Friday, March 31, 2017

That Green Light, I Want It | A March Playlist

Another month, another hodgepodge of songs that I've been listening to throughout the month. It's clear that I pretty much don't know what the heck I'm doing when it comes to music throughout the month. One second I'll be listening to old school Fall Out Boy, the next I'll be jamming to songs from the Moana soundtrack (which I've yet to see, I just like the music a lot, okay?). It's pretty wild to think that this is the last playlist that will feature no music from Harry Styles. Can we just talk about his impending single coming out next Friday? And an album soon after? An SNL appearance? Are any of us ready? If you don't like Harry Styles, proceed on to the next paragraph and pretend this never happened.

A month is never complete without me mentioning the Little Mix songs that I listen to off of Spotify. I've been, naturally, jamming endlessly to "Touch" this month, both the acoustic and normal version and "Oops" will always be a favorite of mine. I've also listened to "Perm" by Bruno Mars one too many times, if that's even possible. And let's not forget about The Voice performance of "I Drove All Night" that I raved about last week. Ugh. I just love music so much. I've also gotten weirdly into Paul Simon and George Michael this month, so you know, if you're ever feeling some #tbt music, give their discographies a listen.

What have you been listening to this month?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. "In The Night" by Brandon Royal and Davina Leone 

As you know from last week's Things I'm Loving post, you'd know that I'm absolutely obsessed with The Voice again. I thought that the battle round featuring "I Drove All Night" was one of the best battle rounds I've seen on the show and then this week happened and I was quickly corrected. Not only were the vocals on point, but Brandon and Davina totally got into the performance and it was electric, I tell you. Electric! Spoiler alert, but I'm so excited that both of these singers are still on the show...for now.

2. Kate Spade cardholder

I don't know if I've talked about this little leather good before. It's so small and seemingly insignificant that I might have forgotten, but fear not, this little cardholder is an absolute lifesaver. If you're in college and don't have one of these, what are you doing? Honestly, if you have a debit card and an driver's license/ID and don't have one of these, you're doing it wrong. I got my little cardholder at the Kate Spade outlet for about fifteen bucks and it's changed my life. I keep my credit card, debit card and license in it at all times and either I take it by itself when I go out (I'll normally take my credit card out in this circumstance because I won't charge meals or drinks on a credit card). If I need my full wallet, I just toss it into my Kate Spade zip around wallet that I've had since senior year of high school and it fits perfectly. It's so portable and it lets me carry around my smaller purses without being without my three essential cards.

3. Glossier Generation G Lipsticks

I have a whole review post from over the summer on these lipsticks and I'm so happy that they're back in rotation! I think the formula of these lipsticks are so fun and perfect for this time of year. Normally I stray from anything sheer, but these are such a low maintenance lipstick that make it so easy to keep with me on the go. They're small, they wear really evenly and even when they wipe off, there's a beautiful faint stain left in their place. I have the shades Crush and Jam and I'm most certainly not opposed to trying out their new colors. If you're looking for a more sheer wash of color and natural, easy looking lipstick, I'd recommend placing an order from Glossier!

4. Bath and Body Works At the Beach perfume spray 

On Sunday I was at the mall with my friend and try as we might, we couldn't avoid the new scents at Bath and Body Works. Literally, the entire front section of the store smelled like the ocean and tanning oil and sunscreen and I was in heaven. I hate the beach with a burning passion, but I love the smell of the beach and summer and all things oceanic. They had a whole collection, from scrubs to lotions to regular body mists, but I decided to pick up the mini perfume spray in this scent. I will admit, it doesn't last very long, but I am more than happy to reapply this perfume throughout the day because it smells that good. I even like to spritz a bit in the ends of my hair so I just smell like a beach goddess despite hating the feeling of even a grain of sand touching my body.

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Guilty Pleasures

Everyone has that one thing (or, you know, more than one thing) that they know they shouldn't like, but they do anyways. Even if you live your interests out shamelessly, there's still one of two things that you might not boast about on a daily occurrence and broadcast to the entire universe. Or maybe you would. Regardless, a guilty pleasure is not just a great song from ¡Viva la Cobra !, Cobra Starship's 2007 album.

I don't include things like boybands in my guilty pleasures list. Everyone and their grandmother knows that I would drop everything for a member of One Direction and would give up almost anything for tickets to a Jonas Brothers reunion concert if there ever was one. I'm pretty shameless in my love for Disney, including princesses, DCOMs and current TV shows that I am probably too old to be indulging in.

Picture this: it's midnight, everyone in my apartment is asleep. I can't sleep, for whatever reason. I'm probably thinking about Harry Styles or the impending mess my life is about to become, inevitably, when I have to pretend to be an adult or whatever people do after college. I treated myself at Trader Joe's that week, meaning there is no doubt a package of cookie butter cheesecake bites sitting unopened (or more accurately, open and partially devoured because I have zero self control). I know I should brush my teeth and just go to sleep or start chugging some water or something to diminish the urge to eat a cheesecake bite at midnight. I stare at my door handle, look at my computer, stare at my door handle, look back at my computer. Eventually, the pull is too strong and I tip-toe to the kitchen in the dark. I hide my face as I pass my roommates' doors even though I know they can't see me. I stand with the freezer door open, contemplating my life as I dig out the package from the back of the freezer and pull one piece out. The another. then another. Then potentially another. It comes to the point where I'm not sure how many pieces I've shamefully eaten in the dark while standing in front of the freezer. That's my kind of guilty pleasure.

Is my lipstick collection considered a guilty pleasure? I normally don't talk about the amount of lipstick that I own on a day to day basis. People know, of course, that I love lipstick. Do they know that my lipstick collection takes up an entire drawer and needs to be split into spring/summer and autumn/winter lipsticks in order for them all to fit? Do they know that my collection ends up being somewhere around the mid-eighties range? I'm afraid to even admit the cost of all of them, though I did tally it up and let me tell's not pretty. It was probably the first time I've ever properly used an Excel sheet since my biology lab days. I went straight up professional to try to prove to myself that my collection wasn't that expensive and teared up when I realized how much I've spent on lipstick over the year. At least I wear them all, right? Right?!

