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.

Almost Adulting + You'll Grow Out of It

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Almost Adulting by Arden Rose

If you're unfamiliar with the YouTube community, you might not know of dear, dear Arden Rose. I've been watching Arden since she first started on YouTube, which was about eight or so years ago. Yikes. I feel super ridiculously old now. I digress, Arden is a lifestyle YouTuber. She does fashion, travel, beauty, advice, all sorts of videos. She's like your big sister on YouTube, which beautifully translated into her first book Almost Adulting. It's a collection of essays laced with personal anecdotes and light-hearted advice. Instead of feeling stuffy and impersonal though, it feels like you're sitting down with a cup of tea across from Arden while you two gab on about anything and everything.

Diet Prada, the Death of the Runway Walk, #MeToo, and More... | Recent Reads #3

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

1. Reese Witherspoon Gets Glamour To Clean Up Its Scribbles Reese Witherspoon is an incredible human being. She's my favorite historical figure. I read her article in Glamour on the bus ride to New York a couple of weeks ago and started crying. On the bus. Luckily, at that point, I don't think anyone was sitting next to me yet, so at least I didn't have to explain that rush of emotions to a stranger.

2. 'Just Hire Mannequins': On the Slow Death Of the Runway Walk Drop the mic, Jezebel. Drop the mic. I like to keep it pretty neutral on the blog regarding most things and celebrities, but man, there are some things I want to say but I just have to hold myself back...

3.  I've Become "Basic" With Age (But I Don't Give a F***) I'm basic as all hell and I can and will fully admit it. So what? I'm still a rockstar. I've got my rock moves. Wait, does quoting Pink count as being basic? Asking for a friend (me, I'm the friend).

What Does the Word 'Cool' Mean?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I'm going to be completely honest with y'all right now: the title of this blog post was going to be Shorty Got (Lud)low (Low Low Low Low Low Low). But since I'm not in the business of titling my posts about 2008 classics, we're going to just make note of it and then move on and pretend it didn't happen.

I just want to talk about the word "cool" today, which I know is something I throw around on this blog every two seconds to describe something. This handbag is cool, that song is cool, this person is cool...you get the idea. I've also talked a lot about thinking that I'm not cool enough to wear things. Remember that time I thought I wasn't cool enough to wear sneakers (sneakers y'all...just sneakers)? What does that even mean?

Missing Friends On a Different Coast

Monday, October 16, 2017

Am I going to get emotional? Most likely. It's in my blood and part of my brand. This is probably going to be the last of my California posts, mostly because I'm out of pictures and think I've really stretched the word count on this one. You know when you have a trip that so far exceeded your expectations that you just don't know how to handle it? That was this trip.

I didn't go into it thinking that I was going to have a crappy time. I thought it was going to be a nice six-day vacation sandwiched between two trips to New York City, but it ended up being so much more. The only appropriate way to end off a week of wedding prep and a busy day in LA was to go an hour down south and spend the day with my old roommate.

The LA Outtakes

Friday, October 13, 2017

I took a lot of pictures when I was in California. Like, more than usual. I went full blown tourist. I mean, who wouldn't?! It was my first time feeling like a tourist in a long time. I'm technically a tourist every time I go anywhere I haven't been before, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it anymore. I miss that childhood sense of the unknown and having everything be new. I would say it was weird to feel 80+ degree heat in October, but I do believe New York gave me that when I was here a couple of weeks ago...I digress.

This is a fairly stripped down post. Honestly, most of my posts lately have been extremely stripped down. It's been really nice having this travel content to fall back on. It's been really busy and finding the time to write and create my normal blog content has just been impossible. Plus, if I'm being honest, I love these stripped down posts (and I now have "Strip That Down" by Liam Payne stuck in my head for no apparent reason besides thinking of the word "strip").

I've been taking everything with my iPhone. I know, *gasp*, what about my DSLR?! I don't find traveling with a huge camera conducive to my spacial and packing issues. So, I've been relying on my good old iPhone 6 for just about everything. For the time being, while I'm not living at home with endless resources in my closet and beauty drawers and my mom to take outfit pictures for me, this is just what I'm working with.

California Food Tour

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Since I couldn't eat the complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express for every meal of the day, it's fair to say that I enjoyed my fair bit of food while I was in California. I should have probably been a little more concerned about fitting into my bridesmaid dress at the end of the week, but I had a little bit of wiggle room in there, it was fine.

I've seen so many restaurants over the course of the past few years that have popped up in LA vloggers' videos that have sounded so delicious and yet when it came down to it, I forgot them all. I nearly forgot Lemonade existed until I saw a girl carrying a cup in Manhattan Beach on the way back to the car so I could go to LAX. Lo and behold, there was a Lemonade right near my gate so my dreams of trying Alfred, Lemonade, and In-N-Out finally came true. Oops, spoiler alert, I guess? I mean, it's just food, not the plot of the next Star Wars film.

