Sunday, June 25, 2017

Good Reads

1. Joshua Tree - A Weekend in the Desert With Faithfull This post is just A Look™ after A Look™. I'm loving everything about this post!

2. The Perfect Summer LBD I love the lace bottom on this. It definitely spices up a simple black dress to add some extra detail and ~ pizazz ~

3. 5 Liquid Lipsticks That Won’t Smear This Summer I have tried most of these and I gotta say, I do love my Kat Von D liquid lipsticks! I also think that the Smashbox and Too Faced liquid lipsticks are worth a try!

4. Summer Road Trip With Ford Canada: Hamilton, Ontario When am I ever going to get my sh!t together and spend some time in Canada?

5. Man Repeller’s Editors Talk Media and Burnout Y'all know how much I love Man Repeller discussion posts. They're my fave!!!

6. Travel Talk: Health & Beauty Tips Bless Jessica for these tips. If I ever get the chance to travel (I'm looking at you, depleting bank account), I'm keeping this in the back of my head!

7. My Chicago Living Room Tour Um, this is literally apartment goals. I'm crying.

8. Millenial Pink Shopping Guide I'm absolutely living for this color right now.

9. The Excess of Blogging I heart Lizzy and all of her posts so much!

What have you been reading lately?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy National Pink Day!

In addition to today being National Bring Your Dog to Work Day, it's also National Pink Day. Pink is just such a beautiful, fun, and bright color. Where would we be without the color pink? It's in our blushes, our lipsticks, our rosé wines. It was the color of my walls in middle school, a heinous neon magenta that still haunts me to this day. *shudders*

In the wise words of Elle Woods, whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. NYX Glow cream blush

I've gotten very lazy with makeup as of late. I'm trying to give my skin a break after nearly two years of caking on products every day. Finally, I can go days without feeling the need to put foundation on. I'm not working retail, there's really no reason for me to get all dolled up. Even when I do have to put on foundation, it's either a light layer just to even out the redness and the dark spots or it's for a short period of time. I think I've only worn a full face of makeup twice since I moved back home, for The 1975 concert and for Kiss the Summer Hello on Sunday. You know, just incase I meet my future husbands in one of the bands. Just kidding (but you know I'm not).

Where was I? Oh yes, I've been taking it easy with makeup as of late. I haven't set my makeup in a while because I don't want to lock all of that product in. Since I'm not using a lot of powder products, I've been playing around with my cream products again. I love the cream highlighter that's in my Sleek highlighter palette and my favorite blush at the moment to pair with it is this cream blush from NYX. It looks insanely bright in the pan because, well, it is. It's a super pigmented product so you need to be careful when you apply it. I lightly dab my Real Techniques stippling brush into the product and tap it off into the lid of this product. I lightly apply it towards the outer edge of my cheeks, closer to the sides of my face instead of the apples of my cheeks. Sometimes, if I find that the pink is too dark, I'll go over it with my beauty sponge that I used for whatever foundation or concealer I was wearing for the day.

NYX has quite a few colors and while this isn' the most natural of the options, it gives my skin a really nice flush. I find that it's a really flattering color for my skin tone, which is fair with slight hints of olive. Like, if I got a tan, I would look olive skinned. But I don't tan because I don't go outside, so therefore I am as fair as fair can get. This color puts a little life back into my skin when I don't want to load on the makeup or use too many powder products!

2. Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation

I've gone back to using my tried and true foundation. For years this was the only foundation that I would buy. I'd have three shades on hand, just incase I got a tan (very rarely did I). I enjoyed trying out my high end foundations and while there are still tons I would love to try it, I'm also starting my drugstore beauty mission. Since I plan on moving to New York in the fall, I really need to start cutting down on my expenses and future expenses. There's no way in hell that I'm going to be able to keep up buying all of my necessary products from Sephora, especially since I go through things like foundations and concealers pretty quickly because I have terrible skin and an all around big face. This foundation is like, ten bucks max and it lasts me longer than most of the other foundations I've tried.

The coverage is incredible (I need about two pumps to cover my face at the moment with minimal concealing afterwards), it doesn't cake around my nose (a problem with foundations for me most of the time), and it doesn't break apart from sweat or water. I feel like the most important thing though is that it doesn't break me out. It's a really great product from the drugstore and applies nicely both with a beauty sponge and a brush. I wish it came in a larger color range, but maybe that's something Covergirl will work on. It's a really great full coverage foundation for a fraction of the price.

3. Laura Mercier Nude tinted moisturizer 

I never thought I'd be able to wear a tinted moisturizer. I mean, I still can't really. My skin has the occasional good day where I might be able to get away with just wearing this, but I can dream, right? I got this deluxe sample from Sephora a couple of weeks ago and I love using it. I hope there's a day where I can both afford to wear this financially and pull it off with the condition of my skin. I understand why everyone raves about it. It's so lightweight that it feels like nothing is on my skin. It doesn't have the heavy feel that some tinted moisturizers have, where they're almost bordering on thick. I prefer to apply this with my beauty sponge still instead of my fingertips, just to give a more natural looking finish. This is definitely light coverage, but still has stay power and actually does mask some of the redness on my face, which is a lot. It usually takes a few layers of foundation and concealer to cancel out the redness, so as far as I'm concerned, this product is doing a great job.

4. Melodrama by Lorde

My Lorde and savior, Ella...thank you for this album. I needed something to make me mega emotional now that I'm semi-numb to Harry Styles' debut album after listening to it basically on repeat for the past month. "Bet you want to rip my heart out," she sings on "Hard Feelings/Loveless" and honestly, that is me to Lorde right now. YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE ME SOB ENDLESSLY, DON'T YOU?

I love and adore Lorde. I love her interviews, her attitude, her music, her lyrics, her hair, her everything. She is so much smarter and talented than I will ever be and I can't even hate her for it or be even the slightest bit jealous. I'm happy for her. It's like she's my sister and I'll love and support anything she does. Unfortunately, she is not my sister and I just have brothers who probably love me less than I love Lorde (that's probably not true and I'm sure my mom will be mad at me when she reads this). Where was I? Oh yeah, this album is amazing.

I was reading her Rolling Stone interview last week and I found it really interesting. I don't personally know the pressure to create a follow-up record to an iconic and unique debut album. I mean, Lorde added her own twist to pop music when her first EP turned LP came out. The article touches on how she disappeared, how she was unsure of what to do after her first album absolutely dominated and changed the landscape of pop. How do you follow that up?