I feel like a lot of my guilty pleasures relate to food. As you may know, I stopped drinking coffee at night in fall of 2015 after a few lectures from my roommates on why that extra caffeine wasn't helping me at all. But damn, there are just some nights where tea doesn't cut it and you just are jonsing for a cup! This involves some more sneaking around, pretending that I'm using the Keurig for my tea rather than the kettle on the stove. Smiling and denouncing the coffee smell that is clearly radiating from the kitchen and from my cup. I've most certainly used the line "it's just tea that smells like coffee" before shuffling off to my room and locking myself in so nobody can see me breaking my own rule. What is that thing that the kids say nowadays? Rules were meant to be broken?

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Recent Outfits, Part Seven

I truly realize how much color that I don't wear every time I round up some of my most recent outfits. Hashtag yikes, am I right? Also, other than the fact that I do fall into the routine of wearing the same pieces over and over again, I've also spent the last week and a half living out of a suitcase while I'm house-sitting, so my wardrobe has been severely limited. Can this post also double as how to style one suitcase of clothing? 

I call this outfit I Finally Dug My Dirty and Worn Down Matisse Mules Out of My Closet and Now Feel Compelled to Wear Them Every Single Day for the Rest of My Life also known as Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It. 

Sweater: Saks
Sweater coat: Zara (from Cleveland Consignment Shoppe)
Pants: Zara (from CCS)
Shoes: Matisse x Kate Bosworth

I call this look Business on the Top, Party on the Bottom also known as The Mullet Outfit, Sans a High-Low Skirt also known as I Accidentally Broke that Belt in the Bathroom at Work This Day and Now I Don't Have Any Belts.

Top: J. Crew
Jeans: Levi's (which I destroyed)
Shoes: Zara

I call this look When in the Hell Have I Ever Worn a Sweatshirt? Oh, Here also known as Can I Actually Pull Off a Sweatshirt? Probably Not, But I Continuously Try Anyways. 

Top: Mother Denim (from CCS)
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Steve Madden

I call this look The Cool, Chic, and Anything But Neutrals Hating Doctor Is In! also known as This Jacket Has Huge Easily Accessible Pockets and I'm In Love With Everything About it.

T-Shirt: Rag & Bone (from CCS)
Duster: Monki (from CCS)
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Zara

I call this look I Really Gave Up, Didn't I? also known as Dear Lord, I Hope I Didn't Spill Anything On This Sweater. 

Sweater: Rag & Bone (from CCS)
Jeans: You guessed it, American Eagle
Shoes: Zara, surprise surprise

I call this look Look, My DJ Tanner Sweater Is Back! also known as Oh My God, Francesca, Did You Buy Those Stupid A$$ Mules In Red and Gold Too? also known as Why Yes, Yes I Did. 

Sweater: H&M
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Matisse x Kate Bosworth

I call this look Yes, I'm Still Trying to Rock Sweatshirts also known as Am I Getting There? Maybe? Maybeeeee? 

Sweatshirt: Aiko (from CCS)
Jeans: H&M
Shoes: Celine (from CCS)

Monday, March 27, 2017

New Beauty Bits & First Impressions

When I run out of out my staple beauty products, I always run out at the same time. I've been scraping out the last remnants of my NARS All Day Luminous foundation with a q-tip for the past few days because the only other foundation I have is a shade that is most definitely too dark for me but kind of works if I blend it out. The key words are: kind of. I also started to run dangerously low on my exfoliating cleanser which with my skin being the pain in the butt that it is, is a must have in my skin routine. I've been without a face primer for months upon months because I was convinced that I didn't need one but let's be real, I do. I need one. And I could feel my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner starting to dry out and if I'm ever without one of those, I feel lost. This all warranted a trip to Sephora, where I tried to keep myself in line, but I always stray just a tiny bit.

I was on the fence of just sticking with the NARS All Day Luminous foundation or trying something new. When it comes to foundation and concealer, I tend to stick to the same just to ensure that my skin doesn't react badly. Plus, when I find a finish and coverage I like, it's nice to stay consistent especially when my breakouts are so sporadic and come at the most inopportune times. Alas, I have a friend who always encourages me to try out new makeup, especially foundations, so I decided to try to branch out. I really wanted the Makeup Forever Mat Velvet foundation, but none of the shades looked like they were my shade at the moment, so I didn't want to choose a color that was less than perfect. I ended up being torn by the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage foundation and the Too Faced Born this Way foundation, so in a moment of #Whatever, I decided why not both? My friend and I also snuck in a quick trip to Ulta, so in a moment of weakness, I picked up the Tarte Shape Tape concealer that everyone and their grandmother has been using. I used the Tarte foundation this morning and really like the feel and consistency, so we'll see how it wears throughout the day! Also, for reference, in the Tarte foundation I'm the shade Fairly Light Beige, in the Born this Way foundation I'm Pearl, and in the concealer I'm Fair Neutral.

I used 100 of my points to get a small sample of Sunday Riley's Good Genes serum because it's something that I've been toying around buying the full-size of, but the price tag is a bit off-putting. I'm all for skincare though and I'll do anything to ensure that my skin is living its best life. We'll see how the sample goes and I'll assess the investment down the line!

I received a sample of this Makeup Forever Step 1 hydrating primer in a recent Sephora order and despite only getting one use out of it, I knew I wanted it. It just felt so nice applied to my skin and my skin is a weird combination of dry and normal to oily, so I figured that an extra dose of moisture on my skin in the morning that will keep my makeup in place throughout the day is a double whammy that I shouldn't pass up. 

I decided to switch up my exfoliating cleanser and on my friend's recommendation, I picked up the Caudalie Deep Exfoliating Cleanser. It's a white clearer with grainy bits spread throughout. They're very fine, but they actually have a texture to them that polishes the dead layers of skin off. I've had issues in the past with products like this, but my issue with them was that there was absolutely no grit to them. It just felt like I was I scrubbing my face with delicate microbeads that weren't doing anything. I used this this morning and I don't forsee us having any issues. It wasn't overly gritty to the point where it hurt, but it had a great consistency that really scrubbed the dead skin over my dry patches off without aggressively ripping off a layer of skin.