I Thought We Were In New York

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I could blame it on the glass of rosé I had at dinner the other night, but the truth is that I had a complete and absolute brain fart. My friend, her boyfriend, and I were talking and my friend mentioned that the Tone It Up girls, Karena and Katrina, did most of their videos on Manhattan Beach. I immediately furrowed my brows and, for a split second, forgot where I was. I then commented something along the lines of (perhaps this was verbatim), "I thought they were from California?" 


I dropped the beach and thought we were temporarily in New York, 2,800 miles between Manhattan Beach and New York City's borough. I think that was the final indicator that I needed to sleep and have a moment to relax.

Foxy Roxy

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Full disclosure: my mother picked up this shirt. She thought it was funny and we (read: I) was desperate for t-shirts for this trip. There was something so retro about this tee that hooked me. Or perhaps it was the under $15 price tag. It was most likely the latter, but y'all know I'm a sucker for a bargain. Forever21 is hell on earth, but sometimes it comes in clutch, like shopping ten minutes before close because you realized you didn't have t-shirts approximately six or seven hours before you had to leave for the airport to go to California.

I Had A Really Good Time Tonight

Monday, October 9, 2017

The amount of times I've referenced Pretty Woman over the course of the past five days has been astounding. I genuinely don't think I've talked about this movie more, and I have to say, Rodeo Drive and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel are for sure to blame. I knew I should've watched that movie on my plane ride to LAX instead of The Devil Wears Prada for the twentieth time. I couldn't have done without 27 Dresses though, it was far too fitting for the reasoning behind my trip.

Four Tips for Navigating a City Solo

Friday, October 6, 2017

I've been to New York City with my family since I was a small, tiny, pint-sized child. I've had uncles, cousins, and family friends living in the city for as long as I can remember, giving us a built-in tour guide every single time we came into town. I went on my first "solo" trip to the city when I was a sophomore in college. I had about a week off of in early November classes because of the way a holiday fell and my class schedule aligned. Instead of hanging around in Cleveland alone for a week without any work to do or going home when I was going to be home in a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving, and then another couple of weeks after that for our month-long winter break. I decided to take a trip to New York and stay with my cousin who was living in Queens at the time.

The trip was fairly last minute and during the week, so I didn't expect my family to drop everything to entertain me and make sure I had things to do. I was just shy of 19 and for the first time, I was in the city "by myself." Sure, I wasn't staying alone and I had people there who helped me get to and from my cousin's apartment, but at that point, I hadn't had that much freedom in a city so huge. I'd been living in Cleveland, for all intents and purposes, by myself for over a year at this point, but Cleveland and New York freaking City are much, much different.

What I Ate In New York

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I really did mean to gather up a list of places that I wanted to eat in New York, but, you know, I forget to do things. I can barely remember to reply to a text message, let alone do research about where to eat and drink and all of those fun, delicious things that you can do in big cities. So, this list of places I've eaten was a result of where I usually eat when I'm here, wandering around hungry and stopping places out of desperation, and based on recommendations from family.

I'm the worst and am admittedly a pretty picky eater. I'm sure all of these places have other very delicious foods, but if you're a fellow picky eater or don't know where to start food-wise, here are a couple of options! Hopefully I continue to eat my way through New York City without going up a pant size because I have too many pairs of jeans that I refuse to replace!!!


What: Spice 
Where:  236 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
(has multiple locations)
What to eat for appetizers: Crispy Spring Rolls, Chicken Basil Egg Rolls, Pad Thai Spring Rolls, House Soup
What to eat for entrees: Siamese Fried Rice with Chicken and Pad Thai Fried Rice

Because I'm Too... Blonde?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

There are times where I want to dress a little bit crazy. I like big, ruffled sleeves and heeled mules and putting on clothes that perhaps a majority of other people wouldn't want to wear. I was telling a friend this weekend, whilst shopping in Zara and eyeing this absolute monstrosity of a sweatshirt, that sometimes I can't tell if I like something because I think it's cool and I would wear it or if it's because I find it so ugly that I am fascinated by it and want it. The best way to describe it is that it looked like a western alpaca and I can almost guarantee that few humans would want to rock that sweatshirt. And yet, I was tempted by it.

Was it because I liked it? Or because it was so novelty that I thought it would be funny and I would stand out?

One Foot In Front of the Other | September Playlist

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The only song that matters this month is "One Foot" by Walk the Moon. They're back, baby! They're back! There's been a serious lack of Walk the Moon since 2014 after they went on a small break due to some private family issues (to my knowledge unless something else came up after that). Regardless, they just released a new song and it's amazing, which isn't surprising in the slightest. Such talented dudes. Talking Is Hard will forever remain one of my favorite albums of all time and I'm beyond stoked to hear what's to come with their music.