Melodrama is a dream of a second album. It's eleven songs, eleven perfect tracks that showcase Lorde's writing abilities to its fullest extent. It's more upbeat than the last album, more danceable, yet the words cut through you like a knife. If Lorde isn't one of the most talented artists at the moment, I don't know who is. If you're looking for a new summer album that will make you shimmy while tears fall down your face, give Melodrama a listen.

To listen to: Literally every single song. All of them. There is no bad song on the album. My favorites are "Writer in the Dark" and "The Louvre." 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reflecting On Old Blog Posts

I see these kinds of videos on YouTube all of the time. People go back and watch some of their first videos that they posted, react to them, the whole nine yards. It's probably much easier to do so when there's actual, like, footage to show, but since we're approaching the five year anniversary of this blog (before it was Life According to Francesca) I thought it would be funny to throwback to some of the posts that I made when I was only sixteen. I feel like a completely different person now at twenty-one and know just how cringe-worthy a majority of the posts (and photos) are. Since I'm a big proponent of publicly embarrassing myself, let's just dive into the self-roasting session.

My first official post that appeared after my "about me" post was a nail polish review of OPI's I Eat Mainely Lobster. I thought the post would be longer, but nope, it's actually only two short paragraphs. The photographs are the smallest I think they can be and they're not even aligned or centered. I...just what was I even thinking? I don't even want to link to the post, but I feel like I should just so you can witness how boring my writing was. What are these sentences? Like if monotone was text, it would be this blog post. I didn't even make a convincing argument as to why it was worth buying! And if I'm being completely honest, I think this blog post might have been the last time I wore this nail polish.

One of my following posts was about my travel makeup kit and dear lord, what are these photos? I distinctly remember buying the pink neon striped cropped top and being so stoked about it. I don't think I ever wore it for longer than two seconds. What the hell was I thinking? I cannot believe I even used any of these products. The only one I genuinely remember liking was the Maybelline Sexy Curves mascara and they discontinued it and my eyelashes have never been the same since. Again, we have unaligned photos and CAN YOU SEE THE GAPS BETWEEN THE PAPER I WAS USING? God, so embarrassing.

I mean, despite this next post being absolute sh!t, at least I have similar interests today as I did years ago. I dedicated an entire post to the tiny notebooks I had. I...why? I don't even see how this post was helpful in the slightest. I just took photos of the notebooks I had in my collection. I don't even say what they're good for. And in all honesty, I didn't even use those notebooks! I hated how small those moleskins were and how they didn't have lines and I never even touched that travel notebook. I think I finally threw it out in May when I moved out of my apartment. That notebook came with me for every move and never once got used.

I think my biggest problem with all of my blog posts (besides everything) was the crappy lighting and the bland writing. I started off as wanting to be a beauty blogger. I was really starting to find my footing and niche and at that time, makeup was something that I was really passionate about. This was before I started to get into fashion and reading other lifestyle blogs that incorporated advice and tips into their posts. At this point, I think I was really just watching beauty videos on YouTube in my spare time and wasn't even reading other blogs besides maybe Man Repeller from time to time. It clearly shows in the disarray that my blog ended up being.

Things started to pick up when I moved to Cleveland for college, though the writing barely improved from there. It's kind of funny to look back on this, to see what mindset I was in. You can clearly tell which posts I was into and which posts I just was not feeling at the time. The beginning stages of blogging every day was tough. I mean, it still is. I have days where I wonder if I should cut it down to only a few days a week. I think that that day will come, maybe when I move to New York, maybe after that. I can't really say. That's another blog post for another time. Let's continue with the self-roasting! It's my favorite thing to do.

I had a mini blog series that died fast (RIP to all of my failed blog series, Positivitea, Francesca's Focus, Campus Style, the list goes on and on...), my how to do something without really trying series. I'm fairly certain I stole that title from the Broadway musical so like, please don't sue me. I was young and dumb and obsessed with Nick Jonas and know that he was the main character in the musical for a short bit. I talked about being homesickness, blogging, moving out, whatever was going on at my life at the time.

That's one thing I've always appreciated about this blog. I will fully admit that it's not always a fashion or beauty blog. I mean, some days I just want to talk about myself and myself only. It's the downside of being a lowkey narcissist. For me, at least, when I read my old blog posts (which I don't do frequently because #CRINGE) I know what was going on at that time. I can gauge my mood, where I was in my headspace, what things were going through my head. I could tell I was with my self-confidence, what style phase I was going through (was anyone around long enough to remember my preppy phase? So not me), how I was feeling about what was happening in my life. I pretend to be a closed book and not open in the slightest, but when I see the titles of old blog posts, I can see how vulnerable I've let myself be over the years.

The moral of the story is that most of my old blog posts are complete crap. Even blog posts from the past year have been crap. If every blog post I wrote was solid gold, we would be living in an alternate universe. The whole point is to continue to grow, expanding my writing abilities, photography skills, even my ability to come up with fresh and new ideas (I mean, even this post isn't a new idea, I copied a YouTube trend). I think there'd be an issue if I looked at a whole slew of posts from a year ago and thought "Oh wow, those are great, better than anything I've written now!" I'd like to hope that I'm on a rollercoaster that's only going up from here, which is also a terrifying thought because heights are the worst...

I would say all jokes aside, but this last one is a joke. Kind of. I mean, this part is serious. One of the posts in my top ten most popular posts ever on the blog was meant as a joke. Unfortunately, this joke caught on and, as I said, remains in the top ten. I wrote a post about how to achieve Harry Styles' signature headscarf look from 2013/2014 and tracked the history of it. This post now haunts me forever (seriously, Google Harry Styles headscarf and see what comes up) and since we're talking about embarrassing blog posts, this has to be the most embarrassing of all time.

Anyways, hopefully after that post you'l still be here tomorrow to check up on what I've been loving this week!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

21 Going On...13?

That tiny microscopic white blob on the stage is Liam Payne. Yes, the Liam Payne. On Sunday, I went to a local concert series called Kiss the Summer Hello hosted by KISS 98.5. The age range is typically six to sixteen. This is the second time I've gone when I've been way above the age threshold, but you know what? I just don't care. Who wouldn't want to go to a reasonably priced concert to see tons of cool acts that are heavily played on the radio? Who doesn't want to dance around and sing your favorite songs to listen to in the car with your best friends (or in my case, my cousins, because I chaperoned)? Why put an age cap on it?

I've always been into characteristically teenaged things, even beyond the years of "teenagedom." I mean, I'm only 21 and have been out of my teens only for a couple of years, but I feel as though stereotypically "teen" things usually relate to 13 or 14 year olds. I haven't been that young in...a long time, but I always feel like I'm semi-up-to-date on stuff. Sure, my younger cousins say things and massive floating question marks appear above my head (usually relating to some new kind of dance move that I will never learn how to do), but I feel like I can hold my own.