And last but not least, these are just some misceaallenous things I picked up. As you've all seen ten thousand times on my blog, I got a new Tattoo Liner from Kat Von D. I also picked up a Sephora brand green tea sheet mask for the face because, well, why not? I've always been curious about them, so I picked the mattifying and anti-blemish one because my skin gets more oily during the spring time and I'm currently breaking out. I did it last night and man, do sheet masks feel weird. I liked it though! I want to pick up some more just for fun, maybe next time I'm in! And on my way to check out, I saw a smaller bottle of the Ouai wave spray. I contemplated getting the full-sized bottle, but products like this tend to not work on me. But I saw Rachel Whitehurst using it on her Snapchat story and I am just a sucker for seeing people use products in action and rave about them. So, we'll see how  it goes!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Good Reads

1. Your Ideal Weekend My ideal weekend? Easy. No makeup, potential brushing of the hair, no wearing anything but leggings and oversized t-shirts. There is queso and margaritas involved somehow, despite not wanting to leave the house. I watch a lot of Gilmore Girls and get eight hours of sleep, at least.

2. We Can’t Actually All Be *That* Busy On one hand, I am busy. On the other hand, I do have moments of free time. It's just that in most of those moments of free time, I'm so drained from my other responsibilities that I just...veg out. Is it considered busy if I need to schedule in three hours of silence to detox from the day? No? Okay, fair enough.

3. Five Updates for Your Wardrobe Right Now *proceeds to run to the mall and pick up every one of these pieces that I don't already own*

4. Relaxed Fit As I type this out, I'm wearing a very similar style of pants and can attest to how glorious these are. They're a dream to style too. Dress them up, dress them down, do what you will with the most comfortable style of pants you will ever own and shamelessly wear in public as much as possible.

5. Is Dev Patel Single? I Need to Know I have never related more to a blog post in my entire life.

6. Palm Print Skirt: Day to Night You know, I own a palm print romper but not a palm print skirt and I think my life is sorely lacking now.

7. Camel & Cream This is such a killer color combination and I'm internally screaming at how cozy this whole look is. Plus, distressed denim with anything is just A Look™.

8. A New Occasion Wear Series I'm totally digging this concept and those incredible textured pants.

9. Selena Gomez Has Been Experimenting With Her Lewk I genuinely don't think that Selena Gomez has ever done any wrong with her personal style. I adore her style (and her!) so much. PS, did you see her 73 questions for Vogue? She's adorable!

10. My Color Palette For Spring I don't wear color, so my color palette for spring switches from black and grey to grey and white. So seasonal, right?

11. All Black Outfit, Like the Old Days All black outfit = me everyday.

12. Bell Sleeve Shirt I love this crisp white bell sleeve top with that denim pinafore dress! Ugh, too cute!

13. Spring Style Inspiration in my New Office I would die for Carly Cristman's office space.

14. OOTD: That's So Hannah This is just such a cool and edgy look that Hannah pulls off flawlessly. Love!

15. Why I Don't Wear a Bra? Did I ghostwrite this? I don't think I've worn an underwire bra for more than a night or two since 2015, genuinely.

16. Leather Jackets Make Me Feel Cool I'm still not entirely convinced that I can pull off a leather jacket, but dammit, do I feel like a bada$$ when I do wear mine!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

On Having a "Girl Gang"

Tomorrow, according to my lovely agenda, is Girl Gang Appreciation Day. This could also be referred to as my FAVORITE DAY EVER, besides National Compliment Day, of course. That's my all time favorite. I feel like over the course of the past few years, "girl gang" has been heavily synonymous with Taylor Swift and her gal pals. And while I love Taylor and the girls in her, uh, crew, there's so much more to a healthy, supportive and positive girl gang than that.

It's 2017 and still, women have a hard time just living. Though it's clear, and important to recognize, that women or color, trans-women, disabled women, etc, have that same struggle tenfold. There's the notorious pay-gap, rights to our bodies being decided upon by men who don't have to go through what we go through, discrimination based on gender (and for others, grouped in with the color of their skin, sexual orientation, abilities, etc). All of my friends are afraid to walk alone, whether it's during the day time or especially at night. I have friends who won't wear shorts to campus because they don't want to walk downtown wearing them just incase what might be said to them. Women are too bossy, too emotional but then on the opposite end of the spectrum, they're too cold when they reject men, too chatty, too nosy, too this, too that. Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

It's a hard knock life out there as a woman. It really is, and I'm just a cis-gendered, white, straight female. I don't know what it's like to be anything else, but I don't imagine it to be pretty. Sometimes it's nice to know that you have a group of gals who have your back, no matter what. "Girl gangs" are this weird but nice sense of sisterhood that you might not have otherwise. I grew up with brothers, so I've never had a sister to relate to on that level. It's reassuring to know that if you have an issue, from something as small as a massive zit on your forehead that not even the greatest concealer in the world can cover to relationship problems to bigger societal issues, body image, uncomfortable public situations, hell, even discrimination. I think of them as the ultimate support system, people that you choose to surround yourself with that will be patient, understanding, honest, and will care unconditionally.

There's a lot of girl-on-girl hate still to this day. I'm not saying you have to like someone solely because they're a woman, but there's just a gross amount of girl-on-girl hate about the stupidest things and it's puzzling. It just seems counterproductive. It really does. Everything is not a competition. We're not competing against each other in every day life. That mentality isn't healthy and it harbors really nasty relationships with people.

