is being cut.

Getting My Holiday Spirit Back

Monday, November 13, 2017

I am not a Scrooge. While that suspiciously sounds like something a Scrooge would say, I'm really not! I've just had a tough time with Christmas spirit over the course of the last four years or so. I don't remember when I lost my sense of Christmas spirit, but I think that it was sometime around when I moved away for college.

I feel like the logically makes sense. It was my first time feeling like an adult (mostly because it was the first time I was legally an adult and responsible for myself, as I turned 18 during November of my freshmen year). I was never the biggest holiday fan before then anyways, mostly because I love the fall season and prefer Thanksgiving because it's the holiday that we host at my house. But, some switch inside of me turned off during the winter of 2013 and I just wasn't jolly anymore. I dreaded Christmas: the snow, the cold, the carols, the songs, the never-ending gifts, the peppermint, everything that went along with the holiday just became dull to me. I just felt tired and completely bothered by the holiday nonsense going on around me while I was exhaused from a long fall semester while also preparing for an even longer spring semester. 

But now I want my Christmas spirit back. I want to feel the same childhood sense of excitement around the holiday season that I used to. I don't believe the holidays to be a time of extravegent gifts or anything like that, but it's always been a special time of year to be around family. I think more than ever now, having that in my life is extremely important given what's gone on the past few weeks.

So, I've enlisted the help of a couple of my friends to help guide me back to having the Christmas spirit, one step at a time.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 10, 2017

OGX Orchid Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

If I'm being completely honest, I only bought these because they were small, compact, and would pack better for my longer trips to New York instead of bringing a bunch of mini bottles. I've used OGX products in the past, but it's been a while since I've used their shampoo and conditioner duos. I also was, admittedly, drawn to this set because of the color and the smell. At the time I purchased this, I hadn't had my hair colored in about six months and didn't have another appointment scheduled, but I figured that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to be more proactive about my color fading whenever I did get it done.

This smells as divine as you would expect an orchid scented product to smell. I love the packaging of all of the OGX products. I mean, they also look really great in a shower purely for aesthetic purposes as well. This duo is meant to moisturize and replenish hair so it slows down fading of color-treated hair. I just had my hair done a few weeks ago and as I am a big fan of the color, I would like to keep it around for as long as possible. I also love that this has moisturizing products too, as my hair can get pretty dry after I bleach it. It didn't happen as much this time because I believe we didn't use the same bleach as we have in the past or something of the sort.

Cheaper by the Dozen

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I constantly struggle with the debate of private versus public aspects of my life. My audience isn't huge, but the idea that anyone could stumble upon any given blog post at any given time causes me to pose the question: Where do I draw the line?

This was something I was going to draw the line with, but I wanted to talk about it in some capacity. It seemed wrong to gloss over it, pretend it didn't happen, and try to move on. This is not a typical blog post and I genuinely hope that I don't have to make another like this for a very long time. This might just be a selfish post, one that I write just so I have the feelings written down somewhere other than bottling them inside my head and heart.

It's not a post about fashion or beauty tips. It's mostly just a stream of consciousness, a string of emotional sentiments put together in an attempt to make myself feel better. If you've lost somebody in your life, I'm sure you understand the spiral of thoughts and emotions that follow. I'm just trying to make sense of them for the first time since it's happened.

I Feel You Baby | NYC Street Diaries

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Playing around with another entry in my Street Diaries. It's amazing what you can accidentally stumble across when there are major delays on the trains and you don't have a set agenda. I've not been having good luck with my train lines lately in Manhattan and last week was no exception. We just wanted to get down to SoHo to check out the Glossier showroom and couldn't catch a break with train delays because of a train with its emergency brakes on or something along the same lines. I mean, who can hear the muffled, distorted voice as it plays through the subway cars? Certainly not me. 

My friend and I decided to walk from wherever our train was stopped through the West Village and Greenwich because we had nothing left to lose. I'm sure this would've been really annoying had we actually had someplace important to go or if we had wanted to go back to our apartments or something. All we had to do was get down to Lafayette before 8PM and we were solid. As per usual, my friend Maddie took a few snapshots for me because she's a gem. I mean, who could deny a photo op with a Baron Von Fancy wall? I think we all know my affinity for some nice urban wall art, as we discovered with a quite a few of my posts when I was still living in Cleveland.

Plastic Bags and Pizza Boxes | NYC Street Diaries

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

As much as I love a crisp, focused, and good quality photo taken on a DSLR camera, I'm also a massive fan of candid and on the spot shots. As I didn't have time to shoot anything this weekend due to a loss in the family, I'm left with picking and choosing from my camera roll. I just really really wanted to get back into the swing of blogging. I was going to take a break last week and just decided that I needed to keep doing my normal day-to-day things (though I did skip yesterday because it was actually the worst day of my entire life) to keep myself moving forward.