I did share a list earlier this month of six artists that should be on your fall playlist, so you know that Jake McCullen, featured in said post, has a comfy little spot on September's playlist. Who doesn't love the song "Dancing On My Own" (originally by Robyn, our favorite Swedish pop queen)? I'm a sucker for a cover of that song and I'm a huge fan of this one, even if sometimes l listen to it late and night and think it sounds like Kermit the Frog.

Putting Color Back In Your Wardrobe

Monday, October 2, 2017

I wear a lot of neutrals. Like, probably an overwhelming amount of neutrals. My closet is a sea of black, tan, grey, and the occasional navy blue, though that shade has been rare since I stopped shopping clearance at Hollister and Abercrombie in the late 2000s. For someone who loves wacky clothing and likes to stand out with her lipstick shades, color in clothing intimidates the crap out of me.

What is it about color that instills fear in us? I could've worn this outfit with a white shirt, no problem, wouldn't have even questioned it. But when I was picking out some new clothes at Nordstrom Rack the other week, I hesitated to get this shirt in the shade I did and wondered if I would be better off with white or black. A very common line from when I'm shopping is actually, and I quote, "I would like this better if it was black." However, I didn't let my bad habit of boring colored clothes take control of my decision with this top and lo and behold, I adore it.

It's New York Baby, Always Jacked Up

Friday, September 29, 2017

That is a Harry Styles lyric, in case you haven't heard "Kiwi" from his debut self-titled albumDon't do drugs, kids. And now that we're off to a really strange start to today's blog post...I saw Harry Styles yesterday. But more importantly, FRIENDS! (But also Harry Styles).

I feel like there has to be something weather-centric in these blog posts given how bizarre and jumpy the weather has been lately. It was beautiful yesterday. B-e-a-utiful, if I'm trying to be Steve Carey a-la Bruce Almighty. That is probably the first and last time I will ever mention that movie on my blog, but I guess *Justin Bieber voice* never say never. Where was I? Weather, right. It was beautiful yesterday, just super windy so I didn't even bother curling my hair. I just let the wind which it around and make my hair stick straight and so matted that I decided for today (Friday) that I needed fresh hair instead of second-day hair. Mer mer mer.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Y'all, not to complain, but I'm going to complain about the one thing that we all have a common annoyance towards at the moment: 80-degree temperature at the end of September. It is almost October and I was sweating bullets out of every single possible crevice of my body yesterday. I haven't sweat in these places since the last time I played softball in 90-degree heat, which is honestly equivalent to what hell probably feels like. My entire body was coated with a thick layer of sweat and  I just felt like a gross, sweaty human the entire day.

Whirlwind Month

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

GREETINGS FROM NEW YORK! I arrived last night around eight p.m. and promptly passed out the second I got to the apartment I was staying in. Just kidding. Kind of, But I was absolutely exhausted. My friend is coming today and we'll be exploring the city as much as possible until we both leave on Sunday!

I'm just so excited to be able to do things again. I mean, I was essentially a hermit this entire summer. I spent my days babysitting, stuffing envelopes, mailing letters, and going to dinner at my grandparents' house. I went to a couple of concerts and clocked that in as my socialization for the summer. It's just been so weird not talking to friends in person or going out to dinner once a week. I miss the freedom of being able to walk to get food and have options for coffee that weren't just Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or Dunkin Donuts. I think above all, I miss having my own life.

Necessities for a Long Bus Ride

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I don't fly a lot. I never really go anywhere far enough where a flight is absolutely necessary. I've never minded long road trips. I'm okay with sitting on a bus or train for over eight hours. It really doesn't bug me all that much and it's usually much cheaper than trying to book a flight from across the state. So, I'm going on a bus to New York today. I'm no stranger to the Greyhound buses, as they were my only transporation home from college my freshman year, so it's going to be a nice little #tbt when I hope on one in a few hours.

The key to long bus rides is to be fully prepared with both sustenance and entertainment. Certainly, you could totally conk out during the ride too, but since I can't sleep unless it's bedtime, I'm forced by my inability to nap to improvise and make sure there's always something for me to do.

What I'm Packing For New York City

Monday, September 25, 2017

I think my secret underlying hope for writing this blog post was that it would be my guide for packing my suitcase. I'm a notorious last minute (and also, in my mom's opinion, an atrocious) packer and never know what to bring with me, especially to New York. It sounds silly, but one does not pack their shoddiest outfits to prance around New York in. No, I must dress to impress myself. It's the one place I can finally wear all of the things that my heart desires without sticking out like a sore thumb (case in point: that one time I wore my hunter green furry atrocity of a bomber jacket and did not stop receiving strange looks all day in Cleveland).

It's Friday, Friday...