The term "girl gang" can sound a little bit cliquey, I will admit. It sounds more exclusive than it is, but the thought is there. I think even if you think you get along better with guys, it's imperative to have a few close gal pals. They're going to be the ones who understand everything, who know your struggle without being the one on the outside looking in. They won't have to put themselves in your shoes because they've already worn those shoes. In fact, they've already stomped around in them.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Artists You Should Be Listening To

Over the summer, I wrote a blog post about five artists that I thought that everyone ought to know about. A lot of time has passed since that post and there are dozens upon dozens of artists that have come across my radar that I want to show off to the world to spread their talent and just all around frangirl fangirl over. Today's post is just a smattering of some really cool bands or artists that I think that everyone should be jamming out to on a weekly, if not daily basis. These are in no particular order and my descriptions of them probably aren't going to make a lot of sense because I am physically incapable of talking about music in comprehensive sentences. I just can't do it.

1. Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers is a singer-songwriter from Maryland with really cool long wavy hair that reminds me of the missing fourth Haim sister and a voice that makes me jealous that I sound like a rodent being run over repeatedly by a unicycle. She has that cool girl vibe, one that Gucci would latch onto with their current branding. Her song "Alaska" was played for Pharrell and it was all over from there. Currently, Rogers is on tour across the United States and has some European dates coming up as well, if my memory serves me correctly. Her EP Now That the Light Is Fading came out on February 16, 2017 and I would highly recommend giving it a listen. If you like artists like Banks, Wet, James Blake or just really relaxed indie music with a fun beat, give Rogers a listen.

2. Julien Baker

Julien Baker's voice is a voice that makes you want to cry. Not because it's bad, it's the polar opposite.  Her voice is light and airy while somehow also being simultaneously raw and gritty. It's such a cool combination. Her voice layered over her haunting guitar-riffs, choppy picking and eerie ethereal compositions makes for the perfect rainy day playlist. It's difficult for me to find good music that I can read or write to and Baker's discography, though small in comparison to some, it the perfect fit for that. How incredible is that live performance of "Something?" It gives me chills people, chills!

3. Young In The City

From what I understand, Young in the City is a high school band from Washington that has resurfaced many years later under a new name with a new sound. Within the band is Noah Gundersen aka the man who created the song "First Defeat" aka the song that can make me curl up into a ball after just hearing the instrumental guitar riff before the first verse. There's something about Young in the City's music that is so reminiscent of the 80's without being the cheesy new wave music that we all love and cherish so dearly. My mom didn't agree with me when I said that their song "Annie" felt like it should have been a U2 song, but my mom also doesn't like Lorelei Gilmore so is she really reliable?

4. Lapsley

Despite the fact that Lapsley does indeed sound like the name of a Pokemon, her music is not at all reminiscent of 90s gaming. Born Holly Lapsley Fletcher, Lapsley is an English singer who knows how to rock a synth in a song. Her debut album Long Way Home released last March and is chock full of some really–wait for it–cool tracks. If there's an underlying theme with all of this music it is that I do indeed think that all of it is cool. Why wouldn't I? I'm talking about it all, aren't I? Lapsley's music is a little more synthesized and electronic than I would normally go for, but paired with her husky, haunting voice, it just works.

5. The Stockcar Boys

It would be wrong if I left out a hometown band I've been enjoying. The Stockcar Boys are a five-piece band from Niagara Falls and I'm a little obsessed. I really appreciate when groups utilize instruments that might not necessarily be your standard "band" instruments. The Stockcar Boys feature trumpets and saxophones in their music and I think it just gives such a different flair to their music. They currently have an EP on Spotify, but their newest single "Laced With Impatience" is what initially drew me in.

6. Sarah Close

SARAAAAHHH!!!! I've been watching Sarah Close's covers on Youtube for years now and her first original song has finally just released and it's a bop guys, it's a bop. Sarah Close is an English Youtuber and musician and is just so insanely talented that I fangirl at the mere mention of her name. Her original music releases have been getting pushed back for years, so for her single "Call Me Out" to finally be makes me want to scream! It's so good, guys. Just take four minutes out of your day and give it a listen because you won't regret it, scout's honor!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. Elf Ultimate Blending Brush

I bought this brush by accident. Not like, I put it in my cart without realizing it. More like, I put it in my cart because I thought it was a different brush and I didn't really know what I was looking for when I was in Target on that particular Sunday. I didn't know it was as dense as it was in the packaging and I thought it would make a better blush brush than the one I had. It is, unfortunately, much too dense to be used for blush, so it just sat in my brush jar all sad and lonely and unused.

A week or so ago, I saw Rachel Whitehurst talking about the same brush (if not, one very very similar from Elf) and how much she loved using it to apply her foundation. Since I would trust Rachel with anything beauty related because of her honesty, I decided to swap out my Real Techniques stippling brush for the day and test out this one. I'm not sure if it's because it's brand new and hasn't been used and abused, but it applied my foundation so beautifully that I haven't used anything besides it since. The bristles are super soft and gentle and just really buff my foundation nicely into the skin. The rounded top allows me to get around my nose and over my jaw and those tough to blend places. I think if you're looking for a good affordable foundation brush, this should be at the top of your list!

2. Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt

I had to admit to my mom that I actually liked this yogurt so I could talk about it today. I hate greek yogurt with a passion. I think it smells vile and I would never be able to stomach so much of a bite, it's so sour to me. However, she told me that I would like this vanilla greek yogurt because John Stamos is in the commercials and it doesn't have a sour taste. I complain a lot about not eating enough protein and with 12 grams of protein in one serving, it seemed like a perfect fit. I refused to try it when I was home, but she sent me back to Cleveland with one serving to see if I would like it. I pretended I didn't then proceeded to purchase two four-packs so bring with me to lunch at work. It's good, dammit. It's really good. It's the closest thing I've found to the vanilla yogurt that comes in the YoCrunch packs. It tastes good by itself, with berries, with granola. It's just a delicious yogurt and I'm really really mad that I like it and that I'm admitting that I like it so my mom can gloat and say "I told you so." I can actually guarantee she will text me "told you so" after she reads this or will attempt to leave a comment on this post. I know it.