I love boybands and pop music and princess movies and all that jazz. I'm not particularly ashamed to admit it as well. I mean, the members of the boybands or the artists I listen to are typically older than I am anyways, so that seems like a fair match. Shawn Mendes is the only exception to that rule and it kills me every day. I digress, I don't think that there's any sort of age limit on these things in life. If anything, teenage girls have impeccable taste in everything. I mean, who brought the Jonas Brothers and One Direction to life? Who allowed them to flourish as long as they did? Who bought the CDs and tickets and merchandise? Teenage girls. I was a part of that! And I want to be a part of that for someone else too.

This quote from Harry Styles (can I go a week without mentioning him on her? No, no I cannot) cycles through my mind from time to time because it's just so true:

"Who's to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That's not up to you to say. Music is something that's always changing. There's no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they're not serious? How can you say young girls don't get it? They're our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool.' They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick."

So perhaps I'm not a teenage fangirl anymore. I'm an adult fangirl whose interests lean towards the teen end of things. But it's for good reason! Teenagers have some good taste! Sure, they have their cringe moments, but I also feel like I'm young enough to look at a situation with a teenager that might raise eyebrows and think "Well, I was the same way not too long ago, so I can't judge." The times, they are a-changin'!

I also just noticed mid-writing this post that I am currently wearing a Nick Jonas shirt that I bought in 2009 and a pair of sweatpants I bought sometime during high school. Not only do I have the occasional mentality and interests of a teenager, I am also rocking my wardrobe from the same time. Metro Station told me I wouldn't be seventeen forever, and maybe they were right, but sometimes I sure as hell feel like I'm fifteen again and it's not always the worst feeling in the world. At least now I don't have bangs or braces and I at least have less acne than before. It's like being a teen again without all of the angst! Only some of it!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Buffalo, New York: Jerk's Soda Fountain

Do you ever have those places in the area where you grew up that you just didn't know existed?  This is one of those places for me. I admittedly always saw Buffalo as kind of an empty city. There's not a lot of areas, in my eyes at least, that are developed in terms of places to eat, shop, etc. I went down to the Main Street area with my friend a month or so ago when we went to a club down there and revisited the same area last week on a new adventure for the sake of milkshakes. 

Jerk's Soda Fountain serves two...well, technically three, things: milkshakes (and ice cream) and french fries (though those technically are from Just Fries). A very simple base for a menu, yet there are so many options that you, just for a second, almost consider getting two out of pure indecision.

It's a smaller space tucked between two other businesses, but its outdoor patio offers plenty of extra space for people to sit on their lunch break (there were definitely a lot of business people who stopped in to get their mid-afternoon sweet treat while my friend and I were there) if the inside gets too full. The brick walls were beyond aesthetically pleasing, as well as the white table tops. TBH, it was a blogger who photographs everything she eats' dream.

For fries, my friend and I split...I actually don't remember. I made her order something to get me to step out of my comfort zone of only eating things plain with no condiments. She started off easy with just plain loaded fries, which I'm pretty sure was french fries (duh), cheese, sour cream, and chives. If you're asking, yes, this is wild for me, considering all condiments and sauce are evil.

For the main attraction, I had to let my love for coffee spill over into my milkshake choice. I ordered the Coffeehouse, which is vanilla ice cream with coffee syrup and a nice hefty serving of whipped cream on top. Milkshakes are a rarity for me because dairy and I do not get along (they did have vegan options but I decided to test fate that day and see how my stomach got along okay). Despite not being able to finish it (they're huge), it was still delicious and the perfect treat for a day that was bordering 80 degrees or so.

Hopefully this kick-started the bug of exploring my own hometown area. We'll see!

Where: 523 Main St, Buffalo NY 14203
What: The only two things you can get...french fries and a good ole milkshake

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Good Reads

1. There Are Two Kinds of People in This World, Really I love lists with my whole heart. MY WHOLE HEART, Y'ALL.

2. Under Pressure I'm barely scraping my 20s and it's like...pressure...pushing down on me...pushing down on me...24/7.

3. British Summertime Lizzy's style is so simplistic, yet every look seems fresh and new. How does she do it so flawlessly every time?!

4. Exploring Ontario: South Pond Farms, Kawartha Lakes When am I going to get my stuff together and finally make a day trip up to Canada? It's not like I'm fifteen minutes from the border or anything...*rolls eyes at self*

5. Day in the Life of a Blogger & My Kit I just love Megan so much. Like, who else could pull of double denim in the same wash like she can? She's so fab and I just cherish her advice. 

6. Going with the Flow When You’re Type A Do you ever read a post and think "this is probably the post that I have related the most to in my entire five or six years of reading blogs?" Because that's how I feel about this post. 

7. Boldly Bare: My First Zimmerman Dress The dress is absolutely gorgeous, especially with Claire's coloring. Her new website also looks fan-flipping-tastic, if I do say so myself. 

8. The Kooples in Paris I think the Coolest Couple in the World™ award needs to go to Megan and George. Look how stylish those two are!

9. How to Be One of Those ‘Put-Together’ People I mean, this post starts out with the most truthful line of all: "I’m starting to believe that what perpetually put-together people have actually mastered is the art of faking it. (Ditto adulthood, ditto a life plan.)"

10. Wandering | Blush Jeans and Cage Tank I love all of the soft pastels going on in this look! So, so pretty for this time of year!

11. Little Black Jumpsuit I love and adore the trend of layering dresses and jumpsuits on top of little t-shirts. I just think it is such a cute look!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dream Closet, Vol. 30

Once again, color appears in my dream closet. Am I, Francesca Pauline, finally putting my neutral days behind me? Of course not! It's fun to dream though. I would never wear that color red, but isn't the dress gorgeous? I wish I could pull off that color, especially in that quintessential Chloe silhouette. I also don't really care for jewelry, but those clip on Saint Laurent earrings? AMAZING. I saw Tamara Kalinic wearing them in one of her recent videos and my jaw dropped. I'm not a massive fan of monograms and branding, but I love the ways that Saint Laurent has been utilizing their iconic YSL logo for things like jewelry and the literal heels on shoes, rather than just the monogram on the clasp of their handbags.

I've been scouring the internet for a pair of second hand Gucci slides. I'd prefer the classic horse bit slides with the fur lining, but these foiled Marmont slides are so cute! And I couldn't help myself. That Chloe 'Nile' bag is absolutely everywhere right now. I usually only see it in the biscotti beige color, so to see it in this gorgeous cognac leather (there's a few more colors on Net-A-Porter at the moment but this one spoke to me the most) was a treat.