As a way to celebrate the times where I don't have my mom or my DSLR camera around, I'm going to start posting Street Diaries, whether it's New York City or the streets of Niagara Falls. They're a lot more casual and more candid, and quite frankly, a little more me. Sometimes you just have to get a little saucy before a Niall Horan concert, walk twenty blocks back to your hotel to wear off your adrenaline, grab a slice of pizza, and pick up some massive waters at Duane Reade. What makes a better accessory than plastic grocery bags and a box of pizza? Very few things.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 3, 2017

Nine West Glitter Sock Boots 

I have been absolutely lusting after a pair of glitter boots for a while, but I never quite found a pair that I liked enough. They were always either too stiff, hit me at the wrong spot on the ankle, or just had uncomfortable heel heights or widths. I also never thought that I would be able to pull off a sock boot because I don't particularly like the look of tight boots with skinny jeans, but since I've pretty much stopped wearing any jeans that weren't boyfriend/mom/kick-flares, I don't have to worry about that concern anymore!

So, I finally got the glitter sock boots of my dream from Nine West at the Saks Outlet because when do I ever get things when they're not from an outlet or secondhand? Anyways, they're just as glorious as they look. Peep them in this Instagram because I wore them to Niall Horan's concert on Halloween (#StillNotACostume) and maybe follow me there so you can see me continue to style them in most likely weird ways.

The Unexplainable, Incredible Experience of Live Music

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I don't remember my first concert, on account of I was most likely a baby. I grew up with my father in a band (and he still is, well over forty years later) as well as my older brother who found mild success in a local radio market. The love of live music was instilled in me at a very young age, no doubt some sort of weird hereditary trait that my dad must've somehow managed to pass down only to me and my older brother, not my younger brother.

Going to concerts as the daughter and sister of two musicians is a must. I had to be in the audience, not only because I wanted to enjoy the music, but because my presence was mandatory. Granted, this was also because I was a child who needed supervision, which meant that sometimes I got dragged around to different events. While I didn't necessarily get a say in some of my earliest concerts, I don't think that mattered much to me. No matter who was on stage, live music was still just that: the thing I loved so much up close and in person. I could hear it with my own ears and witness it being created in front of me.

Making a Case for Statement Coats

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Raise your hand if you're from someplace where you need to wear a jacket for more than half of the year. If you're raising your hand, hey girl hey. I feel your pain. Well, to me, it's not pain. I don't think that bracing the cold has to be our pain unless it's subzero with windchill and you have to clean the snow off of your car and hope to god that it doesn't take you twenty minutes like last time.

The trouble with wearing coats practically nine months out of the year is that they can, well, get boring. I wore a plain navy blue peacoat for several years of my life. There was nothing wrong with that navy blue peacoat from Delia's, besides the fact that I'm 99% sure I managed to rip a hole in the lining of both pockets. That's neither here nor there though. I learned that sometimes, one plain navy blue coat just doesn't cut it.

If you're going to spend 75% of the year bundled up in a piece of outerwear, you might as well have a little bit of fun with it. It's easier to justify having multiple coats when you need to wear one every single day of the year unless you're eager to freeze your buns off. Coats are vital for survival during the autumn and winter seasons that inevitably carry into spring. Playing around with colors, textures, and patterns is a simple way to breathe life into your outerwear collection and add a bit of spice to each ensemble with just a single piece.

Is It Warm Enough For Ya? | An October Playlist

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It genuinely took a lot in me not to (a) name this playlist after a Niall Horan lyric and (b) not include the entirety of Niall Horan's debut solo album Flicker (stream it on Spotify, y'all). I'm actually seeing him today. Well, not today as in the day that I'm writing this blog post because this is pre-written so I don't have to bring my laptop with me on my mini trip to New York City. But today, on Halloween, I will be bopping around with Niall and fellow fans, so you know, that's pretty fun.

Five Foolproof Shopping Tips

Monday, October 30, 2017

I don't know the exact tally of the number of times I've referred to myself as a shopaholic on this blog, but I'm assuming that it's pretty astronomical. It's true though! I like shopping. It's my cardio, one of my favorite things to do. It's what I do when I hang out with my friends, my mom, or even when I need a little bit of alone time. Until the sad state of my bank account comes to mind, I'm usually my happiest when I'm shopping. Since I shop arguably too much–and I'm sure many of you might also feel like this (it's okay, this is a safe space)–you start to pick up a tip or two here and there.

Shopping is a sport. If you don't have a disposable income, easy access to all of your favorite stores, or patience to return things from online orders, shopping can be also be a complete pain in the butt. Everything is expensive, dressing room mirrors are glorified funhouse mirrors and distort everything, and the urge to impulse buy everything pretty you see is out of this world.

Friday is Forever | Weekly Favorites

Friday, October 27, 2017

My new haircut and baker boy cap 

This one's a twofer. After about seven months or so of not touching my hair, not even with a pair of scissors, it was about time that I freshened up my look a bit. I'm back in the growing out stages of my hair after chopping it fairly short back in March or so. Luckily, due to my laziness since May, my hair was not super damaged by heat (or at least as much as usual), it just happened to be a really ugly shade of dirty blonde. Typically I go in and just bleach my highlights for a subtle bright blonde look. This time, we went a bit ashier with the blonde and not quite as blinding bright. It turned out to be a really beautiful autumnal honey shade, but a little bit lighter. I'm bad at describing colors but my favorite hair stylist (and the only human I trust with my hair) and I both loved it.