3. Claire Chanelle / I Am Choquette

I am so entertained by Claire Chanelle's Youtube channel at the moment. I think she's adorable and so real and her style is incredible. She's friends with Lydia Elise Millen and they're some of the only Youtubers that I will watch every single video from, no matter what. She does mainly fashion videos, including no shortage of luxury hauls, but she has some beauty aspects to her channel as well. I also really love her vlogs. She just seems like such a kind and chill person and I highly recommend giving her channel a browse if you're looking for some new content!

4. "I Drove All Night" by Johnny Gates and Sammie Zonana from The Voice

I'm back into watching The Voice. I stopped watching when I went to college because it got too hard to keep up with. I ended up watching again in the middle of last season because my roommate was watching it and I got sucked in. So here I am again, watching season 12 and enjoying myself thoroughly. This battle round between Johnny Gates and Sammie Zonana was so good that I couldn't resist sharing my love for it. I bought it on iTunes, I had to. I couldn't resist. It's such a cool rendition of "I Drove All Night," so good that it even impressed Celine Dion, Gwen Stefani's team's mentor for the battle rounds.

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What Is With My Obsession With New York City?

When people in Ohio ask where I'm from, I say New York and it's automatically assumed that I'm from New York City, as if the entire rest of the state doesn't exist. If I say Niagara Falls, they assume I'm Canadian. And if I say Buffalo, then I'm just plain lying. Kind of. It's close, but not close enough.

I grew up across the state from New York City, a good six or so hour car ride away from the most populated city in the country. Like many, my obsession with New York started at a young age. I was fascinated by all of the touristy bits as a child. We have family there and would try to visit when we could. The idea of a massive city was really interesting to me. The buildings seemed to huge (I mean, they are huge) and everything seemed perfect.

I'm older now and I know everything about New York isn't perfect. I know the smell of hot trash blowing through the even hotter air on a warm summer day. I know that that puddle on the ground might not be water but in fact human urine. I know that that rodent in the subway that's the size of a small dog might just be a radioactive rat that lives in the sewer and hangs out with karate fighting turtles. I know what it's like to be sandwiched between loads of strangers in a crowded subway car during rush hour. Maybe I don't know all of the unglamorous parts of New York, but I know it's not all sunshine and rainbows. And yet here I am, at the age of twenty-one, dying to be a part of whatever New York is about.

The question I get the most after I say where I want to move, especially from customers at work, "don't you know how expensive it is?" Of course I know how expensive it is! Why do you think you see me at the store four days a week, if not more? I'm trying to save, people! I know it's expensive, I know it's crowded, I know space is limited. I know, to a degree, what I'm getting myself into. And everything else I will have to learn through trial and error and making mistakes for myself. Such is life, right?

I don't know if it's the fashion, the carefree attitude, the buildings, the fast-paced nature, the culture, or the hundreds of square miles to explore. There's just something about New York that's made me dream about being a part of it for years upon years. It's about darn time that I make that happen! #GetFrancescaToNYC2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why Am I Constantly Sorry?

I'm sorry I look like crap today!

I'm sorry my hair is so gross, I didn't have time to fix it!

I'm sorry that I'm not talkative, I'm just tired. 

I'm sorry I'm distracted, my head is just all over the place right now!


The drafts section of my blog is a graveyard of posts that I couldn't formulate my perfect thoughts on at the time, posts that may or may not see the light of day. I've had this post drafted for a while, sitting patiently in that folder of "maybes" for me to finally know everything that I want to say about it. 

I'd say statistically, I apologize for something every hour that I'm around people. At least once an hour, I say that I'm sorry for something that I most certainly don't need to be sorry about. I apologize for my appearance, for my voice when I talk too fast or mumble, for something that happened to someone else. It's my version of "like" or "um" and I use it so liberally that I find it worthy to write a blog post about.

Most of the time, I don't even know what I'm apologizing for. The words slip so easily out of my mouth that you would think that those were my first words and that I was insanely attached to them. It's like I constantly feel the need to apologize for my behavior incase it's somehow offended someone, as if my unruly hair or slightly wonky eyeliner is really going to affect someone's day. And even if it did, is that my issue? Not really!

I know it comes from a place of insecurity. I've always had a chronic fear of disappointment, despite never being pressured to be the best, to look the best, to act the best. It's a fear I created within myself because, well, I don't know. In my head "I'm sorry" is my go to way to wean off disappointment, or whatever. Half of the time, I don't even know why I'm saying it, but the words come out before I know what I'm doing.

This is all in reference to apologizing for things that I shouldn't be apologizing for. Obviously, if I run into somebody on accident, sorry is the appropriate response. If a friend is telling me something about a personal issue, apologizing can be a kind way to show you're listening and that you understand. But there's no reason I should be apologizing for my appearance or for something that I've said when there was nothing wrong with it.

I've found that a lot of my friends do the same thing and after a little scour on the internet, it appears that it's something that women in general do, especially more often than men. The discourse on this could go on for ages, but it must come down to having different thresholds of what warrants and apology and what does not. I happen to have an extremely low threshold, deep down into the earth's core. It wouldn't surprise me if I apologized for global warming someday.

Despite not being my on my goals for 2017, I think that an additional task should be tacked onto the end: stop apologizing for everything and anything. Every time I apologize for something that doesn't warrant one, I feel like I feed more into my insecurities and set myself ten steps backwards with any progress that I've made. Let's see how this goes...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Niagara Falls, New York: The Book Corner

Sandwiched between the new police department and the Rapids Theater lies one of my hometown's pride and joy. Well at least, in my opinion. Niagara Falls isn't home to much besides two and a half of the natural wonders of the world. Fun fact: Niagara Falls actually consists of three different waterfalls. On the American side, there's the–shocker–American Falls, the Little Bridal Veil falls and half of the Horseshoe Falls. The Canadian side houses the other half of the Horseshoe Falls, which is probably the most publicized image of Niagara Falls.

I digress, the rest of the city, to many, doesn't have much. In terms of books, you basically have to go to Target or drive twenty to thirty minutes away to get to Barnes and Noble. My junior year of high school, my cousin and I needed Pigs in Heaven for our English class and our Barnes and Noble order was delayed. My mom remembered that there was a bookstore not too far from her work and decided to give them a call to see if they had any copies. Since it's both a new and used bookstore, the owner not only found the new copy, but he also searched through the used fiction section and found a few more because they were cheaper. What kind of angelic man does that?