Friday, June 16, 2017

What Time Is It? Summertime | A Playlist for the Season

Despite the fall being my favorite season, the summertime is where my music listening dreams come alive. There is no better way to listen to a song than with all of the windows down as you're cruising down the street. I am a strong proponent for driving with the windows down instead of the air conditions, not because I think it keeps me cooler (in fact, I often ruin my hair and music for the sake of the listening process), but because I hate feeling like the music is trapped inside of my car. So, as soon as the weather is warm enough (even sometimes when it's not), I roll those windows down and let it all loose.

To me, summer music goes one of two ways. I usually listen to a lot of pop music, whatever is on the radio at the moment, maybe a few remixes of songs. Then I listen to music with more of a rock influence. What's better than blasting a long song and drumming on your steering wheel while you hair is blowing everywhere? Nothing beats that feeling!

Knowing me, I'll be adding to this playlist all summer, but here's the starter pack to my summer playlist. It's thirty songs that will encourage you to roll your windows down, even if just a little bit.

What do you like to listen to during the summer?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara

One time I saw Tati talking about this mascara, so I had to get this mascara. There has been a noticeable void in my mascara collection this past year or so but I just am too stubborn to buy a bunch of full-sized mascaras and have them sitting around drying out in my drawer. I love the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, but I couldn't justify buying it when I have three or four full-sized mascaras already in my collection. I threw caution to the wind with this drugstore masterpiece because IT IS LITERALLY THE TOO FACED MASCARA. Like, the wand in the same (slightly less plump which means less clumping), the formula is similar. It's everything I could have ever wanted in a drugstore mascara and I cannot believe that my mascara issue has finally been solved.

2. Kate Somerville EradiKate™ Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment

Just to be up front, this mask feels weird. It has a gel/cream hybrid texture but as soon as you put it on your face it starts to foam and bubble up. It goes from cream to foam to semi-dry and it's such a weird tingling sensation that you really have to get used to. This mask is supposed to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog your pores to prevent breakouts. It dissolves away dirt and excess facial oils without irritating the skin.

I use this mask when I want my face to feel good and clean. I can feel the mask tingle and bubble and clean out your pores. After about ten minutes of the endless tickling, I can wash it off and my skin won't be red and irritated. It still feels soft and clean! I think since it is a cream/gel mask, it's much gentler on my skin than any other mud or peel-off mask, so it's a nice way to switch up my nighttime routine during the week depending on the condition of my skin.

3. Dua Lipa by Dua Lipa

DUA LIPA I'M YOUR BIGGEST FAN! If you don't know about Dua Lipa yet, you will soon. Her debut album dropped two weeks ago and it's been in heavy rotation in my daily listening sprees. I've definitely talked about her song "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" on this blog multiple times but I'm going to bring it up again because it's a BOP. Her voice is so deep and unique and I just love the way she tackles good ole pop songs. I'm a massive fan of pop music and I think she's a nice addition into the world of pop. Plus, her fashion is out of this world, which has less to do with this album and more to do with her existence.

This album is a good mix of straight up BOPS, some songs to just sway and shimmy to, and then the song "Homesick" is slow and moody and just comes for your emotions. This album couldn't have come at a better time, right as summer is starting for many. I don't know how many different ways I can say that I love it, but I do.

To listen to: "Lost In Your Light," "IDGAF," "New Rules," "Room for 2," and "Genesis."

4. ThinkThin High Protein Smoothie Mix in Strawberry Raspberry

I don't eat enough protein. I never have. I'm a massively picky eater and I just don't like most things with protein in them. I know there's no replacement for the real thing, but I figure some protein is better than no protein so I've slowly been trying to find ways to inject it into my daily life. I drink a fruit smoothie almost every single day so when my mom's co-worker told her that this is what she used, we immediately picked it up at Target so I could give it a try.

It's basically a powdered mix that has real dried fruit, protein, and chia seeds in it. You're supposed to just have to add six ounces of milk and some ice, but I actually add it straight into my normal smoothie mix. If you want to fully get rid of the slight powdery taste it has, you definitely have to add a lot of fruit and more than six ounces of liquid (I use almond milk). I also started using only half of the packets so I was still getting protein (just not the 15 grams) without either having an off taste or having a huge smoothie that I can't finish. All in all though, I liked these packets and even with the slight grainy taste, I could power through them because I knew I was getting some sort of protein alongside my fruit!

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Must-Haves for a Summer Wardrobe

Summer is nearly upon on us so you know what that means...we're gonna be sweating our booties off. It also means that we need to adjust our wardrobe a little to avoid wanting to pass out in the sweltering heat! I find it super difficult to dress during the summertime, but there's definitely a few pieces that I couldn't live without during this time of year.

1. A pair of denim shorts

They can be high-waisted, they can be distressed, they can be light, medium, or dark wash. Whatever style suits you, your body type, and your wardrobe the best will do! These are like the "nice leggings" of the summer. You have your athletic running shorts to take place of sweatpants on a hot day when you need to run out the door for errands and then you have your denim shorts that are a tiny bit more presentable but are still comfortable and take two seconds to throw on with a t-shirt or tank top and a pair of sandals.

2. White leather sneakers

My Steve Madden sneakers changed my life. Who would I be without those sneakers? When in doubt, throw on a pair of white low top sneakers and go on with your day. I wear mine with dresses, shorts, leggings, jeans, anything really. Whatever look calls for sneakers, these ones do the trick. Remember when I thought that I wasn't cool enough to wear sneakers and took two years of talking about sneakers to finally buy a pair? Times were different...

3. A slew of graphic t-shirts

Graphic tees are something that I certainly need to get more of, but the ones I have are in heavy circulation during the summertime. I just need easy shirts that can be thrown on with both athletic shorts and denim shorts, as well as my jeans and silky joggers. A simple graphic tee is a fun way to spice up and outfit without getting too complicated to make getting dressed a hassle.

4. A fun pair of sunnies

Sunglasses are a must for the summer time unless you're particularly fond of squinting and your eyes burning. Go to your favorite store, try on every pair imaginable and find your shape. There's nothing like a good pair of sunglasses to complete an outfit. Or, at the least, to keep you from walking around with your eyes closed to keep the sun out.

5. A trendy dress or skirt

For me this summer, it's got to be a dress or skirt with ruffles. It could be a bardot style dress or a cold shoulder dress, whatever your trend preference is. I have an asymmetrical cut ruffled skirt as well as a ruffle sleeved mini dress, both from Zara and in a soft "millennial" pink. It's fun seeing the pops of color in my closet and the styles are so playful that it makes wearing them a joy.