Friday, September 22, 2017

Yep, I still can't think of what I want to call these posts yet and soon I fear I will run out of Friday themed titles and all hell is going to break loose. Shoutout to Rebecca Black for today's TGIF nonsense. This week has kind of been a blur. Not because I've been busy or anything. In fact, I've been so unbusy that I'm driving myself crazy. I fear I'm becoming a hermit. Just kidding. I just think that my body is preparing me for at least two weeks of non-stop socialization. But even with a boring week, I still had time for new things, which are always fun to ramble about!

Yet Another Fall Fashion Trend Post

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I am fascinated by trends.

When I was trying to compile a list of trends for this coming fall season, I went through a lot of round-up posts for inspiration. Like a lot. And I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as trends. Just kidding, there obviously are, but how the hell are we supposed to follow forty trends? And is it really a trend if, in reality, only a tiny fraction runways featured it? Like, I saw galactic prints in one slideshow and I couldn't help but wonder how many shows really featured "galactic prints" whatever that means? What constitutes as a trend? Is it just coincidence? Are there conference meetings where everyone collectively decides that we're going to wear Pokemon backpacks this fall because they're cool? I mean, I could Google it, but that's not the answer I want. I don't want Merriam Webster's definition of a trend. I just want to know the truth.

(Also, I should let y'all know that while Pokemon backpacks aren't an official trend, nobody said they weren't a trend so...)

All jokes aside, I tried to compile my favorite trends. I mean, there are some I'm leaving out, but quite honestly, I got really overwhelmed by everything. I mean, there were feathers and ruffles and puffer coats and fishnets and trench coats and literally dozens more. So in all fairness literally anything could be a trend this fall tbh.

That being said...I'm going to be my usual self-centered self and talk about six trends that I either want to try or am just all around fascinated by.

Four Simple Accessories For Everyday Wear

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A more accurate title for this post would be Two Accessories You'll Have to Pry Out of My Cold, Dead Hands and Two Accessories That Are Somewhat New to Me. One of my many character flaws is that I have trouble accessorizing. What is too much? Is there even such a thing as too much? Can't I just wear whatever I want and just pile on the accessories and call it a day?

Y'all, I'm no fashion guru (but I sure as hell act like one, am I right? Just kidding) and there's a slim chance that you're going to catch me wearing a ten feet tall top hat just because Vogue says it's cool. I should say that Vogue has not, to my knowledge, decided that a ten-foot top hat is a necessary accessory, but who knows anymore.

Accessories, quite frankly, intimidate me. I love looking at them. I adore seeing other people style them on themselves and I cheer for them as creative individuals every time. I take accessories in smaller doses, the more obvious of doses. Perhaps one day I'll feature a ten-foot tall top hat on this blog and all will be well in the world.

Is It Summer? Is It Fall?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My cashmere top says fall, but my skirt, open toed mules, and the humidity in the air still say summer. I swear, last week it was cold enough to wear sweaters and jeans. I was getting used to the idea of autumn and that comfort has been cruelly ripped out of my hands by the final grips of summer!

Also, I fee like my shirt is an optical illusion and I'm really glad that most of the photos didn't work out because my eyes were starting to twitch while editing these and the few that didn't make the cut. #RealTalk, this shirt hurts my eyes but I really like it and probably, most likely don't wear it enough.

Ten Minute Fall Makeup Look

Monday, September 18, 2017

Putting a full face of makeup on feels like a chore some days. I love makeup as much as the next person, but sometimes I just don't feel like getting ready. Contrary to popular belief, there are some days where I don't wear winged eyeliner and red lipstick and chisel my eyebrows to a perfect point to ensure their perfect nature. Some days I just want to take ten minutes to finish my face of makeup and move on my with life. Plus, it's always fun to prove to people who think you're high maintenance that you can get ready in ten minutes, you just choose not to on occasion.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Yesterday was the first Thursday that wasn't a Things I'm Loving Thursday in...a long time. We're going to try this Friday thing out, name pending of course. Here are just some of the things that have tickled my fancy over the course of the past week, so much so that I am now the type of person to say "tickle my fancy."

Glossier Super Pure Serum

So, I've already talked about this, in great detail, but I figured it deserved another shout out and some more encouragement to keep working for me. This is a serum that helps reduce redness on your face, whether it's acne or in my case, acne scarring. A lot of the facial scarring creams from my dermatologist are considered cosmetic and therefore are (1) not covered by insurance and (2) pricier. I'm on my second bottle of this already, which is my only complaint about the product, which is not actually about the product itself, but how small the proportions are. I have a couple of period breakouts at the moment, which is pretty normal, but this combined with my oral medication made the perfect team to tackle my active breakouts and the scars left my breakouts of the past.

Latest Instagrams

© life according to francesca. Design by FCD.