Ever since that moment, any time I'm purchasing books at home, it feels wrong to do it any place else.

The set up of The Book Corner is three floors of heaven. The first floor when you walk in is full of new books, from religion and philosophy to modern fiction to history to young adult and even children's books. The owner and his wife sit in their office and will chat about anything and everything with you while you shop. There's also a few cats that roam around the premise, giving you a little bit of feline companionship while you browse!

The basement and attic are both used books sections, shelves on shelves filled to the brim with more books than your eyes have ever seen. It's a true Belle in a Beauty and the Beast moment. Downstairs is more nonfiction, featuring philosophical, how-to books, autobiographies and travel.

The attic might be my favorite place in the entire store. It's the fiction section with a sprinkling of plays, poetry and other worldly languages. I could spend hours reading the spines of books, titles and authors I've never heard of finally coming to my attention. The main room has a large piano in the middle and chairs set up for readings. The view from the windows shows the ghost of Main Street in Niagara Falls, which is a little bit eerie and equally as sad.

The Book Corner is one of my favorite things about going back home. The owners are incredibly kind, the selection of books never leaves me disappointed, and shopping small businesses when I can is just a really, really good feeling. If you're ever visiting The Falls, I highly recommend stopping by, if not just to visit the adorable cats on site!

Where: 1801 Main Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14305
Why: For a unique selection of new and used books 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Good Reads

1. Don’t Be Embarrassed You Love Uggs I can pretend all I want that I don't love my Uggs, but despite them being the ugliest shoes I might ever own, they're also the most comfortable things that my feet have ever touched. I'd be lost without my rubber soled Ugg winter boots to trudge through the snow in or my shearling lined house slippers that keep my feet from touching whatever crumbs or dust linger on the hardwood floor no matter how much we sweep.

2. 10 Paris Street Style Looks We Want to Copy I would die for every single one of these looks. A midi skirt with a fur jacket? A hoodie underneath a blazer? Bumble bee chic? Count me the heck in.

3. 3 Lipsticks You Wouldn't Expect I wear mainly just matte lipstick with the occasional satin finish or slight gloss. I don't know how comfortable a glitter or powder lipstick would be, but god, the finish is just too cool to deny.

4. Do Optimists Really Live Better Lives? I've seen both sides of this argument around the internet before and therefore, I don't know if being optimistic will ultimately be the best for me. But, I will say, day to day life as an optimist feels better. I feel inherently guilty every time a pessimistic thought enters my head. It's a crippling feeling that leaves me uneasy. I don't want to know how life is as a pessimist. I've lived that life before when I was younger, about a decade ago (yuck) and I don't want to go back!

5. Dublin in 72 Hours I would kill to visit Ireland. I don't know how long I'd love to spend there, but everyone only has great things to say about it and I'm getting antsy. When will I be able to travel Europe? When, self, when?!

6. Brands I Love I have to agree with Liz–Rag & Bone jeans are incredibly comfortable, fit perfectly, and come in so many different styles.

7. Baby Girl I'm Blue I looooove to color combo of the pastel blue and white jeans. The lightness of the outfit mixed with the heavy nature of the boots is the perfect juxtaposition!

8. 3 Ways to Style a Metallic Skirt The combination of a pleated skirt and a graphic sweatshirt is one of my favorite pairings that I see popping up on blogs and my Instagram feed as of late. I think it's just one of the coolest looks, especially when paired with a pair of booties or sneakers. Can't wait to try this one out for myself!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dream Closet, Vol. 27

Clearly there's no trend in the things I wish would magically appear in my closet this month...Look, that baby pink color is huge. Rose, baby pink, blush, mauve, whatever shade you want to call's great and I want to doused head to toe in it, clearly. My dream closet is never without some black, though. In fact, I'm currently wearing an all black outfit (I have a marbled sweater coat and white mules to break up the entirely doom and gloom ensemble, if it makes it any better). Also, I don't know what it is about stars, but if a piece of clothing or accessory has a star on it I automatically want it? I need science to explain this obsession and ASAP. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Am I On the Right Path?

I think about this a lot. Kind of constantly, actually. I wouldn't say it plagues my thoughts or anything, but it's not exactly the most upbeat thought I've ever had. This thought stems from absolutely anything: after questions about what I want to do after Cleveland, every time I write a blot post, every time I peruse job listings, every time I see a picture of New York City. It's one of those demanding thoughts that either scares the crap out of me or makes me feel insanely excited for the future.

I spent a lot of college wondering if I was in the right field of study. It's no secret that I didn't love college. I wasn't overly thrilled with my school's journalism program. That, coupled with my change in interest in journalism over the course of my first couple of years in college, made me question a lot of things. I was lucky enough to have started my blog early enough in my college career that it kept me sane throughout all of the assignments and classes that were really lowering my morale. Then, I got my first retail job here that made me see businesses in an entirely new light. My second retail job in Cleveland gave me the opportunity to explore digital marketing and social media and the back-end of businesses and marketing. Running this blog and those two jobs caused a shift in my career focus, one that I am endlessly grateful for.

When I was growing up, I assumed I would become a lawyer. It's kind of a family profession. I figured I would graduate from college with some sort of degree that didn't really matter and move onto law school to follow in my mom's footsteps. After watching Legally Blonde a few too many times, this seemed like the best path for me. Until it didn't. I don't know why I decided against it or when, but my mom told me I was too creative for law school and that I shouldn't force myself to go. After that, I didn't think much of it. There are some days where I lose faith in myself and just want to throw my hands in the air in frustration and take the LSAT. But I don't think Elle Woods would be proud of me for that, so then I shift my mindset back to where it should be and carry on.