What's one of your summer must haves when it comes to your closet?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Carly Rae Jepsen, Our Canadian Pop Princess

Carly Rae Jepsen is so much more than her hit single "Call Me Maybe." I'm partial to her because we are birthday twins, despite being ten years apart. I'm also partial to her because she is one of the greatest female popstars and is still, despite her radio success, a severely underrated artist. I'm making a case for CRJ right here, right now. None of us were prepared when she hit the scene on Canadian Idol in 2007 and kick-started her career in music after that.

We all know CRJ because of "Call Me Maybe" and "Good Time" which is truly unfortunate because as much as "Call Me Maybe" is the ultimate 2000s bop, CRJ is so much more than that. Her 2015 album Emotion was slept on. The Canadian Pop Princess, Queen of Absolutely Everything (seriously, one of the greatest internet memes is calling CRJ the queen of whatever she's doing. It's hilarious and accurate) deserved better from us! She even kindly gifted us a B-side album of songs that didn't make Emotion and THOSE WERE SLEPT ON TOO.

That's why I'm here. I'm just a girl, standing in front of a–well I mean, I am technically laying down in bed because getting up doesn't seem like a fun idea–a group of people asking them to love Carly Rae Jepsen.

There's something hypnotic about CRJ's 80's influenced music. Trust me, I know it's hard to love pop music at times. I went through a four year long phase where I refused to listen to the radio. I've also learned that when it comes to pop music, it's best to stop resisting it. The songs are catchy AF for a reason. There's a formula! And CRJ follows that formula and makes it her own and I love her for every single thing she does. I mean, she blessed us with songs like "Run Away With Me" (which she is listed as the lead writer on, as she is for a good majority of her songs), "Higher," "Roses," and her newest single "Cut to the Feeling," which changed the course of my summer.

I saw an article once that described Jepsen as something along the lines of "genuinely normal" and I find that a great description in the nicest way possible. There's something so relatable about her personality, her style, the songs that she sings. They're not overly complicated, they're just some damn good pop songs right at the surface. There's no playing around, no hidden meanings, and quite frankly, no bullsh!t.

In the middle of writing this, I fell into a deep twenty minute long trance listening to her discography on shuffle and I highly recommend doing the same. There is no better way to start your morning or add some excitement to your afternoon or start a dance party in the evening. There is no wrong time to listen to Carly Rae Jepsen, just as it's not too late to fall madly in love with her music. There is still time!

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Went (Online) Shopping Again

Wow, Fran shopping? What a wild concept that never happens ever. In my defense, I had a Sephora giftcard and a debilitating shopping problem that will eventually bankrupt me like Isla Fisher's character in Confessions of a Shopaholic. I had been holding onto my giftcard until I figured out how I wanted to spend it. Did I want to get replacements of my go-to products? Did I want to try out a new foundation and pick up some small bits and bobs? Which direction did I want to go in? Should I stay or should I go? I ended up picking up some random makeup and skincare items that I thought seemed interesting. It's not the most exciting grouping of products, but they're not something I'd normally spend my money on, so I figured I'd take advantage of the almost "free" order.

I also got a pair of boots online because I have zero self-control and they were so cute that I physically couldn't help myself. I thought the Charlotte Olympia cat face flats were cute, but lo and behold, they also have a boot version and I couldn't pass up my favorite type of shoe with the same adorable embroidered cat face on it. I just couldn't! Plus, they're called Puss In Boots. PUSS IN BOOTS. HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALLSTAR. Please don't click out of this post because I sang a song from Shrek. Plzzzzz.

The first thing I got from Sephora was the Murad Complete Acne Control 30-Day Kit. My skin is acting up again and my dermatologist appointment isn't until the end of the month and I just couldn't wait to try to do something to it. Murad is a skincare brand I haven't tried since early high school, so I figured it was time to give their products another try and see if they'll do anything for my skin. It's too early to tell if there's a big difference, especially since I was just on my period and my skin will always act up around it no matter what I'm doing, but I've noticed some of my larger under-the-skin zits diminishing.

Along the lines of skincare, I also picked up the Glamglow Supermud® Clearing Treatment in the smaller size $22 because the full size would've been $69 and a majority of my giftcard. I really just wanted to try out a Glamglow mask once and for all. I've heard so many things about them on YouTube over the years and have yet to dive in and try one for myself. Again, too early to see how it's doing as I've only used it once, but I have a good feeling about it! It's supposed to treat acne, redness, scarring, and in-grown hairs, brighten and soften the skin.

In a rare purchase from me, I finally bought Prada Candy perfume. Well, the rollerball at least. I'd honestly rather have rollerballs than full-sized perfumes. I love being able to travel day-to-day with the scent that I'm wearing, so I figured while I had a gift card, I'd snag this rollerball because I normally wouldn't spend my own money on it. It smells good. I can't describe scents, that's about the extent of my scent describing abilities, but Sephora says that it has notes of caramel, musk, vanilla, and benzoin, if those scents mean anything to you. I've been huffing this in magazine samples for well over a year, so it's about time I owned it, even in it's tiniest version.

I don't need more lipstick, but I bought a new lipstick. It's a nude, which I really actually don't have any of. I might have three or four others, but that's about it. In the grand scheme of my collection, that's not a lot, and none of them are matte liquid lipsticks so...I'm making excuses, aren't I? Anyways, I picked up the Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipstick in Child Star, a matte soft nude according to the website. It's a brown meets mauve nude, more leaning towards a gray-ish brown. I haven't tried it out yet and am not sure how it'll compare to Lady Balls (the red lipstick I couldn't get enough of during the winter from Too Faced), but we'll see!

I also picked up a few samples and redeemed some of my points, so might as well talk about some of the minis I picked up. I got the Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo in Peacemaker, a my lips but better color with a little bit of an apricot tinge. I got deluxe samples of of the Clinique High Impact Mascara, Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin™ Cream, and the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude.

That concludes my mini haul and hopefully my last haul for a while because I'm supposed to be saving money this summer!!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Good Reads

1. Liberty Floral in Paris A pretty dress to complement the pretty scenery!

2. Giving Gingham a Go This dress is the perfect mesh of the ruffle and gingham trend and I am in love.

3. Things I'm Cutting From My Budget I really should do the same with everything. I can't think of anything besides putting gas in my car that needs to be purchased right now.

4. How I'm Becoming My Best Self First things first, totally love the lesson this blog post is talking about. Second thing, that blazer Chriselle is wearing is the bomb dot com.

5. Shot From...The Middle of Nowhere Love, love, love the combination of these baggy straight-legged jeans with a more modern bodysuit. It's a simple look, but still A Look™.