I also was reunited with my baker boy cap from Epoch that my cousin bought for me as a complete joke, but I continue to wear anyways. I should probably get myself a new, proper baker boy cap, but my head is so big that I fear that I won't fit into one. This one is a size XL and fits my head gloriously. Seriously, my head is that big, and I don't think it's because it's full of brains.

She's On the Loose

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Typical Francesca, naming blog posts after her favorite Niall Horan songs. Naming blog posts like this is hard. What else am I supposed to call this? Grey Turtleneck & Mom Jeans? Cashmere & Jeans So High Waisted That They More Than Cover My Bellybutton? I Tried to Crunch Every Single One of Those Leaves?

All jokes aside, I was going to talk about more important things in this blog post today. I have a few blog posts drafted that I've started, but I'm not quite ready to finish or share yet. Do you guys ever do that where there are topics you really want to talk about but then you second guess yourself about posting them on the interwebs?

Six Makeup Mistakes to Avoid

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I am not a beauty guru. Shocking, right? I've been wearing makeup for a long time, but just like any normal human being, I make mistakes from time to time. Or rather, more often than not. However, I'd like to think that over the course of the past seven or so years that I've been wearing makeup, I've learned a thing or two in regards of what to avoid when applying my makeup. I've also enlisted the help of my friend and makeup sage, Hannah (and also a Sephora employee, for a nice little bonus), for her two cents on the subject matter.

Applying makeup is a much more complicated process that most people would imagine and there are plenty of things you learn from trial and error. Whether you're a newbie to makeup or just want to make sure you're on the right track, these tips can help you in your daily morning routine and fine tune your skills.

Tips for Buying Luxury Items Secondhand

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If you're new to my blog, you might not know that I worked nearly two years at a luxury consignment store when I lived in Cleveland. I went from having a Kate Spade purse and wallet as my only two "luxury" items to being completely immersed in everything from Tory Burch and Rebecca Minkoff to Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, the list continues. Basically, I got to play around with items that I thought I would only see in the magazines or through a window outside of their flagship stores. I've always had a huge appreciation for luxury fashion, but I've never had the financial means for it.

I didn't realize how massive the resale community was until I started to work at the consignment store. I thought people resold items on eBay, but that even those sellers were probably sketchy as all hell. Little did I know, there were plenty of places beyond eBay for online reselling, and even more brick and mortar stores locally to do so. The one thing you lose with buying luxury items at a discounted price secondhand is the complete knowledge that what you're getting is absolutely authentic. The counterfeit market for luxury items has stretched beyond just handbags, dragging clothing and accessories into the mix as well. This makes both your job as a reseller and as a buyer even more difficult as both of you work hard to ensure that you're selling/buying a completely authentic item.

Time to Take a Breather

Monday, October 23, 2017

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are still, and always will be, my own.

Since the 26th of September, I've essentially been on "vacation." There's nothing wrong with a good vacation. Getting away and taking time off of work is the loveliest feeling. It just becomes weird when you have three vacations in a row and spend nearly four weeks living solely out of a suitcase. For me, that's when it starts to transform into a nomadic zone.

I'm a homebody, for sure. I like being at "home." That doesn't mean that I need to be in the childhood house that I grew up in all the way in Western New York. It just means that wherever my home base and stuff is. My dorms become home, as did my apartments. My mind gets a little confused when I technically have a place to stay that I've stayed a thousand times before, but I'm living out of just a suitcase without my own bed, my own closet, my makeup drawers, and my own sense of comfort. It's like a child without their blankie and favorite stuffed animal, except to a much higher degree.

Friday I'm In Love (With Some New Stuff)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Long time no see! Well, not really. I've still been posting, but there has been a severe lack of my weekly favorites posts around these parts. I've missed them quite dearly if I'm being honest. Am I even going to be able to fit these favorites into a whole post without it becoming a novel? Definitely not. So let's begin!

1. California

It's absolutely no surprise that I loved California. I wrote far too many posts detailing my entire trip and don't want to bore you with any more details. I couldn't have asked for better weather, food, or friends to have spent my first time in California and further west than Chicago.

2. Flicker by Niall Horan

I have no words to describe my love for this man and his debut album. I've been bopping too much to "This Town," "Slow Hands," and "Too Much To Ask" that I've been waiting very impatiently for this full album to drop. As expected from Niall, it's very folksy, has its own Eagles meets Fleetwood Mac vibes, and is just his persona wrapped up into one album. He's said in interviews if he had to sum this album up in one word, he'd say it was "personal." All I want to know is...WHO HURT YOU, NIALL?!?! If you've liked the singles he's released so far and want to feel like

To listen to: Literally the whole album. It's only ten more songs if you don't count the singles. It's 47 minutes of pure gold.
© life according to francesca. Design by FCD.