I'm still not exactly sure what path I'm on. I hope it's not a long, confusing, winding path. I'd love for it to be a short and smooth path to New York City, but I know that things aren't that simple in life. Maybe I'll have five jobs I hate before I settle into one that feels right. Maybe I'll get it right in just a couple of tries. Who knows if I'll work in social media or will put my journalism degree to good use. Even if I'm unsure about my path now, I have faith that I'll get myself to the end point I need to. I have the power to do that, I guess.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. Soap & Glory Supercat Liner

What? I'm using an eyeliner that isn't the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner? I know, it's a miracle. But don't you worry, I'm still using the Kat Von D liner as well. The main reason I consistently repurchase the Kat Von D liquid liner is because it's the only eyeliner I'm able to get a very thin and precise wing. However, that doesn't mean that I don't love other products as just regular liner. Since I wear winged eyeliner every single day (seriously, no joke), I tend to go through tubes quite quick. To save myself the money, I like to use a different eyeliner for the rest of my eye and only use the Kat Von D liner for the wings.

I'd been dying to try the Soap & Glory liquid liner for years after a friend said that's what she used. When my roommate went to London over the summer, she looked at the drugstores to see if they had the liner (it wasn't in the U.S. at the moment, or at least nowhere near me). They were all sold out, which left me Supercat-less. A month or so ago, I was perusing the new display of Soap & Glory products in Target and I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw the pink and gold packaging. I picked it up immediately and didn't look back.

This eyeliner is a really nice regular eyeliner. The brush it a little too thick and stiff (that's what she said...I'm sorry, please come back, don't exit out of this post...) to get the type of wing that I like to wear. However, it's an amazing eyeliner to use on its own to line your upper lash line! You can make a more thin and precise line if you're careful, but I tend to just make a medium to thick line that I end towards the end of my lashline to leave room for my wing. It's super black and it lasts just as long as my Kat Von D liner. And while I don't particular like it for my wings, that doesn't mean that it won't work for others! I highly recommend picking it up because for ten bucks or so, it's still a great eyeliner, wing or not.

2. Tom Ford Saskia sunglasses

I went through a weird phase with sunglasses. I'm very, very particular about the frames that I wear, whether it's sunglasses or prescription glasses. I have a big head, a big face, and a big nose. I know this and I keep it in mind every single time I try on a pair of glasses. For the longest time I didn't buy sunglasses that were more expensive than like, ten bucks, maybe fifteen. Then I bought my first pair of Ray Bans (which I've recently sold because the wayfarer shape just didn't suit me at all), which spiraled into my first high end glasses, a pair of Tory Burch cat-eyes and Chloe round sunnies (both of which I've sold). For a while, the only two glasses I had were my Quay reflective frames and Burberry oxblood glasses (which I'm in the process of selling).

It was love at first sight when I saw these Tom Ford sunglasses come into the store I work in. This cat-eye frame is my power shape, the most flattering style for my face. It just suits me so well and I try to steer clear of any other styles. I also have to be careful about not going too dark with my frames because they're too stark against my fair skin and light hair. These glasses were the perfect shape, perfect frame color, and perfect price ;) You can check them out in more detail in this outfit post from a couple of weeks ago!

3. Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman album

I've liked Ariana Grande for a while now. I've been listening to her stuff since she first started her solo endeavor. But recently, I've been obsessed and C A N N O T stop listening to her Dangerous Woman album. More specifically, songs like "Everyday," "Touch It" (especially this one), "Thinking Bout You," and "Bad Decisions." I saw her a couple of weeks ago at Quickens and she is just incredible. That's what sparked my decision to immerse myself in her newest album because I couldn't get "Touch It" out of my head for whatever reason. Well, I know what reason: it's just a damn good song. Ariana is obviously uber talented and gets radio play and has incredible collaborations, but just incase you forgot how mega talented she was, here's another reminder to listen to Dangerous Woman all the way through and just bask in her vocal abilities and catchy AF tunes.

What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Debuting A New Haircut

For the longest time, I refused to cut my hair. When I used to get my hair trimmed to keep the ends healthy in high school, I used to tell my hair dresser to take as little off as she could while retaining the integrity of my hair. I was terrified of having short hair. Having long hair that I could curl and easily style with braids for sports was almost like a security blanket for me. I didn't think I could pull off short hair, especially after I had a brief bout of shorter hair when I was in middle school, which was a huge mistake in my mind. From then on, I kept growing my hair longer and longer until it reached "mermaid" status.

I had a change of heart somewhere at the beginning of my sophomore year of college. I always attribute it to Taylor Swift's album 1989. It was around the time that she had chopped off her signature long curls and I thought if she could do it, so could I. That whole album and time period was really formative for me, which I've talked about in more than a few blog posts. After then, I went through periods where I'd grow my hair longer, back to its normal longer length and would have a quick flip of a switch in my head and schedule an appointment to chop it all off again. I finally got to the place where I could recognize that it was just hair and whether it was in a short lob or long, luscious waves.

Recently, I was getting sick of my hair. It was mega damaged, desperately needed a good color, and was just all around unmanageable. I got to the point where I was too lazy to style it that I would just wear it back into a ponytail or bun just so I didn't have to brush or curl it. Once it got to that point, I knew I needed a change. To avoid relying on that very lazy step of just pulling it back, for the first time in my life, I got my hair cut too short to pull it back into anything but a very, very low ponytail. Take that, Lazy Fran!

I'm in love with my new cut and color. It's going to take some getting used to when it comes to styling and curling. I can't treat my short hair like I treated my long hair, so I'm excited to relearn what works and what doesn't for a haircut like this. I basically just went in with photos of Estee Lalonde (Essie Button on Youtube!) and Lucy Hale from when she chopped her hair short a few months ago. I just wanted something new and something fun and that's precisely what I got!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eight Lipsticks to Try Out This Spring

A new season means a new grouping of lipsticks that take the cake! These are by no means the only lipsticks I wear during this time of year (I tallied up all of my lipsticks and...there are too many, how did it come to this?), but they're the eight that I reach for the most often. I like to play around with some brighter colors this time of year while also sticking into the somewhat subdued and toned down pink and nude shades as my wardrobe starts to brighten up as well. I also tend to wear less super-matte formulas and shift towards creamier shades for a more comfortable wear and an overall more relaxed and dewy look!