6. Why Your Blog Is More Important Than Ever (Part II) I just want to read this one thousand times over.

7. Leather with a Twist I love the leather on leather in this outfit. Plus, the car patch and fringe on the back of the jacket? So sick!

8. Four Year Anniversary Living In New York City I cannot wait until my own four year anniversary of living in New York some day...

9. Lisbon Lookbook | What to Wear on a City Break Megan's style is so on point all of the time.

10. Wonder Woman: Worth the Price of Admission I don't watch a lot of movies, let alone go to the movie theaters, but I was not about to let this movie slip through the cracks and become yet another movie I accidentally don't see. I saw it on Friday night and TBH, it kicked a$$ and I am in love.

11. Chanel Little Black – Killing that Cost Per Wear I love everything about Claire's style and this Chanel blazer is no exception!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cleaning Out Your Wardrobe

There was a time in my life where I hoarded clothes. When I first moved away to college, I hadn't gotten rid of anything from high school. I didn't even take the time to go through my wardrobe to see what I was holding onto, despite not wearing half of what was in my closet. I slowly started to pick up clothing that reflected my ever changing styles. I went from being somewhat preppy at the end of high school and beginning of college (think all J. Crew everything) to being overly girly (think lots of dresses and skirts in various florals), to whatever I am now. Through all of that, I never really got rid of any of the pieces that I didn't wear. They merely sat in my closet while I filled it with new items.

Over the course of the past year, I finally learned how to manage my wardrobe and get rid of things that just weren't getting love. I used to live by the rule that if I haven't worn it in a year, it needed to go. I've gotten even tougher with it now, telling myself that if I haven't worn it that season, it needed to go somewhere. I don't think there's any excuse to not wear something during a season, especially if you live in a more mild climate where some of the seasons seem longer than the typical three month period. There are plenty of things you can do with your old clothes, especially if some of them are new or gently worn.

1. Consign

If you have higher end clothes, I'd highly recommend consigning them if they're gently worn. You can look up luxury or high end consignment stores in your area or use online services like The Real Real. True consignment stores are typically 50/50 splits on your items and you get paid when they sell, but the online resellers might have different splits. If you take your items to a secondhand store (Clothes Mentor, for example), you'll only get about 30% of what your items will sell for, but you receive cash on the spot. You'll make more money for a bit of patience, but if you don't generally care and you just want to get rid of items, then selling for cash outright might be the best option for you.

2. Poshmark, Tradesy, etc.

I have this under a separate section that consignment because while you're using a secondhand seller, you're responsible for setting a price, taking the photos, and managing potential buyers and shipping. I've sold a few of my pieces on Poshmark, but sometimes it's a pain waiting for buyers. I'm one of those impatient types where I would just rather have them sell and get them out of my life instead of holding onto them. If you have a few higher ticket items that don't take up a lot of space, maybe test those ones out online, but if it's just a J. Crew t-shirt or something, you're better of just selling through one of the consignment/second hand stores.

3. Refurbish

Another option is to turn your clothes into something else, if you're crafty. I personally am not, but my aunt who I give a lot of my hand-me-downs to can transform a romper into a pair of shorts and then take the top and use it as part of a dress. If you're a little more creative and fashion design savvy, there are tons of Pinterest DIY ideas that my aunt uses in addition to her all around creative mind.

4. Hand-me-downs

I don't have younger sisters to give my clothes too and I'm a bigger size than my younger cousins so all of my hand me down clothes go to my aunts. It's really cute, actually. I love seeing people get use out of the clothes that I never could or just didn't fit my style anymore. I gave some pieces to my roommates and friends over the past couple of years. If I see something that I don't wear that I know will suit someone's style, I don't see any reason in keeping it or taking the time to sell it!

5. Donate

There's always, always, always the option to donate clothing. You can donate to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, local donation centers, wherever you find suits what you have. Obviously, if something is dirty or has rips of holes, instead of throwing them out, you can also donate to Planet Aid if your area has a location. Clothes are either donated or recycled, both of which are good for the environment and humanity. Anything that I have left after selling and giving away to friends and family always ends up in a donation bin and has for many, many years.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Little Things About Summer

I'm going to admit this right here and right now: summer is my least favorite season. With that aside, summer is approaching because that's how the world works. Sometimes we have to live through our least favorite seasons (summer) to get to our favorite (fall). If there's one thing I know about summer it's that everything is hot. It's approximately a million degrees with no wind and 600% humidity and it's just all around uncomfortable.

I can see the appeal behind summer, though. You generally have time off or at least more time off than usual. Sunshine is a mood booster. Most people like to hang around by pools and beaches if they aren't completely opposed to water or laying out in the heat. Summer, in theory, is a great time of year. I get it, but there are just a few little things about summer that happen time and time again.

1. Sweating in places you never thought you could sweat. I played sports and I thought I knew what it felt like to sweat. But once you bring summer weather into the mix, sweat begins to come out of the waterworks. I'm fairly certain that on the hottest of summer days, sweat poured out of every possible area of my skin. It was like Niagara Falls temporarily teleported underneath my skin and just kept on flowing with sweat on sweat on sweat.

2. DIYing your own denim shorts because they only sell denim diapers in stores. I don't care about the length of shorts and skirts on people in public. Y'all can wear what you want, more power to you. But dear lord, there is no worse feeling than your shorts riding up your butt during the summer time and it appears that the only options that most stores have in the lines of bottoms for the summer are diapers made of denim that are supposed to pass off as shorts. I've yet to find a pair of denim shorts that aren't either glorified distressed and trendy diapers or the right length but just...not...cute...

3. Saying you'll get a tan when in reality you spend all of your summer inside working retail. Raise your hand if this is what you're working with. I don't think that will be the case this summer, but I spent the two summers before this working inside of a store while everyone talked about how nice it was outside. My response half of the time in my head sounded something like, "Oh, is it really a beautiful day? I wouldn't know, I've been slaving away in here for the past seven hours but THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW IT'S BEAUTIFUL OUT, SUSAN."

4. Wanting to go on vacation but realizing vacation costs money. Everything costs money and it hurts. Trying to plan summer vacations or road trips with friends is all fun and games until you realize that it costs money to do literally everything. Gas costs money, flights cost money, hotels costs money, food, clothes, drinks...NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE.