1. Glossier Generation G Lipstick in Jam 

In the tube this shade definitely looks like it leans more towards the fall/winter lipstick shades. But the best part about these lipsticks is their sheerness and staining qualities. Instead of being an opaque berry shade, it applies the most gorgeous sheer wine shade across your lips, as if you've just eaten a grape popsicle. These lipsticks in general are just an all around favorite for spring and summer because they're so lightweight, moisturizing, and leave an even faint stain after they've worn off, making them incredible low maintenance to keep up with throughout the day.

2. YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil in Peach Me Love

This is a product that I didn't expect to love as much as I do. I bought it recommendation from a friend and was a little underwhelmed after swatching some in the store, but I decided to go along with the purchase just to give it a shot. Boy, am I glad I didn't talk myself out of this one. I was nervous when I picked up this shade because I thought it wouldn't do anything for my lips and would just be a sheer glossy layer. Instead, it transforms my lip color into this gorgeous coral/peach shade that it just absolutely perfect for this time of year. It's not super bold or bright, but it gives the perfect sheer wash of color white adding a glossy coat to amp up my lips. It also leaves a faint "my lips but better" stain after it has worn off, which won't leave your lips looking patchy and weird if you aren't able to reapply frequently throughout the day. Plus, these smell amazing and the odd shaped doe foot applicator makes it easy to apply the product seamlessly.  

3. Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color in French Rose

I've definitely talked about this shade before and these particular lipsticks, so I won't delve too much into my love for it. This style lip pencil are my absolute favorite to apply because they let you be so much more precise than a regular lipstick tube. This shade is a really comfortable matte formula that doesn't settle into fine lines and doesn't feel like your lips are slowly transforming into the Sahara Desert. The shade is a really beautiful muted rose shade that is a nice alternative to a more brown toned nude for this time of year.

4. MAC Lipstick in Candy Yum Yum 

The ultimate MAC spring shade for me is Party Parrot, but it was limited edition and I seem to have misplaced my tube. So let's please pray that shows up sometime soon because my spring will never be complete without that lipstick...But to sub in for Party Parrot today, we have Candy Yum Yum. Yes, it is as bright as it looks in the tube. If you're brave enough to smear a bubblegum pink lipstick across your lips, this is an incredible one to try out (or, Urban Decay Anarchy for a more magenta look). This matte formula is one you have to be more careful with when it comes to settling into fine lines, but it's not super drying, so as long as you exfoliate beforehand, all will be well with this neon lip color!

5. Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

On Sephora, this lip color is described as a "baked rose" shade, which totally makes sense. It's an interesting color, one that I still can't put my finger on. It's not very pink, but it's too dark to be a pinky-rose shade. It's one of the more "deeper" shades for this time of year, but I think it's a gorgeous companion to any makeup look that you decide on for the day. This is another creamy matte formula that's incredibly comfortable to wear throughout the day, too!

6. NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound 

I did a first impressions of this product when I first got it and I wasn't overly thrilled with it. And then I kept reaching for it...and reaching for it...and now it practically has a permanent spot in my bag. I think once I got over the fact that it wasn't going to be a long wearing product, I started to love that about it. I love the feeling of reapplying it after a few hours because it has such a creamy and satisfying finish that feels so smooth against my lips. The shade Bound is just the perfect spring nude, a combination of brown and pink that enhances your natural lip color and will complement whatever outfit or makeup look you choose for the day!

7. NYX Soft Matte Lip Creme in Sydney

These NYX lipsticks are some of my favorite drugstore lip products. They're not particularly long wearing, but they're so comfortable. The color selection (and names!) are super fun and they're a cheap way to try out bright colors without committing to a super expensive or super matte and drying color that just won't leave your lips if you don't like it. Morocco is another favorite shade of mine for spring and summer from this same range of products. Sydney is a really gorgeous soft pink color that has a hint of lilac to give a little twist on a classic baby pink. This is also another formula that smells really nice and sweet, which just adds that little extra touch!

8. YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in Fuchsia in Rage

I can never go a spring or summer lipstick post without mentioning this lip color. Even if I don't wear it as often as I used to, this remains in my top three favorite lipsticks of all time. In my opinion, it's totally reasonless and it just complements so much more than you think it would. I absolutely adore this creamy formula that leans a little more to the sheer side but still manages to last for a few hours without budging. This is one of those colors that might not suit everyone, but I would recommend everyone to try because if it goes right, it will be your secret weapon in your beauty bag.

What's your favorite lipstick to wear in the spring?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Good Reads

1. Spring Trends for Everyone I'm definitely going to incorporate these three trends into my looks this coming season!

2. Blush + Black OTS This is one of my all time favorite color combinations. I'm in love with that off the shoulder top, too!

3. Pretty Peplum I love how comfortable that peplum top looks and the stripes just add such a fun touch!

4. Splurge-Worthy Club Monaco Cashmere Cardigan I've been hearing so many good things about Club Monaco that I'm just going to have to take the plunge someday...

5. Ruffle & Flow Everything about this outfit is perfection, from the mock neck top to the ruffle bottom pants and the Moschino slingbacks. Incredible!

6. Escape the Ordinary I absolutely adored all of the colors in these outfits, especially the blush pink and pinstripe combo!

7. 10 Outfits to Wear This Spring Jessica's outfits are just so stinking cute! I can't wait to draw inspiration from these outfits for my own spring wardrobe!

8. Why It's Important to Give Yourself a Break I need to remind myself of this more often. Like, way way more often.

9. Spring Hues Those jeans are amazing and I love the pop of color in the blazer!

10. Learning To Positively Influence How Women Treat Each Other Let's all take notes!

11. Channeling Couture This color gives me life. I'm in love with this silhouette and all of those delicate pleats. So fun for spring!

12. The White Shirt Reimagined This is such a huge trend and one that I can't wait to try out for myself. I love a good white oxford, so I'm excited to see the new twists taken on a simple classic!

What have you been reading lately?