5. Telling yourself that it will be a productive summer, finally, after years and years of trying. The most impressive thing I've done this "summer" (since it's not technically the season, but my summer started May 15th, so I'm working with it) was organize my closet. I've barely changed out of my sweatpants and leggings this summer. I've been too lazy to do my face makeup and leave the house. I don't even feel like driving places to go through the drive-through half of the time and that barely involves any socialization or leaving the car. But I guess that's what summer is for, right? I'm going to blame it on the heat.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. "Perfect Places" by Lorde

I will love everything Lorde does with every fiber of my being. I find her a fascinating human bean being and every time she releases a new song from her upcoming album Melodrama, I gain a year of life. I love that her new sound is similar yet unlike anything that was on Pure Heroine. The songs are a bit bigger, even the more stripped down second release "Liability." It's less deconstructed, less deep and broody (in sound, at least). Jack Antonoffs influence is noted, but not overwhelming ("Out of the Woods" by Taylor Swift anyone?) (I should add that that is one of my favorite songs on the album but swap out Taylor's voice for Jack's and it could've been on a Bleachers LP).

Anyways, "Perfect Places" is a step down on the hype scale from "Green Light," but it's still a jam and I'm currently bopping to it in bed while I write this post. I'm really excited to see where else Lorde takes her sophomore album.

2. Free People Abbey Road Sunglasses

This is a funny story. I feel like any story that starts out with "this is a funny story" is not actually a funny story. This is not really so much funny as it's just a moment in which you'd want to face palm. I got this exact pair of sunglasses my sophomore year of college. I ordered them online and had them delivered to my dorm in late 2014. I wore them for a month or so and then subsequently lost them. Like, they completely disappeared. I looked everywhere for them. Since I liked the glasses so much, I bought them in a different color that suited my skin tone more and went on with my life. Then that pair broke and I was without these sunglasses forever and ever.

I never got a third pair because I figured WHAT'S THE POINT, THEY'LL LEAVE ME ANYWAYS. I also had other sunglasses by this point, so it was, like, whatever. But then I went to move back into my room at home last month and I walk into my childhood bedroom and there is a pair of sunglasses sitting on my desk. Not just any pair of sunglasses, the pair of sunglasses that I thought got sucked into a black hole void, never to return to earth again, let alone in my possession. Turns out that they were just underneath my bed the entire time, waiting for me to find them so we could be reunited once again. It was very dramatic. Nicholas Sparks kind of sh!t.

Anyways, these are cool sunglasses. They're not the best color for me and the shape is quite a bit oversized, but that's what I need because I have a big face and an even bigger nose. Gotta find glasses that cater to that!

3. Not having to leave the house or change out of my pajamas

This is one of things that I both love and hate. I'm Type-A AF and like, sitting around all day actually drives me crazy. On the other hand, not having to change out of your pajamas and put makeup on is a great feeling. I'm very torn with my current work situation. I'm doing some work from home at the moment, so I really don't have to go outside if I don't want to. I've typically been choosing the stay inside route because, well, sometimes I'm just a little bit lazy. The suburbs make me lazy. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

I think I'm just not used to literally not doing anything. Even when I had days off at the apartment, I would at least have my roommates to hangout with. Here, I just have my dogs, and they get sick of my voice after about ten minutes of me trying to talk to them. So, yeah, being able to be in my pajamas for long periods of time is kind of nice and refreshing even if this will hopefully change in a couple of weeks so I can finally get that summer tan that I've been dreaming of since 2015. Also so I can finally match the wrong foundation shade that I accidentally bought thinking that it would be alright when it is most definitely not alright.

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Read my thoughts on  To All The Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You, the first two books in the trilogy by Jenny Han.

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It's the end of a trilogy, I'm afraid. I've had so much fun reading the To All the Boys I've Loved before series over the course of the past couple of years. I picked up the first book on a whim partially because the cover was pretty and because I had seen a lot about Jenny Han on Tumblr through pretty mood boards and photosets to relate to her books. After accidentally spoiling both the ending of the first book and the second book in a rogue Google search, I was very excited to have the third book to myself, untouched by internet spoilers and my own curiosity.

I had completely forgotten that the third book was coming out this spring. I finished the second book at the end of August in 2015 and remember thinking that spring 2017 felt like it was so long away. Then May 2017 came and I was walking through Barnes and Noble with my roommate before our pedicure appointment the week before we moved out and I saw the book and realized how fast time truly does pass. 

I was re-reading my review from the previous book and I'm very surprised that I didn't like the ending. I didn't even remember that I didn't like the ending  because as soon as I dove into the first chapter of Always and Forever, Lara Jean, I felt like I was embraced in a warm hug from each of the characters. If you haven't read the first two books, perhaps skip over this review, because it will probably include spoilers because my reviews are less about the writing and more just one massive spoiler because I don't know how to vaguely and mysteriously describe story events.

This book takes place during Lara Jean's (and Peter's) senior year of high school, their one last hurrah before they're both set to attend University of Virginia (UVA)–Peter on an athletic scholarship, Lara Jean in regular admissions–in the fall. Our favorite couple plans their futures around attending the same school only fifteen minutes home. Lara Jean has second choices, sure, all hours away from home where her younger sister Kitty–now eleven and spunkier than ever–and her dad still live. But Kitty and her dad have their next door neighbor Ms. Rothschild to keep them company, even to fill a void in the family since their mother passed away.

The whole premise of the book is about choices and what you're supposed to do when your head and your heart say different things. I'd like to think that based on the outcome of the book, sometimes choices don't have to be made. Sometimes the head and the heart can both get what they want. Or even if both don't win, one side will adapt.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean was not lacking any of Kitty's incredible one liners. Lara Jean's stress-induced quest to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie was both hilarious and slightly worrying (I see quite a bit of myself in Lara Jean, though I typically have less food-related stress tendencies). Peter Kavinsky was handsome and adorable as ever, even in the dreary moments where he and Lara Jean were not on speaking terms. He has a little lick of jealousy in him and isn't the best at talking about his feelings, but I think Lara Jean really drew the best parts of himself out of him and even if in the alternate universe after this book ends they don't end up together, I think Peter will still be a better person because of their relationship.

I just love this little tiny world that Jenny Han created. I love the characters she wrote, with all of their quirks and idiosyncrasies. I love that she created an incredibly close and realistic family dynamic with the Song girls and their father raising them as a single parent. I love how she created a world in which embracing your heritage (in the case of the Song girls, Korean) is made important, because, well, it is. This trilogy was a pleasure to read and I'm so sad that it's over, but I feel so much lighter because of the ending.

Does that even make any sense? I was so content with the entire series that it felt like I was floating while I was reading it. Okay, I mean, I think I dropped to the floor during the dramatic moments AKA any time that Lara Jean would fight with her sisters or with Peter or that whole love-triangleish situation from the last book and also the "HOLY CRAP, ARE LARA JEAN AND PETER FO'REALZ GOING TO BREAK UP RIGHT NOW I CANNOT HANDLE THIS!!!!!!!" 

I digress. This book was about high-schoolers having wedges thrown in their plans and having to work around them. It was about making choices for yourself and your future, even if it might affect other aspects of your life. It's about trying new things and going new places. Lara Jean is torn about where to go to college, but that doesn't mean this can't apply to someone who's torn about what to do after college. This book has been my favorite in the series because I have never felt closer to Lara Jena than I did when I finished this book last week.

If you need a good summer series to read, I highly recommend checking out this series by Jenny Han! You will not be disappointed. Plus, when you're finished reading, the books made wonderfully aesthetically pleasing room decor!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

And This Is How It Starts...

I don't like being that person, but I'm going to be that person because it provides some sort of timeline for this post and since my life never functions on timelines because I'm a forgetful person, I figure that for this one time and one time only I should embrace my memory. How's that for a run-on sentence?

I heard the song "The City" by The 1975 soon after it came out in late 2012. It was the original version and I was very confused because I couldn't understand a single damn thing that Matty Healy was singing. Was he even saying the words "then you know where the city is?" Regardless of my general confusion of his pronunciation that has lasted to this day, I was into their music from the start. I remember anxiously waiting for their debut eponymous album to debut (I think I even did a horrendously written review of it on that music blog that I tried to start that one time until I finally accepted that I was physically incapable of writing about music).

All of this can just be summed up into this: I've been into The 1975 for a while and I haven't had a chance to see them at all. Their tour dates just haven't aligned with my schedule or current location, so I've always had to live through everyone else's photos and snaps of the concert that I've been dying to go to for years. My opportunity finally came and there was no way in hell I was going to pass up the chance to see one of my favorite bands live in concert. Not on my watch!

They did two nights at The Rapids Theatre on May 30th and 31st in downtown Niagara Falls, which is even more convenient for me than any Buffalo club. The venue itself deserves a shoutout because there is not a bad place to be in that club. The bar is spacious, there's elevated areas on the left side and a balcony up top like a proper theater. It originally opened in 1921 under a different name, but it has been functioning under its current name since 2009. Pretty sweet, huh? The sound in there was absolutely fantastic and I would see a dozen more concerts there if the right bands were coming.

I have to give some shoutouts to the two opening bands, Colouring and Pale Waves. I unknowingly had been listening to them for the past few weeks because they'd been all over my Spotify Discovery playlists. I meant to look both of them up before the day of the show, but with moving and what not, it slipped my mind. So bless you, Spotify, for keeping me in the know without me knowing it. You're the real MVP. Highly recommend listening to both of these groups because they're both incredible in the studio, live, and have really cool stage presence. I was hardcore bopping to Pale Waves, especially during "There's a Honey" AKA their only song on Spotify currently.

When it came down to The 1975's performance, I didn't know what to expect. For years I've been watching live videos online and concerts through my friend's lenses at their own shows. Was I going to be able to rock out? Was I going to sway and stay stagnant? Was Matty going to go on pretentious rants in the middle of the show? Was I going to be the odd one out? All valid fears in my eyes, but lo and behold, it was like a normal show. That's not to make it seem any less special, but to just make it feel like something not to be worried about. That usually happens to me before a show. I get all nervous and worried for absolutely no reason. It's just a concert! As special and wonderful as concerts are, they're just concerts.

They played a good mix of songs from both albums, though there were some crowd favorites missing AHEM AHEM WHERE WAS "ROBBERS," HUH!?!?! I digress, the setlist was a good combination of their fun tracks and some of their more experimental and instrumental tracks that left the band taking us through a musical journey.

I don't have My Song with every single band. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It really depends on the band, how I discovered the group, and how deeply I delve into their music. My Song is just one of those songs that for some reason makes me feel some feels, whether they're good or bad. It's the song that I know all the words too, all of the note changes, everything I could possibly need to know about the song. The song that I belt the words out to in my car for absolutely no reason at any given time. My Song might not even be my favorite song by the band, it's just the one song that I feel weirdly attached to for whatever reason.

 For One Direction, "Story of my Life" is My Song (odd choice, I know), for Augustana, it's "Twenty Years," and Andrew McMahon, it will always be "Konstantine." Sometimes bands play My Song live, sometimes they don't. Sometimes I don't even realize that I have a song by them. It become crystal clear that My Song by The 1975 is "Sex" because when I heard the first guitar chords, I think I honest to blog lost my sh!t. I was not physically prepared for the three minute journey that hearing that song live took me through.

It was easily one of the most fun concerts I've been to in a while, though I have an inkling part of that is because me and one of the friends that I went with always have the best time at concerts. I mean, we figured out how to dance like crazy people at an Arctic Monkeys concert. We can have fun anywhere, so much fun that sometimes the bands like to point and laugh at us on stage (I see you, Allstar Weekend and Action Item). If you have a chance to see The 1975 live, do it. It's a show that's all about the music, which is really refreshing.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lockport, New York: New York Beer Project

Admittedly, I had absolutely zero idea that New York Beer Project existed. I mean, granted I haven't lived long-term at home since 2013 and just turned 21 a little over six months ago, so it's okay that I didn't know NYBP existed, I guess. My family and I went over the weekend to celebrate my cousin's birthday and I was really shocked that a place this cool existed in Western New York. It reminded me a bit of the Wild Eagle Saloon in Downtown Cleveland, what with its focus on beer and the games spread around the second floor. More on that in a bit!

NYBP is a gastropub (which I'm assuming does not have anything to do with your gastrointestinal system, but I could be wrong), taproom, and brewery. Okay, a quick Google search informed me a little bit more on what a gastropub is. I still have a fun of inflatable question marks over my head, but apparently it's a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food. Very bougie.

The entire place has a New York City theme, from the subway line letters and number used throughout, signs for Grand Central Station, framed photos of NYC, and plenty more to give off vibes of the big city across the state. When you walk in the main doors in the front, there's a seating area where you can dine, as well as a massive bar in the center of the room. If you continue past the bar, it leads into yet another bar and the area where bands can perform. I believe that's the brewery section of NYBP, but I could be wrong. Regardless, you walk through this area to get to the stairs that lead to the second floor. Up there is more seating that overlooks both the bar and the brewery area. There's a massive Jenga game, Connect Four, corn hole, and some other contraption that I still could not figure out by the end of the night.

This would be such a cool place to go with a group of friends on the weekend in lieu of going out clubbing in downtown Buffalo. It had a really chill vibe!

Where: 6933 Transit Road, Lockport, NY 14094 
What: Unique beers and craft food